Long before he was melting faces with his blistering guitar solos for Metallica, Kirk Hammett was a lifelong horror geek. Through the decades, Hammett has amassed an impressive collection of horror memorabilia, including rare horror and science fiction movie posters. It’s Alive!: Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Movie Posters from the Kirk Hammett Collection boasts a long title but is definitely not short on the goods. Spanning the history of horror in the cinema, Hammett has one of the best movie poster collections in the world, and actually took the posters on a museum tour prior to the book’s release.
Edited by Daniel Finamore (Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum) the book features several essays; ‘Paper that Lures Like the Vampire Himself: The Art of Horror and Science Fiction Movie Posters’ by the aforementioned Finamore, ‘Fearing: Why We Enjoy Horror Movies’ by Joseph LeDoux (Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University in the Center for Neural Science and director of the Emotional Brain Institute of New York University) and finally ‘My Mojo Has Thirteen Eyes: On the Horrific Beauty of the Unconscious Unchained’ by Steve Almond (author of My Life in Heavy Metal and host of the radio show Dear Sugars). These essays dive into the history of the horror movie poster, why we enjoy horror movies, and the movie poster as an art form.
Often, the first thing we see for any upcoming horror film is the poster, usually long before the first teaser trailer hits the airwaves. Studios know the poster is the first point of the frontline to sell the film and spend tons of money in graphics and design to market the films to just the right audience. Many classic horror film posters are considered rare collector’s items, fetching huge sums in private auctions. As an art form, the movie poster could very well be one of the few remaining mementos of lost films, such as London After Midnight, which was lost in a fire in 1965. Only the posters and several movie stills and slides remain of this classic film.
In between the essays, the posters come to life. Hammett has all the classics you’d expect to see in such a collection like The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy, but there are also little known and extremely rare gems, as well as alternate posters and posters from the foreign editions of the films. Clocking in around 120 pages with 90 full color photos, It’s Alive!: Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Movie Posters from the Kirk Hammett Collection, is the museum movie poster tour in book form, and is a must have for any fan of horror and science-fiction films.
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