Salem at Halloween time has been an almost annual event for me for the past 7 years. With Halloween being my favorite holiday, there is no place better to celebrate. Everything about Salem is perfect from the museums, stores and haunted houses to the people watching.
I had heard about It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection but until we arrived in Salem, and went by the Peabody Essex Museum, I had forgotten that it was actually in Salem! How excited was I to see that not only was it in Salem but was in fact still available to be viewed.
My girlfriend and I eagerly paid our $20, not fully sure of what exactly we were going to see. I read Kirk Hammett’s book ‘Too Much Horror Business” and knew he was a huge fan of monsters but other than hearing that movie posters made up most of the display, I wasn’t sure if there was anything else we would see. I am very happy to report that there was much more to see than classic science fiction and horror movie posters.
In addition to the aforementioned posters, there were also original paintings by artists Basil Gogos (of Famous Monsters of Filmland cover fame) and Frank Frazetta. There were also full size figures recreating some of our favorite movies and mini films being shown featuring Hammett.
The first video featured him playing one of his many monster-themed guitars intertwined with footage of the original 1922 version of the film NOSFERATU. He discussed how his love of monsters helped him create some of the great guitar riffs he is known for.
A second film discusses how the 1962 film THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS was what started his love of monsters. After being out of school due to an injury, he accidentally came across this film being shown and he described the excitement of watching something that he probably shouldn’t have been watching, since he was only five.
My favorite figure was of one of the aliens from the 1957 film INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN. This film has always been one of my favorite films of the 50’s and to see a full-size figure, showcasing one of the original collars from the original film. I have to admit that I got pretty giddy rounding the corner and seeing this creature in all of its 50’s alien glory.
There was also a full size figure from one of the aliens from the 1953 movie INVADERS FROM MARS and though this is also a favorite film of mine, seeing this recreation did not have the same effect as the saucer-man did.
Another area of interest was a recreation of what a living room might have looked like in the 50’s with monster movies being shown on the tv and monster memorabilia and toys all around. There was even a fish tank featuring a very rare Creature From The Black Lagoon aerator!
I found myself smiling a lot throughout this exhibition. To think that someone as amazing as Kirk Hammett grew up the same way I did was very cool to me. As a child, being a monster kid was often met with ridicule from fellow students and being called different was oftentimes the norm. Even as a young adult I found myself hiding my passions out of fear of how people would respond. Thankfully I now surround myself with people who not only know of my love of monster movies but embrace it as a part of me. I no longer allow myself to be affected by the opinions of other and am a stronger person for it. Kirk Hammett reminded me that it is cool to be a monster kid.
This amazing exhibit is well worth the money and is running through November 26. I highly recommend it and when you’re done, you will have the rest of Salem to explore. For more information on It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection just go HERE!