Sunday, August 16, 2015

MARK VOGER'S 'MONSTER MASH' REVIEWED


MONSTER MASH:
THE CREEPY, KOOKY MONSTER CRAZE IN AMERICA 1957-1972
Written and Designed by Mark Voger
John Morrow, TWO MORROWS Publishing
June 2015
www.twomorrows.com

If you are looking for the printed version of a time machine that will transport you back to the period of the 1960s legendary “Monster Craze”, then your search is over. Mark Voger, journalist by trade and monster kid at heart, has delivered via Two Morrows Publishing (the folks that gave you THE WARREN COMPANION), a compendium of legendary lore and memorabilia from those near-mythical, halcyon days of “hor-yore”. If the news of this book hasn’t made you jump off your lab slab, you are in dire need of a new pair of electrodes, my friend.

Between the boards of this hard bound beauty lays a most comprehensive collection and discussion of just about every toy, model, mask, trading card, book, magazine and TV show from that memorable decade that delivered to kids of all ages an infusion of monster plasma straight into the bloodstream of American pop culture.

Sure we’ve seen some of these images before, and many can be viewed with a simple click on any computer search engine. But, Mr. Voger’s adept and skillful journalistic skills come into play here to make the overall concoction one part walk down memory lane and one part archival history. Readers can pull this book of the shelf (or the coffee table) and be instantly immersed in 60s monster culture.

Voger begins our journey with a forward by the venerable Zacherle and then with an introduction detailing his reminisces about his own experience growing up and – much like Larry Talbot under the light of the full moon – transforming himself from a nice neighborhood kid to a slavering, addicted fan of anything that resembled a monster.

What follows, fright fans, is a fusillade of fun filled to capacity and seldom seen in book form. There are chapters on TV horror hosts, the first monster film magazine (FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, of course!), Bobby “Boris” Pickett and THE MONSTER MASH, monster models, 8mm monster movies, monster trading cards, monster masks, monster toys, the Weird-oh and Rat Fink phenomenon, TV shows … the list goes on. Included are interviews with John Astin, James Warren, Forrest J Ackerman, George Barris, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Jonatan Frid, and more. The middle of the book leans heavily on THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS TV shows, but that’s because a lot of the people who were stars in the show are still alive and are willing to share their memories. Otherwise, each subject is well-represented.

At 191 pages, there’s plenty to dive into, but I think you’d wish after reading it, that it was twice as long. The book is beautifully designed, the text is sharp and the colors are true. The cover sports a fitting, full-page image of the icon of the era, the pop-eyed, snaggle-toothed, ghostly green reanimated rotting road kill aptly-named, the “Shock Monster”.

If you are looking for a social treatise on Monster Kid Kulture, you won’t find it here. But, if you want a fun-filled ride that recaptures a time that lives on in many a Monster Kid’s heart, then this is it, fellow monster lovers.

So, everybody jump in your way-back machines, set the controls for “MONSTER CRAZE”, and indulge yourself in a few hours of nostalgia from an era that will forever be a beloved part of American pop culture.


This book gets MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD’s highest recommendation!

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