Thursday, November 21, 2019

It's Alive at the ROM!

I recently took a friend to "It's Alive", the Royal Ontario Museum exhibition of science fiction and horror art from the collection of Kirk Hammett. In this case, "art" is mostly movie posters but also includes statues/sculptures and memorabilia. Hammett is best known for being the lead guitarist of Metallica, but like many artists from metal's golden era, is also heavily into science fiction and horror. Besides, science fiction and horror are so metal.

Hammett's movie-branded guitars:

I hope he's used the White Zombie (1932) guitar to play "Black Sunshine"!

Posters of classic silent movies The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1921) and Metropolis (1927):

Poster of the 1953 edition of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds:

There are many more, but surely I can't show you the whole exhibit. Some have a dash of comedy - be sure to see the poster of 1935's The Invisible Ray so you can learn about the Luminous Man!

The collection spans from the 1920s to approximately 1980. Non-poster highlights include the suit Boris Karloff wore for Black Cat (1934) and a life-sized statute of a saucer man from Invasion of the Saucer-Men (1957). (Whether an outlandishly unrealistic saucer man can be truly "life-sized" is a debate you're welcome to have during your next board game night.)

According to the caption beside the Saucer-Man poster, film companies would pitch interesting-sounding titles to advertisers. If the advertisers liked a title, the company would write, film and distribute the movie as fast as they could, based only on the title. Yet the younger generation wonders why some of those old movies weren't that great... the modern equivalent is SyFy's Book of Blood or Rock Monster.

All photos taken by me, with implicit permission from the ROM (they never told me to stop), and all items property of Kirk Hammett. The exhibit is on until January, so go!

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