R.I.P. Don Post Studios

When I was just a kid, Don Post Studios was THE name in Halloween masks.  I pored over the ads that appeared in the back of magazines like Famous Monsters and Starlog and I saved up my pennies so that I might eventually be able to purchase one of these holiest of holies.  I mean, the original Michael Myers mask was an off the shelf Don Post Kirk.  You couldn’t get much more cred than that.

I finally did buy one of the glow in the dark vinyl skulls (BEFORE H3, thank you very much) and later purchased a standard Darth Vader mask.  They both made me very happy and there was great rejoicing.  I still longed to own the entire DP catalog, but those two masks were enough to sate my desires for quite some time.  They were incredibly well made.  Even if the Vader had little resemblance to the screen used helmet, it was a lot better than the one I’d made out of an old Zordius mask kit!

Over the years, I parted company with both of those masks.  I don’t remember what happened to them, but I have a weird tendency to become overwhelmed by possessions and just donate things to Goodwill in a swift and sudden reaping of goods.  I have a feeling that’s what happened to the awesome glow skull I treasured.  But even though we parted company, there remained a soft spot in my heart for Don Post Studios.  They had some rough times over the years and their products came and went.  Most recently they were purchased by Paper Magic, AKA CSS Industries.  Well, Paper Magic just got gobbled up and the gobbler decided they didn’t need the Don Post Studios folks on board anymore, so this month they shuttered the doors, perhaps for good.

I have mixed feelings about this event, and I’ll tell you why.  This year, DPS released a series of Halloween III masks that were supposed to be like the originals from the movie.  Having owned one of those (and later a couple of latex versions as well) I was excited enough to plop down my money and preorder.  This week, I got to see one of the last hurrahs of DPS and, let me tell you, it’s barely a whimper.

The new version of the DPS skull mask is pitiful.  It cost me $59 and it’s built like a $10 Walgreen’s special.   Looking at it on my makeshift DPS shrine there, you might think it was pretty decent, but it’s not.  It’s a lot smaller than the original and the vinyl is so thin that you can see through it.  I’m somewhat surprised that they even took the trouble to make it out of vinyl at all since they obviously didn’t give a damn about how it turned out.  Mine’s so lumpy that it’ll take a hair drier to even it out.  You know that old glow skull I told you about?  That thing stood up on its own!  Here’s a pic of it sitting on our kitchen table to prove it.

That old one came bagged with shredded newspaper inside and a care and handling manual.  The new one came smashed in a box with no packaging whatsoever.  To give props where they’re due, the texture of the mask is spot on.  The color’s wrong, but it does glow, albeit very lightly.  But seriously?  Sixty bucks?!

So while I lament the passing of a once great name, I can’t feel too bad if this is the kind of ripoff crap they’re pushing on their customers in their last year of doing business.  I don’t know when things changed since the 2006 Myers mask I repainted was well made even though the sculpt was way off.  The latex was very thick – at least five times thicker than the new vinyl skull.  And to think I’d considered buying the crimson version of the skull as well!

Rest in peace, Don Post Studios, and if you can’t do any better than this, just stay dead, alright?

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