Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vintage Horror T Shirts (Ebay's Got 'Em, We Want 'Em)

Good morning!

What's the T, people? I am bleary eyed at the non fiction service desk, I will tell you what. We went over to some friends' house to play Mario Kart and talk trash last night, and while we had a whale of a time, 11:45-bedtime-me is way more irresponsible than 9:45-bedtime-me, vis-à-vis the fact that when I woke up, cartoon like, to strains of one of those classical morning songs and rays of sunlight streaming through one window, it was EIGHT THIRTY. Had I set my alarm? Who can say. Had I woken up a full hour and a half later than I usually do on a work day? Absolutely. Was I supposed to actually be at work at 8:30? Uh, yeah. I parked in the $10 a day lot (instead of my usual shuttle spot) and managed to get in the door by about 9:05, but daddurn it, that is the first time I have been significantly I think ever in my four years here at the biblioteca. Ah, well.

Speaking of pulse-racing drama, however, how about vintage horror/sci-fi t-shirts? I am loving some of these vintage graphic designs almost as much as I love the movies they represent!!

VTG 1991 ALIENS movie t-shirt, horror science fiction cult classic 1980's film

As usual, I was looking for something T-O-T-A-L-L-Y different (to the point that I'm not quite sure what it was) yesterday when I fell into a veritable wormhole of these seventies', eighties', and nineties' movie tie-in t shirts. It's interesting to me that there's an even split here between the kinds of items we're looking at-- half are in the "sold to people who love the movie" category (in the back of Rolling Stone by mail, in your local record store, etc), and another good half I think are promotional items from the movie's release. I love the idea of these new-old t-shirts being in a box somewhere in someone-who-used-to-work-for-the-movie's attic like "Oh, those?". Perfect example: Matthew's dad, who was a musician in LA in the 80's, was going through some stuff in closet storage when I noticed some t-shirts that were being used almost-as-packing for some items in a carboard box-- what where they? A promotional t-shirt from the LA premiere of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein and another from a Boz Skaggs concert in the mid-seventies'. To someone who worked in that industry, I guess it's like "Oh, yeah! I remember that. Cool, huh? Wow, that was a long time ago", whereas to the rest of us star-struck plebians, it's like "OH MY GOD. IS THIS REAL LIFE." (he let me have both of them, because he is a good father-in-law).

Deadstock 1991 PREDATOR 80s horror movie
What might have started out as "Here, wear this shirt when you're working in the production office of this super low budget movie we're trying to put together with scotch tape and dreams" or "Hey, give these away at the movie opening, maybe we can create some buzz" turns into a rare, tangible object of movie history. Looking at these, I'm reminded of the behind the scenes featurette on the dvd of The Fog. Thing I have probably mentioned 1,000,000 x: I am a HUGE "John Carpenter in his prime" fan. HUUUUGE.  I think the handful of movies he made in the late seventies' and early eighties' have STILL set a cultural high water mark for horror movies in general (and are good enough to generally excuse his 1983-2010 output...Orson Welles didn't make Citizen Kane every time he got behind the lens, either). I could tell you about how much I love The Thing until I was actually blue in the face. My little movie loving brain was sent into overdrive listening to Carpenter and ex-wife/muse Adrienne Barbeau talk about how family-like the cast and crew of these iconic movies were. There was a lot of "Yeah, this guy was my roommate's boyfriend, and the sound guy was dating so-and-so's sister, and then we all went up to Santa Monica for Memorial Day" type stuff that I just cannot see "young Hollywood" doing today...all very "We're all trying to make it in the movies, let's help each other!" and things haphazardly falling into place, rather than the kind of impenetrable front and implacable sang froid it feels like you have to have to be in the business nowadays.

PHANTASM movie promo t shirt TALL MAN cult horror
At ANY RATE-- how about going to work every day in your "SEND MORE COPS" Return of the Living Dead t shirt? I want one that has the Tina quote "YOU'VE GOT TO LET ME EAT YOUR BRAAAINS." That whole movie is golden, really:

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD vintage 1985 t-shirt
I have always loved spooky scary stuff, but it wasn't until I was out of college and teaching high school that I got mondo into 70's and 80's horror movies. I was reading a book called, appropriately enough, Horror Films of the 1970's, by John Kenneth is a FABULOUS reference guide/gateway drug to the genre. As I was taking down copious "what to watch" notes in my composition book, a fellow member of the English department who worked across the hall said, "Oh, are you into horror movies? Have you seen any Argento?" Having had a bad experience with Suspiria (which is, of course, a super-accomplished movie in the horror canon, but not one I particularly "liked"), I tossed my chesnut lack-of-curls and said, "Yeah, I didn't really like him as much as I thought I was supposed to." Undeterred, my colleague went, "Ok, but have you seen Deep Red? Opera? Tenebre?" These would all soon be titles I myself would be spouting to others when they asked me about my interest in horror movies, because the guy was SPOT ON, and I was a complete convert. He ended up lending me those, Phantasm and Phantasm II, Zombi, and a whole slew of movies that had otherwise flew under my radar. God bless him.

Vintage Hellraiser Pinhead t-shirt, medium
Without that book, its companion piece Horror Films of the 1980's, and my co-worker/cinephile's gentle nudge over the edge of a VHS horror treasure trove I never knew existed, I might not be overly familiar with the movie Monkey Shines, which is actually a VERY GOOD George A. Romero helmed horror movie about a paraplegic man and his overly-attached helper monkey. 

Vintage original 1980's Monkey Shines horror movie t-shirt, small
Or Maniac (1980), which was remade in 2012 with Elijah Wood as the titular maniac. I haven't seen the new version, but it would be hard to top the skin-crawlingly creepy and gory original.

Well nigh perfect Night of the Living Dead shirt? Yes, please. Could watch this for days (and the 90's remake is just as good!)
Night of the Living Dead Zombie Hands T-Shirt Vintage 1980s S

Little Goldblum love up in this piece:

1986 THE FLY cult horror movie t-shirt vtg unworn 80s David Cronenberg
Can't help loving Norman Bates...while the original is a masterwork, I still think the franchise is solid in a drive-in movie kind of way. I used to watch the mess of out of them back-to-back when USA network would run them in block succession in the summer when I was a kid. "No-o-o-orman....?" Have you seen Psycho II, III, IV?

Original Psycho II Movie Shirt Horror 1983 Norman Bates Vintage Rare T Shirt m
WHY IS THIS IS $214.99? I love how the $14.99 is just more torment-- get your two hundred bucks for that shirt AND two free pizzas, why don't you.

XS  vtg 70s 1978 DAWN OF THE DEAD george a romero ZOMBIE MOVIE t shirt
Gregory Peck/Lee Remick realness:
Vintage The Omen 1976 Donner Rare Horror Movie 666 Logo Promo T-Shirt Deadstock
The aforementioned Zombi was the first Lucio Fulci movie I saw-- while they're all gleefully over the top, this one, with Mia's sister Tisa Farrow in the lead, is still the most coherent and horribly enjoyable if you ask me.
ALSO remade, ALSO a solid original to begin with. Two words: speedboat death.
Anyway! I gotta head for the hills, but tell me what you think! Which of these shirts would you almost spend that much money on? Have any horror movie favorites? Do you know anyone who used to work in the movie or music industry and just got tons of free promotional shirts a gal like I would drool over (just making conversation here, no ulterior motive...)? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll be back tomorrow with more vintage madness. Have a great Wednesday! See you then.

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