What kind of music am I talking about? The kind that you hear when horror fans are looking at horror memorabilia! Okay, maybe not the more recent fans might make those sounds after those big-headed toys that are flooding the market, but I’m talking about old school memorabilia, like original posters and lobby cards. Now, someone of my stature and income, would never be able to afford to even touch some of these items, let alone buy them. And if I did have that kind of money, I wouldn’t be able to sleep with the knowledge floating in my head that there is a piece of paper in my house that is worth thousands and thousands of dollars! That, my friends, is why I love poster books. These give fans a chance to see items that they’ve never seen before, in all their beautiful and colorful glory. But also, the more important aspect of these kind of books is that they archive these images. Some of these posters are already close to a hundred years old, so we know as the years go by, they are going to be harder and harder to even see. Because of these kinds of books, future generations will be able to gaze upon the incredible artwork that was used on these posters and other different kinds of promotional material. It is part of our movie history and one that needs to be kept alive.
One of the guys doing that is James Gresham. I first met James last year at the Cinevent Classic Film Convention in Columbus, Ohio, when he came by our table and we started talking about books and movie posters. Such a wonderful and friendly guy and so much fun to chat with. As we were talking, he mentioned that he had put out a couple of books on movie posters, Children of the Night, which came out in 2007, and then followed in 2010 with They’re Already Here! Children covered the horror films of the ’30s, ’40s and into the ’50s. The second book focus mainly on the science fiction posters (though quite a few of them we know are really horror!). Each one is filled with images of posters, lobby cards of a wide variety and are just amazing to look at. To his amazement, I told him that I actually had copies of both of those books and that I would have to remember to bring them to the next show to have him sign them, which I did!
Next weekend, we’ll be heading to Columbus, Ohio for our next stop in the 2018 Kryptic World Tour. We’ve been going to this show for the last couple of years and have a lot of fun. Granted, this isn’t like your normal movie convention since this one isn’t really about guests or celebrities, but about movie memorabilia. And lots of it. You’ll find tables with stacks and stacks of posters, lobby cards, and stills, just waiting for you to go through each stack, one by one! And when they are usually priced at a buck a piece, it makes you want to sit down and start!
Next October, Kitley’s Krypt will officially be 20 years old. That’s right…that means come October, I’ll have been ranting and raving on my little world wide web soapbox for two whole decades. While I’m not 100% positive, I’m pretty sure the Krypt is the longest running site out here on this inter-web thingy, at least here in the States. That is a lot of ramblings over those years, and hopefully inciting a little spark or two in some of you to look and learn more about the horror genre, and to really Discover the Horror. That is a moniker that I still truly stand by and belief in.
Trust me, it’s hard sometimes for me to believe that I’m still at this and haven’t given up on it. There’s been a few times I thought about it, but always continued on. And sure, the Krypt isn’t one of the big boys on the block, but honestly, if that would mean being owned by a studio and having to give up some journalistic integrity, then I guess I’m pretty happy right where I’m at. But when it all comes down to it, I do this because this is what I love doing….talking about horror movies. It really is my life’s passion and one that I don’t see myself ever stopping. All I need to know is that I’ve given a fan a little push in the right direction, having them decide to look a little deeper into the genre, then I know I’ve done right by the genre.
At one point during the first day of the show, a gentleman walked up to my table and we started chatting…the usual stuff, movies, posters, and such. We were talking about the classic Universal monster films and some of the posters for them. I mentioned that I would be scared to death to own something like one of those, just because of the value, I’d be terrified that something would happen to it. He mentioned that some time ago, he had purchased an original one-sheet for The Invisible Man, but had to get rid of it for that same reason. Then he mentions that he put out a book some time ago called Children of the Night, which was a book on movie posters. Of course, I have that book in my library, which I quickly told him, which made him smile even more! His name is James Gresham and is a super nice guy and such a pleasure to chat with. Children came out in 2007 and is a comprehensive guide to classic horror posters, lobby cards, and other items. For someone like me that will never be able to afford these kind of items, it is a great way to at least be able to see some of them and the beautiful artwork. He followed up this book in 2010 with They’re Here Already, which is the same kind of book, but covers the science fiction films of the 1950s. Again, so much fun to look through. These are both beautiful hardcover edition books that are a bit pricey but well worth the money if you are a fan of this kind of poster art. Continue reading
Now, before you get all excited and run out to this show, let’s cover a few things first. The prices on some of the items you’ll find run the spectrum. Some dealers will have a table full of one-sheets or stills with a big sign stating “$1 EACH”. Of course, you have to go through each and every stack because you never know if you’re going to come across a real gem in there! You just never know. I have to say from experience, after that first stack, your back is killing you and you start to wonder if it is even worth it! But $1 posters is hard to pass up.
On the other end of that, you have some dealers with items on the slightly high side. You have to remember that these are original pieces of film memorabilia, which can go for big bucks. Such as an insert for the 1951 film Them!, which had a price tag of $1000. Or even a lobby card for the 1957 film Curse of the Demon that was going for $650…just for the single card! There are posters and even the bigger 3-sheet kind of stuff, but those are so high that I don’t even ask. I’m not saying that these are overpriced, but those are the going rates. You need to be a dealer/collector with some serious cash to be playing in that field, one that I know I never will.
Out of all the cons that we set up each year, there is none that we do that is quite like Cinevent. By that statement, I don’t mean that it is better or worse than the rest of them, just completely different. This show is like stepping back in time, to an era when conventions where just about memorabilia. A place where movie fans would go hoping to find some new pieces for their collections. Or spend time in the movie room where there is a constant stream of movies being screened on 16mm. The only thing that you paid for was to get into the show and then whatever you were buying from the dealers. There were posters, pressbooks, stills, lobby cards, soundtracks, books, and of course, movies, but in many different formats from 8mm, 16mm, to VHS. Today at this show, it is still the same. Cinevent has been around longer than any con that I know of, with next year being their 50th anniversary. So the fact that they have been going for 5 decades is pretty damn impressive. You won’t see the huge crowds here like at the bigger shows. But with the several hundred people that do come through the door, it is definitely worth it for us to come back each year.
Things have been very busy around here at the Krypt over the last couple of weeks. This last weekend, we had our annual Turkey Day in May event, which was great fun, this time being a Best of Turkey Day! Such a great time getting a bunch of like minded film fiends together to devour a bunch of films that most people would turn their nose up at. We’ll have a full report coming at some point.
Speaking of reports, we’re still putting the finishing touches up on Texas Frightmare report as well, so stay tuned for more stories and photos from that event.