It was Tenebrous Kate of Super Coven and Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire a couple weeks back, and now Freddy In Space?!?! Great reviews from great websites! I love love love getting these Zombi Mexicano recs from folks I’m a fan of in the first place and who have turned me onto so much other coolness in the past.
And its just amazingly rewarding when I can pull blurbs like:
“the definitive compendium on Mexican zombie cinema”
“We as horror fans tend to talk about the same movies over and over, and to pick up a book and read all about zombie movies that I had no idea existed was a real treat, and an entertaining history lesson, all in one.”
“ I feel like a better horror fan for now knowing that there are in fact Mexican zombie movies out there, an obscure but nevertheless important branch of zombie cinema that all fans should have at least some minor knowledge of. And that’s what the book is all about; giving us all a brief history lesson on an aspect of the genre that most of us aren’t familiar with.”
Read the full review and find all kinds of horror and related ephemera over at Freddy In Space.
Tags: Zombi Mexicano
I don’t know who it was who outbid me on this last month on eBay, but congrats to whoever it was…
And I quote:
“Zombi Mexicano is the kind of book that makes the reader want to run out and track down every title that appears on its pages.”
That’s coming from esteemed horror blogger Tenebrous Kate.
And while reviews and feedback have been consistently glowing about the design aesthetics and quality of the printing, the promise that ZoMex can spark people to seek out the films I highlighted therein is THE highest praise I can get.
As great as it is to get a review like that from someone I’ve been of fan of for years myself, nothing compares to the personal interaction I got to have April 12-14 with readers old and new at Monsterpalooza in Burbank. It was the second event at which I’ve had the book out, and several buyers from the show last October swung by to say thanks for the good read, ask about the possibility of a volume two, and yes, inquire about how to get ahold of a certain movie or two!
“Buy, damn you all, BUY!!!” — I’m known for my colorful, cluttered tables that look like yard sales and time capsules all in one. Somewhere in the schizoid mess there’s a dividing line between vintage toys and FPU merch…
By the end of the weekend, a few dozen NEW lucha-zombie fans-in-the-making had copies of the pink-and-orange gospel in their grubby little mits too. I paid close attention to these folks, trying to break down who’s buying and why. In a hall full of dyed-in-the-wool monster movie aficionados and the recently swelling ranks of mainstream zombie fans hungry for the genre-related, the ZoMex-curious seemed to fall in to a few categories:
– Fans of anything lucha-hero related, typically non-Latinos starved for anything in English I can obviously relate to this fan base, as being one myself is what spurred me to publish back in 1995.
– Generational fans of lucha-hero flicks of Latino decent who are surprised to see someone shedding light on them nowadays I really love selling books and back issues to younger guys whose dads and even grand-dads turned them on to the tradition. Last October a guy from Mexico City bought a stack to take back to friends and relatives, regardless of their ability to read English. That felt damn good.
A fan in a DIY Zombie King from the *original* B&W zombie epic DEADWORLD!
– Zombie cinema completists accepting the challenge Some are irked, some even pissed off, by the notion that there are a half-dozen or so vintage foreign films they’ve never seen or heard of at all. They wear black t-shirts and have already pre-ordered Blu-rays of Zombie Lake and Oasis of the Zombies (and yeah, again, I can relate…), and have long-considered their ‘too-see’ list of vintage films completed. I don’t know if they’re buying to find a new vein to mine, or to read with resentment and refute my inclusion of las momias into the zombie vernacular. I’ll take $20 from a lover and a hater alike.
– Folks delighted to add anything to their horror libraries in this godforsaken digital world I hadn’t counted on this segment of buyer, but LOVE that they exist! There’s an older market out there who love buying horror film books. There used to be a lot to buy, too, but in the age of ‘devices’ and web sites replacing coffee-table tomes, a book purchase worth a damn is getting to be a rare thing. I’ve sold more than a few books to guys not especially into zombies and certainly not into Mexican horror, but who instead love my throwback format, longing for the days when Starlog would publish theme-based books centered on robots, ray guns, space ship blueprints, heroes, villains, etc. I love the idea of ZoMex sitting on someone’s shelf amidst the Graven Images and Savage Cinemas of the past.
Another DIY zombie creation, this one an original, with some sort of sparking electrical finger device that scared the crap out of all of us.
– And at this show in particular, make-up and FX guys who think they’ve seen it all when it comes to creature creation but haven’t Over and over I saw a guy flip through the book, stop on a page and push their face right up to the page, inspecting a photo of a a mid-70s make-up appliance like a jeweler at a pawn shop. And hey, for these cats, ZoMex is a tax write-off as a business research expense…
Oh, and then hot chicks who dig the pink and orange graphics, like Mika Tan!?!?!?
So yeah, I guess the plan is working! When I send out this weekend’s mail orders, I’ll be cracking open the final case of ZoMex‘s initial limited edition run. The book is out there, people are reading it, learning from it, and searching for the source media.
AND… without revealing anything confidential, a certain family in Mexico is starting to remaster some old films for Blu-ray, and I’ve seen one of them, and, and just… WOW. We really could be entering a great time for lucha-hero and Mexi-monster movies.
If I’ve had anything to do with that, well, that’s the REAL mission accomplished.
Tags: Monsterpalooza, Zombi Mexicano
It’s Monsterpalooza time again! April 12-14 I’m set up selling ZoMex, items from the FPU archives and collectibles vault, and a pile of vintage sci-fi and monster toys. If you’re anywhere near the LA area, swing on by and say hello to the newest member of the FPU staff — Pedro the Zombi-achi!
“Azteca Lobby Card” for the first of the Aztec Mummy films, billed as both La Momia and La Momia Azteca (1957).
In Zombi Mexicano I wrote about these films and how their success cemented the term “momia” in Mexican horror. The fact that the 1970s Agrasanchez zombie films used ‘mummy’ in the titles instead of zombie may have helped them a bit at the time, but inadvertently led to obscurity in subsequent decades, even among walking dead cinemaphiles.
Tags: Aztec Mummy, Zombi Mexicano
It’s been a while since I posted anything on what are easily my favorite Heche en Mexico lucha libre souvenirs — the 3″ poorly molded and even more poorly painted gems we refer to simply as “bag figures.”
This particular batch are going on 18 years old or so, and what was originally pretty lousy paint to start with is starting to flake off at an alarming rate.
The Konnan above is losing his polka dots, while this rather Destroyer or Mr. Wrestling-like Gladiador has increasingly transparent whites.
From the same bag, this Bomba Infernal is losing his yellows, while the same color is mostly fine on Super Raton (the 90′s in-ring knock-off of Mighty Mouse!). However, any red applied directly to the cheap plastic as opposed to that painted on top of the yellow is not long for this world.
The plastics used in these cheap figurines is recycle from other melted down toys, thus prone to wildly inconsistent surfaces. Add paints that range from model enamel to low-grade home interior remnants and makes for a rather fragile collectible. Such is the fleeting beauty of cottage-industry bootleg toys…
Tags: Bag Figures
I want to thank the good folk over at Mail Order Zombie for the Dead Letter Awards “Best Book – Non Fiction/Reference” nomination. MOZ was the first real sterling review Zombi Mexicano received back in November, and I’m grateful for the continued support.
You can throw a vote ZoMex’s way at the Dead Letter Award ballot page.
I’m in such a good mood because of this, I’m extending the FREE SHIPPING in February offer to midnight PST, Sunday March 3rd! Shop and ship for free all weekend (domestic orders only).
I love the early wrestling masks, before the 4-panel design became pretty much the standard construction everywhere. This really nice shot of 60s masked standouts The Bolos, who were various wrestlers under even more various incarnations of the name depending on when and where in the southern U.S. you saw them) shows some evolution and innovation in the mask both in material and design.
The hoods are in the Destroyer-type vein, with the single large opening for the mouth and nose. The white strip added for stability under the nose was, I’d guess, the result of a few hard lessons learned in the ring when one of the heels found himself breathing out an eyehole while blind-folded by his own shifted mask.
I have to think this strip really cut into the face, regardless of what it was made of.
I’m also fascinated endlessly by the materials of these early hoods. Some were women’s underwear, some wool, goat skin and other less-than desirable face coverings. These look like heavy jersey material, and showing all sorts of wear. Can’t imagine what a Texas or Florida arena was like in the summer when you had to wrestle in what was basically a thermal ski mask.
What were the pioneering mask mutations of the 50s lasted somewhat into the 60s, but by the latter part of the decade the modern 4-panel/lace back pattern perfected in Mexico was being copied all over the world. And for good reason, they really got it right, and the design was functional and safer for the performers wearing them. Materials got better and better, too. No more non-breathing or heavy heat-retaining fabrics.
You really have to hand it to the guys who suffered with these early forms of the wrestling mask.
Tags: Bolos, Old School American Hoods
The greatest thing about collecting Mexican toys is the weird mutations and entirely aberrant lines of figures you find. Even if there were a hundred reference books and websites cataloging lucha figures (and there aren’t), we’d constantly be finding toys from short runs done in one part of the country only, or remolds of some other line done cottage-industry style that show up on some vendor’s blanket with no trace back to where they came from.
Other collectors can have their finite Star Wars or He-Man lines. We know where those start and end. But after 15-17 years of hunting Mexican masked wrestler figures, I can still come across a crypto-entity like this that just baffles and amazes…
I call this 5.75″ articulated figure simply HURACAN, as he has costuming qualities of both the legendary Huracan Ramirez (in the mask) and his 90s protege Ciclon Ramirez (in the trunk ornaments). Its a rather well-made figure, with top-quality molding and a paint job equal to anything produced by an American company.
But was he mass produced? There’s no copyright mark, country of origin or date marked anywhere. That hand knotted string for the sombrero doesn’t exactly cry big factory run in China either. But… if this is a bootleg of some sort, it’s top-shelf Mexico City-class all the way.
Then there’s the question of vintage. I bought this from a dealer about six years ago, he had it for another five at least by his memory. The gold metallic paint on the mask and legs is corroded into an ever darkening green, so it could certainly be from the 90′s or even 80s. However the sculpture and nature of its construction is rather similar to figures coming out of Japan in the mid 2000s, so it could be a knock-off from those.
Such a mystery…
What I’m most fond of with this figure is the physique. The barrel-like thick middle is soooooooo dead nuts perfect for aging lucha legends. This could be the body of Santo, Blue Demon, or myriad other legends who were veterans and maestros by the 80s and 90s. If the legs were stalkier, this would be a dead-ringer for Super Astro as well.
I love this functional, thick build in luchadores. None of that American roided-up unhealthy mass, and none of the underwear model-like definition that comes from spending more time lifting weights that practicing on the mat, either. This is the unique solid Mexican ring-worker build all the way. LOVE IT!
And forget about the sombrero and ring entrance cape!
Yes, mysterious HURACAN from parts and eras unknown, you are one of this geek’s lifes mysteries, and the CAMPEÓN of my toy shelf!
Tags: Ciclon Ramirez, Huracan Ramirez
So February 2nd in yours truly’s birthday, but it’s YOU who get the gifts, and all month, too.
All domestic (aka within the continental US) orders get free shipping for the whole month of February, no matter how much you order.
Grab the new zombie book, fill those holes in your FPU library, or heck, it’s never too early to start holiday shopping for next year.
Enjoy all, and thanks for the support!