Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Meeting Lance Kerwin / Making Mr. Barlow PT. 1

Back in July I met one of my childhood idols / heroes at the Days of the Dead horror convention in Indianapolis, --70's / 80's Tiger Beat heart throb and superstar actor of TV and film, Lance Kerwin! And yes, specifically I am also talking about my all time favorite made for TV vampire movie, Salem's Lot (1979), which is based on the awesome Stephen King novel-- also one of my absolute favorite books. Lance, who played the overly confident, though still somewhat sensibly brave, vengeance filled character of Mark Petrie in the film, was the kid I wanted to be in life, as we were both roughly the same age around the same time the movie first aired. And aside from being a bad ass vampire hunter, he had the Aurora monster model kits, Don Post masks, and magic / horror poster filled room that I always wanted to have, (my own mother, unfortunately, was a bit strict on how I could decorate my room.) And now here Lance / Mark was, in person, just incredibly cool, signing all my Salem's Lot stuff and answering all of my giddy fanboy questions about James Mason, Reggie Nalder, James at 15, The Loneliest Runner, etc. It was truly a great moment that I (and my sister too) will never forget. While at the con I spotted another Salem's Lot fan walking around with a Mr. Barlow mask. Mr. Barlow is of course the terrifyingly, Nosferatu-esque vampire master of the film, which now leads us to the second half of this post. 

After the con, and after much online inquiry, I discovered that Death Studios makes very excellent, high quality Halloween masks, including various color versions of "Mr. Barlow", aka "Vampyre", --as well as the amazing clawed hands to go with it. Now, as much as I love the blue skin tone of the monster in the film, it doesn't quite seem to translate that well to me on the mask, whereas the grimmer grey tone variant seems much spookier, and in my opinion, better showcases the excellent attention to detail by the mask sculptor / painter. I also purchased the non-wearable display version instead of the slit-back, eye holed version, because I had other serious plans for his wonderfully horrific face, as you will see below. I even found a black crushed velvet vampire gown (at Goodwill) with an ornate, gold detail around the sleeves that I knew, after a few modifications, would also look great for the trim around the collar. It's not really "screen accurate" but close enough. I put what I had together and tried a few puppet style photo concepts: attacking one of my mannequins dressed as a nun, and 2-- placing him in my rather large living room foot rest, which conveniently enough opens up just like a half sized coffin. But alas, as mentioned before, I had a bigger, sexier, battier idea fluttering around in my brain, and Halloween was fast approaching...



Mr. Cavin said...

Damn but that mask is just exceptional. I feel like you made the right color choice--you can always get a little more blue by simply lighting it with a color bulb.

I love the first pic of Barlow peeking around from behind that sweet, young novitiate. I like the coffin photos too. But I don't want to ignore that awesome and image of the dress on the floor: I think you should print out a little Edward Gorey head and some tiny Edward Gorey feet and take that picture again!

Christopher said...

Reggie Nalder was the perfect actor for the Nosferatu style that they went for. His burn scars were used to great effect. Seeing Salem's Lot when it first aired on tv as a miniseries blew me away. The vampires were scary and violent. Nothing I'd seen before in the genre. Thanks for the pics. Matt looks good for his age.

Brian Barnes said...

Barlow was always an excellent vampire, I always like that they made him more bat (or rat) like -- he seemed much more feral than even your regular Christopher Lee vampires could be. That said, vampires with that look were something you saw in early pre-codes, so it's likely King took some inspiration from that, and it's likely the pre-codes took inspiration from Nosferatu.

I love the veins on that mask, and the parts around the mouth, that's some great high detail work!

I wonder if any of this inspiration passed onto Midnight Mass which has a very Barlow like vampire.

Doc Briar said...

I always enjoyed Kerwin's naturalistic acting style. I'll bet you were equally as excited as I was meeting Adam West in the 90's.
Have to agree with everyone about that excellent mask!

Rajani Rehana said...

Super blog