Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett shares his love of sci-fi, horror films with exhibit

AP, SALEM, Massachusetts

A figure wears an original prop collar from the 1957 movie Invasion of the Saucer Men at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

Kirk Hammett might be known best as the guitarist whose deafening solos have come to define the band Metallica, but a new exhibit is showcasing a different side of the rocker, his passion for science fiction and horror films.

The exhibit, which runs from today to Nov. 26 at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum, features 135 works owned by the heavy metal musician, including some Hammett said inspired his music.

“My collection takes me to a place where I need to be,” Hammett said in a statement. “Among the monsters, where I’m most comfortable and creative.”

“That’s where the magic has happened for me all these years and it’s something I’ve come to trust,” he said. “From the moment I first encountered these characters, I could see that these guys had just as much difficulty in coping as I did.”

Daniel Finamore, curator of the exhibit titled It’s Alive: Classic Horror and Sci-fi Art From the Kirk Hammett Collection, said that although the posters might have played a supporting role to the films, they give the mummies and zombies top billing and “deliver on the promise of fear.”

“These are rare works of art, but they’re under-recognized as such,” he said.

There are posters of the undead and unnatural, including ones from the 1931 film Dracula and the 1932 film The Mummy, which depicts the monster with arms crossed over his chest as he casts a predatory gaze toward a woman wearing a sleek, floor-length red dress.

About three decades later, another poster shows a young, scantily clad Jane Fonda in the 1968 film Barbarella. In the poster, Fonda is seen grasping weapons while standing on a planet with aliens in the backdrop.

The exhibit also features some collectible electric guitars, monster masks and sculptures.

One of the stars of the show is the lone-surviving, three-sheet poster for the 1931 film Frankenstein. It was found in the boarded-up projection room of an old movie theater.

“These posters are part of our cultural history, and they play to many of the same fears and anxieties we still have today as a society,” Finamore said.

The works were generally commissioned by movie studios and created by anonymous artists. They were mostly produced from the 1930s into the 1970s, but people did not focus on saving — or collecting — them until recently.

For those like Hammett who got into the game, it has been pretty lucrative. The most expensive movie poster was last year purchased by a private collector for nearly US$700,000. It was for director Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis.

“He tapped into a passion and used it to fuel his professional life in a positive way,” Finamore said of Hammett. “If that’s a takeaway from this exhibit, then I’d say it was a success.”

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