Monsters really rock in 'Too Much Horror Business'

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 A saucer man from "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957)

A saucer man from "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957) (December 19, 2011)

Rock star money buys stuff. Homes, planes, influence. For Kirk Hammett, the longtime guitarist of Metallica, rock star money also bought the horror-movie childhood he never quite had. Around the mid-1980s, as the band started to make a name for itself, Hammett, who grew up in San Francisco obsessed with monster movies and comic books, began collecting the monster movie paraphernalia that he once pined for but could never afford as a child. Newly flush, he began contacting dealers and developing relationships with collectors around the world. And soon he owned many of the same toys and models and masks that he had once ogled in the back pages of the legendary horror fanzine “Famous Monsters of Filmland.” Then he went further: He bought original movie costumes, props, Halloween masks, ultra-rare posters, even the original art that had graced the covers of “Famous Monsters.”

Twenty-five years later, Hammett's horror-movie memorabilia collection is — well, not second to none.

On the phone recently, Hammett said his collection is the second-best collection of monster movie stuff in the world: "There is one guy out there who has more posters, but he's been collecting 50 years. And he only collects posters. That's what this thing is like. A lot of people who collect toys just collect toys. I collect, uh ... more." From the evidence of "Too Much Horror Business," the entertaining new coffee table book ($29.95, Abrams) about his collection, Hammett is being frighteningly modest. Only a fraction of the 1,000-plus horror items he's gathered is represented. We asked him to reflect on a handful of the most important pieces in his collection.

Click here to see some photos from Hammmett's horror collection. 

Christopher Borrelli is an entertainment reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Too Much Horror Business

By Kirk Hammett, Abrams Image, 224 pages, $29.99

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