Don Post “Nuclear Death” Mask, 1979

Exhibit / September 7, 2016

Object Name: “Nuclear Death” latex mask
Maker and Year: Don Post Studios, Inc.
Object Type: Novelty mask
Image Source: crimsonghostmask/Instagram
Description (Richard McKenna):

The glow-in-the-dark “Nuclear Death” mask was released in 1979 by Don Post Studios, an American company specializing in producing merchandise for the burgeoning Halloween industry. At the time, developments in technology and international politics were provoking the second great wave of nuclear war paranoia, part of whose legacy was the 1980s explosion in post-apocalypse-themed art and media. In the following year’s catalog, “Nuclear Death” was renamed “Over-Reactor,” possibly in tactful acknowledgement of the fear—not altogether misplaced—of impending doom. Don Post Studios faced severe difficulties in the early 1980s due to a latex drought caused by an increased demand for prophylactics and gloves due to the spread of the AIDS virus, but survived until 2012, when it was bought out suddenly by Gemmy Industries. Production of masks ceased, and all inventory was sold.

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