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Kirk Hammet’s rare horror movie posters star in Salem exhibition

Some of the world’s rarest vintage horror movie posters are now on display in Salem, Massachusetts, courtesy of legendary Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet.

Hammet has spent the past three decades assembling one of the world’s most important collections of vintage horror and sci-fi movie posters.

His love of monster movies began during his childhood, with classics such as Frankenstein and Godzilla, and they have continued to inspire him throughout his music career.

“From the moment I first encountered these characters, I could see that these guys had just as much difficulty in coping as I did,” said Hammet. “It’s a very, very dark universe when we shut our eyes at night.”

“My collection takes me to a place where I need to be. Among the monsters, where I’m most comfortable and most creative. That’s where the magic has happened for me all these years and it’s something I’ve come to trust.”

The exhibition features 84 rare posters, along with lobby cards, film props and costumes, and is arranged across a series of themes such as The Undead, Women and Power, Mad Science, Zombies and even Horror Spoofs.

Many of the posters on display are the only examples of their kind in existence, giving enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see them up close.

Major highlights include the only surviving three-sheet poster for the 1931 film Frankenstein, discovered inside the boarded-up projection room of a disused movie theatre, and a highly rare cardboard cut-out stand for the 1933 film King Kong.

“Like the monsters in his posters, Hammett knows what being a cult icon is about,” said exhibition curator Dan Finamore.

“Just as fans of his music follow him, he unabashedly throws himself into cult fandom through his voracious collecting activity. His personal creativity is inextricably linked with these works and he is deeply passionate about sharing them with the world.”

‘It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection’ runs at The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts until November 26, 2017.

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