Wednesday, November 7, 2007

House of Monsters





Bob caught this with only the images, which i sent from home. We had been talking about various shops full of goodies like dinosaurs and old books and vinyl records, and I thought of the House of Monsters, which closed about three years back. It was on the third floor of the Flatiron building at North and Milwaukee, the ground floor of which had several intriguing businesses such as The Quaker Goes Deaf, an oldies record store (sadly flooded during heavy rains in the late 90s) and a few small restaurants and tiny shops. The upper floors, accessible from a massive stairwell or the clown-painted hand crank elevator, were artist lofts. This area of Wicker Park was a haunt to Nelson Algren and has been regentrified to the point that nothing is as recognizable now as it was even ten, well, fifteen years ago. Ah, but House of Monsters. I still have a Universal Monsters tie I bought there, a Godzilla one was badly stained by some nasty coffee. Everything one could want, most I could not afford. I found copies of Fangoria I did reviews for and its sister magazine, Gorezone, which had my stories in it, back in the day. 16mm Japanese films, Frankenstein stamps and mousepads and keychains. Dozens of models and ready-made dolls and articulated scary things. Ceiling high racks of VHS tapes ranging from Murders in the Rue Morgue to Nightmare on Bare Mountain, which takes place at a nudist colony. I was able to locate the original version of Carnival of Souls there, about the creepiest, cheaply made film that I've ever seen and highly recommend. I don't know if HoM is selling online now, but i really don't care, because there is no real experience, and joy, and pleasure, as walking up that Frankenstein's castle stairwell and opening the door on such claustrophobic madness.

7 comments:

HemlockMan said...

Old toys. I am intrigued.

HemlockMan said...

CARNIVAL OF SOULS is a treasure. What a damned shame that Herk Harvey was never allowed to make another feature-length film. Even the opening credits of that movie are a work of photographic art!

Charles Gramlich said...

I would love to walk through the door into that place.

Lana said...

I love places that have old-style schlock (I mean that w/all due respect.) I think you'd love the UCM (you-see-em) Museum here in Abita. http://www.ucmmuseum.com/ Not only is the entire "museum" the wonkiest hoot you can imagine, but the items for sale in the gift shop are priceless. They have Marie Antoinette, Thomas Jefferson & Sigmund Freud "action figures," Mother Teresa soap (which promises to wash away your sins,) etc., etc. You'd love it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wasn't there another post here? I'm greatly confused. But this is nothing new really.

Lucas Pederson said...

Now you got me wanting to take trip up there! Thanks a lot! Just kidding. I wouldn't mind checking this place out. It sounds like it'd be my kind of place. Very intersting.
Sorry I haven't been around lately. Life has taken my by the throat and is beginning to twist. Great post!

Michael Fountain: Blood for Ink said...

House of Monsters was a terrific store, and I'm sad to hear of its departure... last time I was in there, they were down to very limited hours, and foot traffic was choked off by construction. The Occult Book Store was in the same building, after moving from a more primo Clark Street address, and I was worried that being crammed in there might have been their death knell, but I see now they're reopening a storefront on Milwaukee. Maybe the House of Monsters will reopen online, though it won't be the same as walking into a room full of kaiju.