When I went to the horror movies as a little kid, they always had this little lobby inside the theater where they’d have the posters and lobby cards of the featured movie posted behind glass windows. I’d go in the theater, pick up my pop and my corn, stand there in the vestibule and I’d study those lobbies carefully to see what thrills awaited me.
I still get a big kick out of horror lobby cards, and I’ve started a little collection. If you’re like me and you like horror lobby cards but you don’t have the big cash to buy, say, a 1935 Bride of Frankenstein card or a 1931 Dracula (which go for thousands of bucks today), you can still have a blast collecting them without taking out a second on your condo. Here is what I look for:
Condition is a big deal to a lot of collectors, but for me, I’m all about the image. The collection is for me after all, so, although I don’t buy cards that are torn to hell, I don’t mind a stain here or a bit of tape there or a censor stamp or a mark or two if the image still looks reasonably clean and sharp.
I look for 1960’s horror cards from the most schlocky movies I can find.
I buy cards that have 4 major components. The first lobby card component is what I call hot chick in peril. There has to be a hot babe, preferably falling out of her dress or in her underwear, being carried, dragged around, or threatened by the grotesque monster.
The second component is the monster. Always cool to have the monster somewhere on the card, even if it’s only in the border art. Sometimes this is a hard pull, because everybody wants the monster.
The third component is cool slogans spelled out in cool fonts. Sensational slogans like: “A Horror Like You’ve Never Seen” or “She Loved a Monster that Never Died” or “The Headless Creature that Destroyed a City”. . . . something like that. Those are always winners.
The fourth component I look for is cool border art. Sometimes if the border art is particularly bitchen, it makes up for a lack of the other components in a card. A lot of border art is the most colorful & schlocky stuff imaginable, and sometimes you can get the hot chick in peril, the monster, and cool slogans all in the border art, even if the main image sucks. If you can get a bunch of schlocky components in the border art, I don’t mind if the main image in the card is something like, say, two cops standing by a dumpster.
You can get reasonable horror lobby cards on eBay, and I also recommend that you google Bruce Herschenson and get on his auction list. He’s got very cool cards and his outfit is top notch. Or stop by Captain Hollywood’s (nearly famous) Curiosity Shop and have a look around. I sell lobby cards from time to time myself, when I can convince myself to let them go.