Icons of Darkness coming to Montalban

Coming to the Montalbán in September is Icons of Darkness, an extensive exhibition of memorabilia from fantasy films, horror movies, and science fiction cinema. The combination of props and full-size figures is from the private collection of Rich Correll, many of them original movie props that he restored. The films represented range from classic silent cinema (Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera) to more graphic horrors of the 1970s (The Exoricst) to contemporary efforts (Saw, Sinister, The Conjuring), and the monsters on display include everything under the blood red moon: traditional supernatural characters (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy), slasher icons (Freddy Kruger), invaders from outer space (Aliens, Predators, SIL from Species), comic book superheros and their villainous counterparts (Batman, The Joker, Eric Draven from The Crow), and a park-full of dinosaurs.

The collection, valued in the tens of millions of dollars, includes more than 3,000 pieces, of which 65% will be on display at Icons of Darkness – much of it seen by the public for the first time. Correl – who presents his own Halloween yard display in Hancock Park every October, drawing thousands of trick-or-treaters – has the long-term goal of housing his collection in a museum, but until that dream is realized, Los Angeles fright fans will have a delightful opportunity to see them in person this Halloween season.

Icons of Darkness
Life size figure of Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera

“My ambition is to preserve the history of the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres because I believe they make people happy, and I want to bring that magic to the public,” said Correll. “Teaming up with The Montalbán was a natural fit because we have a common goal of preserving the culture of Hollywood. It’s a family-run operation rooted in showbiz that focuses on putting on a good show that leaves a lasting impression.”

According to the official press release for the event: The Montalbán has transformed the lower level of its interior space from theatre seating to an open floor plan, which can accommodate the Icons of Darkness exhibition while allowing space for social distancing. Contingent on public health updates, the exhibit will be open five days a week, starting in late September, with Coronavirus safety measures in place.

“We’ve created a multi-sensory experience where guests will learn, laugh, scream, shriek, and hopefully come back for more,” Correll said. “These characters represent the spirit of showbiz and evoke so many emotions, and I think we could all use a little of that nostalgia right now.”

Exhibits on display will include:

  • The original Xenomorph costume from Alien (1979), which features the designs of Necronomicon-artist H.R. Giger.
  • The full-sized Queen Alien from Aliens (1986).
  • Michael Keaton’s original Batsuit from the Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).
  • Original items from Terminator 2 Judgement Day (1991) and Jurassic Park (1993).
  • Hugh Jackman’s battle arena Wolverine suit from X-Men (2000).
  • Work from eight-time Academy Award-winning makeup artist Rick Baker, from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Planet of the Apes (1997), and An American Werewolf in London (1982).
  • A stable of props, figures, and costumes including life casts of Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Boris Karloff representing Dracula (1931), The Wolfman (1941), and Frankenstein’s Monster (1931).

“Some of my antique items are just not made anymore, and I want to show the younger generation what characters looked like back in the day,” Correll said.

Icons of Darkness
Movies heads from Correll’s collection: including Jekyll and Hyde, the Cyclops, Hideous Sun Demon, Spock, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and many more.

The immersive experience will extend through all three levels of The Montalbán, utilizing the entire 18,000 square-feet of the 93-year old venue, which will feature an interactive area, Monster Midway, where guests can compete for prizes at such carnival-style games as “Zombie Brain Smash,” “Mausoleum Ring Toss,” and “Skeleball.” Correll and special guests will make appearances and guide tours.

Safety precautions will include:

  • mandating face coverings for all staff, security, and guests.
  • requiring reservations in order to limit the number of guests allowed in at one time.
  • providing a time limit for each group.
  • prohibiting anyone from touching the exhibit items.
  • requiring guests to maintain a 6-foot distance from non-household members in their group.
  • providing a one-way entry and one-way exit at the venue.

The Montalbán is located at 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. Reservations are required in order to limit the number of guests allowed in at one time. Call the box office at 323-461-6999 or visit themontalban.com.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.