Press Release

Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection


CONTACT: Doug Yakel
Public Information Officer
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport


Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection
New exhibition features artwork and memorabilia from the golden age of Hollywood Horror

SAN FRANCISCO -- Universal Pictures introduced a new genre of monster movies in the 1920s with silent horror films such as Phantom of the Opera (1925), which starred pioneering horror actor Lon Chaney (1883–1930). The studio conjured monsters spawned from literature, legend, and the imaginations of filmmakers. Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931), the first talking vampire film, based loosely on the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, starred Bela Lugosi (1882–1956) as the debonair but deadly count. Highly acclaimed, Dracula secured Universal’s reputation as the leader of the horror genre. Nine months later, Universal released Frankenstein, inspired by Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, which was followed by The Mummy in 1932; both films starred Boris Karloff. In 1941, with the introduction of The Wolf Man, Universal’s newest monster—a howling part-human werewolf—became the studio’s most popular creature of the decade. Then, in 1954 the studio introduced its last major monster, the Gill Man or Creature, a large amphibious fish-man. The first of the series, Creature from the Black Lagoon, was featured in 3-D with many scenes taking place underwater.

Universal’s most popular monsters terrified, entertained, and enthralled audiences during its golden reign of horror. Universal’s films aired on television in the 1960s and ’70s, introducing their classic monsters to new generations of viewers. During the same decades, the monthly magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland served as the primary periodical for young readers to learn more about these legendary creatures. Throughout this revival period, manufacturers offered Universal monsters in the form of toys and model kits.

Today, nearly a century since some of Universal’s monsters first appeared on screen, these iconic creatures remain embedded in the public’s imagination. Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection presents original movie props, custom-made monster guitars, and original artwork by Basil Gogos used on the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as a variety of novelty toys featuring Universal’s classic monsters.


About the Lender

Born in 1962 in San Francisco, Kirk Hammett first picked up a guitar about a month before his fifteenth birthday. He joined the heavy metal band Metallica as lead guitarist in 1983. Long before pursuing a career in music, Hammett developed a lifelong passion for classic horror. He recalls being mesmerized while viewing the original 1931 Frankenstein film on television at the young age of six. In his early twenties, after he joined Metallica, Hammett began acquiring vintage monster movie posters, props, original artwork, toys, and models. In 2012, Hammett released the publication, Too Much Horror Business, which highlights his extensive collection of monster memorabilia.

View the online exhibition.

Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection is located beyond security screening in Terminal 2, Departures Level, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to Terminal 2 ticketed passengers from May 16, 2015 to December 6, 2015. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit


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