Halloween Countdown: Universal Monster Keychain Flashlight Portraits

This series of Universal Monsters keychain flashlights released in 1995 (on which you press a button on the back to illuminate the heads) are kind of cool. BUT…


I’m posting them here because they were made in “portraits” by John Purlia, the master of elevating and imbuing all forms of kitsch with a life force via meticulous staging and photography.


Most of Purlia’s scenes are quite elaborate and rich with symbolism (you should really check out his website), but I love the color choices and singular focus in these shots.


Look at those cold, dead eyes!

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think the Wolfman, with his shifty sideways glance, might be my mine. Which one is yours?

John Purlia


4 Responses to “Halloween Countdown: Universal Monster Keychain Flashlight Portraits”

  1. Miine too! The funny thing about Wolfman is that he actually went missing for several days when these portraits were on display at my show in 2013. Each portrait had been printed on 12×12″ metallic double-mat panels and displayed in such a way that I could have the actual toy figure standing in front of the larger panel, though out of the reach of wandering hands. A week or so into my show, The Wolfman figure went missing! I printed up a milk-carton-like “missing” poster and hung it in the gallery. Lo and behold, a week later, Wolfman was returned — apparently by a homeless man who said he had found Wolfman on the floor and taken him away, oblivious of the fact he might be part of the art and toy installation running throughout the space. He’s back home now, safe and secure — though still very shifty eyed.

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