Over the past three decades, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett has been one of the foremost collectors of horror-movie posters and paraphernalia. In a new interview with Sotheby’s — which is auctioning a particularly rare poster for the 1932 adaptation of The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff — he details his history with the genre.
He’d always loved Edgar Allan Poe, monster magazines and horror comic books, and once he got into music, he says, the style he played was a natural extension of his interests. “I have a tendency to play stuff that’s dark and haunting and in a minor key,” he says in the video. “I definitely attribute that to my earlier influence of the horror genre.”
Hammett also talks about his love of The Mummy (“I’ll never forget how deep and hollow his eyes looked,” he says) and how it spurred him toward collecting posters. “The posters from the Twenties up to about 1935, they’re brilliant-looking,” he says. “They have a romantic quality to them. … Basically, The Mummy is a love story wrapped up in a horror theme, so even the posters were designed around some sort of romantic interlude or exchange.”
Horror-movie enthusiasts who have unearthed enough coin to pay for The Mummy poster can bid on it via Sotheby’s. Online bidding ends at noon ET on Halloween. The auction house estimates it could fetch between $1 and $1.5 million, making it one of the most expensive movie posters ever.
Last year, Hammett’s collection was the focus of an exhibit at Salem, Massachusetts’ Peabody Essex Museum and it will be headed to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in the summer of 2019. In a Rolling Stone interview about the exhibit last year, he spoke in greater detail about the romantic overtones of the poster that’s up for auction.
“Even though these were horror films from the Thirties and Forties, there was always a love interest,” he said. “To capitalize on that, they would play up the romantic sentiment in the images. They would always put in tag lines like ‘It comes to life’ or ‘A passion that has lived for a thousand years,’ or whatever the tag line is. It was always relationship-based or had a certain sort of romanticism to it. That’s what you see in most of the posters from the Thirties, but this Mummy poster really steps up the romanticism.”