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  Distortions and Jordu Schell are bringing back some of your favorites.   These (new) masks, from over 2 decades past, warmed the hearts of collectors and brought the quality of collectible masks up a notch or two, and now Jordu is giving them a new look, but still maintaining that classic feel.

Ed Edmunds (owner of Distortions) is excited about bringing these back and offering a high caliber mask to the public again.  Ed explained that Distortions had found itself in a difficult position trying to offer mid cost masks to the public.  "There is a market for cheap low end masks and a niche market for expensive high end masks, but in the 80's and 90's we found ourselves right in the middle and the days of that market proving profitable dwindled."  Ed further explained that they have a plan to raise the quality of these masks and still provide a competitive price.

 

 

  You could really tell how enthusiastic Jordu was to work on this project, considering the effect Distortions masks had on him growing up.  Jordu had this to say about the project.
   
  When I was fourteen years old and a freshman in high school, I
decided one gray November afternoon to wander down to the local costume shop with a friend. I had always had an interest in monsters, special effects and sculpture, so it was a requirement that I always check out the very latest in Halloween merchandise---especially masks. I'd always been a fan of any
number of various mask companies and their offerings over the years, many of them extremely imaginative and well done. But what I saw at that little Philadelphia costume shop in the winter of 1981 would influence my artistic and design sense more than any other single experience I can recall. Hanging from the shop's pegboard, among the typical ghouls, devils, and monsters, was a large mask of a classic 50's alien with purple-blue eyes and jet black skin. Perhaps it would have blended in a bit more with the other faces on that wall if not for one detail---the eyes were wet. They reflected the shop's fluorescent light with a glassy, genuine life---something I had never before seen in a latex mask. It was also enormously effective that the eyes were set into this black skinned face, making them stand out all the more. I asked the clerk at the counter to get the mask down for me, that I might inspect it more closely. Hanging from the back of the mask was a tag that had the name of the company that had produced it: Distortions Unlimited.    

I must have stood there for an hour, my friend becoming restless and starting to wonder, perhaps, what exactly was so transfixing about this piece of rubber. There is probably no way I could have explained it then, and it is even difficult now---I mean, it's simply a latex mask, right? Wrong. It was not only something that influenced a single, young artist, but it upped the ante for the entire Halloween mask market, and this mask---along with the rest of Distortion's lineup between the years of 1978 and 1983-spawned countless imitators. As well, in my opinion, they were responsible for a major movement towards treating masks as true art-pretty amazing for something that had previously been thought of as a disposable novelty. The main thrust of Distortion's early work was originality and design, creating a fresh and often unexpected glimpse into a world overflowing with aliens and strange creatures. In a market that was saturated with standard gothic monsters and licensed movie characters, these masks represented an entirely new and uncanny vision.    

Of course now, I have spent over twenty years in the mask and special effects industries; I learned many years ago that five-minute-epoxy glue was responsible for the stunning effect of those moist looking eyes on that mask all those years ago; and I have sculpted and designed more monsters, aliens, and characters than I can count. I have also become friends with the man behind all those incredible and bizarre faces, Ed Edmunds. When I got the opportunity to re-imagine these seminal characters for Ed and Distortions Unlimited, I knew that it would be an undertaking of true passion, and one that somehow seemed at once amazing and so obvious.   

These masks are something that is the culmination of many years of  fascination and dedication. My most fervent hope is, of course, that these new sculptures will motivate someone, somewhere, to pursue the vast terrain of their own imaginations, continuing the chain of inspiration that is the lifeblood of true art-whether it be a novel, a film ...or a latex monster
mask.   

Many years ago, when I first worked for Ed, he told me one day, "Man Jordu, I wish I could design like you", a statement that struck me as ironic---all I ever wanted was to be able to design like Ed.

 

   
   
  Below you will find the older versions of these masks.
                         
  Many thanks to Micheal Langlois for helping with this article.