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This August, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) debuts the exclusive presentation of “It’s Alive!” Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection. Kirk Hammett, best known as the lead guitarist of Metallica, is also an avid collector of classic horror and sci-fi movie posters. This exhibition features 135 works that provide insight into the evolution of horror and sci-fi films and how they have played upon contemporary societal fears. Hammett acknowledges his poster collection as a source of inspiration for his own musical creativity. The exhibition, on view August 12 through November 26, 2017, features film posters as well as collectible electric guitars, monster masks and sculptures.

This is the first major exhibition of Kirk Hammett’s world-renowned collection and features 84 posters and 8 guitars, as well as lobby cards, film props and costumes, original artwork and toys. The exhibition, which features work by legendary graphic designers as well as unidentified masters, explores our complicated relationship to fear as well as how this artwork fuels Hammett’s creativity.


Kirk Hammett at the Peabody Essex Museum. © 2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Allison White.


Thematic sections will include The Undead (Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein), The Collector, Classic Tales, Other Realms (Aliens, The Deep), Women and Power, Horror Spoofs, The Eyes, Mad Science, and Zombies.


Franz Peffer, Hamlet, 1920, produced by Asta Films, Germany, printed by Meissner and Buch, Germany, lithograph, 27 3/4 x 37 1/4 in. (69.5 x 94.7 cm). Collection of Kirk Hammett.


A 120-page exhibition catalogue with 90 color illustrations is also available for pre-order through PEM Shop at the museum and online. It’s Alive Classic Sci-Fi and Horror Movie Posters from the Kirk Hammett Collection is edited by Daniel Finamore, PEM’s Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History. This generously illustrated book highlights the finest examples from Hammett’s personal collection—an astonishing trove of horror and sci-fi film posters that span the history of the genre—along with intriguing essays by Daniel Finamore, Joseph LeDoux, and Steve Almond on the rise of horror culture and the rise it gives us. R. Kikuo Johnson illustrated the eye-popping cover.