Why We No Longer Identify Using Tag Names
Though many have referred to masks casually as Fantastic or Fearsome over the years, I want to discuss why that’s no longer practiced by Fun World & Scream collectors alike. It’s riddled with confusions and contradictions that make it an ineffective standard compared to mold type, shroud material, and era.
Fantastic Faces is a generic branding moniker Fun World used on hundreds of masks over the decades before their iconic ghost masks. In the past many fans used it colloquially to describe a mask with a cotton shroud because some of the most collectible shrouded characters (ghosts, skulls, phantoms, and ghouls) came with that tag moniker. However, many characters outside of those assortments were branded with “Fantastic Faces” and did not feature cotton shrouds. For instance the polyester fancy shroud ghost masks, many non-hooded mask types, Fantastic Faces is not a product line, era, quality, or material, but a marketing moniker used to brand a huge variety of masks and characters for retail.
Some also use it to describe the pink ‘party orb’ themed header cards from the early 90s. Thanks to Eugene Countryman's tag photos above, we can demonstrate the design evolution of “Fantastic Faces” design styles from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. The pink ‘party orb’ theme was used for masks without the Fantastic Faces moniker too, such as “Instant Disguise”, “Mask & Cape Costume”, “Mad Hatter”, “Light-Up Mask & Shroud”, “Face Mask”, “Character Mask” and more. The ‘party orb’ theme was used in the 80s, 90s, and 00s to some extent which confuses our traditional sense of the chronology for these designs. Some decorations even introduced the purple ‘bat & moon’ theme we typically associate with Fearsome Faces as early as 1996, before any masks had the tag design.
Thus, the same can be said for Fearsome Faces. It's a branding moniker that is still somewhat in use today. Fearsome was colloquially used to refer to polyester shrouded masks because of its association with the late 90s. While tag names can sometimes be a reasonable indicator of era this is not always the case. One example is the polyester shrouded fluorescent ghost masks that featured the purple ‘bat & moon’ theme but continued the Fantastic Faces moniker. Fun World still used the Fantastic name for less horror themed masks, so it’s reductive to use these branding monikers to say much about a particular mask alone. In 1997 during the design theme transition, MK stamped cotton shrouded masks (ghosts, skulls, and phantoms) were tagged with Fearsome Faces too despite our typical association of the name with polyester shrouds.
Scream collectors use to call the late 90s poly shroud Gen 2 'Weeping' ghost the Fearsome. However, we now know that exact mask type came on three different tags (Fearsome Faces, purple ASIS, black ASIS). Five other Scream mask types were branded with the Fearsome Faces name as well (Gen 1 and RDS, as well as different hood type EU, TD, and T stamp masks). The Gen 2 molds were used for a variety of products, colors, hood types, and costumes. It's wrong to call Gen 2s “Fearsome”— especially because only two of the 16 different Gen 2 featured products came using that moniker.
This same problem came from referring to a particular mask as ASIS. Dozens of tags and packages from 1997-2022 feature the “As Seen in The Motion Picture SCREAM” graphic, including todays Ultrawhites. It's a branding graphic used on a wide variety of masks, costumes, decorations, and party supplies over the decades. ASIS colloquially referred to the early EU stamp Ghost Face mask that came on purple 'bat & moon' themed tags that replaced the "Fearsome Faces" moniker for licensed Scream products. We now know the purple ASIS tag has been found on 11 different Ghost Face mask types (EUs, MKs, HNs, Oddballs, T stamps, etc).
Simply put, referring to masks as tag names creates a really complicating discussion of mask history, and I think we can do better. I recommend identifying a mask type more accurately using era (early 90s) mold (Gen 1) product (glow in dark) character (Weeping ghost) and shroud material (with cotton shroud). When we epitomize tag names it stigmatizes the value of the name in a weird way. I’ve noticed many uncollectible items, like a Fantastic Faces tagged goalie mask I saw listed for $200. It may sound much to challenge what has been long accepted vocabulary in the community, but it’s increasingly obvious how contradictory and inaccurate it is to continue using them. I support the admins aims to abolish this practice, and appreciate the many knowledgable collectors who have helped us to progress.