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The movie that inspired The Misfits mascot and logo

Misfits logo


The movie that inspired The Misfits mascot and logo

The Misfits was formed in Lodi, New Jersey in 1977 releasing their first EPs in the early 80s and finally recording their debut studio album “Walk Among Us” in 1982. In the following year the group released “Earth A.D/Wolfs Blood” (1983), which really made them probably the most famous Horror Punk band in the world. They broke-up in that same year when the vocalist Glenn Danzig left.


But the group was revived in 1995 by the classic members Jerry Only (Bass) and Doyle Von Frankenstein (Guitar) with vocalist Michale Graves and with that formation they recorded the successful albums “American Psycho” (1997) and “Famous Monsters” (1999). During the next two decades the band had many changes with even Only becoming the lead vocalist. But since 2016 Danzig returned a the group reunites a couple of times each year playing their hits and b-sides.

Besides their songs and look, The Misfits are also often recalled by their mascot called “The Crimson Ghost”, which is basically the image of a skull. But did you know it was inspired by a character in a 40s movie?

The movie that inspired The Misfits mascot and logo

The Crimson Ghost first appeared in a flyer promoting one of their gigs in March, 1979. Then in June of the same year it was featured on the cover of The Misfits single “Horror Business”. Danzig and Only came across an image of the character while searching for images to silkscreen on t-shirts. It was actually from a serial movie called “The Crimson Ghost“, directed by Fred C. Brannon and released in 1946.

It shows a criminal mastermind who is publicly known as Crimson Ghost. In the plot he tries to steal the Cyclotrode, which is a device which can short-circuit all electrical currents in the world. In the cast the movie had artists like Charles Quigley, Linda Stirling, Clayton Moore and L. Standford Jolley. It originally had 167 minutes of running time being re-released years later as a series of 12 episodes.

After being used many times by the band it eventually became their mascot. It continues to be constantly used by the fans in t-shirts and other merchandising products. It also was tattooed by many fans and one of the most famous ones, who had the Crimson Ghost tattoo on his arm, was the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.

Misfits wrote a song called “Crimson Ghost”

It became such an important part of the band’s image that the group wrote a song called “Crimson Ghost” being featured on their comeback album “American Psycho” released in 1997. At the time the record was made by Michale Graves (Vocals), Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein (Guitar), Jerry Only (Bass), Dr. Chud (Drums, keyboards), Daniel Rey (Keyboards) and Andy Wallace (Mixing).

According to Setlist FM, that song was performed live by them 120 times, the last one being in 2000.

Glenn Danzig sued Jerry Only for the use of the Crimson Ghost artwork

Back in 2014, two years before they got together again, Glenn Danzig sued Jerry Only for Crimson Ghost logo ownership. He claimed that the bassist cheated him out of the royalties linked to the logotype. The singer explained at the time as reported by The Guardian that Only misappropriated The Misfits trademarks in 2000, since he re-registered the marks under his own name. It was something that contradicted the band’s merchandising contract which was previously made in 1994.

He was accused by Danzig of secretly negotiating many merchandising deals with big retails stores. He reportedly threatened those companies to cancel the agreements if any of them contacted Danzig.

At the time Only’s defense said that Danzig had no legal rights regarding Cyclopian’s Misfits licenses or business ventures. That problem between the two was eventually solved and they tour together for almost a decade already a couple of times every year. Their shows are usually scheduled in the United States around Halloween.

Nowadays the band is formed by Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, Acey Slade and Dave Lombardo.

Although The Misfits haven’t sold many album copies they became one of the most influential bands of all time. A real cult-following group that inspired other artists like Metallica, for example. They even ended up covering the band on their 1998 covers album “Garage Inc.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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