Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Halloween New England Preview for 2017

Welcome back, everyone! Fall is here, and muggy as September has been so far, the leaves are showing hints of turning color. We're glad to be back in the swing of things and are thrilled that the Halloween season is practically here!

New to the Website in 2017
You may have noticed that Halloween New England has a new logo thanks to talented local artist Sarah Sloan and we're making the transition over slowly but surely on all our various materials.
Probably the biggest improvements that will impact our beloved readers and fans is the updates to our Halloween Events and Activities calendars for each New England state.

Look for the newly added ability to filter for Horror Film Screenings in your state right from the Halloween Events & Activities Calendar. We've added tons of upcoming horror flicks being shown locally in theatres (and some in libraries) that you might enjoy seeking out. There are some pretty exciting horror flicks on the calendar--including outdoor screenings and some with actor meet-and-greets.
Additionally, in the states featuring several hundred Halloween events on their state's calendar, we've created new a new section on the header drop-down for Family-Friendly Halloween Events--perfect for people specifically looking for activities and festivals that are suitable for all ages to attend.

We'll continue to have lots of fabulous contests and opportunities to win so stay tuned daily to our Facebook page or HOME page for the latest contests.

As always, we love to hear from you so let us know what kinds of features you enjoy and what you'd like us to consider adding for the future!

What has Halloween New England been up to in the off-season?
You won't be shocked to discover that Halloween occupies our minds pretty much year-round. We are always planning ahead and forever brainstorming new ways of making the season extra special for our readers and fans.

In April, we took a trip out west and was able to attend our first MonsterPalooza. Held in Pasadena, this annual special FX, art, horror-inspired collectibles, and makeup convention keeps growing and growing and it has recently moved to the Pasadena Convention Center which, even with its size, hardly seemed able to fit everyone --in fact long lines of waitlisted fans snaked around the building. The lobby was end-to-end with celebrity autograph signings and meet-and-greets with a particular edge towards actors who were featured in horror and cult-flicks. It's a convention for horror fans and as you would expect--being a stone's throw from Hollywood, features and celebrates mostly film-inspired characters more so than highlighting original creations. It's a place for fans as well as artists.

The MonsterPalooza Horror Museum was set up in a side room of the convention hall to display incredible collectible movie monsters, masks, sculptures, and original artwork-- Predator, the monster from Stranger Things, Rick Baker's paper mache Nosferatu, and a life-sized, very realistic Norman Reedus were some of the highlights. 

Inside the main hall were hundreds of booths as far as the eye could see featuring FX makeup artists, local artists' wares (prints, mini sculptures, full masks, crafts, etc), makeup demos, masks, collectibles for sale, and more. If fake blood is what you are looking for then you could try out several samples, ask questions of vendors, buy on the spot, or place an order. In addition to several booths dedicated to offering body art, application, and makeup demos from well-known and lesser-known makeup artists, one of the major events of the day we attended featured SyFy's Face Off 's Ve Neill recreating her makeup from the Lost Boys on multiple models. 

The highlight of the vendors, for us, were the booths for Immortal Masks (above) and Midnight Studios FX (below). They displayed dozens of their breathtakingly realistic and ultra creatively designed masks and creatures in their booths--each one more jaw-dropping than the last. There were many other memorable booths too but Immortal's and Midnight Studio's artistry were stand-outs.

We met dozens of established artists and many booths did a brisk business selling small items and other collectibles. We came away with an armful of cool art prints, a book, several Halloween inspired tchotckes, and other goodies. It was a worthwhile trip to finally see Monsterpalooza first-hand at last. They also have a smaller event--Son of Monsterpalooza--held in Burbank, CA which, due to the timing (mid-September) and distance (3,000 miles), we're not likely to have a chance to check out anytime soon.

Other highlights from our LA trip was a private tour of Alchemy Studios in Sun Valley which is the FX studio co-owned by Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page
It was a genuine treat to take a peek behind the scenes of their space, see the various rooms dedicated to different tasks, and get a glimpse at the breathtaking detail of their project in-studio at the time Star Trek Discovery. It was our first trip to a studio of this kind (but not our last) and we learned a great deal about their use of cutting-edge digital technology to aid in the design and production of creating new characters and makeup. (Sorry, because the pieces we saw were still in development and production, due to non-disclosure agreements we don't have pics to share with you but you can check out their work on the Star Trek Discovery series on TV).

We wrapped up our LA leg of the trip with a visit to two different escape rooms--The Basement and The Room -both were well worth our while and they showed us a great time!

A few days later we headed up to Seattle to connect with Ghost Ride Productions for a long-anticipated experience of being lifecasted (head and body). Last year Michael Chaille, owner of Ghost Ride, extended the offer that if we could get out to Seattle, his crew could use a volunteer willing to be lifecasted into a mold which would eventually be used to create realistic special FX props (coming to a haunted house near you....ha!). The idea had been simmering since last summer so we decided to tack on a jaunt up to Ghost Ride's shop at the end of our LA trip.

It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see how horror prop "sausage" is made and it was incredible to see how much intensive preparation goes into the task of lifecasting. Stay tuned for our upcoming Halloween New England blog post detailing this memorable experience. Even better, keep an eye out for this new life-sized, body prop to be rolled out in 2018 at Ghost Ride's booth at TransWorld.  

In August we attended the East Coast Haunt Gathering in Billerica, MA which is an annual get- together of local pro- and home-haunters. We attended on Saturday which featured a full day of back-to-back classes, how-to demos, talks, and more. There were door prizes and auctions as well as opportunities between classes for individuals to stand up to show different DIY props they've made for their haunt along with a quick presentation on how they did it. Some of the highlights included DIY animatronic coffins that open/close, and another described how to make your own fat-suit for pennies on the dollar. 

During the day there were feature presentations from Ben and Alexis of Haunted Farms of America, Vic Baritaeau showed how to make a Dollar Store mask into a customized, creepy horror mask that will last you the season, and Tyler Green from Sy Fy's Face/Off showed how to apply a vampire bite prosthetic.  
It was great to see many folks we already knew and catch up with we work with during the season including Fear Town, Legends of Fear, Haunted OverloadHaunted Somerville, our beloved haunt character Lobo from Fright Kingdom, Pam Tole, Haunted Farms, and many others!

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