shot of all of us together!
'08 Convention History!
FRIDAY: BUS TOUR
First, I do not think I can thank
Brett, Jason and all the Eastern State Penitentiary staff
enough for the professional manner and amazing time we
had at their event. When we arrived, the red carpet had
been set out, Brett gave us a wonderful introduction for
all of the tour guests, and the Eastern State Penitentiary
tour guides took over. What an amazing site to see!
If you have never taken their Museum tour, I highly recommended
it, they are open during the days almost all year long!
Then, Brett and Jason had a special arrangement for us,
the entire Wing of Al Capone's cell had been locked down
and turned into a catering hall! We all had lunch in the
wing and the actual jail cells.
The Eastern State staff were so helpful, and everything
was so well laid out for us....the food was incredible.
Michael and Brett had arranged a local Philly restaurant
to supply staff and endless food. We could not believe
the variety and 5 star quality of the food....from salmon,
to salads, fresh rolls, and roast beef, portabello mushrooms,
Then, the real fun began. Brett claimed that he only had
a skeletal staff of actors, but it sure did not feel like
that. Between the actors he had, and the famous BAD BOYS
SCENIC DESIGN, there were plenty of scares and screams
going on. It felt like it was a full running halloween
From Lock Down, to a very well done 3D attraction, touring
such a massive stone building itself setup an atmosphere
like no other.....I don't want to give away secrets, but
this is surely a haunt you do not want to miss around
Halloween. The quality of the scenes and props were just
Then, we got back onto the bus, and headed out to the
What a really neat place....
The best way to describe it would be if someone very scientific,
was to start collecting all the old exhibits you used
to see in Side Shows at Carnivals.
"Alive! Alive! Alive!"
There were some really disturbing sites to see, and anatomical
anomolies. There were so many things I never knew existed
with the actual skulls and body parts preserved to prove
it. One example was people really having a disease that
makes them grow large horns (cartilage). Everything from
the Mysterious Soap Lady, to complete anatomies of conjoined
twins. It is amazing that someone over a hundred years
ago decided to gather all this knowledge into one medical
location....entire walls of real human skulls, eyes, spines,
and flesh. This was a unique attraction for sure!
Our next step took us the Fright
Factory. I had seen their You Tube videos on line so
I was really anxious to see how this attraction was,
and I was not disappointed.
When we first arrived, Aven had his staff all prepared
and ready for us. They had a large area that was completely
setup for us complete with tables, chairs and a great
theme. The entire area was dark....a huge evil tree
(custom made by Aven and his staff) and broken statues
littered this graveyard like atomosphere.
We learned about the history of Fright Factory, and
as well as some of the design aspects while dinner was
- And speaking of Dinner!!!
The Food was incredible.....((I have to stop taking
these trips, between Eastern State and Fright Factory
I think I gained 5 pounds!!!)).
I had only learned this year, that The Famous John Burton's
brother owned a B-B-Q company in New Jersey. It was
only a short drive for him and his crew to have everything
prepared for us at the Fright Factory.
The food was MELT IN YOUR MOUTH. I have honestly never
tasted better BBQ in my life....the meat just melted
off the bones and into your mouth. Hot buttered Jersey
Corn, Fresh Bread, Chicken....I felt like I was at an
incredible Gothic Picnic at Tara
Then, Aven unleased one of his specialties...the use
of Video in a haunt. They had a beautiful huge backlit
Video screen showing a 30+ minute video preshow of the
It really set the tone for the haunt. My hats off to
the quality of the video....it gives you the feeling
that you are watching your local news channel and that
you are safe at home watching TV, looking at a horrific
event. However, you are about to enter that horrific
We toured all three of their events, and their staff
were amazing....the attention to detail with their makeup
department was superb (that girl with the cage head
like the Jackel in 13 ghosts always got me!!!)
If you have never seen the Frightfactory, is a great
and very long tour. They did amazing detail for such
a large area......well worth the cost of admission.
Then, Aven gave us a lights on tour and you REALLY got
to see the detail....I noticed so many more things I
missed in the regular tour...I really loved that Pumpkin
King foil type of statue in their cemetary....
Finally, we headed back to the Hotel for the meet and
greet run by John Burton.
On Saturday morning, Michael got up early and did the
full walk through to make sure everything was ready.
I was busy preparing all the registration information
and putting the last minute touches on my booths for
the Museum of Mythology. For years I have wanted to
display many of my items but there has never been a
location or convention that made sense to do it. My
market would be the four states near New Jersey (New
York, PA, Delaware and Maryland) and I was really excited
to get some feedback.
This was our first year so I really didn't know what
to expect, and I'm sure many of the vendors felt the
same way. I knew I was going overboard with my booths,
but I was impressed by how many vendors were just as
crazy as myself!!!
I salute Jeremy from the Creepy Collection for his booth......what
a Crazy Setup! We had people talking about it all weekend
long constantly!!!! The signs alone were enough to make
you KNOW what a fun industry we have....Bloody Rabbits
$15! ...as Don King would say --> "Only in America"
We were glad to see the bustle of activity with the
vendors, and so many of the vendors had such a big hit
that many of them signed up for next year right on the
I thought there was going to be some fights at the Specter
Studios booths with so many people rummaging through
their bins fighting over what to purchase before it
We also got to learn about Halloween Scream, a great
year round store selling Halloween product at incredible
prices.....if you need large Foam Chain for example..this
is the place to go. He was one of the nicest people
I met the entire convention and it made my weekend.
So many vendors, and so many ideas swirling in my head
from them all... Castle Blood debuted new statue lines
that were incredible....Tatoo is already talking about
driving down next year just to drive back with those!
Der Mord had some really interesting devices never before
seen by the industry and the air cannons on display
by Hollywood Controls were amazingly loud! Also, they
had probably the best intense strobe light I had seen.
The Hot Wire Foam Factory was a big hit, and they even
had to sell their display pieces due to the demand for
product....they were a LOT of fun to talk to and I was
so happy to show them many of the things I created for
the museum out of foam.
One vendor I couldn't believe had so much product and
variety was 'Rotten Jacks Creep Shack'. I heard quite
a few people talk about hard to get items that they
had in stock...the liquors shirt was a fan favorite....
Grendel's Den wowed me with their Cthulu style (and
singing ability, as well as sense of humor - hehe..."Look,
a Jedi!"), Safari Anomolous had a bee wall that
would have made Disney jealous, and Mr Skeleton should
have been Mr Order Talking Skeleton.
This was also the first chance I had to see F!@#!ed
up stuff, if you get a chance to see them, really take
notice of the quality of their work....even down to
the detail of the eyes....I look forward to seeing more
product of theirs in the future.
I also was able to pick up tons of contact lenses (I
had not gotten a chance to see the Contact Lens company
for many years)....always a great great product.....we
even got a few cool shirts from Kim's Crypt and won
their shotglass on the Der Mord Raffle.
I think the best line we heard of the day though came
from John Denley of Boneyard productions. He was talking
to John Burton and told him, "I looked at my watch
and I had made back the entire cost of this trip in
the first 42 minutes of the convention"
The Seminars worked out
very well....so well that it caused us a problem.
We had gotten a large room for the seminars, which held
75 seats.....we figured....no problem
Boy were we wrong....
So many of the seminars quickly became standing room only!
Every time Tattoo opened his mouth, more people squeezed
in......John Burton, Ricky Dick, and John Denley all had
the same problem....so many of the original founders of
We had all the seats filled, all the standing spaces filled,
and I had to turn away about 20 people for some of the
seminars....we are going to have to get a much bigger
room next year for that...we were floored by the response
to the seminars.
I got a chance to listen to the entire Voice from Hell
Seminar.....Dick Terhune is a really great guy with some
really cool knowledge...I recommend him sometime if you
get a chance...