I attended Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, California, for the first time this past weekend. The three-day event, which was held this year from April 12th through April 14th, spotlights the makeup talent and special effects that go into creating such terrifying beings for horror and sci-fi films. Featured are discussion panels, live cosmetic demos, celebrity signings and numerous vendors.
I went on Sunday, the final day of Monsterpalooza. It was held at the Pasadena Convention Center, sprawled across a huge space. Sections were named after classic movie monsters, such as Dracula, Phantom, Nosferatu, Godzilla, The Bride and Hunchback, to name just a few. There were various lounges, a museum and theatre, which stood separate from the main building, where presentations took place.
I was so astounded by how big the event was that I didn’t know where to start. The affair is in some ways like horror cons Midsummer Scream and Scare LA, except there is less emphasis on Halloween haunts. Instead, on display are props from iconic movies, gruesome artwork, figures and busts, plus replicas of some of cinema’s most horrifying characters. The live cosmetic demonstrations were a treat to witness as professional makeup artists transformed their models into creatures from another dimension.
There were two presentations that I was eager to sit in on. The first was “Memory: The Origins of Alien,” which gave audiences a sneak peek into a new, upcoming documentary celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Director Alexandre O. Philippe discussed the making of “Memory,” sharing how Greek and Egyptian mythology, artist Francis Bacon, and visions of Dan O’Bannon inspired Ridley’s film. I had no idea of the influences on the movie and the preview clips left me wanting to know more.
The other panel was Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2019. Creators John Murdy and Chris Williams made an appearance at Scare LA last year where they gave guests a teaser of what to expect for 2018’s haunt experience. I attend HHN every year, so I was excited to discover what they had in store this Halloween season. In addition to bringing back Universal Monsters, which was a maze dedicated to iconic horror characters, such as Wolfman, Dracula and Frankenstein, the pair also announced a new, original maze debuting this year themed “Holidayz in Hell.” They gave an exclusive preview and I have a clip for you guys below!
A couple of other highlights for me was getting to reconnect with artist Ave Rose, who is known for her expertly crafted animatronic pieces. I first met her at Copro Gallery’s “Conjoined Vs. Grotesque” exhibit earlier this year, which presented her work “GOD.” On a side note, she informed me that the piece sold to a member of the heavy metal band Slipknot. She was one of the exhibitors at Monsterpalooza and was selling a collection of her hand-made pieces. I came away with an exquisite necklace with a glass vial containing a black widow. I will also mention that she ethically sources her taxidermy pieces.
Missy Munster, the designer behind MM Fabrications, was another vendor I had the chance to meet again. I attended her fashion show “Let the Devil In” last year and she mentioned she’s hoping to debut a new collection at the end of this year.
I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed my first time at Monsterpalooza. Witnessing so much creativity gathered for one event was amazing, to say the least. In the fall, Sons of Monsterpalooza takes place. I’m not completely sure what makes that event different. It does happen at another location and might be created on a smaller scale. When more details are announced, I may try to check that event out as well.
Now, for some advice in case any of you decide to check this event out in the future. Buy tickets in advance to avoid the long box office line. Also, as with other horror conventions I’ve visited, parking can be hectic. Try to get to the event before it opens to secure the best spot and to skip traffic surrounding the venue. Lastly, bring cash as many parking lots do not take credit cards.
You can stay up-to-date and learn more about Monsterpalooza by visiting the official website.
Has anyone out there attended Monsterpalooza? If so, let me know about your experience!