This week, I was graciously granted an opportunity to visit Creature Corps in Crestline Ohio to speak with Robert Kurtzman, world renowned Director/Producer/Special Effects Creator about the Kurtzman Institute of Art and his amazing new haunt, the Mad FX Lab. For SFX and horror movie geeks like me, this was an unbelievably exciting moment. For those of you who may or may not admit to hiding under your bed from the monsters Mr. Kurtzman created over the last three decades, let’s review just a few of his projects. Deadly Impact, Buried Alive, The Rage, Wishmaster, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Evil Dead II, Scream, Pulp Fiction, Alex Cross, and John Dies at the End.
Clearly, Mr. Kurtzman and his talented staff know their stuff, and now they have opened the doors to the Creature Corps facility to a select group of talented applicants. The Kurtman Institute of Art launched in 2012 providing its students with the unique opportunity to learn hands-on, in a working special effects facility. Graduates not only gain cutting edge special effects skills and techniques, but earn practical experience and leave the institute with viable working credits already on their resume, giving them a leg up in the industry.
“Most of them want to learn makeup effects, but we do much more than that. We cover the fur transfers, animal construction, human replicas, and silicone full body casting. A lot of the other schools don’t cover that, they cover just the basic appliance work and the beauty makeup. We’re less of the beauty makeup and more of the FX makeup.” Says Kurtzman about what students can expect to learn from the institute. “They’ve been involved in the tv series Longmire and worked on some of the animal effects with us, All Cheerleaders Die, and a few others.”
“What happens when a supernatural virus unleashes demonic forces that possess the creature creations of a world famous special effects facility??? All Hell breaks loose!!!” – madfxlab.com
Over the weekend I was able to personally see some of the Creature Corps staff and Kurtzman Institute student’s exemplary work first hand as myself and the gang from Hallowicked Haunted Woods paid a visit to the Mad FX Lab. First off, let’s talk value, General Admission is only $12.00, and if you’re a veteran haunt visitor, you know what a great deal that is. That gives you a single trip through the Mad FX Lab and adjacent woods.
Is there another haunt or activity on your agenda afterwards? Pay $17.00 for the Fast-pass and you can skip waiting in line and get right in to being terrified. Remember to breathe, it’s just like watching a horror movie… only intensely realistic, up close, and in your face. But whatever you do, do NOT run, do NOT cover your eyes. Ignore the pounding of your heart and the spine-tingling sensation of being watched long enough to take in some of the most stunning haunt scenery you will ever encounter. As a veteran haunt worker, I can give no higher praise than this to Mad FX Lab’s elaborate, excruciatingly detailed designs. Take full advantage of being paralyzed with fear. You won’t see this level of experience and talent anywhere else.
One trip through is definitely not enough to take it all in. Fortunately, there are All Night Passes available for $25.00 and if you just can’t get enough, and would love a behind the scenes look, you can top off your evening with a studio tour for an additional $10.00. With the Mad FX Lab you can completely customize your terrifying experience to spend as little or as much time in a place where all of your worst nightmares are made.
If all of that wasn’t enough to tempt you to take a walk on the monstrous side, The Kurtzman Institute of Art invites you to engage in an unbelievable, one night only VIP Celebrity event. You will have the opportunity to meet Robert Englund, best known as Freddy Kreuger from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, as well as Beki Ingram and House from SyFy’s “Face Off”, Gary Jones and Chris Hahn of SyFy’s “Axe Giant”, Ed Douglas of Midnight Syndicate and many more! Tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event are $125 and include a tour of the school, the special FX studio and the Mad FX Lab.
The best part of all of this is that proceeds from the Mad FX Lab benefit the Kurtzman Institute of Art! You will be supporting arts education AND unleashing the potential for a horde of future FX artists to create even more diabolical monsters to keep you awake at night. I’ll mark that as a win-win in my book.
The Mad FX Lab is located at 707 South Thoman St, Crestline, Ohio 44827. Visit the website for more information, ticket prices, and special events or call (419) 683-3900. Can’t make it this year? Not to worry!
“We’re going to keep expanding the haunt. We put this together in a very short period of time this year, so next year we already have those plans of how to make it even cooler.” Kurtzman says, looking towards the future, “I’m looking forward to spring because that’s when we can start building stuff to make next year even bigger and better.”
I can’t wait to see what they do next!
Melody Evans is a Social Media Manager for a family of healthcare companies and a freelance book review blogger for Up All Night Novels. When she’s not forgoing sleep in the endless pursuit of literary satisfaction, she can often be found diligently glued to her keyboard, seeking new outlets to express her love of all things geek chic.