Offbeat L.A. event: Scare LA- a convention for blood or money

The author being terrorized by a Zombie Elvis (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

The author being terrorized by a Zombie Elvis (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

Latex masks for sale at Scare LA (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Latex masks for sale at Scare LA (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

It seems like the Halloween market is more popular than it ever has been. The elaborately created mazes and haunted houses and scare events seem to be multiplying yearly. Fresh blood for the masses. The industry is booming with new ideas and creativity, incorporating more and more high tech special effects, often involving all five senses. Here in Los Angeles many free neighborhood backyard haunts have stopped relying merely on sprayed spiderwebs and rubber skeletons and have become major contenders in the fright game.

An artist sculpting a specialty haunt mask (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

An artist sculpting a specialty haunt mask (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

So it is no big surprise that a convention should be organized catering mainly to those who like to do the scaring. After all, supplies for this niche often come from skilled artisans and specialty companies who are vying to be noticed. Originality is prized in this realm and cliché is often considered a dirty word. Enter Scare LA, the first major convention in Los Angeles aimed at those who rev up the chainsaws and man the fog machines, those who come up with the concepts to scare the wicked bejesus out of their fellow human beings. This 2-day event, held downtown in the spacious LA Mart is full of panel discussions, demonstrations and widely varied products for sale, ranging from animatronics, scented fog machines (charred corpse or swampy marsh, anyone?) to silicone wound kits and mutilated latex body parts. Basically something for every sick & twisted, yet imaginative, mind out there to work with.

A special effects make-up demo in action (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

A special effects make-up demo in action (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Among the demos was an ongoing display of extremely detailed special effects make-up, some of which took four or more hours to complete. The chosen guinea pigs sat or stood patiently as they were glued, sculpted, sprayed and painted into the kind of otherworldly beings forced to hide in the shadows of bad dreams and horror flicks. Also, as an added bonus, there were many workshops taught by experts highlighting the finer points of haunt & scare technology. Classes on Airbrush Fundamentals, Gore FX, Costume Distressing, Maze Design, Music for Haunted Attractions and even a Scare Actor’s Workshop kept the creativity alive, while an artistic Tombstone Carving Workshop kept it dead.

The hostess of the Coffin Ride (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The hostess of the Coffin Ride (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

 

An entertaining Coffin Ride kept Scare LA goers in figurative stitches. After removing my shoes and climbing into a double-wide model with my friend Chad, we laughed together in total darkness as our coffin jumped and jolted, with piped-in ghostly sound effects and smells of roses and damp earth. Or was that dirty socks? No matter, it was all in a day of eerie fun.

Chad Cleven and the author getting ready to ride (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

Chad Cleven and the author getting ready to ride (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

 

 

 

Then we moved on to some fascinating lectures. The most popular of the day, was given to a packed, standing-room-only crowd by the creative team of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. I enjoyed a panel discussion called Classic Home Haunts in which three of the creators of some of the best free local neighborhood haunts (Boney Island, Rotten Apple 907 and the Backwoods Maze) talked about their experiences, showed photo slides and answered questions from the audience.

Ghosts of Los Angeles panel: from left Rich Berni, Richard Carradine, Scott Michaels and Steve Barton (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Ghosts of Los Angeles panel: from left Rich Berni, Richard Carradine, Scott Michaels and Steve Barton (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

My favorite panel of the day, however, was called Ghosts of Los Angeles. This gathered a few local historians who specialize in taking a creepy view of our lovely city. Rich Berni, founder of the ghost-hunting team The Boyle Heights Paranormal Project and an expert on our area’s most scary hospital, Linda Vista, insisted that he believed Los Angeles to be one of the most haunted cities in America. He views it to be on par with New Orleans. GHOULA (Ghost Hunters of Los Angeles) founder Richard Carradine discussed his passion for collecting our city’s ghost stories and spoke of his love of finding tales of new hauntings in everyday places. His monthly event Spirits with Spirits gathers ghost geeks together to have drinks in locales noted for sightings of apparitions. A favorite Offbeat L.A. character, Scott Michaels, owner of Dearly Departed Tours, who has been covered in this very column, spoke about his colorful collection of celebrity death memorabilia, which includes the hot pink suitcase belonging to actress Jayne Mansfield that was removed from her final scene, a tragic car crash.

The author gets a makeover (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

The author gets a makeover (photo courtesy of Nikki Kreuzer)

Finally, before leaving Scare LA, I submitted to a ghastly makeover myself. I allowed a special effects make-up artist to spirit gum my face with fake glass shards and paint on some very realistic blood. Looking in the mirror I smiled, knowing that the walk to my car several blocks away, in a still rough-and-tumble area of L.A.’s downtown, would be absolutely hassle free. No one would mess with the girl with glass in her face.

http://scarela.com/ 

Nikki Kreuzer

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for almost 30 years. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring & photographing the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written over 100 Offbeat L.A. articles which are published at the Los Angeles Beat and on the website OffbeatLA.com. As a writer she has also been published in the LA Weekly, Oddee.com, Blurred Culture, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also a mosaic artist, working actor and published photographer. Her photography has been featured in the print version of LA Weekly and as part of an exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art. In the band Nikki & Candy, she plays bass, sings and is co-writer. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon or at NikkiandCandy.com. Nikki is currently working on her first novel. Please "like" the Offbeat L.A. Facebook page! For more Offbeat L.A. photos & adventures follow @Lunabeat on Instagram or @Offbeat_LA on Twitter.
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2 Responses to Offbeat L.A. event: Scare LA- a convention for blood or money

  1. I love the coffin ride!! Great post.

  2. Pingback: Scare LA 2015: Let the Haunt Begin | The LA Beat

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