It doesn't need to be Halloween for the folks of Los Angeles to get their ghoul on. Twice a year, the three-day annual event known as Monsterpalooza rears its bloody, decapitated head to celebrate horror icons, monster makeup, scream-inducing special effects and movie merch. The eerie expo, which took place April 12-14 at the Pasadena Convention Center, also offers a chance to peek behind the curtain of the film industry, with instructional demonstrations and panels featuring stars of stage and scream. But for many, the best part of the creature conference is the shopping, which features a huge selection of gothic goods, wicked wares and haunted household items.
With hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, the event incorporates macabre into everything you can imagine — from practical products such as kitchen goods and utensils to nightmarish collectible art. As fans of the odd and strange —goths, metalheads, movie buffs, nerds and many from the professional “scarer” community (which some might liken to Juggalos on skates) — fill the main floor exploring makeup exhibits and creature creators, vendors are given the opportunity to show off their eccentric merchandise right alongside them.
“Monsterpalooza in a one-stop monster shop: There is everything here from effects, makeup, amazing movie merchandise, there are people here signing … it’s an amazing convention to come to,” says Michelle Ghoulmore of Kreepsville 666, a shop that specializes in monster-themed scare-wear for punks, goths, psychobillies and more.
“A lot of new people get to see your stuff,” agrees Cheynne De Boer of Sick Soaps, which sells a wide selection of handmade bizarre soaps with pop-culture themes. “On Etsy, they have to know to search for Leatherface-themed soaps. They don’t have to know that this thing even exists to find me at the convention.”
In addition to attracting new customers, vendors at Monsterpalooza also reward longtime fans with special and exclusive releases just for the convention. Ghoulmore says she will even put holds on certain items so she can release at the convention, “to make it something special for people to come to the show and find. We just released an official range of Bela Lugosi and Vampira, together just for Monsterpalooza.”
“We make it a special experience when we come to Monsterpalooza. We don’t do many conventions. So coming here is sort of an exclusive thing,” says Kevin Bergeron, co-founder of Waxwork Records, which specializes in releasing soundtracks and scores of genre movies on vinyl. “We brought a lot of sold-out stock from our website because we knew there would be die-hard fans of horror. So we brought Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, lots of stuff that was sold out on our site for a long time.”
“Monsterpalooza is so mind-blowing,” enthuses Han Cholo jewelry designer Brandon Schoolhouse. “The art is everywhere, and special effects. You see the real-deal people behind the makeup, not just the cosplayers. Meeting the fan base and new people who didn’t know about our brand … it’s just the best.”
Missed out on the spring show? Don’t worry. Son of Monsterpalooza (held in Burbank) will return in the fall. Check here for updates soon.