The House of Masks raises its curtain at October’s Palefest horror convention

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Coming this October, audiences will have the chance to see an impressive collection of horror masks up close and personal curated by a Chillicothe-based YouTube creator, while mingling with a full lineup of celebrity guests from the art world and horror-themed media.

Chillicothe’s AJ Good invites the public to look behind the curtain at his downtown studio known as The house of masks. This is part of the Horror Convention titled Palestest is set to take place Saturday, October 8 at Chillicothe studio in downtown Good.

“Palefest is the combination of my House of Masks entity and my best friend Bishop Walker’s Paleface company,” Good said. “We held an open house last year for fans of the channel and locals who have always wondered what’s in that building that you can’t get into. I had Paleface at the open house because it’s a sister company to me. I promote his stuff on my channel and he does some really cool stuff for the hobby. As soon as the open day ended, we said to ourselves ‘this was incredible, we have to do something else’. So since then, every spare second has gone into planning this convention.

Good, at the age of 29, has spent a significant portion of his life amassing a large collection of horror and Halloween masks, some entirely original, others based on popular horror franchises and some worn by members of theatrical metal bands.

Hundreds upon hundreds of horror masks currently line the walls of Good’s 51 East Main Street studio, where he also shoots video content for his YouTube channel which operates as House of Masks name too.

Good started his YouTube channel in 2011 and now has a respectable subscriber count of over 140,000 and growing. The House of Masks videos generally chronicle new purchases for Good’s ever-growing collection, but also deal with his various cultural and pop musical interests. Good’s channel even features a few in-depth interviews with members of theatrical metal bands such as GWAR Don Drakulich and chuck varga, and by Mudvayne Chad Gray.

The success of AJ’s YouTube channel has allowed him to develop relationships with some of his most admired musical performers and others who design and create the very type of masks that initially sparked his passion for the hobby. In fact, The House of Masks and its supporting YouTube channel have been so successful that they’ve become AJ’s full-time profession.

October’s Palefest convention will mark the second time Good has offered the public a preview of its collection. A similar public event was held in October 2021, and it was so well attended that this year Good and his longtime friend and collaborator, Bishop Walker, chose to extend the duration of the event and bring even more more objects and personalities to curious visitors. see and experience. Last year’s open house started at 9:00 p.m. and this time, AJ says his studio will open at noon. It will then continue to invite visitors throughout the day until the crowds die down.

Palefest comes with $10 entry and offers an impressive list of guest appearances.

One of those guests will be the previously mentioned Paleface mask company, run by Good’s friend and collaborator Bishop Walker.

Walker’s Paleface mask company operates online and specializes in what AJ calls “nostalgia lines.” Basically replica vintage masks that have been discontinued or have become hard to find. You can check the Paleface website HERE.

One of the most remarkable personalities of the Palefest will be Ladle P. Martini from the Richmond, Va.-based metal band GWAR.

Formed in 1985 by a group of musicians and art students, GWAR is known for their elaborate stage shows where members dress in detailed costumes and perform graphically violent but overtly exaggerated and cartoonish mock executions of their enemies, which range from current celebrities and politicians to past historical figures and villains existing in the band’s own mythos. Afterwards, all manner of bodily fluids are spat onto the live audience below.

Musically, GWAR offers a mix of Punk-fused-Metal and Trash Metal, filled with violent, secular, and sexually charged lyrical content with heavy doses of satirical sociopolitical commentary.

Rather than a band, GWAR should more accurately be thought of as an artist collective dedicated to bringing to life a comic book mythology centered around a group of barbarian interplanetary warriors banished to Earth for their many crimes.

Over the decades, GWAR has included a revolving door of artists and musicians, some responsible for writing and performing the band’s songs, others dedicated to designing and producing the detailed costumes, props and stage dress for the band.

Sleazy P. Martini is a longtime member of the GWAR-tist collective and plays the group’s manager who discovered the immortal space raiders frozen deep within an icy fortress in Antarctica. He is recognizable by his exaggerated pompadour hairstyle, garish gold chains and brightly colored pimp suits.

The myth goes as follows: Fearing his arrest, Sleazy flees the United States and while flying over Antarctica, his helicopter crashes. He soon discovers a cave where the band of ancient warriors are frozen in an icy tomb. GWAR had previously been banished to Earth by a cosmic being known as The Master for his unruly behavior and was later frozen in Antarctica after further angering The Master by procreating with monkeys and creating the human race. Sleazy awakens the creatures and is nearly executed by them but manages to win their allegiance. He soon learns that the murderous band of monsters possess a talent for music and lures them to the United States to exploit their talent.

The man under the pompadour is artist, writer, director and filmmaker Don Drakulich. After earning a fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984, Drakulich joined GWAR in 1986 and has been one of the group’s main artistic forces ever since. Over the years, he was responsible for a significant portion of the band’s conceptual design and the engineering of its many elaborate costumes and stage props. He also starred in and directed some of the band’s music videos and is even credited with introducing the live vomit effects that the band are probably best known for.

Drakulich has since ceased full-time involvement with GWAR. He no longer tours with a band, but continues to contribute to the making of his costumes and props. Today, he runs his own production company Hyper-realistic productions and maintains a few YouTube channels. His main channel Ladle P. Martini focuses on the character of Sleazy P. and provides fans with live chat on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to internet culture, news, and politics. His second channel What did you do in Daddy GWAR? features thoughts and reflections on his time with the group. Don also runs a Twitch channel under the moniker Sleazy P. Martini where he gives fans a weekly movie night. Drakulich also sometimes takes commissions for custom artwork.

Over the past decade, GWAR has suffered some painful setbacks. The first came when guitarist Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus died of a blood clot in late 2011. The second came in March 2014 when the band’s iconic frontman and vocalist Dave Brockie aka Oderous Urungus died of a accidental drug overdose. Despite the tragic losses, GWAR has forged with members old and new and is set to invade Cleveland this Thursday, September 15 in support of their 15th studio album. The New Dark Ages.

It’s important to note that GWAR deals with a topic that some consider offensive, but if you’d like to see GWAR in action, you can find a stripped down version of GWAR from the Oderous era (with Sleazy P. Martini) HEREand a video with clear lyrics by GWAR from the current post-Oderous era HERE. Visit the GWAR website HERE.

GWAR was also recently the subject of a 2022 documentary titled It’s GWAR available on the quiver streaming service. You can find a trailer of the film HERE.

AJ’s collection includes a healthy assortment of GWAR masks and accessories. Some of his GWAR items are recreations while others are pieces made by GWAR’s production company Slave Pit Inc. but not used by the band. Part of its GWAR collection, however, includes actual stage props used by the band in past live performances.

Another guest to appear at Palefest will be Ed and Marsha Edmundsowner-operator of the Colorado-based Halloween props manufacturing company Unlimited distortions.

The Edmunds and their team of artists for over 40 years have been creating the type of high quality Halloween and horror props, costumes, masks and animatronics often found in haunted houses and theme parks, or any other event or attraction. need a touch of scary and macabre.

You may have seen some of Distortions Unlimited’s world famous creations on the TV show make monsterswhich aired during the fall months on the travel channel in the early 2010s. The show ran from 2011-2013 and followed the company’s behind-the-scenes efforts as they worked to provide their spooky art to those in need at various haunted attractions, private events and even the companies of well-known musical acts and artists such as rock greats Alice Cooper and Megadeth, and legendary actor and comedian Dick van Dyke.

If you want to know more about Distortions Unlimited, you can visit their website HEREor their YouTube page HERE.

Other notable names that will appear at Palefest are:

Machete Man Customs – Manufacturer and online mask seller specializing in replica masks and accessories from the Friday the 13th series.

The Devil’s Reel – Photography company specializing in portrait and product photography with a dark touch, consisting mainly of masks and busts created by independent artists.

Stay Metal Ray – YouTuber and musician whose video content focuses on music tips as well as instrument and gear reviews.

Alexander Titanium – Manufacturer of professional costumes and masks for the haunting industry, theme parks and musicians.

Other exhibitors scheduled to appear at Palefest are Sad Clown Studios, Psychosmil3y and Jared Smalley.

Once again, Palefest is due to start at noon on Saturday, October 8 at House of Masks, located at 51 East Main Street in Chillicothe, Ohio. $10 gets you in.

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