Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mask-Fest 2015

As soon as we walked into the convention hall, we could smell the sweet, familiar aroma of latex.

"It smells like Halloween!" she said with a grin on her face and gripped my hand excitedly.

Thus began our journey into the wonderful world of Mask-Fest...


Mask-Fest is an off-shoot of the annual HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis.  This convention a celebration of all things horror-related.  Attendees are treated to vendors, celebrities, and droves of like-minded folks who share an appreciation for the genre.  Mask-Fest, meanwhile, is a convention devoted solely to Halloween masks and practical creature effects. 

For years I had very much wanted to attend this event, but busy schedules and budgetary constraints would simply not allow for it.  I kept up with the announcements for this year's Mask-Fest and was amazed that so many of my favorite artists were going to be in attendance.  I lamented the fact that, once again, it appeared that I would not be able to go.

But a few weeks ago my amazing wife surprised me with what I consider to be one of the best anniversary gifts of all time:  Tickets to Mask-Fest!

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with aisle upon aisle of Halloween masks and props.  The artistry on display was staggering.  These weren't the cheap masks one could pick up at a department store.  Each mask was meticulously sculpted, mold and cast, and then painted with painstaking attention to detail.  The mask-makers and creature designers in attendance were friendly and bursting with enthusiasm for their craft, eager to talk about their methods and upcoming projects.

Take a moment to appreciate an often overlooked skill attributed to mask-making...  The hair.  We were educated on the various methods of applying hair to creatures by one of the attending artists.  Typically on cheaper masks the hair is merely glued on in patches, but artists striving for realism will employ a different, more time-consuming technique called hair-punching.  This involves taking a few strands at a time and threading them through the latex.



I've been to a number of conventions over the years, but this was easily the best.  Kudos to the organizers, artists, and everyone else involved!

In short (too late): Mask-Fest was a blast!  I can't wait until next year!

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