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We don't get many Horror-Cons in Southern Utah. By that, I mean we get zero fucking Horror-Cons. I’m sure it’s the same reason Godsplotation flicks like Freetown (2015) get banner billing at the local theater, but I have trouble finding a place playing mainstream phenomenons like The Shape of Water (2017). Anyway, those who would attend such an event are shit out of luck and left making the drive to comic cons in Salt Lake City with pessimistic hopes of seeing cool Jason cosplay or something. It was therefore strange to learn (from Full Moon’s latest Indiegogo campaign) that just a few hours away stood a small monument to the Horror films and the practical effects that make them great. Until then I had no idea that just outside of Vegas was Tom Devlin's Monster Museum.
If you don't know, Tom Devlin is one of the modern greats of trash cinemas special effects department. He gave us some awesome and fucked up monsters for both Troma and Full Moon’s more recent eras as well as a chunk of Asylum creature shlock. No matter the quality of flick his shit is always on point. Recently he was key in bringing the puppets to life for Puppet Master: Axis Termination, and in the effects for the best three Killjoys (3,4,5 IMO).
After a quest through the desert, I arrived at the museum’s home town of Boulder City NV, I easily spotted its location on the dusty city’s main (only?) road. Inside I found a showroom full of costume supplies for sale and a kick-ass employee who greeted my party and guided our admission to the Museum portion of the establishment. Through the inconspicuous double doors, in the first section, I found traditional plaques and tributes to classic horror greats as well as some awesome/creepy-as-fuck face molds. Devlin has life sized recreations of famous monsters ranging from Universal Monsters to The Exorcist’s Regan complete with her bed. The first third of the attraction is full of fun facts and lifelike exhibits and would fit in well with the pop culture displays and wax museums of the area.
As the Richard Band esque tune playing in the background got louder, my anticipation for my predicted favorite grew, until I finally found the puppets I had been secretly looking for since the very beginning. I pressed my face against the glass and took in all the goofy ass glory. The Puppet Master series holds an unexplainable portion of my heart, and his work on last two flicks looks great. I was glad to be finally meet the crew in person.
Along with Puppet Master, there were also screen-used props and masks from other recent Full Moon flicks, including a large showcase of his work on the Killjoy and Evil Bong/Gingerdead series. He also includes the costume used for the fully formed Chicken Monster from Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) which is far more terrifying in its real life then anything in the movie.
It was great to see his time at Asylum represented. His work is the highlight of those films, and it serves as a testament to the quality and effort that goes into the practical effects on even those films with little resources.
The quaint hall of horrors serves to be a shared and elaborate love letter to medium as much as it is a museum. Plagues of flavor text provide information and background on the collection as you go. Along with the behind the scenes facts and trivia, you are exposed to the confession that Tom Devlin is a fan above all else. Passed the screen props is more detailed replicas of some of his favorites including The Toxic Avenger and an amazing set of Killer Klowns.
The whole thing was well worth a few hours in the desert and like, 13 bucks. I had a blast checking out the collection and will definitely be back out that way. If you are in the area I recommend taking a look. Thank you Tom Devilin for giving the poor, oppressed, desert dwelling horror fans a thing… Sorry about the face smears on your glass cases.

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