Reverend Horton Heat, Live in Akron 6-14-17

So just two days after getting home from the whirlwind weekend that was the Midwest Haunters Convention, brother Scrapes and I decided to take in a show to keep the craziness going.

It's not often that bigger named acts make a stop here in Akron (most swing through Cleveland), but when they do, we definitely make it a priority to go check them out.

And thus was the case last Wednesday at Musica, when we got the triple-bill treat of rockabilly stalwarts the Flat Duo Jets, southern California skate punk legends Agent Orange and Texas psychobilly masters Reverend Horton Heat. I had seen Agent Orange and Reverend Horton Heat in the past, but how could I pass up a show of this caliber, only literally five minutes down the road from my house!?

I grabbed the trusty camera and headed out...

Unfortunately, we entered a packed house half way through the Flat Duo Jets' opening set, and we opted for a trip to the bar before a trip to the stage, so I wasn't able to get any pictures. But take my word for it, that band still brings it! After their foot-stomping set, we set up at the front of the stage to catch the next band.

Even with a broken wrist, Mike Palm and the rest of Agent Orange still belted out their skate rock classics, making the 15-year-old skate rat in me quite happy!

After the Agent Orange set, Reverend Horton Heat took the stage and blazed through their headlining set. Absolute tightness, precision and fun, ending with an incredible cover...

Posted by Mike Bloomhuff on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An amazing show all around. All three bands sounded great and I couldn't be happier that they played a small club here in Akron. And all just five minutes from the Cemetery! Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night...

MHC Group Photo, 2017

One more from this year's Midwest Haunters Convention. Here's the Masquerade Ball group photo of James, Brent and I, taken by the Sci-Fi Photo Guys with their custom backdrop added...


Midwest Haunters Convention, 2017

Another Midwest Haunters Convention has now come and gone, and the old bones still haven't fully recovered. Another ten days worth of tours, classes, haunts, costumes, tradeshow and other general late night party madness jam packed into three unbelievable days!

After a quick drive to Columbus, I had the chance to meet up with Brent Wilson from Planet Doom Haunt (all the way from Idaho Falls, Idaho!) and we jumped on the bus for the Friday Night Tour - a tour of the brand new ScareFactory prop shop followed by a trip to the legendary haunt, The Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres

Immediately, I knew we were in for a hell of a night when we boarded the very last bus out. The driver? One part Ric Flair, one part Joe Biden, one part Evel Kneivel, but all business:

The "WOOOOOO!s" rang out (which may or may not have been started by yours truly) as we departed for our first stop, The ScareFactory. I had actually toured the ScareFactory a few years ago, but I was excited to see their new building. Once we arrived, we were not disappointed. This place was massive. They still had a lobby full of their incredibly detailed movie figures as well as a huge warehouse area full of their deeply discounted haunt props and animatronics...

Still my favorite piece in their collection!

After a quick tour through the endless spaces of the ScareFactory, we hopped back on the bus for a quick ride over to the main feature of the night, the Haunted Hoochie!!

I had also been to the Hoochie a few years back, but this particular trip blew me away. The Hoochie is widely known as one of the most extreme haunts in the country, but those extreme elements now coupled with their new investments in props, high-end animatronics and scenery (including a new fuselage section from an actual airplane, once used in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film?), rocket this haunt into my Top 5 All Time Haunts. It's like the haunt now has to be taken more seriously. Outside of the craziness that makes the Hoochie what it is (I compare it to being at a GWAR show!), the haunt is genuinely incredible. I am definitely driving back down to visit the Hoochie again in October. From what we saw Friday night, I can't even imagine what a full-on, in-season haunt would be like...

Don't get too close. The queue line fire-breather...

And yes, the woman at the bottom right had to have been at least 80 years old. God, I hope I'm still going to haunts when I'm that old!! 

After a late return to the hotel bar, we hooked up with Highbury regular James and planned out the next day's events. Classes, trade show, lunch and the infamous Masquerade Ball! 

We woke up (relatively) early on Saturday and set out to get as much in as we could. We took a couple of great classes and canvassed the trade show floor. I snapped away wildly as I toured each booth. The layout of the show floor seemed a bit more spaced out, allowing us to tour the entire show quickly. Tons of cool props, masks and other products from a wide variety of vendors...

I think I snapped this photo about one second too early... :)

It's almost time!"

And a special shout out, as always, to fellow Akronites and good friends, Closed Casket Studios for allowing me to sneak in on Friday and have a beer with you guys while you set up the booth! You guys are killing it!!

Two bad muthas...

Spoiler: Look for The Harvester, this killer new scarecrow prop head in the Cemetery this year. I'm hoping to make some killer new pieces for this year's haunt with it!

Allen Hopps, doing what he does best.

That retro cool red skull almost went home with James. Almost...

After a few laps around the tradeshow floor, we all went back to our rooms to prepare for the night's main event - the infamous Masquerade Ball! 

We chilled out a bit with a couple of beers and a viewing of the 1932 Bela Lugosi classic, White Zombie, before donning the night's costumes. The makeup and costume all seemed to go quickly and smoothly, and for once I was ready to go with time to spare. I was really excited to show off this year's new costume prop, the Necromancer's Staff. We headed out, camera and staff in hand, ready to tear it up...

We made our way to the ball, quickly grabbing photos of the amazing costumes, drinks from the bar, and conversations with friends. The night really seemed to fly by as we quickly went through the Body Art Fashion Show, Ms. Scary Midwest Pageant and Scariest Costume Contest. 

A few drinks, a few snacks and a few laps around the dance floor and the event was already over. Luckily the fun was just getting started as the masses flocked to the hotel bar to carry on the evening's merriment.

I quickly found out that a six-foot-tall staff in one hand and a cold beer in the other didn't leave much time for photos, so I snapped a few pictures between rounds and got what I could. In previous years I was intent on getting as many photos as I could, but this year was much more relaxed and carefree...

Highbury Cemetery friends and MHC institutions Vince, Stacey and Sabrina Rager!

 The always-incredible makeup and costuming from the ladies at Svenpuss Productions.

YES!! I got "fingered" by the Nasty Witch!!!

The Three Stooges: James, Brent and myself. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Really the only Body Art Fashion Show photo you need. Photo by Brent Wilson.

The goat! Flashing the horns. Photo by Brent Wilson.

At breakfast on Sunday morning, James and I talked about how much fun the convention was this year. Way more relaxed and stress-free than in previous years. Some people complained about the convention being smaller, but I liked the fact that it was a bit spread out and you could easily navigate the floor. Plus, there were still a ton of great wares from some really great vendors. And, I got to meet a lot of my fellow haunters from Haunters Hangout in the flesh. It was amazing to see how far some haunters came to be there! All in all, the 2017 Midwest Haunters Convention will go down as one of my favorites.

A huge thanks to long-time haunt brother James for coming down and raging with me for another non-stop weekend. A big thanks also goes out to new haunt brother Brent Wilson for stepping up when I was looking for someone to go on the Friday night tour with. We ended up raging all weekend and we're already making plans for MHC, 2018. 

And I would be remiss if I didn't end this post with Brent's unbelievably rad MHC 2017 video (please watch all the way until the end!!). A perfect overview of a crazy, crazy weekend.