Making Halloween: Trip Sixx Studios and Sinister FX are Producing Creepy Props and Masks for the Haunted Attraction Industry Right Here in Louisville!

These two local businesses are busy creating Halloween products that will be purchased and used in haunted attractions all over the world.

Greetings, my fiends, it’s The Phantom of the Ville reporting in on the eve of the TransWorld Halloween & Attractions Show ( ), the largest Halloween industry trade show in the world, which is happening in St. Louis, Missouri between March 20th and 23rd. Everyone who is anyone in the Halloween, haunted attraction and theme park industry will be there. The showroom floor is the equivalent of Disneyland for haunted house fanatics, and there is nowhere else on earth that you’ll find more giant animatronics, monsters and masks in one place.

TransWorld is Halloween mecca.

If there is one thing I’ve heard economists agree upon since we sank into the Great Recession, it’s that one of our fundamental stumbling blocks is the fact that we don’t make anything in this country anymore. We import our goods at the cheapest prices from countries whose workers make the lowest wages and shop out all of our production to the cheapest bidder overseas.

This dilemma has hit Hollywood hard in recent years, as all of the practical monster makers of the 1970s and 1980s have mostly been replaced with digital creature creators, and most of that work is now being shopped out overseas. The Halloween industry has since become the creative outlet and a new source of employment for practical monster makers. While computer generated effects play extremely well on a flat movie screen, it still takes the physical presence of actors in makeup, live monsters and practical sets to fully engage an audience in a haunted attraction.

It’s with a sense of pride that I can tell you that in the burgeoning haunted attraction business of scaring the masses in September and October, which is still a non-corporate, locally oriented phenomenon, most of the sets, props and masks used to terrify patrons in haunted houses across America are still designed and made by hand here in the United States.

Today, we’re going to look at two companies whose products aren’t just stamped “Made in the USA,” but are certified “Made in the Ville.”

Trip Sixx Studios is a company that was started out of necessity by owners Terry Campbell and Todd Moore in 2011. Campbell and Moore needed vacuform panels to create realistic walls and passageways for their attraction, Industrial Terrorplex, and they found them difficult to have shipped to the haunt so they went out and bought a machine and the materials to make their own.

Terry Campbell is an ex-Marine who got involved in the haunted house industry in 1991 as a way to raise money for Toys for Tots. Campbell partnered with Todd Moore in 2002 while Moore was still the co-owner and operator of the Haunted Hotel, and together they bought Industrial Nightmare in 2006, changing its name to Industrial Terrorplex.

Trip Sixx Studios ( first started producing the steel, industrial panels with gears and spikes that they needed to completely renovate Industrial Terrorplex’s main attraction for the 2013 haunt season, but they have expanded production to include lines of steel and pipe walls, old house panels and natural looking brick and stone panels for cave and castle sets.

Their wall panels come in 4 foot by 8 foot sections that can be connected together to build an entire scene or frame an entire attraction. You can get morgue panels, doors, windows, bookcases, fireplaces, vaults and just about any kind of brick or stone wall panels you can imagine. At a cost of only $125 per panel, it would be an extremely easy and cost effective way for a new haunt to build an entire maze or for an existing haunt to renovate an entire section using Trip Sixx’s wall panels.

Trip Sixx can also fabricate or customize anything to meet the needs of a client. They’ve already sold panels to companies across the country for haunted houses, zoos, movie backdrops and even a series of skull panels that were recently used in a promotional shoot for the TV show, “Bones.”

Sinister FX is the name of the new monster mask company started by the current owner of the Haunted Hotel, Kevin Stich, and his Haunted Hotel General Manager, Kristen Warf. The first mask made for Sinister FX, like the first wall panels made at Trip Sixx Studios, was a product of necessity. Stich was planning a “Bloody X-Mas” version of the Haunted Hotel and he needed a Christmas Krampus mask for a crucial scene in the haunt. Finding a retail Krampus mask to suit his needs was easier said than done, so Stich decided to make his own Krampus mask in house.

He then decided to go ahead and make a Yeti mask too. Soon, Stich and his enthusiastic crew were producing dozens of new masks for his haunt.

Brian French and Kristen Warf  are the backbone of Sinister FX,” says Stich. “Brian helps with everything from design, conception, sculpting and finish product work.”

“Then we have a guy named Chad Kern, who makes the final piece,” continues Stich. “Chad has a real vision for the extreme, and for doing things outside the box. He also helps with creation, sculpting, painting and finishing work.”

“Everyone has free reign to create whatever they want, and I think it really comes out in our work.”

Sinister FX’s line of masks have already been picked up by three retail stores that are spread across the country: Abracadabra in New York City, Xtreme Halloween in California and Caufield’s Novelty right here in Louisville. “We are excited to work with retailers and create a brand of masks and FX stuff they normally do not see,” says Stich. “We believe customers are looking for a quality product that is unique and one off.”

The masks made by Sinister FX are indeed unique. They’re all handmade, not factory produced, so no two masks will ever look exactly the same. “We can make similar looking masks,” explains Stich, “but each mask will have its own identity. This is a big selling point to our customers.”

One of the interesting things that the Sinister FX mask creators are doing is working with both burlap and latex. “We’ve been asked to teach a class on the use of burlap and latex at the Midwest Haunters Convention in June in Columbus, Ohio,” says Stich. Sinister FX will also have a vendor’s table at the Wizard World Louisville Comic Con taking place at the Kentucky International Convention Center between March 28th and March 30th, and they plan to also be at Mask-Fest in Indianapolis in September.

Both Sinister FX and Trip Sixx Studios will have booths and be selling their products at the TransWorld Halloween & Attractions Show next weekend in St. Louis so you can be sure that set pieces and masks made here in Louisville will be used to shock and thrill haunted house fans all over the world next Halloween.

Special thanks to Amanda Sullivan at Trip Sixx Studios for all your help with this article!

The Phantom of The Ville

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