Founder of Fright Night Studios, Michael Burnett, got his start in movies. Today, we’ll learn about his studio and their ability to customize props.
Founder of Fright Night Studios, Michael Burnett, got his start in movies. And his angle is bringing movie-quality pieces to your haunt. Today, we’ll learn about his studio and its ability to customize props.
This is part of our vendor showcase series, in partnership with the Haunted Attraction Association; This interview was recorded during Transworld by Brian Foreman.
Philip: Coming up, we'll learn about FrightNight Studios and their 2022 products. Founder of FrightNight Studios, Michael Burnett, got his start in movies, and his angle is a bringing movie quality pieces to your haunt. Brian snagged this interview from the Transworld show floor, and I'm going to pass it over to him to finish.
Brian: Tell us a little bit about your brand and what you offer. I see those really cool smashed pumpkins look pretty awesome, props with dart board heads, darts sticking in their faces, dismembered body.
Michael Burnett: Our big thing is movie quality for a haunted attraction. So, our background is a motion picture, special effects, worked on tons of horror movies, House of a Thousand Corpses, Evil Dead 2, Aliens. But I've always been a huge haunt fan, so my favorite thing is like to go into a haunted house and feel like I'm living a horror movie. So, that's always our goal. We try to bring a level that you could film with, and a lot of these props have been used in movies, various movies and TV shows, or that was their original origin.
And we customize everything. So, we have our stock items, but also, if you like the clown head dart board, but he's got a red wig on our display, but you go, "oh, man, I really wish I had a blue wig." That's no problem, we do all the different colors, and there's so many different variations it's impossible to show everything. So, we try to show a variety of stuff. Every one of these, since we hand make them, they're totally customizable.
Brian: Do you have one thing that is like one of your most popular things you sell a lot of?
Michael Burnett: Our animals, the piggies, the little dead piggies, the cow heads, you know, we always sell out of those. Opossums, we've got a possum, that roadkill kind of thing that, some that look fresh, some that look, you know, like they've been run over a couple of times, and we've even made them that looked like they're still alive that have a breathing mechanism in them. So, they're lying on the table and still breathing.
Brian: Well, is it all latex, foam latex, or what is it?
Michael Burnett: Urethane foams, rigid, flexible. Most of them, we make flexible, they're more durable that way, but we do a lot of fiber glass outdoor display pieces.
Brian: They'll hold up through the winter and through all the crazy seasons we get while in October?
Michael Burnett: Yeah, no, absolutely. We do one called The Angel of Death, we have one that we use for our home, I just throw it in the backyard through the year. Actually, after about eight years, it actually looked better, all that natural aging and distressing. It's great, I just leave it out in the backyard and every year it looks more and more like it's supposed to, like it's been outside forever.
Brian: I like all your stuff;,I think these smashing pumpkins are really cool too.
Michael Burnett: Oh, thanks. I'm a huge pumpkin fan. Every year my kids know when it's Halloween because the minute the pumpkins are available, I start bringing them home. These are all actually molded off of real pumpkins. I have to buy extra; I'll usually have 15-20 pumpkin's. I'll save them until they get to a certain point, and then we make a mold off of him. So, we've got probably a dozen different versions, and they're all molded off real pumpkins.
Brian: I you saw your dog laying over there. That's pretty good.
Michael Burnett: Thanks. Yeah, that's the other thing too. We've had a lot of people come up to us and they go, "you know what? I really need this particular thing. I can't find it for my haunt, and I have this scene idea." That dog is a perfect example. We had somebody who wanted to do a pet cemetery, and there were no dogs or cats, or at least none that they liked. So we did both, we did a dog and a cat, specifically for their haunt. But now we have the sculpture and everything, so we have it in our kit.
This has been a crazy couple of years for everybody. One of the challenges we've had is the urethanes, which is what we make 90% of our stuff, they had a whole problem last year. A lot of the processing gets done in Texas, and they had that big freeze where the power went out. We literally couldn't get foam for several months, or it was really difficult. Now we can get it, but the price is through the roof.
Brian: What kind of movies and stuff that, I know you've probably done a lot and to choose one would be ridiculous, but tell me some of your experiences on creating stuff for movies.
Michael Burnett: Well, a horror movie in particular, since we're talking Halloween, and probably one of the coolest experiences, it was one of my first jobs back in the eighties, was Evil Dead 2. We filmed that in North Carolina in an abandoned school. People who are fans of it know that it takes place in this cabin out in the woods and a basement below it.
Well, In reality, when we filmed it, the basement was on the first floor and the cabin was above, and there was a little, maybe, three-foot walkway around the outside edge, like a scaffolding. So, when you're watching that movie and you see him run around and then going into the basement, they're actually on the second floor going down. So, when we were filming it was so dark, we were in an abandoned school like I mentioned, we were in the gymnasium using it like a set that was pitch black, cause the movie takes place at night. So, we're out there hanging on the outside of this building trying to do our effects through the windows and stuff. It was a lot of fun.
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