This is a series of interviews we do with people in the Haunted Attraction/Horror Industry. This week we are talking with Jeremy Dalessandro of The Creepy Collection about his lifelike corpses and what it takes to make them.
Why did you first become interested in the Haunted House Horror Business?
I was attracted to horror since I was five years old. I was the only five-year-old waiting impatiently to get in to see Jaws. Every Halloween I had to have four or five different costumes. I loved to dress up and make my own horror movies.
Then I started home haunting in the late 80’s and was even awarded a scholarship to a special effects school from the home haunting. But then one morning a gas explosion set my house on fire. I was left with nothing more than the pants I was wearing and so I had to give up on my SFX dream in order to re-build my life. I was 21 at the time.
A few years later I discovered the Haunted House Industry and was immediately hooked. Right away I knew that this could be an opportunity to finally live my dream of producing props and making them come alive in on my own haunted shows.
What previous jobs have you had?
I worked as a stockbroker for TD Waterhouse, worked as a clothing sales man, and I worked as an usher in two movie theaters.
What job do you have now?
I work as a Media Marketer for Tribune/Newsday.
How long have you been in business?
It’s been three years since I started building my custom corpses and props.
How did you start?
I built my first corpse skull in May 2003 after winning the skull at a show.
What’s the scariest Haunted House you ever been to?
Screamers Haunted House. Picture yourself in complete darkness and with no exit signs anywhere.
What Inspires you to create?
The Haunted House customer inspires me to create my gross and twisted props. Every single prop is built with a customer in mind. My purpose is to blow them away with a knock out punch when they see my props. I want them to walk away feeling and thinking about the creepy experience for days, weeks, months, and years to come. That can only affect my customers, the haunts, scream parks, and even your not-so-everyday as someone would say mom and pop Home Haunter.
Are You Married?
Yes I am and my wife hates Halloween, but I love her anyway. I guess no one’s perfect, you know.
Do you ever get scared anymore?
Yes just put me in a plane and I will crap my pants.
Do you believe in real haunted houses?
Of corpse I do.
What is Fear?
Fear is the six girls in the corner crying and gasping so the bloody, dirty guy with the chainsaw won’t come over, cut their heads off, and bask in the blood. You all know I am twisted right? I know you have seen my props!
Who is your competition and why?
I don’t see anyone as my competition because I am my own prop maker and each prop reflects what fear is from my point of view. What I make does a 360 from what is out there. I go out of my way to go in a new direction all the time. The last prop I made is not good enough any more. I’m always inventing, improving, and reinventing.
I guess you can say I am my own competition in a way, but really, what I do is different from Kevin Klum from the Ed Gein Collection. He does some cool, rotten corpses that are great for the out-of-the-grave look. I focus more on bloody, more gory corpses, like for example, a woman that’s been savagely beaten and her face has been ripped off and left for dead. We also do extreme rotten corpses as well.
What Is your five year goal?
To branch out into mask, creepy art, and animations that look super real and doing things no one has ever seen.