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THE WIZARD OF THE 13TH FLOOR

THE WIZARD OF THE 13TH FLOOR – Populating the Haunt

By CHRIS ALEXANDER

The art of shocking audiences is a balance of well-timed scares and thick, immersive atmosphere—a magician’s trick designed to fool the conscious mind into believing that what it is experiencing is real. And as in horror filmmaking, the special FX artist is also the haunted house’s ace in the hole. Without their illusions, the terror just doesn’t have the same blood-icing sting.

Prosthetic FX designer Evan Hedges knows this, and pours his energy into making sure The 13th Floor is a nonstop sensory smackdown of bizarre creatures, demons, ghouls and other supernatural entities. We chatted briefly with the makeup wizard and caught a glimpse of the weird world behind the curtain.

FANGORIA: Tell us about your background.

EVAN HEDGES: I attended Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program after high school. My friend was going there already, it seemed like fun and I thought, “What the hell, why not? I’ll try it out.” The rest, as they say, is history!

FANG: When did you first realize that FZ was what you wanted to do?

HEDGES: When I was a kid, I always loved creating things out of clay. I used to make all the characters from Saturday Night Live’s “Mr. Bill Show,” and then, just like on TV, I’d take great pleasure in crushing them [laughs]. And my dad would take me to see R-rated movies like RoboCop and The Terminator. I was fascinated by those illusions and always wanted to know how they did them. It became an obsession.

FANG: So you went to school and learned your trade, but how did you end up in the world of haunted attractions?

HEDGES: Believe it or not, Craigslist [laughs]. There was a posting there for a mask maker. So I replied, they liked my work and I’ve been working for The 13th Floor for the past four years.

FANG: What’s one of your favorite gags?

HEDGES: Oh man, that’s a hard one. Everything! I love them all. Recently, I made this zombie baby in a crib that cries. It’s one of those things that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Very psychological…a deep, primal kind of horror comes from that.

FANG: Are you an ongoing staff member, always tweaking your creations?

HEDGES: I’m always coming up with new ideas. I can’t shut my brain off—always thinking of what I can make better and more terrifying. Right now, I’m working on some top-secret haunt stuff. I’d tell you more…but I’d have to kill you.

Read more in this special Issue of FANGORIA Magazine!

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