The paranormal is always present at this time of year in British Columbia – the area is shrouded in drippy forests and by dark shadowy myth – and regional cryptids seem to watch from every corner. The region has historically been associated with numerous eerie film and TV monsters as well, having been home to The X-Files, The Never-Ending Story, The Thing, Deadpool, Twilight and its sequels, Watchmen, The Last of Us, and so many more genre films and TV series, which have been filmed in the area.
But on Friday, October 13, these creeps worried no one – as over 400 Vancouver film and TV professionals came out en masse to celebrate the Grand Opening – and bloody ribbon-cutting – of MastersFX’s new Monster Museum and FX Studio, located in Burnaby!
Founded in 1987, MastersFX (MFX) is an award-winning “monster shop” which has designed, created and produced some of the best-loved monsters in movies and television shows for nearly 37 years! Now open to the public, the Monster Museum is quickly selling out, but tickets and more information about the MastersFX Monster Museum can be found here: https://mastersfxmonstermuseum.com/collections/events
Inside the showroom of their pristine, 25,000 square foot monster-making space, the MastersFX team has created a Monster Museum, which is presenting “Forty Years of Monster-Making.” The experience offers visitors an interactive exhibit that takes them through parts of MFX’s actual working monster shop, showing-off their various techniques, and letting visitors operate the animatronics and take selfies with actual screen-used monsters.
Occupying the museum are an assortment of aliens, demons, devils, fairies, harpies, vampires, beasts, corpses, cadavers, robots, sasquatches, mummies, werewolves, zombies and more. These exhibits of “FX Art” have been personally curated by multi-Emmy Award-winner, Todd Masters.
The museum, now open on weekends during October, also demonstrates advancements that the MFX team has made within the field of special effects – aspects of which they call “Neo-Practical Effects.” The museum contains over 80 creatures and FX used in making shows on which MFX has contributed their special form of art, including: Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Fringe, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Sonic the Hedgehog, Yellowjackets; Stargate; Six Feet Under; Star Trek: First Contact and Predator. Even current projects are represented: It Lives Inside, Monster High, and The Fall of the House of Usher, to name a few.
Buried within a horde of local movie and TV industry leaders, who attended the Friday the 13th opening of the museum, Todd Masters, MFX President – his white pants still bloody from the ribbon-cutting ceremony – buzzed, “I’m overwhelmed that so many of our friends and colleagues turned out to help us bring our monster-studio to life!”
Just minutes earlier, Masters used a pair of giant scissors to cut the ribbon – one that actually bled when he cut it. “It’s nice to see everyone again,” he told the crowd of over 400. “The strikes haven’t been good for the movie community – hopefully we’re nearing resolve – and you can feel the energy in this room. Having this massive industry support for our FX – something that is very-much a local art form – is exhilarating.”
The recent writers’ and actors’ strikes have slowed MastersFX workflow down a bit, but the resilient company has been flexing their project outreach with independent films, commercials, and now the Monster Museum – all of which has kept the studio’s team diligent. “Our studios have had most of the summer to develop the museum – our team refurbished many pieces, from over decades,” says Sandy Lindala, MastersFX’s legendary FX Producer and Vice President. “Vancouver has always been a monster town, with many classic genre shows shooting here over many years. Not to mention that the Pacific Northwest is renowned for local monster legends like Sasquatch – and that Ogopogo is only four hours east from here, in Lake Kelowna. A bit further south in Forks, Washington, is where the Twilight vampires come from. So this part of the world is truly supernatural!“
Inside the crowded museum during the venue’s grand opening event on October 13, actress and “actual monster” Jenaya Ross (who has portrayed monsters in several recent entertainment projects, including It Live Inside and Nancy Drew) eased through the crowd in her “human” form. “I’ve had the privilege of working alongside the MastersFX team as a creature actor for a few years now,” she told museum visitors. “And they are easily some of the most talented artists I’ve ever met.”
“Their creative abilities continue to amaze me with each new project,” Ross explained to those attending the grand opening event, as she pointed out that one of the characters she just recently portrayed – the Pishach monster from the film It Lives Inside – actually glows in the corner of the museum. “I can’t wait for the general public to come check out MastersFX’s work at the museum, and to be able to fully grasp the attention to detail and effort they lovingly put into every piece of monster art they create.”
A number of local, Vancouver-based companies served as Event Partners to MastersFX, aiding in support of the grand opening of the Monster Museum:
- William F. White (Museum Lighting)
- Fibertek (Sponsored Drinks)
- Punk Rock Pastries (An Alien Autopsy Cake!)
- Truffles Catering (Food)
Founded in 1987 by three-time Emmy® Award winner Todd Masters, MastersFX is a full-service character FX company, with studios in Vancouver, BC and Toronto, Ontario.
MFX is known for a diverse resume of characters and FX, like the cadavers from Six Feet Under…the vampires for True Blood… Jack from the Jack in the Box commercials… Bib the Michelin Man… the Borg from Star Trek… the babies from Look Who’s Talking…the werewolves from Underworld… Chucky from Child’s Play… and the Predator from the recent film version of The Predator.
MastersFX’s creative teams produce a distinctive blend of practical and digital makeup FX, prosthetics and animatronics for the entertainment industry’s biggest movies and television shows.
Presently, the studio’s work can be seen in Nickelodeon’s Monster High 2, which premiered on October 5th; Vindicta from Paramount; and Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher. MFX’s upcoming projects include: Seasons Four of The Boys and The Umbrella Academy; The Last Airbender; Percy Jackson, and Beacon 23.