Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blackjack Creature Company

We've been blessed to meet some legitimately nice people in the haunt industry since beginning Shingle Creek Manor . Such is the case with meeting co-owner and artist-sculptor Jason Thomas of Blackjack Creature Company this past week.

We had ordered an "Undead Hugger" from Blackjack Creature Company earlier in the year at the Spooky Mayhem Convention in Orlando. Being dabblers at making molds and more recently sculpting projects for Shingle Creek Manor, we were sort of hoping we'd get an impromptu tour of the Blackjack Creature Company studio to see how it's "suppose" to be done. Of course studios aren't generally setup for visitors so I wasn't too optimistic about our chances after placing our order.

Our first look at the "Undead Hugger" at the 2013 Halloween Extreme Convention
As luck would have it, we got the call this past week that our "hugger" was done and if we would like to drive over to their studio in Lakeland, Florida, Jason would give us  the grand tour! Score!

Blackjack Creature Company is owned by Jason Thomas and friend Andrew Logan.  Its located in a modest sized building of an industrial warehouse area. The studio was packed with plaster molds and latex masks at different levels of completion. There were several work areas specific to each stage of production at floor level, with a second floor loft where most of the business end of the things take place. As you would expect of a place where horror artists work, latex curiosities and masks decorate most of the walls and shelves in the business.

Artist-Sculptor Jason Thomas and Belinda with our new "Undead Hugger"
 Jason was an excellent host showing us each work area and explaining the work currently being done for a company to finish a very large quantity of zombie paintball masks that pretty well dominated most spaces in the studio. He even gave us a peek at a new mask being made from a "fantasy story - gone wrong" type concept that hasn't been announced yet. As this was a "peek behind the curtain", so to speak, I won't divulge what the new mask was, but it goes very well with their Jack'd Rabbit mask that they currently sell.

Freelance Artist Francesca Urgo doing some detail work
 I could have spent hours talking to this guy that's been in the business of sculpting and horror for a whole bunch of years. Jason has been sculpting since he was a youngster, after being awestruck by the character in the movie "E.T.". He also does work for Universal Studios and Halloween Horror Nights and we got to talk about some of the "Face Off" celebrities, his friends, that are doing work there this year. From the perspective of the average home haunter he's living the fantasy... but after seeing the studio I can tell you there is a whole bunch of work involved in that fantasy!

Zombie paintball masks in production
They have a great attitude about the importance of home haunters to their business. If  I had a drawn concept that I wanted to turn into a mask or prop, these would be the guys I would call. Blackjack Creature Company have a deal you would be insane to refuse. If you get the chance to see them at one of the conventions, make sure you stop by and say, "hi". You can contact Blackjack Creature Company on their Facebook page or their website.

Special thanks to Jason Thomas for the impromptu tour and spending time talking with us, and of course for the new addition to Shingle Creek Manor for Halloween! He's going to make an excellent prop for our photo op this year!

"I'm not driving that fast... close your mouth"

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