This coming October, the public will be offered the opportunity to get an up-close look at an impressively large collection of horror masks, curated by a Chillicothe-based YouTube creator, while mingling with a whole host of celebrity guests from around the world of art and Horror media.
Chillicothe’s AJ Good invites the public to take a look behind the scenes at his downtown studio known as The House of Masks. It is titled part of the Horror Convention bleach proof Slated for Saturday October 8th at Good’s Chillicothe downtown studio.
“Palefest is the combination of my company, House of Masks, and my best friend Bishop Walker’s Paleface company,” Good said. “Last year we held an open house for fans of the channel and locals who have always wondered what’s in this building that you can’t go inside. I had Paleface at the open house because it’s a sister company of mine. I promote his items on my channel and he makes really cool stuff for the hobby. As soon as the open house was over, we thought: “That was amazing, we have to do something different”. Since then, every free second has been invested in planning this convention.”
Good, at the age of 29, has spent a significant part of his life putting together a large collection of horror and Halloween masks, some entirely original, others based on popular horror franchises, and some designed by members of theatrical metal bands. Music acts are worn.
Hundreds and hundreds of horror masks currently line the walls of Good’s Studio at 51 East Main Street, where he also shoots video content for his YouTube channel, which goes under the House of Masks names too.
Good launched his YouTube channel in 2011 and today boasts a respectable subscriber base of more than 140,000 and counting. House of Masks’ videos typically chronicle new acquisitions for Good’s ever-growing collection, but also explore his diverse pop culture and musical interests. Good’s channel even features some in-depth interviews with members of theatrical metal bands such as GWARs Don Drakulich and Chuck Varga, and Mudvaynes Chad Grey.
The success of AJ’s YouTube channel has allowed him to forge relationships with some of his most admired musicians and others who design and make the very kind of masks that first fueled his passion for the hobby. In fact, The House of Masks and its supporting YouTube channel has become so successful that it’s become AJ’s full-time job.
At the Palefest convention in October, Good is showing his collection to the public for the second time. A similar public event took place in October 2021 and saw such a large turnout that Good and longtime friend and collaborator Bishop Walker decided this year to extend the run of the event and feature even more items and personalities for curious visitors to see and experience . Last year the open house started at 9pm and this time AJ says his studio will open at 12pm. He will then invite visitors throughout the day until the crowd fizzles out.
Palefest costs $10 to enter and has an impressive list of guest appearances.
One of those guests will be the aforementioned Paleface mask company, run by Good’s friend and collaborator Bishop Walker.
Walker’s Paleface mask company operates online and specializes in what AJ calls “nostalgia lines.” Basically vintage replica masks that have been discontinued or are hard to find. You can check out the Paleface website HERE.
One of the most notable featured personalities at Palefest will be Dirty P. Martini the metal band from Richmond, Virginia GWAR.
Founded in 1985 by a group of musicians and art students, GWAR is known for its extremely lavish stage shows, in which members dress in detailed costumes and perform graphically violent, yet overtly exaggerated and cartoonish mock executions of their enemies, used by today’s wealthy celebrities and Politicians to historical figures and villains that exist within the band’s own mythos. Then all kinds of bodily fluids are spit on the live viewing audience below.
Musically, GWAR features a mix of punk-fused metal and trash metal, packed with violent, profane and sexually charged lyrical content with a heavy dose of satirical socio-political commentary.
Rather than a band, GWAR should be more accurately viewed as an artist collective dedicated to bringing to life a comic book-like mythology centered around a group of barbaric interplanetary warriors banished to Earth for their numerous crimes.
Over the decades, GWAR has created a revolving door of artists and musicians, some responsible for writing and performing the band’s songs, others devoted to the design and production of the band’s detailed costumes, props, and stage attire.
Sleazy P. Martini is a longtime member of the GWAR-tist collective and portrays the band’s manager who discovered the immortal spacefaring raiders frozen deep inside an icy Antarctic fortress. He is recognizable by his exaggerated pompadour hairstyle, bright gold chains and brightly colored pimp-like suits.
The myth goes: Fearing his arrest, Sleazy flees the United States and while flying over Antarctica his helicopter crashes. He soon discovers a cave where the group of ancient warriors are frozen in an icy tomb. GWAR had previously been banished to Earth by a cosmic being known as The Master for their unruly behavior and were then frozen in Antarctica after further angering The Master by breeding with apes and creating the human race. Sleazy awakens the creatures and is nearly executed by them, but manages to win their allegiance. He soon learns that the murderous gang of monsters has a knack for music and lures them back to the United States to pursue their talent.
The man under the pompadour is artist, writer, director, and filmmaker Don Drakulich. After graduating in Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984, Drakulich joined GWAR in 1986 and has been one of the group’s key artistic forces ever since. Over the years he has been responsible for a significant portion of the band’s concept design and the construction of their many elaborate costumes and stage props. He has also starred in and directed some of the band’s music videos and is even credited with introducing the live spew effects for which the group is probably best known.
Drakulich has since retired from his full-time tenure at GWAR. He no longer tours with the band, but continues to help make the costumes and props. Today he runs his own production company Hyperreal Productions and maintains a few YouTube channels. Its main channel Dirty P. Martini focuses on the Sleazy P. character and offers fans live discussions on a variety of topics including but not limited to internet culture, news and politics. His second channel What did you do at GWAR Daddy? contains thoughts and reflections on his time with the band. Don also operates a Twitch Channel under the nickname Sleazy P. Martini, where he treats fans to a weekly movie party. Drakulich also sometimes accepts commissions for individual artworks.
Over the past decade, GWAR has suffered some painful setbacks. The first came when guitarist Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus died of complications from a blood clot in late 2011. The second came in March 2014, when the band’s legendary frontman and lead singer, Dave Brockie aka Oderous Urungus, died of an accidental drug overdose. Despite the tragic losses, GWAR have continued with members old and new and will march into Cleveland this Thursday, September 15th in support of their 15th studio album The New Dark Age.
It’s important to note that GWAR addresses topics that some may find offensive, but if you want to see GWAR in action, you can find a clean text version of Oderous-era GWAR (featuring Sleazy P. Martini). HEREand a clean lyric video of the current post-Oderous era GWAR HERE. Visit the GWAR website HERE.
GWAR was also the focus of a recent 2022 documentary titled This is GWAR available on the Shudder streaming service. You can find a trailer for the film HERE.
AJ’s collection includes a healthy selection of GWAR masks and props. Some of his GWAR items are recreations, while others are pieces made by GWAR’s production company Slave Pit Inc. but not used by the band. However, part of his GWAR collection includes actual stage props used by the band in previous live performances.
Another distinguished guest at Palefest will be Ed and Marsha EdmundsOwner and operator of Colorado based maker of Halloween props Distortions unlimited.
For more than 40 years, The Edmunds and their artistic team have been creating the kind of high-quality Halloween and horror-themed props, costumes, masks, and animatronics that are often found in haunted houses and theme parks, or at other events or attractions that need an air of the frightening and macabre .
You may have seen some of Distortions Unlimited’s world famous creations on the TV show make monsterswhich aired on the during the fall months travel channel in the early 2010s. The show ran from 2011 to 2013 and followed the company’s efforts behind the scenes as they worked to make their spooky artworks available to those in need at various haunted attractions, private events, and even ventures from well-known musical entertainers like rock greats Alice Cooper and Megadeth as well as legendary actor and comedian Dick van Dyke.
If you want to learn more about Distortions Unlimited, you can visit their website HEREor their YouTube page HERE.
Other notable names that will appear at Palefest include:
Machete Man Customs – Online mask maker and retailer specializing in replica masks and props from the Friday the 13th series.
The Devil’s Role – Photo shop specializing in portrait and product photos with a dark touch, mainly consisting of masks and busts created by independent artists.
Stay Metal Ray – YouTubers and musicians whose video content focuses on music tips and instrument and gear reviews.
AlexanderTitanium – Professional costume and mask maker for the haunted industry, theme parks and musicians.
Other exhibitors scheduled to appear at Palefest are Sad Clown Studios, Psychosmil3y and Jared Smalley.
Here, too, the Palefest begins on Saturday 8 October at 12 noon House of Masks, located at 51 East Main Street in Chillicothe, Ohio. $10 gets you in the door.