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A HORROR MOVIE MECCA IS ABOUT TO CLOSE

The day before I left Fantastic Fest in Austin some friends asked me if I knew about the SFANTHOR! House of Wax. I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t. It’s a castle-like structure with wax-museum replicas of great figures from horror movie history just blocks from my hotel on South Congress Avenue. The next morning my daughter Jessie and I made a bee-line there–and fell in love. Here are all my favorite creatures: Max Schreck as Nosferatu, Lon Chaney as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster, Fredric March in his makeup as Mr. Hyde, and many more.

That’s the good news. The bad news: it’s closing at the end of this month.

SFANTHOR is a labor-of-love dreamed up by Steve Busti, who transformed a drab one-story insurance building into an atmospheric house of horrors. To be clear, this isn’t one of those pop-up Halloween exhibits where zombies and other creatures leap out of dark corners to scare you. It is an old-fashioned wax museum, enhanced by memorabilia and historical markers to pay homage to the golden age of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. (And yes, there is a phenomenal gift shop.)

Busti has owned and operated the Museum of the Weird on Austin’s popular 6th Street for eleven years but the very week he opened his newest attraction he learned that the land had been sold and he’d only be able to stay there for a year and a half. That clock runs out at the end of October.

He’s pondering various choices including a new location, an expansion of The Museum of the Weird, and a possible move to another city, although this New York émigré loves Austin and doesn’t want to leave.

If you want to learn more, check out his website

Or contribute to his IndieGogo campaign to save the collection 

And if you should find yourself in Austin over the next few weeks, make sure to drop by the SFANTHOR! castle. In the meantime, you can watch my video interview with Steve Busti HERE.

With SFANTHOR! creator Steve Busti

With SFANTHOR! creator Steve Busti

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Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

One comment

  1. Rachelle says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to
    find out more details.

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