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.