BRISTOL - The Witchâ€™s Dungeon wrapped up its 51st season this Halloween after attracting fans of classic horror and science fiction films from 25 states and four foreign countries to Bristol.
â€śThis season went very well; it is absolutely amazing how many people come from long distances to see us,â€ť said Cortlandt Hull, owner and founder of the classic movie museum and sculptor of its numerous life-sized monsters. â€śMany of them planned their vacations around coming to see us.â€ť
Tom Dickau, past president of the Bristol Historical Society, has said that there were visitors from everywhere from New Mexico, California and Michigan to Germany, Italy and Switzerland. He added that one night a bus-load of visitors came in from Canada.
â€śWe had a lot of young kids coming in and talking about what they knew about the genre,â€ť said Dickau. â€śWe also had a family visit that had come for all 51 years.â€ť
â€śWe had one visitor who had first come when we opened in 1966 at my house and who had since moved away,â€ť said Hull. â€śHe said it was amazing and wonderful that weâ€™re still here and now have more elaborate sets then when he was a kid.â€ť
Ghostly tour guides Carmilla Karnstein (Jodi Dickson) and Farnsworth the Butler (Rob Lansley) led guests on a guided, wax-museum style tour of Hullâ€™s creations, each of which feature their own set pieces by Bill Diamond, and gave information about the films they were in and the actors who portrayed them. Guests were also invited to inspect the museumâ€™s extensive collection of movie memorabilia, much of which is from the â€śMonster Crazeâ€ť of the â€™60s and â€™70s as well as original and reproduction props. Following the tour they were invited to stay and watch movies such as House of Frankenstein and House of Wax and Werewolf of London on film reel.
â€śSome of the highlights this year was our new piece of Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man attacking a victim as well as the original mask of the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth,â€ť said Hull. â€śWe also have an original prototype mask of The Creature from the Black Lagoon which was later abandoned for the classic design. People were overwhelmed by how much there was to see. Many of them had never seen an exhibit with life-sized sets that was so comprehensive.â€ť
The Witchâ€™s Dungeon also saw celebrity guests this year including actor Dan Roebuck (Final Destination) and Dave Wenzel, who illustrated several Marvel comics. Both met with fans and gave them autographed pictures.
Next year, Hull plans to have another â€śaction sceneâ€ť set with his great uncle, Henry Hull, as Doctor Wilfred Glendon, who played the werewolf in Werewolf of London, battling Dr. Yogami, who infected him with lycanthropy. He also plans to add a figure of Fredric March as Mr. Hyde.
The Witchâ€™s Dungeon also plans to offer a film screening of King Kong, along with holiday cartoons, on Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. More details will be coming soon.
For more information on The Witchâ€™s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum, call Hull at 860-583-8306 or visit preservehollywood.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.