PLAINVILLE ‚Äď The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon Classic Movie Museum is expanding its roster of life-sized classic horror and science fiction characters for its 55th consecutive year.
‚ÄúThis is a big year for anniversaries,‚ÄĚ said Witch‚Äôs Dungeon Owner Cortlandt Hull. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not only the 55th anniversary of The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon, which doesn‚Äôt seem possible to me. It‚Äôs also the 90th anniversary of the 1931 Universal Frankenstein and Dracula films, the 50th anniversary of the Abominable Dr. Phibes and the 80th anniversary of The Wolf Man, all of which are represented here.‚ÄĚ
The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon Classic Movie museum moved to its current location at 103 E. Main St. last year so that the museum could be open year-round. Previously, it had been open seasonally in October at Hull‚Äôs home on Battle Street and then The Bristol Historical Society. The museum offers a wax museum style guided tour of Hull‚Äôs figures, each with their own set pieces, created by Emmy-winning set designer Bill Diamond. The museum also features exhibits of original and replica movie props and vintage memorabilia.
Hull said that many people from out of state have come to Plainville to see the museum now that it is open year-round. Many, he said, heard about him on horror host Svengoolie‚Äôs program.
The latest addition to the Witch‚Äôs Dungeon is Claude Rains as Jack Griffin in 1933‚Äôs The Invisible Man, which he created with the assistance of horror punk musician Steve Matthews aka ‚ÄúArgyle Goolsby‚ÄĚ, who was married at The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon in 2017. Hull hinted that two additional figures may be coming this year as well.
The Invisible Man figure depicts The Invisible Man as he arrives at the Lion‚Äôs Head Inn with his long coat and goggles. While no color photos exist of the 1933 Invisible Man, Hull and Matthews made sure to find clothing and a suitcase from the 1930s to properly match the figure.
‚ÄúPersonally, The Invisible Man was always one of my favorite Universal Monsters,‚ÄĚ said Matthews.
Hull added that he plans to add a set piece featuring the inn door by this October.
‚ÄúCortlandt and I agreed that The Invisible Man‚Äôs look in the opening scene was a little more menacing,‚ÄĚ said Matthews. ‚ÄúIn his other look, he‚Äôs in his pajamas and we already have The Werewolf of London in his robes. We joked that we didn‚Äôt want to have it look like a monster pajama party.‚ÄĚ
Hull said Matthews has been ‚Äútremendous‚ÄĚ help to him.
‚ÄúOur Invisible Man figure and our figures of The Fly and The Werewolf of London will be featured in a concert video which will release this Halloween. He has also written new lyrics to the song ‚ÄėWerewolves of London‚Äô, making it about the 1935 film. It‚Äôs going to be the ‚Äėmonster kid‚Äô version.‚ÄĚ
Matthews added that a Halloween concert video is being filmed since he can‚Äôt tour with his band, Blitzkid, this year due to the pandemic. This year‚Äôs video will feature a mad scientist theme.
Hull has also been making additions to the set pieces of some of his other figures.
A replica Beethoven statue from the Lon Chaney Sr. Phantom of the Opera now accompanies his figure, made using the mold from the original set piece. In addition, Dr. Wilfred Glendon, The Werewolf of London has an expanded lab table with a vintage globe and period-appropriate equipment as well as a map of Tibet. The Frankenstein‚Äôs monster set also features a new anatomy chart and ‚Äúdanger high voltage‚ÄĚ sign. The bust of The Golem now has Rabbi Loew‚Äôs illustration of the creature as seen in the film as well, re-created by Matthews.
Later this year, Hull plans to bring back ‚ÄúThe Monster‚Äôs Holiday.‚ÄĚ Named after the song by Bobby ‚ÄúBoris‚ÄĚ Pickett, who also wrote The Monster Mash, the event will see Hull‚Äôs figures decked out in Santa hats and sweaters.
Hull is also currently raising funds to transport the original, 9 foot tall, full body ‚ÄúMetaluna Mutant‚ÄĚ figure from 1955‚Äôs ‚ÄúThis Island Earth‚ÄĚ to The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon for preservation. He previously acquired the original head of the monster from the film, which is on exhibit.
Matthews will be auctioning off a custom-built guitar with an air-brushed picture of the Metaluna Mutant to sell in support of this fundraiser. He also plans to sell Blitzkid T-shirts with the Mutant and Witch‚Äôs Dungeon T-shirts.
‚ÄúSo far, we‚Äôre at $2,000 out of our $8,000 goal so we‚Äôre hoping to give it a push,‚ÄĚ said Matthews. ‚ÄúCortlandt‚Äôs museum is a nonprofit, so by doing this I‚Äôm hoping to get some support from my fan base as well. Those who donate $50 or more will have their names engraved on a plaque by the Metaluna Mutant.‚ÄĚ
For more information on The Witch‚Äôs Dungeon Classic Movie Museum, call 860-583-8306 or visit preservehollywood.org.
To support the Metaluna Mutant preservation fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/witchsdungeon
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.