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Nightmare Force monster masks not sold at your local Party City.
A small team of artists, though scattered across the country, recently joined forces to create the sickest monster masks around under the name of Nightmare Force. Complete with Otto Marlow III of OttoWerx, Pat Gierhart of Atomic Vomit, and Josh Wasylink of Subhumanoids, the longtime friends are mixing their passion for horror with their sculpting skills, pushing traditional scare costumes to new levels. At HorrorHound's Mask Fest in Indianapolis (September 11-13, 2015), Nightmare Force took the crown for Best New Vendor–we're not surprised.
We caught up with Marlow, who has been sculpting action figures and large scale video game displays professionally for eight years but recently switched to masking full-time, to talk horror movies, creating monster masks, and his first winter in Toledo, Ohio.
Why did you start designing masks?
Masking is fairly new territory for me, but I've loved Halloween masks since I was a little kid. I'm really glad I decided to give it a shot.
What is your creative process like?
I don't really have a design process. Sometimes I have a sketch of an idea, but most of the time I just end up sitting in front of a hunk of clay and start working on it–just see what happens.
What inspires you while creating?
I'd say my wife, Kate. She's also an artist with a wild imagination so we have a lot of fun bouncing ideas off of each other.
Are you a big horror/gore person?
I love horror movies, but I've never been too big into gore. I also like a ton of sci-fi movies and cartoons like Rick and Morty and Major Lazer. Anything extremely entertaining and out of the box.
Favorite horror movies?
Of course I love the ones I grew up on like the Elm Street series and Texas Chainsaw movies, but I'm a huge Stephen King fan so I love the movie adaptations of his stories like It and Pet Semetary. A new favorite of mine is Turbo Kid. It's not a horror movie, but they have an awesome soundtrack, character design, and I love the retro style.
Where are you from?
Everywhere. I grew up in South Carolina, went to school in Pennsylvania, spent most of my young adult life in Los Angeles, then moved to Austin, Texas where my wife is from. Now we're living just outside of Toledo, Ohio. This will be our first serious winter so we are pretty excited even though everyone keeps warning us.
Oh jeez, what have you heard?
Frigid temperatures and piles of snow! We had cold winters growing up in the mountains in South Carolina, but not as cold as up here. People are warning us about shoveling snow in below zero temperatures... but we're excited about it!
What can you tell us about Mask Fest?
So far it is the coolest convention I have been to. It was a Halloween mask convention alongside HorrorHound Weekend. It was pretty much a gathering of mostly independent mask makers and other genre artists. The environment was amazing, I'd recommend it to anyone for next year. I met so many cool and talented artists. Nightmare Force won Best New Vendor, which was really exciting.
You can catch Nightmare Force at Texas Frightmare in Dallas April 29-May 1, 2016, but because you need a monster mask for Halloween, visit their Instagram account to purchase. Some of the most outrageous creations by all members of Nightmare Force are below.