Damien’s MHC Damnation 2015
By Damien Reaper
Hello, my name is Damien Reaper. I’m a 17 year veteran actor who works for the acting troupe known as MAUL. At times I get the opportunity to write for City Blood and share my experiences at MHC. I get to share my point of view on the Midwest Haunters Convention like I have many times before.
I didn’t know if I would be able to make it to MHC this year. Between family issues and money issues, it was really an uncertainty. A lot of people were sad and disappointed that Damien Reaper wasn’t going to be at MHC. My Mom who is blind and who I help take care of heard about the comments and said that she would help. Jim Millspaugh ( MAUL’s leader) suggested that I travel with a long time veteran who’s been haunting since the mid 90’s. Cincinnati’s 2nd longest running Icon Bludzo T Klown offered to give me a lift. Without everyone’s help I would’ve stayed home. So, I thank you all for helping me make it to this year’s Midwest Haunters Convention.
This has been a sad year since MAUL lost Jason Henry who was a dear friend and someone I considered a brother. He passed away last January. The members of MAUL were together at the hospital, funeral service and church as we said goodbye and held each other. The Dent Schoolhouse cast members that knew him and the owners of the haunt came to the funeral. Two haunt groups and one family lost a great man. In honor of his memory, this article and the rest of my haunting career is dedicated to Jason “Chaos” Henry.
R.I.P. Jason Henry: May 30, 1973 – Jan. 24, 2015
Please take a moment to value the people that are in your life. I’ve had 16 losses in my life time and I’m only 32 years old. Thank your family, friends, schoolmates, and haunters you’ve met. You never know what the future holds and they are the ones who make your life something wonderful. Do it for your Uncle Damien.
Saturday, May 30th
Bludzo and I agreed to meet at Meyer on Harrison Ave to ride up to MHC. He wore the Bludzo make-up and I was dressed as the Victorian Damien Reaper. While waiting for him, many customers witnessed a ghoul standing outside waiting for a clown. Even a manger came out to see what was going on.
We got there safely and the first thing we see is a marathon of running meat bags in Downtown Columbus. It was a massive zombie walk with the living dead as far as the eye can see. Running them down would’ve been a fun sport. It’s GTA style with Bludzo and Damien. We eventually made it to the Crown Plaza where we went to the desk to get our room key and drop my stuff off before going to the convention. They said that they had to clean the room and it would be ready by 3 pm. Unfortunately the storage staff took my stuff which I wasn’t too happy about. I slowly walked over to the registration booth and got my trade show wristband. I saw Regina Englehart working the registration booth. She and Brooke Englehart were crowned Miss Scary Midwest years ago.
While walking towards the Big Scary Show booth, I saw the one and only Adam “Where’s your hall pass?” Kassen, his lovely wife Kristen and their friend Krystal Crouch from The Dent Schoolhouse. Adam has grown a full beard. I think Bud Stross started the trend of full lumberjack beards at Dent since I even saw Adam Kraus sporting one. I saw Kayla Butcher, Alex Burns and Amber Tedrick walking around as well. I even saw Josh Wells, his wife Leslie and Bud Stross who I chatted with some. I wish I saw Chuck Stross and Aryn Fox because catching up with old friends is great.
It was 5pm and I proceeded to walk to my room, take a shower and order some Columbus, Ohio pizza. I had a small pizza, garlic bread, cheese sticks and fried Oreos. My plan was to hang out in my room so I could charge my smart phone and head to the ball as I took pictures from the outside of the ball room. I didn’t get a ball ticket since I haven’t gone to the ball in many years. The last time I bought a ticket was when Julie Langenderfer and Dent won Miss Scary Midwest in 2010. The DJ always plays the same Pop crap I heard in Jr. High. It’s never Gothic, Rock, Metal or anything that has any horror in it. I ended up passing out at 7pm and woke up at 2:30 am. From what I heard, others didn’t enjoy the ball too much either.
Sunday, May 31st
I went down to Max and Erma’s breakfast buffet which was 16 dollars. I ate an omelet with meat, bacon, sausage patties, 2 bowls of Corn Flakes and 2 slices of toast. I would then run back to my hotel room and put on my Auto Shop Satanist costume, latex blood and the Damned One mask. I then put on a pair of boots that Jim gave me last year. I arrived at the trade show at 8:46 thinking it would open at 9. Well, I was wrong since it opened at 10. Oh farts, So I waited till 10 am as I watched old women and families walk to the knitting convention and a home school graduation. I didn’t know either was a thing, but spank my butt because it is. Some took photos with me and others looked at us with fire in their eyes. Next year everything will be at the Hyatt again.
It was a nice weekend. When Bludzo and I said our goodbyes, I saw Barry and Kathy Schieferstein who are the ones who started the event moons ago. Almost two years ago they retired and sold the convention to Transworld. I took some pictures and saw old friends, but it didn’t feel like the same ole MHC. 2008 was the first year I went to MHC. There was a lot of opportunity as an actor to make him or her a staple in the haunt industry. It became an event for networking.
Last year they had karaoke on a Thursday night, but for years it was on a Friday. I got on stage with Scarlet Angel and we tore the place down performing “Crazy Train”. Every year after, they used a karaoke machine. Scaryoke is where I felt actors could really get a chance to share the spot light among their peers. It was also free. They didn’t have it this year since there was a Friday party you had to pay for. It’s the same thing they did last year.
In 2008 Dan Leopold and I took the Haunters U class taught by Crazy Bob and Beth Turner and it was fun and very affordable. The classes which cost $25 a piece are still very good. I kick myself because I would have loved to have taken a few of them. Sounds like Hell by Dick Terhune would have been a great class to take. Overall MHC wasn’t what it used to be. Personally it felt like something to do rather than something I was really excited about. The energy wasn’t there.
I do have some suggestions. The trade show at 10 bucks is fine. A few classes are free while some are $25 which seems like a good deal. The Bus Tour After Party should be on Thursday night with the pre- convention bus tour. It should be priced at $200. There should be basic acting classes/panels and haunt tours on Friday for $60. There should also be Karaoke at night for $20 a person.
On Saturday there should be advanced classes for $25 as well as panels with actors and owners on the trade show floor. Have a projector and let haunts get 5 minutes each to show their work. Do it throughout the day mixed in with contests. Have a space for people to mingle and network. It should be a space where people can give out cards, promote and learn about haunted attractions. People who can’t afford booths can pass out cards as well.
The Costume Ball needs to have better music that appeals to haunters. Britney Spears’ Toxic isn’t scary. Gothic, Rock and Metal would be great. You can still have the contests since they’re a big part of what makes the party special. A more reasonable price would be $30 a person. I keep hearing that the prices are high at some of the vendor booths. Maybe have nick nacks that are 5 to 10 dollars and sell to the actors for low to no income and owners who own charity haunts. Then have your pro haunt merchandise available for buyers who can afford it.
There needs to be more classes on Sunday and more contests at the trade show. Staff should take photos of everyone and put it on the MHC website for free. If you decrease some of the prices then it would help out some of the charity and yard haunts that don’t have big wallets. There aren’t many actors that can afford some of the products. If you’re new to the haunt industry or even a teenager who wants to do this as a profession, then it might be hard for you to afford some of the products and classes.
As this article comes to an end, I would like to recognize people I saw at the convention this weekend. This includes Amanda Revenge, Ethan Turon, Kirk Boemmel, Jerry Vayne, Drew Badger, Jim Millspaugh, Eric Vysther, Kris Sheeley, her daughter Shelby, Troy Baldock, Matt Godgrey, Kirby Hilyard, David Hughes, Julie Langendefer, Sarah Ann, Rebecca Minges, Jakie Steinert, Fan Leopold, Jeff Simmons, Anita and Tom Sowers, Glen Glenmore, Bill Withonel, Christian Greschel, Kelly and Neena Collins, Keff Mlinar, Mike White, Keith newsome, Brian Gantz, Allan Wobster, Crazy Bob Turner, Beth Turner, Telfore Ntye, Sparky, Melonie Burley, Brett Hays, Alan Zeus messlia, Kimberly Shell, Christina Conkle Robertons, Anne Collins, George Simpson III, Wendy Ferris, Patchwork and others. If you were not in this paragraph then you were mentioned earlier in the article. I hope to see everyone next year at MHC 2016. It’s sure to be a haunting time.
For more information on Damien Reaper, please visit www.damienreaper.com. Don’t forget to visit www.maulmonsters.com for details on the haunt acting troupe MAUL.