After a night of scares at your favorite Haunted Attraction, most people jump in the car and giggle about how much fun it was, and who was the biggest baby. When done well, it's an exhilarating, interactive theatrical experience that plays on our fear, and touches on all senses, LIVE and up-close. But have you ever left a Haunted Attraction, and felt like you just peeked into the window of a genius madman? One where the detail far outweighed the cost, and you knew, even though we hate to part with our pennies, someone poured a piece of their soul in that place.
Meet Cody Snyder. Creative Art Directer for Frightmare Farms, and all around purveyor of all things frightening.
When did you first begin making masks and experimenting with horror makeup?
I actually just very recently got into mask making. I've always wanted to, but working at Frightmare Farms was what finally gave me the push. I've been sculpting for a few years though, mainly small scale one of a kind pieces. Horror makeup on the other had, I've been doing that for as long as I can remember.
You’re the Creative Art Director at the Frightmare Farms haunted attraction (Last yearsScarycuse.com
Editors Pick for Best Haunted Attraction), how did you connect with them? Internet, what a wonderful thing it is! I had an ad up offering to do zombie makeup for people's Halloween parties, Trick or Treating, whatever it may be. I ended up getting an email from Frightmare Farms asking if I'd be interested in coming out to help with makeup. The rest is history!
Before Frightmare Farms, what did you do that honed your talent to this level? I've always been into movie magic, makeup effects and prop making. I've spent countless hours reading, studying photos, reference pictures and other people's work. I've also befriended a lot of other makeup artists and people in the industry, many of which are incredibly nice and love to help out people with a passion for this stuff.
I find Frightmare Farms to be one of the most detailed haunts around… With very minimal “off the shelf” props… Do you handle prop and “set” design as well, or is your focus mainly on makeup and/or masks & costumes?
Glad to hear! That's what we aim for, and that's what pulled me in, Frightmare Farms' desire to not just be another "rip the price tag off, throw it in a corner" haunt. It's funny because I came to Frightmare Farms to do makeup, now I do just about everything else but that! Hahaha I handle a lot of the graphics, set design, scare training, creating sounds for the haunt. I'm probably forgetting something. I like a full plate, if you couldn't tell! Hahaha
You recently entered a national contest hosted by the Syfy Channel to “Design a Jason Hockey Mask”, How did you first get involved?
The fundraiser contest is being put on by a company called Tvstoreonline.com, they carry a huge selection of popular movie and TV paraphernalia, it's a great site! I was contacted by them and was asked to be one of 20 artists to participate, I was really honored!
Some of the other people competing in the contest include artists with credits like the SyFy show "Face Off", as well as the "Friday the 13th" films. Is that intimidating?
I wasn't intimidated, I was thrilled! To be able to take part in this project with these people is exciting! Granted there is a contest element to it, the big picture is the charity, so that's what was always floating around in the back of my head, it kept it fun and less of a " I've gotta win this!" project for me.
Your mask is very impressive; I notice you stayed with a traditional hockey mask, but with a “beastly” spin. Do they require the mark be wearable with visibility? Or is it more of a prop?
Thanks! That mask is such an iconic staple in horror that it I almost felt like changing it too much would just be wrong... Hahaha I wanted to try and keep the traditional look and go with more of a monster behind the mask, with a story to boot. The theme behind my mask is that, let's say, Jason's presence has been, err, well, a little lacking at Camp Crystal Lake lately. So what's Sasquatch supposed to do?! Clearly he can't rely on Jason to clear the woods of these punk kids anymore, so, Sasquatch himself is ready to don the mask and take care of business his own way! The mask is more of a prop. I mean, you can wear it if you want, but you won't see squat out of it!
The masks will be auctioned off to benefit Toys for Tots, when is the auction?
Yup! The auction is supposed to take place at the end of October and I can't wait to see how much money we can raise!
Is the winner basically determined by the final auction values? I assume that's how it'll be, but I really have no idea...
Do you aspire to work in the film industry? I'd love to! I've worked on short films with friends here and there, but would definitely love to work on bigger budget films. There was a contest awhile ago for a film called "Hellbenders" that was looking for "found footage style possession videos", the winning videos would be included in the film, and amazingly, we won! The movie is actually getting released very soon in select theaters and on VOD! I was also contacted by the History Channel not too long ago about using some footage from the possession video we made for an episode of their "Haunted History" show, that episode already aired. I play the "possessed" in our short, so it was exciting and a little awkward to know a bunch of people watching that episode would get to see me thrashing around!
I imagine November is a bitter-sweet month. How long before you’re plotting and planning the next season?
We're always plotting and planning next years while working on the current. It never ends! But, I do hibernate all of November...
When do you typically begin working on Frightmare Farms? Spring? Summer? Year round? Year round! If I'm not up there doing something, you can almost guarantee I'm at home doing something that's going to at least end up there.
Do you find it difficult to get in the “spirit” of this kind of work during the off season?
I think with most people heavily involved in this type of stuff, Halloween is everyday! My creepy spirit is forever strong! Muwahahahaha!
Thanks for sharing a peek into your twisted world Cody!
You can see Cody's "Next-Level" work at Frightmare Farms. For dates, times & ticketing info, visit www.frightmarefarms.net. Happy haunting!