* (Halloween countdown post #4)
‘Bo Bruns, Unit 70 Studios’ founder/owner, started making latex monsters in his parents’ basement at the age of 14. A few of these early first molds are still in use in our studio today. He is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design and began his career as a professional monster maker at age 20. Today he is honored to lead an amazing core group of artists and dedicated seasonal employees.
‘We are a team of hardworking and passionate artists and technicians. Our goal is to continually improve our products by listening to our clients and experimenting with new components and styles. Over the years our staff has developed many unique and innovative processes, and have been early pioneers in the use of many materials and techniques that are now considered industry-standard for professional haunted attraction props. The core group of artists at Unit 70 have been working together for many years, and use that experience and talent everyday to create the most realistic and reliable props in the haunted attraction business.
Janna: Lead Painter/ Shop Supervisor
Michael: Lead Mechanical Designer
TJ: Lead Foam and Metal Fabricator
Hillie: Director of Operations
Troy: Lead Foam and Latex Fabricator
‘Working together with two different chemical labs, we were able to develop a new fire retardant foam that has proven to be superior to all foams we have used in the past. We are very excited and intend to use it exclusively starting March 2016. We feel that this change would not only advance the safety of our products and potentially save lives, but also alleviate some of our clients’ stress involving annual fire safety inspections. Our new FR foam meets flammability standard requirements cal bulletin 117 and fmvss 302.’ — Unity 70 Studios
New Products from Unit 70 Studios for 2019
Unit 70 Studio’s Christmas Props and Animations Overview
Unit 70 Studios Transworld Halloween and Attractions Show 2016
Transworld 2015 Unit 70 Studios
‘Ever since he was a kid, Coldwater, Ohio native Bo Bruns loved making weird monsters and sculptures. It started when his parents took him to see “Star Wars” when he was four years old. The movie “blew my mind,” he said, and he became obsessed with how people made the monsters and aliens seen in films and in theater. Decades later, Bruns has been lucky enough to become a “monster maker” in his own right.
‘After graduating from the Columbus School of Art and Design in 1998, he worked for a few years for a company that designed horror and monster props. In 2003, Bruns founded Unit 70 Studios in Columbus, and since then his company has become one of the most highly regarded producers of animatronic monsters, Halloween horror props and haunted house creatures in the world. “It was a childhood dream, and I got really lucky to be able to do it,” Bruns said.
‘Growing up in Coldwater, Bruns admitted that at times his creepy doodles and creations would freak out his teachers. His then-art teacher, Nick Wenning, however, figured out early on that he was “mostly harmless” and allowed him the creative freedom to make the most of what Bruns could imagine. When he first started making props, it was to play pranks on the local mailman. Bruns would craft crude cut-off arms and hands and leave them on the ground, watching from his bedroom to see what reaction he got. “Thank God he never called the police,” Bruns laughed.
‘Though the mailman may not have entirely appreciated his props, Bruns, who graduated from Coldwater High School in 1994, now has people all over the world putting in orders.
‘Unit 70 Studios has clients in the “haunt” industry in several states, from Ohio to New England. If you’ve ever visited King’s Island during Halloween Haunt season or gone to Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends, chances are you’ve seen some of Bruns’ creations. The business also serves international haunted houses and amusement parks in places like Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Spain and China. “It’s kind of like Halloween year round here,” Bruns said.
‘October, the spookiest time of the year, is actually the quietest time for the studio. By then most clients have their props. As soon as November 1 rolls around, though, the calls start coming in from people planning for next year, he said. Some of their clients from overseas don’t necessarily celebrate Halloween, so they may place orders year round. Bruns explained that as the haunt industry has grown, so too have the budgets and planning that go into the haunted houses. Orders can come in for Halloweens years down the road.
‘Every year, Bruns and his employees get together to plan out 15 or 20 new designs, but it can be hard to predict what people will want. Pop culture can have a big influence on what will be a hit – zombies have been consistently popular, for example, but when the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise was popular, Bruns and his team found themselves making tons of zombie pirates to meet demand.
‘Making monsters involves different procedures. For something more human, like a zombie, the artists at Unit 70 might start out making a body cast of a real person to create a mold, Bruns said. For something like a dinosaur, the design starts off as a clay sculpture, built up piece by piece. From there, the artists can change the facial expressions or carve out areas for gore. The final props are created from latex rubber or foam. Body details such as hair are usually some of the last add-ons.
‘Bruns majored in computer animation, which he says helps him when making some of the animatronic props. The animation software he learned to use is somewhat similar to what is now used for engineering the robotic parts in his monsters. When setting up a character in computer animation, he thinks about how the character is going to move and how it will look, which translates well into programming his creations, Bruns said.
‘Of course, the haunt industry has a dark side. Unit 70 Studios is rather well-known and widely respected in the industry, said Bruns, in part because they’ve survived for so long. As fun as it can be, Bruns said he’s found the competition can also be cutthroat. When Unit 70 was just starting out, a larger prop supply company was trying to make life difficult for the start-up, which became public knowledge in the haunt industry, according to Bruns. Aside from the quality of their products, Bruns thinks a lot of the respect has come from making it through that early rough patch. Persistence is key, he noted.
‘”Don’t let anyone say you can’t,” Bruns said. “I always wanted to do this stuff for a living, be a monster maker, and it seemed like a really weird or exotic thing to do, like wanting to be a rock star or astronaut, but somebody’s got to do it. Somebody’s got to have that job.” And for any kid out there who might have an unlikely passion or an obscure interest they want to turn into a career, Bruns offered this advise: “Just do it, and don’t be afraid to dream big.”‘ — Sydney Albert
Ivan with Walker $899.00
Crucified Nun $1,200.00
Lobotomized Nurse $599.00
Melted Scientist $849.00
3 Maniacs Animated $2,699.00
Drill Table Animated $2,199.00
Giant Maniac Animated $7,599.00
Giant Skeletal Serpent Animated $7,499.00
Untitled Custom Figure NFS
Untitled Custom Figure NFS
Untitled Custom Figure NFS
Baby Flytrap $599.00
Bessie Sue $849.00
Biker Chic 2 $849.00
Bitin’ Brady $1,099.00
Burnt Naked Female or Male $899.00
Burnt Walker $849.00
Silicone Face Mr Dad $899.00
Chained Mutant Boy $649.00
Cold Feet $1,499.00
Dangling Torture 4 $829.00
Dead Bathtub Girl $719.00
Dirty Warden 1 $849.00
Evil Doctor and Baby or Nurses $899.00
Feasting Werewolf $1,649.00
Feasting Zombie Scene Animated $3,780.00
Human Couple 2 $1,499.00
Human Roast $1,249.00
I Dismember Meg Pie $649.00
Killer Twins $1,079.00
Silicone Face Little Janna or Michael or TJ $799.00
Meat Cleaver Carry $699.00
Mental Patient 1, 2, 3, 4 $719.00
Pig Lunch Cart Animated $2,805.00
Prison Guard 1, 2 $849.00
Psycho Killer Dude Animated $3,455.00
Sasquatch with Victim Animated $7,935.00
Stitched Couples 1, 2, 3, 4 $899.00
Suicide Doctor $849.00
Vamp Attack $1,279.00
Frozen Child 1, 2, 3 $729.00
Evil Santa Animated $2,105.00
Giant Krampus and Child Animated $8,425.00
Child Chain Gang $2,899.00
Female Sacrifice $1,649.00
Prancer or Dasher NFS
p.s. To longtime readers and contributors to this blog who might not yet have heard the very sad news, the writer, friend, and distinguished local of this blog from its early days, Nicholas Jason Rhoades, died on October 3rd of causes yet to be determined. He was a very singular and unique and uniquely talented and wonderful person. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Right on the edge isn’t a bad place to be. Everyone, Mr. E has newly topped off his FaBlog with a thing with the crosshatching title ‘Baby Love (With Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti)’ which has some kind of Peter Greenaway connection apparently, so all kinds of reasons to investigating by pressing down on this. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Your jet’s wheels are probably hopping and screeching on the runway as I type. Enjoy every second, as I know you will, and, yeah, check in from there when and if you get the chance. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. I remember you being a fellow fan. Looking forward to re-reading what you wrote about her. Everyone, _Black_Acrylic is amongst the ranks of Laura Parnes admirers, and, best of all, wrote about her work with his inimitable brain power a couple of times on his old blog, and I highly encourage you to further your knowledge about her work by heading straight over here. Thanks a lot, Ben, and happy weekend to you. ** Jeff J, Hey, Jeff! Man, I hope those troubles are as temporary as that word’s definition will allow. Yes, I do know about the Garell screenings, and I do intend to get over there for a screening or three, starting probably as soon as today. I’ll report back on what I see. Sorry you didn’t have the means for a return trip to see them for all kinds of reasons. Yes, got your email, and thank you so much! We’ll get back to you by Sunday. Have a rich weekend, man. ** Steve Erickson, Your assessment of ‘Joker’ is precisely what I have imagined it would be, and I’ll stay far away, thank you. I’m not even a fan of Joaquin Phoenix’s acting, and that seems to be the only magnetic part. Your ‘Fight Club’ essay is live! Everyone, Mr, Erickson has written an essay to mark the 20th anniversary of David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’ for the wonderful site The Quietus, and its must-ness is a guarantee even if you don’t know the film personally, so head over there now or today or this weekend and dig in, yes? Here is where to go. We don’t know the exact departure date yet but my guess would be on or very around the 18th. ** Okay. This weekend I’m letting the blog luxuriate in the works of Unit 70, who are the gods, the Rembrandts of the scary/Halloween prop medium. I would buy 90% of their props and fill a mansion from tip to stern with them if I could afford a mansion or even one of their works. Enjoy. See you on Monday.