Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Phantom of the Opera: all will be there. As they have for the past 40 years, life-size, life-like replicas of the greatest heroes of the horrors will be on hand with gory greetings when the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum creaks open its doors for four weekends in October in Bristol, in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills. There is no other attraction like the Witch's Dungeon. Displays are realistic settings from horror and sci-fi movie classics with accurate figures based on life-casts of the actors who portrayed famous roles. Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Lon Chaney, Jr. are among them. Some costumes or props were actually used in the original films. Special voice-tracks recorded by Price, June Foray, Mark Hamill and John Agar bring the dioramas to life. In honor of the anniversary, a two-hour DVD tracing the development of the museum, "The Witch's Dungeon: 40 Years of Chills," has been made. It will be shown at the Showcase Cinemas in Southington, Connecticut on October 12, 2006 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. A $5.00 donation is requested.
A LIFE-LONG MANIA
This museum paying tribute to the creators of the classic movie monsters was the work of one man, Cortlandt Hull. As Hull tells it, he was a "weird kid," fascinated by the make-up and effects in fantasy and horror films even as a young boy. He began by building and painting model kits of the classic monsters and collecting memorabilia like lobby cards, photos, and magazines such as "Famous Monsters." Soon he was attempting larger figures. Hull was only 13 in 1966, when his dad Robert helped him build and decorate a Swiss chalet-style building to house a "Witch's Dungeon" for his figures. His mom, Dorothea, worked on the costumes. The museum is still housed in this original building.
After earning Fine Arts and Masters degrees at the University of Hartford Art School, Hull became a freelance artist, but never lost his interest in the movie making arts. He worked with make up artists and mask makers to improve his accuracy in re-creating life-size figures for his "Witch's Dungeon." Today there are over a dozen dioramas. Though the museum opens to the public only in October, word spread and movie buffs began making pilgrimages. Many of the children of the horror heroes visit regularly and are on the museum's honorary board. Hull's realistic make-up, prop, and artwork have been featured in TV commercials, films and as props for live theatre. Universal Studios Florida commissioned him to create a life-size figure of Lon Chaney Jr. as "The Wolf Man" for their "Classic Monsters Cafe".
This year Cortlandt Hull announced the realization of a long-time dream. The Witch's Dungeon will soon be open year round as part of a larger museum under development, to be called the Classic Movie Museum. Over the years, friends in the film industry have given him original props or make-up appliances from various films, which he has preserved. Hull says: "These pieces are not only a part of movie history, but are fine art, and American icons. It is important to preserve them for future generations".
The Witch's Dungeon is located at 90 Battle Street in Bristol. Hours will be 7 to 10 p.m. on October 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 and 28-31. Suggested donation is $1. The museum is not recommended for children under age 6. For information phone 860-583-8306, www.preservehollywood.org.
For information on many other Halloween events in the area and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, write to the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (860) 567-4506, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.