Established in 2010, Immortal Masks is known for delivering film quality products at competitive pricing. I’m not sure you can find a haunter that isn’t aware of Immortal Masks and coming up they’re launching three new product lines next month, and we have the details. This is the third episode in our vendor showcase series in partnership with the Haunted Attraction Association
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What Is Immortal Masks?
George: My name is George Frangadakis, I’m one of the co-owners of Immortal Masks. We are one of the leading silicone mask companies in the world and we are located in San Dimas, CA.
About 10 years ago, my partner and and I kind of saw a hole in an emerging industry, and it was silicone masks. When it first started there was a really good company called SPFX and they were doing cool human masks, very much the Mission Impossible mask. and then there were a couple of other companies coming with creature stuff. He and I came from a film effects background where we were working predominantly in the film effects industry, and we kind of wanted to take a lot of what we’ve been doing in film effects and applying it to an emerging product, and see if we could push the boundaries of what we’re seeing.
What maybe makes us different than everybody else is we kind of learned cool tricks and to really kind of push what we thought capable before in these simple overhead pullover masks. Now we have masks that are built way off your face, we have animatronic masks coming out, we have masks that have a fogging device in it and then they smolder, we have masks, have lighting systems rigged within them. All these are built inside of a mask that is completely flexible in every direction, so it moves with your face. So, having things like lighting rigs in there, we were challenged in the beginning and now we got kind of good at it. I think more than anything, we like challenging ourselves.
The whole goal is to bring that monster that we watched when we were a kid into anybody’s household. I grew up the guy watching Star Wars and then Predator going, “I want the suit, like how do I get that?” You know? So, initially, that was our goal is just to go ahead and commercialize the effect.
Then, like I said, we challenge ourselves constantly. We get bored with our toys. So, whenever we do one thing, it’s like always on to the next thing. “OK cool, well how do I make this cooler now?”
What Is Planned For Transworld?
George: Yeah, yeah, we’ve kind of up the ante on some of our masks and lighting rigs, we’re built custom building lighting rigs. We actually have a mask that has LCD screens for eyes, they’re animated eyes in it. We work with our friends over at Out of Fruit and they kind of came up with some cool things for us. But we’re introducing three new product lines, also for Transworld.
For years we’ve been pairing our masks for movement videos with costumes, and people go, “where do you get your costumes?” For the most part, I’m a big fan of screen-used costumes, I’m a collector, and our proximity, obviously, to the industry in LA, I purchase a lot of screen-used. costumes. So, it kind of leads to a discussion, people kept saying, “where do you get these costumes?” And I’d be, “well, you know, it’s kind of a one of a kind thing that I bought.” We have access to union seamstresses, designers, and pattern makers because there are our friends; we work within the industry. So, we decided to come out with a costume line, so we’re debuting Immortal Threads, which is our kind of our high-end very, very movie-esque costumes. That will be debuting in that Transworld.
We are bringing back the faceplate, which is a resin hockey-style mask we used to do it years ago, and people like, “why did they go away?” They weren’t really cost effective, and the resident could warp, and we were just kind of like, “well, maybe not. Maybe we should discontinue this line.” But, we get the molds. In comes our friends at October studios, and they show me a product that was really cool, and it was your thing that was really neat. We’ve had a relationship with Diego for years, and we sent him some molds, and we said, “so we’re bringing back our faceplates, but they’re in more of a flexible, lightweight urethane that’s like amazing. You can’t break it.” So those are coming back, that’s awesome.
We just came out with a more haunter-friendly mask, which is a strap mask. Strap masks have been around for a long time. The haunter on the go, the haunters that’s moving really hard in the darkness or a maze wants a little bit more comfortability, and the full overhead mask sometimes limits that. Now, we did a half mask years ago, the more of an open neck. So, it’s like encompassing mask that has its cuff mid-neck, and those were really popular, obviously. Then our full masks are great for queue line, and for like for photo op and whatnot. There are that guys definitely can go hard in this masks too, it’s all about personal fortitude.
But we wanted something that was a little bit meant to go so you could g harder in it, and it was just the face. We re-engineered or core, and that’s what the mask is sculpted on. That’s how the mask moves with their face. We came up with a really cool strapping system that really gave us the torque that we needed, but didn’t really block off the whole back of the head. It’s really easy to put on and really adjustable. So those are called immortal faces, and those are debuting at Transworld too, our first five designs.
I gotta credit my partner Andrew Freeman, he’s an amazingly fast and accurate sculptor, so this product line developed really fast. We have a great team, they’ve figured out ways to make this go in a way that I plan on having these on hand all the time, so they will also be readily available. I think we have like 60 new full and half masks that we came up with this year, so there’s a lot of stuff coming.
All this stuff will coincide with Transworld, so for fans out there listening to this and asking, “when are these new products coming?” Most likely they’ll launch my website probably the week before Transworld so that they run in conjunction with Transworld.
Philip: You said you had five designs for the immortal faces?
George: We kind of looked at the staples first, but we always put our spin on it. So, we have Scumbag the Clown, he’s the first one.
Then we just did Insane, which is like our kind of asylum/possessed looking guy. He fits kind of like that 13 ghost to any crazy guy in a straight jacket look.
We have a zombie sort of a withered-face zombie. The ones when you do like all the bone exposes like that there’s a kind of better left for full masks because you really want to travel with those wounds. This one is really cool. It’s subtle, it’s great. You put a hoodie over it and it’s awesome. You put a wig with it, looks great.
Then, Andrew is sculpting our demon right now, which is really cool looking, because it’s like very gargoyle-esque looking. It’s very classic demon, works really well with this.
Then for all the LARPers out there, we’re doing an orc. The LARPers love that, we saw the need for that, we get hit up for it all the time. They like some comfortability, and they’re using armor and whatnot over there, so sometimes that can damage a full mask. Going with a half-mask version, the orc for them, or a face version of the orc for them was a better move. So we did that for them. We were developing the female core, so we’ll have female masks in the faces soon too.
Philip: And the face plate, of course you mentioned that.
George: Yeah, if they spent a resurrection of our old face plates. We’re starting off sort of slow, just go see how it goes. The first five are two of our clown variants, the Ghost faceplate, then the pumpkin faceplate, and the doll. Those were our classic designs.
George Discusses Immortal Threads
George: Yeah, it’s way off of what we normally do. However, when we started this, one of the ultimate goals was complete character construction. We started branching out a couple of years ago by not only doing the masks and in the traditional sleeves, the gloves, but doing bodysuits where we have a silicone muscle suit, or silicone creature suit, which is a full torso wrap around. Those are pretty big items. Moving down past that, we wanted to start outfitting them a bit.
So, we have some really cool designs. Two of my favorites already in are our Dracula vest, which is basically it’s a really cool gothic, floor-length vest basically. So, there are no sleeves, but there are two different optional shirts that go under it, or you can kind of pair it with whatever you would like to.
Then, I’ve got one called the Nomad which is very Waste Land-esque, it’s really cool. It’s very tattered, there’s leather in it, there are different fabrics in it, arm wraps, leg wraps, pants, a full jacket, the way that jacket fits is amazing, and then we have a separate like scarf hood that goes with it.
There are a lot of cool tricks inside of all of our costumes too, because since we designed them, we designed them for the haunter. There are hidden pockets in all of them. There’s a wizard costume, kind of a tunic, it’s black, it’s one of the ones that goes to the wrists but it drapes way down low. What we did is, we put elastic bands inside of it, so you put your arms through the elastic band, and if you want to raise it back to your like elbow, it’ll hold in place there.
The other thing that we developed is an alternative to our big silicone muscle suits, we’re actually doing foam and fabric muscle suits. Now we’ve seen those out there, there’s a lot of them in the Superhero realm, and they’re meant to be very chiseled chest and stuff. We make monsters, so we went where they don’t go. We raised the traps up, and we made it more hunched over and more beast-like. So, you can really get that beast-like profile by putting this muscle suit on. It weighs about a pound and a half. It is completely moisture resistant, which means that it isn’t like a typical foam suit where you start sweating and it gets like 10 pounds heavier. We’re using a reticulated foam that holds support, also moisture passes through it, it can’t trap moisture inside of it. It’s pretty cool, it’s really lightweight, and what it does to your body structure is absolutely amazing, so that’s coming out too, it’ll be at Transworld.
We’re having fun with this right now, it’s ten years in the making and I feel like we’re just getting going.
Why Is Immortal Masks Interested In Haunted Attractions?
George: They embraced us first. In the very early days of this company when Andrew and I were moving out of the garage and getting into our first shop, the idea was is that we wanted to make something that we were originally only gearing for film and television, and we wanted to make that available to anybody. Honestly, the first people that embraced us was the haunted attraction community.
I remember, we actually had a relationship, Andrew used to work for Boneyard Effects back in the day, so it wasn’t like we were blind to the industry, but they really took to us. We really are fortunate and thankful, first and foremost, to the haunted attraction community, because they’re really what put us on the map.
Philip: Makes sense as to why you’re going there and launching new things at Transworld.
George: Yes, yeah, it’s our industry’s trade show, and it really is important to realize the importance of that trade show. For one thing, it’s where we get inspired by others as artists ourselves. It’s one of those places that you get to go to and you see everybody else, you see your friends, you see all the different products and that’s inspiring to us. We also see themes that are happening, what are people interested in? Then we see a lot of old friends, because it is about building relationships. So, for that, it’s held a special place in our heart and it’s where we want to launch new product.
We’re not shy about showing stuff. We don’t hold on to sculptures, but when we want to really show off our new product, Transworld is the place that we do it.
George’s Take On Industry Trends
Philip: You also mentioned in there something I wanted to end on, which is, themes and going and looking, and seeing what’s going on. Where do you see the industry going from your vantage point? I feel like you have so many perspectives. You have the Hollywood side, you have the effects side, you have also the fan side, so you see a lot of the trends from the consumer trends, but also the trends from the movie side. So what are you seeing?
George: As far as the film stuff goes, OK, there’s a little bit of a cheat on our part. We have a lot of friends that work in the film industry, so I may have a jump on knowing what movies are coming out soon, like what kind of movies are coming out soon. I mean if you pay close attention to my catalog and go, “they just did a lot of those things, maybe there’s some movies like that coming out soon.” We pay attention to those trends because we want to make sure that we’re on the forefront of that.
As far as everything else, I see the haunted attraction industry ever-expanding, that’s a given. Was COVID difficult? Sure, COVID was difficult for everybody in some ways. However, I saw more creativity come out of COVID, because force it. The show must go on. People weren’t willing to roll over and die, so I saw so much cool innovation happening just to survive a year that seemed like it was going to be like impossible to do so. For us, we hit the ground running too. It was like, I guess, nervous energy. Lockdown happened, this is like now what, two years now? It’s like what do you do with your time? Let’s just make monsters, because that soothed us. So, I think I saw a better creative burst come out of COVID than I’ve ever seen, and it really applied to haunted attractions.
It’s great to see that the industry not only survived, but it’s thriving. You get that general sense from anybody that you talk. So, stepping into this one it’s really, there’s no trepidation at all, it’s more like I think everyone who’s going is really going all out now. And that’s a great thing because there’s a lot more new products coming, and there’s just great ideas that people have been harvesting in the last couple years.