Thursday, September 21, 2023

Fantastic Fest 2023: SPOOKTACULAR!, a Look at the Theme Park from Horror's Golden Age

Quinn Monahan's Spooktacular

Spookywood Productions is honored to announce that Fantastic Fest will host the World Premiere of Spooktacular!, director Quinn Monahan's gripping documentary that unravels the secrets behind SpookyWorld, America's iconic Halloween extravaganza, which set the template for the multi-billion-dollar industry of terror. Presented by executive producer Tom Savini, Spooktacular! will bow in Austin at the largest genre film festival in the US, specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. After Fantastic Fest, Spooktacular! will make its West Coast Premiere at BeyondFest and its International Premiere at Sitges.

At the heart of it all stands David Bertolino, the mastermind behind SpookyWorld, the first-ever multi-attraction Halloween theme park that redefined the haunted house experience. From humble beginnings as a whoopee cushion salesman, Bertolino's journey culminated in a terrifying hayride trail through the woods that captured the imaginations of thousands, and soon became a sensation.

As the crowds swelled, so did SpookyWorld's reputation, attracting A-list horror celebrities like Tom Savini, Linda Blair, and Kane Hodder. The documentary delves into David's audacious advertising campaigns, electrifying sponsorships, and unforgettable charity events that drew attention from national media outlets, turning SpookyWorld into a global phenomenon.

Through captivating storytelling, the memories of the most revered names in horror and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, Spooktacular! captures the essence of SpookyWorld's Camelot days, when screams mingled with the crisp New England night air and memories were etched into the souls of fans.

Ahead of the world premiere, Monahan shared: "I was inspired to embark on this filmmaking journey by my friendship with David Bertolino and the story of his extraordinary quest to create the world's first Halloween theme park. His incredible stories of those heady days resonated with me on a personal level, drawing parallels to my own upbringing in a theater family.

My hope is to transport our audience to the unique time and place that was SpookyWorld. I want them to experience the pre-digital era, where immersive experiences were constructed with plywood, duct tape, and raw talent, rather than virtual reality goggles and computer code. This is an opportunity to relive a bygone era when fun was tangible, vivid, and real, before the indelible impact of 9/11 and the subsequent technological and political changes which now permeate American life. I hope we have honored the memory of this Camelot of Halloween attractions in the most genuine and faithful way possible."

Spooktacular! delves deep into the intriguing, and sometimes scandalous, story of America’s first Halloween Theme Park and the genius mind behind it. The documentary not only explores Bertolino’s remarkable journey but also gives a heartfelt insight into the lives of numerous individuals who were part of this iconic park.

With a rich palette of interviews featuring luminaries from the vast spectrum of horror history including Tom Savini, Linda Blair, Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and more, the film uncovers the thrilling voyage of a man who dared to tap into the zeitgeist of a generation, inspiring and frightening them while laying the foundation for the mammoth Halloween creations that followed.

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