Something strange is happening in an industrial area just off Jericho Turnpike. An old brick building once used for warehouse storage is now illuminated by Halloween lights. Upon entering, a voice is heard in the dark.
“Greetings foolish mortals … Beyond this chamber awaits a world of monsters, mad men and creatures of the dark. Tonight you will step inside the silver screen and come face-to-face with your worst nightmares. There’s no turning back now. Enter now … IF YOU DARE!”
That’s Barnaby the Ghost Host who greets guests at the Long Island Monster Gallery in Mineola, which is a new horror attraction featuring a collection of life-size monsters.
“This is a combination between art and horror,” says owner/creator Jason Kloos, 27, of Merrick. “The intention behind the gallery was to design this immersive space that showcases some incredible work created by sculptors, special effect artists and painters who are truly passionate about horror and Halloween movies.”
The eight room, two-floor, 3,000-square foot space is filled with creepy creatures ranging from old classics like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera to more modern horror icons like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.
“I’ve been collecting these monsters over the course of many years,” says Kloos, who has a tattoo of Frankenstein and The Bride across his chest. “Once I had enough in my collection, I felt excited to display it.”
For Kloos, it’s essential visitors understand that although the venue is filled with monsters, it’s not what you might think.
“This isn’t a haunted house and we don’t want it to be a haunted house. It’s not meant to scare or intimidate anyone,” he says. “Nobody is popping out and there are no live actors chasing you.”
However, Kloos insists the gallery is family-friendly.
“We want parents to bring their kids and not be overwhelmed by the experience. But due to the nature of the content we are displaying, that’s up to the parents,” he says. “It’s appropriate for anyone who feels comfortable and loves scary movies.”
ENTER THE WITCH
After passing under the Creature from the Black Lagoon hanging from the ceiling, visitors will enter a room featuring a striking figure of the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz,” which is so lifelike it appears as if she is about to crackle.
“I strive for hyperrealism so I primarily work with silicone,” says artist Chad O’Connell from Salem, Massachusetts, who built the witch. “Every figure begins with a clay sculpture of the character. Once completed, a polyurethane or plaster mold is made of the entire piece and then filled with silicone and a core of expanding foam. Once removed from the mold, it’s then painted, hair and eyes are inserted and the figure is fully costumed. Generally, a full-size figure can take anywhere between four to six months.”
As you head upstairs, watch out for the massive wolf from “An American Werewolf in London” on your right and don’t miss the Crypt Keeper of “Tales from the Crypt” at the top of the staircase.
“Every part is immersive. You’ll never walk through a blank hallway to get from one scene to the next,” says Kloos. “Everywhere you look there will be something to see.”
The figures range in size from the 3-foot ventriloquist dummy Willie from “The Twilight Zone” to the 8-foot Demigorgan from “Stranger Things.”
“Each monster is set in their movie environment with special lighting, props and accessories,” says Kloos. “Even the costumes are handmade — nothing is store bought. Each one is custom fit from head-to-toe and screen-accurate.”
All guests must make a reservation in advance of arrival as each self-guided tour is timed to 45-minutes.
“We limited the amount of people that can go in to maintain control for everyone’s safety,” says Kloos. “If you are unvaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask in order to maintain our safety procedures.”
There’s one major rule at the gallery — nothing can be touched. However, taking photos and shooting video is permitted and even encouraged.
“The place is filled with photo opportunities,” says Kloos. “Every square inch of the place was designed with the intention that visitors could take a selfie with a monster.”
LONG ISLAND MONSTER GALLERY
WHEN | WHERE Sept. 18 through Oct. 31 (open Saturdays 4-10 p.m. and Sundays 5-9 p.m. in September, open Fridays 7-10 p.m., Saturdays 4-10 p.m. and Sundays 5-9 p.m. in October), 47A Roselle Street in Mineola
ADMISSION $25 adults, $20 children (ages 5-11)