For more than fifteen years, droves of crazed haunt and horror fans have flocked through the gates of the South Florida Fairgrounds each October in search of a good scare at an event known simply as Fright Nights. For the past ten of those years, they have been entertained by a deranged clown who calls himself Eggman.
Recently, Palm Beach Happening was able to coax Eggman, aka Craig McInnis, from his unnatural slumber to ask him a little more about the history of the character, his work at Fright Nights, and more.
Do you like scary movies? (The best opening question in film history, IMHO)
Some… not all. I am picky in that I do require a solid script to make it through an entire film. With that said, I can and will watch almost anything creepy for reference and research.
How long have you been a makeup artist?
I am a visual artist so it was a smooth transition from canvas to body. It started in 2003-04 on the grand scale but I had always done my own horror make up since I can remember.
How long have you been portraying Eggman?
Eggman was born in my first haunted house in 2005 called the Smiths. It was murderous family of clowns and he came to be out of necessity as a house leader.
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I enjoy making things look bad. It started on my face and worked it’s way out from there.
Do you enjoy haunted attractions? If so, which is your favorite (aside from Fright Nights)?
Haunted Overload in NH. House of Shock in LA. 13th gate LA. 13th floor TX.
How long has Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds been around?
It started as few years before I got there in 2001
What do you look for when you hire scareactors for the attraction, and how would someone apply to be a scareactor?
Passion and work ethic are number one. Experience can easily trumped by follow through and spirit. In general we do not cast in a traditional manner by asking people to “act” or do a monologue. We basically do a quick interview and from there it is pretty easy to no how the person will fit in the event (if at all).
What is your favorite themed house that you’ve worked on for Fright Nights?
Clowns…the low hanging fruit of the scare world… they are and will continue to be my favorite (Carnival of Creeps, The Smiths). But, I am concentrating on challenging myself to jump out of that box and explore.
With all the haunted attractions within a couple hours drive of the Palm Beaches, why should someone visit Fright Nights?
SCARES! We concentrate on making sure that everyone gets their blood pumping. Our main focus is customer experience inside the haunted houses. I think that the more popular Halloween becomes the more likely it is that haunted events lose focus of the true essence of the season, this doesn’t happen at Fright Nights. We are addicted to the scare!
If you’re a bit apprehensive, but are still interested enough to see what the attraction looks like before it opens to the general public, you’re in luck. For the second year in a row, Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds is offering a Behind the Scenes tour of their houses. The tour group is kept small, no more than 15 people, and each is guided by a scareactor who will let you know some of the secrets to each attraction before the gates open to the rest of the world.
“If you are curious about how large haunted houses are put together, now is your chance to see “behind the curtain”. Our 5th annual Behind the Scenes Tour is a great way to see what makes Fright Nights tick,” McInnis added. “You will gain insight into many aspects of our production, including: props, construction, design, wardrobe, make up and the art of the scare to name a few. You will also get to meet some of our featured characters and ask as many questions as you like.”
You might think, “Hey, I can’t afford that kind of access.” Well, yes you can. Admission for the night is only $10 per person, and includes a free preview ticket for one of the four houses on opening night!
Visit their website at MyFrightNights.com for tickets to this special tour, as well as tickets to the haunt itself. Tickets are limited, and some nights will sell out.
Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following Palm Beach Happening for news on other spooky events in the Palm Beaches. If you know of another local event that would appreciate the undead light shone upon it, please let us know!