CYNTHIANA - Like Dr. Frankenstein, Kevin R. Alvey creates monsters.
Abominations towering 10 feet, a giant crocosaurus that grips its jaw around terrified people as they shuffle around in the dark – the work of a man who’s doing what he loves.
“There was nothing I could’ve done to not be doing what I’m doing now. This is what I was made to do: make monsters,” Alvey said.
As the leaves die and Halloween draws near, Alvey and his team of 11 employees at Gore Galore are hard at work to finish and ship off world-class horror props for haunted houses and theme parks across the country and globe.
Gore Galore has been doing business for 20 years.
Alvey got his start creating props and pieces for the Newburgh Civitan Zombie Farm in the 1990s. He grew up staying up too late and watching B horror movies, and after creating horrors for the haunted house, he soon realized it was what he needed to do for a living.
“This is what I was made to do,” he said at the Gore Compound in Cynthiana.
The creations start with ideas. Many of Gore Galore’s creations are based on real animals – giant snakes, boar and goat heads crossed with anthropomorphic features to make them vicious and bloodthirsty, ready to attack scared haunted house-goers.
Those are known as “actormatronics,” and are outfitted with metal framing, pneumatic parts and sometimes fog machines, lights and music. The angry features and emotions help make the props scary.
“Also, blood all over it. That always kind of helps, too,” he said.
The other key creations at the Gore Compound are giant costumes that can take a normal person and transform them into a 9-foot tall Lovecraftian monster, or the ever-popular killer clown lofting over people.
From idea to completion, the work is all done in-house at the Gore Compound. Welding, painting, assembly, fine-tuning and more can take two months for a single prop.
The intensive quality of work doesn’t come cheap. The crocosaurus and similar props cost as much as $4,000. The giant costumes, which sit on an actors’ shoulders and are up to 10 feet tall, cost $2,400 to $3,000.
The company sells a few hundred actormotronics and thousands of giant costumes every year.
Larry Kirchner, who owns and operates The Darkness, a major haunted house in St. Louis, said Gore Galore has a reputation for quality and long-lasting work.
The giant costumes allow actors to “become something they could never become before,” he said.
Kirchner, who also is editor of the Hauntworld magazine, said horror props used by Hollywood look good, but are built to only be used a few times, whereas a haunted house can use props hundreds of times a night for an entire season, or all year for some places. Gore Galore’s products are made to last, he said.
“Kevin Alvey’s employing people and doing what he loves. He’s so talented he could work for Universal Studios and making more money, but he’s doing what he loves, loves his employees and loves the customers that he has,” he said.
Alvey takes pride in the terror-inducing work he and his shop create.
“Gore Galore has been around 20 years and plan around being around 20 more,” he said. “I don’t know what else you can say, but I like monsters and I’m gonna keep making them as along as I can.”