'A complete haunter's dream' in North Vancouver
Three blood-covered zombies hack away at a victim pinned to a table, his screams echoing in the dark room. Cockroaches scurry on the walls as skeletons jerk to life and a cackling witch glides overhead on her broom.
In another corner, creepy clowns gather, hunched over on chairs with their bulging eyes staring at a grim reaper towering above.
The blood looks real at North Vancouver's Thomas FX. Even the U.S. military orders it direct from the store to train triage teams so they don't get queasy during gory, real-life situations.
"It's realistic and doesn't stain clothes. It can be washed right out," says John Quee, owner of Thomas FX, holding up a white bottle of blood.
He walks into "The Dark Room" as sensors on the floor make howling ghosts leap forward and jet back from where they came.
"The movie people love these. They order them all year round," says Quee as he touches some hanging chains.
Nicked and rusty, they look real but are lighter, which make them perfect for props, says Quee.
A major part of his business is selling props for movie and TV sets, but he also has everything set up in his store for the public to purchase.
Thomas FX, located on Riverside Avenue in North Vancouver, is a "complete haunter's dream" and is busier than usual with Halloween right around the corner.
In line with the TV series The Walking Dead and teen movie Twilight, zombies and vampires are in this year, says Quee, passing by a vampire fountain, blood and water gushing from its mouth. Hanging on the wall are masks for both, handmade and painted by makeup effects artists.
Next to this is "Blood Alley" where fingers, ears and other miscellaneous bloody body parts are sitting in Styrofoam containers covered in plastic wrap.
"We display everything in the dark so customers can imagine what it'll look like at their house," says Quee.
Thomas FX has been on the North Shore for 44 years, and Quee has been running it with his wife for the last 11. They started off just selling to the movie industry, but eight years ago opened a store for everyone.
"We're not like those pop-up stores with rows of costumes in plastic boxes. We sell costume accessories, a few great pieces that will stand out," he adds, taking down a gas mask from a display.
"And see this. It would look great with just regular clothes on," he says of a devil mask with an evil grin.
Even though Thomas FX may be scarier than many haunted houses, Quee says, it's a business, not a place to drop off the kids for a couple hours.
"We ship to 51 countries and have people fly from across North America to come see us," says Quee proudly as he turns on the snow machine.
Besides Halloween props, he also sells snow to movie companies and stores around Christmas time.
Costume stores on the North Shore
BooLala Costumes, 152 East 2 St. North Van
Spirit Halloween, 801 Marine Dr. North Van
Party City, 879 Marine Dr. North Van
Old Navy (for the little ones), Park Royal Village