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Erie Man’s Theatrical Sets Make ‘Monster’ Picture

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Glenn Grassi (credit: YouTube)

Glenn Grassi (credit: YouTube)

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – If you haven’t seen what Glenn Grassi – the Erie man whose tiny house on wheels made national headlines last year – has been up to lately, you’ll find out soon enough.

That’s because Grassi’s latest creation, a macabre series of theatrical sets for a Colorado monster-making company, will make an appearance on the second season of Travel Channel’s popular series “Making Monsters.”

The show is scheduled to air this fall.

“It didn’t seem like much of a stretch at all,” said Grassi, who has been designing and building theater sets for two decades. “I’ve probably seen just about every horror movie made in the past 30 years. I’m a pretty dark person.”

So when monster and haunted prop maker Distortions Unlimited of Greeley asked him to create the backdrops for a ghoulish cemetery, a psychotic automotive garage and a creepy alien autopsy room for its display at this week’s Transworld’s Halloween, Costume and Party Show in St. Louis, he jumped at the chance.

But the turnaround would have to be quick. And the budget, at $2,500, dictated that Grassi would have to be resourceful.

“From the day that I said yes, I had 20 days from the moment I started to the day the truck picked everything up,” he said.

Grassi worked out of an empty hangar near the Erie Municipal Airport without heat or running water, cutting, nailing and painting material into horror sets for Distortions’ multiple animatronic monsters, mummies and mad men.

The sets will be on display at the massive horror trade show through Sunday.

As with the 84-square-foot house on wheels that he made out of recovered materials he largely gleaned from ReSource Yard in Boulder, Grassi created his horror sets with used wood and metal.

“I told (Distortions) that what I was going to build was going to depend on what I found,” he said.

Ed Edmunds, co-owner of Distortions, said he loved the fact that Grassi used recycled materials and was able to construct such elaborate sets based on almost no guidance from the company.

“The guy’s a pro — he just kind of winged it,” Edmunds said from inside America’s Center in St. Louis on Friday. “He’s got talents that we don’t have. He has that theatrical eye.”

Which means the company’s vomiting pig-faced farmer-demon gets to be in a familiar barn-like setting, complete with old tools and implements Grassi found. Nearby, Distortions’ zombies and a beast-mouthed old woman it created wander around in a Grassi-made cemetery, with mausoleum at center stage and trees coated in spider webs.

A crew from Travel Channel is documenting Edmunds’ company for “Making Monsters,” and Grassi will likely be the beneficiary of more national exposure. The 42-year-old Erie resident hopes it’s “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of his larger ambitions.

For starters, he wants to audition for HGTV’s “Design Star” competition show. The winner gets his or her own show on the network.

“I want everyone to know who I am, at least in the design world,” Grassi said.

- By JOHN AGUILAR, The Daily Camera

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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