Monday, October 7, 2013

What Halloween Means To Me '13 Day 7: Shane "Professor Morte" Morton

Whether as makeup effects artist extraordinaire or ghost host with the most, Shane Morton gets my vote as the hardest working man in the Atlanta horror scene.  He and his alter ego, Atl’s number one horror host Professor Morte, are both ubiquitous presences at any horror event.  Between running the outstanding Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, being one of the masterminds behind Monstrosity Championship Wrestling, working on shows like Adult Swim’s Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, teaching makeup classes for adults and children, playing in one of his numerous bands, making people scary for every purpose under the full moon, creating his own line of prosthetics, hosting events at various horror cons around the country, reanimating The Silver Scream Spookshow from time to time, working with bands like Goblin and Metallica, or any of the other projects he “can’t talk about yet” Shane is a true hardcore purveyor of horror business.  He also owns the single most impressive collection of horror memorabilia I’ve ever personally seen.  His house is a museum when people go to see him. (snap snap)  When he agreed to take part in What Halloween Means To Me, I asked him if Shane or Professor Morte would be speaking.  He simply answered, with a devious grin, “Yes.”  I’m starting to wonder about line between them.  That dude worries me sometimes…

“When I was a youngster, Halloween season was my favorite time of year. I would spend weeks putting together my costume and practicing my makeup so it would be just right on that wonderful night. I would decorate the front yard with old clothes that were stuffed, bloodied, hanging from trees, half buried in piles of leaves, and lounging on porch chairs. It was a magical time and I loved it and all that it stood for.
   But what Halloween means to me now is WORK! Hard work! Back breaking work! Throat torturing, no sleep, no sexy time, no eating, no nothing but work! 16 to 18 hour days for months! I haven't had a Halloween experience in over 25 years that did not involve me working/putting on a show!
   As co-creator and head of the spfx and makeup department of the insanely popular and world famous Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, I work all year long (along with my talented team of artists) sculpting masks, prosthetics, and props (90% of the spooky stuff in our haunt is made on site, we don’t like store bought stuff in this show!), building scary sets, and creating creepy environments.  We have a completely new show every year, with a new layout, paths, themes, etc.  This year we added over 15,000 square feet indoors and 3 more acres outdoors! And with over 200 actors put into wardrobe and makeup in our 3 different onsite attractions, it’s A LOT to handle!
   And to add even more to my plate, my crazy creation, Monstrosity Championship Wrestling, has taken over the Axis Arena Batman Stunt Show area at Six Flags for Fright Fest! Try juggling a couple dozen psychotic pro wrestlers, coercing them into costumes and monster makeup gimmicks, and then getting them to put on a clean show for a family friendly event! I’m pulling out hair I can’t afford to lose!
  Hey wait! What’s this? Who let this guy in here? He scares the YELL outta me! This is my article...or is it?
   Enter Professor Morte!
  Good googly oogly moo! Professor Morte here! The ghost host with the most! What is this guy Shane whining about now? As Atlanta's horror host I am constantly performing magic and spook shows, introducing bands (this year's highlights were Metallica and Goblin!), leading parades, zombie walks, and pub crawls, hosting ribbon cutting ceremonies at Halloween stores, kissing babies (I love children, they're delicious...err, I mean delightful) performing legal monstrous marriages, and generally just spreading the gruesome gospel of Halloween! I never tire of this work as it is extremely important and is the reason I am here on this earth...Shane...Never lose sight of the prize.  That smiling face in the crowd, that screaming face in the haunt, that bleeding face in the wrestling ring.  That kid you just did the monster makeup on may grow up to be the next Lon Chaney, Ray Harryhausen, or Rick Baker! This work is sacred, powerful, life changing, and wondrous...Never forget that! Maybe we should get together and work on a putrid project some time? What do you think buddy?
  Well...I guess I'll see you in the 'mourning' Prof.Morte'.  Thanks for keeping me grounded.
  Beast witches and Happy Halloween to all of you boils and ghouls.  I hope you, like me, will have a legendary one!”

 24 days ‘til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.  24 days ‘til Halloween.  Silver Shamrock.

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