Technically, Fright-Rags started in 2003. But the reality is, its beginnings go back even further...to October 31, 1981 in the back of a family-owned deli. I was four years old, and my parents picked me and my siblings up from trick-or-treating to go to their friends' place for a small Halloween get-together. Our friends lived behind the store they owned, and we made our way through the deli, and into what was their living room. Their kids were much older than me, as were my siblings, so they all ran off together to play. I contentedly sat down and counted my evening haul. Once I was done, I was bored...so I approached my mom, tugged on her shirt and pleaded with her to go home. They were having a good time playing cards and definitely not ready to leave, so she just looked at me and said, Go watch some tv, dear."
I walked over to the family tv set, turned it on, and sat down about 10 inches away from the screen. That's when I heard it. The screen was black and the music came on...then the pumpkin. And that music. I couldn't stop watching. Then the words..."John Carpenter's Halloween". There I sat for the next two hours, approximately 10 inches from the screen, and completely mesmerized. The funny thing is, I don't remember being scared - just completely taken in by it all. Once it was done, I wanted more... Thus began my love affair with horror which continues to this day.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Fast forward to 2003; I had been at my graphic design job for a year and had some creative steam to let off. I spent a lot of my free time conversing with other horror fans on various forums (this was way before Facebook, and even MySpace), and I noticed this really cool community of fan made props and art. Some amazing things were being made; Freddy gloves, Michael Myers masks, Jason masks, etc. It sparked something in me that wants to create... But I didn't have those kind of skills. I was, however, a graphic designer. Also, I'd had an affinity for interesting t-shirts since I was a kid; it was my souvenir of choice on vacations, and I'd always look for different ones that represented things I like such as skateboarding, BMX bikes, movie characters, etc. Then i got to thinking - I don't really have any horror shirts. I combed the internet to see what kind of horror shirts were out there and while I found some, they weren't my style. So, I started coming up with my own designs. Once I had a few done, I talked to a friend of mine - Justin Mabry who runs Nightowl Productions and is also co-founder of Trick or Treat Studios - and he encouraged me to share them on his forum, which I was an active member on. The feedback was not only instant, but overwhelmingly positive.
So, over the course of Labor Day weekend in 2003, I came up with a name, basic logo, and website. Then, I plunked down $600 (way more money than I could afford) on my very first run of shirts and held my breath. That Friday, September 2, 2003, I received my first ever order. I was in business. Since then, our focus has always been on making the most kick-ass t-shirts, and backing them with the best possible service. To do that it takes a team effort, and I have been extremely fortunate to work with not only amazing artists, but the people who come to work here every day. Together, we put our heart and soul into everything we do, and are grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to do what we do. Thank you, and stay tuned...we have such shirts to show you...
Ben Scrivens, President
MEET THE TEAM
KIMMY BLANKENBURG - Office Manager
Introduced to John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece Halloween at a very young age, is what kick started my love, obsession and adoration for not only Horror but Halloween the holiday as well. There's nothing better than the feeling that movie gives you while watching it. Not to mention the incredible soundtrack!
Along Halloween, some of my other Horror favorites growing up included Fright Night, Popcorn, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Terror Train, When A Strangers Calls Back, and Halloween III. I also have an "unhealthy" obsession with the movie Hocus Pocus ;).
Halloween the holiday means just as much to me as my love for Horror. My most favorite memories are of when I was younger and my mom would hand make my one of a kind, priceless, unique vintage costumes that I felt alive in, and often won Best Costume in at our local town costume contests. Mom would stay and hand out the candy to all of our trick or treaters while dad took us kids around. Creating memories that will last me a lifetime. The smell of the Autumn air, and sound of the crisp Autumn leaves are something I will NEVER forget. Halloween, Horror and FAMILY are my life!
HEATHER STREBER - Warehouse Manager
I'm Heather, born raised and currently live in Rochester, NY. I've been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. Slasher flicks are my top choice in horror movies. The original Halloween Series is my favorite, with Friday the 13th being second.
JES KARAKASHIAN - Shipping
Jes Karakashian is a freelance artist, mom of two, and zombie aficionado as well as a master sticker pack assembler and quality control officer at Fright Rags. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting, binge watching Netflix, and enjoying new craft beers (sometimes all at once). She belongs to an art collective called The Apocalypse Club and often shows her artwork in venues all over the city. Her favorite shows of all time include Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, and Night Court. Let's face it, John Larroquette was HILARIOUS. And sadly underrated. Her favorite five movies are, in order: Dawn of the Dead (1978), Shaun of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and A League Of Their Own. If you don't cry at the end, you have no soul. Jes loves customer art requests, so don't be shy...if you have a hankerin' for a quick sketch* of a pizza slice eating a giraffe, by all means, ask. Thanks for reading this. Jes loves you all. Almost as much as she loves talking in the third person. Almost. (* time permitting. I do actually have to work, ya know.)"
CHRIS TANSKI - Production Manager
Halloween, Fright Night and A Nightmare on Elm Street pt. 3 :Dream Warriors are three of my all time favorite Horror movies. I have a Freddy Krueger shrine in my house and it is filled with extensive Krueger memorabilia. I owe my love of Horror to my old man who took me to the theater to see all the movies we have all come to know and love. One of my favorite memories is seeing the first A Nightmare on Elm Street at the age of 8.
JOE GUY ALLARD - Lead Designer
Like most horror flick fans, I watched a scary movie at an inappropriate age and it altered my little brain for all time. In my case, it was Poltergeist when I was 5yrs old at a babysitters house (the pool scene proved to be especially flammable nightmare fuel).
Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario Canada, I followed my heart to Western New York in my mid-twenties and have made it my home ever since.
Being in the design industry for nearly 20 years, I have had my share of amazing projects, but creating horror-related designs for Fright-Rags and working with this devoted group of like-minded horror nerds is a pretty ridiculous dream-come-true.
LIZ RUNSWICK - Customer Service
Long time fan and customer of FRIGHT-RAGS. Moved from Northern California to upstate New York in 2015. Favorite horror movies include: Halloween, Dawn of the Dead and Sleepaway Camp 2, but there are so many more I love to revisit often. In my spare time, I enjoy sketching, painting, crafting and filming randomness for YouTube.