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Interview: Night of the Living Denim Horror Popup Exhibit

Adam Bucci wearing his denim horror art

Art and commerce meet at Night of the Living Denim, now wrapping up a weekend engagement at the Line LA Hotel in the Wilshire Center district of Los Angeles. Billing itself as a combination “horror art exhibit and popup shop,” the event showcases the “wearable denim art” of Adam Bucci, who brings famous horror movie moments to life, including scenes from HalloweenThe ExorcistA Nightmare on Elm Street, and more. Actors Jack Quaid (Scream 2022) and Matt Bomer (American Horror Story) are loaning their custom jackets to the exhibit.

Ensconced in a small suite of rooms on the hotel’s sixth floor, Night of the Living Denim offers an impressive viewing experience that goes beyond a mere popup shop, justifying the description as an art exhibit. Many of the painted jackets are cleverly arranged into themed displays: Marion Crane’s screaming face from Psycho dangles over a tub next to a white mannequin holding a shower curtain. The scene of Freddy’s glover rising from the bathwater to menace Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street is set inside one of the suite’s two bathrooms. The Exorcist, Misery, and The Shining receive similar treatment; the later includes a rubber-headed axe you can wield for a photo op.

Night of the Living Denim: Interview and Photo Galleries

Check out photographs of the displays below, followed by our interview with Adam Bucci…

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Night of the Living Denim: Psycho

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Night of the Living Denim: The Exorcist

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Night of the Living Denim: A Nightmare on Elm Street

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Night of the Living Denim: The Shining & Misery

Bucci’s company, Small Town Weirdo, is operating the popup shop at the event, and Bucci is on site to meet fans, answer questions, and even paint new works, which visitors can purchase. We took the opportunity to ask a few questions: Why denim? Why Horror? Why now?

“Denim never goes out of style so I wanted to create works of art that people would wear all year round,” Bucci explains. “I grew up loving horror. I was an outcast, arty kid who just gradually loved it more and more and then found my people here in LA that love it too. It’s such a tight community and very supportive, and it’s been a fun journey getting to create this art and meet the fans.”

The popup exhibit at the Line LA resulted from a chance meeting. “I was wearing one of my jackets at an ice cream shop last year, and someone that worked for the hotel saw me. He asked where I got it; I said I made it. He loves horror too, and he wanted to see it kind of pop up in the hotel.”

One point worth emphasizing – because it might not be clear from photographs – is that these are not mass-produced stencils. Each is an original work hand-painted on denim.

“No two are the same; even if people want something I already made, it’s going to look a little different,” Bucci explains. “Nothing’s traced. I do a loose chalk outline before I starting painting so I see the proportion, but once I start painting you lose the lines. It takes about two to four weeks apiece. The overalls I wore at Halloween Horror Nights took eighty hours. Denim really absorbs paint so it takes a lot of layers to build up the color.”

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Free and open to the public, Night of the Living Denim concludes its three-day engagement on Sunday, running from 11am to 5pm. The Line LA Hotel is located at 3515 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Their website is here.

If you cannot make it to the exhibit this weekend, you can find Bucci’s work at his company’s website: smalltownweirdo.com.

Night of the Living Denim Photographs

Note: This article has been updated and republished since its original posting in order to add the photographs and interview.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.