SugarMynt Gallery welcomes you back to Haddonfield for their eighth annual exhibition of art inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween and its progeny
An annual, themed exhibition seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, consistency and familiarity can attract a loyal fanbase eager to revisit a favorite topic. On the other hand, the recurring nature of the event could leave patrons feeling they are simply seeing more of the same old thing (in some cases, literally, if an unsold work remains on display).
Yet somehow SugarMynt Gallery in South Pasadena manages to make Welcome to Haddonfield worth revisiting every Halloween season. Showcasing art and photography related to the Halloween film franchise, particularly John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 slasher film, the eighth edition of the annual event offers a wide variety of new work. Additionally, the venue itself has been substantially redecorated since the John Carpenter tribute in July, devoting the back room for another seasonal cult film, 1993’s Hocus Pocus. Fans of macabre art in general – and of those two films in particular – will find much worth seeing, including paintings, behind-the-scenes photography, production sketches, and related merchandise.
Welcome to Haddonfield: Exterior
Approaching SugarMynt, you immediately know you are in the right place. Halloween decorations adorn the exterior year-round, shifting slightly from season to season. The most obvious recent addition is a monstrous skeleton towering over the front yard. More subtle but just as amusing is the Strode Realty sign near the front door.
The season decor extends to the back yard, which is open to the public. The yard also serves as an outdoor screening area on weekends, which movies related to the exhibition are shown at no additional cost.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Merchandise
The set up for Welcome to Haddonfield 8 is a bit different from previous exhibitions. The front section of the gallery, normally open to view, has been hidden from view behind a curtain, so upon entering the only visible area is the small room where admission tickets and merchandise are sold.
Along with collectible items (tote bags, refrigerator magnets), there are affordable prints of Halloween-themed artwork, including some seen at previous exhibitions. This is a great option for fans who are not serious collectors with deep pocketbooks.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Front Gallery
After paying for admission, you proceed past the curtain to the front section of the main room, which has been sectioned off into a small gallery by a room divider. The divider acts as a billboard for Welcome to Haddonfield 8: You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman, the title boldly splayed out above ten paintings of various sizes depicting Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, and other memorable imagery from the Halloween films.
A life-sized figure of Myers from Halloween Kills dominates the room. Shelves, tables, and walls offer another wide selection of prints. The path around the room divider to the back section of the gallery leads past more original artwork, including Michael Myers holding a phone to his ear and creepy depictions of two homicidal children in clown costumes: the young Myers from the opening of Halloween and Jamie Lloyd from the conclusion of Halloween IV.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Back Gallery
The back section of the gallery also features a life-sized figure of Michael Myers, this one from the classic films. Here, you feel fully immersed in the exhibition; walls here are devoted to original artwork, mostly inspired by the original Carpenter film but with the occasional nod to sequels, such as Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
There is one item not related to Haddonfield: an evil-looking book with a glass eye, seen in Hocus Pocus. Situated next to an open door, it alerts browsers to the theme contained in the adjoining room. But before checking that out, let’s go to…
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Halloween Room
In addition to the main gallery, SugarMynt has two other rooms housing art, photography, and memorabilia. We call the first of these the Halloween Room, because it is a sort of ongoing installation, housing art inspired by the 1978 Halloween, behind-the-scenes photography of the film’s making, and a mechanical Michael Myers in a scene from the movie – wielding his blade as if bursting through the slats of the closet door.
Though much of the material in this room is on permanent display, several additions have been made, with material featuring other themes cleared out to make even more room for Halloween art.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Hocus Pocus Room
The back room of SugarMynt swaps material in and out, usually related to the Halloween season if not the film franchise. During Welcome to Haddonfield 8, the room houses an exhibition of costumes, paintings, production sketches, and installations related to Hocus Pocus, the 1993 fantasy starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of Salem witches accidentally resurrected in the 20th century. A box office bomb during its initial release, the film has inexplicably morphed into a cult favorite without ever experiencing a critical reappraisal; its popularity has grown enough to launch a sequel, which will debut on Disney+ at the end of September.
Despite our feelings about the film itself, the small exhibit offers an eyeful of spooky delights, and the production artwork is quite impressive. In fact, we will even admit to having purchase a print of Binx, the talking cat, sitting on a fencepost and watching a witch’s funeral in the distance – an evocative image suggesting something a bit more sinister than family-friendly film that emerged.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8: Conclusion
If you have ever been to one of SugarMynt’s Haddonfield exhibitions, you know what to expect: lots of Halloween, lots of Hocus Pocus, and maybe some Tim Burton and classic movie monsters thrown in for good measure. That is pretty much the case with Welcome to Haddonfield 8, but the work on view is largely new and well worth seeing even if you are not an art collector. In fact, it may be SugarMynt’s biggest and best Halloween exhibition to date.
Hollywood Gothique's rating of Welcome to Haddonfield 8
1 – Avoid
2 – Some redeeming qualities
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
Welcome to Haddonfield does an impressive job of assembling a new and diverse selection of artwork inspired by the movie that launched the slasher genre. Art collectors should swarm like bees to flowers, and film fans will find SugarMynt is a great place to hang out. More than just a gallery, it is almost an immersive shrine to Halloween art.
Welcome to Haddonfield 8 is on view through Halloween. In addition to the exhibition, there will be special events on weekends, including movie screenings and live music, included with the price of admission to the gallery, which is $20. SugarMynt is open 12-5pm on Sunday, 1-6pm on Wednesday & Thursday, and 12-8pm on Friday & Saturday. Closed Monday & Tuesday. The address is 810 Meridian Avenue in South Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 222 – 7257, or visit the official website: sugarmynt.com.