View Full Version : Joe/Dark Attractions strikes again... (Hauntcon)

02-21-2007, 12:25 AM
This is a bizzare story...

I find out about this website called www.itsscary.com because its FILLED with my artwork. They also stole artwork from my buddies in Buffalo (Fright World). I get in touch with these guys, and it turns out they where trying to raise money for a youth football group.

They wanted to open a haunted house, so they went to HAUNTCON, thinking it was a professional tradeshow for this industry. They went to a seminar by Joe Manzo (Dark Attractions).

Many of Pickels seminars are offered from unqualified speakers. These guys ASSUME, that if Leonard Pickel (Godfather) was producing the seminars every speaker is high quality, professional, well respected, and knowledgable about the subject. The facts as we know them is Pickel pays no one, and many of his speakers are not qualified, and it allows most speakers.

So these people hire Joe FOR NO OTHER REASON than they thought SINCE he was a speaker at Hauntcon, he was an expert. So they hire joe pay him $40,000.00 and what they end up getting is WALLS and a haunt that wouldn't pass a fire code if there was no fire codes. (thats a joke). Joe was fired and thrown out of the building and what they ended up with was plywood walls.

They have put up a myspace on the subject...


and then this past weekend went to HauntX with t-shirts with joes company on it...

They went to Haunt X, and confronted Leonard and told him point blank they ONLY hired the guy because they felt Hauntcon and Leoanrd produced seminars with professionals. The guy supposedly confronted Leonard during his seminar at Haunt X.

Leonard claimed he's going to put a disclaimer on the seminars stating they do NOT endorse or recomend ANY speaker. Hauntcon doesn't endorse, their speakers now? You know I can't believe it... isn't the solution to this problem the following:

'Well actually what we really need to do is PAY Our speakers, and seek out the best most qualified people, to ensure our guests who attend Hauntcon the best possible information'. That to me seems like the solution... but I guess not in Leonard's eyes...

Listen folks, if you take in a seminar at Hauntcon BEWARE!!! Thats my opinion!

Anyway, back on the subject, how does my artwork come into play? Apperently Joe sold them the haunts with logos, like our company use to do...difference is we paid for them Joe didn't. They claim Joe gave them this artwork and said it was his, and they used it to make their website.

So now according to these people Joe went TO MY website and ripped off MY artwork, changed it and gave it to one of his clients. WOW!

Joe apparently did this to again my buddies in Buffalo (Fright World)

I can see Ken Spriggs replying to this post now...

He's going to say "They should have done more research" funny thing is this guy told me that exact thing 'he should have done more research'.

He just thought he was at Hauntcon, a professional haunted house show, which Pickel himself said in that Vampire interview is the ONLY show for the haunt industry, he just assumed if Joe's a speaker at the industries ONLY professional tradeshow then he had to be legit.

Maybe Leonard should take Ken's advice and do some research, and qualify each speaker. I think everyone knows that Joe's had a lot of problems in the past, with clients claiming the same thing. Nothing personal against Joe but please... if I was doing a seminar series I don't think I'd let many of the speakers speak especially ones who've had problems like this in the past. Look how it all turns out!

If Hauntcon is to have a professional seminar series they need to seek out more professional, quailfied speakers, and since he's charging the guests, he should pay the speakers to ensure they will show up and give a first class seminar? Doesn't this make sense?

Transworld on the other hand has DONE JUST THAT in 2007! Now thats a seminar series that you can trust...

It seems that Joe has struck again hasn't he... another newbie gets BURNED... I guess WIPP you've got some company around here. And yet one more person has stolen my artwork, and used to for their own profit! Amazing!


02-21-2007, 01:56 AM
I was there for the HauntX Pickel seminar. Some good info, some so-so info. Most of it was his opinions on stuff, not to many facts. It was funny to hear him say one thing, then 10 minutes later in the Sidney Neal Q&A, she says the exact opposite on some subjects. I might have to lean towards Rocky Point on this one, pretty successful little operation she had going there!

The wife of that couple told him the story and asked him if there was any group or organization that they could report Joe to. He really didn't have an answer to this, said something to the effect of 'wow, really?' They never made the connection to Pickel/Joe/HauntCon though. It didn't come out like an attack on Leonard.

Now they really should of know better, I mean do some research people! I spend days online researching a new $200 camera purchase, you know darn well I would check out every inch of somebodies company before starting a new business with them!

One organization he did mention to them was IAHA, said "I started it, but I am not proud of it". Seemed a bit harsh...and pompous.

02-21-2007, 02:40 AM

When they told me the story about how they brought this up to Pickel... Pickel already knew about it for one. They called him and told him about it before they opened up and asked him for help dealing with Joe. They claimed they told Leonard back September that they only hired him because he was a speaker at Leonard's event.

They said Leonard told them he'd help fix the problem, by calling Joe and trying to get him to fix the problem. I guess he either didn't fix it or couldn't fix it. To be honest its not Pickels problem at that point, he wasn't a contractor on the project.

To be serious for a second... they should have never called Pickel for his help because its really their problem no one elses. They hired Joe not Leonard...

Anyway, they said they talked to Pickel after his seminar as well and he told them he was going to put a disclaimer on his seminars stating that Hauntcon doesn't endorse or support their speakers. This is what these people told me he said.

Anyway, I'm glad you pointed out that he really doesn't know much, especially compared to someone like Cydney Neil. In my own opinion I don't think Leonard could haunt his way out of a paper bag, but again what do I know? Nothing! LOL!

I wonder what Joe has to say for himself?

How many people are going to come foward again and again with these same problems before people realize just because someone says they're the GODFATHER, just because someone says they can build you a haunted house for $35,000.00 doesn't mean they can or will do a good job!

The moral of this story if you ask me is this...

CHEAPER isn't always better!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joe says he can sell you a haunt for $35K... NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and the client be satisfied atleast not in my opinion.

Hauntcon seminars, $35.00 to get into the door, and you get all the seminars. Is $35.00 worth spending when maybe 90% of the information you get from certain speakers is wrong or bad advice?

Is spending $60.00 on ONE TW seminar coming from REAL experts, who give you THOUSANDS of dollars in GOOD advice paying too much?

Just because one company is selling an animations for $500.00 is it worth buying because its cheaper than the other company selling it for twice as much?


I'm always amused when someone says to me at TW... man that new Hauntworld Video that just isn't worth $30.00 bucks, when I can go to blockbuster and buy any DVD for $10.00. Some think paying $30.00 for something good isn't worth it...then don't buy it! If you want good information from people who know, then you pay whatever it costs and it will pay itself back 100 fold.

At some point people have to realize something good isn't always free, and someone nearly free isn't always worth your breath!


Rich Hanf
02-21-2007, 03:26 AM
This seems to be a good place to mention this. Someone in the industry...
no, not me and not Larry...is working on a major anti Godfather website that will chronicle peoples nehative experiences with Pickel and his associates. The purpose is so that if and when people do research on him, they will have a place to go to learn the truth. The site couldn't get up and running in its entirety before the show as time was too short but until the entire bombshell is ready to drop they asked if they could use part of my editorial from last years Transworld edition of Hauntworld the Magazine.
I of course was only too happy to help hoping it could someday somehow save someone their life savings.

Go to www.godfatherofhaunting.com and check back often.

Leaving for Chicago in 3 hours with my plane leaving at 12:30 New York Time. See you all tonight. Rich

02-21-2007, 05:47 AM

Does that mean I shouldn't booth at hauntcon, and I also shouldn't be doing my pneumatics 101 class there either? I am too small to booth or speak at Transworld, so I booth and speak at hauntcon, midwest haunters, and ironstock.

02-21-2007, 06:08 AM
Larry, As one of Hauntcons upcoming seminar speakers, I was almost offended by your statement about the speakers, As I become more internet savvy, I am learning to read everything not once not twice, but three times in order to get the original intent of the content, so many times things are misconstrued online.
I agree that many Seminars are a waste of time and money, I have sat in on quite a few and have walked away feeling like I just wasted a hour and 75 bucks. Being relativly new to the Industry, I see all types of politics in all forms, ALOT of Pickle Bashing from many directions, Im a firm believer that you give everyone the benefit of the doubt but when you see so many negative things about a person, you tend to believe it, which makes me wonder how much is true compared to how much is carried over due to all the negative press one gets, Im sure pickle did not wrong each and every complaintive person out there.
My intent of this post is not to defend Pickle, dont know him personally, instead the intent is to defend MY SEMINAR at Hauntcon, I do FX makeup work, many have seen it, many have loved it, I built my demos on what I have learned NOT to DO at other seminars/demos from other shows. I explain that this is MY way of doing things and that there are many other ways of doing the same thing, this works for me. Being a NEWBIE in the Industry, there was NOWAY I would pass up on a chance to DEMO at a event 7 miles from home, where every single Haunted attraction in Michigan would be attending, NO Pickle will not be paying me, yes Pickle will be making money off of me, but more so than that YES I will be getting attention for my company, in a HOMETOWN market.
If you look at our upcoming events you will see that we are demoing at many smaller events, why? because thats what new guys do, does that make our seminar less important than a TW paid one, NO because eductaion is valuable regardless if the speaker is paid or not. Im demoing at TW as well, and not making a penny on that demo either. The Money isnt important at this stage of the game for me, Name recognition is, . What does suck is that I have not recieved on bit of press regarding my DEMO at TW, perhasps they see it as you do, that UNPAID SPEAKERS arent CREDIBLE.
I hope this didnt sound like a Rant or rave , just posting my opinion on this thread.

02-21-2007, 07:16 AM
Well, yes youi have recieved some press BB. So hang in there. We had you on RFR to talk about it and we promoted it last week on the show.

So there is some press.

Jim Warfield
02-21-2007, 07:18 AM
Name recognition? That's why I post as "Jim Warfield", so it's just a name I picked off a local tombstone, some guy who died around 1950, but it works for me.
"Belzubub" is tougher for most to pronounce or remember and I have been an un-paid speaker at many gathers across the world.
I always give out seriously flawed information.
It's just my style.
Everyone has come to expect nothing less.

..soon to be a direct to video movie, filmed on the set of the Transworld restrooms.
remember to speak clearly , head down into the hidden microphones located at the bottom of the porcelain bowls.

Ken Spriggs
02-21-2007, 07:50 AM
Since you brought it up...........
YOU ARE RIGHT..let's just look at the product they were buying, shall we?

And as far as people not being educated or about knowing what they are talking about at Hauntcon seminars.......Low blow in my opinion

Look at the list of speakers at past and future Hauntcons.

Gee ..... yes I was on the list with Rick (one of my partners)

02-21-2007, 08:06 AM
It also depends on the buyer and knowing what you get. Steve on here has a haunt made from Joe and seems quite happy with it. Steve, you want to throw in your 2 cents? also, Raycliff Manor is built by Joe. Some rocky parts in installation, but they seem ok with theirs. Methinks we need them both in this thread to comment about their haunts.

02-21-2007, 08:11 AM
Man, I do not need to hear this about Joe. I checked with people about his tunnels and got good feed back. I did hear some bad about his haunts but the tunnel feed back was very good. Now you all got me sick, I hope things will be cool. :cry:

02-21-2007, 09:30 AM
Let me just focus on one part of the debate here...I need to catch my flight...

I DO NOT think Joe had anything to do with stealing graphics. He pays Brainstorms for graphics, and his clients have used ours as well.

Periodically someone new to the industry will go around and harvest graphics from where ever they please. It might be ignorance and it might be with intent...frankly most haunters don't see any harm in using Pinhead and Freddy without paying, but it is the same sort of thing.

When you use someone elses art or music, or characters or themes without permission it is wrong, legally and morally. Someone paid for that art and you are stealing it, just like you stole a prop from their haunted house.

And you shouldn't not use them because you might get caught....

You shouldn't use them because it is WRONG.


Ben Armstrong

02-21-2007, 09:37 AM
Jonathon, I want to PERSONALLY thank you for ALL of The PRESS that RFR has giving us! In all reality if not for YOU, Many would not KNOW about the SEMINAR! THANX RFR RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Spriggs
02-21-2007, 12:26 PM

Oh boy....Ben is talking about harvested computer graphics!

Not characters in a haunted house...great way to take this off course even further!

02-21-2007, 12:28 PM
Hold the phone one second...

I didn't say EVERY speaker I said MANY speakers!

Last year some of their speakers didn't even show up for the seminar they were suppose to do... correct?

Same goes for these seminars... you have to find professional, knowlegdgable people to do the seminars, not just anyone willing. For example Brian (Gadget)... if you build animations, and you're selling them for a living, yeah you are qualified to speak about them. But if all we see is people complain about you time after time, then I personally wouldn't hire you as a speaker. I don't think it would right. Do you see my point?

So let me rephrase what I said and meant... I DO NOT think all the Hauntcon speakers are unqualified. Do I think the seminars are totally worthless...NO!

Are many of the speakers not qualified to speak on the topic they speak on... YES!

Thats what I meant. SO again BEWARE if you go to a seminar series where the speakers are not hand picked, where the organizers will as he phrases accept almost anyone topic.

Thats what I'm saying.

If anyone thinks I was saying everyone or meant anyone in specific I apologize I didn't mean it that.

I think I did OVERPLAY the reality, Hauntcon has many good speakers, but just like the magazine and the seminars, you must qualify all speakers, not just some. As a seminar organizer you must be more responsible to the guests, when they assume your only putting out the best people, and many of them don't know much of anything, you're going to end up with bad advice! Correct?

I hope this comment clears it up!


02-21-2007, 12:44 PM

Yes you're correct Joe had bought some graphics from Brainstorm, for his own website. If you reaseach back, you will find that I use to sell my haunts with logos I had made by Brainstorm.

Maybe Joe was coping the concept by using my graphics. I don't see any graphics on his website, like logos he's offering people if they buy a haunted house.

I'm telling you this guy told me JOE SOLD him the haunts with graphics, and these are the graphics he supplied...my graphics.

I thought to myself, maybe he's lying, but then he tells me about his myspace website. So it wasn't like he's making all this up!

They guy had such a bad experience with Joe that he created a MYSPACE page devoted to warning people about Joe. When you make t-shirts with Joes name on them and show up at a convention, you tell me how mad are they? That tends to lend some credibility to the story. Either way what I'm saying is JOE APPARENTLY did this, according to these people.

The guy clearly is fumed at Joe!


Mr. Haunt
02-21-2007, 12:56 PM
I once was interested in doing business with Joe. However, after reading all of this stuff posted, it makes me think. As a new haunter, it seems like my odds would be better in my favor going up against a casino, were the odds are not in my favor working with Joe. From a business stand point, I am sorry that this has happened to his business and to those haunts that have been affected by all this. It only hurst the haunting business. I was also not impressed of the pictures Joe has posted on his web site, from his previous work. It does not look scarey at all. I only hope things get better for all that are effected by this.

02-21-2007, 01:18 PM
Joe IS a member here... maybe he'll respond!

As I've said before, when and IF I ever get to start a haunt I'm ONLY buying from Larry. HA.. -Tyler

02-21-2007, 01:59 PM
Thanx Larry for the Call, I totally understand your point.I appreciate the extra effort to clear things up as well.... see you at TW

02-21-2007, 02:02 PM

I really do see where someone might have been offended, and in NO way did I mean it that way. I'm very sorry!

What I really meant in a nutshell is that when you have speakers who are not qualified speaking, you could get some really bad information and in turn hurt your business.

When you attend a Hauntcon seminar, in my opinion you must take what you hear with a grain of salt, when many of the speakers are NOT qualified! I don't think anyone will argue that many of their speakers from the past ARE NOT qualified and gave bad advice. Just ask the guy who worked with Dark Attractions.

Anyway I wanted to personally call you and apologize because I didn't mean to offend you or anyone else. I felt I personally owed you a phone call to explain what I meant. I hope I cleared it up now.


02-21-2007, 02:23 PM
I think you should take anything ANYONE says at a seminar ANYWHERE with a grain. Take what they say, think about it, research it, and then think about it some more and RESEARCH it more. Anyone that jumps onto any idea with both feet without doing some serious checking can run into some big headaches. Some things they say at a seminar will work for some people, some just will not work....

02-21-2007, 02:58 PM
I think you should take anything ANYONE says at a seminar ANYWHERE with a grain. Take what they say, think about it, research it, and then think about it some more and RESEARCH it more. Anyone that jumps onto any idea with both feet without doing some serious checking can run into some big headaches. Some things they say at a seminar will work for some people, some just will not work....
That bore repeating. It has been the best advise I've heard in regards to this subject. There is so much BS floating around in this industry, and people that just love to hear themselves talk, that the acorns of truth and fact that you get out of most informational seminars are few and far in between. It's sort of like going on a treasure hunt. When I hear something I can actually use I'm always surprised.
And, it is true that some things work for some people and not for others. That is why it is up to the listener to determine what is usable info and what is not. And, if you can't do that for yourself then you are just going to have to take what comes.
"There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em."

Jim Warfield
02-21-2007, 04:56 PM
When I was approached by Transworld and asked to be a speaker I told them that all I would be talking about would be Jim Warfield and his Ravens Grin Inn, because guess what? That's all I know about!
From what I have heard from seminair attendees over the years no one seminair has an exclusive patent on being a waste of time and money.
I heard this from two men from another country that knew almost nothing about this business and really wanted the facts. All they said they came away with was contradictory information for their money.
"Do it THIS way!"
"No, don't do it that way!" Transworld has been at it longer is all.

Jim Warfield
02-21-2007, 10:52 PM
Before anymore rants are put on here concerning Joe Manzo and the deal with the NY. club's haunt, it might serve us all to know there is definately two sides to this, I know because Joe was here tonight , at my house, but I will let him tell it if he wishes to, it is his business, not mine.

Mr Nightmarez
02-22-2007, 05:52 AM
:shock: Larry,
Did I take offense to your post... YES.
I believe you need to back up and look at who has been speakers at Hauntcon before you paint the kettle black. I'm not defending Leonard, but I will defend Hauntcon, because I believe it is one thing Leonard has done right. Sure there are some things that lack and should change but Hauntcon has been successful no matter how hard you want to knock the event. Sure some speakers may not be 'qualified' but some may.

Larry, Some people may not agree with your view, points, or business behavior, but to literally slam anyone that has spoke @ Hauntcon or categorize us in the same field as someone who may be less than honest, or unprofessional really does seem ignorant on your part.

After reading your post I had a few words that came to mind, and yes some people may not be "qualified" or worth listening to... but as stated also - You go into every seminar knowing to take it w/ a grain of salt or sugar and learn what you can and forget the rest. If someone does not do their homework or they think they can 'get rich quick' from this... they set themselves up for failure and to be taken advantage of...

I will see you at your booth.

02-22-2007, 06:01 AM
I would take EVERY seminar from ANY convention (HauntCon, TW, MHC, HauntX) with a grain of salt. There is NO ONE in this industry that knows everything... or what would work for me!

I think a QUALIFIED speaker is one with 10+ years in this business under their belt. Am I qualified? not yet... Is Larry qualified? Yes, but for haunts with BIG budgets only... Is Leonard qualified? Yes, but his info is outdated and his track record shows a BIG string of unsucsessful haunts.

So to me, if you haven't been doing this for more than 10 years you are NOT qualified to speak ANYWHERE.... Except maybe HauntCon! Ha. -Tyler

Mr Nightmarez
02-22-2007, 07:10 AM
I would take EVERY seminar from ANY convention (HauntCon, TW, MHC, HauntX) with a grain of salt. There is NO ONE in this industry that knows everything... or what would work for me!

I think a QUALIFIED speaker is one with 10+ years in this business under their belt. Am I qualified? not yet... Is Larry qualified? Yes, but for haunts with BIG budgets only... Is Leonard qualified? Yes, but his info is outdated and his track record shows a BIG string of unsucsessful haunts.

So to me, if you haven't been doing this for more than 10 years you are NOT qualified to speak ANYWHERE.... Except maybe HauntCon! Ha. -Tyler

I believe you are WRONG. 10+ Years in the industry does not mean you are qualified. Some people have become very successful in this industry in a short amount of time, and I would love to hear from them. I have 10+ but there are certain topics and issues I won't do a seminar on because I feel someone else would be more qualified.
The only thing you said that is true - Every Seminar needs to be taken in consideration of the speaker and w/ a grain of salt. And you are right, what may work for me, may not work for you.

So have you ever been to any Haunt Conventions? If not, you nor anyone else who has NOT been to one have ROOM to judge them.

As for any dealers showing at Hauntcon, ask anyone from previous conventions, before pulling out.

Ken Spriggs
02-22-2007, 08:21 AM
We really are a bunch or screwed up ideas aren't we?

TODD...you are right
Tyler....we all started small

You can learn things from a wide variety of people...10 years is just a number. It doesn't make me better than the other guy.

You need to look at accomplishments that an individual has.

Am I a certified speaker.....NO I hate standing in front of people and blabbing....BUT I am sure that I have the knowledge in certain areas that others will never have. Larry may have something up his sleeve that others don't know how to do.
Tyler even you could have something to share and add to a conversation......

I will say this again....yes Larry the horse should be dead BUT


Mr Nightmarez
02-22-2007, 09:12 AM
:? Agreed Ken... We are a bunch of screwed up people! :shock: Oh wait you said screwed up ideas! :wink:

It starts getting old as people seem to find derogatory issues or negative dealings to the spotlight in the Haunting Industry. I posted something (Ok so I have probably posted a lot of things that TICK people off) :roll:
But can't we all just get along? :cry:

For the people that get into doing a "Professional, Charity or any PUBLIC related event or Haunt" should do their HOMEWORK, RESEARCH and BACKGROUND on anyone they hire or get involved with...
If they don't and they get "screwed" - Is it the industries fault or the fault of the middle man? I agree that someone should not take advantage of someone... but the realism is - Failure and Disappointment are things we have all faced and been a part of at some point. Maybe not complete and utter failure, but we have seen some aspects fail.

Yes I feel sorry for someone that fails. And I even feel sorry for the guy that leaps before learning or researching, but it's not the industries or my fault...

02-22-2007, 10:07 AM
[ I've been TOLD by COUNTLESS people how they lets say attended 'Jen Sharlow' labeled the 'Queen of Marketing' seminar and felt she was certainly no queen.

I'm one of many that has attended several of Jen's seminars and found them to be useful, informative, and full of creative approaches to promotion that had not been attempted in my market.

Personally, I recommend her.


As for who is speaking at seminars:
No, you do not need 10+ years of experience to be able to speak knowledgeably about a subject.

Yes, I think there is an inferred credibility/endorsement given to speakers at a con or a trade show.

However...The idea of Leonard being held responsible for one of his Hauntcon speakers doing someone wrong is sorta silly. I don't recall TW ever being held professionally responsible for complaints about info (let alone business decisions or deals made) given out at their seminars. What Leonard, or TW, or MHC can - and already does - do is ask for feedback about their speakers and make decisions about who gets to speak the following year based on that sort of input.

02-22-2007, 11:04 AM
First and foremost, I didn't slam every speaker... please re-read the post.

I even apologized to anyone who thought I did...again re-read.

If you think I slammed you I apologize to you personally!!!

As for your comments about Hauntcon seminar series I will stand by what I said and NOT AGREE WITH YOU!

I think MANY (which is the word I used) are so not qualified to speak on the subjects they're speaking on. I think that is not the approach any responsible show organizer should take.

You can't take just anyone and let them speak... the people buying those semianrs are people looking for good information not bad advice. Who wants to pay for bad advice??? WHO? YOU?

Are there many good speakers, yes, are there many good speakers at everyone of these hautned conventions? yes!

But just so you can claim to have the BIGGEST seminar event should you take any topic and any speakers??? NO!

Bigger isn't better! If you ask me many of Hauntcons speakers are not qualified to speak on the topics they're speaking on...period! I won't take that back, I won't apologize for that, and will not change my mind. I do realize many of the speakers are qualified, and have great topics.

The whole started out simply that you have newbies they take a seminar class from someone who might not have been trying to give the best seminar but maybe sell something to someone and look at the results.

Don't you think seminar organizers have a responsibility to QUALIFY ALL SPEAKERS?????

Thats what I'm saying... the other comments came out wrong and I apologized!

I hope this clears it up for you!


02-22-2007, 11:53 AM

On one hand I agree with you, you can't just blame Leoanrd for having a bad speaker, who might have been more intersted in SELLING something than doing a qualified seminar. However, Leonards approach of having the bigger, most speakers, in an effort to trump other events isn't the repsonsible way to handle his seminar. He should qualify speakers, he should scruntize them closely and I'll bet he'd weed out many and increase the QUALITY and RELIABLITY of the information.

In the end this is what I'm saying... his approach is major flawed and can result in disaster. So he should take on more responsibility for who he allows to speak. Has TW had awfull speakers in the past... well that goes without saying. But that doesn't mean you have repeat those mistakes over and over again. Atleast TW isn't repeating them again this year!


I'm happy to hear Joe stopped by your place... there is NO doubt two sides to every story I don't doubt that. Well I find out that Joe has admitted that he knew they used my artwork, that he knew they stole all this other artwork. He's claimed he told them not to do it... NOW you tell me how strong is his credibility right now?

He says he knew they did this, and we're talking he knew 7 months ago and he nevers says a word? He knows they've stolen other indstury people's artwork, make t-shirts and everything else and he tells NO ONE?

If you knew someone stole from someone you knew wouldn't you tell them? Think about it this way... he has to KNOW he's going to be associated with this people at some point why would he want to be associated with people who steal other peoples artwork?

These people FIRED HIM, KICKED HIM TO THE CURB, they've created a myspace page blasting him, they created t-shirts about his company...

At what point doesn't it cross Joe's mind to say... I'm going to tell Larry and the others these people stole their artwork?

I would think at the very least after they fired him, or after they created a myspace page about his company. Somewhere along the line you would think if he didn't steal it he would have told someone!

Don't you think?


Mr Nightmarez
02-22-2007, 03:59 PM
:D I feel better now... :wink:

I agree Larry, like they say - E-mail and Forums are so unpersonalized that we can read it while in a bad mood and still see bad in a good post.

YES. Speakers should be qualified at some point, but who can truly be qualified? You don't know me. So am I qualified? Selling in Seminars. I don't agree nor disagree with it but don't turn it into an infomercial...

It would be a perfect world if people could accomplish a lot of things, but in all the seminars are free... Ok you pay an admission, but unlike TW you don't have to spend $50 per class. If I spent $50 per class @ Hauntcon I would be out about $600 - 700.

I have attended a few sessions I walked out of because it WAS a sales pitch or someone who was not even prepared.

I'm an anal perfectionist and work on my speeches and powerpoint presentation for a long time to make sure I do have good info and material for my audience. I have turned down a couple seminars because they were out of my "comfort zone". See you at the Show tomorrow

BTW: Larry, I still owe you pictures.... :oops:

Jim Warfield
02-22-2007, 07:10 PM
Larry, Maybe Joe was hoping that they would finally finish paying him as contracted so he didn't wish to make that impossible by bad-mouthing them (or turning them in, so to speak?)
Who are the Copyright Police anyway? Do they only work for you if you already happen to have a huge bank account?
I deal almost exclusively in what others would call "original ideas" here in everything I do and show and say within my house. I don't like people "borrowing" or copying my ideas either but I'm a poor busturd and no lawyer money from me will be forthcoming anytime soon, I need that money for the basics in life, oh well, poor me, I will always be, I guess?

Greg Chrise
02-22-2007, 09:16 PM
Two years ago, our charity haunted house had posters, full color and large dontated. I never saw the proof and was not involved in the order, the charity was providing their own advertising. They were "out on the streets" What they came up with is a classic collection of everyone's past art work I think all the big names grafix are on there.

The graphix people did all of these "liftings" and some of it I think have come from DVD's for all occasions that are available to them for generalized occasions. I have one up in my office as a suvenier. I'm not going into any details but I shook my head. I've looked at everyone's sites so often it was an easy who's who kind of thing.

02-23-2007, 08:40 AM
The biggest test of the effectiveness of a speaker is if you come away with learning and knowledge. I am going to defend Leonard's seminars in here. Every year, I have notes taken and have had many questions answered. Technical questions based on experience. Whether financially successful was immaterial to the topics presented.

Of course to ANY seminars given, you double check the information and integrate what will work with what you need. No seminar will fit everyone's needs.

I am only sad I will never attend his again.

02-28-2007, 03:55 PM
What happened to the my space link?

03-06-2007, 08:50 AM
What happened to the my space link?

That link is no longer in existence and their myspace page has been wiped clean, as well :


And while we're checking pages, check out their website and see that it has been wiped clean, also.


The biggest test of the effectiveness of a speaker is if you come away with learning and knowledge.

Larry, didn't you say on at least one of your Hauntworld videos that if you walk away with at least one bit of information from them, it was worth the price of the video? Are you prepared to say that no one has learned ANYTHING from a Hauntcon seminar? Because if not, and they have picked up at least one thing from everyone they've sat in on, their trip to Hauntcon was worth it.

I've never attended any Hauntcon seminars. That's probably because I've never attended Hauntcon. But, hopefully all of that will change soon. No one is a God here. No one. The only God I know taps me on the shoulder when I'm about to put my foot in my mouth and keeps me and children safe at night. Therefore, like Rondini mentioned earlier, we should take all information with a grain of salt. Weigh it, measure it...see if the information has a good fit for you. For me, I believe it's all about these four things:

Knowing who you are
Knowing what you're about
Knowing what you're capable of
Keeping it real

When you know and do this, it makes for better decision making.
Grandiose ideas are grand -- for the other brotha. NOT for someone just starting out and seeking answers.

03-06-2007, 12:05 PM
Those people took down that site, because I told them too, they were using stolen graphics. They really had no other choice... As for their myspace page, I don't know why they took that down but I could really care less. I don't believe them or Joe Manzo.

Joe claims he knew they stole it, he claims he told them not to do it, but at the same time never said nothing to myself, Tim Bunch, or Fright World, for a whole entire 7 months. He was associated with them, he had to figure at one point he's going to be pinned with this. Any ethical business person would not associate with people who steal other peoples stuff. He had about SEVEN months to tell someone before we all found out. Even if Joe is not guility of stealing my graphics as these people claim, he's guility by association. These people tell me he stold them, he gave them the graphics, as it was part of his deal. Joe says he knew THEY did it but he didn't do it. Either way its bad business ethics...

As for Hauntcon, I didn't say all the seminars at Hauntcon are bad, I didn't say all the speakers are bad, but I don't think they're all qualified. Just because someone says 'hey I'll be a speaker' doesn't mean you should throw them in a room and let them have at it. Hauntcon has allowed just about anyone in my opinion to be a speaker, and in my opinion some pretty bad speakers, and some pretty bad information being handed out.

In my opinion ANYONE who's producing a seminar series should feel the obligation to qualify ALL SPEAKERS, and hold their series to the HIGHEST standards, to ENSURE all information is quality, valid, authentic, and coming from a professional in the field. Otherwise its useless information, and in some cases harmfull information.

I DO NOT think Hauntcon has a rigid qualification process to ensure guests are getting good information. Leonard does not pay his speakers, however he charges the guests so you have to take what he does with a grain of salt. You can't be sure that everything you're hearing is good information... in fact you have to think just the opposite maybe most of what you're hearing is bad information. You just don't know with Hauntcon.

ANY expert in a field say Sponsorship, should be paid for their time speaking, this is the norm in any industry but this one I guess. TW has always paid their speakers, always! You can atleast count on their speakers to show up since they're paying for hotels and fee's. I would do a free seminar if the host wasn't charging the guests, but if he is charging the guests and making money based on his speakers, he should pay the speakers.

At the end of the day it really doesn't matter... I'm sure there will be some good speakers at Hauntcon, with some good information. But if you're one of those up and coming haunts, take EVERYTHING you hear with a grain of salt, unless you know the speaker yourself to be highly qualified.


Jim Warfield
03-06-2007, 01:41 PM
Most will allow you to take the grain of salt, but how often do they bother to hand out the sugar?
How many TV shows promise to tell and show you how some multi-millionaire went from being a small-town wanna-be to owning a franchise listed on the stock exchange?
They always seem to forget or overlook that deciding moment and how it came to happen, to turn the corner find how much financial backing? From who?
15 years of long hours and hard work might make you middle-class-success, how does one or two good little businesses become a chain operation worth millions? Part of the story is always missing.

03-06-2007, 04:30 PM
I don't know Larry, you have had harsh things to say about Joe in the past and it could be thats why he did not tell you. I'm not saying he was right in doing so but hay I don't know that I would want to talk to someone that doesn't think highly of me. I'm just saying theres two sides to a story and it looks like these people are backing down by taking the myspace page away.

I am not pointing fingers here, just giving a possible reason as to why this happened.

03-06-2007, 09:26 PM
I haven't really had harsh things to say about him... but even it that where the case then why didn't he tell the other two guys they stole artwork from????? Thats no excuse!

See what I'm saying?


03-06-2007, 10:16 PM
Did this guy steal artwork from me??? Larry, I saw you mention that he stole from frightworld as well as myself... I was unaware of this!! If this is in fact the case I am going to be pretty pissed....Every year I have Brainstorm do some new artwork + PAY for it. If someone ripped it off that is just total crap.........


Jim Warfield
03-07-2007, 12:06 AM
Tim, That Karloff punk seems to have stole your image!
Dam! Let's dig him up and learn him a lesson or two!
Let's break his boney old fingers, he won't do that again!

03-07-2007, 01:50 AM
Yes Tim, they stole your artwork as well. Brainstorm knows all about it and they've talked to the guy. Actually Doug and this guy had a bit of an arguement. You should call Doug and talk to him.

But yes your artwork was stolen, as was mine as was Fright Worlds.

So my only point about Joe, was that even if he did or didn't steal the artwork he knew about it and didn't tell you, Frightworld or myself.


03-08-2007, 08:48 AM
I bought a used haunt from Dark Attraction in 2004 and I am very happy with it. There were a few snags regarding shipping but the haunt met firecode, was full of scares that I haven't seen before, and was designed well for throughput. Joe customized a used haunt for us because it was our first commercial haunt. He repainted every wall. Split the floorplan into two haunts. Bought a trailer to ship it in (his cost). Not many other people would provide more than an address to pick up a used haunt.

I have attended every HauntCon, one MWHC and the last two TW and I look forward to HauntCon the most every year. HauntCon speakers especially Jen Scharlow have provided tons of useful information that have helped us to be a profitable haunt. We are viewed as marketing geniuses in our market because we followed Jen's seminar.

I didn't want to respond to this post because I don't want to get involved in all of these stupid politics in our industry but these people needed a little defense. I can barely bring myself to read this forum anymore because I hate sifting through the useless Anti him or her babble that litters every post regarless of the initial topic.

Jerry Browne

07-11-2007, 06:05 PM
Hey Ken(Spriggs),

I sent you a PM.


07-11-2007, 06:31 PM
I guess there is just one more person who has a complaint about this company. This thread here, which I'm surprised you could still find, was originally posted because a group that Joe built a haunt for was using all of my artwork for their attraction. Joe denied giving it to them, the group said Joe gave them this artwork as part of the deal. Either way Joe admitted knowing they used it.

All unethical in my book!