This review is coming a few days later than anticipated however I still wanted to cover it for our fantastic readers here at HorrorFacts.com. On August 1st, 2020 I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening of Nightmare Toys located at 1309 Commerce Street in Las Vegas Nevada.
The location was strategically planned to be within a short hop from either the downtown/Fremont Street area or the main Strip area of Las Vegas and thus a tourist-friendly destination. Located in what’s known as the “Arts District” Nightmare Toys stands out from its bland surroundings with an eye-popping mural for its main storefront sign. The sign features such familiar characters as Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Sam from Trick r’ Treat and Chucky sprawled across the top front of the building.
Upon entering the store, visitors are greeted by an airbrushed mural featuring Pennywise and Georgie from It, Ghost Face, Jason Voorhees, and Pinhead. The artwork was impressively executed by artist Tony Castillo (@tonecastle).
Once inside visitors are greeted with an impressive amount of merchandise in stock. The cash registers are located roughly in the center of the store and the merchandise is sectioned into specific areas such as costumes, novelties, facemasks, collectible figures & replicas, VHS and DVD movies, and a large selection of collectible Funko Pop characters.
For the grand opening, there was a substantial space cleared at the very front of the store for the celebrity guests to use as an autograph signing area, complete with considerations to comply with social distancing guidelines. The celebrity guests included the legendary Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Danielle Harris (Halloween), Tamara Glynn (Halloween), and local filmmaker Drew Marvick (Pool Party Massacre).
The store was open before the beginning of the event with shoppers browsing and buying to their heart’s content when I arrived. I purchased a Halloween Part 5 Michael Myers mask so I could capture the autographs of both Danielle Harris and Tamara Glynn in one go. I also bought a Friday the 13th Part 8 mask to get signed by Kane Hodder, whom I’ve wanted to meet for a long time. Speaking of masks, did I mention the social distancing and mandatory facemasks? The owners of Nightmare Toys did a great job of welcoming shoppers while also reminding everyone about the mandatory facemask requirements meant to keep guests safe.
Unlike other signing events that horror enthusiasts may be used to, the current Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to allow the store to accommodate everyone at once and still maintain any form of social distancing. So with a shop full of shoppers, the store provided a large tent in the rear lot of the shop to accommodate the additional guests and provide them a shaded area to wait along with cold bottled water and chairs. There was a DJ on-site playing horror-themed music and a food truck where guests could purchase a bite to eat while waiting. Although Las Vegas is a fun destination, it is still the hottest time of the year there and the outdoor temps were 111 degrees. Unbelievably two highly dedicated fans cosplayed as Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers respectively. Both men’s costumes were well done and they even treated guests to an impromptu photo op in a showdown between the two.
Shortly after 2 pm as advertised the shop’s front doors were closed and the shop was limited to roughly 30 guests at a time inside to shop and to wait in line for autographs and photo ops with the celebs. Guests had all been provided with raffle tickets upon entry and prizes were raffled periodically outside while guests waited to gain entry to the store again. Overall the general mood amongst the guests was pleasant despite the extremely hot conditions outside.
Although a couple of large fans were blowing (the already hot) air around the tent, I only spotted one with a water mister operating, and it was at ground level so it only benefitted the few people huddled in front of it and not the other 50 plus people waiting outside. For me, this was a serious disappointment as it would have seemingly been so easy to rent a few more water misters and it would have made all the difference in people’s overall experience and comfort
With that being said I still felt that the event was a great success and a much-needed break from the monotony that is everyday life in our collective new normal reality of facemasks and hand sanitizer and little to no human contact. The owners and staff of Nightmare Toys went all out to provide a fun and unique experience during a very rough period for any brick and mortar business. Especially one who is newly established in a tourist-dependent city like Las Vegas. This is undoubtedly a very scary time to be opening a new business, so the fact that they spent precious time and money on this event at all is wonderful.
If you are a horror fan and find yourself in Las Vegas then Nightmare Toys is a stop you should plan into your trip! And regardless of where you are, they also sell online as well at www.nightmaretoys.com. There is bound to be something for just about everyone who are fans of horror in one genre or another. From the old Universal Monsters to the slasher movies of the 80’s to the modern favorites, Nightmare Toys is a shop where horror lovers (scary) movie shopping dreams come true.
Written by Ian McGee. I received no compensation or special considerations for writing this review.
Ian McGee. Gen X. Equal parts Man-Child/Cuddly Bear/Fierce defender of the weak. Dad and Husband. Lover of movies, music, jokes, food, good booze, and great conversation. Hello to any and all of my fellow horror movie aficionados out there on the ol’ inter-webs.