2016-10-27 / Front Page

Divine intervention

Halloween, horror bring together Saco fans of dark art
By Molly Lovell-Keely
Managing Editor


Biddeford business owner, Robert DiPietrantonio, pictured here, and Saco resident Jeremy McGrath, have paired to share their love of horror this Halloween. DiPietrantonio has contributed some of his sculptures to a haunted house McGrath holds in his basement every year on Halloween night. When the two met, DiPietrantonio knew a friendship would be formed. “The guy pulls up in his own hearse,” DiPietrantonio said with a laugh. Biddeford business owner, Robert DiPietrantonio, pictured here, and Saco resident Jeremy McGrath, have paired to share their love of horror this Halloween. DiPietrantonio has contributed some of his sculptures to a haunted house McGrath holds in his basement every year on Halloween night. When the two met, DiPietrantonio knew a friendship would be formed. “The guy pulls up in his own hearse,” DiPietrantonio said with a laugh. SACO – One could say that Saco residents Jeremy “Goremaster” McGrath and Robert DiPietrantonio are cast from the same mold.

The two recently formed a friendship after DiPietrantonio’s motherin law, who works at a doctor’s office where McGrath was a patient, suggested the two meet because of their mutual love for the macabre.

For the past five years McGrath has transformed the basement of his home into a haunted house; on Halloween night hundreds of people dare to enter the basement of the home, which is located off King Street.

New this year at the McGrath household is a nightmare catcher on the front porch, which was inspired by a visit to a friend’s home whose daughter’s room was decked out in dream catchers.

The key component that went in to creating the nightmare catcher? Plastic wrap dyed and shrunk to create the look of skin.

“You can call me a jack of all trades, master of none, king of plastic wrap,” McGrath said during an interview a few weeks before Halloween.

McGrath said there isn’t a ton of new features in the basement.

“It’s all about nuance, adding layers,” he said, passing through what he calls “spider alley.”

“Oh, she’s not going to like that, that’s a real spider web,” McGrath said of his wife, Jennifer.


Far left, Saco resident Robert DiPietrantonio has a life sized replica of Bella Lugosi in his basement. DiPietrantonio painted the face of the horror actor and installed the lifelike eyes. “Not many people have seen my collection,” he said. Left, DiPietrantonio sculpts a character in the kitchen of his Saco home. DiPietrantonio’s wife, Debbie, said she loves her husband’s collection and art, but she wouldn’t sleep down in the basement where much of it is kept. (Molly Lovell-Keely photos) Far left, Saco resident Robert DiPietrantonio has a life sized replica of Bella Lugosi in his basement. DiPietrantonio painted the face of the horror actor and installed the lifelike eyes. “Not many people have seen my collection,” he said. Left, DiPietrantonio sculpts a character in the kitchen of his Saco home. DiPietrantonio’s wife, Debbie, said she loves her husband’s collection and art, but she wouldn’t sleep down in the basement where much of it is kept. (Molly Lovell-Keely photos) McGrath encourages visitors to eyeball the apothecary more closely this year.

“We have frogs this year. They haven’t made it into a jar yet, but they will,” he said. “These had died in the pool at Jen’s dad’s house and he scooped them out for me. We gave them a second home.”

Around the corner, after passing through layers of trash bags, what McGrath refers to as “Dexter texture,” after the television show “Dexter,” former Christmas angels wrapped in plastic line a pathway.


Robert DiPietrantonio said Frankenstein is one of his all time favoriate monsters. “The square head still really holds up,” he said. Robert DiPietrantonio said Frankenstein is one of his all time favoriate monsters. “The square head still really holds up,” he said. “The plastic was old and weathered and aged. Instead of throwing them away – because I’ve had them since I was a little kid – I wrapped them with plastic wrap, shrunk it, and just kind of made it creepy for Halloween.”

“It’s all about recycling down here,” he added.

New are some marionettes McGrath picked up at a yard sale and decoupaged images of freak show performers.

Also new this year are sculptured faces by DiPietrantonio.

“He does ridiculous work,” McGrath said. “I couldn’t afford to pay what these would be worth.”


Saco resident Jeremy McGrath lives off King Street and opens his basement every year to trick-or-treaters. He decoupaged remakes of old fashioned Halloween decorations and fastened them to plywood that he cut to fit the shape. Most of them hang in the stairwell to the basement. (Molly Lovell-Keely photos) Saco resident Jeremy McGrath lives off King Street and opens his basement every year to trick-or-treaters. He decoupaged remakes of old fashioned Halloween decorations and fastened them to plywood that he cut to fit the shape. Most of them hang in the stairwell to the basement. (Molly Lovell-Keely photos) DiPietrantonio said he’s worked with models and clay since he was 5 years old.

“There are DVDs and schools now to learn this stuff now, but I was self taught, except for maybe looking at magazines. That’s all they had back then,” said DiPietrantonio, 50.

DiPietrantonio, who is co-owner of 3D’s Variety on Main Street in Biddeford, also has an extensive collection of horror and science fiction paraphernalia that he’s purchased at conventions throughout the country or online during the past 20 years. Horror masks line the wall inside the front door of his home and a replica of Reagan from “The Exorcist,” whose face DiPietrantonio cast from the original mold, greets visitors.


The nightmare catcher is a new addition to Jeremy “Goremaster” McGrath’s collection. McGrath has made a Facebook page, “Goremaster McGrath,” because he said relatives would block his posts during the Halloween season or unfriend him altogether. (Molly Lovell- Keely photos) The nightmare catcher is a new addition to Jeremy “Goremaster” McGrath’s collection. McGrath has made a Facebook page, “Goremaster McGrath,” because he said relatives would block his posts during the Halloween season or unfriend him altogether. (Molly Lovell- Keely photos) “I’ve met Linda Blair a couple times,” DiPietrantonio said, pointing to an autograph hung on the wall.

DiPietrantonio also remembers carrying traveling home from a convention with a head in his baggage.

“I’m thinking, ‘God, if somebody sees this . . .”

An entire room and basement is dedicated to DiPietrantonio’s collection and the sculptures, which are often cast out of original molds used for movie or television characters. Displayed are sculptures from characters in the “Men in Black” series, “Nip Tuck,” “True Blood,” “Jaws,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Planet of the Apes.”


Robert DiPietrantonio readies his latest sculpture for a wig that went with a Joker costume. He had to dye the wig to fit the theme of the character he’s working on. Robert DiPietrantonio readies his latest sculpture for a wig that went with a Joker costume. He had to dye the wig to fit the theme of the character he’s working on. DiPietrantonio has drawn much inspiration from Hollywood make up artist Rick Baker, who’s won Academy Awards for “The Nutty Professor” and “Men in Black,” among a number of other films.

Like McGrath, DiPietrantonio has a real casket, but his is home to a replica of the master vampire in “Salem’s Lot,” the face of which he painted.

DiPietrantonio favorite of the classic horror characters is Frankenstein and if he had to choose a more modern villain, it would be Freddy Krueger. In DiPietrantonio’s collection, however, the gang’s all there, and includes figures of Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Jason from “Friday the 13th,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Exorcist” and more.

“I could probably be retired by now if it weren’t for all of this,” he said.

DiPietrantonio said he has sold a handful of pieces and wouldn’t mind selling more, if only to make space, but said a lot goes into a sculpture.

“I think it might be a lot more stressful. Right now I can do it on my own time,” he added.

McGrath said DiPietrantonio has inspired him to step up his game at the haunted house.

“And I was in awe, knowing I wasn’t the only one,” McGrath said, adding that visitors to his house this year, Monday, Oct. 31, should expect an appearance by Flip the clown.

The McGraths met Flip at The Ghoullog, a haunted house in New Hampshire.

“We were glad to have stumbled upon his genius and are excited to provide him a venue to stretch his clown legs, bringing joy to the community,” McGrath said. “Flip the clown is a great friend.”

McGrath said he doesn’t see DiPietrantonio or Flip as outsiders or outcasts at all.

“We’re more like kindred spirits.”

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