When a selection of horror movie supervillains showed up Thursday night at the Summit County Fair, the result was far from what you might expect.
In fact, it was a flat line on the scarometer.
But there were laughs, fun and lots of selfies with visitors.
The creative force (call him Roy) behind the really bad boy collection said on Saturday that the Akron-based group – known as The Merkins – went to the fair to shoot a video, have a good time and help other visitors do the same. .
The result is a one-minute, 39-second video that has gone viral on social media from Facebook to Twitter and beyond.
The video was posted to The Merkins Facebook page on Friday afternoon and had over 48,000 shares 26 hours later.
Roy, who asked not to be identified to avoid unwanted encounters with overzealous fans, said Saturday that past publicity forced him to change his name on Facebook.
“I don’t want fans chasing me on my lawn mower,” he said.
Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and More Villains Frolic at the Summit County Fair
The fairground video features some of the horror genre’s most famous villains frolicking around the fairgrounds, riding the rides, eating popcorn, riding a mechanical bull and petting bunnies. A villain is shown winning a fair game and hugging his adorable plush unicorn prize.
Merkins’ latest video isn’t his greatest, however, Roy said. That honor goes to a parody titled “Slashstreet Boys – I’ll Kill You Like That”, with over 28 million views on Facebook.
The spoof video for a popular boy band’s huge hit in 2009 – you guessed it – features lead singer Nate Vaill, owner with his brother Seth of the Rialto Theater in Kenmore. Roy sticks to background vocals on the Merkins’ musical endeavors.
Roy said he gradually built up The Merkins’ fanbase while still looking to capitalize on his popularity.
“I’m between 10 and 20 million views a month,” he said. “On YouTube, we have almost 700,000 (subscribers). Almost 2 million followers totally online.
Vanilla Ice and a Backstreet Boy Comment on The Merkins Videos
Roy said that some artists enjoy parodies of their work by The Merkins, but others not so much. He had to withdraw a very popular parody because of an objection. The Slashstreet Boys video, however, was actually tweeted by a member of the real group.
Some artists even reach out their hand to respond. On Saturday, for example, Roy said Vanilla Ice did.
For the Summit County Fair video, Roy contacted the fair to make sure its rambunctious thugs wouldn’t be unwanted guests.
“We left all our fake guns at home,” he said.
Turns out it was children’s day at the fair, so the Merkins arrived later that day. Worry not, though, as parents were asking Roy and his cosplay cohorts to scare their kids and take selfies.
“I haven’t seen any negative reactions, personally,” he said. “We were aware not to scare the children.”
Roy said he’s invested around $200,000 into the effort over the years and found horror fans receptive.
“The horror community is one of the finest on the planet,” he said.
The Summit County Fair runs through Sunday. For more information, visit www.summitfair.com/.
Leave a message for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.