His favorite cinematic monster? The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
PENSACOLA, FL (WFLA) -
It isn't every day you are invited to tour someone's monster lab or sit next to a zombie. But for visitors to Eric Dupre's garage, this is commonplace.
It can be the cause of phrases such as, "I almost jumped out my skin" or "That scared me to death." Even once you know the monsters are lurking there in his Underground FX Lab, a quick trip inside leaves you vulnerable for another scare.
Even his wife, Cheri Dupre, has had a few close calls thanks to what lies inside their garage.
"I have been scared a few times when I have been coming in with the groceries and forgotten they are here. And, my heart sinks," Cheri Dupre said.
"Beware monsters present" is a necessary disclaimer for Eric Dupre at his Navarre residence, where encountering a devil hanging from a shelf or leftover intestines on the floor is typical.
For a long time, he thought he was the only person who thought making monsters was cool. But thanks to the popularity of shows like "Face Off" on the SyFy channel, he knows he is not alone.
"I always thought I was just a weird guy in his garage," he said.
He confesses most of his monster creating happens after dark like any good monster maker's should. Many nights, he can be found tinkering with creatures until the wee hours.
"My radio is right there. I just throw it on and get lost in my own world," he said.
Hidden in boxes and scattered throughout his garage are the makings of horror movies. There are canisters of fake blood of both the edible and inedible variety. There are the beginnings of open wounds and slit throats and even a few exposed brains lying around. There also are axes, machetes and blood-stained rocks.
Dupre always loved horror movies and would stay up all night as a child to watch them.
His favorite monster was the "Creature from the Black Lagoon."
His passion for building monsters began years ago in Pensacola, when he convinced his wife to accompany him to see the horror movie "This Darkness," made by a local man, Dylan O'Leary.
"This is when I started driving the missis crazy, because I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up," Dupre said.
He said he was in awe that O'Leary was able to make a movie and fill a theater. Dupre still keeps the video cassette of the movie in his monster lab as a reminder of what got him started.
"It gave enough of a taste in Eric's mouth, and he said I can do that," Cheri Dupre said.
But Eric Dupre doesn't want to keep his monsters hidden in his garage. His ambition is to teach others throughout the Panhandle about the craft of building monsters, which is why he is hosting a monster-making demonstration.
"I don't want this craft to die," he said. "Not to take away from green screens, but it is all done on the computer. My zombie can walk down the road."
His zombie did just that last year as part of the Zombie Walk in Fort Walton Beach. Even when people knew zombies were coming no one expected a zombie quite like his, he said.
"We scared the bejesus out of a lot of people," he added.