Ed Edmunds will tell you he had to redo third grade because he was constantly daydreaming—of monsters, aliens, and other keep-you-up-at-night creatures. But it paid off: He’s now president of Greeley-based Distortions Unlimited, the largest animatronics (mechanized creatures) creator and producer in the world. “I was a monster-loving nerd,” Edmunds says. “That kind of over-the-top love is what it took to put me in this business, because it’s a lot of work.”

Together with his wife Marsha and a team of sculptors, artists, and mechanics, Distortions churns out thousands of frightening beasts every year. Since the company’s first mask 34 years ago—a big-headed green alien called Andromed—it has produced all shapes and sizes of monsters, from small home props to colossal Halloween characters that cost thousands of dollars. Most creations are made locally in Greeley—everything from the rubber and plaster molds to the paint and costumes. A full run (they make 100 at a time) of the brand-new Lullaby, an animatronic skeletal mom sitting in a rocking chair with her baby, can take up to two weeks to complete.

If you’re not too scared, check out some of Edmunds’ handiwork at the 13th Floor Haunted House (4120 Brighton Boulevard). A massive demon and a pair of demon dogs are so hi-tech that they can talk to visitors—and follow them if they move. You might be terrified, but at least one person is getting a kick out of it: “We’ve had people fall down and run into people,” Edmunds says. “It’s just hilarious.” —DS

On the tube: Distortions Unlimited stars in the Travel Channel’s Making Monsters series. Catch season two Sundays at 8 p.m.

This article was originally published in 5280 October 2012.
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.