Monday, January 28, 2019

His name is Justin Zaharczuk

Love and respect to Justin Zaharczuk
1974 - 2018

A single candle is lit in the Horror section of the Abandoned Mom and Pop Video store in the memory of Justin Zaharczuk. 

Even though Justin and I had never met in person he was yet another one of the good ones that went to that Great Monster Convention in the sky way too soon. 

Justin had grown up with a lot of the same exact influences as the rest of us monster kids and worked on a lot of projects that we wish we could have. But most of all he was at a level of amazingly nice that I could only hope to aim for.  

Justin had first met me through a MEGO figure collectors group on FB because of a custom MEGO I had made of Tom Savini's character Blades in Dawn of The Dead.

And he was really impressed how I had hand made his pistol holster, machete holster and belt. Then when he had seen a picture of me in front of the Strauss Mansion from one of our favorite movies "DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE" he had shared a secret project with me that he was working on.

After he read my article about my cousin being in the movie and me living near the house. He told me about when he had seen the movie in the Drive In when he was a kid and loved it. And after seeing my custom Blades figure he decided to make customs of Donny Kohler and Donny's Mother. It took him a couple of months to make them and it was great getting secret work in progress text from him the whole time before he did the live video unveiling and auction later.
He made a Wish Book style picture of them

Made Donny's outfit along with restyling Donny's mother's hair and outfit

Scar decals for both like MEGO would have supplied

Custom etched stands

And even made the fire suit version of Donny too along with a flame thrower backpack
 that squirts water instead because MEGO would have probably designed one for the figure.

We would text back and forth about builds we had worked on for different movies and it blew me away to find out that he worked on two Phantasm movies and Bubba Ho-Tep where he was Bruce Cambell's stunt double as well as art designer for the film. And he was so amazingly laid back that I had to find this out myself looking for something else on the internet. Unlike me who would have been like "Yeah I kept The Chin from getting hurt in a couple of scenes."
He thought it was great when I told him that my wife and I 
bought the movie the day after we rented it.
 And we did that years before I knew who he was.

Everyone that knew him in and out of the Matrix here always had something good to say about him or would share stories about how it was to work with him on set. And he was indescribably humble.  The whole time he was going through his battle he never once let any of us know. Like I said he had a level of nice that I could only hope to aim for. 

But one night a mutual friend had messaged me and asked if I had heard from Justin because it had been about a week or two since he had posted anything. So I had posted a message on his wall asking if he was okay and I received a private message from someone close to Justin that he had passed earlier that night. 

It really caught me off guard and my heart immediately went out to everyone that knew and loves him. And I was supposed to post this for him sooner but then a very close friend of mine had passed the following month and 2018 officially sucked from there. 

So he we are in the first couple of weeks into 2019 and I'm thanking him for being yet another friend that's made me want to be (as Jack Nicholson once said) a better person.