• WHAT: Rick Feuerstein’s Mad Scientist’s Lab
• COST: Free
• WHEN: Tonight from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m.
• WHERE: Coming from Highway 99 northbound take the Lathrop Road exit. Go over the freeway and turn left at the stop sign at Main Street. Travel to the first traffic signal (Northgate Drive) and turn right. Once you pass the Tidewater Bikeway where you will see a traffic signal on Northgate turn left at the next street. The lab is located at 1373 Pajaro Avenue, and is accessible by Northgate Drive.
Some people like to watch Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas.
Rick Feuerstein likes to watch Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” every Halloween.
And all it takes to see the influence of the cult classic with a massive following is to step out into Feuerstein’s garage.
Frankenstein is placed bolted down onto a homemade table while dozens of beakers full of colored liquids bubble above him.
Electrical equipment of all sorts lines the walls within the room.
Surgical tools fill trays.
Varied tubes send electrical arcs slowly from the base to the top.
It looks like something out of a movie – something from a Friday night creature feature or a full-on Frankenstein film.
It’s exactly what Feuerstein wanted when he set out to create the “Mad Scientist” lab in his Lodi home 16 years ago.
When he moved to Manteca in 2010 he brought the unique Halloween treat with him, and tonight at 6 p.m. in his garage at 1373 Pajaro Ave. he’ll open up the doors and welcome anybody that wants to come see the odd and eccentric collection that the longtime lover of Dr. Frankenstein has put together.
“I’ve always loved Halloween and Young Frankenstein and the original story and how with electricity the doctor put him together,” said Feuerstein – who works for a company that repairs and replaces surgical equipment. “I started to put this together last year but then I got sick, so I’m looking forward to seeing people come by this week.”
After nearly two decades of assembling and adding to the attraction – whether it’s going to UC Davis to find scrapped beakers and equipment to add to the display or finding new ways to make everything more realistic – Feuerstein’s annual pride and joy is constantly in flux.
Over the years he has held it not only in a garage but also a storage container that made his move to Manteca a little bit easier – knowing how to pack up the fragile parts and move the rest without mixing things up in transit.
Putting everything together, he said, takes weeks. Feuerstein typically starts at the end of September or the first week of October and is working on the delicate finishing touches until the day before.
While there aren’t people that jump out and scare those who walk through like other Halloween attractions, Feuerstein recommends that only children five and older visit the lab – the scene is somewhat graphic and there are parts that could scare younger children.
That doesn’t stop people from throughout the community from showing up to see the scares and the spooks.
The first year that Feuerstein set-up – after running several ads in the newspaper – he had a line that ran all day down his driveway and out onto his sidewalk.
He hopes that he’ll get the same sort of response this year.
“It makes me feel great to see that kind of response,” he said. “At first we only opened it up for Halloween, but because we had so many people we’re going to open it up for more days this year.
“I just love the costumes and the scary stuff. My brother and I used to watch Fright Night on Friday nights and Elvira – the Mistress of the Night. I liked the sci-fi and the sophisticated stories and things like that, and that’s what I want to share.”
Feuerstein’s Mad Scientist’s Lab is open tonight from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m. It is located at 1373 Pajaro Avenue, and is accessible by Northgate Drive.
— JASON CAMBELL
209 staff reporter