Atomic Horror serves up scares this Halloween

What could be better than Halloween? How about Halloween all year long! That’s what you’ll find at Atomic Horror, a retail store in Orlando dedicated to all things horror in movies and television shows.

“Atomic Horror is the ultimate destination for horror enthusiasts, offering a wide range of merchandise inspired by your favorite horror movies and TV shows,” the horror shop’s website states. “From the moment you step into our spooky shop, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the most exciting horror-themed store you’ll ever visit. You’ll be surrounded by a horror horde of creepy creatures as you browse our massive selection of unique and terrifying items. We offer everything from art, collectibles, shirts, pins, and stickers to stationery, bags, decor, candles, rubber ducks, and much more.”

Owner Bryan Murphy opened Atomic Horror a year ago when he was looking for a change in his career.

“I finished 20 years of an office job and was at that mid-life moment and thought I would like to be somewhere more fun,” Murphy says. “So I asked myself what have I liked all my life? It’s horror movies, especially a lot of the bad horror movies. I have a soft spot for cheesy stuff, old stuff.”

Atomic Horror isn’t just a retail store though, it is a full horror experience. Life-size horror icons such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Ghostface are on display and photo ready. There is even a shrine to the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira.

“We have more Elvira merch than I think anybody else,” Murphy says. “Whatever licensed Elvira items I can get my hands on I get, and she sells well. Her fans are dedicated.”

Something that horror fans can’t get enough of during Halloween, and throughout the year, are Atomic Horror’s T-shirts, which are some of the bestselling items.

(Photos by Jeremy Williams)

“We sell tons of shirts,” Murphy says. “We try to have a bunch in the big franchises like “Halloween” and “Friday The 13th,” but we go really deep too like “Vampyros Lesbos,” “Basket Case,” “Hobgoblins.” I want to have the big stuff that has the broad appeal but I want some horror fan to get in there and go through the shirts and be surprised by what they find.”

So what are some of the big characters we can expect to see trending this Halloween season?

“What’s popular for Halloween tends to reflect the haunted house themes at [Universal’s Halloween] Horror Nights, especially in Orlando,” Murphy says. “We see a lot of people coming for Chucky merchandise, Chucky is really popular anyways but he’s got a new show out. We see people wearing Chucky-inspired stuff like his striped shirt and things like that.”

“Chucky,” the series based on the popular “Child’s Play” films that feature a pint-size, wise-cracking sadistic killer Good Guy doll named Chucky, has been lauded for its LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. The show’s third season premiered Oct. 4 and is the focus of one of Universal’s haunted houses this year.

(Photos by Danny Garcia)

Other franchises that have had fans turning up this year include “The Exorcist,” which had a new film premiere in theaters last week and which also has a haunted house at HHN; Ghostface, which continues to be popular among horror fans thanks to the series of new “Scream” films in recent years; and popular with younger fans is a Netflix series that was a hugely successful for the streamer last year.

“’Wednesday’ is a big hit with the kids so definitely there is sure to be a lot of Wednesday costumes out there this year,” Murphys says.

While all genres of film have their fans, those who love horror tend to embrace it as a lifestyle.

“I think horror is so popular because of its mass appeal,” Murphy says. “There are so many subgenres in horror: beautiful Italian horror films, highbrow horror stuff that’s really gonna scare you, films that use horror to deal with serious issues like mental health. And then there’s slashers and ridiculous, cheesy movies and gore shtick. There really is something for everyone.”

Atomic Horror is celebrating the Halloween season and its one-year anniversary with a Creature Feature drag event at Iron Cow in Orlando Oct. 18. The event will start with horror movie trivia, hosted by Beatrixxx Oddity and Opulence Black, and be followed by a drag show featuring performances by “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans” winner Victoria Elizabeth Black, Anesthesia and Victoria MF Cage. The event is 18 and up and $5 at the door.

Atomic Horror is located at 4805 E. Colonial Dr. in Orlando and is open Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

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