Article 17: Warehouse of Fear

There's a warehouse I was thinking of renting and so I go at night to check out the warehouse's vibe at night. And I get there around 11pm and there's a window but it's too high up to see in. So I climb up onto the gas main below it to see inside. And as I'm standing there I suddenly feel this pickup truck barreling at me. And with a jolt it stops right behind my ass, and this guy gets out, slamming his door. He's a big guy with a hat and a pony tail and a goatee and he's looking at me aggressively. I immediately ask him if he works here, and he gestures and says yeah I work in the unit beside there, and I'm like cool I was thinking of renting this space. 'What for?' he says. 'Oh', I say, 'ummm, for a performance space, and to make art and movies and theatre props too. Weird arts stuff. Do you think the landlord here would be ok with that?' And at that he becomes very friendly and he puts on this mischievous smile and asks me if I'd like to see his unit? And I'm like sure and he opens his door and I turn the corner and go in.

And inside I see dead bodies everywhere.

In an instant my eyes see hanging limbs and ripped open torsos and there's a bloody corpse at my feet and I turn around and this guy has closed and locked the door, which has a leg hanging on the back of it.

And I'm like woah fuck what the hell. I'm very scared.

But then I notice one crazy totem-pole-like stack of corpses and limbs and I'm like oh shit I recognize that totem pole of corpses! Which is not a sentiment I thought I would ever be grateful for, but sure enough I was so glad to recognize that as a prop from the tv show Hannibal. If I hadn't stupidly bingewatched that show last year I don't know if I would have been ok... As I got my breath back I looked around the corpse-cluttered room and saw a real live woman in the corner, sculpting a clay head. These are all crazy props from horror movies, and the guy who builds them he's named Francois and his girlfriend is the one sculpting. For a man who fashions the handiwork of serial killers, Francois is super nice and he runs this special effects business from this unit where he also lives with his gf and his dog. They are always looking for crazy new projects to do and they hope more serial killer and scifi shows film in Toronto. Francois also showed me his warehouse basement and its insane, rack after rack of corpses in narrow narrow halls, these bodies look real in every way, often with smashed faces or mangled torsos.

When I left, I was glad to have stumbled onto one of the most interesting studios and homes in the city. And I was glad to have left alive.

--David Stokes