A new bakery with spine-chilling pastries and hair-raising movie props is giving people in the Chandler area something to scream about.
Spooky’s Swirls, at Alma School and Elliot roads, serves up eerily good sweets and treats with a horror and science-fiction theme.
But the real shock may be that everything is gluten-free.
“We don’t want to make things that are good for gluten free; we want to make things that are good. We’re not trying to catch the horror people; we’re not trying to catch the gluten-free people. Everyone is going to be happy with something in here,” said co-owner Lola Forbes.
From “booberry” frosted cupcakes to “death by chocolate” coffin cakes, everything in the store has been craftily created to give customers goose bumps with every bite.
The bakery also offers specials, featuring what’s new in the thriller and horror scene while paying tribute to the genre’s classics.
By using hibiscus flowers, the bakery created Demogorgon cupcakes to celebrate the premier of the new season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix. It also had perfectly blue “Sharknado” cupcakes and bloodied up “Carrie”-themed cupcakes.
Just behind the coffin of sweets, a Death Wish coffee bar gives customers a chance to really amp up their heart rate.
Death Wish Coffee is some of the strongest java on the market, and Forbes said the company fully supported the idea of their shop and was more than happy to have Spooky Swirls as a distributor.
But for those without a death wish, the bakery also serves hot cups of Unicorn Blood and Dark Matter coffee — which Forbes said are also to die for.
“We also infuse some of our brownies with Death Wish, so if you’re looking for that extra kick you can pair the coffee with a brownie,” Forbes said.
The bakery is the product of four prop-collecting movie lovers with the dream of serving gluten-free sweets, “that are so good it’s scary.”
Each of the owners brings a unique history to the table, and their own connection with the thrillers and horror films they watched growing up.
“The props and the stuff we make, it really is us. It’s who we are. So seeing people enjoy it and get our jokes and puns and loving it, that means the world,” said co-owner Chris Szydlowski.
Pastry chefs Forbes and Szydlowski started the business in a bus in 2016, but recently partnered with Chicago-based movie prop curators James Azrael and Ernesto Avina to give customers a spooky show while fulfilling their cravings for sweets.
“We have two things that probably would never make it on their own, but when we combined them, you know, now we know people are really digging it,” said Forbes.
The props, Azrael and Avina, are part of the HSPPA, a prop preservation association. The association allows the shop to rotate its props among the 4,000 others within the organization, ensuring new, horrifying objects will make appearances about every season.
But not everything is as frightening as it may seem.
Forbes said the shop gets asked frequently if younger kids will find the spot scream-worthy.
“This is not a horror house; nothing is going to jump out at you. This is actually a place of love and warmth. It’s perfect for families,” Forbes said. “We were sure to design it so that it can be just as sweet as it is scary.”
The two pastry chefs noted they have had families come in over the weekend to share cinnamon buns and watch movies like “Monster’s, Inc.” together, and take pictures with some of the bakery’s lighthearted props like the Golden Snitch from “Harry Potter” and a “Spiderman” costume.
However, if customers are into some of cinema’s most gut-wrenching, sinister scenes, they’ve got you covered.
Just be sure to finish your food first.
From an actual syringe from “Saw 2” and a “Chucky” doll to guns, knives and cinema’s most notorious masks, customers can see props that mark turning points in horror movie history.
Turn the corner, and there are vintage magazines and comics for people to peruse — including Marvel, Fangoria, Cinefantastique, HorrorHound and more.
“We’ve had adults come in here and act more excited than their kids about the props, and then they turn the corner and see the magazines and they just lose it,” said Forbes.
Chris said she enjoys seeing parents “passing the torch” to their children and explaining the films behind the props in the shop.
“There’s so much history here,” Chris said.
Conveniently located next to Zia Records, Forbes said the bakery is planning some spooky surprises that align with the events, screenings and meet and greets the neighboring store hosts.
“I’m not above doing a tribute cupcake to whomever of whatever is happening next door. The people over there are really great, and we are happy people can go to their events and stop in here after and get something that carries over whatever the theme is,” said Forbes.
The bakery will have a grand opening on Aug. 10, but is currently open to those interested in getting a taste of some of the spookiest treats in town early.