Vecna Lives!

Cosplay power couple Prince & Awie De Guzman bring to life Stranger Things Season 4’s most iconic scene

Prince & Awie as Vecna and Max, with adoring fans behind them during the launch of ‘Vecna’s Mind Lair’.
Photo by: Johan Andrew Ocampo

Since its release, season 4, part 1 of ‘Stranger Things’ has been a global phenomenon, breaking Netflix 28 day U.S. viewership record in just 17 days! And its last two episodes still haven’t been released yet! It is now Netflix’s most watched English language show!

‘Stranger Things’ is not only breaking viewership records for Netflix but has also helped singer Kate Bush enjoy a rare career resurgence with her single ‘Running Up That Hill’ (A Deal With God) which was used in the series, topping music charts thirty-seven years after it was released in 1985.

Not only is ‘Running Up That Hill’ topping music charts but Kate Bush has earned three Guinness World Record Accolades thanks to Stranger Things fans, -a new generation of fans- who have been playing the song on repeat. Bush now holds the Guinness records for: ‘Oldest Female Artist to Reach Number One’ (the previous record holder was Cher, who was 52 when ‘Believe’ hit number 1 in the charts, Bush is now 62 years old) ‘Longest Time For A Track To Reach Number One’ and ‘Longest Gap Between Number Ones’.

Of the experience Bush says: “the thought of these really young people hearing the song for the first time and discovering it is well, I think its very special.”

You can say that this “lightning in a bottle” occurrence is indeed “special” and this was evident at the launch of ‘Vecna’s Mind Lair’ a light show at the activity center of Glorietta 4, which was transformed into the eponymous lair of Vecna, season’s 4 antagonist.

Photo by: Johan Andrew Ocampo

Enter Vecna’s Lair

Red stalagmites littered the area, while sprawling root-like, tentacles, which mimicked Vecna’s coloring could be found even in the upper floors of the mall. A towering Vecna figure menacingly overlooked his kingdom. The ‘Vecna experience’ was made complete with a light show and the Stranger Things Season 4 Part 2 trailer being played every hour. The attraction will be open to the public until July 2. What they won’t get to experience though was its epic launch which was graced by cosplay royalty Prince and Awie De Guzman, with Prince taking on the task of going ‘full on Vecna’ and cosplaying season’s 4 monster. While Awie put on 80’s headphones to channel the troubled Max Mayfield, played by fan favorite Sadie Sink.

Known for his horror and monster cosplay De Guzman rose to fame with his Pennywise (It) and Valak (The Nun) cosplays. He is now one of the country’s in-demand cosplayers, often having fully booked calendars and working 24 hour days.

Prince considers Vecna as an iconic character and the best ‘Stranger Things’ antagonist to date. He also cosplayed as a Demogorgon, season 1’s baddie during the season 3 launch back in 2019. But aside from Vecna being a menacing villain, Prince and Vecna also share the same love and affinity for spiders, Prince even has a couple of pet tarantulas and scorpions at home.

Photo by: CJ Victoriano

When asked whether he considers Vecna as his hardest cosplay to date, Prince says:

“Vecna was by far the most challenging cosplay that I’ve ever done, it took a team of 3 including myself to finish the full look. I sculpted the full head prosthetics and my friend Kino Kaoru, we worked together in creating the suit. Dinny Grayson did an impeccable paint job from head to toe. The most challenging part in my Vecna’s costume process was sculpting the mask and standing for about almost 8hrs straight for 2 days while Kino helps me with building the suit.”

The hard work surely paid off as Prince’s cosplay was greeted with cheers from fans who asked to take photos with him.

Photo by: CJ Victoriano

Meet Max Mayfield

Considered as the best episode of the entire series, ‘Dear Billy’ (Season 4 Episode 4) is where the now iconic scene of Max facing off against Vecna if from, the sequence has been hailed as both emotional and thrilling, the rare edge-of-your-seat, biting your fingernails, yet your tears are also streaming down your cheeks kind. And this was the very scene which Prince and Awie channeled for media and influencers during the launch of the attraction. Their short skit was received with cheers and applause, mobile phones and cameras clicked and flashed left and right to capture the moment in photo and video.

When asked about channeling Max in her most vulnerable state emotionally and the one where she is also in the most physical danger, Awie says: “Max’s look is very simple yet very challenging to cosplay because it requires a lot of heart and understanding to get to her character. Since we will be in a public event, I studied her nuances and expressions. That is far more challenging than putting on a wig and a makeup.

As a character, Max can be sarcastic and brave and I love that about her.” Awie says, “In season 4, she is dealing with the guilt and grief of Billy’s death. At first, she shut herself off to face her demons, which ultimately manifested as Vecna, but in the end, Max was still brave and strong enough to accept the help from her friends and loved ones in order to fight Vecna. And I tried to channel all these complicated emotions in my cosplay.

‘Say Cheese!’
Photo by: Johan Andrew Ocampo

“It always brings me joy when children appreciate my cosplay” Prince says. Young children were unfazed and unafraid, calling out to Vecna. “The positive reactions from the younger fans will always be priceless and fulfilling.” Prince continues.

‘Although, there were some choking requests and I was happy to oblige” He adds with a chuckle.

‘All Hail Vecna!’
Photo by: Photo by: Johan Andrew Ocampo

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