Friday, November 19, 2010

Meet Stinky!


When I first moved into my current home, it was the first time I'd lived in a house since I moved from my parent's home many years ago. Naturally, when Halloween rolled around, I instantly started thinking of what I could do to decorate my yard...having never had one of my own before! Mom & dad were never too keen on decorating the yard for any holidays, so I was lucky I even got Jack-O-Lanterns in those days. While walking through a Home Depot, a Grim Reaper prop caught my eye. I liked his simple design, and figured he would be fairly easy to store in the off-season.

I brought him home and my son, who was not even three at the time, instantly loved him. Since he couldn't pronounce "Reaper", it came out as "Reeker". This led to us bestowing our prop with the name "Stinky" (he actually doesn't smell bad at all).

Stinky has floated above my graveyard for the past six Halloweens, and I hope he'll last for many more. This year, he got a new, red light shining on him, which gave him a whole new look. The neighborhood kids all seem to think he's cool, and one of my neighbors praised him as looking "nice and creepy". So here's to Stinky! May he haunt with us for years to come!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A...My Name is Alice

So, despite the crappy way these pics came out, I wanted to showcase one of my favorite aspects of my haunt: my spiders. Now, you can't really see it in these pics, but I had miniature spiders all over the place, most especially the entryway. Perched atop the bushes by said entryway, was my precious black widow, Alice. Alice herself is just a cheap spider I bought at Target, with very little extra work done to her. I saw her at the store amongst the Halloween decor and just thought she was groovy:



Many kids seemed wary of Alice, afraid she would pounce on them (she's a completely static prop, but they didn't know that). Of course, this guy didn't help:



The victim here, Vincent, was one of the easiest props I've ever created. Last year, I'd seen a similar prop in a Party City for $30, and just decided that is was too easy not to do myself. I took a cheap skeleton that had been given to me a while back (it was too fake looking to display as it was, so I'd put it away for future use), wrapped him in "webs" and covered him with more of the tiny, plastic spiders. I stuck him to the brick next to our door, and told kids he was a Trick or Treater that had the misfortune of being a treat for Alice!

Now, Alice wasn't my first giant spider. I have an older prop, that I've had to repair and re-attach the legs multiple times. Marilyn is a bit troublesome, but I just can't bear to part with her. Her territory is the tree in the center of my yard, and that is where she remains. This pic really doesn't capture her at all, unfortunately, but she deserves some recognition:



To me, spiders are an essential part of my haunt. They invoke an almost primitive fear response in some folks (they actually don't bother me at all, which makes it much easier to work with them), where just the suggestion of them can cause an attack of the heebie-jeebies!

Now, 10 points to anyone who can tell me where the names of my spiders and their victim came from! Alice and Vincent have a connection, while Marilyn is just going along with the theme.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halloween 2010: The Recap




Well, here it is now, several weeks since Halloween...and I've barely blogged at all about the night itself. This whole season (and pretty much the whole year) has been the most hectic in my memory. It's been a non-stop ride...and SO much has fallen by the wayside in the process. My job decided to have inventory the weekend of Halloween, so all of October was a mad-dash to prep for that. Hours upon hours at work conspired to infringe on time I'd usually spend shopping for props, or working on set pieces for the yard. The saddest piece of news is that my poor ol' scarecrow is still in pieces. I actually worked on him several times throughout the year, but I always seemed to run out of time, or have technical complications that set me back to square one. I knew when we got a week out that it just wasn't going to happen again this year. The only consolation I take is that I actually DID get some work done on him, and that I learned a whole lot from my mistakes.



This was hardly an isolated incident though, with so many of my plans never coming to fruition, or turning out half-@$$ed. Halloween day itself I was scrambling to get things into place, and still had to cut corners left and right. Many things went off without a hitch, while others were...interesting. My fog chiller worked like a charm...but the wind kicked up to blow it away almost as fast as it came out! I had a group of punks steal several props from my yard the night before, but I actually managed to figure out who had stolen them and get them back in time (this was the first year I've had to deal with this, and it irritated the crap outta me)! All of this led to me rushing with my costume, which turned out somewhat decent in spite of the lack of prep time.



All of this made me fear that Halloween itself was going to be a disaster. Despite a week of cooler temps, the 31st the barometer shot back up into the 80's. I've dealt with hotter Halloweens, but I still would have liked things to be a bit crisper, the way they had been the previous week. Well, despite ALL of the crap you're reading here, I can say that my fears that I was starring in a production of National Lampoon's Halloween Vacation were unfounded. Halloween itself was actually a wonderful night. My son and his buddies got dressed up, and had a blast running up and down the street scaring everyone. My costume was actually well-received, with many teenagers and younger adults running in fear from me! The younger kids seemed to dig it as well, though they didn't seem scared at all! In fact, I had one little girl, about four years old or so, walk up to me and say "are you a vampire"? When I answered in the affirmative, she smiled and said "I like your teeth!". Now that is just awesome! In fact, I think that alone made up for all of the crap I had dealt with earlier in the day.



So, another year down, and no...it wasn't everything I had hoped for. Most of the pics we took didn't turn out at all (really need a new camera. Here's hoping Santa is generous this year), and many of the plans I had just had to be dropped outright. Still, I have to say that I am still happy with how things turned out on the whole. My lighting improved greatly this year, I successfully completed a prop I had wanted to do forever...and it only took about five bucks to do it (more on that in an upcoming blog), and, most important of all, the kids had fun! Oh, and so did I!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Toys!

One of my favorite toy lines that I collect is the "stylized" rotocast figures from Mezco, which presents classic movie monsters & madmen...with a slightly cartoony look. The have a "cute yet creepy" look to them that I just really dig! Previously, I'd never displayed these guys together, not even at Halloween (they were kept on shelves, with their counterparts, i.e. Jason was with the Friday the 13th figures, Freddy with the Krueger figures, etc). I recently acquired the Michael Myers figure, and decided I just had to put all three out in the house for Halloween. I REALLY like the way these guys look standing side by side, so much so that I still have them together on a shelf of their own. Looking forward to their version of The Wolf-Man that is suppossed to hit next month!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to the Graveyard: Halloween 2010 Edition

Some of y'all know of my love of toys & that I collect action figures, especially those involving monsters. In the past few years, I've done a graveyard scene in my entryway for Halloween, and every year I've varied up the figures, swapping out some characters for others. In some cases, such as Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers, I have multiple versions of the character to reflect the different looks they've had from different films, so I try to switch out which incarnations I use every year as well.

This year, my collection had expanded to include some zombies, as well as a few other iconic characters that I had aquired over the past year. I was fairly happy with the result. Unfortunately, my camera is just plain awful, all the way around. It didn't capture the look that the artificial tealights added to the display at all, which was wonderfully eerie. Still, these turned out better than the pics of the yard (which DIDN'T turn out at all). Man, I REALLY hope I get a new camera for Christmas!!

Anyway, despite the rather lackluster way these turned out, I still thought I'd share my pics:












Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Light Show

Well, I know I promised I would post some pics...and I still will (don't worry, you aren't missing much. Most didn't turn out that great. I really need to ask for a decent camera for Christmas!). Still, I had to share this cool video. I've seen folks do similar themed light shows for Christmas, but this one totally blows all of those away. While I take a completely different approach to Halloween decorating...I gotta say I dig this!


Monday, November 1, 2010




Still recuperating from Halloween night, so I won't spend a long time here. Just wanted to share this picture. Your's Truly, flanked by his minions! My son is the werewolf, while his buddy, Ethan, is the classic Dracula! This is what Halloween is all about!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A wonderful, safe and blessed Samhain to one and all! Hope your Hallowe'en was wonderful! In the next few days, I'll try to get some photos up from tonights festivities. Looking forward to sharing thoughts with all of my Halloween Heads in the next few days, and plotting next year's haunts!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hell's Bells

No...not the AC/DC song, but possibly the weirdest cartoon ever produced by Walt Disney! This one comes from 1929:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey Kids! It's Almost Time!

More Oingo Boingo!

Okay, so my last post was of Oingo Boingo's perfect Halloween tune "Dead Man's Party". Well, I just had to share this video of "Stay" (which is also featured on the DMP album). The song itself isn't really Halloween related...but the video fits in with the theme quite well! Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

To me, this song is a MUST at any Halloween party. Danny Elfman's classic band, Oingo Boingo, performing their brilliant tune "Dead Man's Party". This particular video was shot for the flick "Back to School", so it is (unfortunately) laced throughout with snippets from that film. Still, it's a great ditty to get you in that Halloween spirit!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Art of Crash Cunningham












I really dig this guy's take on various movie madmen and monsters. The Michael Myers pics are the covers he did for the comic series Halloween: Nightdance

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rise, O Great Pumpkin!

This is one of my favorites from those sick geniuses at Robot Chicken! Their sequel to the Halloween classic It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn is Here?

Well, I'd just like to tell Summer: TAKE THIS BLASTED HEAT WITH YOU!

Bring on the Autumn!

In celebration, a photo by one of my favorite photogs: the lovely, talented Wendy Amdahl (hope ya don't mind, Wens)! This pic pretty much sums up Fall for me:



Check out more of Wendy's work at http://www.amdahlphotography.com/-/amdahlphotography/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Most of you know of my love for Michael Dougherty's film Trick 'r Treat (I reviewed it last year, and I also talked about it LONG before the film had an official release). If you haven't seen it, I HIGHLY recommend it! It is, quite simply, the best film about Halloween since John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece!

The central character to the film is one who isn't always the focus of the story: Sam is the spirit of Halloween itself, and he embodies all that the season is about. He is cute, yet mean as hell if you don't observe the All Hallow's Eve customs. Ever since I first saw Sam in animated form, in Dougherty's Season's Greetings short, I've been fascinated with the character.

Now, many of you DON'T know that I collect toys. Specifically, I collect figures of super-heroes and monsters. My monster collection actually gets partially displayed around Halloween, when I make a lovely graveyard scene for the entryway (since I have so many different monsters, I rotate out which figures I use every year). You can imagine when I heard that Sideshow collectibles was doing a figure of Sam, I just HAD to have it!

This is no ordinary figure though. NECA did a 7" scale figure of Sam that is pretty decent, but this is another class altogether. This guy stand 15" tall, and has real cloth clothing! My wife teases me that he is my "baby doll". Well, if so, then he's the coolest baby doll ever!!!


 

I decided it would be fun to photograph Sam in various spots throughout the house, making mischief and mayhem. Yeah, I'm weird that way.

 

I'm not promising anything, but I'm hoping to continue doing these through Halloween, as the decorations start to fill the house. He just seems like something that deserves to be seen amongst all my festive trappings!

 


 



 



 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday the 13th!!!

In honor of Friday the 13th, here's a couple of pics of Mr. Voorhees done by the incredible Brian Baugh:

 



 

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Check out more of his fantastic artwork at http://www.cryptlogic.net

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Earth A.D.

The amazing artwork of Simon Bisley. This piece comes from his book Danzig: Hidden Lyrics of the Left Hand, which features Glenn Danzig's lyrics from The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. I especially love his interpretation of Misfits guitarist Doyle in this pic

 
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Video for Today: Calabrese - "Vampires Dont Exist"

I've pimped this band before, and I shamelessly do so yet again! Here's a video for their song "Vampires Don't Exist". The tune was featured in Brian Pulido's film The Graves, which was featured recently in the "Afterdark Horror Fest 4", and the clip was made up of footage from this flick.

The song is from their second disc, The Traveling Vampire Show.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Video for Today: Squirrel Nut Zippers - Ghost of Stephen Foster

You may have heard of the band before, but few people ever heard this song. Even fewer have seen this groovy vid! I love how authentic it is to the classic cartoons like Betty Boop and early Mickey Mouse. The tune, about the ghost of the songwriter of "Camptown Races", is a regular one in my Halloween mix. This song can be found on the SNZ's disc Perennial Favorites:


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Video for Today: Alice Cooper & the Muppets

Okay, so technically this isn't a video...but it's still worth viewing! In fact, as a young lad, this episode of the Muppets was my introduction to the frightfully fantastic music of Alice Cooper! I'm a fan to this very day!!!

Here's Alice and the Muppets doing "Welcome to My Nightmare"


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Video(s) for Today: Lords of Salem/American Witch (animated)

Today's vids are two of my favorites! These were created for Rob Zombie's tour by monster artist Dave Hartman. While the "American Witch" video was created first, the "Lords of Salem" piece was intended as a prequel of sorts, so I'm placing them in that order here. Two really great clips that truly convey the feel of their respective songs:





Monday, August 2, 2010

Video for Today: HIM - Wings of A Butterfly

I'm hoping, in the next few weeks, to share a few videos I dig. In this day and age, the video is a quickly fading artform. Sure, bands still make them to promote their tunes, but not like they once did. MTV no longer runs anything outside of awful reality shows, so YouTube and band websites are really the only venues for many of these clips. The vast majority of videos today are by-the-numbers, ridiculous pieces that feature rappers with lots of cars and scantily-clad women. Not much thought goes into most of these, so it's always refreshing to catch a vid that stands out from the pack.

The following comes from "Love Metal" band HIM. I get a lot of crap for liking this band...mostly by dudes. I think most of them are threatened by Ville. Sure, he's all gothy-romantic, but I really dig the tunes (and, let's face it, the chicks dig the gothy-romantic thing!).This video is, in my opinion, one of their best (and, before anyone gets bent out of shape, this tune isn't advocating cruelty to pretty insects. The title is a reference to mythology). I love the use of lighting in this clip, and the "HIM Signal" is a clever device. It really isn't typical of most promotional pieces floating around, and it captures the feel of the song nicely.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Not Dead....Yet!

Yeah...so, it's been since December of last year that I've blogged. The first half of 2010 has been insane, to say the least. Without boring you to tears with a lengthy description of events, I'll just say that January through March were crazy with stuff at work. March saw me losing my job (despite all the hard work and long hours I was putting in), and I spent most of my time in April looking for employment. I finally landed a new job in May, but with all of the end-of-school-year activities...well...I've barely had time to catch my breath!

I've tried to check in on the blogs I follow, but sitting down to write has just been something I haven't had a moment for. Towards the beginning of the year, I started a novel I had long been formulating, but that too has been put on the back-burner as the result of just not having a moment to myself. The scarecrow I've been working on for my yard haunt sits in pieces in my garage, sadly half-formed. It's truly a sad state of affairs, but this is what happens when you have kids! Of course, I wouldn't trade it for the world...but I'm damned happy the summer has arrived!!! Oh, I'm not enjoying the blistering Texas heat, the ridiculous Houston humidity or the ever-present threat of hurricane season, but I'm happier'n a pig in poop to have school be out! No extra-curricular activities! YAY!

So...my hope is to have more than a couple of blog posts before October. If possible, I'd also like to get my scarecrow assembled, work on my book and actually get some sleep! Here's hoping!!!!