Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pine Tar

Bean picked me up some very peculiar soap. Knowing I'd dig its dark and mysterious scent, she bought a bar of Grandpa's Wonder Pine Tar Soap. Hard to describe the aroma - smoky, dark, rich, and clean. I brought the cardboard packaging, still loaded with pine tar scent, to the office with me to get a consensus on the odor (and to have a few laughs). The reaction was unanimous - they hated it. Trust me on this though, it's great. Earthy and rich.

The site boasts healing properties. I told my coworkers my grandmother cured her shingles with only one wash. They weren't buying it. The story, or the soap.



GrandpaBrands.com

Angry



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Ghastly Halloween

Featured this haunt a while back, but they didn't have photos from 2008 at the time. Beautiful work.

A Haunt In Connecticut



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Sad Ghosts



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Monday, June 29, 2009

Banned

"The Highways Agency is forcing Arundel Gallery Trail to remove the sculptures from the A27 roundabout only ten days after they were installed because of concerns they could cause an accident."


The artist seems really upset. I'd take it as a compliment.

An article with the details.

By the Railroad

The art of Edward Hopper.


AllEdwardHopper.com

Devil And Corn

The Sleeper Has Awakened

The work of artist J. Seward Johnson Jr.


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Some information.

Michael's Update

A kind employee at Michael's told me over the weekend that they're getting their seasonal truck in on Friday.


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Silhouette



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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Steady. Steady.

The intro to my 2006 Halloween video has a long shot of a low approach to the yard haunt. I had the camera attached to a homemade steadicam device. I built it based off of this neat guy's specs.

Steadycam.org

I found that it's great for high shots as well.

Here's the first footage I ever shot with it. I was running up and down a ravine like a fool. Probably a bad way to test it since I was using a digital camera's movie setting and not a digital camcorder (though the potential is there).



Also used it to shoot THIS video of a cemetery.

2004





This was the year I made two scarecrows for the contest: The Witch (the one hanging from the tree) and Johnny Appleseed. The contest ended AFTER Halloween, so I was supposed to leave them at the location of the contest Halloween night and pick them up the next day. So early on the morning of Halloween, I drove to steal my scarecrows. The judging had ended and I had already gotten my prize money checks in the mail. I didn't think anyone would mind. Well they did. I had a message on my machine threatening to take the money back!

How'd they know they weren't just stolen?

The Fog

Midnight til one belongs to the dead.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lonely



Observation



Over the years, I've taken a lot of weird props out for photo shoots. Rarely is it a rural setting. And sometimes it's in a pretty public place, much to my discomfort. But a few comments about the recent photos of the Pumpkin Sentinels got me to thinking. When the joggers who ran in-between the Sentinels didn't even acknowledge their existence with so much as a smile, I started to think back on all the old location shoots. The one constant in each shoot was how people reacted when they saw me and my camera and my monster - they look away and make zero eye contact. I'm not posing this in an egotistical way. I certainly don't mean that I want them to shower me with effusive praise. In fact, I actually prefer being treated like a madman eating flies who people hope will just wander away : )

If someone's in a car driving by, they'll smile and point. If they're not in a car, they try to ignore me.

Just an observation.


The dawn photo shoot of The Bog Man. Houses to the left of him. A road to the right.

2006

Pumpkin Masks

These would be really neat to wear on the shoulders of a Headless Horseman costume.



...and a great scarecrow.


Thanks, Mike, for sending these cool photos. Your scarecrow looks terrific. So weathered, and the natural crossbeams are perfect.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blurry Halloween



Ichabod

Neat idea for a prop? The coffined remains of a corpse in school teacher attire, dust and cobwebs. Very old. Headless with a petrified cracked jack o'lantern on its shoulders - with a gaping hole large enough to see that the corpse has been decapitated.

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Probably the neighboring town found the body, down by the Hudson. And buried him as-is.

Tree Lanterns

Always the fan of real flickering candles, I love seeing how this haunt creates a Halloween Tree using various lights and lanterns.


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Ham Solo

GREAT costume idea, if he survived the freezing process, that is.


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Packed


Haunt Theory: Recycling

I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.
- Mark Twain


I love recycling props. I love tearing old props apart. And I love giving face-lifts. The last time I was in the attic collecting items for this year's haunt, I noticed that my HOLLOW scarecrow wasn't looking so good. Since he was only intended for my yard haunt, I didn't build him as durable as my other props. I didn't have to worry about the rain or heavy wind. I've learned a bunch of shortcuts over the years. Building props for a one-night event is a totally different animal than building a prop for the shop, or a scarecrow for the contest. Well, HOLLOW was looking a little spent. And my Pumpkin Sentinels were designed and burning a hole in my brain.

The first Sentinel's head is, you guessed it, HOLLOW's head. The hands of both Sentinels are HOLLOW's hands (I love one-armed props, by the way).


HOLLOW lives again [left]

Recycling your old props, even ones you love, can make you grow artistically I think. There will always be the nostalgic props you adore, (and don't you dare lay a finger on them). I'll always keep ROOTS and JOHNNY APPLESEED. But the others are fair game. Like a mache junk yard of spare parts for future monsters.

Recycling is like making a prop immortal - or at least making it last until next Halloween.

Temporary Cemetery

This is what it's all about.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Beast



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Location, Location, Location

Been thinking about POLTERGEIST all day and did a little research into haunted real estate.
Some neat articles here:

Field Guide to Dealing With Stigmatized Properties



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Petrified

The art of Jennifer Angus.

Faust

From Philippe Fenelon's opera.


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Humpty Pumpkin

This would totally take first at a scarecrow competition.


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Cold Bones



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Film Inspiration

Was watching POLTERGEIST [again] and was struck by how much movies like that, when I initially saw them, gave me an instant fascination with props and special effects. I owe a lot to them. I can remember writing a letter to Industrial Light and Magic asking them for advice on how to get into that field.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was pretty important - those corpses behind that tomb wall - the ones that screamed silent screams. I've read about moments in film makers' lives where they had an epiphany and sat up and said "That's what I want to do." Well, it wasn't really like that for me. It was more like a desire to be close to stuff like that, very close - in more movies or magazines or sketches or my own tinkerings with crude little monsters which later became crude big monsters.

Well, I never made it into movies. Never even tried. Never even took an art class other than the filler courses that were required with my non-art degree back in school.


Here are some images from movies that definitely had an impact on me and my haunt:

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Couldn't find any pics of those tasty corpses, but the ghosts at the end of the film were gorgeous and definitely left their mark.


I'll never forget the moment I saw THIS beauty in POLTERGEIST.


These are among the finest corpses to date in any film. The way their heads bobbed independently of their bodies.


The scarecrow from the beginning of the film PUMPKINHEAD.


And of course, the greatest on-screen scarecrow I've ever seen.


I'm thankful for growing up in the 80s with movies like RAIDERS, POLTERGEIST, JAWS, STAR WARS, THE FOG, and THE THING. Where physical props, models, and miniatures were still used to make film magic. I wonder if I would have been so inspired had I grown up with CGI. I can't even imagine what POLTERGEIST would have been like had it been loaded up with computer-generated effects and geared for a younger target audience (though I hear there's a remake in the works, so I guess we'll see exactly that).
Yep, thank God for the 80s. And thank God for Halloween - loaded up with special effects and monsters. The physical kind.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Horrible Scary Dummies

How the very first ventriloquist act wasn't quickly beaten down is way beyond me.


Full-sized terror.
i

My thoughts exactly.