Friday, March 31, 2023

Rusted Cans, Rotting Pumpkins, And Skulls

The Tunnel-Mouth

Then the corridor ended in a prodigious open space which made us gasp involuntarily—a perfect inverted hemisphere, obviously deep underground; fully an hundred feet in diameter and fifty feet high, with low archways opening around all parts of the circumference but one, and that one yawning cavernously with a black arched aperture which broke the symmetry of the vault to a height of nearly fifteen feet. It was the entrance to the great abyss.

- H.P. Lovecraft

Scarecrow Atelier

Even though Instagram is the place to be these days, it's always nice to find folks using Flickr.  Instragram is great, but it's not the best when data-mining for Halloween blog content.  And don't get me started on how everyone views everything on a small phone these days.  Last Halloween I found myself only taking photos in portrait format so the details wouldn't be insanely small on an iPhone (I'm officially 98 years old).  

And if you're near a laptop, use it to view these photos! 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Mourning Sun

The Props And I

Back in 1987, the director of the high school play The King and I approached my brother and I with a proposition:  I will give you a lot of money to build props.  He didn't say those words, but we knew we worked cheap.  So he was assuming his list of prop requests would take a long time and cost a lot of dough.  It didn't.

I recall things on that list like "A small elephant toy...a small locomotive toy...two golden Buddhas...two Foo Dog statues... masks for a dance..."

The director knew that my brother and I went all-out making mache props for an annual Halloween display, so he figured this would be a great partnership.  It was the first time we applied our Halloween prop skills to non-Halloween props.  And it was the first time that symmetry would be required in building identical props.  We had never done that before, and it's putrid, actually.  Turns out he used both Foo Dogs, but only one Buddha (that still hurts til this day).

Anyways, here are some photos of the props.  I think it's hilarious to ponder other parents taking photos of their children performing in the play, and my mother was out in the audience taking photos of the props we built.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Now Playing: Counting Poisoned Sheep

Looking really forward to this new album by Underwater Sleep Orchestra.

Click below...

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Bobby's Last Halloween

No clue what year this was, but it's definitely not one of my finer moments.  A small trick-or-treater, wearing a Casper mask, surrounded by zombies (where one of them has the boy's pant leg in its teeth).  

I recall kids and visitors really enjoying the humor element, but I think I was bothered by the stillness of it all.  The fact that this moment, which should have movement and flailing and horror, appeared frozen in time really detracted from the point of it all.  I think that was where I started to process just how does a person make a static prop appear to be something other than a snapshot of a moving object?  And that's where building a prop that appears to be at rest is the key - a creature that has momentarily paused.  Maybe a better presentation would have been if a bunch of the zombies were cradling a dead or unconscious child.  Like a bunch of hyenas protecting a fresh kill?  I kind of like the idea of seeing all those boney arms and hands clasping a motionless figure.  

Some observations about the photograph...  You can see a standing zombie in the background.  I hung it from a rope and made the limbs very loose so it would sway in the breeze and appear to be a reanimated corpse.  The wind never came.  

You can see me to the right, standing up (dressed as Michael Myers).  If I had to guess, I was rising to tell my mother to stop taking flash photos, as she was ruining what little atmosphere there was.

And my dad's garage door desperately needed some paint (though that definitely was adding back the atmosphere my mother was destroying).

Now Playing: La​̊​ngt Under Noll

By Snufmumriko.

Click below...

Monday, March 27, 2023

Old Scratch And The Pumpkin King

In our earliest days of Haunting, my brother and I built a pumpkin-headed cloaked figure for the middle of the porch.  We used the flour and water recipe for the mache and dipped strips of newspaper into it (not the glue, water, and paper towel approach I use today).  The photo below is from 2001, but I know this guy was standing on my parents' porch on Halloween night for years before that.  I was using black and white film as a goof that year, but I really dig how this one came out.  

The Devil was something I wanted to build to capture the feel of an old Haunted House on some lonely boardwalk somewhere.  

The Haunted Chamber

    What are ye, O pallid phantoms!
        That haunt my troubled brain?
    That vanish when day approaches,
        And at night return again?

    What are ye, O pallid phantoms!
        But the statues without breath,
    That stand on the bridge overarching
        The silent river of death?

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Now Playing: Malus

By Hollan Holmes.

Click below...

Friday, March 24, 2023

Sleepy Hollow, New York

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW...

- Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Spent yesterday in Rye, New York and the beautiful Hudson Valley.  Got to see some original artwork from Charles Addams and Edward Gorey at the Rye Arts Center.  We then headed to Sleepy Hollow and visited the Old Dutch Church and Cemetery and checked out some local taverns.  In the evening we visited with friends, and as we pulled away to head home, we heard hundreds of Spring Peepers in a local marshland.  Ichabod's mind would have gotten the best of him.