"Krampus" Soundtrack by Douglas Pipes

Okay, just one more Krampus-themed post for 2017. But first, a little story...

Back in the winter of 2015, I quickly decided that I wanted to see Michael Dougherty's new holiday horror film, Krampus. After his now cult classic, Trick 'r Treat, became a mainstay in my Halloween traditions, I figured I'd give this one a shot to see if it would be added to my Christmas traditions as well.

The day before Christmas Eve, I had a late afternoon physical therapy session. I was rehabbing from surgery on a badly broken finger, thanks to an awesome mountain bike crash earlier in the summer. The therapy session was an hour long and I was completely against heading back to work at 4:00 on the day before Christmas break, so I decided that I was going to the movie theater to see Krampus instead. Alone.

Truth be told, I had never gone to a theater to see a movie on my own (which is kind of weird, because I have done just about everything else on my own!). I walked up to the ticket  counter and waited in line to get my ticket. I got to the counter and said, "One ticket for Krampus, please." The young girl working the counter looked up at me with a startled look on her face. Smiling, she said, "Wow! Someone NOT here to see Star Wars!"

D'oh! As I looked over to the entrance into the theater, I could see the line. EVERYONE was in line, waiting to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My palms got sweaty...

I grabbed my ticket, quickly walked past the line and found the theater number that was playing MY film. I walked in and looked around.

Not a single person in the theater. "Cool, I'm early so I get first pick at a seat." I of course picked a seat right in the middle of the theater for maximum sight and sound.

The previews started playing and I kicked back and relaxed a bit. Still nobody else in the theater.

After the endless parade of previews to films that I had absolutely no interest in seeing, the movie started. I could still hear the line of people outside the door, waiting for Star Wars. But still nobody else came into my theater.

Ten minutes into the movie, I made the joyous realization that nobody else WAS coming in. I had the whole damn theater to myself!! I kicked my feet up onto the seat in front of me, and with a relaxed grin, I sat back and enjoyed the hell out of Krampus. Alone in a theater, the night before Christmas Eve.

It was probably one of the best theater experiences I will ever have.

And because of that, Krampus will always hold a special place in my heart. But also because I really enjoyed the film, too.

One year later, Waxwork Records put out an incredible double-vinyl version of the film's amazing soundtrack, composed by Douglas Pipes (who also composed the soundtrack to Trick 'r Treat, another favorite of mine!).

I was able to score the limited double-picture disc version, featuring the amazing "evil elves" from the film. Pipes has done an amazing job of merging cheery holiday melodies and menacing, tense, dark rhythms to create a new Christmastime classic.

I absolutely love everything about this soundtrack and it has become a staple in my post-Halloween playlist...

"Krampus: An Austrian Folk Tale" Documentary

From the Austrian countryside, where ancient folktales are still told, comes the story of Krampus - Christmas demon of yore...

Krampus: An Austrian Folk Tale, is a feature-length documentary that takes the viewer deep into the heart of Austrian and German folklore, to explore the mystery and origins of this ancient custom. From the beginning of the legend itself, to the creation of the costumes and riotous parades, Krampus will be discovered in all his fearsome glory.

All photos courtesy of Hexe Productions

I have been trying to find more info on this 2015 Krampus documentary produced by Hexe Productions ever since I recently discovered the trailer on YouTube.

Amazing footage of traditional Austrian Krampuslaufs with historical information direct from the source. I have become very interested in the tales of Krampus and the European festivals that take place in his honor each winter, and this documentary looks like it would go a long way in satiating my curiosity.

Unfortunately, I have only been able to find the documentary's trailer and website. I'm not sure if the full documentary is available anywhere or if it was ever released. I would love to find out more info on this, but for now, I'll just go back and re-watch the amazing trailer for the 100th time...


Hand Carved Krampus Masks by Miguel Walch

Every winter I see stunningly beautiful, hand carved wooden Krampus masks from artists in and around Austria. And every winter I think that I need to save up a bunch of money and have a custom, one-of-a-kind hand carved mask created especially for me. Some day, I suppose.

This year, I discovered the amazing work of Austrian artist, Miguel Walch. His ability to take a hunk of wood and create a vibrant and hideous, lifelike creature completely blew me away. His final Krampus masks would fit in perfectly at any European Krampuslauf or displayed prominently on any art gallery wall...

All photos courtesy of miguelwalch.com

And while I don't have the funds available to get my own custom Krampus mask yet, I will seek out his gorgeously designed book. It's all in German, but the stunning photography and the beautiful graphic design still make this one a no-brainer for my personal library.

All photos courtesy of miguelwalch.com

Fröhlich Krampusnacht!

Merry Krampus Night!

It's December 5th, and that means that all of the bad children will be visited by Krampus tonight! Krampus, the Christmas Devil and evil counterpart of St. Nicholas, is a cloven-hooved, goat-demon that punishes bad children with a lash of his birch branched switch, then transports them to Hell inside the wicker basket upon his back.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic/Sean Gallup-Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Matthias Schrader.

Photo courtesy of Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Both National Geographic and The German Way & More have great articles on the history and legend of Krampus. And while its origins are in Austria and the surrounding southern Bavarian regions, the legend and imagery are taking hold here in America, too. Krampus events seem to be popping up all over the country.

But nothing can compare to the traditional Austrian KrampusLauf (Krampus Run) parades in Europe. I've only been able to check them out via various YouTube videos, but I am definitely putting a wintertime KrampusLauf trip to Austria on my bucket list. This looks to be an absolutely incredible and unique experience that involves the whole town. What really makes me curious is how a meager home haunter from Akron, Ohio could somehow get connected with a Krampus performer in Austria and don a traditional costume and perform in one of these parades!?!?

Check out this video of the 2017 KrampusLauf from Schladming, Austria:

Fröhlich Krampusnacht!

Svartsinn - "Towards The Dark And Cold"

The chill of autumn air, the crackle of fallen leaves and the fiery glow of a jack-o-lantern's candle have now gone away. We sit at the colorless doorstep of winter. The harsh season of ending. Embrace the march towards the dark and cold...

Revenant's Hauntcast September "Theater of the Mind" Segment

O Great Pumpkin,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot complete,
The focus to complete the things I can,
And the craftiness to camouflage the bare spots so nobody will know the difference.

So back in September, I downloaded the latest episode of the Hauntcast Post Mortem podcast, ready to dive in and digest all of the amazing/hilarious/informative segments in the roll up to Halloween night. Except that I didn't...

I never found the appropriate time in my busy schedule to sit down and press play. My time was already more than accounted for with other, more pressing Halloween tasks and projects. My intent was always to find the time, but like a few other Halloween projects this year, it just fell through the cracks.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning. I'm setting out for an early morning solo drive down to my mother-in-law's house to celebrate the holiday with family. I realized that the two-hour drive would be a perfect time to finally get to that latest episode. I put the car in drive and finally, finally press play.

One of the segments that I always look forward to is Revenant's "Theater of the Mind." Always something that really resonates with me. And this segment REALLY stood out.

As I was driving, I started paying more attention to each word. It was like I had written the segment myself and that he was narrating an essay that had come directly from my hand. I couldn't believe it! As the segment continued, the smile on my face grew larger and the other drivers around me must have thought me insane as I let out laughs and bursts of "Exactly!" or "Yep!" to an empty car.

It's wonderful to know that others have the same highs and lows throughout the Halloween season and that they also "get" the true absurdity of the whole thing. Yet, like me, they also understand the true reasons of why we do what we do each October, and why it is so vital in continuing to do so.

As the segment came to an end, I was giddy with energy. It was everything that Halloween meant to me, perfectly packaged in a tidy 11 minute segment. I actually stopped the podcast to listen to the segment again. That little, unexpected jolt brought back all of the energy and excitement from Halloween night. It was perfect.

Do yourself a favor and go download the latest episode of Hauntcast here (if you haven't already). I've only gotten through the first half of the whopping 4 hour episode, and so far, all of the segments have been really good (and I have yet to get to the interview with Allen Hopps, which couldn't possibly be anything but amazing).

And if you'd like to get a snapshot into the small world of Highbury Cemetery, fast forward to Revenant's "Theater of the Mind" segment at 26:27. It's a wonderful jolt of Halloween fun and energy. Something that we all could use, now that the big night has passed for another year.

Thanks, Hauntcast.