John Carpenter - "Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998" & Tour


Time to fire up the old turntable! Today, Sacred Bones Records announced the preorder for the new John Carpenter release "Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998."


Thirteen classic movie themes, originally composed by John Carpenter and newly rerecorded with his new band. The preorders are already selling out, so get on it while you can!!



And if a new John Carpenter record wasn't enough, he has also announced a new set of tour dates to support the release!! It looks like he's skipping the great state of Ohio again, so it looks like I'll be making the trek up to Detroit to catch the show.

I was fortunate enough to see his last show in Detroit, and it was absolutely amazing and fun. Read about it here.


  


Cleveland Haunt Club's Haunted Garage Sale 8/19


It's time for the 2nd Annual Cleveland Haunt Club Haunted Garage Sale! If you are in the Cleveland area this Saturday, August 19th, why not stop out at the Bay Village Community House in Bay Village, Ohio, and score some cool new haunt, Halloween and horror gear!

I made it to the first annual sale last year and sold 90% of my entire table in the first two hours. Tons of people, tons of vendors and tons of fun! Come on out and say hello!




 

Metatron Omega - "Transductio"


From the Metatron Omega Bandcamp page:

Feel the cold winter air on bare skin atop Majestic Cathedrals. Hear the archaic chanting echoing from never ending halls below. Taste the iron from blood filled chalices of forgotten secret orders. Bow down on bruised knees before the serpent pillar in Sacral Monasteries. Partake in rituals hidden but practiced since the dawn of time.

Wow.

I absolutely love this track. It starts off light and airy, with the serene sounds of birds and nature, and then quickly dives into a cold, desolate choral droning that sounds like it emanates from the hollowed out shell of an old stone cathedral. This track has a TON of atmosphere, and would work really well in a Gothic haunt scene (the Davis Graveyard abbey, anyone?).

And the faceless, hooded figure in the video below. A perfect choice for a new monster mud figure. I need to make it happen!




Only 94 days to go...

 

100 Days - Highbury Cemetery Graphic Series No. 6


A quick glance at the calendar and I realize that it has caught me by surprise yet again. 

100 days until Halloween. Dammit.

Why not whip up the next image in the Highbury Cemetery Graphic Series, and then get out into the sweltering heat of the late July night and get some new Halloween props done??

Good idea...



Lots of new posts coming, I swear... The project list is written out (again), and now it's time to start crossing some things off. Time to get to it.

  

"The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31" Board Game Photos


The first photos have been released for Mondo and Project Raygun's newest board game collaboration project. The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is based on John Carpenter's 1982 horror masterpiece, The Thing, and features cool artwork from Phantom City Creative (as well as a limited edition Mondo exclusive version with insanely cool slipcase art by Jock!).







After seeing the new game board and game pieces, I'm becoming more and more interested! I'm very curious to see how this game is played, and I will definitely be going after the limited edition version upon release. The game won't be available for retail purchase until October, but it is on display now in Mondo's booth (#835) at San Diego Comic Con. And if anyone will be there, I'd be eternally grateful if you'd pick up a limited, free "Outpost 31" patch! I'd gladly pay shipping!!

Keep up-to-date as we get closer to the game's release date by signing up for the email newsletter at Mondo's "Infection at Outpost 31" page

Until then, nothing else I can do, just wait...

  

Johannes Highbury Tombstone Prop


I know I should be a lot farther ahead on my 2017 haunt build list, but I figured a quick tombstone prop would be the perfect project to get the juices flowing...


Johannes Highbury, Died October 31, 1738. Morte Perpetua.




In looking at my cemetery tombstone props from previous years' displays, I noticed that unlike a real cemetery, mine had a lot of stones that were roughly the same size and shape. I knew I wanted to start off by adding some new stones of differing sizes and shapes to add visual interest for this year's display. 

I quickly found a photo from an October trip through Mount Hope Cemetery back in 2013.


No clue what this epitaph says, but the shape was really interesting, so I decided to use it for the new stone. I drew up measurements based on the size of a scrap piece of 2" blue foam that was in my garage. I added another member of the Highbury family for the epitaph, Johannes Highbury, and decided that he, along with many other family members, met his fate on All Hallows Eve (I'm currently developing a "Halloween Death Curse" backstory for all the members of the Highbury family buried in the cemetery...).

I started with the tombstone shape and then created an epitaph in Adobe Illustrator. I tiled the printouts at 100%, carefully cut the pieces and taped them all together, and then finally cut out the outer stone shape...





I traced the outer shape onto the tombstone and then cut it out of the foam sheet.



I then coated the backside of the printout with a repositionable (usually purple in color) glue stick, making sure that all of the areas around the lettering stuck firmly to the foam. Once the printout was completely and firmly attached, I began to carve out the letters using my Dremel. Once all the letters and flourishes were cut out, I removed the printout. A lot of small pieces of paper and extra glue globs were still on the foam, so I used a gentle shower setting on my garden hose nozzle (don't use anything harder, as the spray of water could damage the foam!) and sprayed off all the remaining pieces, leaving a clean, carved tombstone. Once dry, I took a sheet of sandpaper and sanded down all the edges, adding weathering, knicks and chips...






After all edges were sanded and the shape was properly weathered, it was time for paint. I stated with a full dark grey coat. This would be primarily for the lettering and any recessed or chipped areas.




When the basecoat was dry, I went back and added a coat of lighter, stone grey to the raised areas. This would help the lettering and chips remain darker and more legible.



For a final bit of detail, I went in with a mossy green color and added a few dry brush "stain" areas around the corners, in the creases, and down the front and back. I find that this little accent really sells the "been outside for over 100 years" moldy look and feel.

When the stone was completely dry, I drilled out the 3/8" hole in the base, inserting a length of 3/8" SharkBite PEX Pipe. When it comes time to display the stone, this piece of pipe will slide over a piece of 5/16" dowel rod that will be driven into the ground, holding the tombstone in place.

*For a more detailed how-to on this step, take a look at my R.M. Renfield Tombstone How-To. I have continually refined my tombstone-making process, and this is now the most efficient method that I use. 



This stone took very little time to complete and I think it turned out great. The unique shape will definitely stand out in a cemetery full of rectangular tombstones and will help my yard display look more authentic. I already have two more stones in progress, now including a tribute to a legend that we just lost. Check back soon, as the creative juices are flowing. I'll be attacking my haunt list with a fury as we rapidly count down the days until the big night!

  

Rest In Peace, George Romero


Sad news today from the world of horror. The godfather of the modern day zombie film, director George Romero passed away today at age 77.




Time to sit back and toast him with a viewing of his 1968 masterpiece...




You can read more about Romero's passing here.


Rest in peace, George.



Linnea Quigley & Men In Skirts - "This Chainsaw's Made For Cutting"


One for the weekend!

She sure can act, but who knew she could sing! (Okay, technically, she was in a band in the mid-80s called The Skirts, but...). Behold the genius of scream queen Ms. Linnea Quigley and her horror rendition of the Nancy Sinatra classic.



"This Chainsaw's Made For Cutting" is available now over at Strange Disc Records!


Closed Casket Studios Summer Sale!


Hey group, time to score some top notch, top quality prop heads, hands and masks at a killer deal!

Fellow Akronite and good friend of the Cemetery, Dave at Closed Casket Studios is running a week-long summer sale. Head over to his site and save 20% now through July 16 with the code below. 

Each year, a few more of his pieces make their way into my yard haunt display and this year will be no different. I'm a huge fan of his work and I couldn't recommend his pieces enough!

But please, leave one Harvester for me!!

And tell him that Highbury sent 'ya!!




 

Hellripper - "Coagulating Darkness"


I'm heading out for a few days to blow stuff up and celebrate all things America. And of course, I need the perfect soundtrack for the weekend's madness, so...

From the Hellripper Bandcamp page:

Hellripper is a one-man black/speed metal band based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

All this one from one man!?!? Good enough for me! Everyone have an excellent Fourth of July and don't blow off anything important!





Reverend Horton Heat, Live in Akron 6-14-17


So just two days after getting home from the whirlwind weekend that was the Midwest Haunters Convention, brother Scrapes and I decided to take in a show to keep the craziness going.

It's not often that bigger named acts make a stop here in Akron (most swing through Cleveland), but when they do, we definitely make it a priority to go check them out.

And thus was the case last Wednesday at Musica, when we got the triple-bill treat of rockabilly stalwarts the Flat Duo Jets, southern California skate punk legends Agent Orange and Texas psychobilly masters Reverend Horton Heat. I had seen Agent Orange and Reverend Horton Heat in the past, but how could I pass up a show of this caliber, only literally five minutes down the road from my house!?

I grabbed the trusty camera and headed out...

Unfortunately, we entered a packed house half way through the Flat Duo Jets' opening set, and we opted for a trip to the bar before a trip to the stage, so I wasn't able to get any pictures. But take my word for it, that band still brings it! After their foot-stomping set, we set up at the front of the stage to catch the next band.

Even with a broken wrist, Mike Palm and the rest of Agent Orange still belted out their skate rock classics, making the 15-year-old skate rat in me quite happy!







After the Agent Orange set, Reverend Horton Heat took the stage and blazed through their headlining set. Absolute tightness, precision and fun, ending with an incredible cover...













Posted by Mike Bloomhuff on Wednesday, June 14, 2017


An amazing show all around. All three bands sounded great and I couldn't be happier that they played a small club here in Akron. And all just five minutes from the Cemetery! Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night...


MHC Group Photo, 2017


One more from this year's Midwest Haunters Convention. Here's the Masquerade Ball group photo of James, Brent and I, taken by the Sci-Fi Photo Guys with their custom backdrop added...


 

Midwest Haunters Convention, 2017


Another Midwest Haunters Convention has now come and gone, and the old bones still haven't fully recovered. Another ten days worth of tours, classes, haunts, costumes, tradeshow and other general late night party madness jam packed into three unbelievable days!

After a quick drive to Columbus, I had the chance to meet up with Brent Wilson from Planet Doom Haunt (all the way from Idaho Falls, Idaho!) and we jumped on the bus for the Friday Night Tour - a tour of the brand new ScareFactory prop shop followed by a trip to the legendary haunt, The Haunted Hoochie at Dead Acres

Immediately, I knew we were in for a hell of a night when we boarded the very last bus out. The driver? One part Ric Flair, one part Joe Biden, one part Evel Kneivel, but all business:



The "WOOOOOO!s" rang out (which may or may not have been started by yours truly) as we departed for our first stop, The ScareFactory. I had actually toured the ScareFactory a few years ago, but I was excited to see their new building. Once we arrived, we were not disappointed. This place was massive. They still had a lobby full of their incredibly detailed movie figures as well as a huge warehouse area full of their deeply discounted haunt props and animatronics...





Still my favorite piece in their collection!

















After a quick tour through the endless spaces of the ScareFactory, we hopped back on the bus for a quick ride over to the main feature of the night, the Haunted Hoochie!!

I had also been to the Hoochie a few years back, but this particular trip blew me away. The Hoochie is widely known as one of the most extreme haunts in the country, but those extreme elements now coupled with their new investments in props, high-end animatronics and scenery (including a new fuselage section from an actual airplane, once used in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film?), rocket this haunt into my Top 5 All Time Haunts. It's like the haunt now has to be taken more seriously. Outside of the craziness that makes the Hoochie what it is (I compare it to being at a GWAR show!), the haunt is genuinely incredible. I am definitely driving back down to visit the Hoochie again in October. From what we saw Friday night, I can't even imagine what a full-on, in-season haunt would be like...


Don't get too close. The queue line fire-breather...



And yes, the woman at the bottom right had to have been at least 80 years old. God, I hope I'm still going to haunts when I'm that old!! 



After a late return to the hotel bar, we hooked up with Highbury regular James and planned out the next day's events. Classes, trade show, lunch and the infamous Masquerade Ball! 

We woke up (relatively) early on Saturday and set out to get as much in as we could. We took a couple of great classes and canvassed the trade show floor. I snapped away wildly as I toured each booth. The layout of the show floor seemed a bit more spaced out, allowing us to tour the entire show quickly. Tons of cool props, masks and other products from a wide variety of vendors...




I think I snapped this photo about one second too early... :)




It's almost time!"







And a special shout out, as always, to fellow Akronites and good friends, Closed Casket Studios for allowing me to sneak in on Friday and have a beer with you guys while you set up the booth! You guys are killing it!!






Two bad muthas...








Spoiler: Look for The Harvester, this killer new scarecrow prop head in the Cemetery this year. I'm hoping to make some killer new pieces for this year's haunt with it!


























Allen Hopps, doing what he does best.




That retro cool red skull almost went home with James. Almost...




After a few laps around the tradeshow floor, we all went back to our rooms to prepare for the night's main event - the infamous Masquerade Ball! 

We chilled out a bit with a couple of beers and a viewing of the 1932 Bela Lugosi classic, White Zombie, before donning the night's costumes. The makeup and costume all seemed to go quickly and smoothly, and for once I was ready to go with time to spare. I was really excited to show off this year's new costume prop, the Necromancer's Staff. We headed out, camera and staff in hand, ready to tear it up...

We made our way to the ball, quickly grabbing photos of the amazing costumes, drinks from the bar, and conversations with friends. The night really seemed to fly by as we quickly went through the Body Art Fashion Show, Ms. Scary Midwest Pageant and Scariest Costume Contest. 

A few drinks, a few snacks and a few laps around the dance floor and the event was already over. Luckily the fun was just getting started as the masses flocked to the hotel bar to carry on the evening's merriment.

I quickly found out that a six-foot-tall staff in one hand and a cold beer in the other didn't leave much time for photos, so I snapped a few pictures between rounds and got what I could. In previous years I was intent on getting as many photos as I could, but this year was much more relaxed and carefree...


Highbury Cemetery friends and MHC institutions Vince, Stacey and Sabrina Rager!



 The always-incredible makeup and costuming from the ladies at Svenpuss Productions.





YES!! I got "fingered" by the Nasty Witch!!!



The Three Stooges: James, Brent and myself. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.



Really the only Body Art Fashion Show photo you need. Photo by Brent Wilson.



The goat! Flashing the horns. Photo by Brent Wilson.


At breakfast on Sunday morning, James and I talked about how much fun the convention was this year. Way more relaxed and stress-free than in previous years. Some people complained about the convention being smaller, but I liked the fact that it was a bit spread out and you could easily navigate the floor. Plus, there were still a ton of great wares from some really great vendors. And, I got to meet a lot of my fellow haunters from Haunters Hangout in the flesh. It was amazing to see how far some haunters came to be there! All in all, the 2017 Midwest Haunters Convention will go down as one of my favorites.

A huge thanks to long-time haunt brother James for coming down and raging with me for another non-stop weekend. A big thanks also goes out to new haunt brother Brent Wilson for stepping up when I was looking for someone to go on the Friday night tour with. We ended up raging all weekend and we're already making plans for MHC, 2018. 

And I would be remiss if I didn't end this post with Brent's unbelievably rad MHC 2017 video (please watch all the way until the end!!). A perfect overview of a crazy, crazy weekend.