Monster Lab Series by Distortions Unlimited

Ever since watching the "Making Monsters" series on the Travel Channel, I have been a fan of Ed Edmunds and the work he has done at Distortions Unlimited. I have always been a Halloween mask fan too, but his show really got me to thinking about actually trying my hand at sculpting my own mask (just for fun, of course!).

So last week was a slow week at work, and I had some time to explore the web (just don't tell my boss), discovering Distortions' "Monster Lab" YouTube series. What a find! A detailed tutorial series wonderfully punctuated with Edmunds' (and a few other DU employees and sculptors) sense of humor. As I quickly got to episode 9, I took special note. A full series on how to sculpt, cast and paint your own Halloween mask. It was like he made the episodes just for me. I'm finishing up the current episode now and have taken some notes. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun to dive in and just do it. No guarantees, as my sculpting talents are as of yet undiscovered, but what the hell! I think this might be a whole lot of fun! I'll keep you posted as I continue along with this!!

Cthulhu - A Cryo Chamber Collaboration

A texturally lush, layered landscape of Lovecraftian-inspired dark ambient audio, clocking in at over 80 minutes.

From the Cryo Chamber Bandcamp page:

"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
- H.P. Lovecraft

Arguably the largest Dark Ambient project to date, the Cthulhu album is a collaboration between 12 artists who all worked together to pay tribute not only to Lovecraft, but to what lurks beyond our colorful illusion.

All sounds created by:
Alt3r3d Stat3
Aseptic Void
Atrium Carceri
Dark Matter
Sabled Sun

Night Birds - "Escape From New York"

I just caught wind of this one over at Blumhouse. Night Birds are a punk band that have been on my radar for a few years now, but this killer 2013 punk cover of the Carpenter classic is totally rad!

You are the Duke of New York. You're A number 1!

Face Off Season 11 Starts Tomorrow

Just a friendly reminder that after a long break, SyFy's Face Off returns tomorrow night at 9pm. I'll be the first to admit that the previous seasons had gotten a little bit long in the tooth as they say, but this new season of "All-Stars" should prove to be fairly interesting. There's a few really talented artists that I recognize in the photos above. I would have liked to see all the previous seasons' winners go head-to-head, but I'm sure it couldn't be arranged. And in checking the program guide, it looks like they will be playing older episodes all day long, leading up to the premier! Now let's see some amazing makeup work!


My 2017 Begins

It was November 5th, and a thick, dense fog had set into my brain. I had just managed to put every last extension cord, costume, light, bin and prop back in its proper storing place and I was done. Drained empty. After an especially grueling 3 months of constant planning, late night building and hurried set-up for the big night, burnout had taken a firm hold of me. I had experienced it in years prior, but never to this extent. I barely wanted to think about Halloween. I knew what I had to do…

I had to put it all on the shelf. Leave it and not touch it for a while. Turn off the light and walk away. Besides, I still had a full Disney family vacation plus the yearly grind of the upcoming holiday season to get ready for. It would be nonstop, all the way through the end of the year.

Fast forward another 3 months. I made it through the vacation and the holidays with relative ease. I’ve also had time to focus on other hobbies and projects while clearing the mental clutter. This has allowed me the time to fully recharge my Halloween storage tank. A much-needed readjustment period.

So after the short, but vitally-important break, the craving to reimmerse myself into all things Halloween has returned. That spark of creativity that had dwindled to a flicker has been reignited.

I’m back, baby!

I hope everyone has had a nice, post-Halloween holiday season and is just as ready to dive back in as I am (if you haven’t already started!). To kick things off, I wanted to go over a couple of updates for Highbury Cemetery, 2017.

First, a few updates to the blog. The new icon is up on the menu to the right that will take you to the 2016 Halloween photos. Some decent pics of all the new props that were out on display.

Second, the text menu at the very top has (finally) changed. You can now go directly to the Highbury Cemetery YouTube Channel. There are a few videos up, but I have made it a priority to get more quality videos up in 2017, starting with my delayed 2016 haunt video. Truth be told, I wasn’t very happy with the photos or the video that were shot, so I ended up shelving the whole project (no Dead With Dave Home Haunter Awards for me this year!). I will be revisiting it in the coming weeks and will piece something together. I also hope to share some more videos of the novelty Halloween record and tape collection that I have amassed over the years. I currently have one up and it has received a lot of views and positive feedback.

And you will also notice a brand new link in the menu above. If you haven’t seen it on Pumpkinrot’s blog yet, I’m happy to announce my brand new Highbury Cemetery Instagram page. I’m pulling the best of the best of my Halloween-related photos and sharing them all in one spot. With the rich photo controls in Instagram, I can really create some wonderfully atmospheric Halloween images. Sorry, no lifeless selfies here…

Plus, with a new year comes new haunt ideas. I’m currently brainstorming a slew of new prop ideas as well as the cemetery-standard tombstones which I hope to churn out over the next 9 months. I’ll be documenting each new prop as it gets completed, as well as going back and giving a proper, thorough how-to on 2016’s enormous prop, the Walk-In Crypt.

And finally, I hope to be hitting the road a bit more in 2017. The Midwest Haunters Convention is a given, but I’m actually toying with the idea of getting to Transworld for the first time in March. Not much time to make a decision! Also, I hope to get out and visit more haunted attractions this fall. I hope to cross of the Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati, Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac, Michigan, and Hundred Acres Manor and The Scarehouse in Pittsburgh off of my Haunt Bucket List this year. I also hope to check out my local haunted house, the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory, which will be starting it's 43rd season under new ownership. Ambitious, I know, but the Halloween spirit has been reawakened.

And it feels good to be back.