Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of my fellow haunters, haunted house freaks, Halloween enthusiasts and fans of the macabre a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Highbury Cemetery!

(And yes, I post this clip every Christmas, but it remains one of my favorites!)

"But be warned. Santy Claus only brings presents to them thats been good all year. What about you, boy? You been good all year?"

Cryo Chamber's FREE "Dark Ambient of 2018" Mix

Christmas comes early, thanks to Oregon dark ambient label Cryo Chamber!

They just released a great, one-hour long mix from some of their 2018 releases. And it's FREE!

From the Cryo Chamber Bandcamp page:

This is our Christmas gift for 2018 to all who support us and is free for everyone! 

Continuing our yearly tradition, we picked some interesting releases this year. From pure soundscapes to narration heavy space ambient albums to dusty dilapidated cathedrals.

With tracks from Ager Sonus, Atrium Carceri, and Atrium Carceri/Cities Last Broadcast/God Body Disconnect among others, you'll have a great little mix perfect for your dark holiday celebrations!

Go get this mix for free over at the Cryo Chamber Bandcamp page!

Tuefellauf Hollabrunn, 2018

Poster courtesy of Dionysos Pass

Yes, attending an authentic European Krampus/Tuefel (Devil) Run is a bucket list event for me. Especially when seeing this Teufellauf (Devil Run) from Hollabrunn, Austria. Incredible Krampus and Devil costumes, a large group of spectators getting whipped with birch switches, and crying children. What else do you need!?

And aren't little kids dressed as Krampus truly the most adorable thing you have ever seen??

And this particular Parade goes so far to even have their own theme music, where the band plays live at the event. Wow! One ticket to Austria, please!!

Kammarheit - "The Nest"

The perfect soundtrack for our slow transition to winter, embodying the cold and the darkness...

Hand Carved Krampus Masks by Stefan Koidl

A year ago, I wrote about my dream to one day own a custom, hand-carved Krampus mask from one of a wide array of European artists. In fact, one of my bucket list items would be to one day travel to Europe and participate in an annual Krampuslauf parade. It really is a wintertime equivalent of working in a Halloween haunt, and every video I've seen looks like an incredibly crazy time! 

I recently discovered the work of Austrian sculptor and painter, Stefan Koidl. His hand-carved Krampus masks are truly stunning, with intricate carving and finishing details on each piece he produces. Seeing his work makes me want to refocus on getting that Krampus mask to add to my collection and book my flight to Europe!

Do yourself a favor and go check out all of his art here.

The detail and intricate carving on this Norse King mask is some of the best that I have ever seen. I can't even imagine the work that we will be seeing in the coming years...

All photos courtesy of The Art of Stefan Koidl

And enjoy a quick interview where Koidl talks about creating his masks...

Fröhliche Krampusnacht!

Gruss vom Krampus!

It's Krampusnacht, 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.

Have you been good this year?

Photo courtesy of Liv Rainey-Smith/Xylographilia.

Photo courtesy of Matej Divisna/Getty Images.

And a little homage to the horned-one himself from the masters of fright, Midnight Syndicate, to put you in a ghastly yultide mood... Night of the Krampus from their 2015 release, "Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering." 

Subtype Zero - "Inhumane"

I've been meaning to post this one for a while now. Local Cleveland band Subtype Zero is absolutely killing it with that "'86 Slayer" classic thrash sound. I picked up their first LP when it was released and it is killer all the way through. This is a band that I'm definitely going to check out live!

Closed Casket Home Haunt, 2018

In going back through the all the years that I have been writing this blog, I realized that one thing has always been missing. And that is any photos showing off anyone else's haunts in the Northeast Ohio area. Which is crazy, because there are SO MANY incredible displays!

The reason, of course, is that I'm always too busy trying to get my own haunt ready to go, and I always run out of time. Always.

But somehow, this year, I actually made time to go visit one. On the Saturday before Halloween, I got to go visit the small yard haunt that was put on by Dave over at Closed Casket Studios and his surly crew. I have only been trying to go see it the last three or four years without luck. But on this rainy, dreary night I finally made good. I grabbed a six of pumpkin beer and headed over to their shindig.

(Technically, I "saw" Dave's first yard haunt way back in 2009, the first time I met him. Unfortunately, as I wrote about it then, we made it just AFTER the local Fire Marshall visited and shut the haunt down for not meeting fire code. We still laugh about that today!)

I arrived to a rain-soaked, empty neighborhood. The bad weather had gotten them and their trick-or-treat fizzled out. Luckily everyone was still there, in high spirits. I quickly joined, but not before touring the haunt display itself and snapping away with my camera.

And even though the weather sucked, the haunt still looked great. Fantastic lighting and props, adorned with killer Closed Casket Studios prop heads and hands. There was a lot of great detail tucked into a small cemetery setup.

I'm really happy that I finally had the chance to check this haunt out. It was a welcome break in my otherwise hectic schedule leading up to Halloween night, and it gave me some inspiration for some new prop ideas for next year. From here on out, I'm going to block off time to visit at least one other haunt in the area during each Halloween season. And who knows, maybe even get in some guest acting! I think this is a big part of the haunt community that I have been neglecting...

(And yes, Randy Skalos, next year I'm absolutely, positively visiting you!! The fourth time will be the charm!!)