"Mask Fest, 2023" Video - Distortions Unlimited

Poster art by Mikey Sevier/Mask Fest.

I didn't make it out to Indianapolis for the return of Mask Fest, but Distortions Unlimited has put together a really great walkthrough video of the whole event to show what all I missed. SO much talent and SO many absolutely insane masks all in one place! I think this will be on the bucket list for 2024...



Countdown To Halloween, 2023

Do people still read blogs? Ehh, I still do. And that's why I'm all in for another month-long celebration of the
Countdown To Halloween.

Starting October 1st, it will be another non-stop black-and-orange blitz of anything and everything Halloween. Heck, it's what makes the other eleven months of the year worth it!

Got a blog and wanna join in on the fun? Sign up to the official Countdown To Halloween masterlist here to find out more and be included in the celebration. And then we can share the Halloween fun with the rest of the people out there who still read blogs!

(But don't worry, I'll still be rolling out posts regularly from now until October 1st, just to keep the momentum going! So much still to share before the big party! And thanks again for stoping by!)


Gdanian - "The Darkest Cavern"

Okay, back to the spooky sounds. A short, but incredible new release from German cinematic ambient artist, Gdanian.

From the Cryo Chamber Bandcamp page:

Mechanical Gods is a deep subterranean journey ripe with robotic basslines and tech-ritualism within an atmospheric framework.

…When we entered The Below World, we found the human inhabitants divided into subnormal primal groupings of savage and superstitious tribes who collectively worshipped the machines that oppressed them. Sacrificial offerings of living martyrs were made to the Mechanica in order to appease them of their remorseless and emotionless rancour.

The humans had resorted to primeval idolatry behaviours that put them in awe of the undiminishing energy source of the Plasner System—a great churning ball of heat and light that pulsated over them in the upper echelons of the principal chamber. It became clear to us, meanwhile, that they had lost all awareness of the overground world and that, for them, the limits of the universe were confined to the depths of their subterranean enclosure.

Turn this one up and enjoy!


The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - "Fire"

I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you FIRE!

Here's a GREAT one for the weekend! Before Alice Cooper, before KISS, before King Diamond, there was Arthur Brown. Originator of the theatrical rock stage performance.

Originally recorded in 1968, here is The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's cult classic hit, Fire, recorded for British television in 1975. Theatrical insanity all around, complete with fog, pyrotechnics, incredible costuming, and yes, actual fire.

And the best part of all of this is that 50-plus years later, Arthur Brown is still performing and releasing new music! Complete dedication to his craft.



Is It Time? (No, It's Not...)

As I peruse the markets and stores on an early August afternoon, the signs are already there. Earlier than ever. Black-and-orange knicknacks line the aisles of every home decoration store. The annual supply of animated ghosties and ghoulies already on display in the home improvement stores. Pumpkin beers already on grocery store shelves. Pumpkin Spice everything! Halloween is here, whether we like it or not.

For me, it's "not." It's just the middle of August. We're still deep in the throngs of summer. Heat and sunshine. Beach vacations, ice cream, and amusement parks.

I'm definitely not ready for the annual metamorphosis into the Halloween season quite yet. Every year, it starts a little earlier. We talk about the horrors of "Christmas Creep" and now I see my beloved Halloween holiday succumbing to the same fate. The magic of the season continues to be diluted in a rush to get the goods on the shelves to attract that almighty dollar...

Halloween illustrator/artist Sam Heimer recently summed it up perfectly in an absolutely brilliant Instagram post, so I'll just share his thoughts as they echo mine (but in a much more eloquent tone!).

his Instagram post:

I know it’s early to be posting this; let me tell you why. As I sit here on my stoop, face melting into my coffee and rivulets of sweat running from my pits into my jeans like tiny cricks fit for minnow fishing, yes, I yearn for the crisp breeze of autumn. Remember when we were kids and there was no mention of Halloween till the last week of September? No talk of Yule till the Thanksgiving china was tucked back in the hutch for their yearly nap? But I’m sweating through my underwear and Homegoods already has Jackolanterns on their shelves, Michaels is stocking skull cake pans. Do I want it? Yes. Is it time? No. I know I’ve said “I don’t view Halloween as a day, but the annual ebb and flow of a grand tide”, but we’ve lost the importance of wanting, of yearning, the solemn days of longing. The wait that makes the arrival, the embrace, all the more incredible, fulfilling, impactful. The relief after long agony. The rest after long days of toil. The arrival of Autumn, of Halloween, should be hauntingly whispered in your ear by the rustling of leaves, announced by a spice-tinged whisper of smoke aloft on a chill that makes you tug at your jackets lapels, the kind of chill that’s like a finger of bone just ran up your spine to a few xylophone notes. Little reminders you’re on the right side of the dirt. A fitting entrance, both loud and quiet at the same time, beautiful yet grim. Not slowly slogging into view with pit and boob sweat, flecked with mosquito bites and sunburn. It’s not time. And not because of a date, not because I’m bucking against big box stores trying to scratch an itch that will spread like poison ivy if disturbed. We simply are not ready. We haven’t earned it. We haven’t yearned long enough or hard enough, the fields are still ripe, the trees are still green. If you want to eat this half-baked cake, who am I to stop you, but I promise, if you hold on, wait just a little longer to cross through that orange and black transom, it will be all the more magical, cathartic, and earned. Come back to me in a few months and I will wish you a hearty Happy Halloween, but until then, please refill the fucking ice-cube trays.


Rest assured my transformation is coming, as it always does. But let's enjoy the last of these summer days and save the anticipation for those magical, chilly autumn nights for just a bit longer. I will continue to hold out on the full-blown Halloween spending frenzy for another couple of weeks, and slowly let my excitement and manic, all-encompassing enthusiasm build as we begin our final approach to All Hallows Eve. 

The Mummies of Guanajuato

A few months back, I posted a video of the intro to Werner Herzog's fantastic 1979 gothic horror film, Nosferatu The Vampyre. In it were incredible clips of twisted and shadowed mummified remains, overlayed with a hauntingly beautiful score by Popul Vuh. It's still one of the most striking, and personal favorite, intros to a horror film.

As I researched the intro, I was completely awestruck by the mummified figures, assuming that they were from the famous Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Italy. But I was actually wrong.

I discovered the shots were actually of a collection known as the Mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico. And while they weren't as famous as their Italian counterparts, they were nonetheless just as interesting.

From my previous post:
The famous collection of mummies from Guanajuato, Mexico dated back to an 1833 cholera epidemic. The naturally mummified remains were later unearthed after the failure of living relatives to pay 'burial taxes' of the time, and were stored together in an above-ground building adjacent to the cemetery. By the 1900s, these mummies began attracting tourists and eventually the building became a permanent museum.

(Tjalgahorn has since had a great post over at the October Branches blog on a new fungal growth spotted on one of the mummies - yes, The Last Of Us, indeed! Although in all seriousness, it could lead to decomposition and eventual loss of the mummies...)

The Museo De Las Mommas De Guanajuato houses the entire collection of 111 mummies, with 59 on permanent display. And their photography of the mummies is absolutely fantastic! A perfect source for Halloween prop reference, these photos have gone into my "inspiration folder" and will definitely be used for future prop reference.