Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween Frightners!'s here! Well it's 5PM here in good Ol Jersey and the Tots are out in force doing their trick or treating. My wife and I are getting ready to head out tonight and explore some of the local haunts in the surrounding towns. We love to try and see a few haunts if possible and since a few of our haunt buddies are close by we want to stop by and say hello.

Our first stop will be at Pandemic Cemetery a haunt located in Metuchen NJ that is put on by Dave Dankanyin. I actually went to High School with Dave's wife Nichole and she recently contacted me awhile back explaining how they came to Grimlock Manor the first year we were open as a Charity haunt for the public. Seems like Dave's love and passion for Halloween is the same as mine and though he is a smaller haunt he packs a punch with various animitronic scares and some great detail all of which he builds himself so I cannot wait to see his haunt live and in person!

After we stop at Pandemic we will be headed to a fellow NJ/PA Make and Take friends haunt Bloodcrest Manor. This is run by my haunt buddy Sharon AKA Joiseygal from Hauntforum. Sharon or Joisey as I call her provides a full walkthrough experience for all the Tot's in her neighborhood. I have done a interview with her which you can find on my Deadtime stories page. I have only ever seen pictures and videos of Sharon's haunt and have never been able to actually go so I am excited to finally make it out this year and let her scare the crap out of me! Haha!

Finally, we will be making our last stop in Roselle Park NJ. Each year the town has a town wide decorating contest to see who can make the scariest home haunt. There are quite a few people who join in the fun and put on some really nice displays and if you really want some Halloween Overload you need to stop by Bender Avenue in Roselle Park. The shut down the enter block and every house decorate and puts on a show. There are hundreds of people who attend the haunts on Bender in full Halloween Garb, it's such a site. I swear that one day I will live on that block!

Well it's time to go get dressed and ready for my Halloween Adventure. I hope you enjoy your Halloween in whatever way you celebrate. Embrace the spirit of the Great Pumpkin and have a frightfully ghoulish time!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Grimm TV Series Pilot Review.

Hey Frightners!

Well with Halloween only days away the TV Networks are in full swing with their 31 days till Halloween specials along with some new series premiers that could help satisfy our dark cravings after the Halloween season has come and gone. One of those new series is Grimm on NBC.

Grimm is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm's Fairy Tales. It follows the story of homicide detective Nick Burkhardt who discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as "Grimms." The Grimms are charged with keeping the balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world and in the pilot episode detective Nick comes to realize that all those fairy tale creatures he thought were just stories aren't really just stories after all.

My wife and I caught the pilot episode for free on iTunes and went into watching it with low expectations but in the end we were pleased with the show and excited to see what was in store for future episodes. The cast is likeable and David Giuntoli who plays detective Nick Burkhardt did a great job, it's easy to like his character and want to see how he develops his new found power of profiling the mischievous creatures of the world. The pilot revolves around the story of the big bag wolf. Seems there is a wolf stalking anyone who is wearing red (little red riding hood anyone!) All in all it's worth some attention moving forward and should be a fun watch.

Every once in awhile the networks do a dark drama right and hopefully this time they will have a winner on their hands. The actual TV premier is tonight at 9PM EST on NBC but check your local listings for your time and channel. It appears that the iTunes version does not show the entire one hour premier but does provide a full episode. I assume as the series moves along they will be shortened to half an hour episodes and the premier is just two episodes in one but we shall see.

If you happen to check it out please feel free to come back here and post your take on Grimm. It would be cool to see what everyone thinks!

The Grimm Website: GRIMM

Stay Frightful!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Early Pics....

Hey Frightners!

Just wanted to post some early pics from Grimlock Manor 2011. We have a bunch of pictures and video to sift through but for now here are 3 favorites of the Mini Minion, Madame Leota & Our Vanity scene in the seance room. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cool Halloween Light Show.

Hey Frightners!

I have been sifting through some haunt videos and pictures the last few days just to see what people have posted recently of their haunts for this year and at the same time have come across a few good haunts from years past that I have missed.

The one below is by Mark Goodson who's full youtube channel you can view HERE! Mark has a nice variety of props and lighting effects and has even started to get into some digital effects that he has created himself but overall I am always a sucker for a cool lightshow. One day I'd like to give one a stab myself but until now I will sit back relax and enjoy Marks like many others!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cyclops Shark!!!

Hey Frightners!

Just in time for Halloween comes the discovery of the Cyclops Shark!!!

While most of these discovers wind up being fake this cyclops shark is actually the real deal! This shark was sliced from the belly of a pregnant mama dusky shark caught by commercial fisherman in the Gulf of California earlier this summer. 

Researchers have examined the preserved creature and found that it's single eye is made of a functional optical tissue however, the malformed shark was unlikely to survive outside the womb and is now destined to sit on the shelf of some mad scientists lab...well not really I just made that part up hehe, sounded good though!

To read more about this interesting cryptic creature check out the link to it's full story HERE!

I guess that one eyed shark costume I had in mind isn't so creative anymore huh?!

Stay Frightful!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sneak Peak!

Hi Frightners!

Hope all is well in Halloween Land. We are almost set to go for our opening night party this Saturday. It's down to the final little details and then this Thursday and Friday the cemetery goes up and we should be done!

As I was working on the haunt last weekend I took a few short video snippets of the seance room which you can see in below. Not everything was fully set up nor was all the lighting fully installed and on at the time of the video taping but I think it will give you a sense of where this room is going.

We will have a huge abundance of flicker candles and a few real candles on and there will be other dim lighting set on flicker circuits so it appears the lights are short circuiting. Also the music won't be Rue Morgue Radio by the Creepshow haha...that just happened to be on so we had a cool lightshow going with it...we will actually have a storm track playing and besides it you will hear Madame Leota calling in the spirits. We might mix in a subtle third track of ambient music but haven't really decided yet.

I hope you enjoy the little sneak peak. We will start taking final pictures and video this Friday night so the cemetery setup and carnival section are to come and of course a final look at the seance room all edited together for our 2011 haunt video!

Can't wait till Saturday and of course Halloween! I can't believe its upon us!

Stay Frightful!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Carnival Set Up Pics & More.

Hey Frightners!

So last night was productive as far as special effects are concerned. We set up the Madame Leota Spirit Ball on her table and placed all the candle sticks around her but unfortunately we did not light all the candles because we didn't want to take each of the individual tea lights out of the foe toilet paper roll candle sticks we made, light them, place them back in, take the pictures then take them out again to turn them off...overall...we were lazy haha!

The video tests are posted below. It's pretty dark since we didn't have any additional lights on in the room so you can't really see the spirit ball or the table it is on or anything else for that matter but once we have everything in place we will take better pictures and video. Overall I am happy with the effect and I am sure it will be one of the more interesting ones at the party for people to see.

We also went ahead and made a moving Quija Board last night with an additional mirror ball motor we had laying around so we will place that on the table as well with some books and other gothic decorations surrounding it. A trip to Home Goods is on the list for those items, they have some great odds and ends in that store that are perfect for a haunt so if you haven't checked out a home goods near you then I highly suggest it (if you have one.)

Also, we have some pictures from the carnival set up for you. These were taken last week. The strong man bell is here, the Carnival Of Souls signage and some of the tent. Everything was someone what incomplete. The carnival sign is lacking its lighting, the strong man bell is doesn't have it's bell yet and of course the freak cages and tents weren't close to being done but at as I write this post they are much farther along. The freaks are in the cages and are fully built out. Lights are strung and signage is in place. We still need to set up the rotten candy vendor but that will happen tomorrow.

All in all it's coming together and we will be working on it up to the last minute as always but I am happy with the progress and should have more posts with update pics and video for your shortly!

Stay Frightful!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Madame Leota Effect In Progress!

Hey Frightners!

So I am still working away on my haunt and have been taking video, pictures, and audio while I have been doing it so I can upload here and share and finally today I am steps away from completing this years display with the last addition of Madame Leota!

A few months back the gracious Mr. Chicken of Mr. Chickens Yard Haunt & Shellhawk of Shellhawks Nest did a BlogTV episode where they did a full build start to finish of the process of making a Madame Leota Projection Effect for your Halloween Display. They took the time to show how to record a custom video of yourself as madame leota (in this case it was Shelly doing acting!) then they proceeded to show how to edit the video, make the DVD, set up the crystal ball display and finally project the video. All around it was a great and inspiring BlogTV that made me say "Let's give it a try!"

I went out and purchased the Eyeclops Mini Projector which is the same projector that they used in the tutorial. The price ranges from $40 up to $60 depending on where you get it. I purchased mine on Ebay brand new for $40. It's a nice projector, small and compact and easy to set up and use. It's not something that is great for huge crystal clear projections but for this specific prop it does the trick. The only downside is that you will need to purchase your own RCA cables for it as it does not come with them. Now if your using a DVD player then you should have some RCA cable but if your going to be using your computer or and iPod like I am using you will need to get the right kind of RCA cable with the right extensions so you may be looking at another $30-$40 on top of the price of your projector so thats just an FYI but bottom line is this...$80 for a projector isn't bad for this type of use however, if your looking to do bigger and better projection effects in the future it may be worth investing in a much better higher end projector. For me this does the job and doesn't break the bank.

Now that I have my Mini Projector I downloaded my Madame Leota video which you can find on Youtube. There are a lot of versions. You can convert the video into an Mpeg format using a site such as

I added the video to my iPod and set it to loop and TaDa! Poof! Like magic there it was projecting onto my foam wig head. Now all thats left to do is put my wighead into a crystal ball ( I am using the Gemmy Spirit Ball which I already had) add a wig and set up the projector until it all lines up right.

Now you may need to do a little light sculpting and add some paper clay to the wig head to get some better features and a better effect but for this year I am happy with what I have and will aim to do a better presentation next year. I may even give the singing busts from the Haunted Mansion a try next year or perhaps a few singing pumpkins....projection effects have endless possibilities and there really is an instant gratification to them that comes much easier than some other props you have to slave over so if you don't have one I highly suggest giving it a try in the future.

I will be adding video of my Leota once it is fully complete in the set up but for now take a look at the quick test picture above for my progress and the vide below of how I intend to set mine up.

Happy Haunting!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Skeletons Can Be Sexy!

Hey Frightners!

A warning...this is not for the faint at heart and may not be safe for younger viewers or those of us who are reading blogs during our work hours!......

Now that I have warned you I bring you the current exhibit at the Museum of Sex in NYC. French sculptor  Jean-Marc Laroche is currently exhibiting his newest pieces in what he calls ""Lovers in the Hereafter."

These are life-sized sculptures of skeletons in various sexual positions just in time for Halloween!  I guess you can say these skeletons were really in the spirit! The works which are made from resin and steel, can only be described as, well, expressive in nature.

I came across this exhibit by chance today as I always pass the Museum Of Sex on my way to work (It's literally up the block from me.) I had to do a double take when I saw the two sculptures above in the window display of the Museum. There was of course a huge crowd outside staring and taking photos so naturally I stopped to see what it was all about. You never know what you'll see in NYC...guess thats why I like working there!

I knew I saw skeletons right away so that got me excited (but lets not get out of hand folks..) I was excited that they were skeletons not because of what these particular skeletons were doing with one another. They were literally boning. Man I am on fire with the jokes huh?! Anywhoo..

It was a pretty interesting exhibit and I though it definitely warranted some attention. The collection is much more extensive than just the two pics above and to see more just play the video below. There is actually some other cool and creepy stuff to see. It will definitely make you think a little differently the next time you see a skeleton...who knows what your skeletons in your haunt set ups are doing after dark...hopefully not being bad to the bone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's been awhile!

Hey Frighters!

Sorry I have ben away for a few days, I have been working hard on getting the haunt up and ready for our annual Haunted Mansion Party which is October 22. We are only two weeks away with still lots to do since we have an entire carnival section this year!

I have been taking a lot of videos, pictures and even some audio of my haunted thoughts throughout the day as we set up so once I have more time I will get that all together for you all to see and will get back on track with the blog posts but I do have something cool to share tonight, a cool website I came across with some interesting stuff and it's called What On Earth!

What On Earth has all sorts of cool randomness! They have items to decorate with, party supplies, gifts, collectables and more and what caught my eye was some pretty interesting Halloween Items, ones that are a bit different then we are used to and are more on the playful and whimsical side of the holiday.

One of my favorite pieces are the "What Lies Beneath Garden Sculptures."  These yard dwellers are very cool and unique sculpts that sit perfectly on the ground as if peeking up from the soil. I think they could be used in various different ways for a haunt and I definitely will be investing in the pair and adding them to a tombstone set up this year.

Be sure to check out What On Earth for a bunch of their other Halloween offerings all of which are uniquely different and if you ask me...pretty cool!