Friday, June 28, 2013

Midnight Syndicate Classic Horror Music - Preview "It Lives"

Really looking forward to the new album by Midnight Syndicate album, "Monsters of Legend". Yesterday they released a preview of one of their tracks on You Tube, "It Lives". The "video features some of the images that inspired the track along with a short montage at the end which will give fans a quick taste of what is to come." In addition to the MP3 downloads and CD they are also releasing a limited edition 12" vinyl version. Wish I still had a turntable!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Toys.., er, Tools

Wanted one of these foam cutting systems from Hot Wire Foam Factory since we started working with Styrofoam... we've quickly tired of cleaning all the little white styrofoam beads or pink foam powder from all over our shop, clothing, skin, hair, dog, fish, neighbors... Hopefully this will help.

New tools in the mail, it's a good day!

Four different tools and no cutting table to make straight line cuts, maybe not the wisest investment but time will tell. Of the two of us I'm the pessimist. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Home Haunters DVD 2012 - Favorites

"Berstuk" from "Butcher of Provincetown"

Last year was my first year perusing all the excellent home haunter videos on the annual Home Haunter DVD Collection compiled  by Davis Graveyard. It was such fun I couldn't resist buying this years DVD set,  plus we submitted our own compilation of Shingle Creek Manor photos to the DVD for the first time. So now we're all famous and stuff,  paparazzi everywhere we go and people keep calling, and coming to the house wanting autographs, and wanting us for guest lectures and everything....

Okay maybe I made that last part up... it was something new and fun though and it's a good way to memorialize all your hard work and creativity.

Last year I blogged how or maybe how not to make a haunt video. I still stand behind those pearls of useless wisdom, although I realize I need to follow some of my own advice... next year baby!

Sincere appreciation to all those people that took the time to compile and submit a video for us to enjoy. Special thanks to Jeff and Chris Davis of Davis Graveyard for all their hard work in keeping this Halloween effort alive.

Without further adieu, here are some of my personal, although maybe slightly biased favorites:

Butcher of Provincetown - Brad Goodspeed, Ontario Canada, has to be my personal favorite. From his use of unusual, non-horror background music ( some sort of 1920's or 30’s crooner ),  to the movie quality opening title and whimsical closing credits, to the excellent camera angles and video quality I have stated that I think his video has set the standard for other haunters to meet. All of the props built during his "year long art project" as he refers to it, are unique things I have not seen before. A special mention for the "Timmy" prop, and all of his self made character masks.  Finally, I love when the camera gets to follow the actual visitors of a haunt and you can listen to their comments, " you, you go first" etc. Belinda and I laughed until we cried at the video of the drop panel scares!

Darkwing Manor - Tim and Tina Reuwsaat, Medford,  Oregon - admittedly I enjoyed last years video a bit more than this years contribution, and coincidentally it won the "2011 Haunter's Video Award" for "Best Video Production". That being said, This year's video was still one of my favorites and I am fascinated by the sheer size of this home haunt. How many scareactors are there anyways?? The video shows portions of the haunt in the house as well as what appears to be a rather large piece of property. I visited the Darkwing Manor facebook and website, it's an amazing operation that this year brought in $11,000 to The Children's Advocacy Center. Well done Tim, Tina and cast!

Canyon Trail Cemetery - Dawn and Jim Slanker, Carol Stream, Illinois - this video gets my vote for the coolest animated prop. The pumpkin scarecrow rising out of the pumpkin patch was amazing! I'm guessing by it's motions that it's controlled remotely. Although the Slanker's had  a lot of really good electronics in their haunt, this was by far my favorite.

2nd Street Cemetery - Heidi Licausi Rauber, Covington, Louisiana -  I would be remiss not to mention fellow blogger Countess Vonrauber. She was 2011 category winner for "Best Prop". Like us, the Countess builds a static yard display and I don't think she uses scareactors, although I saw photos of her husband and herself dressed for the occasion, not exactly bed sheets with eye holes cut in them, wow! Countess made some killer props again this year. I think my favorite being the "Gaston Leroux" tombstone although the new window treatments were pretty cool too.

As difficult as it is, I think these are my favorite choices for this year although I know I've forgotten some that should have been mentioned. Your missing out big time though if you just watch my favorites. There were over 60 videos on 4 DVD's that had some excellent scares and some very unique props. Buy a copy this year and add your video next year!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Favorite Store

There are only a few storefronts for "Reynolds Advanced Materials" in the U.S. but we are lucky enough to have one close to home and paid a visit there this last week to obtain casting materials for some new skill learning. The store is at the front of a good size warehouse. It is well laid out with all the different mold making and casting materials and examples of the kind of castings you can make with that particular material. We were instantly in love...

Check them out and obtain one of their free catalogs if you don't already do this stuff and want to take your artistic endeavors to a fun new level!

So this week we dabbled at making some medallions for the doors of this year's mausoleum facade.

Our original is a lute hole cover for a guitar placed in a glass food container.
We mixed the two parts of their brand name "Mold Star 16" mold making material 50/50. Just pour the amount you want of each part into two separate plastic cups, then when you are ready, pour one cup into the other, stir and pour. Tap the mold against your table a few times to get any trapped air bubbles to rise to the surface. Don't forget to spray your mold container with some sort of release agent. Anything to help the dried rubber mold back out of the container. We didn't on this one and did a lot of cursing to get the rubber mold back out of the glass container. Later we used spray olive oil from the kitchen which seemed to work well.

'Mold Star 16" takes 30 minutes to cure.
Once it's cured your ready to poor your cast material. We used brand name "Smooth Cast 305" which is a white liquid plastic. Again measure out in separate cups 50/50, pour one cup into the other, stir thoroughly and pour into your mold. Tap the mold on the table to get any bubbles to rise to the surface. "Smooth Cast 305" hardens in 15 minutes so don't waste time pouring it before the hardening process begins.

The medallions needed some crosses so they were also cast in plastic and super glued to the medallion. Medallions ready for their faux metal finish!

We're still experimenting with making 3D items with detail on all sides. It's a bit more advanced but Belinda found lots of You Tube assistance.

The door of our Mausoleum will be faux metal of some sort so we also needed bolt heads to glue to the actual wood or styrofoam constructed doors. This photo does not do justice to the amount of detail you can get. We learned to cast them in our class at the Halloween Extreme convention, so we already had the mold. The cross finials are still a work in progress. Once they get a rust technique for the final finish I think they will look okay.

A little pre-season crafting to get us warmed up for this years new props at Shingle Creek Manor!