October 1st......It's getting closer...........You can smell it in the air......The smell of burning leaves, rain, pumpkin spice, and the sickly sweet smell of fog juice. Yes, Halloween is upon us, and you know what that means. The HalloweenOverkill Halloween Countdown! Yes, I've promised you more posts in the past and yes I've let you down each and every time, so this year I'm taking a different approach. I'm not promising posts every day but I will damn well try to do so. The posts aren't going to be some elaborate 10,000 word posts about the history of Halloween or anything like that. Instead you'll be getting what amounts to a daily grab bag full of Halloween goodness. Some days you might see a Halloween list, or a Halloween movie review, or a Halloween product giveaway. One thing you will see every day from now until Halloween at the very least is a daily vintage Halloween ad (picture or video) and one song a day from my Halloween playlist (Spotify supported). I hope you all come back each and every day and comment on the posts...comments are what makes this worth doing after-all. For today I'm just going to post a vintage Halloween ad and a song from my Halloween playlist. Check back tomorrow for a review of one of 2015s most anticipated horror films and one that I've been dying to see since the day the news broke regarding the film. That's right tomorrow I'll be reviewing... Well you'll have to check in tomorrow to find out!
October 1st Halloween Playlist Song
"Season of the Witch"
For our inaugural edition of the Haunt of the Month feature we have the one - the only - Ghoulie Manor. Ghoulie Manor is a professional haunt owned and operated by Victor Bariteau (Bloodcurdling Productions, LLC). You may remember Vic from "The American Scream" - a documentary featuring several home haunters and their quest to have the spookiest home haunt on the block. Vic has moved on from home haunting and moved into the realm of professional haunting and was nice enough to give HalloweenOverkill an inside look at not only his haunt but the industry in general. Read on to hear some of Victor's thoughts on Ghoulie Manor as well as some other general anecdotes regarding the haunt industry.
HalloweenOverkill: "So what is the theme/story behind the haunt?"
Victor: "The haunt is a Victorian manor. The disreputable family that lives there is the Goulet family, nicknamed the "Ghoulie" family, thus the name of the haunt: Ghoulie Manor. So, this sick and twisted family is into the occult and murder and such. Family members dabble in dark arts or perform horrible experiments or are just plain insane.There's also a lot of Lovecraft themes that go along with the occult piece. Our haunt is character driven. We create a playground for the actors and they excel at being Ghoulies! Not only does the family theme work for the haunt, but it creates a family bond with all of us."
HalloweenOverkill: "Does the haunt stay thematically the same the whole way through or does it veer off theme at any point?"
Victor: "We stay with the theme. The theme is open enough so if we wanted something like a werewolf, we could say that a family member was cursed with lycanthropy. Or the undead has been summoned in the cemetery in the back by a family member. There's still a lot we can do with it."
HalloweenOverkill: "What is your favorite set/scene/room/effect in the haunt?"
Victor: "That would have to be my daughter Gwen's room. She stands in a doorway at the end of a long hall. Her ghostly voice travels down the hall and travels back. When her voice travels back the lights blow out and the door slams, leaving the hallway in complete darkness. It's all automated and is something that people haven't seen in a haunted house before. It's easy to scare people, but it's hard to creep them out. Those are the kinds of effects that I love."
HalloweenOverkill: "Do you have any favorite memories/stories regarding customers/groups?"
Victor: "The last room in the haunt is a chapel where a Lovecraftian monster has been summoned. You exit the room through it's mouth and you can be seen leaving that room by everyone in the queue line. There is a big, locked cemetery gate between chapel/monster mouth exit and the queue area. One group got so freaked out that they tried to push their way through the gate and almost brought it down. I had to push the gate back and the actors had to direct them through the proper exit. Everyone in the queue line started getting nervous. Often, there are a few people in a group that panic, but this entire group really lost it. It really primed everyone in line."
HalloweenOverkill: "About how long does it take to prep the haunt for the season and what goes into it?"
Victor: "We start throwing ideas around in January. I invite the actors and builders to do walk throughs and toss ideas around. We take a long list of ideas and whittle them down to what would work best and start building in March. Usually, we do one night a week for the build, but we have to ramp things up starting in the summer."
HalloweenOverkill: "Why “pro” haunting instead of simply home haunting?"
Victor: "Pro haunting gave us a bigger playground. You can only take a home haunt so far and I just felt really confined. There is no way we could have built an entire manor façade in my back yard."
HalloweenOverkill: "Any general operating anecdotes/advice?"
Victor: "It's waaaay harder than it looks. Do your home work. Work for a pro haunt before you start your own. Go to conventions, take lots of classes including business classes. Get yourself a book called "So You Want To Be A Haunt Entrepreneur" by Kelly Allen. Learn the business side. I wish it was all building props and scaring people, but that's only half of it."
HalloweenOverkill: "What does the future hold for your haunt?"
Victor: "Even I can't say. I want it to be bigger. More successful. Have multiple haunt attractions with different themes. We are building a good reputation, but it takes time. We will grow."
HalloweenOverkill: "What do you think of the “extreme haunt” trend (examples: Blackout & McKamey Manor)?"
Victor: "I think it's a different kind of entertainment entirely. I think it needs a label other than haunted house, something like torture house, just to differentiate the two. People obviously enjoy it, so there's a good niche there. But, it's not my thing."
HalloweenOverkill: "Your favorite haunt (home or pro)?"
Victor: "Man, that's a tough one. I like so many. If I had to pick one I would have to say The Haunt in Grand Rapids. That haunt was just my style and what I've always wanted my haunt to be. Ask me again tomorrow and I might say 100 Acres Manor or Fright Kingdom, but today I'm going with The Haunt."
Check out some pictures and a t.v. spot for Ghoulie Manor below and don't forget to click the logo above or in the sidebar to be taken to the Ghoulie Manor official website. Keep it bookmarked for the upcoming haunt season and if you are in the Taunton, MA area check out the haunt and let us know what you thought....we'll pass on the good word to the amazing people over at Ghoulie Manor!
One more note..... Download the Aurasma augmented reality app on your android/ios device and search the channels within the app for the Ghoulie Manor channel. Once you are following the Ghoulie Manor channel you can point your camera at the main Ghoulie Manor logo at the top of this post while the app is open and have a really cool Lovecraftian augmented reality effect take place! This also works on the official Ghoulie Manor t-shirts that are sold on the website, try it out!
The first short on Hasty Horrors today is a beautiful experiment in stop motion cinema entitled "Rot" from Erica Luke. The film basically takes us from freshly dead to rotten in just over 30 seconds.
Our second short today features a slow burn tale that gives us good reason to be afraid of the dark. "Lights Out" is a David Sandberg & Lotta Losten creation that was submitted to and won "Best Director" in the "Who's There Film Challenge" contest. This one might be best viewed in full screen mode as suggested by the original youtube uploader.
Make sure to like HalloweenOverkill on Facebook and Twitter and let your friends know to stop by for Halloween and Horror news on the daily and new Hasty Horrors Episodes every Tuesday and Saturday!
The San Diego Comic Con is something that I plan on attending every year and without fail plans fall through. The next best thing for me to do is to follow SDCC online like the ravenous nerd that I am. Now that Comic Con is coming to a close this evening, I thought that I would share some of the highlights of the show that were more geared towards the horror side of things for those who weren't there or following it as closely as I was. All of the pictures below are "clickable" if you want to enlarge them for further detail!
American Horror Story
Ryan Murphy and company brought the goods when it came to American Horror Story: Hotel. Still shots (courtesy of FX) were shown that supposedly represent the actual Hotel that will be used during the season. One of the odd things is how rundown the outside of the Hotel looks in contrast to the shiny white renovated look on the inside. Hotel will not feature Jessica Lange as the previous seasons had but will add Lady Gaga to the mix. What wasn't made clear regarding these stills was if they were of the attraction at the Comic Con itself or if they actually represent the Hotel itself from the show...probably a mix of both although I can't really see them using a single story Hotel during the show itself. Also featured is a promotional AHS: Hotel key that was handed out to visitors of this panel.
Ash vs. Evil Dead
Ash vs. Evil Dead was a huge hit at Comic Con this year due to the debut of the first trailer for the show. The trailer features all of the main characters including Raimi regular Lucy Lawless as well as some of the co-stars of the show. We also get a huge sampling of Bruce Campbell returning to the Ash Williams role he made famous so many years ago. I have to say I'm really digging just how sharp and crisp the footage looks and the humor just fucking nails it! Ash vs. Evil Dead premiers on Halloween night on Starz.
If you don't know who Krampus is you are totally missing out on some good ole' Christmas horror. Go ahead and wikipedia that shit while we all sit here and wait......Got it? Yeah so Krampus is like the evil version of Santa or even Santa's evil helper in some lore and Mike Dougherty who brought us the perennial Halloween favorite "Trick 'r Treat" is moving on to bring us a new holiday classic in the form of a Christmas horror film. Krampus was described by Dougherty at Comic Con as a throwback to the 80's similar to Gremlins. No footage has been shared online but was shown at Comic Con and as soon as something official hits I'll be sharing it here. In the meantime check out the bad ass one-sheet that was released at SDCC.
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of the SDCC 2015 Horror Highlights!
For any HalloweenOverkillers who weren't around for Hasty Horrors Episode #1 this is a new twice a week feature of HalloweenOverkill that will showcase a curated list of my favorite horror & Hallowen shorts/commercials/trailers. Come back to HalloweenOverkill every Tuesday and Saturday for new episodes of Hasty Horrors!
First up on today's list is a short art performance from Olivier De Sagazan. Sagazan is a performance artist who's work focuses on existentialism through many modes of art such as painting, sculpting, photography and live performance. The artist who performs many of pieces live has been quoted as saying: "I am interested in seeing to what degree people think it's normal, or even trite, to be alive." The piece featured below from Sagazan is titled "Transfiguration" and is frightening, melancholy, and pure and a physical representation of pure madness (at least that's the way I interpret this piece). Check it out and be sure to comment letting me know what you felt while watching it!
Today's second video is a horror short from the folks over at FEWDIO who specialize in short horror films. You can find a bevvy of FEWDIO's short horror films over on youtube but today I wanted to bring to your attention "Bedfellows". I won't say much more for fear of spoiling the short but pay close attention to the face and eyes of the thing...........I'll never sleep again.
The final featured short of Episode is a completely fucking gonzo version of an early 90's commercial. You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones shown during the commercial break of an episode of saved by the bell and featuring Capri Sun or Dunkaroos or Fruit Stripe gum, except this one takes a turn towards the bizarre. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Make sure to check back daily for more Halloween and horror updates and don't forget every Tuesday and Saturday HalloweenOverkill features Hasty Horrors - the best in horror short films!
I hope that by now you've seen the trailer or promotional material for the Halloween nostalgia trip, "The Barn". If you've somehow been living in a hole on the internet and haven't, you can click on the one-sheet for The Barn over on the right to be taken to the official Nevermore Productions homepage. On the official page you can get all caught up on watching the trailer and checking out the amazing promotional material for The Barn that includes an actual NES game (cartridge and all), action figures, and an official board game. After you've seen some of the goodies that are being distributed to help promote The Barn I'm sure you're asking yourself but where oh where can I score some of that amazing swag? Fear not fellow HalloweenOverkillers, for I have your answer. If you head over to The Barn's IndieGoGo page you can donate money to help with some of the finishing costs of the film and be rewarded with some of the stuff you saw on the Nevermore homepage. It is here on the IndieGoGo page that you can earn the right to be one of the first to own a DVD copy of The Barn, since it has yet to find distribution. Head over and donate anywhere from $3.00 to $7,000.00 and maybe, just maybe this will be enough to get The Barn finished and into your home video collection! Below you can watch a video with writer/director Justin M. Seaman (who also plays one of the killers in the film - The Boogeyman) with Dr. Rock played by Ari Lehman - yes the first Jason Voorhees! Click The Barn
Horror shorts never seem to be in short order these days thanks to you-tube and relatively low cost of high tech equipment and production fees (again, I say relatively). Because of the abundance of fantastic horror shorts on the web it's becoming harder and harder to keep up with them. To this I say don't bother, let me do it for you! Hasty Horrors is a new feature on HalloweenOverkill that will act as a curated list of my favorite horror shorts from the web. These may be short films that I come across on some of my favorite blogs, website, or just randomly discovered shorts. Hasty Horrors will be featured twice a week here on HalloweenOverkill on both Tuesdays and Saturdays. Please comment or send me an email letting me know what you think of these shorts and feel free to pass the links on to other fans who may be interested and let's perhaps get these talented filmmakers some well deserved buzz going!
The first short to be featured here on Hasty Horrors is a mind melting take on the cosmic horror trope or Lovecraftian genre as it is often referred to as. "Thresher" by Mike Diva is the kind of film that dares to do more in a short amount of time than most Hollywood films, and I personally found it more successful at translating the usually the cosmic horror story into film than many attempts I have seen in the past. During Thresher a man is locked in a room and his attempts to unlock the chained door holding him in are what make up the bulk of the short. Only once he finally begins to crack the combinations on the locks does the horror begin.... look for some jump-scares as well as an ending that you may just want to hit the pause button on to behold all of the Lovecraftian goodness packed into the scene. Thresher proves that not every door allows for safe passage.....
For short number two we have a fan film trailer for a new "IT" film entitled "Pennywise". The trailer clocks in at a short five minutes and 49 seconds but packs quite the punch in its short length. James Cawley and Filmmakin.com do a great job of re-imagining the Pennywise character, and hey now that Cary Fukunaga is off of the official IT remake perhaps the film should be handed over to Cawley! Also props to Andrew Johnson for a stunning job of bringing Pennywise to life and making sure that our coulrophobia is as prevailing as ever.
Check back Saturday for another episode of Hasty Horrors and please leave me some comments below if you have suggestions for horror shorts that you'd like to see featured in the future!
EDIT: It was brought to my attention by someone in the know that Fleeting Fear wasn't technically the correct usage of verbiage so I have thus changed the name of this new feature to Hasty Horrors!
So it's about that time of year when we start getting news about the upcoming projects from perennial Halloween favorites the Midnight Syndicate. The last we heard from the Midnight Syndicate was the Rondo award winning "Monsters of Legend", which was ecstasy in symphonic form. Midnight Syndicate also released the soundtrack to Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan the same year with "Carnival Arcane" preceding those releases (Carnival was another beautiful sound-scape from the group).
With Midnight Syndicate high off their live show, which was a feature of Cedar Point's Halloweekends, they have announced that they will be forgoing the Halloween theme in favor of a Christmas album! Yes you read that correctly, Midnight Syndicate is working as I type this on a winter solstice/Yuletide themed Christmas release. Details are scarce for the moment but according to Mr. Ed Douglas (1/2 of the Midnight Syndicate) the currently untitled album should be ready in time to be released at DragonCon this Labor Day and will feature new twists on old classic Christmas favorites. So if you happen to be down in Atlanta this Labor Day make sure to stop by what I assume will be the official Midnight Syndicate booth for the new Christmas cd as well as the other badass merchandise that they will probably have. As I mentioned before, if you can get your hands on Monsters of Legend, Carnival Arcane, or their Halloween Music Collection (which acts as the groups greatest hits cd) I promise you will walk away a happy fan!
The Midnight Syndicate is also going to have news soon regarding their live show which was an absolute hit at Cedar Point's Halloweekends last year. There is not a show currently planned in 2015 due to the production of the Christmas album but according to the group there is going to be another Midnight Syndicate Live show in 2016! Click on the Midnight Syndicate logo above or the picture below featuring the group to be taken to their website, and don't forget to check out their merchandise section to pick up those recommended cds just in case you can't make it to DragonCon this year.
Many of us horror fans are also comic book nerds, and what better way to celebrate than free Halloween themed or horror themed comic books! Every year, the last Saturday in October, which happens to fall exactly on Halloween this year, participating comic book stores around the nation offer an event that has been dubbed "Halloween ComicFest"! The event acts as sort of a sister event to "Free Comic Book Day" which usually is held in May and offers several different free comic books. The cool thing about the Halloween ComicFest is that most or all of the comics have a Halloween or horror spin to them, or at least their covers. Check out some of my favorite free comic books being offered this year below and don't forget to check out your local comic book store on October 31 for some amazing free Halloween comics! Check out the official Halloween ComicFest 2015 site by clicking the logo at the top of this post.
I'm not sure if I have ever shared my love for Scooby-Doo and the gang here on my blog but in case I haven't.....I am completely obsessed! I started watching "Scooby-Doo, Where are You?" back in the 80's and to this day keep up with each iteration that Warner Bros. & Hanna-Barbera decide to throw at us. I think the allure stems from the monster of the week format that the show has always followed which gives something new to look forward to episode after episode. My favorite incarnations of Scooby-Doo have been "Scooby-Doo, Where are You?" and Cartoon Network's "Scooby-Doo - Mystery Incorporated". The latter having an extremely meta take on the Scooby-Doo mythology which gave us a fresh look at the gang and even included some edgy adult takes on situations and appearances from some of our favorite horror villians - the Hellraiser cameo was simply perfect! One of my all-time favorite themes of any Scooby-Doo cartoon episode or movie is when Mystery Inc. takes on a case on Halloween. Halloween and Scooby-Doo just go together like milk and cookies and coming in July we will be treated once again to a Halloween outing for Scooby-Doo and the gang and this one will include the legendary band - KISS! This isn't the first team-up for Mystery Inc. and KISS as they once appeared in an episode of "What's New Scooby-Doo?" entitled "A Scooby-Doo Halloween" that aired back in 2003. Check out the trailer for "Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery which will feature six classic KISS jams and one new original song from the band as well! The movie is set to take place in a KISS theme park and will have the boys from KISS and Scoobs and the gang solving a mystery that involves a new creature of the week known as the Crimson Witch who is attempting to summon The Destroyer. The VOD version of the movie will be available on July 10th, 2015 and the Blu-ray & DVD versions are set to come out on July 21st, 2015. The movie will also feature voice work from Darius Rucker, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Jennifer Carpenter, Pauley Perrette, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes.
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