Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday!

For those of us who can't stop thinking about the gifts we want for ourselves, or for those who are very considerate and want to focus on what our friends want, make your wishlists here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am definitely thankful for everyone and everything in my life and for all the amazing things that took place this year, especially the wonderful Halloween we had this year. Until next year...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our Wild Thing

I was so happy this Halloween when I discovered that all of my friends got really into their costumes. I will probably do posts about them all eventually, but I decided to start with my best friend Alex: The Wild Thing. He made his costume all by hand, inspired by the release of the film "Where the Wild Things Are."

One of the funniest parts of Halloween night this year was when my guests and I ventured out into the neighborhood to do some "Big Kid" trick 'r treating. After walking across the street and down the Hill, Alex (who had just arrived at my house) called us asking where we were. I felt terrible, how could we forget to wait for him?! I gave him some directions so that he could meet us, but I worried that they weren't very good directions, so I decided to walk up the hill by myself to see if I could find him. My friend told me that he had dressed up as a Wild Thing and shouldn't be too hard to spot.

Let's keep in mind that I wasn't wearing my glasses as I was trying to keep the whole look of my costume original and creepy; with that said, I walked up the steep hill, all alone, squinting my eyes in search of Alex, or a Wild Thing, I should say. Soon, I could see a figure of a person walking down the hill on the other side of the street. It looked like it had a huge tummy, a huge head, and no arms. Finally I asked, "Are you Alex?" The figure turned and said, "Yeah." At this point I was so relieved that I had found our Wild Thing and shouted, "Get your butt over here, dude!"
Turns out he had not only made such an amazing Wild Thing costume (a stuffed tummy, round animal-like mask...), but he accidentally made the mask in a way that the eye-holes fell too low when he put the mask on. Because he had trouble seeing, he started holding the mask up with his hands for most of the night- the main reason I thought he had no arms... I should just get contacts for crying out loud.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wizard of Oz (1910)

Old, creepy and yet still very enchanting.

A Christmas Carol 2009

Just saw this film last night and it was much better than I expected. I figured that because it was a Disney film they would makes things seem a bit lighter, that Marley's ghost and the ghost of Christmas yet to come wouldn't be too scary. While watching the film, I realized that Disney did not end up censoring the creepy factors of Charles Dickens' classic tale, instead they celebrated them.

Seeing the film in 3-D is quite and experience: the animation is so detailed and the movements are more realistic than most animated films due to the performance capturing technique that was also used in Polar Express. This automatically made my friends and I feel like we were in the movie, as cliche as it sounds. As the film went on, however, this feeling only got more extreme as things became more frightening. Marley's visit, Ignorance & Want, The ghost of Christmas yet to come... before we knew it, we were all huddled together anticipating the moments where things literally jumped out of the screen.

I was personally glad that they kept this story so creepy and frightening, it really made me feel like I was Scrooge himself, the script was also as rich as Dickens' own words, which kept the story very original. I don't how everyone else feels when they go to this film expecting holiday cheer, especially the parents, but for me: I always love a thriller!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chester, England

When my family and I visited Europe, one of my favorite places out of the many that we visited had to be Chester, England. Chester, founded by the Romans, is a city full of beautiful architecture. The black and white medieval/tudor era buildings were very appealing to me and I remember thinking about Halloween when I was there (Halloween is always on my mind). Why would I think about Halloween when we were on vacation during the summer? I suppose it was because everywhere I looked, I saw gorgeous black and white buildings amongst many orangey-brick buildings. The three colors together made me think of Halloween and I imagined how amazing a Halloween celebration could be in such a perfect looking city, even though the English don't seem to decorate for Halloween quite as extreme as people in the US. I guess I also thought of Halloween because while we were there, Chester was being explored by archeologists at the time, searching for some ancient artifacts I suppose- all the more reason for my Halloween curiosity to wonder.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who's the Dummy Now?

Love these creepy photographs of ventriloquist dummies.

From October to November...

My current desktop background, more great photos by Pumpkin Rot.
Check out his blog: What's Brewing...

"Say it... out loud..."

Love this parody of Twilight, I am not a huge Twilight fan, but having seen the trailer for it so many times, I can tell that this is pretty spot on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stephen Gammell: He started it all...

When I was about six-years-old, I remember when my brother (who was nine at the time) brought home the book "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" and the moment I saw the illustration on the cover of the book, I was curious. I had never seen a drawing like that before, mainly because I was used to the cutesy style that most children's books are in. I remember constantly looking at the cover of it when my brother read it, and when he'd put the book down I would still stare at it. I asked him about the book and he told me that it was pretty scary, the cover made sense.

It wasn't until I was about nine when I went into our school library and saw the book again. This time I had more guts and decided to check it out (rare for me, I hardly ever read books by choice). When I opened the book, I saw that there were more creepy illustrations, many more. The creepy style that illustrator Stephen Gammell portrays so well motivated me to want to read every tale. Of course when I did, I fell in love with the scary stories told by Alvin Schwartz. This was the first time I was really exposed to scary stories, and the first time I fell in love with them. Also the first time I had seen artwork so different, so inspiring.
Pretty soon the other kids in my grade had discovered the book and the two others in the series, "More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," and "Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones." I woke up many times with terrifying nightmares because of the drawings, but never quit reading the series. I would check them out over and over again. Kids at school would trade them around too, there was always a good ghost story to talk about.
Every now and then I open one of them up to look at the brilliant sketches and to read a few of the tales... very nostalgic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The story of Sweeney Todd has always been a favorite tale of mine. I remember the first time my mother told me about it. We were driving around one day and a car accident had taken place. As we drove past it, we could see no one was really hurt, but one of the cars happened to be on the lawn of a funeral home. My mom immediately said "a customer!" the way Mrs. Lovett does in the musical Sweeney Todd. My brother and I couldn't believe she had said it and we started laughing. She agreed it probably wasn't the nicest thing to say, but it just popped into her head. She explained to us that it was from a play called Sweeney Todd, one that my aunt had been in a long time ago (as Mrs. Lovett). She told us that it was about a Barber who killed his customers with his razor and sent them down a chute where a pie-maker in the shop below would use their meat for her pies. I was completely freaked out by the story, but figured it must be a very entertaining play...

Here is the original 1936 film about Sweeney (before they made it into a musical)

Later when I started getting into theatre, I used to like listening to all sorts of musicals, one after another, but when I came upon the music and details to the story of Sweeney Todd for the first time, I realized there wasn't much use in listening to any other musicals. Sweeney was it for me: no more campy musicals, just this great thriller with the amazing music of Stephen Sondheim.

To watch the original musical with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury, click here for part one.

Warning: Many more Sweeney Todd posts to come...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Season's Greetings

Absolutely love this short film! Very old school animation which gives it a nostalgic feel and a great little story with a perfect twist. Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat was inspired by this, his original short film: Season's Greetings

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tales Of Terror

I watched this film yesterday and loved it, especially the production design! Very beautiful and macabre. The film's plot contains spooky adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe's "Morella," "The Black Cat," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." Vincent Price gives three great performances in all of these and Peter Lorre's performace as Montesor Herrington was also very good. To watch this film, here's the Hulu link: Enjoy!

While researching the film, I found this great photo taken during auditions for "The Black Cat"

Night Shots?

"The Pickety Witch's Realm"

One of the few I got, but a pretty good one.

Barely enough time this year to get any night shots, but when I finally had a chance to go outside and take some during the party, I came outside only to find that everything had disappeared, my display, gone! Then my mom and my aunt came around the corner from the garage, "We thought you'd like that we cleaned everything up so you wouldn't have to..." they said. I was so bummed. I was grateful, sure, it was very kind of them to help me out with all that hard work, but I hardly had any night shots! They could see that I was unhappy and I felt bad for being unhappy, but I had waited all year to take them. After sulking a bit, I assured them it wasn't a huge deal, and that I was thankful, but next year... it's on.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Smudge

A few weeks ago we had to put one of my cats to sleep. I just loved this picture of her from last year with a little Halloween costume on (most cats hate having to wear things and be messed with by their owners so I was sure to just get this picture of her before taking it right off.) I really loved this cat and miss her greatly.

Talk about what a strange little creature she was, my Smudge was just like a little monster. She was quite fat, pretty lazy, always made the strangest whiny noises if you dared pick her up (and wouldn't stop until you'd put her down). She always looked paranoid and nervous about anything that may happen, like if someone just entered a room, very simple things freaked her out. She purred so loud the whole couch she would be sitting on would vibrate, and (my all-time favorite) when you'd wake her up from a nap, she would lift her head up with a stream of drool coming down from her mouth and she'd give you this look like if she were human, she'd kill you, then she would pull one of her whiny little growls. The thing my mom and I absolutely loved about her was that the markings in her fur made it look like she wore a jacket that could never fit, perfect for a chubby kitty.

The best part about Smudge, and her sister Trouble, is that no matter how angry they may get, they never bite or scratch us. Still Smudge was a weird little cat, one that most people thought may have been mentally-challenged, which could be very true, even so it just makes me love her more for being so different, quirky, and random. I miss my little monster kitty.

Here she is, her chub consuming her sister Trouble.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grim Hollow Haunt

Very cool haunt and very cool pictures! I just love the idea of boarding up the windows...

Me as Billy Butcherson

My Halloween costume for 2009 (Billy Butcherson from "Hocus Pocus") came out really well. To create the full look, I started by looking closely at and collected pictures of him from the internet (the same I do when I get inspired by anything; I make a collage of it). Then I make some quick sketches to visually list all the things I need to complete the look.

I look around to see if I have anything that can work and if not, I head over to the thrift store. This year I found a weird pair of brown pants that lace-up in the front (very random for everyday wear, but perfect for my costume). I also found a cream-colored satin button-up blouse with pretty puffy sleeves. My aunt helped me sew lace ruffles to the shirt and some lace to the cuffs. She actually sewed the whole jacket too, and she did an amazing job! We cut the pants just below the knee and the costume was really coming together. All I had to do was buy cream-colored stockings (which I later dyed in tea and coffee along with the fabric I used as a hair ribbon) and some green face make-up. After that, the distresses on the costume began.

I tried random dry brushing with dark water-color, charcoal, even rubbing the whole costume in the fire pit. After all that, it just didn't show up enough, so I did as my mother suggested, I wrinkled the whole thing up and dabbed it with paint and did my best to make it look messy. Finally that seemed to work best and to add even more age to it, I glued bits of cobwebs all over it. After I had worn the costume for a while, however, the cobwebs eventually fell off and began to appear in random places all over the house.

At first I was pretty bummed, but after a while it didn't bother me so much, I was having too much fun!
As for my hair and make-up? My mom teased my hair like crazy last minute and I quickly applied the green face make-up and black eye shadow, then I used some eyeliner for the stitches. Overall, I was extremely happy with the way it came out, wish I had gotten the chance to take some better pictures of it though. Perhaps I will ask my friends who are really into photography if we can have a little photo shoot pretty soon...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

All Gathered for a Seance

Well, this Halloween was a very special one! Thanks to my mom, my aunt, and our good friend Rita, we gathered our magic powers together to create a festive party on Saturday night to celebrate the greatest night of all: All Hollow's Eve. Putting the party together was a major piece of work (decor, food...) but it all payed off in the end. I get such a kick out of seeing all my friends dress up in crazy costumes I also love how they are all so accepting of my strange love for Halloween.
During the day, and the day before, I spent every minute I could on making the decor look just right. I don't know how my family puts up with me and my habits of being a big perfectionist when it comes to my favorite day, but they still stood by me. I had decorated the inside of the house a week prior and worked on all the finishing touches on it on Friday. Saturday, I put all the outside decor together to create my spooky displays. Usually instead of changing things up every year, I tend to just add on to my old traditional displays- with a few new tweaks, of course, so this year I used the small amounts of time I had to spice things up just a little bit more than they were last year. And with that I'd like to say thanks to all who helped me out this year, including all the amazing artists who inspired me- Thanks!
I promise to post some pictures of the decor very soon, but in the mean time, enjoy viewing them on Flickr at My Photostream.