I'm super proud to announce that "Séance"will be screened in the Cal State University Media Arts Festival tomorrow! The screening will be at Cal State Fullerton in the Mihalyo Hall from 6:00 to 9:30 pm. I'm looking forward to our guest speaker Donald Petrie and can't wait to meet new people during the mixer and view all of the student films in the screening. I'm kind of interested to see how people react to the film; I've never shown it to a large group of people before, so who knows...
Every year I look forward to seeing the photos of Pumpkinrot's haunt, and each year he continues to impress me; this year was no exception. Check out Rot's Scarecrow Catacomb, it truly is a masterpiece!
Had an amazing time putting up the decorations this year. It's many of the same decorations we have all seen on my Flickr and Blog before, but each year I try to mix it up a bit.
Probably my favorite part of the decor was creating the bloody walls. I basically did the same thing I did last year for my windows. Contact paper, red acrylic paint, and a sponge brush to splash the paint is really all you need.
Also bought some cute purple and orange lights for the dining room, which kind of brought the room to life!
Definitely enjoyed this year's decor. It was simplified in many ways compared to previous years, but I decided to go with my gut and just put things out that really popped in the room. Lets just say blood splatter was the perfect example.
Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas, I decided to dress up as Sally!
The Nightmare Before Christmas has always been one of my all-time favorite movies, as I mentioned before in my Halloween Movie Countdown post. It was one of those comfort zone films I made my mom put on for me every single day, when I was little. I repeated lines from it over and over again, like "JACK! The pumpkin king..." and "nice work bone-daddy!" I admired Jack and Sally and their Halloween/Christmas adventure so much, it became a film that influenced my obsession with all things holiday, as well as my strange love and passion for Halloween.
The first challenge with being Sally is creating the illusion of pale, blue skin. Since I'm usually running around during my Halloween parties, preparing food, etc, I decided not to use blue make up to cover my legs and arms, knowing it'd be wiped off at some point. Instead I bought a pair of white leggings and a pair of white opera gloves and dyed them a pale blue color. I then stitched them up with black yarn, trying my best to copy her original stitch lines. Luckily I already had a pair of black booties that fit the part, and I scored on a cheap pair of black and white striped wrist/ankle warmers.
For her dress, I went to my local Goodwill and found a teal blue dress for a base and other articles of clothing with textured fabrics to use as the patches on the dress. I then used tape to set up the specific pattern of lines between each patch on the dress. Then I cut out the pieces of fabric and pasted them on with my ever-trusty glue-gun! Afterward, I painted the spots, stripes, and swirls on select patches that are very significant in Sally's dress design. When completed, I stitched with black yarn between the patches.
After completing the overall look of the dress and body, it was time to focus on hair and make up! For make-up I luckily found some great Ben Nye colors that really matched Sally's look. A pale blue for her skin, and a darker blue for around the eyes. With much coverage and blending the look came together. After slapping on some red lipstick, it was time to stitch myself up yet again, only this time it was with black eyeliner going down my forehead, cheeks, and neck. Let's not forget some fun spooky lashes to make my eyes pop!
To achieve the dark red, almost brick colored hair, I chose to do something other than spray the crap out of my hair with hair color spray, like I've done quite a few Halloweens now. This may sound odd, but I actually brushed make up through my hair: I sprayed some normal hair spray into some red (bright) Ben Nye make up I bought and then scrubbed a small cheap hair brush in it. I then just brushed it all through my hair. It was actually much easier and more efficient than I imaged it to be (and than I am making it sound here). This way the make would wash out of my hair like normal hair spay in the shower, and not be a huge hassle to scrub out or even have any leftover streaks. Worked out just fine!
Overall, I was very pleased with how my Sally costume came out (although maybe I'll take better pictures of the costume another time, since I mostly have just party pictures). I think, out of the many costumes I've put together over the years, this one may be the most well-made. I'm happy that it turned out to be pretty accurate too! In my opinion, a great Halloween isn't complete without a fun costume, especially when you're dressing up as a character you love!
I've been super inspired by the amazing Day of the Dead make-up I've been seeing this season online and face-to-face! Thought I'd post a few pics that really stood out to me; kind of what I think I'd attempt to do if I had the chance... maybe next year! ;)
Another 20th anniversary! 1993 was a great year for us haunters wasn't it? As a young child, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a film I watched almost every day and quoted constantly. Jack and Sally had become like old friends and their story was one I cherished. It was one of my first looks into the mind of Tim Burton, besides Beetlejuice (which I rented from the video store way too many times). And overall it was the first piece of media that influenced my curiosity for Halloween and all of its potential. This film, much like Hocus Pocus was one that practically made my childhood and sparked my passion for Halloween.
The Nightmare Before Christmas brought an entire audience into the spooky, creative, and beautiful mind of Tim Burton making this film a one of a kind. As a kid I realized there was simply no movie like it. Sure there are other stop-animated movies, there are other Halloween movies, and Christmas movies, but none that combine all of these elements, nor one that does it so beautifully and creatively. I recognized this at an early age and since, I've made it my goal to create films and stories that are somewhat one of a kind, or at least somewhat different or unique in comparison to what's always being put out there. Burton has a very unique and distinguishable look and feel to all of his films, even those that are adaptations. He manages to have a recognizable visual style and design and a specific way of telling his stories- it's these factors that inspired me to tell stories too.
Each character in Nightmare, to me, is very lovable. There are all bizarre in their own ways, but even villians like Oogie Boogie and Dr. Finklestein are extremely intriguing characters. Werewolves, vampires, and two-faced politicians... you can't help but love it!
Jack is, of course, very interesting and, after seeing the movie my whole life, I've only just begun to understand his amazing character arc over the past few years. In the beginning of the film, Jack goes through a time of doubt and seeks change. After he finds Christmastown and decides to take the holiday over and fails, he realizes that all he needed was right there in his own town, for he IS the Pumpkin King! Being a young adult myself, I've learned that sometimes life throws curve balls your way and you lose a sense of yourself or forget who you are for a short period of time. I don't know about you haunters out there, but sometimes when I go through a tough time or a moment of doubt, no matter what it it may be that is going on in my life, luckily, I always come around and remember who I am and must remind myself that I too, AM the Pumpkin King (or at least one of the many haunters out there who blog and decorate). Overall, you know a film is great when you can keep watching it your whole life and continue to learn more from it, especially when you feel you can relate to a well-told story with a strong character arc.
Another great element to this film besides the amazing animation, design, and story, is the music. There's just nothing else like a Danny Elfman soundtrack. Elaborate and intricate for sure, yet playful, curious, and exciting. Elfman's music isn't ever just ambient; his music plays a role of its own in whatever films its featured in, particularly Tim Burton's movies and Nightmare is no exception. Songs like "Making Christmas" and "Oogie Boogie's Song" are just two of the many examples of fascinating composition.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is an ultimate Halloween classic that I truly love and will forever cherish. The music, the characters, the story, the design... the list can go on forever! Can't believe it's been twenty years since its release and its still going strong. While getting to host Jack and Sally at Disneyland, I've realized just how much the film and the characters are loved by others and it fills my heart with joy just knowing that so many people have grown up with this film being a huge part of their childhood.
I know it's completely ridiculous that I am just now throwing out a mini Halloween Movie Countdown for this season, but I figured, "why not post about at least two or three?" Anyway I thought I'd first bring up my all-time favorite this time since it's the film's 20th anniversary: Hocus Pocus.
Need I say anything more? Hocus Pocus is without a doubt my ultimate, nostalgic, and festive Halloween go-to movie. This film is definitely one for my generation, but I think most can agree that it's silliness still contains enough charm, sense of adventure, and overall "spookery" that will appeal to all.
Hocus Pocus is a classic Disney holiday film. Charm, humor, sometimes far-fetched or complicated plot-lines (particularly when dealing with the supernatural), and let's not forget the festive and fun set dressing. All of these factors make for a great and silly Halloween adventure directed by the talented Kenny Ortega and starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
One of my other favorite actors in the film is Doug Jones who plays Billy Butcherson. I love his performance and look so much that I even dressed up as him for Halloween in 2009. Not only have I always loved Billy's character design, but Doug Jones' performance really stood out to me as a young kid as I was afraid of all things scary... especially decapitation. The whole concept freaked me out more than anything, but when Billy lost his head, it was funny. And not the kind of cheesy funny we always see in family films trying to mix magic or the supernatural with humor. Doug Jones had some real talent. I guess you could say it was one of the first times I noticed true comedy (brought on by the great performance) being mixed with horror and spookiness- dark comedy- from then on, I was inspired.
Another first brought on by Hocus Pocus was finding out about the Salem witch trials. Of course, the film depicts the tragedy as just kind of a... bummer, as most Disney films tend to do when it comes to tragedy. I quickly found out, of course, that the trials were a much bigger deal and a huge part of American history. To this day, it is still, out of the many historical events that interest me, the one that peaks my interest the most. I have read several books on the subject and continue to research more information, mostly because it inspires a lot of my writing, but also I guess you could say I'm just naturally curious about it, probably all thanks to Hocus Pocus.
Thackery Binx was also a character I truly loved in the film, mostly because I had a black cat, when I was little. We called her Bagura, from The Jungle Book. She was chubby black cat with a knack for hunting anything and everything. She was probably also the reason I loved (and still do) Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I guess I just wished the my own black cat would speak like those in my favorite spooky movies and shows.
Hocus Pocus is truly a Halloween classic, a must-watch every year. Obviously, I have a major nostalgic attachment to it, but regardless, anyone can see that the film is filled with Halloween spirit, great atmosphere, and a story filled with adventure, humor, and Halloween fun!