Thursday, October 25, 2007

Favorite Spooky Video Countdown

Once Haunted House season is over I can really look forward to Halloween Night. I may be too old to go Trick or Treating but I'm at the perfect age to enjoy giving away the goods.

When the Spouse and I moved into our house 3 years ago, we had no idea how lively our little neighborhood could get on holidays. Halloween night our cul de sac goes batshit insane. Our first year we had 32 kids show up. Our second year we had 64. Last year was down to 17 but it rained like hell that night. This year they're predicting dry and cool weather so I'm hoping for another 64 plus.

We have drive-by Trick-or-Treating out here. A car will pull up and stop in the middle of the cul de sac. Three to six kids will get out, run up to every house, jump back in the car and VROOM! They're gone.

Nearly every house is decorated with pumpkins, lights and props. And we are no exception. I have two 20-pound bags of bones that get arranged on our front walk, resembling some whacked out crime scene. We have orange lights lining the house and the Spouse lines the front yard with several torches.

I also put the iMac in the window and have it showing old horror movies like Night of the Living Dead and The Pit and the Pendulum. The kids like it but the parents out with the kids love it more.

But to warm up the crowd before the movies start rolling, I show 10 of my favorite creepy videos:

10. Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
Ok, so it's not exactly a spooky video, even tho it does feature some cute spot-motion animation of little Dia de los Muertos skeletons and a very creepy looking Danny Elfman. The song is still appropriate.

9. TV Dinners - ZZ Top
By today's standards this is pretty cheezy but I loved this video when it came out. And the little meal monster is cute.

8. The Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show cast
Halloween just isn't the same with it out.

7. Haulin' Hearse - The Ghastly Ones
I discovered these guys via one of my favorite music blogs and it got me hooked on the whole Monster Surf music genre. I love their outfits and that vintage hearse is sweet.

6. The Contraption
Not a music video, but still pretty damn creepy nonetheless. It left a hell of an impression on me when I first saw it back in the 80s and it's never lost its impact. See if you recognize the man (you saw him earlier in #8).
(Embedding isn't allowed but you can view it here.)

5. What's He Building in There - Tom Waits
When he wrote this piece he didn't mean for it to come across as creepy, just more of a casual observation on how nosey people can be. But the sound effects made my skin crawl the first time I listened to it. The accompanying video pushes the spooky factor even further, strangely reminding me of Night of the Living Dead.

4. Joan Crawford - Blue Oyster Cult
Catholic school girls are creepy. Zombie Catholic school girls are even creepier.

3. Night Boat - Duran Duran
Better than Snakes on a Plane, Zombies on a Boat!

2. Rubber Johnny - Aphex Twin
Beyond disturbing. The night-vision only makes it even more scary.

1. Thriller - Michael Jackson
I was never a fan of Michael Jackson, even back when he was still a black man, but damn this is STILL a great video for Halloween!
(Embedding not available, but you can watch it here.)

And I'm sure yall have a bunch of other videos I failed to mention here. Feel free to add them in the comments. I'm always up for expanding my spooky collection.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Haunted Adventures 2007: Finale

One weekend left. And then that’s it. For real.

Well, ok, not COMPLETELY it. The Mansion still has a couple of Ghostly Undertaking sleepovers in November that I’ll be doing ye olde Tarot card readings for.

But for the whole Haunted House thing, looks like I’ll be gradually passing the torch (or severed limb, if that sounds more appropriate) onto my Assistant Director. I’m not bowing out completely. I’ll be there to help out and advise my successor, and I’ll still do publicity, set design as few other things. I’ve already talked to my Assistant and the Staff. And everybody’s cool with it.

I’d been pondering this for the past four years, and seriously pondering it this summer. But the decision came two weeks ago.

Every year this event takes more and more out of me. I quit acting in the House 2 years ago to focus on management. But running this whole operation should be a full time job. Unfortunately I already have one of those, plus a spouse, cat and house that also need my attention.

And I’m not 24 any more. That’s how old I was when I entered this business we call ‘scare.’ I’m 37, overweight, out of shape, greying and prone to tire easily.

But back to two weeks ago. We had finished a successful Friday night and I was looking forward to curling up next to my beloved spouse for a good night’s sleep. Which never came. The moment I laid down on the pillow I was suddenly wide awake. With a raging fever.

Saturday morning I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed after several futile hours of getting no sleep. I went straight to the couch and debated on whether to return to the House that night while the fever continued, the throat burned and the ears plugged.

Needless to say bad health won out. It’s the first night I’ve missed. Ever. And for those of you who don’t know me personally, I have to be dirty dog sick to stay home. I mean I have to be suffering from bleeding eyeballs and spontaneous human combustion before I’ll not show up.

So the House had to run without me that Saturday. I managed to make it to work Monday, which was stupid, because it only made my plague worse. I took off both Tuesday and Wednesday (another first for me - missing 2 days straight from work) and ventured to my doctor to discover I have a lovely case of strep throat. Gees, I haven’t had strep since high school, and that was 20 years ago, folks. It’s not as easy to get over when you’re old.

So it was during my fever non-sleep that the decision was made. I’m done. This is my last year. I’m not doing this any more.

But with the help of some heavy duty antibiotics, my health sprang back and here I am. And I’m running the show for one more weekend.

After that, my life is mine again. We have Halloween coming up next week, and Halloween night our cul de sac goes batshit crazy. The spouse and I are working some major events for the next couple of months. Our 5-year anniversary is next month. We also want to have a Winter Solstice party in December before we head out on our annual Get-the-Hell-Outta-Town-for-Christmas trip.

Plus our house needs a good cleaning. And I have more books to read. And the spouse and I have been enjoying the first season of Night Gallery on DVD recently. And I have the COMPLETE series of Thriller with Boris Karloff coming in soon (yes, friends and neighbors, all 67 episodes).

So, Happy Halloween to all you loyal readers. Things will be perking up here again very soon. But I gotta get ready for tonight’s episode of Ghost Hunters (they’re gonna be at our local spooky gem, The Waverly, next week!).

Toodles til later! *bows to the left, bows to the right*

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Random thoughts and links, part 107

We're two weeks into Haunt Season and I'm confronting "Theory vs. Practice" full force.

All spring and summer, and even part of the early fall, my creative crew and I work our butts off putting this place together. And a lot of our original ideas that come up in the early spring have gone thru a complete transformation by the time we're ready to open. We encounter obstacles, time and money constraints, safety issues and state government blocks (when you're operating on state property, you REALLY have to watch your ass).

But the whole Theory vs. Practice doesn't end with opening night. It continues until the place shuts down at the end of the season. And last weekend I had a refresher course on Theory vs. Practice. Several things we had PLANNED to go a certain way have turned out not applicable in practice.

So you gotta adapt. And adapt we shall. And no one outside the function of the House will know any better.

My problem is my stress. I have brought stressing out to a whole new level, an art form if you will. I can have a meltdown bigger and better than Britney Spears ('course I keep my hair and I don't hit any illegal substances). "Type A Personality" doesn't even begin to cover me.

I'm not a candidate for a heart attack or a stroke. I'm a candidate for Spontaneous Human Combustion. I swear, when my time comes, I'm gonna go out like a supernova. There'll be this giant *FLOOM!* and there'll be nothing left but a greasy pile of ash, some jewelry and shoes. That's it.

Luckily a staff gal and her spouse have come to my rescue. So maybe I'll make it another week without any heat.

And speaking of heat, hopefully this weekend will go smoother. Not that last weekend was rough, but the weather was downright hellish. It was that famous All-98 Weather; 98 degrees, 98% humidity, 98 heat index. I had actors dropping like flies. Hell, even standing outside wasn't any better. Everyone's clothes were soaked with sweat and moisture from the air. The crowd was surly and getting angrier by the minute. Waiting in line and All-98 Weather is not a pretty combination.

Ok, I take that back, it WAS a rough weekend. But this weekend is supposed to have nicer weather.

In the meantime, I'll leave yall with some wacky links. That should keep yall busy until I have a pause to write again.

Outdoor string lights add such ambiance to any event, especially these charming ones...

Or for those entertaining inside this Halloween, howz about these to wash up with...

Forget sock monkeys, I wanted some of these when I was a kid...

For fans of ICanHasCheezburger, a translator!

Want a ringtone that will REALLY get attention? Fuck yeah!

A place for us cube farm inhabitants...