Friday, October 31, 2008
For a good five years now, I've had a tradition of watching my favorite horror movie, PHANTASM, on Halloween night.
I first saw PHANTASM on the CBS Late Movie in 1981. There I was, sitting alone in the dark in the dead of night (dead of night for a middle school kid), my family asleep at the other end of the house.
The creepy psychic lady. That box he had to put his hand in. The Tall Man. The spheres. The bug thing. The yellow goo. The volkswagon on it's side. The sound in that room with the bars.
Edited as it certainly was for TV, it still scared the crap out of me.
Nowadays as my kid gets older and stays up later after trick or treating, I have to start watching it later and later. Which is fine - I think it's better to watch it in the wee hours of the morning - when it's quiet and still outside and pitch black. When the rest of the family is asleep at the other end of the house.
In a few years, I'll be able to watch it with my kid. It won't be the same as when I discovered it by accident all alone in the dark. But I think he'll dig it just the same.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Believe it or not - this was my 10th birthday - my best birthday party ever! Yes - it was a MONSTER PARTY!!!
Even though it was in June, everyone had to come in costume. And this photo is before everyone even showed up!
My dad designed the invitations and we even tried baking them in the oven for a bit to make them seem like old damaged parchment paper.
Here's the birthday boy, as Dracula (fangs removed for eating!), next to the menu, which reads:
Menu for the Ghoul Gourmet
Appetizer - Carrot and Celery Fingers
Salad - Harry's Brain Salad
Entre'e De Graveyard - Hand Sandwiches with Bone Chips
Beverage - A Glass of Blood (no charge for refills and transfusions)
Desserts - Coffin Cake and Tombstone Cookies
Harry's brain salad - a jell-o brain made in a homemade brain mold created by my Dad. He took a plastic fireman's helmet and flipped it over as a bowl and stuck brainy squiggles made out of clay all over the inside. Then some sort of plastic bag or plastic wrap was laid in and then the jell-o was added. Pretty sweet!
Notice that not everything could be monster-themed in June: Family Circus paper plates!
My sister shows off a "hand sandwich," which were just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into the shape of a hand.
Here is the coffin cake - complete with a plastic skull from a toy skeleton I had.
I made the "Pin the Fang on the Thing" board myself.
"Catch the Critters" consisted of my Dad throwing shelled peanuts in the air and us kids trying to catch them in brown paper lunch bags.
This was "Don't Step on the Monster" or something like that. Music would play and you had to walk in a circle, going over a monster face I'd drawn. If you were standing on the monster face when the music stopped, you were out.
I don't know if this had a monster-themed name, but it was a good old fashioned tug of war. Boy did we love this!
After all the planned games were over, cake was consumed and presents opened, the monsters waged an impromptu Battle Royale on the front lawn. It was awesome! Here we see the Werewolf holding Dracula down so the Sea Creature could chop his head off while the Devil and the Mummy look on. Wow!
I can't thank my parents enough for going all out for this crazy party for their 10-year-old son and his monster obsession!!!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
In 1973 I was a skeleton - the mask was cool but a little odd: those are rope and tassles on my forehead and the beard-looking part is spiderwebbing...but it's orange. Weird. I love the screaming skull on the chest! My sister was Raggedy Ann.
Two years later in 1975 my sister joined me in my skeletal costuming.
Notice the orange UNICEF box in my hand. Also, I believe that's my Philadelphia Eagles jacket I'm wearing underneath.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It was 1976 and I had been inspired by an illustration in Highlights magazine. It was some Halloween story and there were a group of kids trick or treating and one of them had a suit and monkey mask on. I immediately thought, "Mr. Monkey Business!"
We bought a Planet of the Apes costume for the mask. I wore my dad's suit jacket as well as his shoes (mine were inside of them, held in place by newspapers stuffed inbetween)! With a pair of gloves and a snazzy pink pattern tie, I was ready to go!
My sister went as a nurse. In this shot she's checking her watch while taking an imaginary person's pulse!
The pumpkin-headed dummy on the left had a line of twine tied around one wrist - the twine went up to my second-floor bedroom window. You can kind of see it in the right hand side of the window. Before and after I trick or treated, I would peek over my windowsill and wait for unsuspecting kids to come to the door and then would pull the twine to make the arm move up and down. Boy howdy did I scare some kids! Talk about monkey business!
Monday, October 27, 2008
When I was a tiny kid and was bad, sometimes my parents would call me a little devil. Well when I was two years old, they dressed me as a little devil for Halloween!
Look at that awesome console stereo behind me. Those were the days when your stereo was FURNITURE!
Here is that wonderful console stereo again in 1971 with me as Mickey Mouse in front of it.
A year later, 1972, and on the other side of the room. Bugs Bunny and the bride (with a puffy winter jacket stuffed underneath her dress).
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Now, please pardon the poor photo above. It's a scan of a photocopied version that appeared in my zine Dr. Squid #10. I cannot locate the original photo, so just have this to go on.
It's my sister and I as Princess Leia and Dark Vader, Halloween 1977.
Now, you can't tell from the photo, but my outfit was an enhanced version of the ol' Ben Cooper costume.
We did buy that costume, but quickly ditched the smock in favor of my mom's black turtleneck, cape, black gloves, black pants, dark brown snow boots and a calculator duct-taped to my chest.
Yes, I said a calculator duct-taped to my chest.
This was serious.
My dad also took the plain plastic mask and attached it to a helmet made from cardboard. It was held together with staples and colored with magic marker as I recall, but it was super duper cool!
I'll never forget running into another Darth Vader that night.
I was coming down the walk at a house in the neighborhood, which seemed to be teaming with little trick-or-treaters, when I saw him. I could tell he was trying to be Darth Vader, but he'd made his own costume, including his own mask based on a giant pair of sunglasses. In retrospect it was kind of cool-looking, sort of like an armored bug alien head or something. But it just wasn't Darth. Besides, I had taken the official Darth mask and IMPROVED it. We each looked each other up and down and I can't recall who said it first but one of us shouted a muffled, "Who are you?!" It turned out to be my friend Chris from around the block.
While I can't recall the exact wording we used (c'mon it was over 30 years ago!), I recall there was an exchange of words over who looked better, and both of us left each other convinced we were the best and the other guy's costume sucked.
That winter, my sister and I made a Darth Vader snowman! Note all the multi-colored buttons making up Darth's various electronic doo-dads.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here I am with my sister, Halloween 1980. My dad built the Rolo outfit for her. While it looked terrific, it was hard to walk in. I'm your basic lizard-faced alien. And this was 3 years before "V: The Series!"
What I'm wearing on my face is..THE FACE! Put out by Imagineering, this was a two-piece appliance made of some sort of foam called "flex-o-skin." It was designed by "noted Hollywood make-up artist" Barry R. Kroper who went from designing The Face to make-up artist on The Bold and the Beautiful to a ton of big budget stuff like Star Trek: Voyager, Starship Troopers, Alien: Resurrection, Hollow Man, Bubble Boy and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
And I still have it!!!
The front of the box. This one was called "The Space Face." There was also Vampire Face, Werewolf Face, Ape Face, Skull Face and Witch Face. The cool thing about it was that it was in two pieces - one fit over your face above your mouth and the other went on your chin. With some black make-up you could then move your mouth, talk, eat, etc. Hood not included.
Lots of interesting stuff on the back of the box. The Face came with the 2 foam pieces on a plastic face shape, a little kit of grease make-up, a make-up brush, an instruction booklet (which I do not have any longer - lost in the sands of time) and a small sheet of 48 little sticker squares.
Now, I noticed 2 things here. There was a printed silver bar over an illustration of an eyeliner pencil, right above the illustration of a brush. I can only assume that some kid poked his eye out, so Imagineering just stopped including the pencil and printed over the drawing so they could still use the same boxes.
Ditto for the 48 sticker squares drawing - it was itself a sticker. Curious, I managed to peel off about half of it to find an illustration of a round container of "sticky goop" which must've been like spirit gum. Again, someone probably ate it or something so they put in lame stickers instead but now could still use the same boxes!
I remember using masking tape to help hold that thing on. As you face would sweat in the mask, the stickers and tape would not hold too well. But it still was way cool!
And here is THE FACE today!!! Hmmm.....maybe I'll put it on this Halloween.....
Friday, October 24, 2008
It was 1978 and I'd just moved all the way across the country from New Jersey over the summer. Here I am with my friend Tom. My dad is in the background with his Frankenstein's monster mask and I am on the right with my own Frankenstein's monster mask. I'm not making a gang sign - just showing off my "missing finger" and bloody hand!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Here I am at our 1995 Halloween party as a redneck mutant!
Under that plaid shirt lurks a snazzy WEIRD MELVIN t-shirt!!!
This mask is one of my favorites and was bought at some local store with a Halloween mask display. No big whoop. It first appeared in MONSTER IN THE GARAGE, but most recently has appeared on my kid's head in the monster short EATER that I've been working with he and his friends on for the last few years. We are actually just about done shooting the last few scenes, leaving just a few spaceship model shots to do. Then on to editing. I even recorded my son and his friends' band doing soundtrack songs for it about a year ago. Should be a blast for them all to see once it's done!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This effect for TRAILER PARK DOUBLE WIDE TRILOGY OF TERROR is ridiculously simple.
Jeff Campbell played a guy whose girlfriend goes a little nuts and rips off his head. He happened to have a fake head halloween prop that kind of looked like him from a distance. So we used it in a long shot. Then, for this, I simply turned the head upside down and buttoned Jeff's shirt around it. In other words, the neck of the fake severed head is sticking out of the shirt. Framing it just right (to hide the fact that it' snot a full chest filling out the shirt) and covering it with a heaping helping of fake blood and there you have it!
And lemon pudding...