Pennhurst 2013 Official Trailer

by  on Mar.15, 2013, under Canon 5D Mark III, haunted house commercials, trailers

The Pennhurst Asylum trailer was shot last October one Saturday afternoon before the haunt opened.  We basically ran in, told them to get some actors ready and came up with a short commercial right there on the spot.  We also were able to go through the haunt with the Canon 5D Mark III and get some great low light video of the attraction in action!  Check it out below and let us know what you think of it!

 

2013 Show Reel!

by  on Mar.11, 2013, under Millennium, serial killer movies, trailers, video

We just premiered this video at Transworld in St. Louis and now we’re pleased to finally show it off to everyone! Our 2013 Show Reel features our best video from the last year.  It it you’ll find clips from Pennhurst, LA Hayride, The Bates Motel, Killer’s Haunted House along with clips from our short film work.

My favorite part though has to be the Opening piece we shot last November out at the Haunted Trail of Horror in Kenton Ohio.  Big thanks to all the participants from the Haunted trail and especially our dead female victim, Wendy Howard, who is trooper for putting up with all the cold disgusting places we’ve made her lay and crawl in over the last few years!  The opening shots were of course inspired by the show that set me on my current path way back in 1996, the underated and horrifying, Millennium (1996-1999).

So without further ado here’s our 2013 Show Reel

 

Retro VHS Review: Fright Night Part 2

by  on Feb.12, 2013, under horror movies, Retro Horror Movies, reviews, VHS

1287554498-mOddly enough there are still a lot of movies that haven’t made it to DVD or blu-ray or were ported to DVD for a short period and are almost impossible to find today. Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that had never been given a proper release. If you do find a DVD you can expect to pay upwards of $100 just to get it. My desire to own the movie wasn’t that high so I went the cheap route and purchased an old VHS rental of the film.

Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that I haven’t watched since it was originally released back in 88′. I was 11 years old and I thought it was pretty good at the time but then again I was 11 years old. So I was kind of excited to dust off the ol’ VCR and put in the flick! If you’ve seen the original Fright Night then you’d be excused to say that Part 2 is almost a remake of the first. It begins with Charlie Brewster, now a college student who has undergone years of therapy to expunge the delusion that he killed a vampire. Now he believes that it was a serial killer and his mind just made up that he was a vampire as a coping mechanism. Ok, so Charlie is now dating a much more attractive psych student named Alex, who can speed read. Peter Vincent (Roddy Mcdowell) is still hosting Fright Night on TV and Charlie still stays in touch with him though he hasn’t told Peter he no longer believes in Vampires. (more…)

 

Stop Stealing Art!

by  on Feb.10, 2013, under Uncategorized

thief
So last night I had a fellow designer alert me to a website that not only stole artwork from one of my client’s site but also video! The evil art stealing dbags are TopHamTerrors.com and you can see the artwork and video here: http://www.tophamterrors.com/intro.html
Which is theft from – http://www.bloodmanor.com/2012/index.html
The designer is a company I’ve never heard of and a quick perusal of their site I didn’t find any other sites they created that infringed on my artwork. But the facts is they went to blood manor stole the image background there then downloaded the video from youtube.com and slipped in a few additional video clips and decided to call it their own.

In addition to this they took video clips from Thornhillwoodshauntedhouse.com and peppered them throughout their site. This ones even worse since Thornhill Woods Haunted House is a Home haunt and they used their family and friends for the videos so its pretty obvious where they came from. Whats worse is TopHamTerrors.com is apparently in close proximity to Thornhill Woods haunted house and so it is bilwidering why the owner of TophamTerrors.com chose a local home haunt to steal from when people will quickly figure it out.

So since this happened I alerted my clients to it. My client in Thornhill woods told me the guy at TopHamTerrors isn’t taking anything down because the owner thinks its ok to steal and change things slightly then reuse them. Which brings me to a bigger issue. A year or so ago I had a heated argument with a young “designer” who argued he could take whatever image he wanted from another artist as long as he changed it a little and then claim it as his own. What scares me is there seems to be how a lot of people think. They believe a Google Image search means “Free Photos” they can take to use. Its a big problem with not only the haunt industry but also the design business in general.

The Blood Manor artwork uses a very famous house in California. This is a mansion that has been copied and done to death a thousand times in the industry and I’m certainly aware of that. But Blood Manor is the client and they wanted to use that house. While I tried to convince them otherwise they were set on using it and what they want is what I’m paid to do. So I went out of my way to find a photographer to purchase a photo of the house because that’s what you do. You don’t go out and take something that already exists. I then heavily modified the house’ porch and of course added all the other elements including the yard, trees, fence etc. There’s hours of work that go into a piece like that and for someone to just claim they can spend 5 minutes making some changes to it and they own it is like a punch in the face.

If you are a designer then you should know there are plenty of Stock photography websites you can go find photos and use for your haunt art. So do everyone a favor, especially your clients, and legally purchase photos or take photos yourself and Photoshop them yourself. Don’t steal. You may get away with it for awhile but it will catch up with you and when it does I hope you’re ready for the consequences.

UPDATE 2/11/13
I spoke with the owner of Topham Terror who admitted that the designer of this website, DarkNET Designs had nothing to do with the artwork from Blood Manor. Topham now claims they purchased the artwork and video from someone on Hauntworld but can’t remember the name apparently. Yeah, right. So anyway I want to make it clear that DarkNET did not knowingly use the copyrighted artwork from Blood Manor.com.

 

Blu-Ray Review: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1&2

by  on Jan.31, 2013, under Movie Review, reviews

Batman-Dark-Knight-Returns-Part-2-Release-DateRecently DC’s animation wing as been delving into its best comics and creating some amazing animated films! A few of Batman’s greatest hits have gotten lovingly accurate adaptions starting with Batman: Year One and now Frank Miller’s masterpiece re-invention of the character “The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2″!

I’ve been a huge Batman fan since I was preschool. Like horror movies, Batman has always been a constant interest in my life. Back in 1989 I was right there in the theater on opening day for Tim Burton’s first foray into the character and cringed when Joel Shumacher took over and buried the character under tons of bat nipples and camp. Up into the mid 90′s I collected almost every issue of Batman comics and read Frank Miller’s famous takes on the character back in the day. Frank Miller’s version of Batman is the one that has had the most influence on Christopher Nolan and his trilogy of films.
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A Rant about Funny Viral attempts at Haunted House Videos

by  on Jan.30, 2013, under Halloween, haunted house commercials, Haunted Houses, Rant

scarySo there seems to be a growing trend in the Haunted House industry to do silly funny videos in hopes of becoming the next “Gangnam Style” or “Harlem Shake” viral sensation. I’ve done videos before in hopes of them becoming viral and I’ve pretty much given up on it. I’ve actually listened to so called “web professionals” offer advice on doing viral style videos to let more people know about your business. In the past I’ve done videos with the intention of creating something funny that might go viral. I can tell you now this is exactly the wrong approach for any video project!

 

First the most OBVIOUS reason: The chances of your video going viral are astronomical. There’s very little you can personally do to facilitate a video going viral. It all depends on chance. I hear professionals say that all it takes is one person spreading it to some friends to get the ball rolling but that’s a lie. It takes thousands of people finding something funny or interesting enough about YOUR video to take the time to tweet it, facebook it, or email it to a their friends. The chances of that are microscopic so why should you base your entire production on creating something that in all likelihood will languish in Youtube obscurity? Why waste all that creative effort on something that you think might be funny or clever enough to go viral?

The Most important reason however, is your brand. Let’s say you own a haunted house that’s known for being Terrifying. People make the trek from miles away just to see a truly scary haunted attraction. But then you have some actor or web professional convince you that you need to have a viral video. So you get all your scariest actors in make up and have them dancing around and singing. Boom! There goes the scary from all your featured monsters!

This really really bothers me and I’m seeing so many haunted attractions doing it lately. STOP! Why are you diminishing your brand? The whole point of going to a haunted house is to get scared and have fun. Its not to watch actors in masks frolicking around to the latest pop music sensation! You’re doing it wrong and missing the point. I don’t care how slick and professional your video looks your not selling soda pop your selling fear! So make something that compliments what you do! Make something that’s scary!

Here’s the key: Go into a video project with the intention of making something creative and representative of your attraction. If you think it should be funny because your haunted house is funny then go for it. But if you are doing a serious event that’s seriously scary then make a video that represents that. Don’t ruin your scary characters by having them acting like clowns. There’s nothing wrong with having some comedy in your attraction but that’s not going to be the biggest selling point. People go see horror movies because they want to be scared. You don’t see horror movie trailers promoting the funny bits and one liners that might be in the movie.

Bottom line: Make videos that sell your haunt. Not videos that promote a fad or humor in hopes of internet gold.

 

American Horror Story: Asylum

by  on Jan.24, 2013, under Horror Television, reviews

American-Horror-Story-Asylum-american-horror-story-32431052-1600-1200I watched the first season and American Horror Story and liked it overall. It had a lot of hiccups along the way and the show had a cast of characters that were all pretty unlikable. But It still managed to keep me coming back each week, if for nothing more than its awesome visuals and crazy twists. It was a sexy soap opera for horror fans and not much more than that.

AHS season 2 piqued my interest as soon as it was announced that it would be a different story entirely with the same actors returning as different characters. Plus I’m a sucker for stories about creepy hospitals, asylums and the like. The first episode surprised me with how much it packed in. There were corrupt priests, evil doctors, insane nuns, crazy serial killers and even space aliens! Yes, space aliens. As the season went on it only got more crazy and more interesting. The characters had more depth, were more likable even with their faults. We saw wrongly accused people find redemption, people with dark pasts finding forgiveness and twisted people getting just ends. It was a pretty breathtaking run and I was shocked at how far they pushed the envelop this season. Some of the sick twisted shit that happened on AHS this season made you want to shower after watching it! There were a few times where I was genuinely surprised by what the producers were getting away with.

Ultimately the series came down to being about three people who had been wrongly imprisoned in the Asylum and how they got out and found redemption. The final night of AHS was actually touching and worthwhile. Where the first season felt empty and shallow even up to its whimper of an ending, AHS:Asylum proved it can balance the horror, the sex and the violence with a real story about real people struggling under significant odds. In the end Asylum became about coming to terms with your past and forgiveness.

American Horror Story surprised me in so many ways this season and I hope they can keep it up for season three which will again be a new story with some of the same actors as the first 2 seasons. I can honestly say I’m excited about it!

 

Retro Movie Review: Ravenous (1999)

by  on Jan.05, 2013, under Movie Review, Retro Horror Movies

Ravenous was released way back in March of 1999 where no one saw it. Back in 99′ I was still in college and was working part time at a video store (remember those?). I’m not sure what inspired me to pick it up at work and watch it but I did and ever since its been a movie I tend to revisit every year or two.

The film takes place during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and is about a man named Boyd (Guy Pierce), a lowly coward who plays dead in the heat of a battle, gets his body dumped in a pile of corpses behind enemy lines and then takes out the commanders in the Mexican army. His CO General Slauson gives him a commendation but learns the reality of what Boyd did and decides he wants him as far away from his company as possible banishing him to Fort Spencer in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

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