Super-Special Now Available

THROUGH a change of plans decided upon late last week, in deference to insistent requests from many leading first-run exhibitors, the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation will release the Paramount-Artcraft super-special, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” in which John Barrymore is starred, on March 28, and on that date the production will open an engagement at the Rivoli theatre, New York City.

“It was our original intention,” said S. R. Kent, sales manager, “to release ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ early in June, as a fitting subject to offset the slump in theatre patronage which usually makes itself keenly felt this time of year. But so many exhibitors had heard such great things about the picture and made known their desire to have it released now that I got into long-distance communication with Mr. Lichtman, with the result that we are releasing it immediately.

I have no hesitation in saying that the picture is not only the most perfect production made on the screen by John Barrymore, but it embodies the greatest acting contributed to the stage or screen by an American artist. Moreover, it is a remarkable example of what close co-operation can accomplish, for I understand that throughout its production the star was in constant consultation with Director John Robertson and Clara Beranger, who prepared the scenario from Stevenson’s work.”

A unique and intensely interesting plot has preserved for more than forty years the popularity of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” When the novel was first published in a cheap shilling edition almost 250,000 copies were disposed of in a brief period, and today the strength of Stevenson’s literary reputation and popularity of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” are such that the book sales run into thousands annually.

Probably no other author has ever conceived a more striking theme than the transition of personalities. Urged on by the temptation to satisfy his evil desires in security, Dr. Jekyll, a kind, respected member of the community, experiments with chemical formulas until he can change his own identity into that of an entirely different being. Not only does the man change mentally and spiritually from his former self, but his physical characteristics are debased and blackened in the change to Mr. Hyde.

The vivid action of the story, which was published for the first time in the stern Victorian era, caused it to be classified as a “shocker,” and this was responsible for the cheap edition which marked its initial appearance. Subsequently its intrinsic merit as a work of literature was recognized.

It was a no less eminent authority than Lloyd Osbourne, step-son of Stevenson and collaborator with him in some of his later works, who having seen Mr. Barrymore’s Jekyll and Hyde in the Famous Players-Lasky projection room, declared: “Mansfield was the greatest Jekyll and Hyde of his generation without a doubt, but John Barrymore has gone him one better. It is doubtful if there will be another such portrayal in this generation or the next.”

The world owes a great debt to Mansfield, however, for it was he who suggested to Thomas Russell Sullivan the writing of a dramatic version of the Stevenson story, and it was first acted by him May 9, 1887, at the Boston Museum, Boston, Mass. The following September it was presented at the Madison Square theatre, New York.

The leading feminine role of Millicent Carew is taken by Martha Mansfield, the latest beauty to make her way into motion pictures via the Ziegfeld Follies. In addition to her great beauty, Miss Mansfield has acting ability far above the ordinary. She has played in numerous Broadway successes, notably “The Century Girl,” while in pictures she has appeared in all the Max Linder comedies and with Eugene O’Brien in “The Perfect Lover.”

Brandon Hurst, who plays Sir George Carew, is an English actor who is particularly gifted in striking character roles. As the district attorney in “Within the Law” and with Rose Coghlan in “The Sporting Duchess,” he laid the foundation for a successful stage career.

Charles Lane, an actor of long experience both on the stage and in pictures, has the part of Dr. Richard Lanyon, while J. Malcolm Dunn, who plays the lawyer, John Utterson, first found himself playing leads in Drury Lane melodramas. Subsequently David Belasco recognized his ability and obtained him for the Irish boy in “Sweet Kitty Bellairs.” Recently he has been seen in numerous Broadway runs.

Cecil Clovelly as Edward Enfield is accustomed to appearing in John Barrymore’s successes, as he also had a part in “The Jest” and had previously played with that star in “Justice” and “Peter Ibbetson.”

[This post is based around an article included in the April 3, 1920 issue of Motion Picture News (Volume XXI, Issue 15). Although as much effort as possible was put into preserving the article as it originally appeared, some aspects of the layout were impossible to replicate. To see the original, head on over to the Internet Archive.]

“The Headless Horseman” A Film Play Adapted from Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”


Washington Irving’s famous classic, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is being brought to the screen, with the inimitable Will Rogers in the role of Ichabod Crane, the lanky schoolmaster whose sentimental heart was not strong enough to combat the bewitching eyes of the fair Katrina Van Tassel, the belle of Sleepy Hollow.

Will Rogers not only looks the part of Ichabod Crane, but is the part, as he brings the schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow back to life upon the screen. It is a bit of characterization that will live for many seasons, and the names of Will Rogers and Ichabod Crane will be inseparable ever after in the minds of those who see the production.

All the quaint realism of the great story has been preserved in this film version, and the original plot remains intact. There are few people, young or old, who have not read this classic by Washington Irving. It has been a fireside tale for a century. Realizing this, the Hodkinson Film Corporation have made every effort to present in the film every point of interest that is found in the story. The filming of this production was made upon the exact locale where the story took place—in the wooded and hilly section of New York State, which is still known as Sleepy Hollow.

We see the original church in which Ichabod is said to have taught singing, and there is a very rare picturization of the manner in which the old Dutch settlers held their services. The schoolhouse in which Ichabod Crane taught had to be rebuilt, but in this rebuilding great pains were taken to follow historical description minutely.

There is a decided treat in store for anyone who sees the W. W. Hodkinson version of “The Headless Horseman.”

[This post is based around an article included in the June 1923 issue of Social Progress (Volume 7, Issue 6). Although as much effort as possible was put into preserving the article as it originally appeared, some aspects of the layout were impossible to replicate. To see the original, head on over to Google Books.]

6’+ Episode 247 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Happy (late) Valentine’s Day! We celebrate the pain of love…literally…with a track full of heartfelt odes to falling in love and how love can be a horror show. Featuring PRISON OB BLUES, THE BROWNS, THE GORY DETAILS, and a new track from MYSTERY GIRL! Plus, Monstermatt Patterson gives you a Valentine and it’s…THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE! And Kraig Khaos is Cupid in KILLER KUT!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

Technical issues were preventing us from posting about previous episodes for awhile, so don’t forget to check out episodes 246, 245, 244, 243 and 242! It seemed easier and less confusing to do it this way rather than schedule everything as if they had been posted on the date of each episode’s debut. This is also why Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day were acknowledged on the Gravedigger’s Local 16 Facebook page rather than getting their traditional special posts here.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Uncommon Interests

An Optical Illusion

Here is a simple way to observe the persistence for a perceptible length of time of every impression made upon the retina. Gaze fixedly for a minute or so at the black diamond in the center of the figure, and then turn your eyes quickly to a white wall or sheet of paper, and you will see the design in reverse, the figure black and the background white. The result is affected by the principle of complementary colors. A red design will be reproduced In green, orange in blue, yellow in violet, and vice versa.

[This post is based around an article included in the October 31, 1901 issue of The Country Gentleman (Volume LXVI, Issue 2544). Although as much effort as possible was put into preserving the article as it originally appeared, some aspects of the layout were impossible to replicate. To see the original, head on over to Google Books.]

Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime

One interesting result of Jonathan Coulton releasing so much music under a Creative Commons license is the sheer number of music videos created by fans. So naturally I decided to share two different videos for his seasonal sci-fi song, “Chiron Beta Prime.”

The first fan creation is from the Jonathan Coulton Project, a fan-made “video podcast” devoted to creating music videos for various Coulton tracks. It was originally a Flash animation by Tom Ellsworth, but can now be found on YouTube thanks to the official Jonathan Coulton Project channel:

Our next selection is a World of Warcraft machinima made by Mike “Spiff” Booth, whose works were popular enough to get him invited Blizzard Entertainment’s annual gaming convention! It’s available thanks to the official spiffworld channel:

The subplot he created to go with the song’s instrumental interlude is especially twisted once you consider how it ties into the pie mentioned later in the song! But that’s only one of the reasons this video stands out to me. It holds a special place in my heart due to my watching it being my first exposure to both “Chiron Beta Prime” and Coulton’s “Christmas is Interesting.” The bearded “Human Hunter” game character used to represent the singer in this was also used to portray Jonathan Coulton himself in the machinima for “Podsafe Christmas Song,” which has made it impossible for me to watch the “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode of South Park without making Coulton references whenever that character appears. You can find free downloads of all three Coulton Christmas classics in my 2014 installment of the “Christma(dnes)s” article series. Consider it my (re)gift to you. you can enjoy them while reading the alternate lyrics for “Chiron Beta Prime.”

Merry Christmas!

Christma(dnes)s IX

Reading ghost stories during the Christmas season is an old British tradition. But I think reading scary stories is just as valid. “Nackles” by Donald Westlake tells of a nasty counterpart to Santa Claus and “The Naughty Ones” by Lake Lopez also deals with things that are neither holly nor jolly. If you want more, you can check out the following stories from Gary Morton:

“Grim is Coming to Town”
“All I Want is Santa”
“There is no Rest for the Stupid”
“A Short Vampire Christmas”

Two Sisters Crafting offers both instructions for making “Grinch Slime” and a recipe for “Grinch Popcorn.” They also have recipes for “Grinch Rice Krispies Treats,” “Grinch Rice Krispie Bites,” “Grinch Hearts Rice Krispie Treats” and “Grinch Rice Krispie Cake.” eHow’s article on “Grinch Party Food” has several great ideas but I think it’s lacking in the actual recipe department. So I dug up enough recipes to have a proper Grinch feast. Not only does I Heart Naptime have a recipe for “Grinch Cookies,” but Everyday Dishes has one for “Matcha Grinch Cookies” and Simplistically Living offers “Crinkly, Cranky Grinch Cookies.” The recipe for “Grinch Cupcakes” over at Sarahs Bake Studio is very different from the “Grinch Cupcakes” recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. Similarly, Momtastic shows how to make a “Grinch Cake” that’s very different from the “Grinch Cake” made by The Bearfoot Baker and the “Grinch Cake” from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery. The “Grinch Skillet Brownie” from Foodstirs is different from the “Grinch Brownies” Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons as well. Hungry Happenings closes things out by showing how easy it is to whip up some “Grinch Pancakes.”

But the Grinch isn’t the only character from the classic story with recipes! #Sweet shows how to make “Max Macarons,” has a recipe for “Who Pudding,” has a “Who Hash” recipe and Country Bob’s shows how to make your very own “Roast Beast.”

Now we need some festive drinks to wash it all down with. Cooking With Curls’ “Grinch Hot Chocolate” and the “Christmas ‘Grinch’ Lime Sherbet Punch” from Wishes and Dishes are appropriate for all ages. However, adults might prefer the “Grinch Drink” from Design Loves Detail or the multiple recipes for Grinch cocktails from The Spruce Eats. Both the 2011 and 2016 installments of “Christma(dnes)s” have additional Grinch food and drink recipes as well!

Free music downloads are also a popular part of “Christma(dnes)s” and this year is no exception! Nat Brower takes us “Surfing With The Grinch,” David Ritter celebrates a “White Zombie Christmas,” la-goons have sighted the infamous “Krampus,” Nollie Gettysburg watches the epic battle that is “The Yeti Vs. The Christmas Creature,” Julian Hol offers a theremin take on “Silent Night” while Overdue Exorcism observes both a “Silent Deadly Night” and “Black Christmas.” Brandon Boone has a wonderful creepy Christmas album called Nosleep Christmas 2017 which you can also snag for free!

The revived Suspense radio drama is offering free downloads of “Have a Hacking, Whacking Christmas” and “Hark the Deathly Angel Sing.” While we’re on SoundCloud, let’s check out Flowerpot Press’ streaming “Vampire Snowman Joke” and the unusual carol “Oscar The Light Headed Pumpkin.”

If you want more Halloween versions of Christmas carols, Haunted Bay has the lyrics for classics like “Humphrey The Blue Nosed Pumpkin and “Shivery Yells.” Haunt Your House for Halloween: Decorating Tricks & Party Treats by Cindy Fuller has lyrics for “The 12 Days of Halloween.” Google Books also has a cool preview for Rick Walton’s Frankenstein’s Fright Before Christmas and the preview for Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction has some great covers for Yuletide horror reading. I noticed how the Amazon listing for Slay Bells lacks cover art and the one for Slumber Party has a completely different cover than the one Hendrix used! Thankfully the covers at the listings for Christmas Babies and Black Christmas are the same as they are in the book.

While I was on Amazon, I also found a Christmas toy that’s both naughty and nice and a Christmas album from the star of Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (or The Edge of Hell if you’re reading this in Canada)! Roll Versus Coal is both a game in its own right and a complete source of dice for tabletop gaming fans who want some seasonal accessories. But since supplies of said game are limited, you might have to use a few dice from Lumps, the Elf Coal Game instead. It should be noted that game is a reskin of another game and doesn’t offer a complete set of RPG dice.

“Coal” dice would be a perfect match for the free In Nomine adventure A Very Nybbas Christmas. Both the preview of the In Nomine core rules and conversion guide for use with GURPS can allow those with GURPS Lite to play for free. But that isn’t the only freebie that’ll be of interest to tabletop gamers! Tales From The Savage Troll offers Christmas monster stats for Savage Worlds while d20PFSRD has both official and homemade Krampus stats for use with RPGs like Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons.

Creative Commons License

The image illustrating this article was licensed under a Creative Commons 1.0 License. The rest of the article is copyrighted by Gravedigger’s Local 16.

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites, downloading from them or constructing a project that’s detailed on them. This also applies to any suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

6’+ Episode 241 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“After a short, three-week nap, Strange Jason wakes up to celebrate Godzilla, kaiju and spooky stuff with tracks by MAN…OR ASTRO-MAN, THEE HALLOWTEENS, MOTORZOMBIS, KING FLAMINGO, MUMMULA and more! Plus, Monstermatt Patterson and Killer Kuts from Kraig Khaos.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanksgiving Kong

The internet is filled with people who fondly remember watching various King Kong and Godzilla movies during Thanksgiving break. It’s been that way for awhile, too. I remember being intrigued by references to such marathons on various websites and newsgroups back in the late 90’s. I had been able to piece together that the tradition was linked to the New York area, but exact details were scarce back then. Nobody whose recollections I found ever mentioned how the tradition got started or when it ended. But this year I decided to finally get to the bottom of things.

Our story starts in 1955. That’s when General Tire and Rubber purchased RKO Radio Pictures as a way to give General Tire’s television stations a massive library of content. One such station was WOR-TV in New York (which General Tire had obtained ownership of in 1952). It should come as no surprise how King Kong quickly appeared on the channel. It aired on “Channel 9” numerous times a week, including appearances on Million Dollar Movie, in addition to multiple airings on the same day. Surveys quickly revealed how every person questioned had watched one full showing of the film on television and even watched part of a repeat showing! So when the station was in need of something big to rake in lots of Thanksgiving advertising dollars, it’s no wonder they accepted the King Kong pitch made a relatively new employee named Lawrence P. Casey. Casey had been inspired by an early Christmas promotion WOR-TV had done called “Christmas with the Kongs.” Although that promotion only showed the original film and Son of Kong, the 1976 debut of the “Holiday Film Festival” was made up of Mighty Joe Young, King Kong vs. Godzilla and Son of Kong. One can’t help but wonder if the use of King Kong vs. Godzilla was some sort of test, as next year’s installment included a kaiju movie marathon on the day after Thanksgiving. Now viewers could scarf down reheated leftovers in between showings of King Kong Escapes, King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (with King Kong now playing on Turkey Day). 1978 saw the event being promoted as the “King Kong vs. Godzilla Festival” and the day after Thanksgiving showing Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster and Godzilla vs. Megalon. The event went through other minor changes over the years until its last hurrah in 1985, when both days were limited to double features.

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Movie Review: The Raven (2012) Quote This Critic: Nevermore!

the Raven movie

Zombos Says: Fair

After the promising opening moments of James McTiegue's The Raven are spent with anxious constables rushing to find slashed bodies in a locked room, and the entrance of Inspector Fields (Luke Evans), who approaches the conundrum like Auguste Dupin, John Cusack's Edgar Allan Poe chews the scenery with his superficial temper tantrums and clumsy gyrations, pulled by contrivance instead of subtextual motivations. For god's sake, didn't Cusack and the writers know Poe was a tortured soul with layers of spiritual complexity? Where's the empty pit of isolation and the breadth of despair he suffered through his boozing and melancholy? Yelling the word "f*ck" is not a suitable drama substitute. If only the real Poe could have lent a hand. I'm sure his dialog would have been richer and more sensible, and his suspense would have been palpable as well as plausible. 

Plausibility is a good place to start since this movie adds little of it to tie its sensational events together. A wonderful premise brimming with potential limps instead from indecisive contextual stability as it purloins stock slasher and serial killer tidbits, piecemeal, without understanding their cumulative effect. It's almost like Saw in gruesomeness scale–the strikingly gory pendulum slice and dice on the rotund Rufus Griswold (John Warnaby)–then restrains its visual assault like Horrors of the Black Museum, then jumps from left to right to be similar to Se7en's broader cat and mouse conceit. Each staged execution of Poe's devilish demises by the villain is handled like a fast-food order without condiments, even if imaginatively far-fetched clues propel Poe and Fields one step closer to finding who that killer is and his motive; both of which appear on script cue out of thin air for the denoument's wrap-up, without any explicit or implied discernment along the way to prepare us for the revelation. It just happens. 

Leading up to this, Poe rants, raves, throws his ego all around, sulks, and looks for his next drink–until his mind clears enough to recognize the clues being left behind; Fields, emotionless, analytical, dissects the problem methodically until he develops brain freeze, allowing Poe's now clear mind to take the lead; the blustery Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) hates Poe–who wants to marry Hamilton's daughter–until the captain becomes conciliatory and friend to Poe to help solve anothe clue, even though it's Poe's stories that have buried his daughter alive and all of them desperately trying to find her. Hamilton's daughter Emily (Alice Eve) loves Poe, but aside from an out of place allusion about him giving good head, made during an overly long and lifeless romantic interlude, why she would like a destitute, alcoholic, and egotistical ass such as Poe is portrayed is not clear. Her wispy and cold presence in every scene blends into the upholstery much of the time, so unless Poe is infatuated with sitting on her, I'm at a loss to understand the attraction they have. Even when she's clawing at the coffin she's buried in, she's as cold as a corpse already.

Then there are the vexing facts in the case of the uneven interior lighting from scene to scene. We go from moody interiors correctly matched with their dim gaslight and oil lamp sources to spectrums of bright white, impossible to be produced by the lamplight available, sandwiched between a few suitably bleak, mist-shrouded exteriors: a memorable chase under a gray sky and through a foggy, barren, forest brings to mind The Fall of the House of Usher.

Not much else is memorable except for the murder by pendulum. Its intensity is surprising given the duller deliveries of the subsequent murders. I'm not sure if practical effects were united with digital, but watching that enormous blade slice through Griswold's belly, him screaming, it cutting deeper with each notch of its giant gears rolling into place, all that blood and glistening chunks of visceral meat splashing wildly, and the blade finally bisecting Griswold into two lifeless parts as it comes to rest, stuck into the wooden table between them, is breathtakingly disturbing, but oddly out of place here. I wondered how the villain managed to build such an immense, clockwork precise contraption by himself. Poe even remarks he hadn't imagined the counterweight to be so large when he sees it.

I'm torn myself between loving and hating it, given the rest of this movie.

This article originally appeared at From Zombos’ Closet.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.

The Grickle Halloween Collection

Graham Annable has had quite the career. He’s drawn comics, animated numerous short films, co-directed a major motion picture and inspired the Puzzle Agent video game franchise. One of those comics is the wildly popular grickle series. Said series has spawned several animated short films and many of them involve horror and Halloween. I was agonizing over which one to showcase for Halloween, until I realized Mr. Annable had uploaded a compilation of them onto his official grickle YouTube channel:

This compilation also has a few shorts which revolve around music and you know what that means…the annual Halloween music post tradition has been upheld for another year!

Happy Halloween!

6’+ Episode 240 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“A demented horror host named DREAD A. SCARE unleashes a bevy of B-Movie beasts while threatening to take over Halloween! It’s up to STRANGE JASON, MONSTERMATT PATTERSON, KRAIG KHAOS and a massive cast of creeps and horror hosts to save HALLOWEEN!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Solvao Solar Spotlights

Those who know me in real life are often surprised at just how little I decorate for Halloween. That’s mainly because I live in an apartment complex and we don’t get any trick-or-treaters. I put up a decoration or two so I can keep my tradition of decorating each year but that’s about it. I used to go all out back when I lived in an actual house, which is why my parents eventually recruited me to come to their house to decorate their house each year. It all started when they had lost their one Halloween decoration while reorganizing the house. Then something came up and my stepfather wasn’t able to help hand out candy to all their visitors. So my mother asked if I could swing by to help out and what started as a one-off assist became a yearly tradition. It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy the opportunity to dig into my old props again. The only problem is just how dark it gets. In many cases you can barely see the props I put out. Here’s an example:

You can tell from the outline that it’s a scarecrow and sadly that’s all you can tell. It’s a modified version one of those cute scarecrows one often sees around this time of year. My parents’ neighborhood is practically infested with them this year. I had such grand plans when I got it from a former neighbor of mine who didn’t want it any more. I was going sculpt a scary new burlap face for it and was considering giving it a bloody prop sickle. But my schedule changed when I moved and didn’t have the time. Making a simpler and less detailed burlap mask was also considered but that also fell through and I opted to just put a scarecrow mask I had bought at a clearance sale on it. I was able to stuff a red glow stick in there the year I debuted the prop and although it gave the mouth and eyes a nice little glow, it wasn’t enough to get a good look at the scarecrow’s face. Repositioning the prop each year never resulted in any success. This is where Solvao came in.

Solvao was kind enough to provide a pair of their spotlights, as one has to purchase each spotlight individually. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have left the other spotlight on scarecrow duty when I took this. Oh well. These spotlights use LEDs to provide lots of lighting power (200 total lumens from 4 individual 50 lumen LEDs) with little heat and much less electrical requirements than traditional lights. You can adjust both the angle of the light and angle of the solar panel using knobs, which both makes it easy to place them where they’ll get the most sunlight and project their own light where you want it. The panel can be adjusted 180 degrees up or down and the spotlight itself and be adjusted 90 degrees up or down. Such a degree of control is a must of haunt lighting given how light from low angles often makes things look spookier. They also provide attachable stakes for ground placement and you also have the option of mounting them on a wall (a trio of screws are provided, in addition to the light, stake and instructions). Speaking of which, the instructions state you should charge the lights in direct sunlight for 6-8 hours prior to using them. The “low brightness” setting will last for 6-9 hours while the “high brightness” setting lasts 3-5 hours.

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Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils II

It’s been many years since the last collection of free pumpkin carving stencils was posted here. So you’d think it would be a piece of cake to come up with a new batch, right? Wrong!

I even tried hitting Google Books to see if I could find any vintage examples. Although the “stencil” I found in Volume 7, Issue 8 of The Kindergarten and First Grade was intended for use with a construction paper figure, I was able to alter it into the stencil illustrating this article. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a matter of just erasing the pumpkin shape and changing each part of the face black with a few mouse clicks. Doing that still left white outlines which had be be carefully erased and filled in. Additional cleaning up to remove blemishes was also needed. But since the end result only works for small pumpkins, I had to keep searching. Traditional Jack O’ Lantern faces seem to have fallen out of favor, as many free temples are just logos or symbols. These stencils from NASA are a great example. Thankfully some people are still making face templates, like’s stencil which replicates the Jack O’ Lantern seen in the opening credits of the original Halloween. Here are the other free stencils I was able to dig up:

Real Simple
The Spruce
Skip To My Lou
HGTV Canada
Pumpkin Pile
Martha Stewart
Pumpkin Masters
Fantasy Pumpkins
Orange and Black Pumpkins
Better Homes and Gardens
Universal Studios Hollywood

I should explain the Pumpkin Masters link. It’s actually a link to an album on the company’s Facebook page and you don’t need to click any of the links in the description for each stencil. Instead, click on the image of your choice and right click once it fully loads. Then select “View Image.” Then use your browser’s magnifying tool to get a full sized version of the stencil to print out. I should also note how some of the stencil links were previously used in the “Tricks and Treats” article series. Those articles are worth seeking out due to all the other coll stuff they contain.

As noted in previous “How-To” posts, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting or downloading from any links on those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.

Music to Haunt By: Dark Rave Volume 1

Virgil Franklin
Official Site
Dark Rave Volume 1, Lame Duck Digital 2018

Some of you might have heard about Dark Rave Volume 1 thanks to the streaming preview tracks on his new website, but I learned about it a different way. I had been talking with Virgil Franklin last year about my review of Halloween and he told me of his desire to create an album consisting entirely of spooky music with a beat. Although intrigued, I had initially been concerned about not being able to review it since I had long since run out of haunt ideas to use with such music. Thankfully I had nothing to fear since the Master of the Ethermuse has once again released an album which filled my mind with ideas!

“Dark Rave” opens with moody pounding coupled with a catchy beat. This is followed by constant wooing variations which are such tom remind you of a theremin. Darkness and electronic dance music aspects join in for a spell. The volume gets softer, and the feel becomes more chilling prior to dropping the faux theremin tones. This would work in haunt scenes like a haunted factory, alien room or mad scientist’s lab. Setting up a mad scientist’s lab is a lot easier than people think. Plastic drink containers can be repurposed into lab equipment and ordinary foods can become extraordinary organs with a little work. But if you wanted a jarred specimen whose origins are even harder to determine, these fake intestines are just what you need! Aluminum foil (or gray paint), cardboard boxes and plastic bottle caps can be used to create machinery. Adding some printable gauges adds to the effect. I don’t know if electric guiros exist, but “Living Dread” definitely shows what they sound like. I love the guitar-like backing and how a beat with creeping feel joins in. The track gets pretty heavy and drops the “guiros,” but they return soon enough. They might remind you of static, electronic glitches or screeching insects. The ending is sudden ending but on the other hand, it doesn’t have a lengthy period of silence like several of the album’s other tracks. Playing it on a low volume will minimize the technology feel of the “guiros” and allow its use in a hallway filled with spiders or a hall where vines try to grab visitors as they pass through. Those intrigued by the vine idea will have to sort through several videos to get a rough idea on how to construct it. I recall it being run off a wiper motor, but using several oscillating fans could achieve a similar movement effect. Those preferring a more straightforward tutorial should opt for the spider hallway. Although they might want to paint a more scientifically accurate number of spider eyes so guests know spiders are watching them and not something else. Although the idea of something else lurking in the dark might be more frightening to some. It’s all up to you.

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Sounds to Scare By: Pepperhead Studios

Pepperhead Studios
Official Site
Haunted 2016, self-release 2016

Pepperhead Studios is the creation of musician Jeremy dePrisco and it’s more than a place where people can record their work. It’s also the name he asked me to use when I noted one of his albums in an article last year. He’s best known for his electro-acoustic “Shivasongster” performances and as part of the Americana duo “Fricknadorable” which he performs in with his wife Audra. Although both members of the band were involved in the creation of Haunted 2016, it’s very different from their usual mix of ukulele and blues guitar. But how did such an album come to be?

The answer is very simple: Jeremy dePrisco loves Halloween and, like so many enthusiasts of the holiday, had amassed a large collection of scary sound effects albums over they years. When you enjoy such albums and have access to your own recording facility, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll create one of your own. The project combined material taken from his past field recordings and all new material. There’s not a single sample from another artist’s work, internet download or synth creation to be found and that’s a welcome breath of fresh air in this sort of project. Both the dePrisco created the new sounds in a single location over the course of two weeks in October 2016, with Jeremy handling the foley effects and both providing the vocals. The fact their home is a former church made for some great acoustics and kept the need for processing to a minimum. The resulting hour and a half’s worth of material was played on the same day the album was released: Halloween!

“Haunted 2016 Part 1” runs a little under 8 minutes and it’s actually the album’s shortest track! Given the length of the album, I can’t list every single thing in detail. But I’ll try to cram in as much as I can! We get to hear clanking chains, metal objects being dropping on ground, evil laughter and stomping feet in addition to the droning background sounds. It might sound vaguely like music at times but an email to the artist quickly confirmed it’s actually just sound effects that have been slowed down. The dropping sound effects happen many times throughout the track (and even close it out). The chains, stomping and evil laughter all return at various points as well. There’s also heavy breathing, rumbling noises, knocks, groaning drones in the distance, moaning, unfamiliar noises, monstrous yells and screams, a faraway creaky door, storm sounds, spooky breathing, two sources of sinister chuckling and even a power tool!

“Haunted 2016 Part 2” opens with soft clanking chains and rumbling rolls. The soft zombie-like groans in the back are a great touch. The rumbling noise vaguely reminds me of stone slab being moved at times. There’s also more groaning and stuff I can’t quite place. An evil laugh, monsters breathing and other noises are heard at times and creates the sense of monsters skulking about in the dark. A shaken coil creates an interesting effect too. Although there are scattered drum strikes, they don’t sound like traditional music of any kind. Something can be heard being dragged on floor when more rumbling comes in. The coil effect actually gets a solo at one point before we hear a table being moved about and breathing. Later a power tool and something large dropping or slamming can be heard. This leads to a monster breathing and more distant tool sounds. We can ever hear something being cut at one point. After some slamming, cranking and stomping, a door can be heard opening. More distant doings are heard in the background, along with a soft thud. More coil noises can be heard, along with breathing, crying or laughing, coughing, an evil child laughing and whispering, drum strikes, a door opening and wet eating sounds. The track closes with the sounds of cranking and and cries of pain to imply a torture rack being used.

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