Oct 21 2016

Music to Haunt By: Psych Ward Psymphony

Psych Ward Psymphony
Official Site
Psych Ward Psymphony, self-release 2012
Psych Ward Psymphony 2013, self-release 2013


Psych Ward Psymphony is shrouded in mystery. All that can be said for certain is how it was founded by musician Jamie James. No, not the guy from Steppenwolf! This Jamie James is also a haunt industry insider and has been working in the business since 1995. The full list of members is as follows:

Jamie James
Dan Gilman
Randy Raatz
Andy Ussery
Lloyd Mitchell
Sean Reed
Nick Rogers
Josh Sumley

The seeds of the group were planted when one attraction he was working at was in need of a short original composition. After seeing the high cost estimates from the musicians, Mr. James told the haunt owners he could do it for nothing. With the help of a friend, they created what could be considered PWP’s first song. He still felt the need to create dark music even after October ended and soon called up some other musically inclined friends. They decided to just have fun with it and not to have any set goals other than keeping the tracks around 5 minutes and making sure they were doing something different. The end result was the band’s 2012 self-titled debut album.

Despite the obvious Halloween connection, Psych Ward Psymphony starts off with a pair of creepified Christmas carols! “Jingle Bells PWP” has dark, foreboding jingling bells lead into a very dark piano rendition of this Christmas classic…then the guitars kick in to rock your face off! The scary, growling vocals are a great touch! “Holly & the Ivy” starts with a mix of jingling and tolling bells. But soon an eerie little girl sings “la la la” and blasting guitars usher in an adult woman (Jacquie Shifflette Darbro) singing the lyrics of this lesser-known Christmas song. The creative use of feedback and haunting organ work keep this from simply being a standard cover song. There’s even some season’s beatings thrown in for good measure! Those without any winter plans for their haunt should skip right to “Turn Back.” A scary organ and traditional Halloween sound effects like a wolf howling and wailing wind join a voice whispering for the listener to turn back while it’s still not too late. But when you hear a vampire welcoming you in with dark piano accompaniment, you know it’s far too late to escape. Just like the poor sap you hear trying to laugh it off as ghostly wails are heard. Having a sepulchral voice mocking him during the guitar segment is an excellent touch, as is the evil laughter which takes us out. The sound of a crackling record brings in “Death Waltz.” But the static and feedback soon turn into headbanging rock greatness and chilling sound effects. This contrasts nicely with the light (but intense) piano and percussion. In addition to the end portion being reminiscent of a certain John Carpenter horror favorite, this could also be used in the ballroom of a “Haunted House of Rock.” Another song with potential use inside of a haunt is “The Morrigan.” Named for a type of spirit, it appropriately features Jacquie Shifflette Darbro providing beautiful, but unnerving vocals. She’s presumably the one doing the crying later in the track. There are plenty of interesting touches in this, such as the sound effects, dreamy harps and how parts of the track sound like a radio tuning into two stations at once. There’s also some amazing stereo channel effects which make it seem like the audio is traveling across channels. Since there’s an evil voice which pops in from time to time to explain what the subject of this track is, why not use it for a display in your haunt’s spooky museum? The Morrigan can either be represented by a flying crank ghost or a puppet operated by a performer to trick patrons into thinking they’re watching an animated prop. Their reactions when the “prop” lunges at them are always worth it!

The sounds of birds and someone walking outdoors take us into “Corpses,” where Robbie Rothzchild provides the sinister vocals about watching people die from disease. The spooky piano work, percussion, guitars and (of course) feedback provide the perfect backing. “Bad Place” is my favorite track of the album and has already gotten played several times over the course of the year. What starts off as a moody outdoor soundscape leads to a rockin’ musical conversation between a little kid and their grandfather about an old house. The child’s humorous commentary throughout the track was an excellent touch. I had to get up to answer my front door when I first listened to this track and noticed how the further away I got, the creepier it sounded. I could barely make out the music and sound effects, but the lyrics became nearly impossible to understand and sometimes sounded like screeching. So if you really want to freak people out, play this at a low volume as they wander through a dark maze or hallway. Cymbals are added to the rock mix in “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” along with a distorted recording of a man moaning. His moaning soon becomes rambling about his mother and people meeting gruesome fates in a house. The zapping sound effects are just one of the many effective touches, which also include the doctor’s notes at the end. This album revels in static and feedback, but “Hell’s Hell” stands out with its creative mixing. There’s plenty of slow, moody rock with some soft organ work and evil laughter thrown in for good measure. “The Death Lord” opens with a wide selection of disturbing sounds and horror movie stingers. It’s mostly wailing guitars, screaming and drilling after that, but the titular character does provide some commentary from time to time. Syncing this with an animatronic display of a torturer and some victims would be incredible. A motor starts up the carousel music in “12 Clowns,” which is soon followed by a man singing about 12 silly clowns. What a shame he gets choked to death before he can finish! His killer takes over the hosting duties and dumps us into a world of unnerving music (both of the rock and circus varieties), crying, laughter and other sound effects. You might want to use a motion detector to have this start playing as soon as people enter your haunted circus room. Things come to a close with “The Survivors?” Sirens blare and the wind howls as a whispering voice telling us to follow her. Such whispers occur many times under the moody guitar work and organ work. There are so many other creative audio effects to enjoy as well!

With its (to quote the band) “live vibe” and being designed for haunted attractions to play in order to entertain their guests, Psych Ward Psymphony decided to adopt a more traditional approach for their next album in order to obtain wider appeal. Something including dark ambient tracks which could be used inside a haunt. Several guest performers were called in as well. The end result? Let’s take a look…

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 20 2016

Music to Haunt By: The Return

It’s another exciting year in the world of spooky ambient music. Midnight Syndicate has released both an official soundtrack to the Zombies!!! board game and reissued the long out of print Realm of Shadows with some new material under the name Raven’s Hollow: Realm of Shadows Reissue. Grave Tone Productions unleashed Found Remains…Songs from the Grave and are also hard at work on a new full length album as I type this. I have yet to listen to Desolate Horror by Shadow’s Symphony, but I’m intrigued by how it seems to include aspects of winter weather into its overall mood. But that’s not all! Music For Haunts has a new album called Theatre Macabre and it turns out I missed out on publicizing last year’s release of Circus of Nightmares from Jerry Vayne! There are also plenty of other updates I’ll be spreading out over the course of my “Music to Haunt By” reviews for 2016. So while you’re waiting for said reviews, I hope you’ll read through last year’s crop of articles:

Music to Haunt By and Sounds to Scare By: The Return
Music to Haunt By: Jeannie Novak
Music to Haunt By: The Incredible Dark Carnival
Music to Haunt By: Nightmare Chronicles
Music to Haunt By: The Dark Rift
Sounds to Scare By: Sinister Sounds

I also recommend reading my review of Midnight Syndicate’s Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering for some ideas on using select tracks in haunted attractions (or haunted attraction scenes) with a Christmas or winter theme.

It turns out I forgot to share the last few tie-in episodes of the podcast devoted to spooky ambient music, so please enjoy the 2014 and 2015 installments.

This year’s free downloads come from Music for Zombies, whose Halloween and Zombies in Plymouth releases offer both music and soundscapes. Halloween will also include a soundscape guide filled with tips of using these downloads at some point in the future.

Thankfully I also have a special sound tip from the Mission Creeps that you don’t have to wait for! It turns out they have been running a home haunt every Halloween for several years instead of doing the expected Halloween performance. But this doesn’t mean their music can’t be heard there. They have a person hidden away with some audio equipment who plays their “Land of the Departed” soundscape and other cuts from their 2012 album Halloween. This person also uses a voice processor to distort their voice while they make comments at various haunt visitors through a microphone! Imagine going through a haunted house and having a mysterious voice comment about what you are doing, what you are wearing or even address you by name. It would certainly add an extra bit of fear to the event and I encourage you all to give this a try at your next haunt.

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 given here. Attempt at your own discretion.

Oct 19 2016

Cthulhu: The Ancient One Tribute Box


Have you ever seen little desktop gift sets at your local book store? Although the subject of this review is similar to such products, I think you’ll soon agree with my view that Chronicle Books went the extra mile. “Cthulhu: The Ancient One Tribute Box” contains a Cthulhu statue, 48 page illustrated book by Steve Mockus and display stand. I especially liked the translated and untranslated “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming” quotes on either side of the box. Detailing is also a major feature of the statue, right down to the alien writing on all sides of the base of the statue. Which is to be expected given how it was sculpted by Gentle Giant. Getting back to the packaging. the previously mentioned stand actually acts as the back of the detailed packaging. So keep that in mind when you’re opening this. The statue is secured very snugly in its plastic casing, so I recommend pushing from the back of said packaging at the base of the statue after removing the plastic ties holding it in place. If you’re careful, the base should pop up and give you enough room to grab onto so you can pull out the statue.

The paperback book is hidden inside the display stand itself and I imagine most diehard Lovecraft fans will leave it there after initially reading through it. It seems more intended as a beginner’s guide to Cthulhu, although diehards might enjoy some of the images. In addition to Lovecraft’s sketch of the Cthulhu idol he described in “The Call of Cthulhu” (which inspired this statue), there are also images from comic books, RPGs and even some Etsy products! So unless you’re planning on giving this to someone who’s only vaguely familiar with Lovecraft’s work but is interested, I imagine you’ll only be sliding it out when curious guests ask what the deal is with the octopus-headed guy.

Let’s compare the publicity image with some pictures I took of the idol in all its glory:




As you can see, the statue is actually much darker than it is in the promo shot and the display’s base is black rather than green. I actually prefer it this way. One of the reviewers on Amazon posted some shots of it next to a lighter in order to give a sense of scale, but I opted to use something everyone would have around the house:



I probably should have put the tube next to the statue without its display stand, but I think you still get the idea. It’s 4.5 inches of solid resin, so it’s only half an inch shorter than your standard action figure. It’s fairly heavy for something that size and could easily be used as a paperweight. I imagine others will use it in role-playing game sessions or staging a Lovecraftian tableaux. My favorite review even brought up the idea of buying two and using them as bookends! But given the season, let’s talk about using it as a Halloween decoration or as a prop in a haunted attraction.

Although you could easily use it as set dressing in just about any kind of spooky room, I think this deserves something better. Imagine it on display in an “art ghoulery” with other strange statues and creepy paintings. Having some small flaming containers or flickering candles (both with fake flames, of course) on either side would be a great effect. Although my flaming cauldron prop was too big to include in the picture, here’s how the light from it makes the Cthulhu statue look in the dark:


Please click on the above to get the full size image, as it looks incredibly cool. I chose to include the display stand, but you can easily just use the statue. It would look even better with a prop Necronomicon in front of it. Since visitors to your haunt might be tempted to walk off with it, either set up the scene behind a barrier or have a hidden assistant in a black hooded robe ready to chase out those who dare disturb their ritual.

I have been looking for a Cthulhu idol of some kind for ages and the affordable “Cthulhu: The Ancient One Tribute Box” is an (elder) godsend! I love how it actually looks like a statue rather than just a depiction of Cthulhu in miniature like many other such products out there. Let’s not even get into all the cutesy stuff. It’s not too big and not too small. In other words, it’s just the size I want at just the price I want to pay!

Special thanks to Chronicle Books for the review copy!

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 (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

Oct 18 2016

Nightmare Marlborough


Location: 111 Brimsmead Street Marlborough, MA 01752 (Directions)
Dates/Times: Oct 29 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Oct 30 5:00 – 9:00 pm (5:00 – 7:00 kid friendly), Oct 31 6:00 – 9:00 pm (Dates/Times and prices subject to change as years go by)
Admission: One non-perishable food item (per person)
Phone: N/A
Website: https://www.facebook.com/NightmareMarlborough/home?ref=page_internal

Nightmare Marlborough has already made quite an impact despite having only been running since 2013. They briefly coexisted with the Haunted Woods Food Drive until said attraction’s demise in 2014. Thankfully, Nightmare Marlborough has not only continued the tradition of collecting food to help the less fortunate but they were also given numerous props from the Haunted Woods Food Drive to use in their attraction. They have even built up enough of a following to allow them to raise funds from Kickstarter campaigns and selling custom shirts. This lets them keep improving the haunt year after year without having to charge a cash admission fee. This also lets them keep changing the theme every year. I visited when they tackled the popular asylum theme in 2015. In addition to the house featuring numerous spooky decorations in its windows, the front yard was all decked out like a graveyard and filled with props from Haunted Woods Food Drive. Seeing the electric chair and bloody fridge again was a nice treat while the lighting and props created especially for Nightmare Marlborough were also well done. This also applies to the props in the haunt. I saw a “skin curtain” which I thought was an expensive, professionally made prop was actually completely homemade! I barely managed to catch a costumed actor sneaking up behind me while waiting for the tour to begin. As I suspected, this was a good indicator of the things to come and I wasn’t in for a lazy haunt where people in masks randomly pop out and yell “Boo” at you.

The tour was led by “Nurse Ratchet” (who wore makeup which looked especially spooky under a black light). Her matter-of-fact delivery about the facility and its inhabitants greatly aided the overall mood of the haunt. I vividly recall her pointing out a guest book in the first room and expressing disappointment about the pencil being missing. She never came out and said it directly, but I assume this was done to plant idea of being attacked with it in peoples’ minds. Having the last name in the book be “Hannibal Lector” was a great touch as well. The rooms were often filled with lots of little details and references to horror movies. In the rare cases where detailing was sparse, the use of simple white sheets as walls was enhanced by the use of bloody writing and black lights. There were plenty of misdirection and varied scares from the performers and even some interesting twists on asylum haunt staples like the shock treatment room. The free candy in the haunted pharmacy didn’t hurt either!

Another aspect of Nightmare Marlborough I found to be impressive was how accommodating they are. As the regular haunt might be too intense for some children, they offer a toned down version with the lights on at certain times. I understand that they even have kids acting as the tour guides to make things even more reassuring to younger visitors. But they also show plenty of courtesy to adult patrons. One employee was even nice enough to hold the leash of a dog while the owner went through the attraction! Parking can be a bit tricky since this is held in a residential neighborhood. I wasn’t entirely sure if it was okay to park where I did, but thankfully the length of the tour let me get out said spot quickly enough (without feeling like it ended too soon) even if it wasn’t a designated parking spot. I wish I had asked someone there since I’m sure they would have been happy to help me.

Sadly, there were a few flaws. The haunt’s thin plastic outer walls meant you could hear everything in advance while waiting in line. While hearing the screams was a good mood-builder, hearing the tour guide’s narration and getting spoilers wasn’t. The cover at the exit of the haunt kept getting lifted up by the wind and exposing the last scene. This was worsened by the bored actor’s decision to make music with the props while he waited (but he did do a great job once people came into his area). Situations like this make choosing a rating especially difficult. Training actors is relatively simple, but changing the structure of a haunt isn’t. Due to the nonprofit nature of the event and how it has to be in a temporary structure, using heavy walls might not even be possible. Zoning issues might be a factor as well. If this is the case, perhaps they can try adapting future guide scripts to avoid this issue (assuming they don’t decide stop using guides). But that might not be necessary. For you see, Nightmare Marlborough is going to be expanding its layout and seems to be adding new walls to the mix. So their 2016 version of the haunt could potentially offer an experience free of the issues it had in 2015. So don’t hesitate to head over if this piques your interest because I’m sure it will be worth it!

Final verdict: 3 skulls out of 5 (with a potential for 3.5 to 4 skulls with the upcoming expansion)

Special thanks to Nightmare Marlborough for use of the image!

Oct 17 2016

Bedtime Scaries


An illustration of the classic children’s poem “The Spider and the Fly” made quite an impression on Reggie Oliver when he was younger. But it wasn’t a good one, seeing as how his mother had to destroy it after it gave him so many nightmares. He confronted this bit of childhood trauma years later by writing “Come Into My Parlour.” I managed to find the image which started it all and it’s interesting to see how his memory made it much more disturbing when he described it in the story. Somehow I think this helps make the story’s antagonist that much more sinister. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way. I also hope you won’t have the issues I’ve been having with Google Books suddenly not displaying parts of the story. But I do have a solution if you do. Just press the next page button a few times and then push the previous page button a few times. You might have to do it more than once, but it will eventually reveal the previous unavailable pages.

Although best known for his scary stories for children and young adults, Goosebumps scribe R.L. Stine has also written horror fiction aimed at older readers. Here’s one such example called “Welcome to the Club.”

Although I have already shared one of John M. Cozzoli’s stories in a previous installment, I now want to share something which lets him truly show his talent. So with that in mind, here’s “Tommy Boy.” Like many of the stories in this post, this contains cursing and subjects not suited for younger readers.

If that doesn’t have enough zombies for you, then check out “The Hunched Monkey: A Zombiefest Beginning” by Eddie Jose Morales.

Wait a second. Have I ever shared any werewolf stories here before? I’ll correct this oversight by sharing Michael Marshall Smith’s “Rain Falls” and Hector Hugh Munro’s “Gabriel-Ernest.” You might remember Mr. Munro better as “Saki” from the last time I shared one of his stories.

Eric D. Cota might be better known around here for his horror audio productions, but he’s just as comfortable with the written word. So let’s head over to his website to enjoy some “Tasty Scraps.”

Clarence Aaron Robbins (better known as “the guy who wrote the stories that inspired the movies The Unholy Three and Freaks or “Tod Robbins”) wrote a novella called “Mysterious Martin” in 1912. He expanded and revised it in 1920 as “For Art’s Sake” and released his final version as “The Master of Murder” in 1933. I was able to track down the “For Art’s Sake” edition and I highly recommend reading it. Not only is it the earliest example of the “person has to kill in order to create masterful works of art” plot I’ve ever seen, but it also features a book which compels people to commit murder. But it only has that effect on the reader if they have a certain level of education!

The TV special Ghostwatch is infamous for never getting rebroadcast in its country of origin due to the reaction to its initial airing. So you know you’re in for a treat when the original writer, Stephen Volk, decided to create a sequel in short story form called “31/10.” Other unique takes on tales involving the restless dead which should be of interest include “Hunger: A Confession” by Dale Bailey and “The Haunted Dragoon” by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.

Those who write Lovecraftian fiction seem to have a form of tunnel vision in their approach to Mythos beings. With all the lore about forbidden tomes and rituals, the fact Cthulhu and company are mostly just extraterrestrials is barely touched upon. But imagine if someone living in a world where Lovecraft’s tales are true only focused on the extraterrestrial nature of those beings. Pouring through books on alien encounters might help inform them about the Mi-Go and Elder Things, but their neglecting other sources would also make them blissfully ignorant of things like the existence of Deep Ones in Innsmouth. If this sounds like the sort of concept you would love to see explored, “Rules For Monsters” by Michael Minnis is just what you’re looking for.

Mark McLaughlin’s “A Beauty Treatment For Mrs. Hamogeorgakis,” Al Hewetson’s “…It…” and Michael Chabon’s “The God of Dark Laughter” are other interesting takes on Lovecraftian subjects, with Chabon’s tale also acting as a fresh new take on the subject of clowns in horror.

But H.P. Lovecraft was influenced by others just as much as others were influenced by him. His approach to ghouls owes much to the Edward Lucas White story “Amina.” You can easily see which part of it provided the most inspiration to Providence’s most celebrated horror author. Sadly you can also see where some of his more unfortunate attitudes were further fueled by. Many authors approached Lovecraft to help them get their work published in Weird Tales. But rather than just provide a rough story idea and let him ghostwrite the rest like most of Lovecraft’s clientele, Adolphe Danziger De Castro took a different approach. He took a story he had published years before called “The Automatic Executioner” and let Lovecraft rework it into “The Electric Executioner.” That link also includes his story “A Sacrifice To Science,” which Lovecraft changed from a boring slog of a read to an actual horror story called “Clarendon’s Last Test.” While “The Automatic Executioner” is at least worth looking at as a novelty, the other story can be safely skipped.

Jeannie Novak recently released a trio of stories connected to her Horrorshow line of albums: “Badlands” (inspired by Horrorshow: Ghost Town), “Fanfare” (inspired by Horrorshow: Big Top) and “Descent” (inspired by Horrorshow: Mad House).

Although celebrated horror author Brian Lumley has written several works inspired by Lovecraft, he also has written unrelated stories like “David’s Worm.”

I had been trying to track down Gouverneur Morris’ “Back There In The Grass” for years and it’s great to finally know the name of that one really weird story I once read in Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night. My hazy memory made me think it was about a living doll with a most unusual secret, but it turns out I was wrong and the story is even more bizarre than I remembered!

Let’s close things out with a real bedtime story! It’s the Grimm fairy tale favorite “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers,” which is sometimes referred to as “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers.” Pleasant screams!

Oct 17 2016

6’+ Episode 193 is Up!

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

“Eat every last bite — who cares if it’s rotten? This episode goes through some leftover Halloween candy while playing some scary music — favorites of the past and some new tunes. Hear tracks from HORROR OF ’59, WORMWOOD INN, BLOODSUCKING ZOMBIES FROM OUTER SPACE and more. If you have any stale jawbreakers, throw them at Monstermatt Patterson during THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) 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.

Oct 16 2016

It Came From Amazon VIII

Diamond Select has finally addressed your pressing need for Creature from the Black Lagoon ice cubes.

Something tells me this VHS release of the second “Blind Dead” movie got very popular after the release of a certain 1981 horror movie starring Bruce Campbell. For the record, this film was using the term “Evil Dead” in its title long before Raimi ever did.

Many horror fans are aware that there used be an official Fright Night comic book. What they might not know is just how far it drifted from the source material. I don’t remember alien warriors or brain-sucking bats in the movies, do you?

I may love Shipyard’s pumpkin ale, but not enough to use soap made with it.

The existence of King Kong checkers baffles me. But vinyl figures of Kong and the Tyrannosaurus rex from the original film painted to match their monochrome screen appearance? Those make complete sense.

Did you miss out on snagging Mego’s “Mad Monster Castle” playset? Considering how rare it was, that description probably fits the bulk of you reading this. Then do I have some good news for you!

You have to love how the makers of this bucket of toy dinosaur skeletons decided to throw in some haunted forest accessories. I know they’re skeletons, but it does seem like a bit of a stretch.

A licensed Freddy Krueger toaster. I guess that makes a little more sense than the Godzilla pizza cutter.

Speaking of the Big G, fans of the “Micronauts” toys should be especially interested in these Godzilla and Gamera toys. Godzilla fans might be interested in this album covering many of Akira Ifukube’s compositions, including his Godzilla cues and music which never appeared in any kaiju films.

Vinyl snobs rejoice! The original Tales from the Crypt “Crypt Jam” single is available on Amazon! Speaking of the Crypt Keeper, you have to wonder why the people who released this particular DVD release of Tales from the Cryptkeeper opted not to include the star of the show on the packaging.

If you ever wondered what The Pit would have been like before the people behind it decided to muck around with the script, just pick up a copy of the novelization. Similarly, The Cry of Cthulhu is a novelization of the script of a Lovecraft movie which never got made due to budgetary issues. It’s a real shame, as the preview is a great read and the story would have been amazing to see on the big screen. It’s part of a planned series of five novels, the second of which is Shoggoth (which is also based on an unfilmed script).

Speaking of novelizations, the one for The Dark features an undead killer rather than the alien monster seen in the film. But this was not actually the original plan for the movie! According to the film’s DVD commentary, the original idea was for the killings to be committed by a crazed human murderer. And get this: the novel version of Brain Damage was written by the original editor of Fangoria!

It’s a shame the Amazon listing for Marc Cerasini’s Godzilla and the Lost Continent only shows the cover art and doesn’t offer any copies of this unpublished Godzilla novel. I really had my hopes up after finding a listing for one of the rare “Godzilla: Doom Island” toys.

While I’m plugging books, I might as well include the newest book from our very own Monstermatt Patterson.

Making a shockumentary to cash in on the popularity of the Faces of Death series just wasn’t enough for some people. No, they apparently felt they had to try tricking people into thinking their rip-offs were official installments!

Oct 15 2016

Fear For Your Ears VII


Both Earbud Theater and Prometheus Radio Theater have a wealth of creepy tales, as do Hypnogoria (which often features Mythos tales) and the Odditorium. AudioComics also has some free goodies linked to their Horrorscopes line of classic stories and original works.

Those with a taste for comedy might prefer the sci-fi adventures of The Mustache Rangers or the warped fantasy that is The Baba Yaga Saga. Speaking of warps, Warp’d Space is a space opera from the creator of 19 Nocturne Boulevard. Fans of that might also be interested in The Leviathan Chronicles and Edict Zero – FIS

Hibernal combines music and science fiction storytelling, as does The New Albion Radio Hour, A Dieselpunk Opera. If you want a spooky audio tale with a focus on music, try James M. Stephenson’s take on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

SoundCloud is just as fertile as ever when it comes to finding material for this series. There’s Plan B Theatre Company and RadioWest’s adaptation of Frankenstein, Northwestern University Radio Drama’s Halloween Sketch Show, DDMPC’s Halloween special, Clefton Notesmith’s original scary story, Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff’s Church of Infinity audio book, Neil Buchanan’s “Waiting on the Road to Palladium” PrateekSG’s “An Everyday Apocalypse,” Zom-B’s reading of “A Shack in the Woods” and Oliver Chambers’ Lovecraftian audio drama “Aeons of Scorn: The Horror at Errwood Graveyard.”

Speaking of Lovecraft, Oliver Wyman did an amazing job on “Dagon,” pj090691 covered “The Picture in the House,” Quentin Lewis reads “The Colour Out of Space,” David Alnwick handled “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and Random Miracles performed “Herbert West, Reanimator.” Since it just isn’t October without some Edgar Allan Poe in the mix, here’s an abridged take on “The Masque of the Red Death” from phat controller and a streaming version of “The Pit and the Pendulum” from Xe Sands.

Speaking of streaming, Iain Hepburn put up his Doctor Who spin-off audio drama In2Minds. As it was only authorized by the creator of the Rutan alien race and not the BBC, the Doctor doesn’t make an appearance in it.

ambientnightproductions’ snazzy “Zombie Apocalypse” and the zombie serial HG World are sure to satisfy any living dead aficionados.

Speaking of serials, Podiobooks.com has numerous free horror audio books available in serialized form. Those favoring audio dramas will enjoy the Halloween specials from American Radio Theater. Oh, and be sure to leave your Halloween night free for hours of streaming audio horror from “Transcontinental Terror.”

It’s been ages since I linked to something from the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, so please enjoy “Halloween in July” by Kevin Anderson. While we’re revisiting old friends, let’s listen to Radio Drama Revival’s look at an audio adaptation of “If You Take My Hand, My Son” by Scott Hickey and enjoy a sample from Colonial Radio Theatre’s Dead Ahead. Since I already have shared some of their extended samples, I thought it would be fun to share this full length “Movie in Your Mind” version of Originally Human by Eileen Wilks. This werewolf tale is recommended for mature listeners only.

Wikisource has great readings of stories like “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and poems like Lewis Carroll’s “Phantasmagoria” and “Jabberwocky.” Those craving more poetry can head over to the Internet Archive for James Champagne’s “Halloween Time.”

Realms of Insanity brings us an audio performance of H.P. Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” and Bandcamp has several of his other short stories from Spokenworld Audio. While you’re there, be sure to check out Jordan Reyne’s Remembering the Dead.

Last but not least is our podcast’s 2015 Halloween special, which features an audio drama about a Halloween curse acting as a break between music about October 31st.

As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading or streaming from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. Some downloads may not work in certain regions. Blah blah blah…

Oct 15 2016

Video Store Day Is Here!


If you somehow haven’t heard of Video Store Day, its official Facebook page has all the basic information you need about the event. But if you know about the event and don’t understand why it’s so important, here’s a little song for you:

Admittedly the subject of the song sells rather than rents movies and the singer has his tongue firmly in cheek at the ending, but the basic message is still important. Having a place to get movies is a good thing and potential future consequences have to be considered. Let’s look at a real life example. Hellboy II: The Golden Army got made due to the success of the first film’s rental and physical media sales. Since streaming and digital downloads have wiped out a good chunk of those markets, the chances of a third sequel getting made is very unlikely. It’s important to remember how not everyone who previously made up those markets switched over to this new method of distribution. In some cases, they can’t make the jump even if they wanted to due to the lack of high speed connections in their area. So keeping the availability of DVDs and Blu-Ray as high as possible is a worthwhile cause.

Happy Video Store Day!

Special thanks to Eyesore Cinema for use of the image!

Oct 14 2016

How To Build Haunted House Walls

Okay, so you know how to detail haunted house walls. But such knowledge means absolutely nothing without any walls to detail! So I have combed YouTube for the greatest selection of videos on the subject I could find. Although I tried to cover the greatest variety of walls possible, there is bound to be some repetition of information.

First up is a look at making free standing walls from MonstarCraft Productions:

Next comes a tutorial on walls made using plastic and wood by Sean Stephenson:

Alternately, you could try using the cloth and wood method demonstrated by Hawthorne Manor Haunted House:

Need modular walls for your haunt? Just watch the following videos from AHauntersLife:

Those who want foam board walls should head over to bradsboobarn:

Why not make your walls from free shipping pallets? That’s the method suggested by HalloweenHellmouth:

There’s always the tried and true option of plastic walls, as covered by Jay Rillo:

Finally, let’s look at an overall outdoor haunt setup from Pokoo:

Be sure to check on the building and zoning regulations in your area before constructing anything. There are usually special requirements for haunted houses and haunted attractions, which are sometimes found under categories like “temporary structure” and “special amusement buildings.” You might even need a lawyer for that sort of thing. I can’t say for sure since I’ve never built anything like this and only have the occasional comments from home haunters to go on. Your local fire and/or building departments will also need to inspect everything before people go through.

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 those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed in a video). Attempt at your own discretion. Nobody here is a lawyer and all legal matters discussed above are done so in the simplest, bare bones way. Consult a lawyer whenever possible.

Oct 13 2016

Yet More Vile Verses


Like the illustration? It’s linked to “A Halloween Thought” by the mysterious “H.M.Y.” Google Books also brings us poems like Charles Frederick White’s “Hallowe’en,” Blanche Elizabeth Wade’s “Jack-O’-Lantern’s Prank,” Stanley Schell’s “The Ghost of a Flower,” Carl J. Segerhammer’s “Halloween Party,” R. Chetwynd-Hayes’ “The Shadmock,” Ina A. Bickford’s “Falling Leaves,” Lulu G. Parker’s “Halloween,” Jack Prelutsky’s “It’s Halloween” Grace McKinley’s “The Pumpkin,” Marjorie Dillon’s “The Gobbled Goblin” and the unattributed “Two Hallowe’en Pumpkins” and a special nameless poem attributed to a “little girl of 14.” I also found a collection of poems there which includes “Halloween” by Arthur Cleveland Coxe, “The Hag” by Robert Herrick, “The Djinns” by Victor Hugo and “The Spell” by John Gay.

The Noctrium is home to numerous dark poems by James Colton, like “Malicious Lullaby,” “Cold,” “I Grin” and “An October Walk.”

Song writer Dean Farnell has penned numerous horror poems, including “The Nosey Ghost,” “Dracula’s Dilemma” and “The Death of Bela.” The classic Halloween website The Haunting also has plenty of spooky poems, as does bean.

The Library of Congress’ “A Poem a Day” program brings us Mac Hammond’s “Halloween.” Speaking of unexpected resources for poetry, Halloween Forum is home to the spooky “The Dead Crawl North,” along with an entire thread called “Rhymes to wet the bed by.”

The Amazon preview of The Dark Side of Des Moines by D.X. Stone proves poems with innocuous titles like “Wicked Perm” and “Mr. Bright” can be creepy. While you’re there, be sure to check out the poster for the movie Monkey Shines in order to read the special poem made to promote the movie.

Wikisource is always a fruitful source of poetry leads, like “The Ghosts” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (not to be confused with her poem “Ghosts”) and “Raising the Devil: A Legend of Cornelius Agrippa” by Richard Harris Barham (under his pen name “Thomas Ingoldsby”). Edith Wharton’s “Grief,” “Moonrise over Tyringham” and “The Tomb of Ilaria Giunigi” would all make for moody reading tonight. John Keats was born on Halloween, so the inclusion of “On Death” is especially appropriate here. Other musings regarding death include “On the death of Mrs. N. P. Willis” by Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta, “Geist’s Grave” by Matthew Arnold, “At His Grave” by Alfred Austin, “Stanzas on the Death of Lord Byron” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and let’s not forget Emily Brontë’s “Death” and “The Night is Darkening Round Me.”

Oct 12 2016

Haunted Attraction Facade Art


I love the painted facades of the haunted attractions you see at fairs and carnivals. The garish, often airbrushed artwork never fails to catch the eye and promises so much that the stuff inside rarely lives up to your expectations. The more impressive the art, the greater chance you’ll end up like Lio once the ride is over. They’re similar to old VHS and DVD cover art in that way, although thankfully facades haven’t been taken over by Photoshop. But what about when the ride lives up to the facade? That’s a treat and it keeps so many of us handing over our tickets for a chance at another such experience.

Kurtis Primm’s article “The Dark Ride (A Memory)” has plenty of pictures and memories sure to tag at the nostalgia of any reader. But he’s not the only one to do so. “Carnival Glories” and its sequel from Dinosaur Dracula take an extensive look at the amazing artwork of the “Haunted Mansion” dark ride. Simple names like this led to many referring to such attractions as “haunted houses” and “spook houses” in addition to the industry term “dark rides.”

Mail Order Mysteries author Kirk Demarais has also cataloged the facades of numerous dark rides in addition to haunted houses in permanent locations who have adopted similar looks (more on that later). It was thanks to him that I learned dark rides are often referred to as “ghost trains” in Europe. The Wikimedia Commons galleries for “Ghost trains” and “Dark rides by country” are treasure troves of facade images. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Ghost Hole
Ghost Train
Phantom Chaser
Trimper’s Haunted House

I have a special treat for fans of that last image. While looking to see if any coffee table books about such facades existed (they don’t), I discovered how Trimper’s Rides by Monica Thrash and Brandon Seidl has the original sketch for that attraction’s facade! This is a truly rare look at designing of such rides and hopefully more will surface as time goes on. These examples also show facades are more than just cool paintings. There’s usually giant monsters, specialized lettering and other extra bits stuck on for good measure.

This brings us the the type of haunted attraction I usually discuss here. The ones which aren’t part of amusement parks and the like. Despite their different locations, more and more haunted houses, hayrides, etc. are adopting the wonderful style of dark ride facades! Here are some of the many wonderful examples I’ve been able to find so far:

Fear Factory SLC
The Haunted Hill
Laguna Niguel Haunted Trails
The Funhouse
Nightmare on the Bayou
The ScareFest
Sakats Manor
Backwoods Haunted House
Mop’s Maze at Sinister Haunted House
Slasher Wax Museum
Lake Eerie FearFest
Monster Mountain

After checking numerous reviews and other photographs associated with many of the haunted attractions noted above, I feel confident these kinds of haunts have a better chance of living up to the promises made by the artwork on their exteriors. Although this is sometimes due to their including such artwork inside the attraction itself. In addition to the airbrushed graphics in ChromaDepth 3D mazes, plenty of haunted attractions have sections using artwork similar to the kind seen on dark ride facades. You can see numerous examples of this in the following:

Scream Masters Haunted House
Trail of Fears
Urban Legends Haunted House
Woods of Terror

I should also point out how many carnival dark rides are designed to be disassembled, transported and reassembled at another location. This means the length of the ride is effected due to space restrictions, with multiple level rides being more expensive to move. Ride operators might not even have the necessary skills to make repairs if something is damaged on the course of the trip. Permanent attractions, especially ones which don’t rely entirely on mechanical effects, usually don’t have deal with such things and seem to be able to “bounce back” from mishaps faster as a result.

For more about dark rides, please visit:

Laff In The Dark – The World of Dark Ride and Funhouse Amusements
dark ride | Amusing the Zillion
Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts (DAFE)

Special thanks to Dinosaur Dracula for use of the image!

Oct 11 2016

Royalty Free Music For Haunted Attractions II

To rehash what I said the last time I covered this topic, royalty free music is music which can be used in a haunted attraction without requiring you to pay every time it gets used. In all but a few rare cases, a haunt owner only has to pay for the initial purchase of the music and its royalty free nature does NOT apply to use on in radio broadcasts, films, YouTube videos and the like (unless noted otherwise). I have divided the artists into three categories based on their policies for royalty free use. The order of my listing them is based solely on the order I learned about their policies for each category. Please do not hesitate to contact the artist if you have any other questions about using their work:

Registration and Public (and/or Web) Display Required:

Jeannie Novak – All tracks from her “Horror Show” albums (and only those albums) may be used on a royalty free basis as long as you provide proper credit and include a link on your website after registering. Alternately, providing public credit at your haunted attraction would suffice. If you contact her after purchasing her work, Jeannie will publicize your haunt online for free. If you are a nonprofit organization planning on running a fun house or wild west town during other months of the year, you could use the neutral selections from Horrorshow: Big Top and/or Horrorshow: Ghost Town on a royalty free basis in them as well.

Shadow’s Symphony – You must contact him in order to obtain a poster to display at your haunted attraction. Posters are available both via postal mail and digitally.

Registration Required:

Virgil Franklin – Please contact him to get release forms that will allow you to avoid fines by BMI or ASCAP when you play his music in your haunted attraction.


Darkmood – You must provide public credit at your haunt and link to his Facebook, CD Baby or Bandcamp page on your attraction’s website.

ExPsyle – You must provide public credit at your haunted attraction (or website for said attraction) if you want to use spooky music from A Collection of Creepy and/or Music Box Melodies. If you contact her with a link to your haunt’s online presence once you do so, she will include it in the albums’ descriptions so you get some free publicity.

Poison Props – Credit is required if the music is used on your haunted attraction’s website. If you only plan on using it in the attraction itself, then providing credit is optional.

The Blue Mask – You can use any music purchased from his royalty free sections, but providing credit is optional. He is happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Incompetech – If you give out program booklets at your haunt which discuss sponsors and the like, you can use his work under a free Creative Commons license as long as you provide the required credit and give the name of each track used in the program. This is a rare case of a Creative Commons license being allowed for a commercial venture. To use his work without having to provide credit, then you have to use one of the paid licenses. The $30 standard license covers the use of a single track and the $95 site license will allow you to use multiple tracks over a 10 year period. Although you have to pay again after the time period expires in order to renew, the site license is worth it since it allows you to use any new tracks he puts up during that time. Higher quality versions of his work can be obtained for a small price on other sites (which he provides links to). Please consult the licensing terms in the provided link for more information.

Fauxrror – After purchasing their album from the provided link, you can use their work in your haunt without providing any credit. They are also open to the idea of letting people use their work in films, so please feel free to contact them if you have any questions.

Psych Ward Psymphony – Proper credit must be given at your haunted attraction or on your website.

Scaretrax – As this is a side project by Sam Haynes to provide royalty free music for films and the like, no public display is required once you purchase the desired tracks. But you can print out and use a poster if you want to. Credit might be required for use in movies and YouTube videos, but you would have to ask him to be certain.

Even if the artist whose work you are using does not require you to provide any credit, I suggest that you do so anyway. Providing credit can set you apart from your competition. Customers might even like your haunted attraction more if they notice how other haunts in your area never publicize the music they use. Besides, it’s just a good thing to do! They might even share any pictures you might take of your doing so on their social media feed, especially if you provide the credit in an interesting way. If you have a graveyard in front of your attraction, having a custom tombstone promoting the use of their music is sure to get plenty of attention. A spooky wooden sign with the credit written in fake blood is also great, especially since wooden pallets can usually be obtained for free. The Monster Page of Halloween Project Links has numerous tutorials on making both types of props (among many others).

I’m sure I haven’t found all the sources of royalty free haunt music out there and will continue my search. Please feel free to send any leads you have my way.

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 (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion. Nobody here is a lawyer and all legal matters discussed above are done so in the simplest, bare bones way. Consult a lawyer whenever possible.

Oct 10 2016



“Corpsing” (sometimes known as “corpsifying”) refers to a technique where a prop skeleton is treated so that it looks like a decayed corpse. The most popular type of skeleton used for this is a human anatomical skeleton. Many tutorials refer to this kind of skeleton as a “Bucky,” due to the website “Bucky’s Boneyard” (now known as the “Skeleton Store”) being the most popular source of anatomical skeletons among the Halloween community. Sometimes those cheap plastic “blow mold” skeletons which show up in pharmacies each Halloween are used and as a result, you will occasionally see a reference to a “Blucky” every now and again. Sometimes this technique is even used on foam pumpkins, but for the purposes of this article the term “corpsing” will strictly be applied making fake human corpses. This also includes making a prop corpse from scratch.

The source of the above image, along with many of the previously mentioned facts, is from Fright Fx’s handy tutorial on the matter. The use of liquid latex and cotton shown there is the traditional method, but don’t think for a second that all corpses made this way will look alike. Similar tutorials, such as this one from Twisted Visions, prove otherwise. This method can also be use to corpse prop skulls and “ground breakers.”

Although popular, this is one drawback to this method: it takes ages for the latex to dry out! Thankfully, people soon discovered how using plastic tarps, paints and a heat gun could drastically reduce the completion time. My Ghoul Friday’s take on this method took a few hours to complete, but that was likely due to certain variation on technique and the level of detailing. Others have reportedly completed their corpses anywhere between thirty minutes to about an hour. Your mileage will vary. No matter how long it takes, you should also look into these bonus corpsing suggestions from Dr. TerrorEyes. Elements from both corpsing techniques also reminded me of the “Charred Corpse” prop tutorial by I Make Projects.

Speaking of My Ghoul Friday, her “Mr. Flopsy” and “Bubblehead” projects could be used when making a corpse without using a skeleton as a base. Just as the case is with corpsing, just because you use a foam wig head as the basis for the head of your corpse doesn’t mean all heads made this way will look the same. The Creepy House Next Door has proven that. If you only plan on using your corpse indoors, then you might want to consider using “Snot-Rag Mache.” As you can see, it you can use it to make a head using a plastic shopping bag stuffed with newspapers and using cotton balls soaked in glue make for amazing corpse eyeballs. Haunters Hangout discovered how liquid latex and old disposable pens (along with a few other items) can be used to create corpse hands. Searching further also turned up two more handy tutorials: “Corpse from Scratch” and “Creepy Shelly.” So no matter what method you decide to use, I’m sure your corpse prop will look great!

Special thanks to FrightFX for use of the image!

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.

Oct 10 2016

6’+ Episode 192 is Up!

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

“It’s the reason for the season, and the season is HALLOWEEN. For the first foray into the October Country, we have creepy music from BLACK FLAMINGOS, LUGOSI’S MORPHINE, THIS MACHINE KILLS ROBOTS and more. Monstermatt Patterson tries to trick or treat, only to wind up getting pelted with eggs in THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE. Plus, Kraig Khaos carves up another jack o’lantern with another KILLER KUT.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) 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.

Oct 09 2016

Classic Halloween Mask Decor

If you are looking for some spooky wall decorations for the Halloween season, or just because you’re awesome, look no further my friends.
Retro A Go-Go, along with artist Doug P’gosh have developed a new line of deadly decor called Vac-Tastic Plastic.
Giant, 2 Feet tall masks in the tradition of the classic Halloween masks of yesteryear.bloody-werewolf-vac-tastic-plast
The first 7 designs in the Ghoulsville series are garunteed to look amazing on your dungeon walls, or kept on display in the beautifully crafted box.
You can totally score you one at Retro A Go-Go
And while you’re there, join the Ghoulsville Scecret Society and be the first to know about Ghoulsville news and special deals. And you get a shirt,patch,button,certificate and an 8×10 glossy of the gorgeous Ghouleena.

Retro A Go-Go

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