Monthly Archives: December 2009

Merry Christmassacre (and Happy Horrordays)!

I originally wasn’t sure what I should call this post. Gravedigger’s Local 16 strives to be all-inclusive and not promote one holiday over another (save for Halloween), but I already used the title “Happy Horrordays” last year and didn’t want to repeat myself. So I decided to do three separate posts devoted to the holidays that get the most focus: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Although I came up with pun names like “Killwanzaa” and “Hanukkill” (or should it be “Chanukill?”), I couldn’t think of anything horror-related that would properly fit either of those holidays to my satisfaction. Maybe some of you out there in readerland could give me a few suggestions?

Then came the issue of coming up with horror pun names (and content) for holidays like HumanLight, (HumanFright? HumaimLight?) Festivus or any of the other holidays observed in December. In fact, it’s became more and more obvious to me why people opt to just stick with “Happy Holidays.”

So I just gave up and slapped together something involving clips from some Christmas-themed slasher movies I found on kennethjohnali’s Youtube channel:

Those of you who don’t get the joke should read this. And since that (reedited) clip from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 so short, let’s follow it up with more clips from the film:

And seeing as I already linked to some clips from that movie in July, here’s some stuff from the original Silent Night, Deadly Night:

Happy Horrordays!

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’tis the season…FOR HALLOWEEN SHOPPING?

It’s well known that November 1st is one of the best times to load up on Halloween goodies at bargain prices. But did you know that after-Christmas sales are also a good way to stock up on stuff for Halloween? Or that some decorations can be used on both holidays? The GdL gang has put their heads together and came up with two handy lists of ideas to help explain it all.

1. Have you ever considered buying a large, freestanding Santa Claus figure? Besides their most obvious use, it’s also possible to use them on Halloween by changing the clothing and adding a mask. Just be sure to test how much you can move the limbs and see if the clothes have Velcro straps before purchasing, as you don’t want a figure that’s impossible to change the clothing on. Although in such a scenario, a simple hooded black robe and overhead mask should be able to disguise Santa. To ensure maximum reusability, don’t glue down any new clothing or masks to the figure.

2. Christmas tree lights have so many uses on Halloween. Strands of orange and red lights can aid in fake fire effects, while blinking green lights can work well in a witch’s cauldron. They can also be used to create eyes glowing in the darkness or simply adorn equipment in a mad scientist’s laboratory or an alien spaceship. There are even some certain strands of lights that let you change the behavior of the bulbs with a push of a button, which let you create “chaser” and fading light effects. Be sure to read the packaging prior to buying in order to see if they give off a lot of heat or if lead paint was used on the wiring. And be sure to never leave them unattended for long periods of time (if at all) or have them near any flammable objects.

3. Speaking of lights, December is also a great time to pick up some flicker flame light bulbs. These little beauties are designed to mimic the look of real flames and can be used in certain types of electric candoliers, candelabras, chandeliers, and Christmas tree lights. Certain Halloween haunters and Christmas decorators will undoubtedly want to use such bulbs to create (more) realistic fake candles. Just be sure to check whether or not the bulbs you want are compatible with the item you wish to use them in!

4. Similarly, one can also choose from a variety of fake candles. Just be aware that you can’t change the bulbs on some models.

5. Although intended for use on Christmas, red and green colored light bulbs (standard size) also work well on Halloween.

6. Motorized color wheels are used by some to bathe their Christmas trees in varying shades of color. Home haunters can use a hidden one to create “magical” effects for witch and wizard-related displays. Or, if they use a homemade plexiglass disc with a black bowtie-like section painted on, they can make props placed in dark areas appear and disappear.

7. Those little animated figurines you often see in stores not only make for an interesting Christmas decoration, but they can be useful on Halloween as well. Strong thread or fishing line tied from each moving part to a small or lightweight item, such as a rubber spider, can create the illusion of independent movement (provided the animated figure itself is hidden from view).

8. Twinkle light plugs can make certain kinds of non-blinking light strands “twinkle” when they are plugged into it, which can further aid fake fire effects in Halloween displays.

9. Miniature floodlights (and bulbs), along with extension cords and power strips, work just as well on Halloween as they do on Christmas. Think about it, won’t you?

10. Although they’re not decorations, relaxation devices that play sounds like rain falling and heartbeats are often found in droves during this time of year. They may be intended as gifts, but there’s no rule against someone buying one to use as a sound effects generator for Halloween.

For those of you who don’t care about reusing your purchase come next December:

1. The larger Santa figures that move and says (or sings) Christmas-related stuff could potentially be the star of your next Halloween display if you have some wiring skills. For example, this skilled home haunter managed to turn a dancing Santa Claus into a dancing pirate.

2. Those moving, light-up reindeer can become animatronic wolves with a little time and effort.

3. You know those silver, globe-shaped ornaments often found on Christmas trees? Phantasm spheres waiting to happen.

4. If you’re lucky enough to find one of those little talking Christmas trees, buy it immediately. They’re useful in a wide variety of homemade animatronic effects.

5. Smaller animated figurines can make for all sorts of little monsters, like this nasty clown.

6. The type of gold foil paper that lends itself to well to making homemade Lament Configurations is usually stocked in greeting card stores right about now.

7. Buy a bunch of Santa, elf, snowman, etc. decorations and give them fangs and the like. Now you can have “Santa Claws” and his cohorts wish people a “Scary Christmas” in October and/or December. That said, please keep in mind that people are far less tolerant of spooky/gory displays after October 31st. If you really want to go that route, perhaps doing something based on the more kid-friendly The Nightmare Before Christmas would be a better idea.

8. Come to think of it, setting up a flying crank ghost or grim reaper in a display with a dummy of a scared old man in bed would be a good way to reuse Halloween props in December and not arouse any anger. Who’s going to get worked up over scenes from A Christmas Carol?

Words of Wisdom:

Whenever possible, look up information about the product(s) you want to buy online before purchasing in order to avoid getting a faulty or potentially dangerous item.

If you see something you absolutely must have, we recommend buying it ASAP. There’s no telling what will or will not be available come December 26th, save for maybe the most common or generic of items.

A Horrorday Gift

Remember how I mentioned Redbox last month? For those not in the know, Redbox is a video rental service where you can rent (and even buy) DVDs from a kiosk located at your local supermarket, convenience store, or even certain fast food establishments. What makes Redbox so interesting is that they regularly give out free rental codes. To use the code, you need to insert your credit card into the machine and press a button labeled “Rent with a Promo Code” before entering in the code.

You can get free codes mailed to you by signing up for their online mailing list. You can also get codes by following them on Twitter or by visiting their blog. Also, one of AMM’s friends is also known to give out codes he’s gathered on his Twitter account.

For more information on Redbox and their rental service, I recommend visiting their Wikipedia entry.

Cybernetic Ghost of Chanukkah Past from the Future

[fog machine]

THIS IS THE CYBERNETIC GHOST OF CHANUKKAH PAST FROM THE FUTURE AND I HAVE COME FROM THE DISTANT FUTURE TO DELIVER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO YOU. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RELEASE OF A CERTAIN HOLIDAY ALBUM, NOR WAS IT SPONSORED BY TURNER BROADCASTING.

WHERE WAS I? OH YES…I WOULD HAVE COME SOONER, BUT MY PROGRESS WAS DELAYED BY THE CHICKENS. WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE CHANUKKAHNOMICON…

[fog machine]

THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO IN THE DISTANT FUTURE, THERE RAGED A BATTLE OF MAN VS. MACHINE VS. CHICKEN. THE MIDDLE EAST WAS ONCE AGAIN FIGHTING OVER OIL…ONE DAY’S WORTH SPREAD OUT OVER EIGHT DAYS, TO BE SPECIFIC. ONLY ONE MAN COULD SAVE THE OIL FROM THE CHICKENS: MYRON BRUCE LEE AND HIS MIGHTY CHANUKKICK! WHICH IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM A HANNUKICK IN EVERY WAY. BUT ALAS, THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH TO END THE WAR.

DREIDEL, DREIDEL, DREIDEL, I MADE YOU OUT OF CLAY. BUT THE BATTLEDREIDELS WERE MADE OF DEATH! NOT UNLIKE THE DEATH SUFFERED BY RESISTANCE LEADER CHRISTIAN BALE AFTER BEING BETRAYED AND MURDERED BY HIS ROBO…HEY, IS THAT MANISCHEWITZ?

[chugs]

THAT STUFF GOES THROUGH ME LIKE CRAP THROUGH A GOOSE…AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT GEESE. OR DUCKS, FOR THAT MATTER…

SEE WHAT I MEAN? THAT WAS NOT SAFE FOR WORK. NOR WAS IT SAFE FOR ANYONE DURING THE MACHINE WARS. TO HIDE THE DISTRIBUTION OF LASER-GUIDED SOCKS FROM THE CHICKENS, THEY HAD TO BE MIXED IN WITH OTHER GIFTS AND SPREAD OUT OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL NIGHTS. THESE VAST WEAPONS “SOCKPILES” WERE THEN USED IN THE GREAT ROBOT BATTLE OF 198X, WHICH YOU ARE DESTINED TO WITNESS.

…OH, AND PAIN. THE BATTLEDREIDELS WERE ALSO MADE OF PAIN.

Krampusmas

Many of you probably know of the Krampus from its appearance on The Venture Bros. Christmas special. For those that don’t, I’ll explain:

The Krampus is a type of legendary creature (some accounts claim it’s a type of incubus) that is said to act as a companion or counterpart to Saint Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) during his travels to the Alpine regions of Europe. Instead of being a jolly elf like one might expect to travel with Santa, the Krampus is large hairy monster with massive horns, sharp fangs, and cloven hooves. “Krampus” is derived from “Krampen,” the Old High German word for “claw.” That’s right, “Santa Claws”-style jokes are nothing new. Whereas St. Nicholas would give out presents to well-behaved children, the Krampus would punish naughty boys and girls by beating them with a birch rod. Sometimes the Krampus would even steal away children in the large sack he carries around; a kind of bizarro version of Saint Nicholas bringing and leaving presents from his sack! The threat of being given coal on Christmas for being bad seems quite desirable in comparison to being throttled and carried away by a horrible monster for who-knows-what.

But the Krampus tradition involves much more than spooky stories and threats to make children behave. Chase’s calendar of events 2009 notes that in countries where the tradition is celebrated, many young men will dress up as Krampuses (Krampi?) and roam the area to scare people and swat at them with sticks. Their costumes are made from various types of fur, hair, or rags topped off with masterfully-carved wooden masks. It is also not unusual for them to carry warning bells or clanking chains as well. Thanks to the magic of Youtube, we can see this tradition in action:

The Wikipedia entry on the Krampus, my source for several of the above facts, has a wonderful gallery of Krampus costume pictures that I encourage you to visit.

There are also other European Christmas traditions involving Krampus-like beings who give out punishments (and sometimes gifts) to children during the Yuletide season, ranging from hairy beings of varying temperament to shabbily-dressed older men.

Although Italy has a tradition involving a hairy creature, it isn’t all that comparable to the Krampus since the Badalisc is a good creature that is captured by townspeople and forced to tell gossip. The only similarities are the furry nature of the beasts and the “person in a costume” aspect of both traditions.

In short, Europeans have way cooler Christmas traditions than Americans do. Well, except for the variations on the “Black Peter” companion, whose sooty face and hands are uncomfortably close to racism and blackface…

Pyggy Twylyte

Here’s a little something my younger brother discovered while looking for the now-famous “Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody” video:

I like the cut of daretobestupidshow’s jib…

Team Doesn’t Care

A Study In Emerald

Since it’s December, the traditional Christmas colors of red and green are everywhere. And wouldn’t you know it, I figured out a way to capitalize on that without resorting to a “color of blood and gore” joke!

Fans of the great detective will undoubtably be familiar with A Study in Scarlet. But what they might not know is that famed comic book author Neil Gaiman has put up a .PDF version of his short story, A Study In Emerald, on his website. Said story, which originally appeared in the Shadows Over Baker Street anthology, combines elements of Sherlock Holmes stories with the works of H.P. Lovecraft (and is filled with plenty of horror references). So break out Adobe Acrobat and get readin’!

If you want a horror-related Sherlock Holmes story that isn’t a fan-created work, then check out The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire. It’s best known for a reference to another Holmes case that may or may not have actually been written by Doyle.