Monday, August 31, 2015

Corpsed Cauldron Creep: Updated

As some may remember, about 2 years ago, we got excited seeing the Cauldron Creep from Devil's Chariot. And he now has an updated 3.0 version with the build list of materials and dimensions.

We had searched and saw a few others who had made this guy but slightly different. A lot seemed to depend on where you live and what materials you could get. Yet, each tutorial didn't have one element or another and it was difficult to follow but, we managed to get him together.
Took a skeleton from Spirit and broke him down.
Used a deer motor for the head to go up and down.
LED blue-green lights for his eyes that are powered off a 9 volt battery.
Got a wiper motor for inside the cauldron to make the stick stir. We didn't like how fast the wiper motor went, we wanted a slow moving guy, so we got a 5 amp power supply and it slowed down the movement perfectly!
Now the first build of him, we used mostly all PVC pipe.
I added some Great Stuff coals under the cauldron and added a string of flame flickering bulb lights to it and I painted the coals black and dry brushed grey. I also added some bones sticking out before the GR dried.
We had slid the pvc pipe feet under the cauldron and added a couple 2x4s to hold it there.
The stick I got from Michaels' as it is very lightweight as the one I found in the woods was just much too heavy for the wiper motor to handle.
The clothes were old costumes I had on hand and a piece of black sheet.
I painted the skull, arms and legs black and then splooged it with a grey paint using a sea sponge.

This is ours in the haunted cave in Texas:

He came out pretty cool and we tucked him into the back of the cave and you could see him as you entered, at the end of the corridor. He freaked out a lot of people! We pumped some fog into the cauldron from Froggy's Fog and then added a changing color pumpkin light and then an iPad hidden away made the bubbling sound. He moves very slowly, stirring the stick and then his head moves down slow and then as he raises it, it comes up a bit quick there at the end.
Very creepy guy! We love him!

Then we moved from Texas to Delaware. Our cauldron creep did not fare so well even tho' we tried to protect him and put him in last, didn't matter because he got crushed and some of the pvc broke. We fixed him as best as we could but he was a bit smaller, not as high up, crouched lower and we just didn't like what the results were. He seemed a bit more rickety. :( We got by with it last year but we knew we couldn't let him go any longer and he needed to be rebuilt more sturdy and solid.

As you can see, he was mostly just pvc and then the bones attached. Not a very solid piece and why it was a bit shaky and rickety. He did work tho' ok enough but he seemed smaller and more unstable after the move. But here he is in place in the back of the cave:

We do most of our builds and work on the home haunt during the weekends when my friend is available. He's a technical engineer so he does most of the mechanical stuff and I do the creative aspects. The cauldron creep was our first big project. 

So he took the cauldron creep all apart and we began the rebuild. We mounted the cauldron on a piece of plywood and used 2x4s for legs and bought more wood from Home Depot to act as a brace. You can see the legs of wood we used that are used for railings for like decks or stairways. We also used some aluminum metal brackets and plates to make some of the connections and lots of screws to get some of the pvc to stay in place. A bit of glue as well.

 Here in these photos above, this is after he added the brace piece which he then cut in the middle to allow the lever to move between them. The cauldron creep was a bit more stooped over and this is where I stepped in a bit more to help and so we built him up a bit higher.

If you notice in the one video, you can see the hump raise up the cloth behind his head. That gave me an idea for an alien but that's another build, another time. ;) My friend wants to fix that maybe later on by shortening the plate he used but we may leave it or make the hump come up higher so you won't see that happening.
This is where we painted the wood and extra pvc we used as well as the plywood. I've also already added the Great Stuff on the plywood and it was painted black, before the dry brushing of gray.

Inside the cauldron with the wiper motor:

We did use some chicken wire for the hunch and at the last minute, he decided he wanted to give the guy some ribs so he corpsed the ribs and I painted them with wood stain. Now so you know, we originally had the cauldron creep just painted black and grey and he looked awesome. But as I had made a hall of corpsed skeletons (idea from Transworld 2013) and having taken a class on corpsing skeletons from Hauntcon 2013, we decided to corpse the cauldron creep too to make him more creepy!
You can also find a great tutorial on Youtube for corpsing by Allen Hopps with Stiltbeast Studios, and if you are not following this wickedly creative man, you NEED to!
For our corpsing that we did on the cauldron creep, we only used like one layer, very thin as I wanted just a light bit of flesh to still be on the bones, enough to creep him out. I also just use the dark wood stain and don't add anything red nor to make him gooey because I don't care to have him look wet or gooey with blood. We also love holes and strands, to have them over the jaws or eyes is just a really great effect. I used clear trash bags we got in bulk really cheap and it doesn't take much to cover them. He is mostly in the dark, otherwise I would probably hit him with some highlights with a lighter color here or there to give him more dimension. But there is a lot going on in the garage where he will be at so maybe later I'll go back and touch him up. What is nice with the plastic bags, you can always add more or cut it off it you don't like it.

His eyeballs were made out of those cheap novelties and we drilled a hole in them and put the LED lights inside to help dim the brightness of the LEDs. But my friend didn't glue the eyes in so if you pushed on them too hard, they'd pop back inside and it was hard to get them out again. So I applied some hot glue around the sides and then thought I would use the heat gun to smoothe out the glue a little bit and oops! Too much heat on the one eye dented/melted it slightly. But eh, as we all know, mistakes are almost always good and now his eyes are slightly off but they look cool! I went ahead and corpsed his head and one foot that will show and then did his hands and on his arms somewhat.
I did take more GR and added it to the plywood and while wet, used a thick rubber glove and patted it to give it a more rough texture. I then painted it all black and dry brushed grey so that it's not just a neat round circle of coals, but that it spreads out a bit more naturally. You can see in the pic below on the board and the dry Great Stuff.


Now we were having issues with the hand holding the stick at the top. We have a screw in the stick with garden wire (LOVE THAT WIRE) to hold the hand to the stick. 

At the top, where the hand grips the stick, it has to be loose so that the stick can swivel and move up and down but what was happening was that the hand of the skeleton is more like the high-5 and so I took the heat gun and very slowly heated the fingers up and curled them around the stick. This came out well but it wasn't staying so I figured when I went to corpse it, it would help to hold the curling fingers in place but it still wasn't working well as the wire was getting caught and it was too rigid and rough of a transition so I got the idea to use the plastic of the corpsing as your sling as it were, attaching the plastic from the fingers around to the other side of the hand, and so wha~la, it held the stick in place around the stick in the back. It's not attached to the stick, so the stick can move freely but it's in like a sling/sleeve and can rotate and move up and down freely. Problem solved!

I don't have dimensions for you for the height or length of items. Next we take him apart if ever, we'll do measurements but a lot of it is how high or big you want him. The angles was from me posing and making stirring motions to make it look more realistic. We also added some braces to help stabilize him. He doesn't wobble anymore as it is all attached with those aluminum brackets to the plywood. We wanted him kinda hunched over but not too much.

The costumes we removed as we had two of them on there and they were just too small and he had issues getting them on. I stepped in and said let's use a black sheet and tho' he was skeptical at first, he didn't say anything and let me work my magic there. So we draped it over from the back and then brought each end around to make sleeves. I then cut the sleeves out and used the bottom part to cover his lower torso and we safety pinned it in place first and then once happy with how it looked, amazing my friend! ;) I took velcro and we applied it to the places we could see the safety pins at. Then we took the one costume which has those raggedy bits of grey material dangling and draped that just over the hunch and then spread out the grey material to hang nice and that will get fussed with later once he is in place. The last piece was the green spooky material over his head just to make him look a bit more creepy. 

In these pics and in the vid, you can see the plastic bag we have under him, that was because we were painting and it was easier to move him and grip it to move him. Plus, we are going to use that to help cover the floor of the garage as we will be adding some dirt and skull panels that I got from A Corpse Maker a couple years ago.

This is a few second video of the corpsed cauldron creep in action:

We'll put together a longer one with all the fun stuff turned on, eyes, fogger, lights, sound, etc and post it in a few weeks. Right now, we've moved him to the back of the garage, close to where we want him so he is out of the way. 

Feel free to ask any questions, leave a comment or such. :) Always happy to help. It's really not that hard to make once you get how the motors work, it's just about building the frame work and the rest is just creative painting and whatnot. :)

Enjoy and thanks everyone for all your kind words on Facebook! :)

~*Bugs n Hisses*~


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Just a cute, fun song with cute animations and cartoons for kids!


*~Bugs n Hisses~*


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thriller by Michael Jackson

Another sure fire classic for this time of year! This is the original extended version. 
You have to love Vincent Price talking towards the end and his wicked, evil laughter!

This is also during Michael's heyday when he was very popular and had some really great hits.
I always forget that this music video starts out with him watching himself in a movie and becoming a werewolf before you realize that he is actually part of the audience with his girlfriend. It's only when she walks out that the song really begins.

Such a classic choice to have had Vincent and thanks to him for reciting that part in such a chilling, creepy way! 

And something very special to add to this about Vincent Price, he was on the Joan River's show and she got him to do this bit from this music video. First time ever on tv! Watch it about 2/3 of the way and somewhere in there, he does it! Just brilliant!

I'll be talking more about the master of the macabre, Vincent Price in another blog post. :)
For now, enjoy the videos!

*~Bugs n Hisses~*


Friday, August 21, 2015

Monster of the Month for July 2015

This month's monster comes to you from Ed Edmunds himself of Distortions
A very creative mask that I will definitely be saving for future use. 

It has been great fun in getting the Monster of the Month and not knowing what it will be. My Fedex guy is now getting curious and was gently nudging me to open the box and just pretend when I open it ahahhaa...nooooo sorry, he will have to wait. I may have to give him my card so he can come here to Under The Crooked Hat and see what they all are or have the latest monster handy at the door for when he comes next time he brings me another Monster of the Month! 

Just too much fun! :)

The Monster of the Month is just one small item that Distortions Unlimited has to offer! 
Check out their site Distortions and see their latest creations like this really cool gargoyle:

Love it!

Thanks again guys!

~*Bugs n Hisses*~


Monday, August 17, 2015

Ghostbusters - Music Video

Complete with the clips from the movie itself here is the great video with Ray Parker Jr.!

This is Halloween - Music Video

Intro to Tim Burton's, The Nightmare Before Christmas...

This has become a great classic! Enjoy!

AtmosFX: Phantasms and Witching Hour

What seems like the latest craze for haunters is the video projections. They've been out for several years now. I first came upon them with Hallowindow which led me to download some YouTube videos and add them to the playlist of great video projections I use on my front window for the month of October.
I then found these videos that AtmosFX has put out, Creepy Crawlies 2, Zombie Invasion, Bone Chillers, to name a few.  

I loved these high quality videos and I have almost every one that they have out. These dvds run the gambit of cute and fun to really horrorific and down right disgusting! A haunter's dream no matter which way you bend, the macabre and creepy or the blood and guts gore. 

Recently, just a week ago, AtmosFX, or more as what I know them as, AtmosFearFX came out with two new videos: Phantasms and Witching Hour. I just got them and previewed them and I have to just say, WOW!

First, Phantasms.
I love ghosts, apparitions, wraiths, all of them! The videos are just incredible! This came with 4 distinctive ghosts. I ran thru the different set ups and options they have for each and was just stunned by the clarity and illusion they present! They have a young woman type of wraith, a reaper type of phantasm, an electrical ghost that reminded me of Slimer from Ghostbusters and then the creepy grandma. I am not too keen on the grandma, she's very creepy but doesn't really seem to fit for my haunted cave but that said, I love it when she waves her finger at you like you've been bad! LMAO!

Now between these phantasms, you have your choice to display them as a window, a tv mode, a wall mode, a hollusion and a 3D FX prop. I don't really use the TV mode but its great for parties or if you were going to put your TV maybe against a window or something. I do use the wall mode for inside the haunted cave and definitely use the window mode for my rear projections in the window.
But something new or that I had not thought of before was the hollusion. What is that? Well they took projection material and hung it somewhere outside and then projected right onto it so that it looks like these creatures show up right out of midair! WOW! That is really cool! It looks great too! The problem for me is that you can see the screen and I don't have anything that I can really tie the material to to hang it properly. I did get an idea however to put the material on the back of the garden arch that I have used in the past as an entrance to the haunted cave but didn't last year. So that is what we are going to do.
And then the last and newest mode they offered on this dvd, the 3D FX prop?!? Ooohh yessss!! You can project this image onto a cloaked prop and make it appear as a figure! A hologram! This one is just incredible! How awesome!

I was going to see about getting a mannequin as I do want to have one so I can use it to make some chicken wire ghosts for the cemetery and I thought I could use it then with this dvd effect by tossing a light gray sheet over it. But after looking at AtmosFX' site, they are going to be offering the right size and shape figure to use with their dvds and they are also selling the projection material and a more higher quality film to put on the windows instead of me using the white sheet stretched taut over a 2x4 frame! 

This is very exciting innovations and it will up the quality of my setup! :)

 Witching Hour

This dvd I found to be more whimsical and not really scary at all. It too had several modes, although no wall mode, but it had some background behind the witch or you could have her sing two songs or cast spells. this was more cute and goofy to me, not really too scary. I'll use her tho' in the graveyard arch and in the window for sure. I may also use her on the 3D FX prop mode inside the cave, I haven't decided on that for sure. 

The video below explains a bit more about these dvds and the different modes:

These two dvds however with the new mode of the 3D FX prop, are just incredible! I really wish my ToTs in Texas could have seen this but I am sure the DE military ToTs will love it too!

They are definitely worth the price and I ordered AtmosFX' prop and the projection material and will order the window film soon as it will really make it easier for me than to have to install the wood frame in the window. 

And if that wasn't enough! On their site, they give nice tips, tricks and tutorials on how to set these special FX up! :) Love it!

On one hand, hate to give away your secrets on how you do things but then on the other, it's great to see how people use them and continue on the tradition of Halloween! :)

You have out done yourself, AtmosFX! I love it! Would love to see more of the 3D FX prop modes for other figures! They are great holograms!

Just very cool!!

Love it!

*~Bugs n Hisses~*


Sunday, August 16, 2015


We recently picked up the Beetlejuice movie in Bluray and watched it again. 
This has become such a great classic movie. How could anyone not like this Tim Burton movie?!

Seeing it in bluray, with everything so crisp and clear and sharp, made this movie all the more enjoyable.

This starts out with that very catchy tune, the great banana boat song, Day-O by Harry Belafonte.
I forget how many great stars are in this movie:

Alec Baldwin
Geena Davis
Catherine O'Hara---She was in the Home Alone series as the mother.
Winona Ryder--classic!
Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse and also known as Batman!
Robert Goulet and I know not many may know him but he is a classic star and has been in quite a bit including a cameo in Scrooge.
Dick Cavett, another classic older actor.

As this movie starts out, you soon realize you are actually in the model that Alec Baldwin's character has created. With such great attention to detail and even spotted a Wise potato chip van! This is set in White River, CT. The beginning starts out with another Harry Belafonte song.
The premise of the movie is a couple are spending their vacation time at home, Geena and Alec.
You can see how dated this is when Alec uses a tape cassette player for the music.
They go to town to get a part at the store and on their way home, they avoid hitting a dog and smack into the side of the covered bridge and end up going over the side into the water.

They walk back home all dripping wet and are confused and feel that something is not quite right. 
Small telltale signs take them to the conclusion that they did not survive the crash and are in fact, dead even including seeing a book entitled: Handbook for the Recently Deceased.

Not long after, we see Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse,The Bio-Exorcist.

Now an interesting note here is the spelling of the name in comparison to the title. 
Betelgeuse is the name of a variable red super giant star of the first magnitude near the eastern shoulder of the constellation Orion.
In the movie with the phonetic spelling of the name, he is depicted as a mischevious bio-exorcist or more so a rather pesky ghost. He was originally designed to be a demon but the way he ended up made him be more comical. 

Here is some interesting notes about the movie from Huffington Post:

The Day-O song plays in the background as the gorgeous house gets sold. Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones (you may remember him from Ferris Buehler as the principal) buy the house. 

A lot of music from Harry Belafonte is featured in this movie.

So as the Deats move in, Geena and Alec try to be ghosts and scare them away.

And then the fun ensues!

It would be cool to replicate the dead help area, like a fun house checkerboard with slanted floors.
Funny to see the old Zag nut candy bar.

One of the great lines from this movie said by Winona's character:
"Live people ignore the strange and unusual...I, myself am....strange and unusual"

This movie isn't really for little kids as there are some adult references to it so I would place it more for higher teens. Just the Dantes Inferno Room, for girls, girls, girls and the whole gestures that Betelgeuse makes places this movie in a more older audience. 

A nod to the Night of the Living Dead movie in that clip above too! :)

I really adore this movie! It's just catchy and funny and with a nice ending to it. 
And you gotta love the voodoo priest!

Highly recommend it!

~*Bugs n Hisses*~