Friday, February 26, 2010

Do you want to see something scary?

While washing my hands at a customer's house, I happened upon this staring me in the face....

I know that this is probably expensive, collectible, avant-garde, what have you but %$@#&!!!!!!!! THIS FREAKS THE %$*@#$& OUT OF ME!!!!!

 *Shudder* this is like something Dr. Moreau would create just to see how far he could go!  I don't know what is freaking me out the worst but I think it's the human nose that's doing it.  My mind won't let it go, I can't quit looking at it. It's so disturbingly wrong!

If anyone needs me, I'll be under my bed, wrapped in my Snuggie, gently weeping while sucking my thumb.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Haunted Video Review Thursday

(Sorry about the photo, couldn't find a decent one online)

Halloween Animatronics 2
Pneumatics and Control Systems

Author: Dave Carr
Available through Halloween 2 Go for DVD purchase or direct download.

Last year I reviewed volume 1 of Halloween Animatronics and now it's time for the second edition.  At the first, Dave Carr point blank makes the statement that by the end of the video you will know if you want to incorporate pneumatics with your haunted attraction.  And he's right, after watching the video, I do NOT want to incorporate pneumatics within my haunt and that's perfectly ok.  My haunt isn't conducive to startle scares, it's not the Final Unresting Place Cemetery's character or theme.

Now the good really need this video for the other goodies that he presents.

Some of the topics include:
  • Basic Pneumatics
  • Using Relays/Manual Activation 
  • Trigger Designs
  • Trigger Delay
  • Timer Circuits
  • Triggered Motion and Sound
  • Microcontrollers for Pneumatics
  • Silicon Skinning Techniques

Most of these topics can be applied to motor motion animatronics, especially the triggers, timers and relays. Mr. Carr does a splendid job explaining electronics in easy to understand terminology.  I would dare say that the average person could, with watching these videos and paying attention, build every prop demonstrated.  He explains things that well.

Should you dish out the dough to get this video?  If your haunt depends on pneumatics and electronics, then wholeheartedly YES.  If you have a haunt like mine which has one constantly hissing Trash Can Trauma and you're happy with it, still, this would be a good edition to your library in case you decide to change and there's plenty of information in there that you can still use.

I personally use Volume 1 more and I would recommend that you get the first volume before buying this one although this volume definitively stands alone.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Site for Sore Eyes--Disney Imaginations

Ok, that was corny, that was so corny you could shuck it. So I'll use it from now on, that's the kind of guy I am.  If I run across a site that I haven't seen before that I think might be of interest to friends and fiends alike, I'm going to make a point to post it.  This isn't any sort of review format but simply a "heads up, there's something cool here".

Enter Disney Imaginations, a how-to blog on re-creating special effects inspired from Disney attractions.  I was drawn to the following eye portraits tutorial.  Although I knew one way to do it, he presented another that seems to give a better effect.  Combined with an eclectic mix of eyes in the night, fireflies, the bullet-ridden duck from Nightmare Before Christmas and you have a site that belongs on most every haunter's follow list.

Dang it, that was a review, wasn't it?  A nice one, but still a review.  Oh well, I'm comparatively new at this so bear with me, I can get grizzly when provoked.  Ok, I'll stop, I promise.

Got a site that you think is great that needs a shout out, either yours or someone else's?  Then drop me a line either in the comments section or to my email and we'll get the word out.

Macabrely y'alls,

Mr. Macabre

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Just Imagine Halloween-The Best Halloween and Fall Decor, Spooky Tabletops, Party Tricks and Treats, Collecting the Past

Created By Christopher James
For a Halloween book that I haven't heard of before, this one is a wonderful surprise (I found my copy on Amazon).  Hardbound in full color throughout with gorgeous pictures, this book has something that is lacking in a large amount of Halloween books on the market...originality and fresh new ideas.  Combining a wonderful dose of the history of Halloween through decorations and collectibles, Mr. James does a wonderful job providing an overview of lesser collected items as record jackets, cookie cutters, ceramics and commercial advertisements.

The recipe section contains some truly disgusting (albeit tasty) concoctions as well as some new ones I haven't seen before through my 50+ books on Halloween.  The craft section may be a little on the cute side for some tastes but do not be deterred from this, there are many elegant and decidedly grown-up ideas within the pages that should spurn on many ideas.

Bottom this book, it's worth every penny.  It's beautiful, informative, unique and most of all, one of those books that will put you in the wonderfully dark orange and black spirit at any time of the year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coffin Lid Lifting Mechanism

Went to the shed today and started working on Hallowe'en props.  This was one of the props that I was going to have for 2009 but we won't open that can of worms now, will we?
This fellow will look like he's trying to lift the lid of his coffin but can't quite get the leverage so it keeps falling down.  I reworked the mechanical design today and it works worlds better than before.  There will be a rotting hand on the edge of the lid with a dim light inside.  I made it from foamboard because my wood coffin is %&$#@ heavy and I don't want to lug around 2 of them!

If you have any questions, you know where to find me.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!!! Killer King Cake!

Throw me some beads mistah!!!!!  It's Mardi Gras!!! 
No, I won't lift my shirt for some cheap plastic beads (they actually did an in-depth STUDY on temporary intrinsic values of worthless objects ie: mardi gras beads, and why people risk life, limb and dignity to get them during mardi gras!) but I did make a King Cake.  I love to cook and I'm one of those cooks that likes to mess up every single bowl, spoon, gadget and pan in the kitchen.  It's more fun that way and besides, that's what a dishwasher is for.  It came out *burp* wonderfully.  Here's the *belllch* recipe that I used from with my alterations *urp*.
Mine is actually a tad TOO rich, if that can be true *BRAAAAACK!!!!* (oops, sorry about that)...

Mardi Gras King Cake --Intermediate to advanced cooks


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped and toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 package cream cheese (ooooh yeaaaaaahhhhh!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + however much to make a glaze 
 1 little plastic baby doll
  • 1/4 cup white sugar for each color
  • red, yellow, blue and green liquid food coloring
  • 3 sandwich size zip-lock bags
To make colored sugars, place 1/4 cup sugar for each color in a zip lock bag.  Carefully add food coloring until colors of gold, green and purple are achieved.  Gold=yellow with a hint of red  Green=green with a hint of blue  Purple=red and blue in equal amounts (I used a few drops more red to make it more vibrant.  Transfer sugar to a bowl and either microwave for approximately 2 minutes to drive off moisture or dry in oven at 225 for about 15 minutes in a flat pan.  Allow to cool and break up any lumps before using.


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, and salt. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 355 degrees F. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, cream cheese, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour, butter and vanilla. Mix well
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Liberally spoon the filling over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown.  Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. 
Sprinkle sugars on top and insert baby on top so no one accidentally eats it.
The King Cake just before the oven...
Colored Sugars (couldn't find any purple sugar so I made my own, looks better in person)

The cut King Cake, a precursor to my aching stomach.

You're really supposed to hide the baby in the cake but in today's litigious climate, someone could choke on it and sue you.  Traditionally, if you find the baby doll in your piece of cake, you're responsible for bringing the king cake for next year (don't ask me why and I'm too lazy to Google it myself).

Friday, February 12, 2010

A HUGE Score!

Meet my new little friend, Mr. Piano.  Sausage Von Trapp had it on her front porch because they got their son an electronic one and this one basically has had it as a musical instrument.  But all is not lost, Mr. Macabre has plans, big plans for this wonderful (albeit heavy as *$@&# lead!!!!) guy.  I've been playing around with the idea of a piano playing ghostie for the yard.  What I'm going to do is document the process of making the piano playing ghost prop as it comes together.  He will, of course, play "Grim Grinning Ghosts", that's decided.

More to come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

At a loss for words

Have you ever seen something so utterly BREATHTAKING?!  I was in a convenience store in a little podunk town here in Alabama and I see this objet d'art of divine magnitude staring me in the face.  A deer with soulful eyes, wearing a confederate kepi, draped with a confederate flag, nestled with a moonshine liquor jug and a revolver at his hooves.   Made in China.

Someone, anyone, please take my hand, I'm a stranger in paradise...

A Haunting Giveaway

For those that may not be familiar with John Wolfe's site Season of Shadows, you have a lot to catch up on!  From how-to's, videos, a FANTASTIC haunt, you're going to need to traipse over there and take a look around, you'll not be sorry!  He's hosting a Haunting Giveaway that you can enter for the chance to win 1 of  2 box sets of A Haunting, Discovery Channel's recreation of actual haunting events (I always liked the ones where the ghosts are P!$$&? off the best!).  How great is that?!  Go ahead and register before you forget!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Haunted Book Review Thursday...On a Friday.

"I've always depended on the kindness of strangers" could be an appropriate title for this posting since this Hallowe'en book was a gift from when is evil cool? a very cool guy and artist to boot.  He also has the Random Picture Day blog.  I would LOVE to know how he finds all these absolutely marvelous eclectic mix of pictures from everywhere and of everything imaginable. Not only that, he painted me this GREAT skull picture...and did I mention it's about 2 inches by 3 inches?  Incredible!  This photo washed out the colors, it's a whole lot more vivid in person.  Go by and visit when is evil cool? and Random Picture Day, you'll be glad you did!

Haunted Book Review Thursday...


Halloween: Vintage Holiday Graphics
Edited by Jim Heimann

This is my kind of book, no annoying pesty things in it, oh, what are they called...oh yes...WORDS.  This book is a glorious pictorial history of commercial Halloween advertising, cards, costumes, decorations and candy.  The pictures speak more than any explanation could, from the elegant printed dinner napkin from the Art Deco period to the wasp-waisted housewife from the 50's handing out full sized candy bars to the kids around to quaint vegetable cards from the turn of the century, you get a wonderful (and sometimes blatantly disturbing) glimpse into Halloweens past. 

The only thing that I might would have done differently is organized the graphics by chronological order but then again, the artistic renderings of all the products are basically foolproof to what era they were made.  And also, each page is a different surprise, making the book always fresh to look through.

This is a great book for inspiration, imagination, and just getting into the spirit of the season so yeah, you need to get it.

When is evil cool?, thanks again!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


100 FOLLOWERS!  Thank you ALL, both those publically following through Google and those following silently in the deep shadows peering out! I appreciate you all!

*cracks knuckles*

Be on the lookout for a Mr. Macabre giveaway coming very soon.....stay tuned.

Shellhawk's 100th Follower Giveaway

I would love to do pottery, I think it's the coolest. I would do exactly what Shellhawk at Shellhawk's Nest is doing right now, having a giveaway featuring one of her uber-cool jack-o-lanterns.  I collect jack-o-lanterns which is why I love this.  DON'T go to Shellhawk's Nest and leave a comment, tweet about it or anything else that may make you win, I want this for my own greedy self!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Macabre's Hallowe'en Prop Creations-- The Rocking Seance Table

Your kind and benevolent servant, Mr. Macabre is going to undertake a new project...and hopefully you will indeed be the beneficiary.
But first a little background for you, gentle reader:
Mr. Macabre has selfishly guarded his Hallowe'en creations fiercely in the past, allowing no one to see them until they were finished and the mechanisms well hidden.  Well, that isn't very nice is it?  He has since turned over a new leaf and this is the first in a series of explanations of Mr. Macabre's Hallowe'en various creations.   Use this information to make one of your own, take my ideas and make them better, just please take them for the spreading around of the joy of Hallowe'en. 

And as with all prop making endeavors, do so at your own risk and take all necessary cautions and precautions to preserve life, limb and property.

And of course, if you have any specific questions, please feel free to either ask in the comment section or write me directly, don't be shy, I don't bite...very hard.

Part 1

Part 2