Saturday, September 25, 2021

'Haunted Horror' recording still Halloween's scream of the shock


By Jack O. Lantern

“Head’ Writer/Editor


DOWNTOWN TRANSYLVEINYA -- Musical genius Phantom of the Opera gets up in the evening like everyone else, he eats worms and dead things like everyone else, and he captures victims and tortures them like everyone else. But then he goes out into the monster world and makes masterpieces.


What began in 1980 as a search for some spooky background sound effects to use in a new album of pipe organ music turned out to become one of the greatest soundtracks for Halloween night of all time. JLP recently sat down with Phantom in his chilly office at the Loudmouth Opera House on Phantom Boulevard and talked to him about it.

“Really, anyone could’ve recorded this stuff,” Phantom said. “I just so happened to turn it into a multi-million-dollar success that monsters and people to this night still use to set the absolute perfect mood for Halloween.”

The Phantom’s 1980 classic, “Haunted Horror: Terror on Tape,” is 60 minutes of spine-tingling, bone-chilling, blood-curdling audio madness, one of the wildest nights in and around a haunted house ever captured on cassette tape. On Fri., Oct. 31 in 1980, Phantom picked up a nagra tape recorder and omnidirectional mic, hailed a horse-and-carriage ride to the Black Lagoon’s Haunted Mansion Row, located a house that was buzzing with monster commotion, and began recording. He said it was a real Halloween rager.

“There were witches opening portals from other worlds, pulling through spirits and creatures of all kinds,” Phantom said. “Worst of all, they brought over humans. We all had a blast chasing them around the property, torturing them, you know.”

Phantom added that the night sky was filled with vampire bats and monstrous birds for hours. Wicked cats added luck -- bad luck -- to the party, wild dogs ran off with skeleton bones, ghoulies and creepies dug up the graveyard so the sorcerers there could bring the dead to life. Wizards spent the evening toiling with the weather. It was a night of all tricks, no treats, and it was all caught on tape.

“The windows of the haunted house had been broken,” said Phantom’s sound editor Jack the Clipper. “So Phantom could just walk the wraparound porch, and with his omnidirectional mic, capture the sounds from not only the graveyard and front yard, but also all the wonderful chaos going on inside.”

For those who don’t know -- what is an omnidirectional mic?

“It’s technical,” Phantom said.

Jack the Clipper said, “It’s really just a microphone that picks up sound from all directions equally.”

“Well,” Phantom said, “yeah, that’s the non-technical way of putting it.”

Once Phantom ran out of tape that Halloween night, he knew he had something special. The sun eventually showed its ugly brightness on the horizon to usher in Nov. 1, and all the wicked that had come, just up and left. Except for the humans.

“I’m sure they were just reported missing in the human world,” Phantom said, “blamed on alien abductions, Bigfoot, or worse, domestic violence -- and listen, folks, there’s no excuse for domestic violence. But these are the stories you read about in the news or hear about on the Nightmare365 Podcast, people going into dark forests and never coming out. And that’s true -- they probably went into a dark forest on Halloween night for a fright, or maybe ventured into some unfamiliar neighborhood for some tricks and treats -- I’m talking to you, all you kiddies out there -- and they got pulled into those witches’ portals and transported to our house. For all we know, those people might still be alive and not well in the dungeons of the place. I really don’t know. I haven’t been back since.”

Monsters, ghouls and goblins who were there that night said they hadn’t been back either. But so many have visited the place through Phantom’s classic recording, and they relive the magic that hasn’t been duplicated since.

“I’m humbled when others talk so highly of this work I did,” Phantom said, sipping a glass of iced tanna leaf tea. “I merely just picked the right Halloween night, the right haunted house, the right recording equipment, and I recorded. Granted, my high-profile magnetism probably attracted more monsters and spirits to show up and perform than if some random kook had been making the recording, but I really can’t take all the credit. Well, maybe I can. Because I really do make masterpieces. You're welcome.”

Click HERE to hear “Haunted Horror: Terror on Tape.” CAUTION: Do not listen alone. Or do so and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Give Halloween Boxes a ghoulish go this Halloween season


By Jack O. Lantern

“Head’ Writer/Editor


HUMAN WORLD -- Monsters with three hands know that they have one hand to help themselves, a second hand to grab victims in the night, and a third hand to help others. This Halloween, those helping hands should be used to offer Halloween Boxes to those in need of a great spooky season.


Nightmare365 founder Matthew Bartholomew Douglas came up with the idea to give Halloween boxes a couple years back, and he explained why.


“My mom used to give out gift baskets for each holiday,” Douglas said. “And one day, I thought it’d be cool to share the love of Halloween in a similar way. I started by giving away Halloween advent calendars to people I knew had kids. Then I thought: What if I put together a little box with stickers and candy, too?”


And so was born the Halloween Box. 


Douglas is trying to attach more traditions to Halloween. In addition to giving away Halloween Boxes, he’s also trying to get more folks to tell scary stories at Halloween time. Last year, he got a few ghoulish goblins together to tell tales with scary sounds, and then he played them on his Nightmare365 podcast and on his YouTube channel. You would be able to listen to these stories, except Douglas took them down because he's endlessly revamping his podcast and YouTube channel. Blow him up at 732-660-8893. Luckily you can hear Picarella’s tale, "High Beams," from Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" right here: 



“I love the idea of having more fun traditions associated with Halloween,” Picarella said. “Trick-or-treating, costume parties, and watching scary movies are all great. But I really like the idea of telling scary stories again. The last couple years, Matt also sent out Halloween cards. I like that, too. It really adds to the fun of the season.”


Picarella added that Douglas is probably the last living being in this world or the monster world to actually send postcards still. (For the youth of the world, postcards are pictures you can’t text. They’re images printed on cardstock, found on rusty metal rotating racks in tourist gift shops of notable landmarks.) 


So back to Halloween Boxes -- the best way to go about putting together a Halloween Box is to first select a victim who would most benefit from Halloween goodies. Then choose a number of spooky items to give such as a Halloween advent calendar, plastic vampire teeth, spider rings, Halloween stickers and decorations, Halloween candy, and maybe something a little extra, like a Tasmanian Devil, all of which can be found in any of the 13 deadly districts of Transylveinya. Next, smash these items into a box and have that box tied shut. Finally, have the box sent Dead-Ex (they’re the only postal service that’ll send a Tasmanian Devil).


Then wait for the phone to ring and the screaming to begin.


So don’t just use your three hands to help yourself this Halloween season. Your paws can do much more than grab victims, tie them up and claw them to pieces. They can also give the gift that keeps on living: Halloween Boxes with a little (or a lotta) something extra special inside!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monster Mondays are back!

By Jack O. Lantern “Head’ Writer/Editor

It’s Monster Monday!


The guys from the Jack-o’-Lantern Press Podcast finally got up off their keesters and are back with a Monster Mondays episode on the show, this one on a definite loser -- I mean a definite classic monster.


Sure, maybe this particular monster doesn’t move the fastest, doesn’t do much to scare anyone . . . at all. He basically just moans and groans like a dummy. I’m sure there’s a totally good reason why, then, that Michael Picarella and Tom Picarella chose to do an entire episode -- the longest Monster Monday episode to date -- on this idiot.


Click HERE to hear the show. Then tell us what you think by emailing us at JackoLanternPress@gmail.com or by calling our Pumpkin Hotline at 323-761-0276.


Oh, and let’s all pay close attention to the section in the episode (at around 9 minutes and 48 seconds into the show) where Greg Douglas from the Nightmare365 podcast promises (crosses his heart and hopes to die) to purchase and bring this glorious costume to life this Halloween:



I know I speak for all of you Halloweeniacs out there when I say that the Halloween world not only wants this, it needs it. 


Call Nightmare365 at 732-660-8893 to share your support for Greg. With your help, Greg will be the Pumpkin Mascot of Halloween 2021!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Paper Skeleton knows his role

By Gil Lawg

Staff Ghoul Log Writer

If you were to remove just one component of a machine, that machine would not work. Even a seemingly insignificant part has its functions. Like the paper skeleton hung in the background of the 2019 soon-to-be-classic “Return of the Ghoul Log,” a Halloween interpretation of those video yule logs (or virtual fireplaces) that those in the human world often pull up on their TV sets to create atmosphere at Christmas parties. 


“Return of the Ghoul Log” can be seen on the Shudder horror streaming service, and it features a flickering jack-o’-lantern in a little room or magical Halloween parlor full of spooky toys and weird objects. One of those objects is a full-size paper skeleton, in this case Peter Paper Skeleton, who is mere background in the hour-long video, but who plays a critical role in the atmosphere that folks can bring into their homes to help get them in the right mood for the Halloween season.


“I realize Jack O. Lantern the jack-o’-lantern is the star of this production,” Paper Skeleton said, “but it’s the accompanying skull and prop owl and creepy-ringing rotary telephone and animated toy trick-or-treaters and wood letters that form into the word ‘redrum’ that make the magic happen. It’s the spooky sounds you might hear on a Halloween sound effects album -- the wind, the rain, the thunder, the creepy stingers, the sound of a grandfather’s clock and the radio with no reception; it’s hearing glass break and blood drip or water drip from water torture; its the bangs, the laughs, the growl of powertools. You’ll see a snake, evil dolls, little ghosts, a toddler’s wooden block with the words from the nursery rhyme ‘Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater’ on it -- no relation. Just hordes and hordes of little creepies. And then there’s me!”


Paper Skeleton comes from a long line of Beistle die-cut hang-up skeletons. His kind has been dressing up the Halloween season, adorning hallways, windows, front doors and the walls of classrooms in the human world, and providing that “homey” feel so many monsters in the monster world desire in their castles, crypts and creepy dwellings on a nightly basis for decades. But Paper Skeleton knows he’s not the star of “Return of the Ghoul Log.”


“I might be in the ghoul log business, but I was totally starstruck when I got on set before the cameras rolled and saw Jack O. Lantern,” Paper Skeleton said. “I tried not to show it, even though I did ask for his autograph, which was stupid because he was without a body in this particular show, so he didn’t have any hands to sign anything. He was a total pro, though. After he told me to bugger off, I hung myself from a push-pin on the wall behind him, and I got to work.”


Paper Skeleton can be seen in the video hanging stiff as a fossil on the wall behind Jack O. Lantern. Every now and then the die-cut decoration gasps in response to the fun jump-scares in the video (acting is reacting), raising a bony hand to his mouth to exemplify his astonishment (what a performance!). The video ghoul log is mostly light-hearted, with a variety of tricks and treats to not only create atmosphere, but to entertain those at Halloween parties in between conversation.


“I’d say we’re all pretty great at actually breaking up the conversation,” Paper Skeleton said. “We’re deliberately trying to surprise those who think this is just another flickering jack-o’-lantern on a TV screen. We’ve transformed the genre. And I play a critical role in that update. I hang there to make the jack-o’-lantern more effective, I move to make the jack-o’-lantern more effective, I gasp to make the jack-o’-lantern more effective -- I’m really great at hanging there to make the jack-o’-lantern more effective. In fact, my role of the hanging skeleton decoration is critical to that stupid pumpkin’s success. You say that if you remove just one component in a machine, that machine doesn’t work? I’ll tell you what would work: Remove everything else but me from the video, give me my own video -- just me hanging there -- and that totally works like gangbusters. I’ll do the whole ghoul log myself. Forget that lazy, no-talent gourd. I’m the one everyone comes to see!”


And in the empty mind of a paper skeleton, a star is born.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Aliens abducted, probed, (studied?), released humans

By Iwanna Beleeve
Staff Conspiracies Writer


When the guys from the Nightmare365 Podcast sign off each episode with their usual catch phrase “Stay spooky,” they might just be suggesting that you continue to ask the questions that have haunting answers. For example, did aliens really abduct Betty and Barney Hill back on that September night of 1961 while traveling an empty New Hampshire country road? We of the monster community tend to wonder if our alien friends really came across two strange human beings. Well, it’s not so uncommon for us to come across human beings, but why do humans have such a hard time believing in us? We’re everywhere!


Click and listen HERE to Matt and Greg dissect Betty and Barney’s story, and then decide if you believe the story that so many want to dispel.


And remember: STAY SPOOKY!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Famous Quotes: Carl the Vampire

“What is death without a little life? Someone’s life for breakfast, someone’s life for lunch, and a whole bunch of lives for dinner.”

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Famous Quotes: The Wicked Witch

“No matter how you feel, get up and wake the dead, dress up (in black, of course) and cast evil spells, show up and turn little kids into toads, and never give up until you’ve fixed all those little pretties real well.”