Tuesday, January 4, 2022

‘Elevator Game’ takes you down


By Jack O. Lantern

‘Head’ Writer/Editor


Why would any human being with any care for life want to play a game that offers even the slightest chance of not surviving by the end? Games are supposed to be fun. Though, fear can be fun, so long as you come out clean. But if a game can truly threaten your life, offering no guarantees that you’ll walk away with your life by the end of said game (like when you walk out of a movie theater after watching a horror movie or when you step off a roller coaster that you just survived), then it’s the person who must want to die that can be so willing to play.


A young man (we’ll just call him Frederick, if that’s OK with you) was testing that premise. He’d come across a video on the Nightmare365 YouTube channel called “Playing the Elevator Game.” It was a video that algorithmically presented itself to Frederick because he’d been watching dark and macabre content all evening, including videos of people spending the night in haunted cemeteries and those in their own bathrooms, turning off the lights and repeating the words “Bloody Mary” in a type of chanting. Frederick had never bought into the Bloody Mary nonsense or the Ouija board ridiculousness (in real life, who really does?), but the Elevator Game, which, come on, folks, seems no different, caught his attention.


So, here are the rules of the “Elevator Game” as Nightmare365's Matt Douglas explains them in the video on his video with his brother Greg: “You get into the elevator on the first floor. You press four. When you reach the fourth floor, you don’t get off.”


Matt is explaining all this over video of Greg recording himself actually doing this in a Los Angeles hotel elevator. Once the doors open on the fourth floor, Greg follows the next rule of the game -- he hits the button for floor two on the panel. The doors close, the elevator presumably moves down two floors.


“When you reach the second floor,” Matt continues in the video, but interrupts himself to comment on Greg’s response in the video: “Oooo, look at your face.”


Greg says he’s nervous, but not for what might await him at the end of the game, rather for the awkward scenario that might confront him if the elevator doors open and someone goes to get on but runs into Greg’s camera phone, which would be in this poor individual’s face. 


Instead, the doors open to an empty second floor.


“Alright, so once you get to the second floor,” Matt continues, “you press (the button for) the sixth floor.”


At this point in the video, we still don’t know exactly what is supposed to happen by following these rules of the Elevator Game (unless you’ve done your homework). But we continue. The doors open to an empty sixth floor, Greg punches the button for floor two.


“This is where it can get spooky for people,” Matt says in the video.


Doors open. Empty second floor. Greg hits 10. 


As the elevator seemingly rises up toward the top of the building, Greg finally gives us a hint of what’s to be expected from this game: “I thought she was gonna come in right here.”


Doors open. Empty 10th floor. Greg hits five.


It’s at this point in the video that we learn from Matt what to expect from the Elevator Game if you do it properly: “When you reach the fifth floor, a girl will come in. The woman is not human. Don’t talk to her, don’t look at the girl. If you do, she will take you away. So now ... the fifth floor ...”


The elevator descends, Greg’s reflection seen in the shiny metallic doors. He doesn’t appear to be nervous. The digital read-out near the button panel shows the floors skipping by: 8, 7, 6 ... 


The doors open, Matt kinda screams in the video, but in a mocking way at the empty space on the fifth floor.


“Nothing,” Greg says.  


Yup, no girl. 


But if you were to play this game and there was a girl on that fifth floor at this point, you would then, as Matt instructs, not talk to her, not look at her. 


You would next press the button for the first floor. Two things might happen then: If the elevator descends to the first floor, it’s best you exit the elevator and never look back. But if the elevator goes up, well then, you’ve just gained access to the “Other World.” When you reach the 10th floor, you’d know you’re no longer, as they say, in Kansas anymore. According to some players, if you look out the windows, you might even see a red cross in the distance.


But what does any of that mean, this girl, this visit to the “Other World,” and a red cross? Frederick wondered as he watched the Nightmare365 video. To him, experiencing any of that might mean his own death. But the video, as you would expect, did not capture any such images and, as of this writing, Matt and Greg are just fine, living their best lives in New Jersey state.


Frederick read through the video comments to see what people were saying, perhaps to verify that Greg had carried out the steps properly in the video or to see if others had tried the game and succeeded in “crossing over.” One such individual wrote several months prior in the comments: “I saw the girl in your video.”


But the video, for the record, showed no girl in the video. There is, once Greg lands back on the first floor at the end of the game, a woman off to the side mopping the floor, but nothing more than that. 


Frederick watched the video again to see if he'd missed something. No, aside from the maid with the mop, no girl. No girl! But Frederick watched it yet again. And again. Still no girl.


He clicked on the “I saw the girl in your video” comment and went to that YouTuber’s channel. There’d been no activity on his page since his comment on the Nightmare365 “Elevator Game” video. 


Frederick did a Google search of the guy, found his other social media pages. No activity since posting the YouTube comment. Frederick searched for the guy’s name in the news. Nothing. 


Growing tired, Frederick called it a night, and that was that for his curiosity with the Elevator Game.


Until two weeks later.


Frederick got a YouTube alert on his phone indicating that someone had responded to his comment on Nightmare365’s “Elevator Game” video. But Frederick didn’t post a comment.


He clicked on the alert and found himself in the video’s comment section. There was no comment from Frederick there, to be certain, but he saw a new comment for the video from some other user: “I also saw the girl in your video.”


This comment was posted mere minutes after the other comment, which, again, had been several months prior. But Frederick read all the comments previously and he did not see this one. According to its date, it would have been there. 


Frederick searched online for the user and, like the other user, found that this one had also not posted anything anywhere since posting the comment on the Nightmare365 “Elevator Game” video. He searched for this individual’s name in the news as well. Nothing.


That’s when Frederick got another YouTube alert on his phone indicating that someone had responded to his comment on Nightmare365’s “Elevator Game” video. This comment, again, was obviously not a response to Frederick because Frederick never left a comment, but it had just been posted seconds ago. And it was: “I saw the girl in the video. And I saw the ‘Other World.’ And I saw the cross. Get me out. GET ME OUT!”


Haha! Lame, Frederick thought. He searched the user online and sent her a message:


"Emily, I saw your message. You’re probably joking, lol, but did you really see a girl in the video? Where? I’ve watched the thing many times. I know it’s a little shaky, but I went frame by frame. Was it the woman mopping the floor that you saw? I’m hoping you’re not just messing."


Frederick sat glued to his phone (as if he wasn’t glued to it before) and waited, hoping for an immediate response from this "Emily" girl. And then, just when he was about to give up ... Yeah, no, she didn’t respond right away.



* * *


The Tommy’s world-famous quarter-pound chili cheeseburger Frederick was eating was to die for. He hadn’t thought about the message he sent Emily for a while now, when he took a giant bite out of his burger and saw an alert from Emily’s account on his phone, which was resting next to his chili cheese fries:


"Frederick, hi, this is Emily’s sister. I just saw your message and I’m sorry to tell you that Emily has passed. I don’t know how close you two were, but just so you know, we already held the services."


Frederick set his tasty burger down and responded to Emily’s sister, asking what had happened. After a few messages back and forth, Frederick learned that Emily’s heart had stopped. She had been on her computer watching a video. The time of death was, after Frederick checked her comment on the Nightmare365 video, moments after she posted that.


This threw Frederick into a deeper dive for the other two YouTubers’ identities (the two who had posted about seeing the girl in the “Elevator Game” video). And when his search was complete, Frederick went back to his burger and fries, which were now cold. But he ate them and enjoyed them, probably more now than when they were warm.


Then he went back to his phone, back to the Nightmare365 “Elevator Game” video, and he watched it over again, for the who-knows-how-many-times time.


“Do you like scary and spooky stuff?” Matt asks at the beginning of the video. “Well, then you came to the right place. Because we’re talking about ...”


Greg finishes the sentence with: “The Elevator Game.”


Frederick watched as Greg (in the video) steps into that Los Angeles hotel elevator. He watched Greg hit the button for floor four. He watched the doors open to an empty fourth floor. He watched Greg hit the button for floor two. He watched the doors open to an empty second floor. Nothing that happens in the video was a surprise to Frederick because he’d seen the whole thing many, many times.


Until that last time Greg gets to the fifth floor. And those doors open. And there’s a young woman standing right there. How could Frederick have missed her in his previous viewings? He’d missed her because she was not there!


Frederick looked right at the young woman in the video. He spoke to the woman in the video: “Where did you come from?” 


The video continues with Matt’s mocking scream. Greg still says, “Nothing” in the video, as if Matt and Greg couldn’t see that woman standing right there. Greg, as he did all the other times Frederick watched the video, takes the elevator down, down, down to the first floor. But this time in the video, the doors open to a darkened 10th floor, another world. The “Other World.” 


That’s when Frederick did what the others had done: He posted a comment to the video: “Yes, I saw the girl. I finally saw the girl.”


And then Frederick experienced what he found the others each had experienced themselves:


Emily’s death was without warning. The other two YouTubers had actually left notes before their passing, which Frederick had learned about when he researched them further.


The first guy wrote that the “Elevator Game” was not a curiosity, but rather an obligation he’d finally made good on. The second guy had written that watching the video was a debt he had to settle. Frederick never got the chance to write a note of his own. But he lay there, breathless, with a look of relief on his frozen, dead face. There are those who believe we all must pay for our sins. That guilt is strong. So strong that it makes some folks even willing to play a game that could take their lives in the end.


Anyone out there looking for a shot at the Elevator Game? Click HERE to watch now.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sounds of horrordays here

By Franken Claws

Staff Horrordays Writer

 

Master says that for horrordays, there are three things must do:


1. Terrorize neighborhood with Christmas carols (like “Frosty the Abominable Snowman” and “Sinister Wonderland”)


2. Eat lots Christmas snacks (like tasty rats and holiday shoppers on the bone)


C. Listen to the Jack-o’-Lantern Press Podcast Christmas episodes


“Christmas is a time of giving cheer through fear,” said Count Dracula in his official annual horrordays statement. “And there’s no better way to experience such pain and suffering than by listening to Mike and Tom on the Jack-o’-Lantern Press Podcast as they share a few of their favorite spooky things about the holidays.”


Check out the very first Christmas show these guys did on Ghostly Christmas Carols HERE.


Then click on and explore the following Christmas monsters they celebrated in these Monster Mondays shows:


-Krampus


-Marley's Ghost


-The Ghost of Christmas Past


-The Ghost of Christmas Present


-The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come


But the holidays are still not over. Stay tuned, as Mike and Tom may have another holiday fright up their bloodied sleeves. Subscribe to Jack-o'-Lantern Press Podcast now and don't be left off the list.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Spooky season continues with Thanksgiving

While Halloween might be over, Thanksgiving has monsters of its own to keep the spooky season going. 


Check out this classic Thanksgiving episode of the Jack-o’-Lantern Press Podcast HERE to hear about these turkey terrors and others. And by classic, we mean to say that well over one or two people have listened to at least the first five minutes of this show (probably a whole six people heard some of it!).


So grab a plate of poultry, some taters, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, cue up the show, crank up the volume, and join the monster revolution with this celebration of November nightmares! Here’s that LINK one more time in the event your mouse lost scrolling capabilities. 


Oh, and for an added bonus, click HERE to hear a Monster Mondays episode on Tom the Turkey Terror!



Hitchgiving Viewing Line-Up (as featured on the show and HERE):


At 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning (or, if you want to spread these films out over a few days, then on the Friday before Thanksgiving), begin your Hitchgiving marathon with the 1946 film “Notorious.”



Next on the platform, at 7:45 a.m. (or on the Saturday before Thanksgiving), is 1951’s “Strangers on a Train.”



Then, at 9:30 a.m. (or the Sunday before Thanksgiving), take a peek at 1954’s “Rear Window.”



At 11:30 a.m. (or the Monday before Thanksgiving), don’t look down, but look out for 1958’s “Vertigo.”



Around 1:40 p.m. (or the Tuesday before Thanksgiving), the right move is 1956’s “The Wrong Man.”



Sixth on the list at 3:30 p.m. (or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) is 1959’s “North by Northwest.”



Next, at 5:50 p.m. (or Thanksgiving morning), sit down for the main course -- a big plate of 1963’s “The Birds.”



Finally, for dessert at 7:50 p.m. (or sometime Thanksgiving evening), treat yourself to 1960’s “Psycho.”


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween 2021!

It’s almost time! 

To prepare for a big night of ghoulish festivities, join the guys from the Jack-o’-Lantern Press Podcast and the Nightmare365 Podcast for their Halloween Radio Special.


As you carve pumpkins, dress up, and prepare for a big night of candy collecting, listen to Mike, Tom, Matt and Greg as they share Halloween memories, tell scary stories, and play their favorite Halloween tunes of the season.

 


Click HERE to listen the show. 


And HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It’s almost time!

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!