Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween... I'm exhausted

Hey gang it's finally Halloween, and I'm exhausted.

Although I didn't participate in the whole official Halloween Countdown thing it sure felt like I did. Sadly I wanted to do one last Haunted Mansion animation for Halloween, but I just didn't have the time. It was going to be my most elaborate one too, but I'm putting it on the back burner for now. Don't worry, I'll have it completed one of these days.

Well I guess I should give you something for your Trick-or-Treat bag... Oh look, I've got a box of Universal Studios Monster Cookies from 1998 for you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Unused Concept Art from the Haunted Mansion Animated: Graveyard Ghosts and Witches

The reason I wanted to animate this unused concept art by Marc Davis was because it features witches, and you won't find witches anywhere in the Haunted Mansion.

Marc Davis drew a couple of early concept sketches with witches in them - before it was decided to strictly stick to the ghosts. Also the ghosts in this sketch look nothing like the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion either.

Although it's interesting that the Caretaker and his dog look virtually the same as they do in the final attraction.

OK here's the animation made to move as if it actually was a scene in the Haunted Mansion...

Additional comments...

There's not much more to say really. I originally wanted to use a little of the theme music to Disney's Wonderful World of Color for when the sketch turns from B&W to color, but it didn't work with the other audio.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Revenge of the Travel Brochures from the Darkside Part 4: Stars Hall of Fame

I've got a few different brochures from the Stars Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida, and I promise to post them in their entirety one day soon. But just for Halloween I wanted to spotlight a specific feature of this now defunct wax museum.

This brochure is from 1982, and the Stars Hall of Fame had invested in a $1.2 million expansion. You can see for yourself some of the new offerings this expansion brought, but I think you'll agree the coolest is Vincent Price's Monster Manor.

I had hoped someone out there in Internet Land had posted some pictures of Monster Manor, but the only picture I could find was from a Florida newspaper...

The above artists rendering is from the May 6, 1982 edition of the Ledger, and yeah, Monster Manor did sorta look like that I guess. You see, dear reader, I personally experienced the "magical, mysterious, maze-like Monster Manor."

Unfortunately I was young, and don't remember much about it.

I was reading the brochure description, and I don't remember any of that stuff. I don't remember the Wolfman, talking or moving walls, or ghosts. There were creepy and eerie noises, if you consider a thunderstorm creepy and eerie. It looked like a spooky castle on inside with maybe a dozen horror movie scenes depicted in wax. I remember there was that scene from The Exorcist where Regan's head spins around. As for "Jeckyll becomes Hyde, as if by magic, right before your eyes!", well there might have been some Pepper's ghost illusion I guess. There was a scene (I want to say it was from The Fly ) where an actor (or more accurately a teenager making minimum wage) pretended to be a wax figure, and would suddenly jump at you. It's sad that my clearest memory is of some fat guy tourist near the exit who'd shout "boo" to people as they walked by him. What a jerk. Me and my mother went through the Monster Manor alone (my father had gone through ahead of us. My father was an impatient man, and would walk way ahead of the family all the time), and we didn't need any random weirdos getting in on the action.

If anyone reading this personally experienced Vincent Price's Monster Manor, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you remember.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monster Monday #4: The Scary Ghost

For my last Monster Monday I've departed further from the original drawing than ever before. I don't know if that's a good thing.

I made the drawing above some time in middle school, and I remember I was trying to draw something super scary. This time it was a sinister shrouded ghost with glowing red eyes. Hooded ghosts are a dime a dozen, and even back then I was attempting to make my ghost different. I intentionally stretched the proportions of the neck (maybe I was influenced by E.T.), and gave the ghost an X-ray look with a visible skeleton. I don't think I was very satisfied with what I drew since I didn't complete the drawing. Also the little doodle in the bottom left is sorta mocking the ghost.

For my 2009 update, I wanted to get as far away from the cliche shrouded ghost as possible. So I made the ghost an alien. I liked the stretched out neck of the original, and that works for an alien. The bony appearance works too, and I got to indulge my six pack abs fetish (after countless hours of doing ab exercises, I've only manged to get something like a 2.5 pack in real life unfortunately) by giving my alien an unearthly set of abs. I then thought what's the scariest thing that supposedly "real" aliens do to people... You know what I'm talking about, so I don't need to tell what the device he's holding is used for. The vague S&M leather gear getup I gave my alien works for this aspect as well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Unused Concept Art from the Haunted Mansion Animated: Ghost in the Mirror

I'm going to do something a little different this time. For my past Haunted Mansion animations I've tried to remain as faithful as possible to the original artist's intentions, but this time I'm going to do my own armchair Imagineering.

You'll notice the above concept art of a woman trapped in a mirror looks rather aged and old. When I discovered this sketch floating in the boundless realm of the Internets I assumed it was from the 1960's. To my surprise, it's from 1995 and is supposedly part of some proposed HM enhancements (thanks again to GRD999 for this info).

This woman/ghost trapped in the mirror gag was to be placed in the Corridor of Doors. For those who don't know, The Corridor of Doors is one of the scarier places in the Mansion. This is the section of the ride where you travel past a series of doors - each with a seemingly very noisy and angry spirit pounding on the other side.

This gag would work similarly to the mirror gag with the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Although I assume the figure of the woman would be a reasonably sophisticated Audio-Animatronic. My guess is she would look like she's pounding on the glass, move her head, eyes and blink. I also think she'd probably talk or scream. There is an up-light lighting her from below. I assume this would dim up and down to reveal the figure.

Although this gag was never installed in the Haunted Mansion, I think it's a good idea.

Now there's a unwritten rule in the Haunted Mansion that says you cannot see the ghosts until you pass Madame Leota, who through her incantations allow the spirits to materialize. I respect that. Therefore if I was in charge of doing a ghost in the mirror gag for the Haunted Mansion I would do it differently.

Having an actual figure behind the glass, while certainly effective, it's probably much too literal. I think you if you show a ghost in the mirror, it must remain blurry and undefined. Also with the advancements in flat panel HD displays, I would probably dress a monitor to look like a mirror. I also think you could have some sort of mirrored glass on the monitor too that would reflect when the ghost is not visible too (I don't know for sure if this practical. I haven't done any R&D on this so don't hold me to it).

So enough with the set-up, here's my animation...

Additional comments...

This effect isn't perfect, but it's very close to how I would do the effect if I was actually designing this for the Haunted Mansion. It's certainly a very good first draft of the proposed effect.

Just in case there's some rabid HM fan out there reading this who wants to debate why this effect is not appropriate, or some other sort of nonsense. Remember I am not an Imagineer, or work for Disney in anyway. This effect is NOT going in the Haunted Mansion. This is just for fun. This is my sandbox to play in, and so if you're upset you can take your Tonka trucks and go home.

Yes, that's me as the ghost in the mirror.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Revenge of the Travel Brochures from the Darkside Part 3: Castle Dracula


It's unfortunate that this retro brochure for Castle Dracula in Niagara Falls, Ontario doesn't use any actual photographs of the attraction. If you Google "Castle Dracula Niagara Falls" use can see it's actually fairly impressive looking (at least from the outside).



UPDATE: I've just discovered that the artwork for this brochure was lifted from a 1973 issue of the House of Mystery. Check out this post over at The Haunted Closet. Looks like you're busted Castle Dracula people.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monster Monday #3: The Horrible Demon

The drawing above I made when I was in junior high. It was my attempt to make something extremely scary. I think I was inspired by the film Poltergeist, even though that movie isn't known for its monsters, there is that one scene near the end with the ghostly creature in the hallway.

Poltergeist 1982

My take on this creature this was to make it extra gross looking with rat-like hair and diseased looking skin. Drawing my new version of this monster was sorta a nightmare. I started with a much more dynamic pose, but that was a headache to draw so I changed it at the last minute to look more like the original drawing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unused Concept Art from the Haunted Mansion Animated: Haunted Mansion Kitchen

If you're a Haunted Mansion fan maybe you've always wondered where the kitchen is. I remember when I was a child thinking it might be cool to see a haunted kitchen scene. It wasn't until recently when I found the above art on the Internet that I learn there were actual ideas for a haunted kitchen scene.

The art is once again from the talented and very prolific Marc Davis, and the text at the bottom of his drawing reads:
Invisible ghost cooks meal. Footprints move around floor. Handle on teakettle raises up to position, teakettle pours into pot. Steam rises. Spoon stirs pot. Oven opens, lid on roaster raises. Steam comes from roaster. Voice of ghost happily hums and recites recipe.
Well enough of the setup here's the animation...

Additional comments...

One issue with a long show scene like this is it's very possible you could ride the attraction multiple times without seeing it all. Although that would sure encourage repeat rides...


Three Haunted Mansion fans discuss their favorite ride.

The part where the kettle floats up and pours into the pot is pretty cool.

Wait, the kettle floats? I've only seen the oven door open.

What are you guys talking about. The water pump is only thing I've ever seen going on in that scene.

I guess if this scene was actually in the Mansion most of us would have to wait for a YouTube video from some guy who got stuck in front of the kitchen scene and was able to record the entire sequence to eventually see all of it.

A very special thanks to my friend Bob Biestek who did the great job on the 3D kettle for me, and who even made the lid jump up and down.

Also I'd like to thank
GRD999 over on MiceChat for helping me identity the artist of the artwork.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Revenge of the Travel Brochures from the Darkside Part 2: Criminals Hall of Fame

It's time for some real life monsters with the this retro brochure for the Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum in Niagara Falls, Canada...



Lots of scary folks inside here, and they even got Spider-Man on display with the rest of the human scum too. Somewhere J. Jonah Jameson is happy.


From what the Internet tells me, unlike most of the old travel brochures I present here, the Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum is still in business. So why don't you stop in and visit the next time you're at Niagara Falls honeymooning, or going over the Falls in a barrel, or whatever.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monster Monday #2: The Evil Muppet Monster

Time again for another of my "then and now" monster drawings...

I made the drawing above sometime around the 8th grade. I remember I started drawing the redheaded guy with the intent of making some sort of goofy Alfred E. Neuman-like character. I didn't like what I drew, and left him half-finished. A short time later I drew the monster behind him to eat him up.

Looking back at this old drawing I like the subtle line of action on the monster has, and I also think he sorta looks like a Muppet.

It's funny, for my 2009 update I still don't like the redheaded guy. I think his design could be better, and his construction is a little wonky too. I'm glad there's another big monster behind him ready to eat him up.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Unused Concept Art from the Haunted Mansion Animated: The Tiger Hunter

Hey all you fans of the Disney Parks Haunted Mansion, I've got something fun to show you I think.

As part of my Halloween celebration, I got the idea to animate some of the unused concept art to see how that scene might look if it was actually installed in the Haunted Mansion.

For Marc Davis' s concept art of the "Tiger Hunter" I animated it two different ways: First, I animated the art only, and made to move like it was an animatronic scene. Secondly, I animated a crude simulated ride through as if you were in your "doombuggies" complete with sound and lighting effects. Check it out...

Some additional thoughts and comments...

I wish I had the time to fully animate the classic "Story and Song" cover art for my opening titles. It would have looked cool, but that would also be a lot of work to prep that art for animation. Maybe next year.

Marc Davis was a genius at staging a scene. Everything reads so clearly. I hope I managed to come close to what he was envisioning. All the tiger heads on the wall are drawn differently, and so I animated them each in different ways.

Audio for my simulated ride through was challenging. If anyone out there reading this has a good sound effect for a laughing tiger I would love to hear it because I couldn't find anything suitable. Although losing the laughing effect was probably for the best since the sound for that scene was getting pretty full. I basically only used the growling, hiccuping and the hunter's ranting (which I turned way, way down). I dumped the bone crunching, panting, and laughing (which wasn't good anyway) because I found it all to be just too much noise.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Revenge of the Travel Brochures from the Darkside Part 1: Terror on Church Street




After you enjoy your day at Walt Disney World, head to Downtown Orlando to have the culottes scared off you at the Anthony Perkins endorsed Terror on Church Street.

Wait a minute, this just in... Terror on Church Street is no longer in operation. Sorry about that folks.

Well please enjoy the graphically cool Terror on Church Street brochure.

The company that produced Terror on Church Street is based in Spain, and still operates haunted attractions in various countries.  Check out their site if you dare. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monster Monday #1: The Deadly One-Eye Monster

I was a kid who loved monsters, and would draw them all the time. For this month-long Halloween celebration, I thought it would be fun to dig up some of my childhood monster drawings, and redraw them now as an adult.

The monster above I drew when I was about 9 years old. Surprisingly, I still have memories of drawing this. I remember I was attempting to create the ultimate deadly monster. It had electricity it could shoot from its head antennae and tail. The creature has two whip-like appendages with spike balls at the end that is can swing to hit its opponent with. Last but not least, one arm was a claw. I don't know why I gave the monster human-like feet (FYI: yeah those were how I'd draw human feet), I probably thought it was funny. Also I believe I was attempting to use about every color of marker I had too.

So now without further delay, people of the Internets, I present to you the new and updated "Deadly One-Eye Monster" for 2009...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unique Haunted Attraction Ad #1: Wonka's Fear Factory

From the 2001 Fear Finder...

To the best of my knowledge this particular attraction ran only one season, but I'm sure that damn boat ride was terrifying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And so it begins....sorta

You know, I seriously considered participating in that Halloween Countdown thing that so many of my fellow bloggers are doing. But I just didn't have the time to properly prepare a "quality" post each day for the entire month of October.

So instead of a post each and every day, what do you say to a post about 3 times a week? (Well that's a rhetorical question, it's not like you're gonna have a choice).

To kick off this whole month long celebration to Halloween (and anything kooky and spooky) I have some retro Halloween napkins to share with you. Yeah I'm surprised as much as you are that I'm back to posting about napkins after my Groucho napkins posts. But I like the graphics on these - especially the one with the haunted house.

Also maybe someone who Googles "retro Halloween napkins" will find just what they were looking for, and I'm happy I could help. So you're very welcome possible future Google searcher, and these napkin close-ups are just for you...


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