"THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU BARBARA!" Little did Russell Streiner know when he uttered that now famous line in 1968, how it would shape my life, and hopefully all of yours, so many years later.
Wlecome to Corpsetagious. This is the first edition of a weekly blog in which I will share my experiences on different aspects of the haunted house industry such as design, advertising, networking, and staffing. Together, every Terrifying Tuesday, we will also explore other artistic ventures such as mask and prop production, screenprinting, and different uses for vinyl decals. We will examine how all of these aspects tie in together like a thick knot on a hangmans noose.
My name is Clint Tacy. I am the Co-Owner / Operator of The Corpse Barn Shock Haunt, a seasonal dark entertainment attraction, as well as Co-Owner of CorpseSylum Studio, where we focus on mask and prop production, screenprinting, and vinyl art. Why call this blog Corpsetagious you ask? The definition of contagious is 1.(of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact.
2.(of an emotion, feeling, or attitude) likely to spread to and affect others. My intention is to spread the diseased results of my experiments in various artistic horror endevours in a way that might affect others. First I thought I will unearth some back story on myself as an introduction.
When my mother was a young child, she lived in a farmhouse in Illinois. Outside of her bedroom window, across the street, was an old country cemetery. Terrified (funny because her name is Terri) after watching Night of the Living Dead, she slept under her bed for two weeks. A decade later, when I came along, her fear of all things horror was still strong and shielded me from anything creepy. Naturally, I was drawn to this forbidden friut, and by the time I was ten, through my aunt, had soaked up the blood of countless horror movies. Although I enjoyed them, after awile, the audio and visual consumption became more like study sessions then entertainment. I would find myself focusing my eyes and ears on areas of the productions that were not designed to catch your attention. I often discovered quiet creepy background noises or characters that enhanced the stories. I would also find production mistakes such as visible boom mics, or editing and continuity errors. It was the late 80's and mind you, the internet had not yet been introduced. Searching You Tube for how to do a two piece mask mold did not exist. Luckily for me, it was a mainstream time for the horror industry, and pratical effects. Horror was everywhere and I was introduced to a VHS tape named Scream Greats where you could see how Tom Savini engineered some of his most famous special effects. Television shows showcasing how Steve Johnson created the gory tricks that often took center stage on the horror screen existed in a colorful comic book way. By the mid 90's, I had reached a transition from fan to participant through various theater performances, and public television productions both on but mainly backstage. I decided to attend The Pittsburg Institute of Arts and study special effects. My father and I took a week long trip to Pittsburg, visting the school, the city, housing , ect. Although excited, I was overwhelemed and chose not to attend. The year was now 1996. I had graduated high school with all of this experience and passion, but with no direction. The haunt industry was booming, and I decided to revisit an early interest of mine........haunted houses.
Halloween was always a special time in my life! Halloween was my father's birthday, and although he did not like to celebrate it, the day was always a little more special for me because of it. His mother's birthday was Devil's Night and my mother was born in November so yes, it is very likley that I am or will become a serial killer. I would always beg my parents to build our front yard and porch into a haunted walk through. I had visited an indoor walk through haunted attraction one summer as a child in northern Michigan. I was scared out of my mind, and crying but calmed when my family was laughing. My mother scared my friend and myslef while we were in the basement one time by echoing ghost moans through the floor vent. My father got me once while watching The AmittyVille Horror by screaming out of the darkness at the right time. These were all followed by laughter. I realized that scaring people was fun and I wanted in. We decorated but never transformed our home into a haunt experience. Fast forward to 1996, with easy access to foam latex props, and my first front porch haunted house came to life.
I by no means am claiming to be an expert of any kind. Everyone's path and artistic styles are differnet. There is no right way to do any of this, although I have discovered some wrong ways. I have been approached by various people over the years asking my advice on everything from how to start a haunted house to how to build certain props, ect. Several people have suggested that I start a weekly blog. I have always hesitated, feeling that I have not mastered anything so am no authority on any given subject. It occured to me though that maybe what I have learned so far could help others. Through this weekly publication, I can also learn from your experiences. We can network and discover new things together. Now that introductions and intent are out of the way, next week we will explore the aspects of how to start a haunted house. I hope you have found this an interesting read and are looking forward to future editions. Please comment on and share this blog with others. "WE'RE COMING TO GET YOU!"