Make horrid scars and gashes.


"Halloween" by Kay Lande and Wade Denning - iPhone/Hipstamatic Stop Motion Video

Direct YouTube link

Psst! Visit the official Golden Records Facebook Page for a free download of the "Halloween" MP3! It's a "Limited Time Only" type deal so act fast!

Hey everyone, it's great to see you all again! I certainly hope that the last year has treated you kindly and that you're all doing well in your various crypts, lairs & decaying manors.

Okay, okay -- let's get down to business, huh? October is finally here and that means it's time for another one of my annual "Halloween projects that I'm using as an excuse to try new stuff" posts. Yeah! All right!

Since I figured that whatever I did would be unlikely to match the over-the-topness of last year's Eerie Publications/ Johnson-Smith "Horror Record" mashup (and let me just pause here to say that the reaction to that video was absolutely mind-blowingly amazing to me. Tweeted by Harry Knowles! Championed by Poison Ivy! Played in-house at the Alamo Drafthouse and Cinefamily theaters! I don't think I could ever have predicted such an awesome collection of responses for something so replete with severed heads and werewolf-on-vampire gore, so thanks again one and all) -- wait, where was I? Oh yeah -- since I doubted I could mimic THAT vibe, this year I decided to try and take things in a less gruesome direction by giving myself a project that might teach me a few new tricks while simultaneously paying homage to another (and slightly more kid-friendly) corner of my mental Halloween time-machine brain.

I'm sure that by now most of you have come to the same conclusion as me: time to make a stop motion video for one of my favorite childhood songs and shoot the whole thing using an iPhone and the "Hipstamatic" photo app. Perfect!

Okay so here, (if you're interested that is) is way too much info around what that little story looked like:

Choosing the song was actually easy enough -- ever since I was 5 or so I've been in love with the Kay Lande and Wade Denning "Halloween: Games, Songs and Stories" record (here's my Scar Stuff write up from March of 2006), and as far as children's Halloween tunes go I think the opening track comes pretty damn close to perfection. So yeah -- song: check.

The decision to use the iPhone actually took me a bit longer to get to, but it made total sense thanks to some evolving patterns in my creative projects/art/WhateverYouWannaCallIt over the last year or so. Basically I've been playing with the idea of using my phone as a kind of creative Swiss Army Knife; shooting video of random events so I can do more editing, getting reacquainted with the idea of always having a camera around, and generally just trying to approach every day as having the potential to become a document-able project of some sort (the results aren't always pretty, but now and then I will post examples over at my site.)

In particular I found that I was having a lot of fun using the Hipstamtic photo app on my phone, and quickly enough my to-do list became rife with time-draining ideas like "Gridstamatic Collages" (which are cubist type grids composed of multiple square images that kinda-sorta form a whole when taken in at once, sometimes in conjunction with a hardware accessory like the macro OlloClip lens [also used here in the Halloween video]), and "Tucson Motels Are Anxious for Your Patronage" (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like).

So all that was missing was the stylistic component, and since I-have-always-loved-but-have-never-done-any-stop-motion, I finally decided to mix everything together and give this combo of elements a shot (well, more like several thousand shots). I started out with a few crude photo tests in the second week of September, and just last night I managed to export the complete mess via Final Cut Pro. It was a little more intensive that I thought it would be (see the "Post Mortem" below), but I genuinely had a great time and I truly hope that you guys dig the results.

And hey -- Happy Halloween everyone!

Post mortem:

This project was a huge amount of fun, but it was also just WAY the hell more work than I thought it would be. In fact to all you professional stop motion folks let me just say: Holy Crap! You are clearly wired with much more patience than I am. Wow.

Another thing that I didn't really factor in is that the Hipstamtic app can only (currently) process a maximum of 9 photos during any given stretch. That certainly slowed some image capture sessions down but to be honest those pauses were usually pretty helpful because I ALSO needed way more time to build the little characters, props & environments for every scene in here than I had initially envisioned. Obviously I need to work on both my time estimate and time management skills.

Still, and with all of that said, I'd totally do it again. The end result is almost exactly what I hoped it would be: a mishmash of styles, aesthetics and techniques, all wrapped up in a 60's-70's home-movie vibe. I had fun, I learned a huge amount, and I had a good excuse to buy a whole bunch of cheesy Halloween toys. All in all I'd call that a pretty win/win/win scenario; I heartily recommend that anyone so inclined give it a try.

And finally, if you'd like to check out some uncropped stills (and all of my Hipstamatic setting details), here's a gallery of images representing each video segment, along with some behind-the-scenes type jive. Most of my favorite Hipstamtic combos make an appearance, and this project even helped me cipher out a few new ones that I really liked. Hooray!

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Blogger Jim Reynolds said...

This is awesome, Jason, great to see you again!

10/06/2011 8:25 AM

Blogger Max the drunken severed head said...

You've knocked it outta the park again, if I can use a baseball metaphor. (And what's a meta for, if not to use at Halloween time?)

Great spooky treat for all Halloween lovers everywhere. Thank you, Jason.

10/06/2011 10:19 PM

Blogger maxruehl said... brother's name is Wade Denning (and, no, it's not this one).:)

Seeing this and last year's videos, something occurred to me. I have a horror story I wrote and recorded a few years back. I've always wondered if maybe I should try to illustrate it somehow (although many have told me the imagery painted with words was more than adequate). However, being a film school grad, I have a definite fondness for the visual, so you really have me thinking about how I might do it. I'd never get it done in time for this Halloween, but maybe some time in the future.

Btw, might you be interested in hearing it? If you like it, maybe you could post it for Halloween for your readers. Let me know.

Nice work on the videos. They bring out the kid in me.:)

10/07/2011 2:45 PM

Blogger Prof. Grewbeard said...

awesome in a completely different way, guess the Gayle House Haunting would've been too grim!

10/07/2011 5:33 PM

Blogger Lord Shockedelic said...

That's great. I needed something to get me in the mood!

10/08/2011 10:31 PM

Blogger Gregory said...

Hi, I just wanted to post a link to my band's Halloween song. It's called Halloween at Shady View. It's chronicles the terrors of Trick or Treating at a nursing home. The band is Kids on Bikes

Here's the link to the youtube video.

10/09/2011 11:28 AM

Blogger CoffinDan said...

That is great Jason! I am completely blown away by your imaginative take on the visuals for this song. You hit the nail on the head! I have been following your blog for several years and every Halloween I have to pop in Spook Party and Ghoul-Arama. If you don't mind I am going to feature your video at my own blog The Celluloid Coffin.

10/11/2011 6:04 AM

Blogger Jason said...

Reposting is definitely more than a-okay by me sir, very glad that you liked it !

(And by the way: I've really wanted to respond in more depth to all of these kind comments but have been on vacation for the last few days and am limited to (occasional) iPhone connectivity. Still I'm very happy that this year's little project seemed to hit the nail on the head for all of you guys; challenging as it might have been to learn some of this stuff in a pinch it really was also a lot of fun.

10/11/2011 8:41 AM

Blogger siys said...

Absolutely Brilliant Jason!!!
Stevo In Yr Stereo of Nightmare City Halloween

10/12/2011 8:55 AM

Blogger Dave said...

Another awesome video Jason! Thanks!

10/12/2011 1:25 PM

Blogger JamesFinnGarner said...

Terrific! Great fun!

And good to see your blog again. I can somehow remember "Scar Stuff" every October without a bookmark.

10/20/2011 8:16 AM

Blogger BYOSpirit said...

Hi..I love Vincent Price..great site. I am looking for a story teller for Halloween for my radio show AM 1540 WYCL. Or if there is a scary story I can put up for my show this Saturday. Any help or takers are greatly appreciated. Marta

10/24/2011 12:12 PM

Blogger Howie Pyro said...

here is a link to my post about this here slice of psycho fun...

10/26/2011 7:08 AM

Blogger Howie Pyro said...

also if any of you nuts need a background soundtrack to this weeks festivities check this link...

10/26/2011 7:10 AM

Blogger maxruehl said...

Hey. Here's a link to the story I mentioned:

If you listen, I hope you enjoy.

10/26/2011 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, this is terror-ific! And I must mention the use of the retro candies in the trick-or-treat segment: what a nice touch!

10/28/2011 7:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, all enjoy your free download of the .mp3 "Halloween" here!

10/28/2011 7:47 AM

Anonymous Theory 77 said...

Here you go.... Not a patch on your video but hey - something a little different. You might appreciate it.

Thanks for your relentlessly amazing blog!!!!

10/28/2011 9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great blog! It is so much fun.

10/30/2011 6:26 PM

Blogger deusdiabolus said...

I love your blog and always remember it when the seasons grow dark. I have been working on a streaming playlist of creepy material and I would love your input (the playlist is configured to allow others to add songs). Check it out if you get a chance:

10/31/2011 11:14 AM

Anonymous Golden Records said...

Happy Halloween! Since so many people asked about this song , Golden Records is offering an exclusive download of "Halloween" by Kay Lande & Wade Denning.

Get your free download here:

10/31/2011 11:33 AM

Blogger MacEricG said...

Frickin' awesome again Jason. I have an ongoing collection of Halloween shorts and videos which I compile for our annual party, and this is definitely going into the mix. Is it available somewhere as a hires download?

Do you have more info on Golden Records? I wasn't under the impression Kay & Wade's records was under that label, so I assume they are securing rights for other out-of-print recordings.

Is there any change the Halloween mp3 is still available someplace for download, or are those that missed it SOL?

As always, awesome work.

1/01/2012 7:31 AM

Blogger Jason said...

Heya MacEricG: Thanks! A downloadable version (if you haven't already snagged it via one of the many browser plug-ins out there that let you grab youtube videos) is up on Vimeo here: Hopefully that'll work but feel free to let me know if there's anything hinky (and glad to hear I made the cut for your party!)

As for Golden Records, they have a pretty active & friendly Facebook page here: and based on my interactions with them (they really do seem to be very cool as well as anxious to bring their catalog into the digital age) I bet that they'll be happy to give you more accurate and up to date answers to the rest of your questions.

And thanks again, very glad you enjoyed it!

1/07/2012 6:18 AM

Blogger Eric M. Smith said...

I asked myself, "what should I watch for my lunch break to celebrate Halloween?" and your video immediately came to mind. It looks like I'm making watching your video an annual Halloween tradition, as long as it's available. :) Wonderful work.

10/31/2012 8:32 AM


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