Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Charlie McCarthy and the Killer Dummies

I'm starting this post about 4 am and my goddamn computer keeps giving me shit. I'm usually sound asleep around this time, but it began to rain, my four year old began to scream, and I lost my place in the bed.  My wife and I aren't very big people and we share a small mattress with our Boston terrier, so when the boys have too much chocolate, or when there's lightening and thunder, or when there's just something under the bed, guess who suffers.

But oh well. I've been meaning to write this post for about a week anyway.  At least it's quiet now, and since I have the time, I'd like to share with whoever is out there two short films and recommend three full length features about killer ventriloquist dummies. The first film is simply called The Dummy (1982) and is only about 7 minutes long.  I remember seeing it on HBO when I was probably about the same age as the screaming child who woke me up tonight.  It was on around my bed time so I only caught a minute or two of it, but it scared the shit out of me.  It was my first encounter with the concept of a dummy walking around on its own, killing people.  You can view it here: http://youtu.be/4-8ocnmE0Ts.

The next three recommendations are perfect for Halloween and are available on Netflix, or I'm sure at least two of them are available at your local video store; that's if video stores still exist in your town.

 Dead of Night (1945) is a British horror anthology with lots of good stories and a great wrap around, but the most interesting and terrifying segment is easily the one featuring Hugo Fitch, a smart ass, conniving little shit looking for a new partner and a trip to the U.S. The movie has some pretty cool effects concerning the evil dummy and is the first film I know of to portray a ventriloquist doll as a living, thinking murderer.

Magic (1978) is my favorite of the three and stars the always remarkable Anthony Hopkins as Corky the magician and ventriloquist who's a little afraid of success and might not be quite right in the head.  His inseparable pal and partner in crime is Fats, another smart ass, conniving little shit; but instead of looking for a new act, would rather keep Corky all to himself.  See it.  It's awesome.

 Dead Silence (2007) might be the weakest of the three with its sluggish pace, jump scares, and sort-a-silly surprise ending, but it also offers lots of creepy ventriloquist dummies and neat effects.  Though the movie's antagonist is a ghost named Mary Shaw, most of the horror takes place through a creepy doll named Billy. Definitely worth a look.  Donny Wahlberg keeps me coming back with his dick head detective act and awesome mustache.

Lastly, we come to a short video I shot with my wife's very cheap and outmoded camera.  Pictured above is a charcoal portrait I drew of a plastic Charlie McCarthy doll my mom bought for me a few years back.  A couple weeks ago I gave him a sinister new paint job and enrolled him in acting classes.  We, together with members of my family, wrote, directed, and edited this pile of shit I'm allowing any and every poor soul to experience through the miracle of YouTube.  It's only 7 minutes (that you'll never get back) and sports no effects, no professional actors, and no sense. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Own Monster Engine Part 2

Here's the second collaboration of the eccentric but brilliant young artist Ransom Whiteford and myself.  I like this one a bit more than the pumpkin man, and I'm looking forward to working with this talented illustrator again.

Below is a photo sent to me yesterday of a collaboration between Jonathan Laplante and his daughter. It's of a red-eyed forest monster that befriends a little boy. The creature comes from a story Laplante told to his daughter a year ago. Good work guys.  If you have a photo of a cool monster that you've envisioned and executed with your child, send it my way and I'll add it to this post.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our Own Monster Engine

 I had read about Dave Devries' Monster Engine a few years back in an issue of Rue Morgue Magazine and thought what a neat idea to create realistic, three dimensional looking paintings of crude children's drawings. Recently, my wife had found images on Pinterest.com of plush toys also designed from the simple drawings of children.  My four year old loves to draw and has lately been coming up with some cool characters in the Spirit of Halloween.  Just the other day he drew a jack-o-lantern with appendages and a mummy that could easily best anything from the mind of Tim Burton.

Well as you can see, I've taken his wonderful little pumpkin man and made him into a three dimensional figure.  I'm going to sculpt his mummy today and I can't get to it quickly enough.  Forming this character into clay was very rewarding.  It was just as exciting for me to sculpt and paint this guy as it was for my son to see his creation come to life.  It's pretty cool to collaborate with my boy on an art project.  Give it a shot with your own kids.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Ha! So I lied! I knew I would repaint more of my old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures when I stated I was finished for the year in my last post, and I fooled all seventeen of you. Evil Genius I am.  Take that world! Anyway, here are the Rat King and Casey Jones.  I dirtied up the Rat King a bit, painted in the extra details including that giant centipede on his chest (why was that not painted?!?), and gave him more of a mummy living in the sewer look.  The original paint job was much too colorful for a sewer dwelling rat man.

Rat King
 This Casey Jones figure came out in 1989, so I painted his hockey mask to look like that of Jason Vorhees from the same year.  I think I made him look a bit more psycho and maybe homeless.  I liked how the original cartoon portrayed him as a total nut job.  I grayed his hair a bit to make him older as well.  The newer renditions of Casey Jones are of a young, well rounded stud. Well fuck that! This figure has psycho killer written all over him. I didn't have an extra figure to show you comparisons, so Google him to see what I've changed. Hope you like.
Casey Jones

Stay tuned for more repainted figures.  Still tracking down the artists who created these toys and are responsible for helping to create the monster I am today.  I promise my next post will be about something else.  I'll be recommending three killer ventriloquist dummy movies along with a short film from HBO back in the 80s.  I'll also be showing off my short shot-on-shitty-camera disaster I'm making with my family and custom painted Charlie McCarthy dummy.  Happy Halloween!