Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pics! Finally!!

As promised, I'm finally getting around to adding the pics from Halloween...

As always, click on the pic to see a larger image.

This is what you see when first you enter Hollinger Hollow!

A close-up of the Blood Fountain!

A view out into the cemetery!

Our boarded up windows!

The Mausoleum!

The Old Grave Digger must have decided to take a nap!

Rest In Piece!

The Raven!

Come on man! Get that corpse of the fence!

The Bridge to the other side!

The Hell Hole!

Coffin Guy in action!

We call this guy Doug!

And the Exit!

All in all a very successful Halloween.

But now what is to become of the blog? I've been pondering that since I started it and I've decided to keep it going year round. That said, I wouldn't expect a lot of updates during the first 7 months of the year as we don't really get rolling until August, but the truth is that there is still a lot of work to do.

Like what you ask? Well, like automating the Coffin Guy. This year I had someone hiding in the bushes operating a ball valve that controlled the air flow to the pneumatic cylinder. Next year it would be nice if everything was controlled by a pressure switch.

We are also going to give the Hollow a Louisiana Swamp feel next year so I'll have to figure out new lighting schemes as well as adding a lot more "swamp" to the cemetery.

I will also be thinking about what new attractions to build/add for next year. I never got the Face in the Tombstone working. I will definitely be working on that as well as toying around with some other new ideas that I will talk about when I have them better figured out.

So, come by about once a month or so to see if there have been any new updates. I can't promise there will be a lot of updates for the next 9 months but I'll do my best to keep it interesting.

In the meantime, be sure to check in on my primary year round project at the Xam and Power Blog! You can see what I spend most of my free time working on and hopefully get a chuckle out of that.

See you around!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hollinger Hollow 2010 Walkthrough!

Well, Here it is! The Hollinger Hollow 2010 Walk Through video!!!

As I watched this video the first thing I realized is my finger shows up in the upper left corner about 1:35 minutes through. I wasn't able to edit this out so I'll just have to live with it.

The other thing I notice is that even though this video is good (it was filmed using an IPhone as my video camera couldn't handle the low lighting) it still doesn't compare to how it looked live. This year was truly fantastic and I wish I had a video that truly shows how special it was to walk through the cemetery.

I'll have some pics to show within the next couple of days.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hollinger Hollow Is Gone!

Hey guys,

Well, Halloween has come and gone and like the holiday, so has Hollinger Hollow.

This year was our best turnout. Halloween being on a Sunday this year I suspected the trick-or-treaters to be out early so I ensured everything was set up by 6pm.

To my surprise, we only had about 5 people show up the first hour. I was beginning to fear that the holiday being on a Sunday, along with the Cowboys getting their butt's kicked in the most embarrassingly fashion and game 4 of the World series playing during peak trick-or-treat hours, was going to give people little motivation to get up and go house to house asking for candy. As it was, I was begging to worry for nothing.

At 7pm the flood gates of trick-or-treaters opened. We started the night with 400 goody bags of candy. Now, that's not just 400 pieces of candy. There were several pieces of candy in each bag. By 8pm we had gone through all 400 bags. After a quick trip to the store we were back in business.

The wave of people began to die down after 9pm but we left the lights on until 10pm. All in all, we had around 600 people come through the Hollow, a record year! Thank you everyone who helped us pass out candy and thank you everyone for stopping by and making this year the tremendous success it was.

The next day everything was torn down and placed in the back yard. Hollinger Hollow has vanished until next year. We even had several people come by later in the day yesterday to get one last look, but they were too late. All they saw was the empty space where once there was a spooky cemetery.

So, what does all the stuff look like when it's sitting in the back yard? Well, it looks like this...

Of course, we have a lot of pictures and even some video from Halloween night. I hope to have it all posted by the end of the week. For today, I just need a small break and thankfully, the weather has given me a pretty big rain storm to use and an excuse to not work on putting all that stuff in my yard back in my garage. I'll probably get around to that tomorrow. Then I'll start going through all the pics and footage to see what I can post.

Talk to you then.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Night Pics!

Well, I'm almost done with the lighting in the graveyard.

Got a few more lights to hang and a couple more objects to add to the yard, but for the most part it's getting pretty close to being done.

I still have 8 more tombstones to put in the yard as well as some odds and ends to hang. I will be working on that later today but probably won't be completely done until the night before Halloween. Unfortunately, we have to worry about some props "growing legs" in the middle of the night. The Coffin Guy won't be going out until Halloween day.

We did take some pics last night and I thought I'd share. Now, the streetlight in front of our house detracts from some of the lighting in these photos but you can still get the idea. As always, click on the pic to see a bigger image.

Little Reaper guy in the graveyard.

The Mausoleum.

Ghost and Blood Fountain.

Floating Pumpkins and Boarded Up Window.

The Hell Hole (minus charred skeleton crawling out).

That's right! The Hell Hole is FINISHED! The fake grass completes the project and it looks fantastic! We'll be putting some loose dirt around the base of the display to help blend it into the ground. Overall, I'm very happy with it and can't wait to add the skeleton crawling out.

More pics to come later.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It Rained All Day Today!

Well, I didn't get much done today. It honestly rained all day and that doesn't make for an ideal situation when working with electricity.

Yesterday was better though. I installed lights on the house that will shine into the graveyard. My plan was to install more lights in the trees today but the rain pretty much ruined that plan.

The Hell Hole is coming along. I used up another 5 cans of Great Stuff and pretty much covered the whole thing. As long as it isn't raining tomorrow I will finish that up and then we can paint it and finally put it out front.

I also got six more tombstones to help fill in some blank spots in the yard. Again, as long as it isn't raining tomorrow I will put those out as well.

I will also try to take some more pictures tomorrow to show some of the progress made this week. It's hard to believe that we're only one week away from Halloween. This is the first time we will still be working on the display the week of Halloween. Usually, we have everything done by now but truthfully, this is one of the biggest building years we have ever had.

Hopefully, I'll have more to report tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Still Working!

Well, it's been a busy couple of days and to help show it I've got some pics!

As always, click on the pic to see a larger image...

These are fake boards my wife it making to put over our windows to make them look like they're boarded up. She actually took the time to carve grooves and knot holes into the styrofoam to give the appearance of wood grain.

Here's the work in progress on the Hell hole. The foam will be painted to look like dirt.

An idea of what the Hell Hole will look like at night! Image smoke and a charred skeleton crawling out!

And a day shot of the front yard complete with all fencing (although not all of it is painted) and the tombstones!

Tomorrow we continue moving stuff to the front yard and hopefully I will be able to get started on setting up the lights.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not Much To Report From Today...

I wish I could say today was productive, but it wasn't.

I got everything down from the attic but I threw my back out somewhere between getting everything down and pounding in the 20th picket in the small fencing that surrounds the graveyard. The problem is there are over 1000 pickets to put down!

By the time it was dark I had only put down 3 of the 5 fences, disappointing to say the least.

So, for the rest of the night I'm sitting on the couch watching horror movies with a hot pad under my back while eating popcorn and drinking far to many cokes to count. Tomorrow, I'm getting up early, hopefully with a stronger back, and finishing the fencing. Then it's time to start setting everything up.

In the meantime, here is a picture of the Coffin Guy at night...

And here is a video of the Blood Fountain that could probably be represented best with a picture but since I filmed the stupid thing I'm gonna post it. If you squint really hard you may be able to actually see the blood trickle down the skulls. If you listen even harder you may actually hear it...

So, off to the couch I go. I think I'll start with "House on Haunted Hill" and who knows what I'll watch next.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Coffin Guy Movie!

Well, It's not much, but I filmed the coffin guy with my phone.

This gives you a small idea of what he looks like. See my previous post for a picture of him. This video just shows what he can do (in less than stellar video detail). I added a color tone to hide how crappy the video quality is. Believe it or not, this is an improvement.

His eyes light up (you can't really see it in this daytime footage) and he makes a moaning sound (which you couldn't hear so I added the music).


Thursday, October 14, 2010

As Promised... Some Pics!

Well, I said I would post some pics so here we go...

Lets start with what is out in the front yard already. Click on the image to see a bigger picture.

Here is the front yard. You can see the fencing is up as well as the bridge (new this year) and mausoleum (from last year)

Here is a closer picture of the mausoleum.

A close-up of the new bridge. It still needs to be "aged". Look! My ghost is behind the bridge taking a picture!

And now let's see what is in the back yard still being built.

This is the pop-up coffin guy. As you can see, I got the pneumatic cylinder working!

And here is the fountain of blood.

I will have more pics to show later. It may be early, but I'm pretty tired. Tomorrow morning I will finish up the coffin guy (I need to line the inside of the coffin to hide the inner workings) and then I start moving everything that is stored in the garage attic to the front yard. That is when the yard will finally start looking like a cemetery.

After that, I need to finish up the hell hole and from there... who knows.

I'll post more later.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, The Pneumatic Cylinder Was a Bust!


I installed the pneumatic cylinder and it busted the coffin lid right off the hinges!

That is my fault. I didn't have the lid attached very well. So, later today I'll be adding different hinges and securing them in a better way to the lid.

The other problem was that the cylinder didn't let the air out fast enough so the lid just kinda eeked close very slowly. I've re-ordered what I believe is the correct cylinder and will pick that up later today.

I also tried replacing the tombstone motor with the motor from an old fan that wasn't being used and after I installed it I remembered the old fan wasn't being used because it was broken. I'm 0-2 on this stupid tombstone so I'm putting it aside for the time being while I try to finish up these other projects.

The Hell Hole is coming along very nicely and yesterday I started setting up the fencing and the mausoleum in the front yard. I swear, pictures are coming.

It's another very busy day. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Animating the New Additons Turning Out to Be A Chore!

Wow, I've been busting my butt these last two days and I have absolutely nothing to show for it!

The motor I got to power the "Face in the Tombstone" proved to be too weak to push the head through. This is a serious bummer as I didn't bother to test it before installing it and after several hours of installing the platform, mounting the motor, adding the pulleys and hooking up the power the darn motor wouldn't push the head!!!

I only hope the place I bought it from will take it back. If not, perhaps I can use it for something else. Perhaps a crank ghost.

Tomorrow (or later today since it's after midnight) I will work on installing the pneumatic cylinder in the coffin to lift the lid. Hopefully that will go better than today.

I promise, I will post some pics later.

Right now I'm just too tired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some Pics From Last Year!

Hey guys,

So, as I promised, I thought I'd post some pics from last year's Hollinger Hollow. Click on each picture to see a larger image.

This is a picture of the then new Mausoleum. There is a little zombie guy that pops up when people pass by and for some reason I don't have a picture of him.

Here is a little crypt keeper keeping an eye on a tombstone.

Watch out for the crow! He bites!

Bad kitty!

A shot from further away...

And a shot from even further away...

These pictures were of course taken during the daytime. The night pictures didn't turn out very well and that's why they're not posted.

Still, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This years display will be bigger and badder. We're working on adding a coffin with a skeleton that pops out, a skull fountain of blood, a hole to the fiery pit of hell and a tombstone with a face trying to break through.

All these things are still in the works, but hopefully they will all be on display this year.

I will show them all in various stages later...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome to Hollinger Hollow!

Welcome everybody!

Some of you may know me from my movie site, some of you may have no idea who I am.

Either way, that's fine. Most of my spare time is spent trying to create an animated movie staring a few furry super heroes I created, but every October my attention turns to something a little more sinister, something a little more macabre.

Every Halloween for the last seven years, my front yard becomes the frightening Hollinger Hollow, a graveyard that can only be seen in the front of my house on Halloween.

It started as something very innocent, something my children could enjoy but as they got older, so did the tone of the decor.

Last year was the best year by far (I'll add pics later) but this year promises to be even better as we expand the graveyard from just one side of the front yard to covering both sides!!!

Stay tuned as I go into more detail over the next month.