The Halloween Videos of Filmmaker Jason Willis
We’re smack dab in the heart of the Halloween season, and I’m starting to feel it. Finally. It’s been a rough autumn with the passing of my mother, and I haven’t really felt the ‘holiday spirit’ too much. But dammit, you know what? It’s late October, there’s a chill in the air, frost on the pumpkins, and the fall foliage is stunningly gorgeous this year. Life’s gotta go on, so I’ve got the Halloween tunes playing all day and night (and yes, it does get tiresome after awhile) and I thought I’d share some cool Halloween videos by a super talented artist, filmmaker, graphic designer and blogger Jason Willis.
I discovered Jason’s work several years ago when I stumbled across his Halloween blog Scar Stuff. Back in the glory days of blogging (and music file sharing), I spent a lot of time (a LOT of time) scouring the dark dusty corners of the internet looking for the kinds of music you don’t hear on the radio…..or anywhere else, really. And I’ve always loved Halloween music…the old stuff. Novelty songs from the 50’s. Horror surf from the 60’s. It’s just really good stuff. What am I talking about? I’m talking about super obscuro compilations of Halloween tunes like Monster Bop and Horror Hop. Recent comps like Halloween Nuggets. And more recent releases featuring current bands like Halloween Hootenanny, released on Rob Zombie’s short-lived but awesome Zombie a Go-Go label. Stuff you don’t (or can’t) find on CD anywhere without paying a fortune. Lots of stuff that’s put out on tiny foreign record labels, and albums that have never seen a proper release on CD.
Back then, ten years ago, music streaming wasn’t an option. The best way to find this incredible, hard-to-find music, was to scan the web for blogs created by music obsessives. Luckily, Jason Willis was one of those fellas. He had a thing for Halloween music, and shared out lots of great Halloween music. He also created two absolutely essential Halloween mixes that I believe you can still download, Ghoul-a-Rama and Spook Party. You should get them. Seriously. Perfect for any Halloween party.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Halloween stuff. In addition to shedding light on great Halloween music, the site also featured tons of great retro Halloween images and videos. Including some that Jason himself created. Taking old horror comics and horror record albums, he reimagines them into short animated films that totally make my Halloween every year. So I’d like to share them with you.
First up is “Halloween” by Wade Denning and Kaye Landing. A cheesy 70’s record turned into a great video. Filmed with an iPhone and the Hipstamatic app.
This next video is a mashup between an old Eerie comic book and the 1973 Johnson-Smith Novelty Company “Horror Record.”
This short 30 second clip is an imaginary commercial for “Adventures Into Darkness” comic #8, from Feb 1953.
Original cover art by Rocco “Rocke” Mastroserio. Creepy!
Jason directed this video for British band The Heavy’s single ‘Can’t Play Dead.’ Horrorific stop-motion animation:
And finally, we come to this years’ video from Jason. He took an old 1970 comic book ad for the ‘Moon Monster’ mask, and turned it into a fabulous 60 seconds that may be the best minute of your entire day.
There are some amazingly talented artists and creators out there; Some do what they do for the money, some just for the sheer love of it. The lucky among them do it for both. Check out Jason Willis and his work. And never stop searching! I hope his videos do a little bit to enhance your enjoyment of the holiday.