Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 Grau Haus Nightmares Holiday Season Photo Shoot: Christmas Cards in October, or Two Beautiful Brides and One Lucky Monster

It seems like I merely blinked my eyes and it was October again.  And not a moment too soon.  What took it so long?  AND WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN LATELY?

The late summer sear is (mostly) gone, the trees are ready to slumber, and the night becomes more interesting, now contrasting more starkly with the heat and light of the day with its quick descent into the cold.  The smell of the mountains and sea is now sometimes tinged with wood smoke, allowing one to imagine a place where fire keeps the deadly chill at bay, instead of being used merely as a romantic prop.  Los Angeles is the land of two seasons, so imagination of the elements is a must.  Filmmaker and dark artist Tim Burton, while growing up in Burbank, discerned which holiday was approaching by the decorations at the local department store.  The room temp blue sky world outside doesn't give many clues.

Around our place, we have decorations, too, and October - the official start of Holiday Season - kicks off with the annual Grau Haus Nightmares Holiday Season Photo Shoot, when we celebrate the horror of All Hallows' Eve and look toward Christmas/New Years - the alpha and omega of the seasonal celebration - all in one fell swoop of makeup and hair and molded latex.

Last year, we debuted the GHNHSPS (yes, that looks like a bloated high school acronym, or yet another failing educational district) with our homage to the Addams Family.  Seemed fitting, cuz, well... we pretty much are the Addams Family in our neighborhood.  You know, the family that everyone labels "the weirdos."  The one house on the block where odd music and cryptic verse can be heard filtering from low lit, partially open windows at all hours.  I just wish our domicile was creepier, at least on the outside.  Frightening townsfolk without even raising a pen, or an eyebrow, would be glorious.  But I have hope, and the first time those strolling Latino 'hood missionaries from the local Pentecostal church perform a sign of the cross as they pass by our place will be a proud day for this fella.  Now, I realize that Pentecostals don't perform the sign of the cross, but I want to scare these folks so goddamn much they momentarily revert back to Catholicism, if only for the backup.

This year, we decided to go with a nod to Jame Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein, as we are such huge fans of the film, and the Universal Monster movies in general.  I'm also particularly fond of including Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron in the beginning of the film.  I think audiences need to be reminded that these monsters came from the mind of a brilliant teenage girl in the early 19th century.  Also notable is the fact that Mary and The Bride were both played with aplomb by Elsa Lanchester.

And BTW, Franz Waxman's suite in Bride of Frankenstein is magical.  Haunting, soaring, full of dread and weirdness and that classic beauty very rarely found in modern film scores.  This is the perfect background music for writing, reading, dining, raising the dead or just raising your children.  Check out this 1993 re-recording below:

.Now that you've got the mood set, please enjoy a few additional pics from the 2012 Grau Haus Nightmares Holiday Season Photo Shoot.  I think it goes without saying that I'm one hugely lucky monster to have two beautiful brides rattling around this spooky old castle with me.

A kiss after dying...
I think this is how I'm going to walk her down the aisle someday....
Instead of doing a prosthetic for my Frankenstein's Monster look (remember kids, that big squared headed fellow isn't "Frankenstein," as Frankenstein is the last name of the doctor who created him... He's just known officially as "The Monster"), as we originally planned, we picked up this excellent looking and extremely well made Frankenstein mask from Rubie's Costume Co via Amazon

Finished and flawless - The Brides in White
As a professional makeup artist, Ives naturally did the makeup, as well as the hair (mine came pre-finished on both counts).  For Fish, Ives  "erased" Fish's natural eyebrows with glue stick first (to set them down and flat), applied concealer, and then drew in the new shape with liquid liner, which she also used to make the stitches on their faces.

For the white streaks in their hair, Ives used Professional Cream Makeup in white by Fun World DIV, which is a pure white liquid foundation that can be used to lighten makeup (and can be purchased from any major drug store, including Rite Aid).  In this case, Ives tested out hair extensions and decided the liquid white looked more natural, as it bonded and moved with the hair, instead of shaping an extension and applying it.  Ives' interesting factoid:  the consistency of the cream hardens the hair and naturally curls it in the shape of the actual Bride's serpent streaks if your hair is naturally wavy.
I requested a sass shot.  The two came through with flying colors
I love how Fish is curled up into a ball in Momma Bride's arms
I found a Little Bride in the woods...  Fish's expression here is priceless.  No coaching required.  Point and shoot.  She gets it, and always has.  Just an amazing child, and true citizen of the dark and interesting places.
... and kicking everyone's ass.
Happy Holiday Season, everyone, from the Grau Haus Nightmares.  Halloween is just the beginning, with the end everlasting...

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