If you frequent such sites as HauntForum or Haunt Space, chances are you've seen the nifty skull-and-microphone logo from Hauntcast. A web radio show that deals with our favorite topic, home haunting, Haunt Cast is the monster creation of mad scientist Chris Baker. Together with evil pals Revenant and Johnny Thunder, Chris brings us the latest in haunting news, prop building, horror movies, haunt psychology, and also brings us the voices and stories of some of the most exceptional home haunters in the biz.
Chris is an East Coast haunter, originally from Boston's Hyde Park. His castle laboratory is now in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A "40 years young" divorcee and pet fish owner, Chris has three mini-haunters who may just take after dear old dad's habit of frightening the TOTs. He worked at many different jobs in professional radio in the early '90s: production assistant, DJ, copywriter, producer, boy Friday (which in our business is called, "Igor," I believe). Nowadays, he owns his own pro DJ business (specializing in weddings) and is completing his degree in IT.
I took a little time away from the Garage of Doom to ask Chris a few questions about himself and the project, and Chris took a little time off from playing with Tesla coils to answer.
ShellHawk: When did you first become interested in haunting?
Chris Baker: My next door neighbor used to haunt her front porch and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Her son asked me to help out one year (1979, I think). I dressed as Dracula and laid in a coffin. I popped up on the unsuspecting TOTs and scared the chocolate out of them. I lived in an apartment, but moved to a house five blocks away the next year. I started building props when I was 11. They weren't much to speak of, but they worked every year. In 1980, my brother and my friend, Chris, helped out. We dressed as zombies and scared kids coming down the driveway. I got such a rush from scaring kids that I was hooked. I knew that I would be haunting until I die. The next year I started making tombstones, scarecrows, etc. It was the one time of year I could get really creative and put my artistic ability to use. I took off a couple of years to take my kids trick-or-treating, [but] now I'm back in full swing and using pneumatics, lighting and mache to take my haunt to the next level.
SH: Where do you get inspiration for your props?
CB: Inspiration comes from many sites and people: Haunt Forum, Halloween Forum, Garage of Evil, HauntSpace, Halloween-L, Haunt Project, Terror Technologies, Stolloween, Devious Concoctions. I'll steal ideas from anybody. I have no shame! Recently, I have learned so much from the forums and haunt-related websites that I am really motivated to revamp my entire haunt.
SH: What's your favorite medium to build with?
CB: My new favorite is mache. This year I'm experimenting with drywall compound, carpet adhesive, and monster mud.
SH: Do you have what you consider to be a "signature prop?"
CB: Pop-ups, I guess. I have a trash can trauma, a coffin pop-up, and a grave jumper that all work amazingly.
SH: How do your neighbors feel about your interest in Halloween and haunting?
CB: The old lady across the street actually likes the haunt. She compliments the props and gets a kick out of the extra kids it brings to the street. (I think last year we had about 100 TOTS. That was more than the year before. Word is spreading.) As far as the rest of the block, I'm not sure. Actually, I could care less if they don't like it. [But] I have been haunting in this house for two years, so I'm still fairly new to the neighborhood. I have received nothing but compliments so far. As my haunt grows, that will change, I'm sure.
SH: Do you have any particular online haunting group that you belong to?
CB: I belong to the Mass Make and Take group and the Garage of Evil's Drink and Think.
SH: When did you get your idea for Hauntcast, and what gave you the idea?
CB: I started Hauntcast on a whim. I was creating a mock podcast for my voice over web site (www.discountvoiceovers.com) and the idea popped into my head. I had never even listened to a podcast at that point. I started creating the show, and a few people stepped up to help out with segments. The whole thing just fell into place. The first show aired on December 11, 2008.
SH: About how long does it take to put one episode together?
CB: One episode probably takes 30-40 hours to put together, including Revenant's and Johnny Thunder's segments. I put a lot of time into coming up with bits: writing, mixing, voice overs, etc. I love it, though.
SH: Do you have outside input as to what to keep and discard when you're editing the show? Is there a criteria for what stays and what goes?
CB: I ask for input, but it is overwhelmingly positive. I don't edit out much; if I like something or think it's funny or interesting, it stays. If [it isn't], it goes. How I talk on the show is how I talk when having a few beers with my buds. If I say something that offends someone, then they shouldn't listen, because I'm not going to change. I think people really respond to that because everything you watch or listen to is so watered down.
SH: Tell us about the other guys on the show and how they contribute to each episode.
CB: The other Scream Team members are a big part of the program. The segments the Rev does are amazing. The time that he spends writing the Theater of the mind, for instance. I can't write like that. He is my straight man on the show; my Ed McMahon. He adds the meat and I add the sizzle. Johnny Thunder is a horror god! I could talk to him forever about horror movies, and it doesn't hurt that he has a great voice and a good sense of humor.
SH: What are your future plans for Hauntcast?
CB: Future plans? Foolish mortal... World domination. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Look out world! Here comes Chris Baker and crew!
5 years ago