Archive for the ‘Concept Art’ Category

Decay over time

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014


We haven’t posted in a while now so let me bring you up to date on what’s going on with The Haunt at Hellizondo.

We were going to be on TV. ABC’s Great American Fright Fight contacted us about being on the show. We did an interview, answered hundreds of questions, took pictures and videos, filled out contracts and background checks. We were told that we were on and to start building and that the official word would come down in a week or two. 3 weeks later I called them and their response was “yeah…..kinda sorry but you’re not going be on the show, um, but maybe next year blah blah something blah” Super. Great. Fantastic. We had about about $500 worth of lumber and supplies we couldn’t return and had already cut up. They contacted us in late June, and we were supposed to have the haunt up in August for filming, so we had been working like crazy. Then the bottom fell out. So we had a lot of plans and materials but took a huge morale hit.

To get on the show, we had to send a list of new stuff we were gonna build this year. Apparently, no matter how awesome your haunt was last year, they want to show something new. We had always had this idea of creating a themed town set for the driveway as part of the queue, so we thought this would be a cool thing to add for the TV show.

Here are the 3D plans for the town set in the driveway:




So now, even though we’re not on the show, it is still mostly built. Just two panels to go and some framing, shimming, and last-minute adjustments to get it to stand upright on the driveway’s incline.

I cut most of the parts for the facade with a CNC router table at work. Kinda interesting. Once you get your designs right, you could really make a lot of haunted houses quite quickly.


Here is a pic of me at the depths of despair over building this set:

house with sad craig

Here is one of the plexi windows I printed at work. It will be backlit to make it look like there is candlelight inside (looks like its upside down,oops):

with window

Building the sets by myself in the heat and humidity had just about ruined me on Halloween forever. Kendra pointed out that Halloween would be easier if I didn’t make such big projects for myself. She’s right.

I have considered shuttering the driveway set this year and just finishing it next year. We’ll see what happens.

This is the design for the cemetery gates we are adding to the graveyard. I have this all cut out of foam and PVC sheeting (thanks CNC router!). I need to get these painted and weathered this week. The white PVC sheet with be textured and painted like rusted metal, and the pink foam will be weathered old wood. It will be flanked on either side by flagstone pillars made from Styrofoam.





This weekend we decided not to sweat it out in the tropical heat and started building monsters and props. Kendra made the armatures for roots that will be covering the inside of our tree facade. I finished off  the last of the 2″ pipe we bought to make more candles.



Here is the original sketch, but I knew when I drew it we’d have to scale that back:

Scabtree Hollow sketch 3

This is what it looks like currently. That’s Emily, one of our favorite scare-actors.


emily drop panel


To add a little more detail, we are adding some roots coming down the walls. We have also started making some roots to form hands that hold candles along the inside of the tree walls.


These are similar to the candle tree we made earlier this summer.

Scabtree Hollow sketch 4



vine hand

Here it is almost done.

tree nearly finished

I finally started making monsters for this year on Sunday. This is going to be the centerpiece of the yard, where had the carousel in Carnival of Risk and before that, the shaman prayer tower in Haunted Tiki Island. Here are the sketches that have evolved over time. The original idea was to have something like a werewolf as one of the abominations burnt at the stakes with the witches.

The Sacrifice

However, I started making these abominations that were skeletal remains of horrible creatures, some with no faces left, some with horrible bony horn-like growths, all emblazoned with the mark of their master. So, the cross-creature will be more like those.

faceless IMG_20130711_121212_170

Here are some sketches I made more recently. Just quick rough sketches trying to sort out what it should look like.



Here is the head I am building for it. It has red LEDs in the eyes, but I just want them to show through faintly between the root-like cluster of horns or teeth growing from the face.







We’ll post more as we finish this stuff up. It’s going to be tough to finish half of what we were going do.

The Watcher

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Construction on the haunt is coming along, slowly but surely. We are close to completion of the Confession House and Coffin Wall. These two things are our main “set pieces” for this year, and our goal is to complete them this weekend. Our last major set build is the facade of the interior entrance, which will be formed to look like a giant tree, in which the witches of ScabTree Hollow reside. Most of that construction will have to be undertaken at the actual Hellizondo location in order to get the fit and scale just right.

In the meantime, we present “The Watcher.” This prop was actually finished a few months ago, but we haven’t posted it here yet. The Watcher will be positioned in the interior of the haunt (on the porch), where he watches and points the way for victims.  The design of his face will be a motif in our haunt, seen also on the “wraiths” in the graveyard scene. The face design was inspired by the artists Wayne Barlowe and HR Giger:

Barlowe 1

Wayne Barlowe

HR Giger

HR Giger

Here are the photos of the completed prop:

Watcher face

The Watcher
Watcher face 3

And here’s a video of the prop in motion:

New Haunt for 2013 – The Witches of ScabTree Hollow

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The Haunt at Hellizondo aims to create an entirely new haunt every 3 years. This year’s theme will be a pretty big divergence from our Haunted Tiki Island and The Carnival of Risk haunts. We have been doing non-traditional haunts for 6 years, and we have always wanted to do all of the classic things like make cool tombstones and creepy scarecrows. We have also had a mix of super scary and whimsical in our haunt. This year, it looks like we are turning the scary way up, and the whimsical is nowhere to be found so far.

The Witches of ScabTree Hollow will delve deeper into the dark side of Halloween and into the nature of mankind. Thematically, we are trying to blend the true horror of the Salem Witch Trials with a dark and supernatural witch back story. While the villagers accuse and murder each other in the name of God and for fear of witchcraft, the real witches have been busy. In the backwoods of ScabTree Hollow, the real witches have been robbing graves in an overflowing graveyard and bringing the dead back to life. These revenants return in the dark of night to seek their revenge on the town who tortured and murdered them.

So far, we have a rough layout of what we are going to build. Construction will start as soon as we get back from HauntCon. We have five main zones. The Queue features the stock, the gallows, and a jail. The Confession House starts your tour of the yard, where you’ll find the tortured and dead on various implements of torture and execution. Corpses of people hung, stretched, and burnt litter the first half of the yard. The Graveyard is where all of the bodies are dumped and then “recycled.” The Lair is where you find the witches’ den, where the resurrection of the dead is performed and the King of the Witches fills his book with the names of the damned. The Forest is the last zone, which we always do as a blacklight area.

Each year I do concept sketches for the haunt. They help establish the look and feel of the haunt and inspire us to build. They also help us figure out where the haunt is weakest or where we might need to build to fit the yard and fill out the space. Some of these ideas will never be made or change so much you won’t recognize the final props or sets. Some of the sketches will be translated almost exactly into real props.

This won’t be built, but it looks cool. This was going to be the entrance to the covered area of the haunt. In previous years, we had the volcano and the Rasputin head, which were the entrances. I wanted to make this out of foam and carve it to look real, but we have had storage issues that have forced us to rethink how we build props. We will have to create a flat facade that can easily be broken down for storage.

This we will built for sure, although it will get moved around and won’t look like this. We will probably replace the demon with a person tied upside down on the cross. I know you’re thinking “OMG. that’s so sacrilegious,” BUT in fact, it was the church who invented this torture for heretics and witches. So really we are being extra religious with this prop.

This is more of an inspiration sketch. We wanted everything to be tied to birds. I think witches with their long noses and spindly fingers look like birds, so these evil birds are the spirit animals of the witches. They are found all over the haunt, whether watching over the gallows, talking to the dead in the graveyard, or whispering into the witches’ ears.

This is going to be my personal project. He might talk and move, or he might only talk, or he might not even be looking at you when you walk through. He will be the most detailed prop and set in the haunt, though.

Keep an eye on our blog, as we’ll be posting the build this month. See you then.

– DC

Sketches from the Carnival of Risk

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I have been sketching ideas for this years haunt for the last two years. Most of these aren’t going to get used, or not used this year, but I thought you might enjoy a peek behind the scenes.

house of mystery

This is possible the entrance to the maze that will be in the driveway. Might not make it this year.

Yours souls are all belong to us, hoomins!

One of the game booths we will be building. Bowl a Skull.

Zac's Concept Art

This is Zac’s sketch of his game booth, Drown the Clown. It’s one of those squirt the water in the mouths of clowns to win a race.


We have already made two of these ideas. These will go in Candy Creep’s cart. The pinwheel is not a turd ROXY! But I like that idea. Needs some corn.

Sign version 1

THis is the latest and most likely the final design.

haunt 2010 sign 1-2-3

These are some of the ideas I had over the last year.

Carousel Dragon Carousel Merman

Some carousel creature sketches.

There will be more sketches to come. If you want to see more, just look under the “Concept Art” category.

Big Plans

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I sat down with Google’s free 3-d application Sketchup and started to layout the plans for our volcano we are making for this year’s halloween.

I wanted this to be easy to setup and easy to take down, and be reusable next year. I built the model to scale and used standard building materials. One sheet 1/2′ plywood, two sheets of luan, and a hand full of 2x4s. For the surface we are going to make rocks out of styrofoam blocks and use great stuff foam for lava.

volcano - frame-face

The sides are made of luan because (1.) we’re gonna chuck it on november 1st and (2.) we need to bend them to conform to the edge of the yard/grass. The reusable part is the doorway, the top par with the eye holes, and the walkway. You can almost see how it will be a robot in 4 years from now, and will give a good base for next years new Haunt theme.

This is the empty yard:

sketchup of the yard

Here is the basic layout for the haunt with the volcano. Yes, I did measure the house out and the yard, so everything is to scale:

yard plans

To aid in construction I made a grid in sketch up that I laid over the model. It is in 1 square foot units. This will help draw out the design and let you quickly figure how big each part is. This needs to be easy to understand since none of us are carpenters.
volcano - frame-face-with grid

Here is a rough idea of what it will look like:

Frontal view of Volcano

Here is a shot of the backside. You can see it will be very stable. I plan on using bolts for the connections between the bigger parts, so that it can be broken down quickly and to a small size for storage.

volcano - frame-backside 3/4 view

Can’t wait to get started on it!