Gardyloo #79: Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween, my groovy ghoulies!

I’m going to murder you all.


One of the most successful projects I’ve ever been involved with (somewhat tangentially) was a mixture of magic and horror. It was a piece of viral advertising for the Carrie remake in 2013. I still think it’s pretty brilliant. There’s a great buildup to the way the effects all unfold.

I’ve done a lot of creepy/spooky tricks in the past, but I think there was only one time when I truly terrified someone with a magic trick.

I was with two friends of mine who are married and I mentioned that I was learning a technique to control pulses. Not my pulse. Other peoples. So I had my friend take her husbands pulse as I attempted to speed it up and slow it down through some gestures and intense concentration.

It wasn’t working.

Her husband started giving me shit and he was being relentless about it. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I gave him one of these gestures…


And his pulse stopped and he slumped over in his chair.

His wife thought we were playing around but then she realized his pulse was really gone, and she started screaming at me to “fix him.”

Yes, it was the old pulse stop trick, just done with a stooge.

This, by the way, is why I always recommend magicians get involved with their local theater group in some capacity. You will find a bunch of people who will be more than happy to assist you with any crazy idea you want to do. Yeah, actors can be insufferable to be around. But more often than not they’re just fun, outgoing people who are happy to play along with all sorts of nonsense.

If you’re into horror movies at all, Eli Roth’s History of Horror on the AMC channel is a really great show.

It’s a seven part series and they’ve aired four so far (they’re available on demand).

They have interviews with almost everyone you would hope to hear from. It’s amazing. I’ve watched a bunch of horror documentaries over the years, but never one with so much access to all the big names in the industry.

There is some level of horseshit when they try to read too much into these movies. One dope said about a movie that featured a possessed female, “The horror genre is the only one that will address this truth: Society is terrified of women.” Or something like that. It was moronic because she seems to have forgotten all the horror films where men are the monsters.

But other than that sort of thing, it’s a great series.

One of my favorite people and Jerx resident artist, Stasia Burrington has a new project she’s working on that I want to inform you about. It’s a Deck of Many Things which is some sort of D&D nerd thing that I don’t know anything about because I’m sorry but I’m not into WITCHCRAFT. I guess I didn’t think it was “rad” and “dope” to turn my back on Jesus and celebrate the occult.

No, I’m kidding. Although as it is Halloween, I hope some of you will be disappointing some kids by handing out the Dark Dragons Chick Tract instead of candy.

I won’t be picking up the deck to use in any D&D games, but I know I’ll get some use from it regardless. As it says on the kickstarter page, the deck can also be use as:

  • An alternate mini-tarot tradition deck

  • A storytelling device

  • A roleplaying game character generator

  • A random number generator

For me, I will definitely find some uses for it in a magic context. I’m a big fan of using various types of cards as a small way of helping to differentiate performances. And I just find it easier to capture people’s interest initially with a deck that doesn’t look like anything they’ve seen before.

Here is the Kickstarter page where you can support the project.

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is watching this video that some friends of mine were partially responsible for. it’s got one of the dumbest premises: The Monster Mash that we know and love (?) is actually the result of the record company re-writing and toning down a graphic song about monsters having sex.