Something that has become increasingly clear to me in recent years is that England doesn’t embrace Halloween nearly as much as our friends on the other side of the Atlantic.
I’m not entirely sure why? … It’s possible that being so close to Bonfire Night (Nov 5th) has an impact, and despite the best efforts of retailers and advertising it always ends up feeling a little disappointing over here. Small groups of children crudely dressed as witches or ghosts can be seen from time to time, you will get maybe 1 or 2 ‘trick or treat’ house calls but it’s all very half-hearted and by 8pm the streets are deserted and it’s over before it really got started.
As someone who has had a passion for spooky imagery and horror from a young age Halloween has always been an exciting time for me. The day itself never lives up to the hype but as a child my favourite activity was getting my bedroom dressed up for the big day with fake blood on the windows, massive cobwebs on the door and most importantly of all I would carve a pumpkin … or at least TRY to carve a pumpkin.
I wasn’t very good at it and to be honest it’s a skill that still eludes me.
It really is hard to see a good Jack O’ Lantern over here … very few people display them outside and the ones that are visible end up looking forlorn and a little sorry for themselves in the damp British weather that often arrives for Halloween night.
It was around late October last year that I first discovered one of the coolest pages I have ever seen on facebook, called ‘Ian’s Pumpkin Carvings‘ … It features the stunning work of Ian Fetterman who creates beautifully carved images using special FOAM pumpkins, it was visual heaven to me … They would never go rotten, never collapse in a fly infested heap and best of all he was carving iconic images of all my favourite horror movies and characters …
Ian is another example of that magical combination of horror lover and creative artist that we are seeing more and more across facebook and online. When the two come together special things can happen … sometimes it’s original movie posters and art, sometimes custom action figures … but it never ceases to impress me that this ability is out there and can now be discovered by people across the world.
I caught up with Ian a few days ago and he kindly freed up some time to answer a few quick questions that I was keen to ask …
1. When did you start carving pumpkins and what inspired you to do it?
Ian: “I’ve been carving real pumpkins all my life. Now the past three years I just work with foam ones. I’ve just had a fascination with them since I was a little kid. I guess it all started when I watched John Carpenters Halloween for the first time in the 80’s. The movie just stuck with me. It gave me chills and it scared the heck out of me. It’s Halloween all year round for me.”
2. How long does it take to complete an intricate design and what are the biggest challenges during the process?
Ian: “It normally takes me a couple of hours to figure out the stencil, then 8hrs to a couple of days to complete the carving. The biggest challenges are making sure the stencils that I’m creating will work or not. It can be a stressful process.”
3. Do you have a favourite horror character that you enjoy working on more than others?
Ian: “I really enjoy carving old horror movie posters. The art work on old school posters were so great. Now I’m just bringing them back to life on a new media.”
4. Do you have a favourite horror movie or at least a favourite ‘type’ of horror movie?
Ian: “Without a doubt my favourite horror movie is John Carpenters Halloween. I watch it at least twice a month followed by my 2nd favourite Halloween 2. I always watch them back to back no matter what. I also love what the company scream factory has been putting out on blu-ray. They’re bringing back some old cult horror classics. Pretty much any horror is good in my book.”
5. Finally, Is there one completed pumpkin that you are most proud of / pleased with? … maybe one that seemed very difficult when you started but came together perfectly along the way?
Ian: “Tough question, but I’ll have to say I’m happy with 90% of how they come out. I just finished my scream factory pumpkin that I adore along with my Freddy Krueger and all my Halloween carvings I’ve done. All of them get signed by the actors or artists that create the work. So those are my babies.”
“Thanks for asking me some questions and I hope everyone enjoys my work.”
If you like what you have seen here then I strongly urge you to get over to Ian’s facebook page and check out some more of his work. He’s a truly dedicated horror lover and a very talented guy.
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