‘Frankenstein Castle’ [596]

♪ Cause we’re stuck in, stuck in Vermont ♪ ♪ Can’t get out ♪ [knocking] Helllooooooo! Welcome to Stuck in Vermont brought to you
by Seven Days and sponsored by New England Federal Credit Union. Today we are in Essex Junction at Frankenstein Castle. Moohawhawhaw! In this quiet residential
neighborhood of split-level homes, one abode stands out. A two-story addition towers over the garage and a sea monster lurks in the yard. Every day we look around and
there’s just instant inspiration. [howling] Don’t pretend like you don’t do it. I was gonna say, I think that’s because
there’s a giant kid that lives here. I mean, we’re big kids ourselves but
making magic for kids, if you’re a creative person and you can, like, and you
have this big, nutty house, like, wouldn’t you? They have a cool house. -Is this different from your house?
-Yes. -What makes it different?
-Everything. ♪ Music: Sir Cubworth, “Magical Dirt” ♪ [fog machine] Are you in there? I was a weirdo, he was a weirdo kid and we both just kind of found each other. Well it used to be known as Bamberger’s Castle. Everyone in the neighborhood had been
calling it the Frankenhouse. And it looked like a 1972 time capsule. It stands out, everybody notices it. The layout doesn’t make any sense. There are four secret passageways in this house. We knew when the house went on the market
that it was gonna take a unique family to own such a unique house. To a normal person it was a nightmare. -Ten years that no one lived here.
-Except for bats. Bats. We fell in love with it immediately
because as artists we could see… …what was underneath. Great neighbors, love ’em as neighbors. I think it adds a lot of fun to the neighborhood. It’s now known as Castle Frankenstein. Even if we won the lottery, like, we would stay here. So Jim has drawings all throughout
the house so in like every little corner of the house you’re gonna find artwork by Jim. Yeah, we have friends artwork all throughout the house. There’s a big community of artists in Vermont. I usually just take Jim’s tattoo designs
and then I will make needlepoint. He was my tattoo artist. I originally
thought he was too short for me because I’d only seen him in the tattoo chair. -We’ve been together for 13 years.
-Almost 14. It’s like yesterday. ♪Jeremy Blake, “Heaven and Hell” ♪ I make a living tattooing, sculpting, painting. Remember that movie The Shadow? Yeah, I draw on everything, including my wife. When the fall comes around it becomes Halloweentown and then immediately after
that it’s Dia de los Muertos, we go right into Narnia and then it is full
Christmas in your face, then you got Valentine’s Day. Yeah, this sounds crazier
when someone asks us questions about it. I know, I know. He just built this shelf for my, all
of my wigs. My whole outfit is gonna center around
the wig this year. So this is Stevie Nicks,
you can tell by the white wing doves. I was, like, the Kraken so she’s got like a little pirate ship in her hair. I love to cook and our kids’ friends call this the Burrow. This room we kind of
kept more traditional Halloween. Everything in here is kind of a
collaborative effort of all of our friends and loved ones. I love it so much. -What do you wanna see, what do you wanna see?
-Yeah, I’ll keep going. So this is our art space, our art studio space. Needlepoint, this was an original design of his. What!? Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho This is his first shot at sculpting. He’ll be up in the wee hours making these things. What the hell is that? We are both those kind of people that are doing a million things all the time. This is our dog Dr. Grimsley Von Frankenstein. Five teeth left, he’s 14 years old. He’s usually the pumpkin, so this one I’m a little puppet, this one I’m coming out of a grave. He’s in love with me and stuff, I’m pretty sure. You’re not just making art, you’re making friends, like, I walk by I’m like, “Hey friends!” She’s gonna scare the hell out of you. He’ll be like, “Ahhh.” I have no idea where that’s going.
There could be one in bed with me tomorrow when I wake up, I have no clue. What is this space up here? This is our living room. This was the theme this year
was spiders. For us it’s very, very normal. We did a Day of the Dead program
for the kids there. I need to make a lawn monster and a ten-foot-wide cardboard spider. Like, look what I get to do and bring this thing to life! [howling] Are you hungry? [doorbell rings] Oh! This is actually a pretty quiet neighborhood. This makes it a little more unique. When you get to be an artist for a job, it’s like you’re getting away with
something in the world. Like, whooooo! But I feel like it’s our job, every little kid that walks
by this house like… There’ll be kids like… She was just walking by like this… It’s their favorite time of year when they start seeing Jim get on his
artistic mode. You have to press the button and you have to do the Halloween dancing. -What’s the Halloween dance?
-Push the button. And, like, he makes little wands that are next to the door so that kids can
take the wands on their way out. I’ll go a step farther. My son has cancer and early on when we found out, we were up in the fifth floor of the children’s unit. You got kids up there in intensive care or whatever and they’re dealing and for
whatever little bit, Jim gave ’em this moment of just…pretending they were…
being a kid, Harry Potter. Funny thing was all the nurses and the interns and
the doctors were all like [casting spells]. ♪ ♪ You’re not doing the dance. YEEESSS!! [laughing] It’s more of a way of, like, bringing everybody together and celebrating an occasion together. And the kids are all grown up, the kids have
grown up with it and then we just hope that our kids will carry it on someday.
-Yeah. Happy Halloween everyone and we will get stuck in Vermont with you again real soon. Now is when we dance. Follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, sign up for our weekly email alerts. Who’s behind me? Do I dare look? People expect that we’re like lighting bonfires and drinking whiskey naked in the
backyard but really like… And they would be right. If you’re a weirdo and you’re like worried, there’s a weirdo out there for you! We’ll go over to someone else’s house and they’ll be just white walls and no art and no decorations and we’re like,
“These are serial killers.” We’re like, “Morticia I’m afraid of these people.”

Stephen Childs

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