This possessed little monster will scare your trick or treaters when it comes to life & speaks to them. I hide him around the corner from some bushes ready to frighten unsuspecting victims when it says 'Hi, wanna play' and laughs like a possessed doll at them.
Here is what you need to easily make this animatronic hack for a scary Halloween Decoration...
A Talking doll (cassette playing type such as Cricket or Corky.)
A Cassette tape from the doll that makes it talk
An MP3 Player
An Audio Cassette Player
Car audio cassette tape adapter
Fake blood or red nail polish
Hair color spray
Doll clothes including striped shirt, blue jeans, sneakers
1 or 2 feet of Romex house wiring or other stiff wire
Hot glue gun
Audio cable, straight through mini headphone jack to mini headphone jack.
Audio editing software. I use free applications such as Audacity for Apple Mac OS X.
You can find the talking doll, cassette player, cassette adapter, and old mp3 player on ebay or Amazon. Some of the items can be found in department stores also.
For this project I used a Cricket talking animated doll but Corky or other cassette player type animated talking dolls should work well also. Using a regular cassette tape player and a straight through stereo mini headphone connector cable (cable with a stereo mini headphone jack on each end) connect the cable from the headphones connector on the cassette tape player to the mic input on a computer. Insert one of the cassette tapes from the talking doll, one that makes the doll talk and animates the mouth. Now you are ready for the next step; recording and editing the audio tracks.
Press play on the cassette player and using the audio editing software record several minutes of the tape onto the computer. Then view the left and right channels of audio on the computer, listen to each channel and note which channel has audio tones or beeps on it and which channel has the dolls voice on it. On mine the beeps were on the right channel and voice on the left. The beep tones on the right channel are the animatronic channel and they will be in sync with the vocals on the left channel, this is how talking dolls with cassette tapes make the mouth move at the correct time. The beeps will be peaks of audio that look like multiple sine waves close together in short bursts. Now that you have identified the audio channels you can add some audio of your own and sync the dolls mouth movements to it by matching up the beeps to the speech. You can use a microphone, or previous recordings to add your scary doll voice to a new recording on the computer. Unplug the cassette player and plug in a microphone or use built in microphone. Record your scary vocals or use prerecorded vocals, cut and paste the vocals onto the vocal channel over the original dolls vocals (mine was the left speaker channel). Then edit the animatronic beeps from the right channel to make sure you copy and paste the beeps into areas where there are vocals and remove beeps where there are no vocals. This will make your scary dolls mouth move to your vocals on your custom made audio track. Be sure to add some empty space or dead air time to the end of your recording so if you place an MP3 player on endless loop it will have some quite time between vocals. I used a minute or two of 'dead air' in between vocals. *Note.. in the audio editor picture the left track with the animatronic tones on it are on the top track.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIXx4-6b4Kk
Once you have your audio vocals and animatronic tones in sync and saved, copy it to an MP3 player. This is a great project to put to use an old MP3 player that does not hold much music. I used a creative labs Muvo 128MB MP3 player that doubles as a memory stick which makes it easy to plug into a USB port and drag your audio file to it. To test it; play it back using earphones connected to the MP3 player and listen to the left and right channels. You should hear beeps in one ear and vocals in the other. To get this custom audio track connected to your doll monster, plug a car audio cassette tape adapter into your MP3 player and place the cassette adapter into your dolls cassette player. Most of the dolls are powered by C or D batteries to run the motors and sometimes a separate 9 volt battery for the audio circuits, you will need fresh batteries installed for both. Power on the dolls cassette player, press the play lever, adjust the volume control, power on the mp3 player and press its play button. You should hear your audio vocals from the doll and see the mouth move with the vocals. If you hear beeps instead of audio then you have the tracks reversed and you will need to go back to the computer audio editor and cut/paste the tracks to the correct channel and save it to your mp3 player again. Once you have the audio working you can work on the appearance of the doll in the next steps.
Cut the dolls hair short if hair is long. Use hair coloring spray to color hair, in this case I used a red color.
Using an eyeliner add scars to forehead and cheek, then use red nail polish or fake blood and cover the scars. Use the eyeliner to darken around the eyes and mouth and accent any lines in the face. My doll had bright blue eyes and large pupils which made the eyes too cute for this project so I decided to paint the eyes a creepy green color. I used a tooth pick to scratch the lines in each eye and painted the pupils in smaller with black.
For my theme I dressed mine like a possessed killer doll. I used a striped shirt, jeans, and sneakers. I placed approximately 2 feet of Romex house wiring, or you can use any stiff wire, inside his clothes on the knife side. The wire ran from his ankle to his wrist to allow me to pose the hand holding the knife up. Hot glue a plastic knife in his hand, add fake blood or red nail polish to the knife blade, then stage him in a place that will startle your guests when they run into him.