The Art of Darkness

Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

May 27th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Penny Dreadful Tarot Cards – Tarot deck featuring creepy artwork similar to the cards used by Vanessa Ives in the Showtime series.

6 Archaeological Discoveries Scarier Than Any Horror Movie – A rather breathless roundup from Cracked. The severed-hand pit is neat.

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales – A collection of folktales that are significantly…earthier…than Grimm. There’s a review at Salon.

French Perfume Maker Bottles Scent of the Departed – For one brief moment I thought this somehow involved cremated remains and wondered, “How does that work?” but the truth is both more prosaic and weirder. This company claims that it can extract the unique scent of a departed loved one and turn it into a perfume. (Hat tip to pdq)

Be Witching – Odd little pen-and-paper game in which you compete to become Witchqueen of the ball.

Spooky Sandwiches – The li’l “Spider Sliders” are cute.

Octopus Fork Necklace – Attractive necklace made from repurposed forks. There’s a matching brooch.

Parcel of Terror – Monthly subscription service which offers “an assortment of handmade items that represent the horror genre in all its forms.”

Goth Chic Accessories – Etsy shop full of interestingly spooky items like a Raven Skull USB Drive, Addams Family Cufflinks, and an astonishing Skull Shaving Brush.

Edison’s Talking Dolls – In 1890, Thomas Edison used miniature phonographs to create talking dolls. Some of their recordings have been recently digitized, and they are creepy as all get-out. Commenter Janice points out that these would make excellent ringtones.

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Still Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

May 26th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Snowball’s Chance in Hell – Free knitting pattern for fingerless arm-warmers with a design that gradually morphs a snowflake into a skull.

Scary Spider – Little Flash thingie that lets you play with a virtual spider and drop insects for it to eat. Play with the Options sliders to animate it in different ways.

The Best Horror Films You Haven’t Seen – A roundup from Dread Central.

Button Clock – This simple DIY clock is made from a round cookie-tin lid and mismatched buttons. If, like me, you have a stash of Halloween-themed buttons, this would be a great way to display a few of them.

Synthesis – Attractive cyberpunk-themed deck of playing cards.

Unicorn Hoof Boots – For the creepiest cosplay you ever imagined. The same Etsy seller has several other hoof styles too.

21 Grams – Designer dildo containing the ashes of a loved one. Something something le petit mort something….

Eruption of Vesuvius – A video reconstruction of the eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Old and Interesting – Neat site about domestic life in the past.

Lobster Claws – Wear these as gloves. Act casual.

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Still Another Week of Link Dumps

May 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

You know that part of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” where the brooms just keep on dumping buckets of water? That’s my relationship with my Drafts folder.

Peter Dinklage Sings About Dead Game of Thrones Characters – The performance was part of a benefit for Red Nose Day.

saucy Jacky – One of several “Persona-Bots” by Triumph PC, this is a chatterbot which pretends to be Jack the Ripper. (Hat tip to DeVries)

Mountains of Mouthness – If you’ve always wanted to make animated mountains yell your tweets across a valley at each other, this is your lucky day.

Gold Spider – Neat photo of a spider which was covered in gold as prep for being examined under a scanning electron microscope. I also loved this comment. (via pdq)

Here Be Dragons – Full album by The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. Via Richard, who noted, “If Cthulhu comes back, here is the soundtrack.”

Unicorn Wine Holder – I’m not sure if I like the product title or the sculpture better.

AtmosFEAR – Creators of neat “digital decorations” that let you make a TV or computer monitor look like a morphing portrait, a window with spooky things on the other side, a haunted fireplace, and several other effects.

Cthuloops – Amusing T-shirt.

Meddling with Nature – How can you not love a taxidermist whose gallery includes a category called, “Tabletop Beauties?”

Zombie Puns – Series of illustrations featuring very groan-worthy puns.

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My Fair Link Dump

May 22nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us – Paul Koudounaris, who runs the Empire de la Mort site, has a new book which explores sacred sites around the world where the dead are displayed.

Oh, Good, Sony’s Remaking The Craft – Because it was just crying out for a remake.

Voodoo Delicious – Etsy shop full of interesting cast-resin items; my favorites are the repurposed teacups which now have a resident octopus, imp, or mystery tentacle.

Psychic Reader – The second panel of this Partially Clips ‘toon seems weirdly plausible.

Can’t Sleep, Doctors Will Hear Me – I sort of want to request a sleep study just so I can mess with the doctors too.

Book O’Clock – Striking wall clock with books marking the hours. You could use titles with the appropriate numbers, as here, or just show off some of your favorite works.

Skeleton Car Decals – These are the ubiquitous “family members” car decals, only everybody’s a calavera.

Love & a Sandwich – Sells cute little furry “monsters,” including pairs of custom best friend monsters with matching bows.

Spider Suncatcher – Beaded spiders are a common find, but I quite like the “crackle” bead this one uses as an abdomen.

Mouse Butterflies – Series of paintings by Lisa Ericson, featuring a fictional species of mouse/butterfly hybrids. I’m sad these aren’t real, because they’d be adorable pets.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Black Angel: Lost Fantasy Movie Resurfaces

May 21st, 2015 by Cobwebs

Black Angel is a short fantasy film which is semi-legendary among Star Wars fans; it was shown in theaters in Europe and Australia before The Empire Strikes Back, and was directed by ESB art director Roger Christian. It’s also got something of a following amongst fans of 80s sword-and-sorcery movies, because it was hugely influential on the look-and-feel of films like Legend and Excalibur. The film was also notable because it pioneered “step-printing,” a method of slowing down action scenes, which was used for the lightsaber duel in ESB.

The film was lost soon after its theatrical run and was presumed gone forever, but a print was recently discovered at Universal Studios. It’s been digitized and is being made available on YouTube until the end of this month.

Here’s the press release:

Black Angel, the short film attached to initial screenings of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, is to be made available for free on YouTube until the end of May 2015. It will be released on Tuesday, 12th May, accompanied by an exclusive introduction from director Roger Christian. A crucial part of the Star Wars legacy, Black Angel was commissioned by George Lucas, who chose it to accompany Empire in Europe and Australia. The 25-minute film was produced on a budget of £25,000, given to Christian by an Eady Scheme fund from the UK government.

An epic fantasy adventure, the script follows a knight (Tony Vogel) who returns from the Crusades, only to be transported to a fantasy world to rescue a princess from the clutches of a dark and mysterious character. Shot in the Scottish Highlands, the film highlights the beauty and majesty of the location. It was loved by fans and industry tastemakers the world over, with Steven Spielberg describing it as ‘one of the most enigmatic films I’ve ever seen.’

Following its release, all copies of the film were lost for over 30 years. That is, until December 2011, when an archivist at Universal Studios came across the negative. The prints had ended up in the US after the collapse of the UK studio Rank, which had stored the prints along with other film negatives in WWII bunkers. The film was restored frame by frame by a visual effects company, before having its ‘re-premiere’ in October 2013 as the closing film of the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival. It was also screened at the Glasgow Film Festival in Scotland and released on iTunes in early 2014, where it quickly ranked as ‘#1 short film.’

Christian won an Academy Award for Art Direction for his work on the original Star Wars movie. He was also nominated for the same award for his work on Alien. Christian is widely acknowledged as a key part of the ‘Star Wars family’ of writers, directors, cinematographers and crew who have been involved in the billion-dollar franchise since day one. Black Angel was his directorial debut

And here’s the full movie. Ain’t technology grand?

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Imaginary Sideshow Photos

May 20th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Sideshow PhotoCreative team Ransom & Mitchell specialize in “photographic-based digital art scenarios and portraits,” combining makeup, costumes, set design, and digital manipulation to create wonderfully evocative art which tends toward the dark side.

They recently did a series called Rough & Ready Sideshow which used handcrafted sets and vintage props to create an old-time sideshow full of spooky freaks.

If you’re handy with Photoshop it’d be fun to theme a party around a stripped-down version of the same idea. Create a generic circus backdrop (or, as a last resort, use a blank wall as a backdrop and then ‘shop in an appropriate background), get a few carnival-type props from a thrift store, and have friends dress as sideshow freaks. Take everyone’s photograph, then after the party you can digitally manipulate the photos to give them extra heads or tentacles instead of legs.

Be sure to check out the rest of Ransom & Mitchell’s portfolio too (a few images are slightly NSFW); their photos all seem like images from some dark fairy tale.

(via BoingBoing)

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Nerd Wars

May 19th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Nerd WarsHere’s a pretty brilliant idea for fiber artists with unfinished projects languishing in a corner: Compete in a Tournament of Nerdery with like-minded geeks.

Nerd Wars is an ongoing competition amongst Ravelry members which features monthly challenges “focused in the areas of intellectual, scientific, technical, philanthropy, nerd culture and geek pride.”

Teams (each team unified by their geekery. For example, a person might be on the DC Comics, Dr. Who, or SCA team) “compete” by completing knitting/crochet/whatever projects that answer a set challenge (there will be a few challenges each round to choose from).

Each project you complete earns your team points. At the end of three rounds (each round being about a month long each), the team with the most points wins.

What do they win? Bragging rights, a sweet badge for their profile or a Ravatar. And, prizes!

The tournament is hopefully going to be a way to motivate people to finish projects on a (ultimately arbitrary by real life standard, but totally helpful and fun here) deadline, and also meet other Ravelers with similar geeky interests and form friendships with folks.

You can choose to join teams with names like “Brass Octopus,” “Hellmouth,” “Hogwarts Express,” “Iron Throne,” “Macabre,” and many others (Team Hellmouth and Team Browncoats recently joined up in a “Children of Joss” event to make projects inspired by Whedon’s characters). You can also join in the “Ninja Warrior” category, in which your points don’t count against other teams; ninja warriors only challenge themselves.

If you need an excuse to start a crafty project (I, myself, have a Doctor Who Fair Isle pattern that glares at me balefully from the closet) or just want to meet like-minded crafters, this sounds like a lot of fun. (This does require a Ravelry account, but registration is free.)

(via Jan)

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The Last Time I Saw Richard

May 18th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Jonah is proud to be the loner at the teen mental health clinic. But when a new patient, Richard, is admitted and the boys are forced to share a room, Jonah finds himself forming a connection despite himself. But will their bond be strong enough to protect them from the darklings that hide in the night shadows?

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Hedwig and the Angry Link Dump

May 15th, 2015 by Cobwebs

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Series of YA novels about Cimorene, a princess who refuses to be proper, and her adventures amongst the dragons.

Confessions of an Idiom – Cute little animated short involving a power struggle between the skeleton in the closet confronts the elephant in the room.

When Disney Scared Us – Nerdist has a roundup of films that Disney “would rather forget.” I’ll ditto their inclusion of The Black Hole on this list; ten-year-old me is still scarred.

Cute Pet Rat Photos – Rats are second only to bats in the “underappreciated adorable mammal” category.

10 Best Southern Gothic Books – An interesting roundup.

Cruchley’s Pocket Map of London – Zoomable image of an 1849 map of London.

Welcome to Night Vale – The podcast has spawned a novel.

Scott Bisson – Artist who creates gorgeous glass creatures such as squid, anglerfish, and lizards. More pictures and prices are available in the gallery here.

Jane Eyre, Or: The Bride of Edward ‘Crazypants’ Rochester – “Suddenly, typhus!”

Junk Food Repackaged for Hipsters – Artist Dan Meth redesigned the packaging for various American junk foods to look like premium artisanal products. He did a really good job.

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »

Stilt Spirit DIY

May 14th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Stilt SpiritIn 2010 artist Melissa Irwin and her husband built some amazing Halloween costumes inspired by the landstriders from Dark Crystal. The arms are extra-long medical crutches and the legs were stilts from The Spinsterz; the bodies are mainly upholstery foam and fabric. She notes:

We tried different faces and masks, but nothing seemed to creep out people more than the blank and expressionless human face. On Halloween we stand in yards to pretend like we are decorations then follow families down the street. FREAKS THEM OUT!!! We also walk in our town on random days in the year just to surprise people.

Here’s a time-lapse video of a couple of their build “test runs,” plus some footage of them walking around and creeping people out:

Response to the costumes has been so overwhelming that she is now offering a downloadable set of instructions for $10US on Etsy.

I love how weird and organic these things look, as though they’ve emerged from a forest that exists only in your nightmares. The build is a little ambitious in terms of price–forearm crutches are around $75 and stilts are over $200–but if you view it as a long-term investment in giving people the heebie-jeebies for years to come it’s worth it.

(via Geyser of Awesome)

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