The Art of Darkness

The Face in the Woods

March 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Face in the WoodsImagine, if you will, hiking through the woods, miles from anyone. You round a corner and there, in a clearing, is this giant gawping face (click for larger). If you are anything like me, your first thought will be that you’ve stumbled onto some secret Wicker Man-esque cult and are about to be messily slaughtered. It’d certainly get your heart rate up.

This is an sculpture made of woven willow in Bradwell Wood in Staffordshire, England. It was built by a group called Willow Arts; you can see additional photos in their portfolio. It’s described as a “tribal mask,” but I prefer to think of it as a Spirit of the Woods. A really pissed-off one.

Weaving willow withies (say that five times fast) is a very old handicraft. If woven when green and then stuck back into the ground, they’ll root and continue to grow. If you’re interested in adding a little sculptural interest to your garden (or making smaller projects like baskets), you can find classes in willow weaving or search for tutorials online. Other bendy materials can be substituted if willow doesn’t grow well in your area.

There are some lovely examples of willow sculptures at Inspiration Green. One of the sculptors they mention, Trevor Leat, also makes willow coffins which would be neat for a green burial.

You could start small, learning to weave simple items, then eventually work your way up to larger, spookier pieces. Two or three of these howly faces dotted around the garden would certainly add…atmosphere.

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | No Comments »

Seen Online

March 4th, 2015 by Cobwebs

If I had wings I am confident they would be veiny and leathery and not cute feather ones.

I’d love to hear what would come out of my mouth if someone put a gun to my head and demanded that I commentate a football game

Keeping a blood capsule in my mouth for the next guy who tells me to smile.

there used to be door-to-door knife salesmen, which is roughly the most terrifying thing ever conceived

I’m not saying women are smarter than men, but its kinda ironic that there’s so few known women serial killers and so many unsolved murders.

If nobody comes from the future to stop you, how bad can the decision really be?

I don’t call them naps, I call them die practice.

Will this job require me to use my hands because as you can see I have to hold my swords

DAD: Sorry it’s not a pony, honey. Best I could do
LITTLE GIRL: [riding gigantic earthworm] This is Princess Doomtube. She shall be feared

I like to think my rescue dog also rescued me, but mounting evidence suggests he himself committed the arson that fateful night.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

March 3rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire” is a parody of Gothic literature which appeared in the anthology Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales. Who wrote this surely-classic work?
    A) Terry Pratchett
    B) Caitlin R. Kiernan
    C) Jim Butcher
    D) Neil Gaiman
    E) John Scalzi
  2. What is Mina Harker’s maiden name?
  3. In Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson sisters can be warded off by a circle of what substance?
    A) Rosemary
    B) Ashes
    C) Salt
    D) Wolfsbane
    E) Gold dust
  4. The important Greek oracle at Delphi was dedicated to which god?
  5. The Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) is an infamous treatise on prosecuting witches, written in 1486 by this Catholic clergyman.
    A) Heinrich Kramer
    B) Tomás de Torquemada
    C) Konrad von Marburg
    D) Bernardo Gui
    E) Adrian of Utrecht
  6. “Something went wrong” for whom in the Rocky Horror Picture Show song “Science Fiction/Double Feature?”
  7. In Alice in Wonderland, the White Rabbit sends his gardener Bill into his house to evict the now-giant Alice. What kind of animal is Bill?
    A) Fish
    B) Lizard
    C) Mouse
    D) Lobster
    E) Guinea pig
  8. Philip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels His Dark Materials takes its title from what epic work by John Milton?
  9. In the sequel to The Little Mermaid (called, not particularly originally, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea), the villainess is the sister of the deceased Ursula. What is her name?
    A) Titania
    B) Wanda
    C) Oona
    D) Vidia
    E) Morgana
  10. The Witches of Eastwick pits “witches” played by Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer against the devilish Daryl Van Horne, portrayed by what actor?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Fifty Shades of Buscemi

March 2nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

I’m a sucker for a good recut trailer, and this one amused me.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

The Link Dump Cometh

February 27th, 2015 by Cobwebs

How to Tell if You Are in a High Fantasy Novel – Another guide from The Toast.

Dapper Monsters – I like the bow tie on the shoggoth.

Zeppelin! – These kids doing xylophone covers of Led Zeppelin songs are jaw-droppingly talented.

Home – This lovely embroidered sentiment with NSFW language made me giggle.

Put a Tentacle On It – Offbeat Home has some attractive octopode decor suggestions.

Monsters in America – Attractive cryptozoological map of the U.S., showing the home ranges of the Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, Mothman, Chupacabra, Shunka Warakin, Caddy, the Honey Island Swamp Monster, and lots of others.

I Raff I Ruse – I’m not entirely sure how to describe this one-panel comic, but it’s sort of like if Lovecraft wrote comedy.

The Bat-Poet – Sweet little book about a poetic bat, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

The Vampire Rabbit of Newcastle – This may be my favorite grotesque ever. Yes, even better than the Darth Vader one.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – Heh.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Unspooky Thursday

February 26th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I’ve had this parked in my Drafts folder since…lessee…October 2012. Huh. It was originally written for an “Urban Legends” guest post-o-rama at Shellhawk’s Nest, but I’d like it to have a home here too. This is, to my eternal shame, a real urban legend local to me. Sigh.

Some places get vanishing hitchhikers. Some get ghosts that warn trains of an impending crash. The terrifying local legend where I live? A guy in a bunny suit.

No, not this kind. Frank
This kind. Bunny

I’ve been ripped off.

Bunny Man Bridge is a small railroad overpass near Clifton, VA. It is supposed to be stalked by a man wearing a bunny suit. Yes, he’s usually said to be carrying an axe or similar weapon, and yes, the legends say that he attacks and mutilates anyone foolish enough to be near the bridge after dark, but I really can’t get past the outfit. Being murdered by someone dressed like a giant rabbit isn’t terrifying, it’s embarrassing.

The bunny in question is variously reported to be an escaped convict, a refugee from a nearby (non-existent) insane asylum, or a local lunatic who graduated from mutilating wildlife to murdering children. Since “rabbit” and “insane murderer” don’t seem to have any obvious link, the lapin connection is usually explained by tacked-on details such as numerous remains of snacked-upon rabbits being found in the area (or, in the case of the asylum escapee, that he was originally committed for murdering his family on–dun dun dun!!!–Easter Sunday). Nobody explains where he got the suit.

A local historian has identified the probable origin of the legend: In 1970 there were two incidents involving a man–dressed, yes, in a bunny costume–who threatened people with a hatchet whilst yelling at them for trespassing. Over the past 40 years, generations of teenagers have expanded and distorted and added details until what was probably a Furry annoyed at having his private sexytimes interrupted is now a horrible spectral murderer who…is still wearing a bunny suit. Dammit, I really can’t get past the bunny suit.

Particularly annoying is that this legend has gained enormous traction throughout the Washington DC area. Civil War battles were fought all over this region. We could have legends about ghostly armies locked in eternal combat, or bloody Confederate soldiers who attack campers, or phantom funeral trains carrying rows of soldiers’ coffins.

What are we actually known for? A big cranky rabbit.

Dammit, dammit, dammit….

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

Silly Web Thing: Draggable Ghosts

February 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Draggable Ghost

Wanna see a trick? Click your mouse on that heart up above, keep holding the button, and drag. Presto! A ghostly axe-wielding bride who takes the “’til death do us part” thing seriously.

(If you don’t see the ghost, you may be using an older browser which doesn’t support HTML5. Sorry about that.)

This type of draggable image takes advantage of HTML5’s native drag-and-drop capabilities, which create a semi-transparent copy of an element when you grab it and drag it around. The images are particularly popular on Tumblr, where they’re used to display hidden messages or other now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t effects. The ghost above was created by octibbles; there’s another cute example here, made by a blogger who seems to specialize in these effects.

The images are fairly easy to create with your favorite graphics editor, since they really only require two things: A transparent background and a drawing or message which matches the background color of the page you’ll be displaying it on. When the image is dragged, the browser will “ghost” all of the non-transparent areas, turning the background-matching color a light grey and making it suddenly visible. (This assumes that your background color isn’t identical to the browser-ghost-grey. If it is, well…don’t do that.)

There are lots of tutorials for creating this kind of image; WikiHow and musings & sketchy lines have easy ones, but a quick search will turn up plenty more. For more advanced effects, check out this neat custom ghost image tutorial.

It’s a neat Easter-eggy thing to add to a site which doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Fun!

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Cooking with Vincent

February 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Cooking with VincentVincent Price was kind of awesome, you guys. In addition to being THE campy horror-movie guy, he was a world traveler, art collector, author, and noted gourmet chef (his specialty was Chinese).

In 1965 he and his wife Mary published a volume of recipes collected from their favorite restaurants, titled A Treasury of Great Recipes. The original book is expensive on Amazon, but fairly reasonable at sites like ABE Books. However, 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication, and a new edition is scheduled for release this fall. There’s a website, Cooking with Vincent, where you can reserve a copy and read a “road trip blog” by their daughter as she visits some of the restaurants from the original book.

But wait, there’s more! In 1967, Mary and Vincent published a 5-volume set called Mary and Vincent Price present a National Treasury of Cookery, and in 1969 followed up with Come Into the Kitchen.

And then, in 1971, Thames Television gave Price his own cooking show. Cooking Price-Wise with Vincent Price ran for six half-hour episodes, and spawned a cookbook of the same name. The cookbook originally sold for 30p, and the cheapest I can find a copy online is $125US.

The TV episodes also sadly don’t seem to be available online; according to Horrorpedia their titles were:

Dishes from Italy, America and Turkey (18/05/1971)
Dishes from the Gulf Coast, Hawaii and Indonesia (11/05/1971)
Dishes from California, Switzerland and Austria (04/05/1971)
Dishes from Great Britain (27/04/1971)
Dishes from Greece and Morocco (20/04/1971)
Dishes from New York, Savoy and Holland (13/04/1971)

Price also recorded audio cooking tutorials–his recipe for Viennese Stuffed Eggs can be heard here–and did talk-show appearances like this one with Wolfgang Puck.

If you wanted to throw a particularly offbeat goth dinner party, you could play some of Price’s horror movies in the background whilst serving some of his recipes.

Posted in Needful Things | 2 Comments »

She’s the Giggle at a Funeral

February 23rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

This went viral a week or so ago but just in case you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. Sergei Polunin, who was with Britain’s Royal Ballet until recently, dances to Hozier’s bluesy hit “Take Me to Church” in this impressive video.

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Battle of the Five Link Dumps

February 20th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Little Embroidered Bones – An interview with artist T.C. Hutchinson of tinycup needleworks. I adore all of her little skeletons.

Alex Stoddard – Wonderfully surreal photography, some of it quite creepy. NSFW for artistic nudity. (via Spooky Moon)

The Black Mudpuppy – Webcomic where, to quote its creator, “an Aztec god of the dead is trapped in an axolotl and forced to be a superhero.” We’ve all had days like that.

The Perfection That is Anatomia Humani Corporis – Photos of an astonishingly elaborate hand-bound book. (Hat tip to xJane)

Popular Skullture – A look at the skull motif in pulp magazines, paperbacks, and comic books, back when the image of a skull was still striking and macabre instead of something routinely slapped on baby clothes.

Bat Photos – Stunning closeup photos of bats by researcher Merlin D. Tuttle.

DIY Skull Bookends – Easy tutorial using a cheap plaster skull.

Insect Alphabet – Gorgeous hand-drawn font featuring insects as each letter.

Lord of the Rings Dinner Party – This is a great idea, with many geeky details.

Carmilla – Artist Isabella Mazzanti did a lovely showcase set of illustrations for the Le Fanu novel.

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »

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