The Art of Darkness

The Great Pumpkin Project

October 7th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Lonely JackExcuse me whilst I jump up and down with glee at this marvelous idea.

Over at Pumpkinrot, one of Rot’s regulars has suggested a splendid way to spread some October cheer: “Jack O’Lanterns left anonymously in lonely places, near abandoned buildings, alongside roads…anywhere that’ll give the passerby a burst of Halloween, and some questions.”

Adam, the originator of the project, has a suggested “calling card” design to be attached to the stem of each lonely Jack; he’s said that he’ll supply Rot with a downloadable file that others can use to stencil a similar card, so keep an eye out for an update on Rot’s post. On the one hand, it seems sort of a shame to do anything that will give away the fact that this is part of a larger project rather than a drive-by pumpkining; but on the other hand it’ll probably keep the pumpkin from being mistaken for a bomb. (Lookin’ at you, Boston.)

If you decide to play along, Adam has one request:

That is that everyone who decides to do this, please use the same name and if possible, please try and use the same tag. I will try and get a file out to Rot somehow and everyone is welcome to use the logos. The point of the project is to create a random “What The Hell?” moment in passers by, and to create a feeling of joy inside people like us when they pass a random Jack in an odd place.

Someone in the comments says that “The photos are going to be great;” I don’t see any mention of an official place to post photos of successful Jack placements, but a #GreatPumpkinProject tag on Instagram would probably work until something more official comes up.

Grab a pumpkin, get out there, and make somebody else’s day a little more surreal!

Update: Adam has posted the label for download here, and included some additional thoughts on the project. (Including a preeetty important one that I hadn’t thought to call out: Don’t use actual fire. “Flameless” LED tea lights are inexpensive and widely available; use those instead.)

(via ShellHawk’s Nest)

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

Trivia Tuesday

October 6th, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. Castle Rock, Maine is a fictional town which provides the setting for several of Stephen King’s works. Which of these is NOT set there?
    A) The Dead Zone
    B) Cujo
    C) The Body
    D) Needful Things
    E) It
  2. What item did Dumbledore bequeath to Hermione in his will?
  3. The space-vampire flick Lifeforce involves the discovery of an alien spacecraft inside the head of what comet?
    A) Shoemaker–Levy 9
    B) Halley
    C) Kohoutek
    D) Hyakutake
    E) Hale-Bopp
  4. The brothers in Supernatural are Sam and Dean who?
  5. In the Aliens series of movies, the soulless corporation more interested in making a profit than saving people from the xenomorphs is:
    A) Cyberdyne
    B) Aperture Science
    C) Tyrell
    D) Weyland-Yutani
    E) Omni Consumer Products
  6. In this offbeat horror-comedy, nursing-home residents Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) and John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis) fight off a reanimated Egyptian mummy who preys on the elderly.
  7. Who wrote the auto-erotic novel Crash?
    A) Brian Aldiss
    B) Julian May
    C) J.G. Ballard
    D) Ian McDonald
    E) George R. R. Martin
  8. What is the name of Harry Dresden’s vampiric half-brother?
  9. In what was presumably an homage, the doctor who treated Michael Myers shares a name with the boyfriend of the victim in Psycho. Is it:
    A) Sam Loomis
    B) Lankester Merrin
    C) Martin Brody
    D) Ben Hanser
    E) Seth Gecko
  10. Which movie reveals the root of a family’s ghostly problems with this line? “You son of a bitch, you moved the cemetery but you left the bodies, didn’t you?! You son of a bitch! You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!”

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

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October 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This spooky short is a ghost story about a girl you can only see when you hold your breath.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

October 2nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

This concludes Yet Another link dump-o-rama. Regular posting (and once-a-week link dumps) resume next Monday.

The Comple’et Halloween Mixtape – Suggestions for a Halloween playlist.

Spider Egg Jell-O – These desserts with pearl tapioca standing in for spider eggs are astonishingly squicky-looking.

December Diamonds – Series of Christmas ornaments, mostly pinup-style, mostly mermen. It’s very odd. (via pdq)

Stephen Mackey – Artist who paints lovely surreal portraits inspired by painters such as Vermeer and Ingres.

Double Vision Makeup – Video “tutorial” (in the sense that you can watch the steps but there’s no guidance on how to do it yourself) for a neat double-face makeup effect.

Werewolf Dog Muzzle – Muzzle design that makes your dog look like a vicious, slavering beast. Yes, even chihuahuas.

Centipede Feeding Time – Interesting video which shows a variety of centipede species being fed.

Sally Amigurumi Pattern – Free pattern for Sally from NMBC.

Tauntaun Cookies – These aren’t really goth, but the gummi innards are inspired.

Creepy Shorts – Night Vale’s take on the “Juicy” shorts.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 4

October 1st, 2015 by Cobwebs

Creepy Skulls Slouchy Hat – Ravelry crochet pattern for a skull-covered hat.

Pretzel Screams – Super-easy idea for a party treat. I’d never really thought of a pretzel as looking horrified before, but it turns out that if you give them eyes they totally do.

Gemma O’Brien – Artist spotlight of some of O’Brien’s work. She does gorgeous, intricately-detailed illustrations. (Hat tip to Guilherme)

Extraordinary Tales – An animated anthology of five of Poe’s short stories will be released on October 23. The article says that each story is narrated by a different actor, including Christopher Lee, Roger Corman, Guillermo Del Toro and Bela Lugosi, but since a couple of those guys have been dead for a while I’m assuming that “narrated” in this case means “using old recordings.”

Crazy Bonez – Good-looking skeletal animal props. Spiders may not technically have skeletons but we’ll ignore that fact for now.

Neil Gaiman on Banned Books – An interview with the author.

Arachnophobia – “Performance art” clock intended to remind us that “time creeps up on us all.” Whatever; it’s a clock shaped like a spider.

Ice Skull Molds – Molds that make 3D skull-shaped ice cubes. You’d have to start making them a month in advance to have enough for a party, but they’re neat anyway.

Li’l Ghost Garden – Serene little desktop game in which you direct a ghost to tend a virtual garden.

All the Best “Straight Outta” Submissions – io9 has a roundup of science fiction/fantasy-themed “Straight Outta” album covers. The Alien one is my favorite.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

September 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

What is Dreadpunk – A look at a subculture movement “that aims to push horror and dark fantasy in new (old) directions.”

Star Wars Movie Realization Figures – Bandai has a collection of action figures depicting Darth Vader, stormtroopers, Boba Fett, and other baddies as Japanese feudal warriors.

Cheesecake Ghosts – Easy method for making cute li’l googly-eyed ghosts.

Beasts of Burden – Horror comic series about a group of dogs (and a cat) who learn magic and fight the forces of evil. There’s a look at one of the stories here.

New Horror Text Games Give Voice to Marginalized Women – An interesting overview of “gender horror.”

ZombiePeepshow – Etsy shop full of amazingly over-the-top custom shoes with spikes and skulls and all manner of weird embellishments.

Lovecraft Letters – Bad dating profiles “translated” into the sort of thing that a Lovecraftian horror might write in an attempt to get a date. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Sugar Skull Sachets – Instructions for making cute calavera sachets out of felt.

Necto Cooler – In yet another instance of “craft beer makers with too much time on their hands,” a Philadelphia brewery has released a beer inspired by Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler. Huh.

DryBones Studios – Etsy shop specializing in jewelry and other items made of bone; their Facebook page is neat, too. They have a booth at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, and I got a pair of earrings made from weasel jaws. They’re lovely.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

September 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

DIY Lego Clock – Easy instructions for making a clock from a Lego baseplate, which can then be decorated with any minifigs you want. There are plenty of Halloween Legos to choose from, like these.

Free Horror eBooks – Guy McBryde’s horror stories are currently free on Amazon. (I haven’t read any of them–the author sent me a promotional email–but since they’re free you can check ’em out without penalty.)

Skull Knife – I doubt that this chef’s knife with a skull on the blade would stand up to heavy use, but it’d be cool to bring out for special occasions.

Motörhead Vibrators – The seminal (har!) metal band has launched a line of “pleasure tools that rock.” Oddly, there is no model called Orgasmatron.

The Potter Family – J.K. Rowling has a number of new Harry Potter stories online at Pottermore, and her newest piece explores his ancestry and family history.

I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it. – Historian Sarah A. Chrisman and her husband live in as authentically Victorian a manner as is possible. She does have a website, though, which strikes me as cheating.

Scary Cheese Assortment – I’m mostly just amused at the marketing genius who figured out how to promote their product for Halloween, but this is also a nice suggestion for a party.

Halloween Strawberries – These chocolate-covered strawberries (made, presumably, with colored candy melts) are adorable.

Honky Tonk Haints – Interesting article about a purportedly-haunted bar in Kentucky.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Soundtrack Set – Varèse Sarabande is releasing a complete collection of original soundtracks for all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies as part of an 8-disc box set.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps

September 28th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I apologize, guys; I normally try to keep the week-long link dumps tamped down to no more than one a month, but I had a project that was making my brain cower in my skull like a startled guinea pig and didn’t have time to rustle up anything more substantial.

Those of you who complain that these marathon dumps contribute to your lost productivity will just have to resign yourselves to being less productive this week.

Haunted House – Alexander Henry fabric collection with several attractive spooky designs. I like the Favourite Haunts one, since it’s subtle unless you look at it closely.

Glow-in-the-Dark Eyeball Jelly Shots – Jell-o shots that look like eyeballs. There’s an easy nonalcoholic version here and a slightly more complicated one here.

American Horror Story Fashion Line – Hot Topic is releasing a five-piece collection, with each piece themed around a different season of AHS.

#PotterItForward – A rather sweet campaign encouraging long-time fans of the Harry Potter series to leave notes in the books for new readers.

Masques and Murder – “Renaissance revenge simulator” game in which you work to become a ruthless noblewoman. BoingBoing discusses it here.

Dandelion Earrings – Little glass globes containing dandelion seeds. The same seller has similar earrings containing moss and other natural elements.

Anti-Pills – Empty bottles with vintage-y looking labels for remedies like “Muriel Cheetbite’s ‘Anti-Nature Pills’.” I guess you could fill the bottles with mints or something.

Luna – Attractive lamp, in seven different sizes, made to resemble the moon.

Rowlf the Dog Reads “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – Disney is doing a Disneyland/Muppet crossover video series; here’s Rowlf doing a dramatic reading of the song from the Haunted Mansion.

Orcs of New York – An amusing parody of the Humans of New York project. (via Bruno)

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Straight Outta Link Dumps

September 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Horror Pinups – Karl Von Frankenstein has a series of “sexy fantasy” pinups of Jason, Freddy, and Michael. I have no words.

Women of the Haunted Mansion Cosplay – A group presentation at SDCC. What a great cosplay idea.

Floodland Vinyl Set – The Sisters of Mercy’s beast of an album Floodland is being reissued on vinyl, along with additional related works.

DIY Origami Bats – Some of these are fairly complicated, but the results sure are cute. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

The Lockhart – This Harry Potter-themed bar in Toronto looks like fun.

Time After Time Coming to TV – The awesome 70s time-travel movie Time After Time, which involved H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper into the present day, is going to be turned into a procedural drama for television. Huh.

This Much Will Kill You – ASAP Science looks at the amounts of various substances (like coffee and cherry pits) required to kill a human.

Cotton Fingers – Fake packaging for “ladytime objects” meant for women suffering the Moonsickness. And that’s what I’ll be calling it from now on.

Manfeels Park – “The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women.” (via Cat)

Flayed Human Flesh Tablecloth – Tye Rannosaurus was commissioned to create a fake “human leather” tablecloth for a horror film, and was kind enough to share her technique. This is awesomely hideous. (Also check out her Zombie/Serial Killer Corset.)

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Unquiet Books

September 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Okay, this thing has been knocking around in my Drafts folder for nearly five years(!), it’s clearly never going to get out of the planning stages and I’m tired of looking at it, so I’m going to dump the half-formed mess on you guys and let you deal with it. (This is why you read this blog; for quality posts like this one.)

Way back in 2011 I mentioned the awesome quiet books made by Julie of Julie’s Blog (at the time she had Star Wars and Star Trek versions; she’s since added Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). In that post I joked that somebody needed to do an “unquiet book” featuring spooky creatures, and the more I thought about it the more I liked the notion. I jotted down a bunch of possible ideas and then sat on them for five years and here we are today.

So if somebody with more unquiet-book ambition than I feels like taking any of these ideas and running with them, knock yourselves out. Send me pictures.

(The purpose of a quiet book, for anyone still puzzled, is right there in the name: It’s a book containing a series of simple activities meant to encourage small children to shut their piehole play quietly by themselves for a few minutes. The activities usually have the added benefit of helping younger kids learn to perform simple tasks like buttoning a button or tying a shoelace.)

Help the spider finish his web – Lace a ribbon through grommets to complete a spider’s web.

Put Dracula in his coffin – Unzip the coffin and place a felt-figure vampire inside.

Help the ghost find his grave – Follow a stitched line across a graveyard.

Rewrap the mummy’s face – Weaving with ribbons.

Put the pumpkins into their patch – Attach half of a snap closure to the backs of felt pumpkins and place the other halves in a patch of leaves so the pumpkins can be snapped into place.

Turn into a werewolf – Felted glove with claws and fake fur that the child can slip their hand into.

Reassemble the skeleton – Velcro-backed pieces of a skeleton (skull, ribcage, arms and legs) which can be placed in proper order along a fixed-in-place spine.

Dress the witch – Dress-up doll with a few different dresses, hats, and stockings.

Carve a Jack-o’-lantern – Arrange felt eyes, nose, and mouth on a plain pumpkin.

What’s hiding under the bed? – Lift the flap to find simple finger puppets.

Put eyes on the Voodoo doll – Buttons attached to the page, and a felt face with buttonholes that can be buttoned in place.

Help the witch finish her brew – Cauldron with felt shapes like snakes, toads, and bats to tuck into the top.

A couple more ideas that would probably be a little too dark in practice but amuse me in theory:

Help the Aztec priest tear out his victim’s heart – Zippered chest cavity with a removable felt heart inside.

Arrange the skulls of Kali’s victims – Pile up little felt skulls at her feet.

Help the Washer at the Ford do her laundry – Tuck little bloodstained shirts into a pool of water.

Have any other ideas? Share ’em in the comments!

Posted in Bittens, Doom It Yourself | 9 Comments »

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