The Art of Darkness

Remember to Vote!

November 8th, 2016 by Cobwebs

VoteIf you’re a U.S. citizen, remember to vote today. Don’t put it off. Don’t decide it’s too much trouble. Vote like your future depends on it, because it does.

Not voting will make Benjamin Franklin cry. You don’t want Benjamin Franklin to cry, do you? Look; his lip is already quivering. Go vote, you monster.

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This Year’s Costumes

October 24th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Halloween Photo 1It’s time for the annual costume recap! Every year I spend entirely too much time making costumes for Shadowboy and one or two friends, then have professional photos taken. Sometimes I’m lucky and can talk them into matching costumes, and sometimes…not so much.

This year Shadowboy and one friend wanted to go as Mario and Luigi, and the other friend steadfastly declined to complete the trio by being Princess Peach and instead wanted to be Bloody Mary. Which, y’know, props for originality but you’re killing my costume photos, kid. Last year it was Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and…a frog. This year it’s two videogame icons and a hellspawn. Stahp.

The boys’ costumes were made by modifying a simple “loungewear” pattern, Simplicity 1605. The shirts were made from cotton jersey and followed the pattern with no alterations. The overalls were blue twill; I made the pajama bottoms according to the pattern and before inserting the elastic at the waistband I stitched on a front panel with straps that I made freehand (the big yellow buttons are nonfunctional). I toyed with making the hats from leftover jersey but found some online that were cheap, and since I get no joy from making hats I decided to cheat. The gloves were plain cotton parade gloves; Shadowboy complained that they lacked the cartoony black lines on the back, and since I was afraid that a black marker would bleed I wound up hand-embroidering cartoony black lines. Oy. The mustaches were cheap party favors and stuck about as well as you’d expect cheap party favors to stick; on Halloween I’ll be using spirit gum.

Despite being fairly simple, the costumes turned out pretty well. Here are the boys posing: Mario | Luigi. And here are a couple of “action shots” that the photographer managed to capture: Mario | Luigi

Bloody Mary’s costume was Simplicity 3725, view “C.” I omitted all of the recommended trim and instead used embroidered ribbon on the bodice and sleeves. The fabric was chosen the way I always choose fabric when I’m not entirely sure what the costume is supposed to look like: In a frenzy of indecision, throwing everything that looks vaguely promising into the cart and hoping I can figure something out. I wound up using everything; I had a yard of two different fabrics that I didn’t use in the dress, but I decided that she needed a veil and they worked perfectly. I stitched them to a fabric headband and then sewed a row of little silk roses along the top. After I finished the dress I realized that completely by chance I’d chosen a pattern that’s pretty similar to what Princess Peach wears so at least she can sort of match the boys’ costumes. It’ll be Mario, Luigi, and the malevolent ghost of Princess Peach, back from the grave and hell-bent on vengeance.

Here she is, with and without the veil. The photographer also did some action shots of her, running toward the camera and (my favorite) posing with a mirror. She’s definitely selling the spooky.

So that’s this year’s collection wrapped up. Maybe if I start lobbying now I can convince them to let me do something challenging next year, like Labyrinth or Beetlejuice or just about anything more interesting than overalls. Sigh.

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It’s Secret Pumpkin Time Again!

September 14th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Secret Pumpkin Logo

The Secret Pumpkin gift exchange was conceived as a way to soothe those spooky souls pining for October by sending them a little Halloween in April. It’s similar to a Secret Santa exchange but the gifts are supposed to be spooky in nature; you can read my previous description and details here.

And now it’s time to open up registration for next April’s exchange! If you’d like to participate, go to the Secret Pumpkin site:

1) If you did not participate last year, click the “Join” link and fill out the form.

2) If you DID participate last year, log in, click the “Update Profile” link and change the “Activate My Membership” option to Yes.

(Just in case it isn’t clear–folks have been confused in the past–I’m the person who manages the site, so you aren’t blindly submitting your mailing address to some anonymous stranger.)

I’d previously suggested that participants should join one of the two Halloween listservs which originally spawned the exchange, but they’ve withered away so much that they may actually be defunct; instead I send occasional reminders directly to the participants.

You can sign up even if you aren’t in the U.S., and if you encourage friends from the same country to participate you don’t have to worry about exorbitant shipping. My script matches people in the same country preferentially, and at the end of the signup period I’ll let you know if you’re the only one in your country so you can decide whether or not to participate.

The deadline for signups is October 15. All that I ask is please, PLEASE don’t sign up for the exchange unless you’re serious about following through. We occasionally have participants flake out, and their Pumpkins are always sorely disappointed.

C’mon and join! It’s lots of fun, and getting something unexpectedly Halloweeny in April is a treat.

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Super-Terrific Giveaway Thing

September 5th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Teschio MaskOh boy, you guys; have I got a treat for you.

A couple of years ago the nice people at VIVO masks sponsored a giveaway with my readers, and they recently contacted me to ask if I’d like to do it again. Hells, yeah; their stuff is awesome.

Last time we arranged with them to ship directly to the winner, so I never got my hands on the mask. This time they sent it to me to ship out, which means I can comment more specifically on the quality of the mask and I can open up the giveaway to overseas readers.

The mask they’re giving away is the Teschio Black, a metal masquerade piece in the shape of a skull. It’s an absolutely gorgeous piece, and is perfect for the goth set. I could imagine designing a whole cosplay outfit around this mask.

VIVO has hundreds of different styles, all handmade in Italy, and they ship worldwide. Given the quality, the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Their Masquerade Blog is pretty neat, too; they have a lot of suggestions for things like decorating for Halloween.

If you’d like to enter to win this mask, just leave a comment on this post by Friday, September 16. A winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks again to VIVO for the lovely giveaway opportunity!

Update:

Random NumberThe contest is over and random.org spat back the magic number 10, which means Mim is the proud owner of the mask. I shall snail-mail it to her forthwith.

Thanks to everyone who played along!

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…And Thanks for All the Fish

July 18th, 2016 by Cobwebs

'ByeSo! I started this silly blog clear back in 2007, as a way to share my love of gothy weirdness with the world. Because I am an idiot I made it a personal goal to update without fail every single weekday, and although I’ve actually managed that for over nine years(!!!) I have to admit that things have been limping a bit of late. It’s time, I think, to pack it in.

I’ll probably still post occasionally–keep me in your RSS feeds (are those still a thing?)–but it’ll be sporadic. My archive, of course, will stay up for as long as I can pay the bills.

Thanks to all of the commenters who’ve encouraged me over the years. You’re welcome to look me up on Facebook; I’m still weird over there.

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Roundup of Short Horror Films

July 4th, 2016 by Cobwebs

There’s a nice selection of spooky shorts up at ScoopWhoop, including this one from India.

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“Doctor Who” Horror Trailer

June 27th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Doctor Who superfan TheTARDISGuy203 cut together footage from the William Hartnell era, set it to music from the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot, and created a pretty decent faux trailer for a horror movie.

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Vintage Mug Shots

June 22nd, 2016 by Cobwebs

Mug ShotThe book City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1948 is a collection of period mug shots from the early part of the last century. Viewed through the filter of time, the results are haunting. (I don’t know what F. Schmelz there did in 1930 to get himself arrested, but the guy creeps me right out.)

The a time to get site has posted some images from the book, and a bit of googling–I was trying to find out what F. Schmelz did do–also turned up several more images and an essay at SCAN. These latter appear to be taken from the original police files instead of from the book.

These shots are an unusual source of inspiration for art or period photography. A collage of them would be an interesting wall display. I’m sure that in their time many of them were Very Bad People, but at this remove they seem almost ethereal.

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The Open Doors

June 20th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Saki’s (H.H. Munro) short story The Open Window has long been a favorite of mine. Future Shorts has done a video adaptation.

(via Not That Mike The Other Mike)

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Spectralities

June 13th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Rik Garrett is launching a new video series which explores “the historical exchange between art, science, and the occult.” The first episode covers the beginnings of Spiritualism.

(via Haute Macabre)

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