The Art of Darkness

Phun with Photoshop: Supernatural

March 31st, 2011 by Cobwebs

Ghost DogThe Web Design Library site is a fantastic resource for Photoshop tutorials and ideas, and their “special effects” tutorials are a great source of inspiration.

I was recently digging around on the site and a tutorial for adding a ghost to a photograph caught my eye. I grabbed a couple of family photos I had handy and with very little effort was able to combine this and this to create this (ghost dog! Aiyeee!) I particularly like that the tutorial includes instructions for desaturating and adding graininess to the photo to make it look like the sort of low-quality picture that “real” ghost photographs always seem to be.*

A bit more searching turned up instructions for several other spooky effects, so if you have access to Photoshop or a similar photo-editing tool (here are some free alternatives) you might want to give some of these a try:

Ghostly Effects – Add a spooky silhouette to a hallway.

Night Vision – Make a photo look as though it were taken with a night vision camera. This would be useful for creating something like the Louisiana Swamp Monster photo that was making the rounds a few months ago.

Adding Realistic Fangs – Nice way to add subtle vampire or werewolf fangs to a portrait.

Zombifying a Photo – This really looks more like plain blood spatter than decay, but it’s still a neat effect.

A couple of more complex multi-photo manipulations:
Forest Magical Scene
Night of Spells

Create a Classic Horror Movie Poster – I especially like this one because it would make a great wedding invitation for a couple of horror buffs. You’d probably want to play with the basic idea to include photos of both partners and perhaps give it some sort of wedding-themed “film title,” but it would certainly be a unique presentation.

*A note if you try this one yourself: Steps 3-5 of the instructions involve adding a layer mask and applying the background image to it. I have no idea why, because it doesn’t seem to add anything to the finished image. I didn’t bother.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Spooky Address Marker

March 30th, 2011 by Cobwebs


I’m rather taken with this “dripping blood” address marker from Speedcult. It’s powder-coated metal and is available in several colors.

I wonder, however, if it might be possible to DIY something a bit cheaper. Spooky fonts, either “dripping” or something more formally gothic, are widely available at places like Fontspace. The appropriate numbers could be printed and used as stencils, and the marker cut out of wood or acrylic. If you don’t have woodworking tools, you could also make an address plaque using a dremel tool. Paint as desired.

The same technique could also be used to create “messages” as interior decoration. I think “redrum” would be particularly entertaining hung in the bathroom.

p.s. – Be sure to check out some of the other stuff in Speedcult’s “gothic” category, like this cute bat key holder.

(via Midnight in the Garden of Evil)

Posted in Bad Things, Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »


March 29th, 2011 by Cobwebs

I have a suspicion that the long winter nights in Northern Europe tend to subtly warp its inhabitants, because an awful lot of truly weird stuff seems to come out of Scandinavia. Amongst these is Apocalyptica, a metal band from Helsinki featuring a trio of classically trained cellists. Because when I think of metal, “cello” is certainly the first thing that pops to my mind.

They have a channel on YouTube, although all of their “official” videos have had embedding disabled (which sort of subverts the point of YouTube, to my mind), so the example below was uploaded by a fan. You can also buy their MP3s on Amazon.

They’re certainly…unique.

(Hat tip to pdq)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »


March 28th, 2011 by Cobwebs

VampletCheck out these cute little…um…suckers: Vamplets are plush baby vampires with names like “Count Vlad Von Gloom” and “Evilyn Nocturna.” They’re accessorized with gloomy diapers and spooky hair accessories, and there’s even an optional bottle of blood. According to their blog they’ll also be launching a line of Vampets, including a wereroach and a zombie guinea pig, later this year.

The site has an optional “World of the Vamplets” section which will allow you to customize a virtual coffin and tombstone for your new acquisition. It’s all very cute.

One of these would be an adorable gift for a goth mom-to-be. They’re definitely more cute than morbid, so they’d also be great for a child who likes spooky (but not too spooky) things.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Xena, Warrior Link Dump

March 25th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Plastic Skull Chair – Uncredited work from an exhibit in Milan. It’d be fairly easy to create a similar effect with plastic-friendly paint (or with a small saw if you’re feeling ambitious).

Wee Little (sic) Fairy House – Immensely cute fairy house made from a tiny (1/44-scale!) gazebo meant for model railroad layouts.

Devout Dolls – I’ve mentioned this artist previously, but she’s got a couple of recent Flickr sets that I quite like: Monsters Among Us and Sad Circus.

What Happened Bandages – Bandages which label your owies with reasons like “Shark Bite” and “Ninja Attack.” (Hat tip to Empress Pam)

Goth Weddings – Photo roundup at Buzzfeed.

Tooth Fairy Calculator – Gorgeous “artifact” used by the Tooth Fairy to calculate tooth price.

Guillermo del Toro’s Bleak House – A look at the fanboy collection in del Toro’s house. I think a couple of the portraits on the wall behind him are by Travis Louie.

Eerie Taxidermy Art – Interesting roundup, although I don’t agree with #6. The cow heads look sort of cuddly. (Hat tip to Chas)

Zombie Child Protection – Odd little blog which details the “experiences” of a social worker whose job is to keep an eye on children whose parents have been turned into zombies.

Torture Applique – Series of appliqued panels depicting various Medieval torture methods.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Best. Invitation. Ever.

March 24th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Reddit member TheLocoYoko commissioned artist Manuel Morgado to create this utterly splendid wedding invitation. As one of the commenters over there put it:

A women let you make zombie apocalypse wedding invitations? Dude, if you EVER let her go you are beneath my contempt. BENEATH IT!!

Damn skippy.

Wedding Invitation

I have no idea what the artist charges for something like this, but if you’re doing a themed wedding this would be a heck of an addition. I particularly like the graphic-novel sort of illustrative style. (Be sure to check out the other stuff in his gallery; I especially like his Sleepy Hollow.)

(via Blame It On The Voices)

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | 3 Comments »

Seen Online

March 23rd, 2011 by Cobwebs

This all-you-can-eat buffet is a rip-off. There are so many things I can eat that aren’t here. For instance: crayons.

If I could have dinner w/ any 2 people from history, I’d pick Anne Frank & Hitler, because it would be so awkward for Hitler.

I cope better with the loud stomping of the lady upstairs if I imagine that she’s a Tyrannosaurus who just was told about masturbation.

Sleep tight! And if I’m the one who finds your dead body. I will dress you up like a Smurf, and say that’s how I found you.

Planting a mime in my backyard. Not for a mime tree. Just had to put the body somewhere.

Aquariums are supposed to be stress-reducers, but the one full of lobsters at the grocery store gives off really tense vibes.

the eyes are the windows to the dollhouse I made out of a human skull!!

If all the farts in this bedroom ever coalesce, that is gonna be one scary ghost.

I bought my wife a Japanese sex toy but it got away and scuttled up to a corner of the ceiling where it’s now just staring at me. Silently.

Does Jesus have a vestigial organ made of Communion wafer? Or does he just hack willy-nilly? “This is my body. That’s a toe!”

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Toccata and Fugue in D: Drive

March 22nd, 2011 by Cobwebs

It’s not uncommon for computer hobbyists to use vintage floppy drives* for uses other than they were originally intended. George Whiteside has connected four drives to a micocontroller and uses them in a rendition of “Phantom of the Floppera.”

This is the kind of thing geeks do to amuse ourselves.

(via Neatorama)

*As someone who learned to program on a Commodore 64, I would like to register an audible wince at the concept of floppy drives being veritable antiques.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Treasure Hunt Party

March 21st, 2011 by Cobwebs

I thought that I had a tendency to overdo party planning, but Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti blows me away. After reading an article about MIT’s annual Mystery Hunt he decided to do something similar for his birthday. The first one was such a hit that he’s done several others, and three of them are detailed at his site.

His guests gather on the University of Washington campus and follow clues on an extended scavenger hunt. Some of them are pretty elaborate, and definitely took some time to plan and execute.

The one for 2000 was inspired by Alice in Wonderland:

Clue One, “Down the Rabbit Hole”: On my signal, teams were allowed to open their envelopes, which contained two items. The first was a sheet of paper that had a map of the campus on one side, and the text of the first clue on the other. The Map showed all the buildings on the campus, a few of which had dots on them and a corresponding letter (see the map here). As explained prior to the Hunt, only the indicated buildings would have clues hidden in or around them. This was designed so that Teams wouldn’t have to search through scores of building names to find the one a given clue referred to. The clue itself (see the clue here) contained some text from Wonderland, and the message “Find the White Rabbit.” Below that was the warning “Note: don’t let this clue Bug you or otherwise drive you crazy.”

The other item in the envelope was a copy of “The Little Nickel”, a local classifieds-only newspaper. Teams that looked for the White Rabbit – found in the Auto section, under Volkswagons – found an ad that read “WHITE RABBIT: In good condition, but runs a little late. Comes with ears, whiskers, pocket watch. The next clue is in the eastern entryway to Bagley Hall.”

2001 was based around 2001: A Space Odyssey (natch), and 2003 was a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.

I think this is brilliant. A simplified version would be a really unique kids’ party, and I would love to do one for an adult Halloween party. I can think of several themes off the top of my head, such as one based on Dracula with clues related to characters in the novel, or a sci-fi one built around cheesy B movies.

The idea could also be modified for an indoor venue if the weather might not cooperate: A mall or museum might work nicely, although you’d probably have to figure out some method of providing clues that a) wouldn’t be found by non-players and b) wouldn’t annoy management.

This would certainly involve more work than a “standard” party, but the payoff might be worth it. I’m definitely going to have to think about this the next time I’m in a party-planning mood.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Link Dump on a Hot Tin Roof

March 18th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Amigurumi Monsters – A whole bunch of crocheted baby monsters. I particularly like how so many different “personalities” can be created by using the same base body plan and just changing the details.

Zombie Walks a Dog – Wait for it….

Pat the Zombie – A macabre spoof of the childrens’ classic Pat the Bunny.

The Ultimate Photobomb – Yes, it’s ‘shopped, but it’s still funny.

Steotch – A variety of entertaining cross-stitch pieces.

Shark Attack Costume – “Ariel meets Jaws.” The soft-sculpture shark rather reminds me of a friend who used to dress up as Fay Wray: Blonde wig, evening gown, and a big stuffed ape hand wrapped around her waist.

Creepypasta – A collection of spooky microfiction, mainly culled from Internet message boards. This one always wigs me out.

Lotus Eaters – Pretty skully sculpture by Jed Turner.

Custom Creature Taxidermy – Purveyors of unusual taxidermied specimens. In particular, their Curiosa collection features things like “hands of glory” and gilded mummies.

This to That – Choose the two things you’re trying to glue together, and the form tells you which glue will work best. Very handy for crafters.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

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