The Art of Darkness

Party Like It’s 1912

February 29th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Titanic HeadlineApril 15, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Sounds like an excellent excuse for a themed dinner party. (Or at least a cocktail party; you could serve gin and titonics.)

The theme could go a lot of different ways. You could have a fancy dinner or tea where everyone dresses in period costume (there are some good ideas for invitations here and here); you could take it a step further and make it a role-playing party (make your invitations look like boarding passes and assign each guest a passenger whom they’re supposed to play), or send waterlogged invitations and tell everybody to show up drowned.

Decoration will depend largely upon your theme and could range from refined Edwardian to nautical. Guests might enter on a red carpet–assuming you’re allowing them to be First Class passengers rather than the wretches in steerage–and you might also designate various rooms in your house as an observation deck, lounge bar, wheelhouse, etc. If you prefer a more disaster-y theme, you can decorate with plastic life preservers and netting and strew seashells and dried starfish around as well. Either way,an ice-sculpture centerpiece would be a nice touch.

The Titanic Historical Society sells a number of reproduction items that might be useful as decorations, and they even have a subsection devoted to themed dinner parties.

A list of the menus (First and Second Class Breakfast, Luncheon, and Dinner; Third Class Bill of Fare) on the day the ship sank is here, and an expanded discussion of the First Class dinner menu is here. There are also at least two cookbooks devoted to these menus, Last Dinner On the Titanic and RMS Titanic “Dinner Is Served”.

For authentic music, check out Music Aboard the Titanic, And the Band Played On, or Titanic: Music As Heard on the Fateful Voyage.

If you’ve been feeling the urge to dress up and have a party, this is an excellent opportunity.

Posted in Resources, Terror in the Aisle | 1 Comment »


February 28th, 2012 by Cobwebs

KolchakKolchak: The Night Stalker was a proto-X Files series from the early 70s which starred Darren McGavin as a reporter who investigated mysterious crimes with supernatural causes.*

Disney has just announced that it plans a feature film based on the series, starring Johnny Depp (who also stars in the upcoming film based on Dark Shadows; both it and Kolchak were created by Dan Curtis). And as Topless Robot puts it:

  • Is it a remake of a weird and/or cult classic TV series or movie? Check.
  • Is it being released by Disney, meaning it’ll be PG-13 at the most? Check.
  • Is Johnny Depp going to star? Check.

Yet despite all the similarities to most of what Tim Burton has done over the past several years, somehow Burton will not be directing. That seems…almost criminal. Instead, Edgar Wright (who directed Shaun of the Dead amongst other things) has been hired both to direct and to oversee the project from the ground up.

I’m sure I’ll go see it anyway; it sounds like loads of fun. Still, such a Burton-esque project going Burtonless makes me sad.

*I recently re-watched a few of the old episodes and my primary issues were: 1) The first thing I ever saw Darren McGavin in was A Christmas Story, and it’s VERY hard to get past that and see him as a hard-bitten reporter fighting horrible supernatural creatures. 2) I kept being overcome with waves of early-70s nostalgia. (“They’re using flash cubes! I remember flash cubes!”) So you see.

Posted in Whatever | 7 Comments »

The Wicker Muppet

February 27th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Sound of Drowning did a comic which envisions The Wicker Man as performed by the Muppets (“Bad puns, paganism, and the smell of burning felt”). And then they did a video trailer to promote it.

I would pay almost any amount to see a feature-length film of this.

(via Topless Robot))

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

The Pied Link Dump of Hamelin

February 24th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Iron Man Played on Tesla Coils – The best rendition of Black Sabbath on Tesla coils played whilst standing in a Faraday suit that you will hear all day.

Soylent Green Crackers – They’re for real, although they’re sadly not actually made from people. The same company also produces Stay Puft Marshmallows (“they’re apocalycious!”) and Tru Blood.

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – “A dictionary of buckish slang, university wit, and pickpocket eloquence.” This is a goldmine of period slang.

Ages of Madness – Somebody’s making an animated film based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Huh.

The Definitive Guide to Steampunk Gadgets – I especially like the brass USB memory stick.

The Composites – Police sketch-style drawings of literary characters based on their descriptions.

Beetlejuice Manicure – Cute nail art.

Cthulhu Light Fixture – Pensive Pumpkin had a wonderful idea for adding tentacles to an overhead light.

Alnwick’s Poison Garden – I was aware that Alnwick Castle had an extensive garden, but didn’t know they had an area set aside just for poisons. Neat. (Hat tip to Cookie)

Azrael’s Accomplice – Purveyors of stunning gowns, corsets, and other accessories. I particularly like the Ghost Town Belle gown.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

How to Build a Wimshurst Influence Machine

February 23rd, 2012 by Cobwebs


Jake von Slatt at the Steampunk Workshop wrote an article for MAKE Magazine describing how to build a Wimshurst Influence Machine (an electrostatic generator) out of easily-obtainable materials. He’s re-posted the article at his site, so we can all pretend to be mad scientists.*

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

*Or is it just me who does that?

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 4 Comments »

Seen Online

February 22nd, 2012 by Cobwebs

Elevator? Nonsense. This is a traveling hugging booth and I see you’ve selected the button for 16 hugs. So let’s get to it. Come here, you!

Sometimes I wish natural selection was something you could nominate people for.

If we end up in a Civil War with our Robot Overlords, I’m taking out that evil red-eyed automated towel dispenser in the bathroom first.

I bought a carton of oat milk just to support the kind of person who can find udders on an oat.

Don’t you hate it when time travelers from the future want a photo with you but then refuse to say why they’re laughing?

It’s looking very likely that, come 2015, we will still need roads. #docbrownlied

There’s no law against putting on clown makeup and lurking in the woods near a high school kegger.

Counting sheep doesn’t help you fall sleep if you re-cast “Predator” in your mind with an all-sheep cast. “Baa! Get to da choppa! Baa!”

Couples wouldn’t fight as often if they remember how defenseless their toothbrushes are when their significant other goes to the bathroom.

Saw a werewolf at the bus stop this morning. Or possibly just a very hairy guy. Either way, the silver bullets worked.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

Spooky Spirits

February 21st, 2012 by Cobwebs

Tequila SkullI’ve posted lists of beer, wine, and spirits with helpfully creepy names before, but since I keep finding new ones it’s probably time to issue an addendum. These are all great additions to any party with a spooky theme, not to mention making a memorable hostess gift.

The estimable xJane pointed me to two wonderful items: Dearly Beloved wine (a Trader Joe’s exclusive with great bottle art), and KAH tequila, artisanal tequila that comes in hand-painted calavera bottles.

Absolut has just released Absolut London in a limited-edition bottle featuring a rather gritty London street scene illustrated by Jamie Hewlett (co-creator of Tank Girl).

Mistress of the Dark Elvira has launched a personal label with Elvira’s Macabrenet. The same cellar that carries her label also has a number of other offbeat wines, including Rockabilly Red, Cardiff Giant, and Film Noir.

Crystal Lake Wine is a label blessed by Adrienne King, the actress who played the only survivor in the original Friday the 13th movie. The bottle artwork depicts the end of the movie, where the tattered Alice rests in a canoe just before Jason leaps out of the water.

Elk Creek seasonally offers Bone Dry Red and Ghostly White. Owen Roe produces Sinister Hand, and indeed it is. Ed Hardy (Ed Hardy makes wine?) has a whole line of Tattoo-themed labels, including a neat Sangria with a very happy skull.

Ash Hollow has a collection called “Legends,” featuring Headless Red, Four Horsemen, and an upcoming label called “1882” (which doesn’t ring any bells for me, but here’s Wikipedia’s list of events for that year; Jesse James’ death, maybe?).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Resources | 4 Comments »

David Lynch Does “Jedi”

February 20th, 2012 by Cobwebs

George Lucas originally offered David Lynch the opportunity to direct Return of the Jedi. He turned it down, but Frank Schalk has given us a trailer from the alternate universe where Spock has a beard and Lynch took the job.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Twelve Angry Link Dumps

February 17th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Alex Gross – Artist who takes antique photographs and paints over them, turning their subjects into superheroes, monsters, and other fanciful things.

Edgar Allan Pooh – Great “Bizarro” strip. (Hat tip to Limeyfish)

Your Guide to Cemetery Research – This is skewed a bit toward genealogical research, but it has a lot of useful information about how to “read” a cemetery, such as analyzing the local “community” and how to decipher various gravestone symbols. (Also genealogical research is an excellent excuse to just wander around old graveyards.)

Celestefrittata – Etsy shop specializing in notebooks that look like Hogwarts textbooks.

Giant Paper Rose – Tutorial for making great-looking oversize paper roses. These would be fun as part of an Alice in Wonderland party.

Body Type – Book devoted to tattoos of words and letters. There’s also a second volume (Hat tip to Pensive Pumpkin)

Kate Mosse’s Top 10 Ghost Stories – Roundup of (mostly) short stories with a vintage-y ghost story vibe.

Bat Conservation International – Group devoted to preserving our favorite misunderstood animal.

The Literary Dalek Game – This isn’t really goth, but it amused me greatly. (And, of course, the same game could be played with words like “vampire” or “zombie” standing in for “Dalek.”)

Love Transfusion – Tutorial for making a liquid candy-filled blood bag. Technically for Valentine’s Day, but psssh…blood bags are for every day.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »


February 16th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Nightmare Monster

This clip art-based “Webcomic for Grownups” is entirely wonderful, and many of the entries deal with fantasy and horror tropes (which is why I can shoehorn it, grunting and sweating, into this blog). Go here to see the rest of this strip.

I’m also quite taken with this, this, this, and, oh heck, just go read the whole site.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

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