The Art of Darkness

The Link Dump of Dr. Moreau

May 31st, 2013 by Cobwebs

The Celtic Viking – Etsy shop offering a range of sterling silver jewelry. I particularly like the Odin’s Ravens Torc Ring.

Creepy Spider Dog Costume – Aw, who wants cuddles?

I Donated My Body to Medicine – Interesting read on donating one’s body to science, including some caveats about dealing with third-party brokers.

Bone Breaker Purse – Striking design from Iron Fist.

Monster Librarian – Resource site for scary books.

Mirror Mirror – Evocative digital artwork. Prints are available for purchase.

Abandoned Mansions – A roundup of “9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the World.”

Haunted Mansion Instrumental – Music from the attraction.

Warg – This made me giggle immoderately. (Some of the other cartoons on the site are NSFW-ish.)

Fossil Cookies – Cute, easy idea for making edible “fossils.” The walnut dough seems like more trouble than it needs to be; I expect you could use any firm sugar-cookie dough instead.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Homemade Candy Buttons

May 30th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Candy ButtonsRemember those hard-sugar dots that came arranged on strips of paper that we all ate as kids? It turns out that they’re super-easy to make at home, and if you use the right kind of paper you won’t even wind up with shreds of it stuck in your teeth.

The candy is simply royal icing that’s dotted onto freezer paper and allowed to dry. Sweet Sugar Belle has a great start-to-finish tutorial on making and packaging the buttons. She also has a recipe for the icing hidden in the wall o’ text, but here’s another one:

1 lb (about 7 C) confectioners’ sugar (you may need slightly more)
6 Tbsp water
2 egg whites or 2 Tbsp meringue powder plus 2 Tbsp additional water
1/2 tsp flavoring extract (almond, vanilla, lemon, peppermint, coconut, etc.)
Food coloring (gel is best; if you use liquid, reduce the amount of water slightly)

If using egg whites, separate the eggs (if salmonella is a concern, use pasteurized eggs or go with the meringue powder instead).

Place the sugar, water, egg whites/meringue, and flavoring in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 6 minutes, until thick and glossy. The icing should fall in ribbons when lifted with a spoon and allowed to fall back into the bowl, and the ribbon should sit on the surface for a few seconds before melting back in. Add a little additional water or sugar to thin/thicken it if necessary (remember that it should be a little thick if you’re going to use liquid food coloring).

Divide into bowls and tint with food coloring. Cover until ready to use. The icing will keep for at least a month (refrigerate if you used fresh egg whites).

Most tutorials suggest piping the dots using a decorator bag or a sandwich bag with one corner cut off. That’s fine if you’re only going to do a few, but if you plan to make a lot of these (and they do lend themselves really well to an assembly-line approach), I’d recommend using condiment squeeze bottles instead. They’re much less messy (I seem to have a talent for squeezing icing out of the top of a decorator bag and all over my hand), and they can be capped and stored if you don’t want to use them all at once.

Instead of piping them in a simple rectangle, you can also get creative with the arrangement of the buttons on the paper. Quake N Bake has a video tutorial for making Space Invaders dots, and any simple pattern that fits on a grid should be suitable: Cross stitch patterns (like spiders), 8-bit computer icons (like skulls), or letters and numbers.

Packages of the buttons would make wonderful party or wedding favors; Halloweenish dots can be tinted orange and black, wedding dots could use the bride’s colors. You could also leave them white and, once dry, draw pupils (and, optionally, bloodshot lines) on them with a food coloring pen for a whole package of googly eyes. The eyes are great for decorating cupcakes, too; just pop them off the paper backing and stick them on.

The packaged buttons can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months, so they’re an excellent make-ahead project. They’re also simple enough to make that they’re a good activity for kids.

Posted in Bittens, Terror in the Aisle | 2 Comments »

Underappreciated Movie: The Frighteners

May 29th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Frighteners PosterNetflix coughed up this movie from the depths of my queue the other day, and since it wasn’t particularly successful at the box office it occurred to me that most people probably haven’t even heard of it, let alone seen it. This is a pity, because it’s a lot of fun.

It’s also got some surprisingly high-powered talent. It was written and directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Robert Zemeckis, and scored by Danny Elfman. (Also John Astin plays one of the ghosts.)

The film is a horror-comedy, starring Michael J. Fox as an architect who finds himself able to see ghosts after an accident. He’s befriended three of them, and they haunt houses in the area to drum up clients for his ghost-hunting business; he “exorcises” them for a fee. And then…something a lot darker comes to town.

Here’s the trailer:

It’s a fun, lightweight movie, reasonably family-friendly (for older kids). If you have a chance to rent it, give it a try.

Posted in Whatever | 3 Comments »


May 28th, 2013 by Cobwebs

RearwolfBoingBoing recently posted a ridiculous picture of a monster made from a taxidermied deer butt, and my immediate thought was, “Huh; somebody had too much time on their hands.” However, the comments soon made it clear that deer butt monsters are kind of a thing.

They can also be found under the name “rearwolf,” “deer butt alien,” or–my favorite–“assquatch.” They’re periodically available on eBay or from taxidermists with a sense of whimsey. Redneck art connoisseur Don Burleson even provides general instructions for making one of your own, although you would need to already have a decent familiarity with taxidermy to make much use of them.

Still, if you ever find yourself in possession of a deer butt that you don’t know what to do with, this would certainly be an interesting project. (Or you could make the “doe bell” deer-butt doorbell, also showcased on Burleson’s site, instead.)

If you’re less ambitious, you could also follow the general guidelines and use faux fur instead. The taxidermy fangs and eyes look pretty neat, and a fake-monster “trophy” would be an arresting addition to a wall or bookcase.

Posted in Bad Things | 2 Comments »

Saturday the 14th

May 27th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Saturday the 14th is a cute short film which follows the nightly routine of a masked man named Mason. It’s been entered in the CG Student Awards contest, so if you like it you can vote for its creator here.

(via Laughing Squid)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Cannibal Link Dumps in the Avocado Jungle of Doom

May 24th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Wonderland – Lovely series of fantasy photographs, created by a woman to honor her mother’s memory. (Hat tip to Cat)

All We Have is Now – Music video involving zombie love.

Black Cherry Cake Company – Dark-and-geeky cakes and pastries. Some really lovely handiwork, particularly on the wedding cakes.

Blossom the Baby Bat – If you imagine vampires turning into something this patently snorgle-able their scare factor goes right down the toilet.

Deep Sea Fauna… with Googly Eyes – Tumblr which is just what it says on the tin.

Handheld – Miniature furniture made of fake human skin. These are utterly horrifying.

Cthulhu Mittens – Free pattern. Man, I really need to learn to knit.

Spider Web Bedding – Cotton sheets by Sin in Linen.

Dancing with the Green Fairy – A short history of absinthe, plus lots of nice vintage images and photos of impedimenta.

Lessons From My Mother – Series of embroidered superstitions and old wives’ tales related by the artist’s mother. An interesting, vintage-y vibe; somewhat NSFW.

Posted in Link Dump | 7 Comments »

Stories by M.R. James

May 23rd, 2013 by Cobwebs

BoingBoing recently asked commenters to suggest the creepiest passage in literature (Cormac McCarthy and Iain Banks both rank highly), and one mention was this passage from “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas” by M.R. James:

Well, I felt to the right, and my fingers touched something curved, that felt — yes — more or less like leather; dampish it was, and evidently part of a heavy, full thing. There was nothing, I must say, to alarm one. I grew bolder, and putting both hands in as well as I could, I pulled it to me, and it came. It was heavy, but moved more easily than I had expected. As I pulled it towards the entrance, my left elbow knocked over and extinguished the candle. I got the thing fairly in front of the mouth and began drawing it out. Just then Brown gave a sharp ejaculation and ran quickly up the steps with the lantern. He will tell you why in a moment. Startled as I was, I looked round after him, and saw him stand for a minute at the top and then walk away a few yards. Then I heard him call softly, “All right, sir,” and went on pulling out the great bag, in complete darkness. It hung for an instant on the edge of the hole, then slipped forward on to my chest, and put its arms round my neck.

…which, yeah.

The author’s name didn’t seem familiar, but someone else mentioned the “face of crumpled linen” from another of his stories, which definitely rang a bell. I have indeed encountered him before, and you might have too. Montague Rhodes James was an English medieval scholar, but is best remembered for his ghost stories, which are considered to be amongst the best in the genre. His plots tend to reflect his antiquarian interests, in that the discovery of an old book or other ancient object is the catalyst for evil, and is thus regarded as the originator of the “antiquarian ghost story.”

His four collections, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, More Ghost Stories, A Thin Ghost and Others, and A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories are still in print, which is rather astonishing given that the latest one was first published in 1925. They’re available in a number of editions (his collected stories, Volume I and Volume II, or the Kindle M.R. James Megapack are good choices), but since they’ve long been in the public domain they’re also available online at Wikisource.

They’re a wonderful read, redolent of dusty libraries and dank crypts, and you can definitely see where James influenced later authors. Many of his stories were originally written to tell around the hearth on Christmas Eve, and reading them aloud to friends on a stormy evening still sounds like an excellent way to enjoy them.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Sawdust Bear Makes Things

May 22nd, 2013 by Cobwebs

Sculpture by Sawdust Bear…and the things that she makes are adorably weird.

Artist Shing Yin Khor draws and sculpts all manner of bizarre little beasts, with blobbular bodies and a look of wide-eyed wonder.

My sculptures are rooted in the ideas of bad science, historical hoaxes and cabinets of curiosities. I make anxious, nervous critters, and trap them within the rigidity of bumbling science.

Her site is full of photos of her work, creatures with names like “fattybugs” and “larms,” all of which are ridiculously cute. You would think, for instance, that something called a Desecrated Gravebeast would not be particularly cuddly, but you would be wrong.

She’s also a talented illustrator, creating cheerfully slimy little animals and also one-off silliness like The Macbeth Signal. She also does a part-drawn, part-sculpted webcomic which follows the adventures of a schlubby little monster named Marlowe.

She sells some of her items online, and a few of her posts feature commissions she’s done, so if you need a whimsical monster of your very own she might be able to oblige.

(Hat tip to xJane)

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Kitchen Overlord

May 21st, 2013 by Cobwebs

Xenomorph EggsBy day, Chris-Rachael Oseland writes for the Austin post. By night, she “descends into her lair at the base of an extinct volcano, dons her apron and monocle, and subjects her minions to countless culinary experiments.”

The results of her postmeridian perambulations are showcased at Kitchen Overlord, where she’ll show you how to make anatomically-accurate heart pull-apart bread, facehugger eggs, and Charles Dickens’ favorite Christmas punch.

The site’s emphasis leans slightly more toward “geek” than “goth,” but there’s plenty of overlap. Indiana Jones-inspired monkey brains would certainly be right at home on a Halloween table, and roasted tribbles could easily be passed off as roasted tarantulas.

She’s also written several books on geeky food and drink, including a True Blood drinking guide, a a Doctor Who-inspired cookbook, and a book of steampunk cocktails.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Goodnight Moon Movie Trailer

May 20th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Gritty Reboots has reimagined the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon as a horror movie. It’s surprisingly effective.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

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