The Art of Darkness

Bats Hunting Their Prey

January 20th, 2014 by Cobwebs

This BBC clip is wonderful.

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Yet Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

January 17th, 2014 by Cobwebs

This concludes the latest Link-Dump Extravaganza. We’ll return to regular posting (and once-a-week dumps) on Monday.

The First Animated Gifs – A small collection of animated images created from vintage phenakistoscopes. They are mostly creepy as hell.

SOVRIN – Etsy store with lots of witchy clothing.

Lord of the Rings Cupcakes – These designs by Wir Machen Cupcakes are just adorable.

Magician Baby Announcement – This multi-stage photo is a brilliant idea.

30 Deserted Places That Truly Look Beautiful – Roundup of lovely photos.

Lux Aeterna – Lovely orchestral leitmotif from the movie Requiem for a Dream.

Love is More Than Words – Morticia and Wednesday depicted as Madonna and Child. The painting is by Isabel Samaras, whose site is NSFW.

Cleaver Ring – The blood is optional, but is a nice touch.

Medusa Door Knocker – This oughta startle visitors.

Kisses of Death – Creepy little sculptures of chocolate kisses with a skull center.

Bonus Links

The 10 Most Dangerous Places in New York City – An amusing roundup.

The Laundry – RPG based on Charles Stross’ “Laundry Files” series.

Vanity Project – Gorgeous vintage-inspired clothing by Limb.

Disney Villain Sugar Skulls – Printed set of Disney-themed calaveras. I like the apples in the Wicked Queen’s eyes.

Spotted Centipede – Whimsical little felted centipede.

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Yet Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 4

January 16th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Victorian Ghost Photography – Charmingly old-fashioned “trick photography.”

Gammaraybots – Etsy shop offering unique mini sculptures, including some great goth-friendly cake toppers.

Top 10 Stupidest/Weirdest Jack the Ripper Theories – An amusing roundup.

Shrunken Head Lollipops – Brilliant tutorial for converting skull-shaped suckers into shrunken heads.

Hamlet Absinthe – Absinthe in a skull-shaped bottle; tres gothe. Also available in several other colors, which I find vaguely off-putting. (The black is sort of neat, but the blue is…odd.)

The Most Horrifying Parasites – You weren’t planning on eating again any time soon, were you?

Neil Gaiman on Libraries – Lovely essay on the importance of libraries.

A Spider Did Not Bite You – Buzz Hoot Roar explains, with the help of adorable little cartoon spiders, why a brown recluse is probably not responsible for your “bite.” (Speaking of brown recluses, I always thought this was funny.)

Fake Bugs – “Phony bugs are our business.”

Beaded Death’s Head Hawkmoth – This gorgeous beaded brooch has already sold, but something similar would look stunning embroidered on a blouse.

Bonus Links

Silly Scary Songs – A collection of vintage spooky songs, such as Spike Jones’ rendition of (Ghost) Riders in the Sky. (Hat tip to pdq)

Scary Hairy Bat – Cute craft project. No instructions, but looks reasonably DIY-able.

Alice in Wonderland Doorknob – I had no idea the cartoon talking doorknob was so popular, but there are loads of people who make and sell these (some are functional, others are just for display).

Gentler Horror Films – A silly Twitter list.

Haunted Mansion Wedding Cake – This is utterly gorgeous. I love all of the little details.

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Yet Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

January 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Tentacle Cookie Jar – This looks reasonably do-able and the results are really striking. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Crafty Tattoos – Pinterest board of craft-themed tattoos.

Kitchen Canister Makeover – This is a neat tutorial for sprucing up thrift-store canisters. They got a more recent makeover here.

Spoopy Games – Roundup of casual-play games with horror themes.

Lord of the Rings Knitting Patterns – A whole series of lovely designs themed around characters and places from the series.

Witch Hat Arbor – Awesome, possibly replicable by mere mortals (albeit with a lot of work) landscaping detail.

Muffin – Skeletal rocking horse created as the mount for a spooky china doll. A full-sized one would be amazing in a gothy playroom.

Harry Potter Stilettos – Great-looking “Hogwarts House” designs.

Steampunk Shoot – Gallery of photos from a steampunk wedding. Some great inspiration.

Skeletal Wine Glass – (The photo is the best I could find.) From what I can gather, this was a concept design and didn’t see production. Pity.

Bonus Links

Sassy Feet – Site devoted to upcycling shoes (and handbags). Some great ideas. (Hat tip to xJane)

When You Die – This cartoon amused me.

Halloween Lips – Great makeup idea. Check out the rest of the artist’s gallery as well.

Jack Skellington Light – Super-easy mod to a dollar store push-light.

Anatomical Maquettes of Fanciful Creatures – Just in case you wondered what Ganesha would look like with his skin off.

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Yet Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

January 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Wu Zei – This art-installation giant octopus is certainly…ambitious. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Gift Shrouds – Gothic gift wrap. Why did I not find this before the holidays?!?

Vintage Life Magazine – “The voice of vintage.” Great magazine for vintage-inspired fashion. (via WitchArachne)

Jules and Edgar – This cartoon from Hark! A Vagrant never stops being funny.

Cicada 3301 – Article about a fascinating cryptographical mystery on the internet. This needs to be the basis for a movie. (Update: There’s been a new puzzle released.)

Anatomy of the Rat – This made me squee. (Hat tip to xJane)

Old Calton Cemetery – The Wikipedia article has photos of some of the more interesting gravestones in this old Scottish cemetery. I love the John Gray one.

Through the Woods – I’ve previously mentioned Emily Carroll’s spooky webcomic “His Face All Red;” it’s included in this new collection of her work. Comics&Cola has a preview.

Jane Austen Temporary Tattoos – I love the metal “Imprudent” one.

I’m So Fucking Happy – The juxtaposition of the medium and the message is amusing. I’m not sure of the original artist on this; it resembles this piece by Farhad Moshiri, but I don’t see it in his gallery.

Bonus Links

Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) – Odd little Lovecraftian webcomic with a suspiciously cuddly Cthulhu.

Spiderweb Bracelet – I like this design, but if I were doing a DIY version I think I’d make the attached ring a spider.

The Octobunny – Adorably bizarre custom plush toy.

A Wedding Ring Experience – Design and create your own wedding/commitment rings with the help of a master jeweler.

Haunted Tree Cake – Lovely, spooky cake covered with twisted trees. Looks potentially DIY-able by mere mortals. (I couldn’t locate the original source for this, but whilst looking I stumbled upon this Pinterest board full of awesomely creepy cakes.)

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Yet Another Week of Link Dumps

January 13th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Despite my best efforts to clear the backlog in my Link Dump folder, I keep finding new stuff to share. It’s time for another week of nothing but Link Dumps. Brace yourselves!

Zombie Snowmen – If I lived anywhere near a cemetery, I’d do this every single time it snowed. (via Beth)

Fake Bookcase Hides Secret Cabinet – I’m a huge fan of hidden rooms and secret passages, so this vastly tickles my fancy. I’d have trouble sawing up the books for the front, though.

Octopus Chandelier – This intricate stained-glass chandelier is astonishing. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Emotional Snowballs – Easy papier-mache “snowballs” with lots of character. These would be cute as holiday decorations, or just piled on a shelf.

Black Light Tattoos – Roundup of interesting tattoos that change under black light. I think the Cheshire Cat is my favorite. (via Cat)

The Fellowship of the Family Dinner – Fairly epic LOTR-themed dining room.

Xenomorph Macarons – These incredibly-detailed cookies are guaranteed to put you off your feed. (Hat tip to xJane)

Steampunk Wrist Cuffs – Easy tutorial for making steamy cuffs.

Society 6 Art Sale – Artist Abigail Larson is having a sale, including free shipping, until January 24. There’s loads of pretty, gothy artwork. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Dyed Marine Animals – Iori Tomita dyes the skeletons/carapaces of marine animals. The results are weirdly lovely. (Here’s another artist who does similar work.)

Bonus Links (I have such a ridiculous backlog, all dumps this week will have 15 links rather than the usual 10.)

Safety Tips from Anubis – I just sort of like the idea of Anubis being available, Saturday-morning-cartoon-style, for PSAs.

Red Carpet 1 – Digital image which from a distance appears to be an intricate woven carpet, but up close is shown to be made up of thousands of images taken in a slaughterhouse.

EMMA – Peculiar art project which randomly grabs text snippets from the DreamBank database and images from Google Street View and juxtaposes the two. The result is oddly creepy.

Edgar Allan Poe Bandages – Poe and his Raven will fix your boo-boos.

Halloween Hairstyles Recap – Hilariously awesome ideas for spooky (and kid-friendly) hairstyles.

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The Manchurian Link Dump

January 10th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Puppet Cthulhu – This marionette Old One is just gorgeous.

Crocheted Skull Scarf – Fairly easy instructions for crotcheting a skully scarf (or just do individual skulls: Small ones for brooches, large ones for doilies). (via Kathy)

18th Century Hair – Indiegogo fundraiser for a book on the history and step-by-step techniques of styling hair and wigs into 18th-Century ‘dos.

Book Monsters – Adorable li’l leather bookmarks. Let Cthulhu keep an eye on your book for you. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Bats – A few photos from the BoingBoing Flickr pool. The second one looks so shy.

Blood Milk Jewels – Unusual, gothy jewelry, including some neat planchette-shaped pieces. (via Burning Prairie)

Hips and Curves – Lingerie for curvier women, including some nice steampunk stuff.

Poison Toffee Apples – Although this is just a standard candy apple recipe with black gel coloring, I’m really impressed with how glossy and malevolent they look. For added creepiness, use (non-toxic) twigs with the bark stripped off one end for the skewers.

Tom Fowler’s Christmas Card – I didn’t see this until after the holidays, but it’s too wonderful not to share.

1860-1960 – Online source for stunning vintage clothing and accessories. I love this Victorian black lace cape.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Nevermind: A Video Game with a Twist

January 9th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Nevermind LogoI’m trying to decide if this is a glimpse of the future of video games or just a really silly idea.

Nevermind is touted as a biofeedback-enhanced immersive video game that “knows when you’re afraid.” Players are hooked to heart monitors which measure their anxiety, and the game becomes more difficult as their fear increases.

Developer Erin Reynolds was heavily influenced by the movie The Cell, which features a psychologist using virtual reality to enter the mind of her patient.

In Nevermind, players take on the role of “neuroprobers,” sci-fi psychologists who help trauma patients uncover their most disturbing memories. The goal is to plumb these memories without getting sucked into them yourself. If you begin to feel afraid, the screen becomes hazy and shaky, making navigation difficult. Then, frightening events begin to impede your progress. In a very creepy kitchen, you’re asked to solve an anagram. But if you can’t, and start to stress out, the room fills with milk. At first, the milk makes it difficult to walk, then it rises to your eye level, so you can’t see. “And if you still can’t calm down, it will drown you,” says Reynolds.

Reynolds claims that playing the game helped her learn to manage her fears in real life. She uses the same deep-breathing exercises and other techniques which allowed her to succeed in the game when she’s faced with everyday anxiety.

This is a really interesting concept, with some resemblance to Star Trek holodecks; I quite like the idea of a game which tailors itself to your behavior. On the other hand, the heart-monitor thing seems a bit crude; unless there’s some way to train the monitors to your particular stress levels, one person’s terror is another person’s mild excitement. I can envision a lot of circumstances where excitement about reaching a new level is interpreted as fear.

Additionally, the responses to perceived fear appear to have a fairly cut-and-dried progression: The amount of fear simply ups the amount of impediment (so a little fear results in milk to your knees, and a lot of it gives you milk to your eyeballs). A more responsive game which presented different obstacles–perhaps different puzzles to solve–would be more interesting and would also enhance re-playability; as your familiarity with the game increased, and therefore the fear associated with it decreased, you’d have the reward of different game content.

Regardless, the idea of a game which tailors itself to the individual user is pretty cool. It would certainly enhance games where your response was important: Imagine a scenario where you’re being chased by werewolves…and they can hear you breathing.

(via Beth)

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Kraken Edible Autopsy

January 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Sarlacc BundtIntrepid reader xJane turned me on to the infamous Miss Cakehead’s Kraken Edible Autopsy event. It was done to promote The Kraken Rum (which, incidentally, has a marvelously gothy label) and featured hyper-realistic bits of kraken made from cake.

As is typical of Miss Cakehead’s stuff, the baked body parts were: a) Highly ooky and b) Mainly beyond the scope of the home baker. One exception is the bit in the photo above: I think it’s supposed to be a kraken mouthpart, but xJane likened it to a Sarlacc pit and I can definitely see the resemblance. That, I suspect, could be replicated by mere mortals using a bundt mold and fondant.

Make your favorite bundt cake: I’m fond of Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate stout and lemon bundt recipes. Frost as desired; if you’re doing a Sarlacc (which would be a fun centerpiece for a Star Wars themed-party) use a sandy brown color. For squid parts–or, for that matter, a Pit of Hell–reddish-purple is a good choice.

Make the fangs/radula/whatever-those-Sarlacc-things-were from fondant: Although it’s possible to make fondant from scratch, the store-bought stuff is a lot easier to work with. Roll it like clay, and affix each fang with a toothpick stuck into the back.

Reasonably easy, and undeniably attention-getting. You could also make individual cupcakes with a fondant tentacle or two questing skyward.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Trivia Tuesday

January 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

  1. This evil-natured race of wolves allied with Orcs, who often rode them into battle. Tolkien took their name from vargr, the Old Norse word for wolf.
  2. Dugongs and manatees belong to this order of mammals, named for their historical confusion with mermaids.
    A) Melusina
    B) Loreleia
    C) Undinia
    D) Sirenia
    E) Marinia
  3. Led to its cave by Tim the Enchanter, King Arthur uses what device to defeat the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?
  4. This concept album by David Bowie was a glam-tinged vision of a post-apocalyptic world, featuring the character Halloween Jack (a “real cool cat” who lives in the decaying Hunger City).
    A) Space Oddity
    B) Aladdin Sane
    C) Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
    D) Station to Station
    E) Diamond Dogs
  5. Which U.S. president claimed to have once seen a U.F.O.? (Hint: He also once claimed to have been attacked by a swimming rabbit.)
  6. This Australian cryptid is reputed to be a hominid similar to a sasquatch or yeti.
    A) Bunyip
    B) Yowie
    C) Muldjewangk
    D) Yara-ma-yha-who
    E) Dirawong
  7. Katrina Van Tassel was wooed by this lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster.
  8. In the Left 4 Dead video games, the disease that turns people into zombies is commonly referred to simply as “The Infection.” What is its “real” (fictional) name?
    A) Green Flu
    B) Phazon Madness
    C) Bowden’s Malady
    D) Angel Toxicosis
    E) Yellow Death
  9. This gauzy, gooey substance is purported to be the physical manifestation of spirit energy.
  10. The cannibalistic Sawney Bean clan preyed on travelers along the lonesome roads of which country?
    A) Germany
    B) Ukraine
    C) Ireland
    D) India
    E) Scotland

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

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