The Art of Darkness

The Link Dump on Haunted Hill

May 16th, 2014 by Cobwebs

MadeYewLook – YouTube channel of Lex, who does absolutely mind-blowing makeup effects. She also has a Facebook presence.

Recipes for Brain Molds – Forum thread discussing various things to put in those “brain” Jell-O molds besides Jell-O. (Hat tip to cookie)

Cemetery Under Glass – Pretty little glass jars featuring funereal dioramas.

Leia’s Corruptible Mortal State – Splendid Star Wars/Haunted Mansion stretching portrait mashup. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Coffin Clock – Attractive toe pincher-style clock.

Terra Incognita – Writeup of a lovingly-detailed Lovecraftian LARP in Sweden. There’s an accompanying Flickr set. Some great costumes.

Brian Kesinger – Etsy shop of the octopus- and steampunk-friendly artist, where he sells prints and other merchandise. His Dia de Los Pulpos makes me immensely happy. (via ShellHawk)

McCre – Artist Gabby Wormann combines insects and other small creatures with clockwork mechanisms to create the sort of creature you’d expect to find infesting The Nautilus.

Diableries – Book which lovingly details a set of 1860s French stereoscopic cards offering visions of “Hell.” (Brian May, lead guitarist for Queen, is one of the authors.) BoingBoing reviews it here.

Bat Fan Pull – Fan pull featuring an adorable hand-blown glass bat. The same site also has a neat wall sculpture. (via Cat)

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Uncommon Dragon Hoards

May 15th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Hoard of CheeseSmaug was an amateur: Like many other fairytale dragons he hoarded boring things like gold and jewels. Artist Lauren Dawson depicts dragons with much more interesting tastes.

After she posted her first set of uncommon dragon hoards, she started receiving commission requests for dragons with other peculiar interests. She’s cataloging them here and they’re all utterly charming.

She doesn’t currently sell prints, which makes me endlessly sad, because not only would the stuffed animal-hoarding dragon be perfect for decorating a child’s room, I know a few people who might benefit from the gift of a dragon who hoards yarn or teacups. On the bright side, she does take commissions and her prices are really quite reasonable: A dragon of your very own will apparently run around $40 (she’s backlogged at the moment, and no wonder). She also offers a range of other options, from sketches to full paintings.

I’m endlessly taken with the whimsical quality of her drawings, and would like several of her dragons to be my friends.

(via io9)

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Great DIY Wall Art Idea

May 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Wall Stencil

This nameless artist (curse websites which offer no attribution!) says that he has no drawing skills, but he wanted to decorate a plain wall in his kitchen. Technology to the rescue! He took a movie still from The Seven Samurai, simplified it into a black-and-white graphic, then used a projector to beam it onto the wall where he wanted it. After that it was simply a matter of coloring inside the lines. He provides a step-by-step guide here.

Well. I don’t know about you, but I can think of a heck of a lot of movie stills that would look pretty darn awesome as a wall stencil. The shadow of Nosferatu, for instance; or Carol Ann in front of the TV. If you were really feeling ambitious you could fill a wall with a bunch of smaller stencils, each representing a different iconic scene.

The tutorial touches on it briefly, but you’ll definitely want to take great care that the projector is stable and can’t be jostled out of alignment. If your project is going to take more than a few hours, it might be worthwhile to lightly trace guidelines for re-aligning the projected image so you can come back to it later.

This is a unique, inexpensive way to spruce up a room, and should even be suitable for rentals since removing it is simply a matter of repainting the wall.

(via ShellHawk)

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »

Sonic Wand

May 13th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Sonic Wand

This project is such a dense agglomeration of geeky goodness I’m surprised it doesn’t have its own event horizon. In some crossover universe where Doctor Who attended Hogwarts, he carries around a sonic wand like this one.

DIY enthusiast CabbitCastle’s original inspiration was the wooden Sonic Screwdriver Wand made by PraeclarusWands, but while that one was a (relatively) simple whittled-and-painted affair, his version is obsessively researched and highly detailed. I love that the blueprint includes a “Technomagical Coupler” where the sonic bit meets the wand bit.

He’s posted full instructions for building the wand, and he also has a tutorial for a TARDIS-inspired Ollivander’s box to house it. (He also has high-res images of the blueprint on Flickr which he says are free to print and hang as posters.)

His version, like the original, is carved wood. If you’ve got the skillset and woodworking tools, you should be able to make a similar one using his design. For the rest of us, I’m thinking that modifying one of the toy sonic screwdrivers might be a reasonable approach. The wand bit could be made with a whittled dowel, or even using this hot glue-and-paper method (which yields surprisingly good-looking results). Join the two bits with brass couplers from the hardware store plumbing aisle, then paint and distress as desired to give it a bit of authentic-looking wear.

Display the finished piece on a desk or wall, or cosplay with it wearing wizard robes and a fez.

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

Recut Trailers: Frozen

May 12th, 2014 by Cobwebs

I’m always impressed with how a little creative editing and a change in background music can completely alter the tone of a movie. Here “movie freak” Bobby Burns reimagines Frozen as something just a tad darker.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Attack of the 50 Foot Link Dump

May 9th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Grotesque Group Art Show – A roundup of very cool artwork.

Fruit Bat Corkscrew – Good-looking metal corkscrew featuring an earnest-looking fruit bat. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

laLuz de Jesus Taxidermy Show – Once again I find myself on the wrong coast for something cool. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, check this out. (Hat tip to pdq)

Crawl – Video-game “dungeon crawl” with a Victorian setting. The gimmick is that one player controls the hero, and other players control the monsters and traps.

Nevermore – Spooky collage fabric by Michael Miller. I just adore this design.

Baby Dumbo Octopus – This little clay sculpture is ridiculously adorable, and the teensy tentacles on its rear end are highly squee-worthy.

Free Fortunes – I quite like this idea and think we should all implement it immediately.

Liquid Lamp – Metal lamps, in wall and desktop versions, that look like an upended container of red liquid: The site calls it “paint,” but it could as easily be blood.

A Mermaid’s Tale – I love this RenFaire “mermaid tank.”

Fuck Yeah Tarot Decks – A Tumblr full of unique decks.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Hearse Aquarium

May 8th, 2014 by Cobwebs

AquariumHere’s another item that goes in the house of my dreams. It’s an aquarium cabinet made from the rear of a Victorian horse-drawn hearse.

I learned of its existence when a member of the FB Goth After 30 group posted that his wife had just purchased it at auction (are you insanely jealous? I am). I did a bit of googling and found the auction details (although that page now seems to be broken):

Large Victorian Ebonized Aquarium Cabinet, 19th century and later. Fashioned from the rear glazed doors of a New Orleans style horse drawn hearse, adapted on modern stand to accommodate tank, filter and lighting, all included, 80.5″ x 57″ x 41″ – 204.5 x 144.8 x 104.1 cm.

Someone with good woodworking skills could probably make a reasonably similar replica (or a reduced-scale version, since the full-sized one is enormous). It might also be possible to decorate a modern cabinet with faux wooden detailing carved from insulating foam of the sort used for prop tombstones). It’d certainly be an amazing focal point for a room, especially if it was decorated with miniature shipwrecks and stocked with black fish (or varieties, like glass catfish, where you can see all their bones). I guess you could go all-out and make it a piranha tank, too.

I’ve always loved the look of horse-drawn hearses, but had never considered their potential for displaying anything besides coffins. Repurposing one as an aquarium (or simply a curio cabinet) is just brilliant.

Bonus Link: Whilst I was looking for the auction info I also stumbled upon this cabinet which also has a distinctly hearsey vibe; I think it’s the oval windows.

Posted in Bad Things | 5 Comments »

Crystal Ball Candlesticks

May 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Crystal BallsFabulous commenter xJane pointed me in the direction of this brilliant, simple decorating idea by Flamingo Toes: Little “crystal balls” with spooky images inside.

The execution is really clever: Print the desired image on transparency film, roll it into a tube, and insert it through the neck of a clear glass Christmas ornament. Display atop the candlestick of your choice. I love how the images seem to float with no visible means of support.

You can find appropriate clipart online, but the blogger has also been kind enough to provide a download of the images she used for her demonstration. Transparency film for overhead projectors can be found at office supply stores, but it’s also available at Amazon. I’ve seen blank glass ornaments at craft stores, although they’re more readily available (and in a wider variety of sizes) closer to Christmas. If you can’t find them locally, Amazon has those too; be sure that the ones you get are large enough for the project.

Her technique involves using a candle flame to slightly smoke the interior of the bulb, not only making it look a little more mysterious but also slightly obscuring the edges of the transparency. If you, like me, are apt to do yourself an injury in the process of attempting this, you might try tinting the glass instead: There are good tutorials for doing that here and here. To create a smokey appearance, try for uneven streaks rather than the uniform stain in the tutorials.

You can pick up mismatched candlesticks at thrift stores or on clearance at craft and home decor stores. Spray-paint them a glossy black and mass a bunch of them on a table or mantelpiece (they’d also look great on a party buffet). Several of the crystal balls interspersed with candles would also be attractive.

Be sure to check out the rest of Flamingo Toes’ Halloween projects (and, y’know, other holidays, if you’re into that kind of thing); she’s got some great stuff.

(Thanks, xJane!)

Posted in Paint It Black | 2 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

May 6th, 2014 by Cobwebs

  1. This famous monster is specifically depicted as being vegetarian, saying, “I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment.”
  2. J. Sheridan Le Fanu is perhaps best known for his gothic vampire tale Carmilla, but he also wrote this early example of the “locked room” mystery.
    A) Wylder’s Hand
    B) The House by the Churchyard
    C) Uncle Silas
    D) The Rose and the Key
    E) All in the Dark
  3. The short story “Under the Pyramids” is a fictionalized account of an alleged real-life experience which Harry Houdini claimed to have had in 1910: Kidnapped by a tour guide resembling an ancient Pharaoh and thrown down a pit near the Great Sphinx of Giza, he stumbled upon a gigantic ceremonial cavern and encountered the terrifying deity which had inspired the building of the Sphinx. Although the story’s authorship was attributed to Houdini it was actually ghost-written by this author, who went on to write many other tales of gods and cosmic horrors.
  4. Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost tells the story of a ghost desperately trying to frighten his house’s residents, who remain unfazed. For what crime is the ghost doomed to haunt the house?
    A) Closing down an orphanage
    B) Murdering his wife
    C) Stealing money from an alms box
    D) Cheating a widow
    E) Insulting a witch
  5. In Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, sisters Merricat and Constance live an isolated life after most of their family were murdered six years previously. How were they killed?
  6. The beautiful Gypsy Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a different birth name. What was it?
    A) Sophie
    B) Adèle
    C) Marie
    D) Agnes
    E) Lucrèce
  7. This novel by Valerie Martin tells the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the perspective of a maid working in Jekyll’s home. Julia Roberts starred in a 1996 movie based on the book.
  8. Presented as a collection of journal entries by a woman confined to a bedroom for health reasons, an influential short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman details the narrator’s descent into psychosis and her obsession with the room’s wallpaper. What color is the wallpaper?
    A) Orange
    B) Blue
    C) Black
    D) Scarlet
    E) Yellow
  9. Charles Dickens died before finishing this, his final novel, forever leaving the murderer’s identity open to conjecture.
  10. In Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, Captain Nemo’s true identity is revealed. What was his name before he took to sea?
    A) Tom Ayrton
    B) Lord Glenarvan
    C) Bonadventure Pencroff
    D) Prince Dakkar
    E) Phileas Fogg

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 4 Comments »


May 5th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Daniel Beaulieu’s final project for the Vancouver Film School’s 3D animation program is Malaise, a stylish, bloody SF short.

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

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