The Art of Darkness

Modest Urns

August 6th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Modest UrnNovelty purveyor Archie McPhee has just released its “modest urn;” an inexpensive cremains repository for the thrifty.

Everybody has a cheap relative and death can be expensive. You know when they die they’d be mad at you if you spent thousands of dollars on a fancy urn! That’s why we made our Modest Urn for the frugal. This metal can, which mysteriously resembles a coffee can, comes with a sticker sheet so you can customize it for the deceased. It’s 5″ tall, 4″ diameter and has a volume of 62.8 cubic inches. In addition, there’s a reusable interior metal seal and an exterior plastic cap to keep the ash from falling out. Includes a fill-in-the-blanks eulogy for easy mourning.

The coffee-can resemblance is more than accidental; the urn is labeled “Hallowed Grounds.” They also have a pet version bearing the legend, “Freshly Roasted.” The backs of the urns also have an Ingredients label listing the contents as “Dearly Departed” and “Beloved Companion” respectively.

Here’s their promotional video:

If the deceased had a sense of humor, this would be sort of an awesome receptacle for their ashes. You could also just use it to store coffee and make guests vaguely nervous.

(Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

August 5th, 2014 by Cobwebs

  1. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories was written by this director of offbeat films.
  2. What is the name of Voldemort’s mother?
    A) Bathsheba
    B) Alecto
    C) Merope
    D) Hepzibah
    E) Andromeda
  3. This French aristocrat’s novels are often classified not as “Gothic” but as “Libertine” and include Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue; Juliette; The 120 Days of Sodom; and Philosophy in the Bedroom.
  4. The film Grindhouse was a “double feature” with one segment directed by Robert Rodriguez and the other by Quentin Tarantino. What was the title of Tarantino’s segment?
    A) Thanksgiving
    B) Death Proof
    C) Werewolf Women of the S.S.
    D) Machete
    E) Planet Terror
  5. Which movie has Beetlejuice seen 167 times (and it keeps getting funnier every time he sees it)?
  6. “Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.” This is the opening line of which Stephen King novel?
    A) Needful Things
    B) Firestarter
    C) ‘Salem’s Lot
    D) Cujo
    E) It
  7. The “penny dreadful” The String of Pearls: A Romance introduced the world to this murderous denizen of Fleet Street.
  8. Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead purports to be a translation of an old manuscript describing a 10th-century Muslim’s travels with a group of Vikings. It’s actually a re-telling of this classic story.
    A) Beowulf
    B) The Odyssey
    C) Sigmund
    D) The Mabinogion
    E) Orlando Furioso
  9. “It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” What is the Lovecraftian creature described here?
  10. In Game of Thrones, what is Hodor’s real name?
    A) Hodor
    B) Hodor
    C) Hodor
    D) Hodor
    E) Walder

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Whatever | 5 Comments »

Silentless Movie: Nosferatu

August 4th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Mario Wienerroither, who makes “musicless music videos” like this one, decided to go in the opposite direction and created a condensed version of the silent classic Nosferatu…but “silentless.” It is sublime.

(via Blame It On the Voices)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

The Princess Link Dump

August 1st, 2014 by Cobwebs

Entangled – Lovely sculpture depicting two hearts entwining each other with their tentacles. As they do.

WTF, Evolution? – I just love the concept of a bat extruder.

Bruce Campbell Will Star in “Evil Dead” TV Series – Neat.

Isaac Cordal’s Cement Skeletons – The artist leaves miniature cement skeletons, dressed as housewives and businessmen, tucked away on the streets of Chiapas, Mexico. (Hat tip to pdq)

21 Best (Worst) Halloween Pun Costumes – It’s Buzzfeed, but it’s funny. (Hat tip to Cookie)

Bone Music – Interesting article about Soviet-era bootleg music pressed onto X-ray plates.

Dress-up Bigfoot – Clothe your cryptids.

Friday the 13th Engagement Photo Shoot – I want to know who made the awesome “Camp Crystal Lake” sign. (Update: It’s been pointed out to me that the text notes the bride made the sign. Next time I will try reading for comprehension. Thanks, angelus!)

Monsters of Grok – “Band” T-shirts honoring scientists and other great thinkers.

Martín De Pasquale – These digitally-manipulated photos are both clever and rather creepy.

Posted in Link Dump | 5 Comments »

FeeJee Mermaid Build

July 31st, 2014 by Cobwebs

FeeJee MermaidI love a good sideshow gaff, and the Pyewackett and Pecke site has posted a rare treat: Build notes and photos for a great-looking FeeJee Mermaid prop. Artist Dan Baines has a five-part series of posts detailing the prop: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

(Incidentally, if Baines’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he was the artist responsible for the great mummified fairy hoax in 2007.)

Some of his techniques and materials are probably out of range of the average home DIY-er: The mermaid’s claws, for instance, are made from 3D-printed bird feet, and Baines made a custom silicon-rubber texturizer to create the impression of scales. However, there are other, less esoteric, ways to achieve similar effects: Replica animal claws are available at places like The Evolution Store, you can use claw-looking things like dentalium shells, or you can simply mold the things individually out of polymer clay. Instead of clawed fingers, it might be interesting to give the mermaid webbed hands instead; in that case, the model duck feet used for taxidermy would look great.

The scaly texture on the tail could be created by lightly pressing the head of a large nail into the wet covering on the skin in an overlapping pattern. Although not flexible the way a silicon mold would be, the “coarse” section of a cheese grater might also work. (There are also dog treats made of real dried fish skin; I’m curious as to whether they’d have sufficient depth to be used as a mold.)

For the front half of the mermaid Baines used an 18″ medical skeleton model and a resin cast of a human infant skull. He unfortunately doesn’t specify where he got either; the Skeleton Store has a replica of a full fetal skeleton, but it’s a tad pricey. Their Frugal Fernando seems about the right size for the ribs and arms, and instead of a fetal skull a replica monkey skull might be a cheaper option; after all, the original taxidermied FeeJee Mermaids were made from the front half of a monkey attached to the back half of a fish.

This would be a fantastic display piece, and would look great as part of a cabinet of curiosities. The next time you vacation at the beach, be sure to dig around souvenir shops for dried seaweed and similar oceany stuff which could be used either as detailing on the body (feathery kelp might make interesting fins) or to add “carnival exhibit” interest to the display stand.

Bonus link: The Propnomicon site has a nice post mortem discussing this build, with further suggestions for materials and techniques more suited to the amateur builder.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

Sparrow Hill Road

July 30th, 2014 by Cobwebs

It’s funny how serendipitously following one link can lead to the discovery of something entirely unrelated here on the ol’ intartubes.

Ask MetaFilter recently considered the question, What are the worst songs?, and in opining that teen death songs (such as “Tell Laura I Love Her” are the absolute worst, commenter jenfullmoon noted in passing:

Amusingly enough, Seanan McGuire’s book “Sparrow Hill Road” uses those characters in a few stories, in which Laura has become a vengeful professor and ghost Tommy has long since forgiven the main ghost character for not managing to stop him from being an idiot.

At which I cocked my head like a quizzical basset hound and discovered that the book was born out of a linked series of short stories that McGuire wrote for online magazine The Edge of Propinquity. The series focuses on Rose Marshall, a hitchhiking ghost seeking revenge on the man originally responsible for her death.

The first story is still online at the magazine site (along with some introductory notes). The rest are available through

  1. Good Girls Go To Heaven” in The Edge of Propinquity (January 2010)
  2. Dead Man’s Party” in The Edge of Propinquity (February 2010)
  3. Tell Laura I Love Her” in The Edge of Propinquity (March 2010)
  4. Building A Mystery” in The Edge of Propinquity (April 2010)
  5. El Viento del Diablo” in The Edge of Propinquity (May 2010)
  6. Last Dance With Mary Jane” in The Edge of Propinquity (June 2010)
  7. Do You Want To Dance” in The Edge of Propinquity (July 2010)
  8. Dead Man’s Curve” in The Edge of Propinquity (August 2010)
  9. Last Train” in The Edge of Propinquity (September 2010)
  10. Bad Moon Rising” in The Edge of Propinquity (October 2010)
  11. Faithfully” in The Edge of Propinquity (November 2010)
  12. Thunder Road” in The Edge of Propinquity (December 2010)

I quite like the idea of the old urban legends having deeper, interconnected roots.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

DIY Casket Grill and Cooler

July 29th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Casket Grill

Oh. Wow.

A while back I found a photo of a barbecue grill housed in a casket and was dismayed because there were no other photos or information about it. Fabulous commenter Fiend4Halloween just pointed me to a version that’s not only much nicer, it also includes build instructions. Check out this awesomeness.

The creator is lime3D, a self-described “Inventor for Hire,” who built the grill for tailgating parties with the Nightmare Cruisers Hearse Club. The modified casket and accessories are fairly heavy, so part of the project involved refurbishing a trailer to tow the grill behind his hearse. I would enjoy seeing that driving down the road.

The casket mod is really well-done, with half of the interior housing the grill and the other half an insulated cooler. There’s storage space between the two for tools and utensils, and the storage lid doubles as a cutting board. He even installed a radio in the exterior.

Now, obviously, this is a project that requires some fairly advanced skills and tools, so it’s beyond the scope of a lot of us DIY types. However, if you’ve got the necessary experience (or can obtain the services of a welder and/or carpenter), this would be an amazing build opportunity. If you aren’t the tailgating type, mount it on a stand in your yard.

The maker answers some additional questions in the comments section, such as where to obtain a casket. U.S. law makes it fairly easy to purchase them from a third-party source; Wal-Mart sells them, as does Amazon. If those options aren’t available to you (or are too expensive), check with local funeral homes for damaged products. You’re going to rip out the whole interior anyway, and an exterior dent or two shouldn’t matter much. If you don’t want to bother with the cooler half of the project, a child-size or pet casket (why they make steel caskets for pets is another question entirely) should be significantly cheaper and could house just the grill.

(Thanks, Fiend4Halloween!)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Behold the Goth Singularity

July 28th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Here’s Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy performing Bauhaus’ best-known song.

(Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Silent Link Dump

July 25th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Cross-Stitched Microbes – Etsy shop Wally’s Wall Stuff has some great cross-stitch designs; I particularly like the Wash Your Hands reminder.

Our Neighbor’s House – io9 has an exclusive excerpt from Emily Carroll’s horror comic collection Through The Woods.

“Rat Queens” to be a Cartoon – I don’t read a lot of comics so I’d never heard of this series, but it sounds pretty awesome. A branch of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop is turning it into a cartoon.

The Odyssey in Legos – This amazing mega-Lego installation features most of the high points of The Odyssey.

Texts from Cephalopods – “It is a well-established fact in marine biology that the octopus is the drunk texter of the cephalopod family.”

Extreme Wine Pairings – Just in case you were wondering whether red or white went better with grasshoppers.

Caleb Brown’s Surreal Paintings – Brown depicts a near-future world where humanity is threatened by giant insects and flying sharks. I for one welcome our new otter overlords.

Urban Bugs – Splendid “lookbook” of beetles dressed in various fashion brands.

Listen to Bats Sing – Wolves aren’t the only children of the night who make music.

Left No Ball Unchased – Neat Atlas Obscura article about pet epitaphs. The Kliban-esque tombstone for the cat “Woodstock” is especially wonderful. (Also I just now discovered that Atlas Obscura has a Morbid Monday feature. Awesome.)

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

July 24th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Leaving a watermelon on someone’s doorstep in the middle of night is a pretty inexpensive way to occupy a portion of their mind forever.

I was walking down the street with my friend and he said, “I hear music”, as if there is any other way you can take it in. You’re not special, that’s how I receive it too. I tried to taste it but it did not work.
Mitch Hedberg

When i see lovers names carved in trees. Sure, i think its cute
But i also think its fkn strange how many ppl bring knives on a date.

Next time someone preaches to you about living healthy, just reply with these four words: “Keith Richards is 70.”

Experts agree, “3D printing offers us the exciting possibility of a virus that causes murderous skeletons to emerge from your computer”

“Don’t Kid Yourself” would be the greatest brand name for birth control pills.

Carefully-written fact-checked essay in the streets, unmoderated comments section in the sheets.

A carnival haunted house filled with bakers and chefs who jump out and yell “Gluten!”

My favourite thing about Scooby-Doo is that supernatural events occur and nobody suspects the four out-of-towners with a talking dog.

I like how we call them earth worms. It implies that there are also space worms.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

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