The Art of Darkness

Crotch Magic

November 9th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This is, as The Robot’s Voice puts it, “An ode to David Bowie’s penis bulge in Labyrinth:”

I do think it would have been funnier done as a more direct Bowie impersonation/parody. But if you think a lack of fealty to source is going to stop me running a story about a Goblin King’s wang, you just don’t know me at all.


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Chitty-Chitty Link Dump

November 6th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Crocheted Hobbes Scarf – Etsy pattern for a scarf “inspired by” Calvin’s stuffed tiger. If you’d like to keep a friendly tiger close at hand, a scarf seems like a good choice.

Peacock Spider Costume – I don’t like to post Facebook-only stuff, but I can’t find the video anywhere else and it’s too delightful to not share. An entomologist shows off his Halloween costume. (via pdq)

Marbled Candy Apples – Instructions for making candied apples with an attractive swirly candy coating.

Dracula-Inspired Halloween Wedding – I like this. It’s all refined and elegant and then you hit the drag queen dressed as Frank N. Furter.

Raven’s Brew Coffee – Sells coffee with neat labels and fanciful titles like Deadman’s Reach, Wicked Wolf, and Three Peckered Billy Goat.

Our Announcement – Amusing baby announcement done in the style of a horror movie trailer.

Witchcraft Magic: An Adventure In Demonology – Holy carp you guys; did you know that Vincent Price recorded a whole album devoted to witchcraft and demonology? It’s available as an MP3 on Amazon. Dangerous Minds discusses it here.

The Scariest Story Ever Told – Spoooooooky. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Reverse Trick-or-Treating – I’ve seen this gag before, but it cracks me up every time.

Crocheted Jerusalem Cricket – People in the western half of the U.S. should be familiar with these Geiger-esque critters; this crocheted version should be easier to cuddle without worrying about the ouchy mandibles.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

The State of Horror Today

November 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Over on Facebook, intrepid commenter Bruno and I were recently discussing this article about the (possible) “new” trend of horror movies which feature unbeatable threats. The argument goes that, just as 50s horror movies were reflections of real-world angst about the Cold War and the atomic bomb, today’s fears of unsurmountable threats like climate change and economic collapse are producing horror where “the menace is ever-present, unsparing, and eternal. It’s to be endured, not conquered.” The two movies held up as examples of this theoretical trend are The Babadook and It Follows.

I responded thusly (spoilers for The Babadook):

I’m giving this kind of a cautious head-tilt. Functionally, I don’t see a lot of difference between the unstoppable slashers like Michael Myers and something like the Babadook or the monster in It Follows. I know the article mentions the movie characters’ belief that the horror has ended whilst the audience knows different, but clear back in the original Halloween (1978), the movie ends with Loomis and Laurie realizing that Michael isn’t dead. Indeed, I’d argue that The Babadook has a more hopeful ending than Halloween, because although the monster isn’t dead, it’s been vanquished and is more like a sulky pet.

He replied:

I appreciate your point and maybe both the article and my initial reaction are a bit of confirmation bias. Looking back to my horror consumption habits and that of friends and online communities, I see a bit of a rise in demand for non-closing horror, whether it’s Babadook or Lovecraft.

Trends in horror have a lot to say about their historical moments, and I wonder if we’re living in a sisyphean moment where closure is not an option, and so the experience of annoyance, angst and even horror are unbounded and unbeatable.

And then he suggested:

Here’s an experiment: what if we got a goth blogger with an active readership to ask her community what they’ve been reading / watching in horror that they would recommend? ;p

And so here we are. What say you, blog readership? Is there a noticeable trend in “unbeatable” monsters that bears out this idea? Even if there’s not, what have you been reading and/or watching lately that you can recommend?

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Halloween Awards

November 4th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Skull ScoutsTo my vast and ongoing dismay, we live in a non-trick-or-treat-friendly location.* This means that I have no reason to decorate my yard (sob!), and Shadowboy has always trick-or-treated with friends in their more candy-accessible neighborhoods.

For the past several Halloweens we’ve tagged along with the same friend, and every year the neighborhood has become more and more lackluster, with long stretches of darkened houses and few decorations. This year, since Shadowboy and a different friend were dressing as Marty McFly and Doc Brown, we accompanied that friend instead. Walking into that kid’s neighborhood was like Dorothy getting her first look at Oz: Nearly every house was lit and there were decorations galore. Several people had done such a bang-up job of decorating that I walked up and thanked them for putting in the time and effort, and that’s when it occurred to me: Next year I need to carry a supply of “Good Job on Halloween!” awards to give out at particularly sincere houses.

My first thought was a merit badge-type patch; various scouting organizations have “unofficial” patches for holidays, which can be ordered inexpensively, and it’s even possible to have custom patches created. There’s also an Etsy shop which sells “Mythical Merits:” A variety of spooky merit badge designs that can be ordered as buttons or magnets (there’s a full list of designs here).

I like the idea of a small, lightweight item, since they’d be cheap to order in quantity and easy to carry around–you could keep a few handy all year, just in case you feel the need to reward someone displaying the Halloween spirit in the off-season–but it turns out that trophies and medals are also surprisingly inexpensive. Online suppliers like Trophy Depot and Crown Awards have a large selection, and if you wanted to bring along one or two as awards for particularly well-done yards, you’d probably make some home haunter’s whole week. (If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could even hand out a different design each year so dedicated haunters could collect the whole set.)

People who spend the time and money to decorate certainly like to have their efforts appreciated; this would be a neat way to thank them for making the neighborhood a little spookier.

*It’s a hugely long driveway immediately off of a highway, with swathes of woods between it and the nearby houses (which are all arranged similarly). To trick-or-treat in our neighborhood, you’d need a compass and a bloodhound.

(Image from Skull-a-Day)

Posted in Paint It Black | 8 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

November 3rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. In Harry Potter, what is the name of the horrible aunt whom Harry accidentally blows up like a balloon?
    A) Dahlia
    B) Mabel
    C) Lobelia
    D) Marjorie
    E) Rose
  2. Bilbo Baggins found a troll-hoard which contained the swords Glamdring and Orcrist, plus a knife that he decided to call what?
  3. According to The Twilight Zone, “It’s a Good Life,” why?
    A) The sun has risen
    B) Otherwise Anthony might do something bad to you
    C) Because God says it is
    D) The apocalypse is over and Zachariah is still alive
    E) The AI in charge makes you think that it is
  4. In Stephen King’s Carrie, “Carrie” is actually a nickname. What is her full first name?
  5. This horrifying (in relative terms) creature is the world’s first known predator, an arthropod relative found in the Burgess Shale.
    A) Opabinia
    B) Hallucigenia
    C) Anomalocaris
    D) Wiwaxia
    E) Nectocaris
  6. In this 1984 horror-comedy starring Catherine Mary Stewart, a mysterious “red dust” from space has turned most people into zombies, leaving behind a small band of people who avoided exposure.
  7. It’s no secret that the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales are significantly darker than the Disneyfied versions more popular today. In the Grimm’s version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” what happens to the Evil Queen at the end?
    A) Her eyes are pecked out by birds.
    B) She is forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes.
    C) The dwarves drop her into the depths of their mine.
    D) She is thrown into a thicket of thorns and dies a slow death.
    E) She is put naked into a barrel of nails and dragged through the streets by a horse.
  8. The following novels all involve what famous murderer as a character?
    Anno Dracula (Kim Newman), A Night in the Lonesome October (Roger Zelazny), Savage (Richard Laymon), Pentecost Alley (Anne Perry), The Michaelmas Girls (John Brooks Barry), Nine Buck’s Row (T.E. Huff), Sagittarius (Ray Russell)
  9. In the novel Dracula, the Count used a pseudonym to do business (such as buying real estate) in London. What name did he use?
    A) Count Alucard
    B) Baron Latos
    C) Mathias Cronqvist
    D) General Targo
    E) Count De Ville
  10. Warren Zevon’s immaculately-coiffed werewolf was looking for a Chinese restaurant called what?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 4 Comments »

Fun Size Horror

November 2nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Fun Size Horror specializes in short (under 10 minutes) horror films, and welcomes budding filmmakers.

Terrifying Tales slashed down to Fun Size! Fun Size Horror is a collective of filmmakers who have pooled their talents to bring you horror filled yarns. All of our shorts are organic and GMO-free, except for the Cthulhus; those have been genetically modified. Horribly, horribly genetically modified. Anyone can submit short horror films on our site and gain additional exposure through Fun Size promotions and connect with other filmmakers.

Their YouTube channel appears to have been up for about a year; the upload schedule seems to have been spotty at first, but it’s increased significantly in the past couple of months.

Here’s a recent entry, Conventional, about a fading Scream Queen who misses her glory days. It stars Karen Gillan, who also wrote and directed.

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Oh No! It’s Another Week of Link Dumps! Day 5

October 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Thank you for your kind indulgence. Regular posting, and once-a-week link dumps, resume next week.

And…Happy Halloween, everybody!

Spiderweb Cookie Pizza – The recipe is for a pumpkin spice topping, but if the words “pumpkin spice” make you cringe just omit the spice and use fruit puree (or jam, and reduce the sugar a bit) instead of the pumpkin.

Halloween Wine Labels – Some good-looking printable labels for wine bottles, free for download.

Harry Potter and the Night He Won’t Remember – Roundup of Potter-inspired cocktail recipes.

Netflix and Thrill – A list of “scary and strange” movies to stream for Halloween.

Full Moon Sugar Cookies – Easy DIY for iced cookies with flappy bats.

666 Old Cemetry Lane – Intrepid commenter xJane excitedly pointed me to this real estate listing in Ireland, and she and I both got legitimately angry when we read the full description and realized it was a fake. I was ready to start job-hunting in Ireland.

Which Wine Goes with Skittles? – Wine app Vivino has put together a helpful chart for pairing wine with Halloween candy.

Sword Corn Holders – Corn skewers that turn an unassuming ear of corn into an…unassuming sword. (It turns out that novelty corn holders are more popular than I’d realized; there are unicorns, sharks, dinosaurs, and many others.)

16 Pictures of Bats Just in Time for Halloween – Bats are so stinkin’ cute.

Web Cupcake Topper – Melted marshmallows make great-looking cobwebs.

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Oh No! It’s Another Week of Link Dumps! Day 4

October 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Halloween Ghost Meringues – These fluffy little ghosts are cute as cookies, but would also look nice massed on top of a cake.

Not-your-grandma’s Vampire – An excellent rant on “modern” vampires.

Halloween Playlist – Shudder, the new streaming movie service, has put together a spooky Halloween music playlist on Spotify.

Googly Eye Monster Costume – This dress is certainly…arresting.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Room Service – A review of the Harry Potter-themed rooms in London’s Georgian House Hotel. There are some good suggestions for decorating in a subtly Potteresque style.

Tiny Hamster’s Halloween – We all need more trick-or-treating rodents in our life.

NMBC Decorating – Some fairly ambitious interior decorating featuring papier-mache(?) sculptures and black light. (Hat tip to Fiend4Halloween)

Skull Shotglass – These crystal shotglasses with a skull interior make “name your poison” particularly appropriate.

Boo-Boos – Adhesive bandages that make small scrapes look like horrible injuries.

Edward Scissorhands Palette – Sugar Pill has a limited-edition makeup collection inspired by the film.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Oh No! It’s Another Week of Link Dumps! Day 3

October 28th, 2015 by Cobwebs

10 Gods of Death, Destruction, and the Underworld – A roundup. I’m not sure how you’d rank death gods, frankly. (via pdq)

Haunted Halloween Party – Shared mainly for the great eyeball cake pops.

Claw Mark Cupcakes – The tutorial suggests “blood” made from glucose syrup, but I suspect you could do this with strained raspberry jam, too.

Glass Symphony – Etsy shop specializing in lampworked glass figures, including gorgeous spiders, scorpions, octopi, and even rats.

Halloween with Liz Climo – Cute little cartoons of animals dressing in costume. The narwhal one makes me happy.

Halloween Saints – Sam – Cult of the Great Pumpkin is introducing a series of “Halloween Saints” art prints and T-shirts. So far they have Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, Mr. Dark from Something Wicked This Way Comes, Billy Butcherson from Hocus Pocus, Moundshroud from The Halloween Tree, and Sammi Curr from Trick or Treat.

Squash Confit Recipe – This squash with a brown-butter pecan sauce looks very Halloweeny paired with black (squid-ink) pasta.

Bat-Winged Heart – The perfect origami pattern to give to a spooky loved one.

Halloween Wreath Tutorial – EPBOT has a DIY Halloween wreath that features flowers with eyeball centers. You could also just make some of the eye-flowers and arrange them in a vase.

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards – Someone found a stash of recipe cards from 1974. The commentary is dynamite, and you could probably design a fairly horrific Halloween party menu around these suckers. (Hat tip to Empress Pam)

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Oh No! It’s Another Week of Link Dumps! Day 2

October 27th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Monster House – An artist transformed her parents’ house for Halloween. If we get started now, maybe we could pull this off by next year.

Candy Corn Cake – There isn’t much in the way of a recipe or tutorial, but the three-layer design is pretty and could be adapted to your own favorite cake recipe.

Dermestid Beetles in Action – KQED’s Deep Look has a cool article on how museums use Dermestid beetles to strip the flesh from carcasses.

Atelier Nostalgia – Good resource for historic costume, with helpful advice on things like achieving a proper Edwardian silhouette. (via Charlyn)

DIY Light-up Skull – EPBOT has a great tutorial for turning a cheap skull prop into a steampunky item with glowy eyes.

Cat Purse – Nicely-detailed handmade leather purse in the shape of a black cat’s head. The same shop has a number of other interesting leather items as well. (Hat tip to Fiend4Halloween)

Trick or Treat Bags – Ravelry crochet pattern for cute little skully bags. The design could be adapted for a shawl or other item.

Dark Books Magic Library – Huge collection of books on magic and the occult.

Let’s Talk About Horror In Art – A look at the extraordinarily unsettling sculptures of artist Sarah Sitkin. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Mummy Cookies – Edible googly eyes make everything better.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

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