The Art of Darkness

Rosemary’s Link Dump

November 15th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Horror Happy Meals These parody happy meal boxes (complete with toys!) by artist Newt Clements are wonderful.

Mister Finch – Creator of lovely soft sculptures and miniatures. I adore his serene Tea-Making Spider.

Hand-Engraved Harry Potter Covers – Created for an edition of the book targeted at adults, these are all kinds of gorgeous.

Dia de los Muertos Wedding – Some lovely theme ideas from Hostess with the Mostess. (A couple other recent party themes from the same site: Steampunk and Thriller.

What’s That Bug? – Handy site which allows users to submit bug photos for identification. Lots of interesting photos and discussion.

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah – “Werewolf bar mitzvah, spooky scary, Boys becoming men, Men becoming wolves.”

The Seven Lady Godivas – Dr. Seuss once did an “adult” book. His nudes are still adorably Seussian.

Melting Table – Amazing carved wooden side table which resembles a dripping candle.

I am Already Disturbed – Amusing sign seen on Etsy. The original has sold, but this would be super-easy to DIY with a stencil.

Dare to Wear – Goth fashion for curvier girls.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Host a Spider Safari

November 14th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Jumping SpiderI found this a little late for those of us headed into “real” winter, but folks with mild winters and people in the other hemisphere can use it now; the rest of us can tuck it away as an idea for next spring.

I’ve mentioned Atlas Obscura, an online guide to “the world’s wondrous and curious places,” previously; but I didn’t know until recently that they also have a real-world arm called the Obscura Society. They host regional events to seek out, “secret histories, unusual access, and opportunities for our community to explore strange and overlooked places hidden all around us,” and one of their recent excursions was a spider safari in a California nature preserve.

We started the day with a little learning: Spider anatomy, spider sounds, spider molting, and finally spider sex. We also got to see an amazing video of the tiny jumping spider’s throaty mating song. After our lesson we headed into the hills and valleys of the preserve to see what we could find.

I think this is simply a brilliant idea, either as an activity for children or as an adult outing. It’s inexpensive (or free, if you go no further than your back yard or a local park), educational, and fun. Look online for field guides to spiders commonly found in your region, pack a lunch, and go spider-hunting. Once you start really looking for them, it’s surprising how abundant they are.

Admire their colors, watch them scurry around their webs, and marvel at their complex behavior. It’s a lovely excuse for a stroll, and a great way to spark an appreciation for arachnids in children (or in adults who are unenthusiastic about spiders).

Incidentally, I suspect that the video mentioned by the Obscura Society might have been this one. So adorable:

Posted in Bittens, Unhallowed Ground | 2 Comments »

Scopophilia Chair

November 13th, 2013 by Cobwebs

ScopophiliaDesigner Fiona Roberts, in an attempt to make sure nobody ever sleeps again, upholstered a chair with plastic eyeballs.

The eyes on the Scopophilia Chair are held in place by folded red-velvet “eyelids” secured with brass tacks. The result is both fascinating and flesh-crawly.

Even better, the technique is simple enough that something similar should be DIY-able. Upholstering a whole chair might be a little daunting (hey, these would make a cute set of dining chairs, wouldn’t they?), but something smaller like a throw pillow or a decorative table runner should be reasonably easy.

If human-looking eyes aren’t your thing, there are dozens of other varieties used for taxidermy; reptile eyes would be particularly effective. You could also obviously use other fabric besides velvet (with the caveat that it can’t be too stiff to fold and snuggle nicely around each eyeball): Leather or a scale-print vinyl would add to the “this chair is alive…and watching you” illusion.

With the holidays coming up, this technique could also be used to make a really arresting wreath. It’d also be a cute way to make a little toy shoggoth.

(via Old Fashion Halloween)

Posted in Bad Things | 3 Comments »

Ghostly “Bab Ballads”

November 12th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Courting GhostsW. S. Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) wrote a large number of poems, ballads, and “funny articles” for the magazine Fun under the pen-name “Bab.” These came to be known as “Bab Ballads,” and in addition to being famous in their own right some were the source for plots and songs for the G&S operas.

This one, The Ghost to His Ladye Love, would be a fine addition to a wedding invitation.

Fair Phantom, come! The moon’s awake,
The owl hoots gaily from its brake,
     The blithesome bat’s a-wing.
Come, soar to yonder silent clouds;
The ether teems with peopled shrouds:
We’ll fly the lightsome spectre crowds,
     Thou cloudy, clammy thing!

Though there are others, spectre mine,
With eyes as hollow, quite, as thine,
     That thrill me from above —
Whose lips are quite as deathly pale,
Whose voices rival thine in wail
When, riding on the joyous gale,
     They breathe sepulchral love.

Still, there’s a modest charm in thee,
That causes thee to seem to be
     More pure than others are —
Though rich in calico and bone,
Thou art not beautiful alone —
For thou art also good, my own!
     And that is better, far.

United, we’ll defy alarms:
A death-time in each other’s arms
We’ll pass — and fear no dearth
     Of jollity: when Morpheus flits
O’er mortal eyes, we’ll whet our wits,
And frighten people into fits
     Who did us harm on earth!

Come, essence of a slumb’ring soul,
Throw off thy maidenly control
     Un-shroud thy ghastly face!
Give me thy foggy lips divine,
And let me press my mist to thine,
And fold thy nothingness in mine,
     In one long damp embrace.

And here’s another, The Ghosts’ High Noon, which would be great as part of a party invitation.

When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls,
and the bat in the moonlight flies,
And inky clouds, like funeral shrouds,
sail over the midnight skies –
When the footpads quail at the night-bird’s wail,
and black dogs bay the moon,
Then is the spectres’ holiday –
then is the ghosts’ high noon!

As the sob of the breeze sweeps over the trees,
and the mists lie low on the fen,
From grey tombstones are gathered the bones
that once were women and men,
And away they go, with a mop and a mow,
to the revel that ends too soon,
For cockcrow limits our holiday –
the dead of the night’s high noon!

And then each ghost with his ladye-toast
to their churchyard beds take flight,
With a kiss, perhaps, on her lantern chaps,
and a grisly grim “good night”;
Till the welcome knell of the midnight bell
rings forth its jolliest tune,
And ushers our next high holiday –
the dead of the night’s high noon!

(via SheWalksSoftly)

Posted in Resources, Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

The Elvira Show

November 11th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego Elvira has never suffered from underexposure, appearing in everything from video games to comic books to calendars; but I had no idea that she nearly had her own sitcom.

In 1993 CBS produced a pilot episode of The Elvira Show, which involved two witches (Elvira and Katherine Helmond) moving to Manhattan, Kansas, with their talking cat. The pilot was never aired, but it’s available on YouTube.


(Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

The Link Dump of Dr. Caligari

November 8th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Spine Vodka – Cool design concept by Johannes Schulz.

Delia’s Shadow – Novel set in the early part of the last century, involving a woman haunted by the last victim of a serial killer. The author discusses her work here.

Steampunk Cruise – “7 Days of Steampunk Music, Literature and Lace on the high seas.”

Anatomy Sweatshirt – Vintage sweatshirt depicting human innards, complete with an odd flap representing the head. Might be DIY-able. The flap would still be weird, though.

Vulture Pillow – Interesting hooked throw pillow. I’m rather sorry it’s a finished pillow rather than a kit.

Baby Bats – A collection of squee-worthy photos.

Wilder Mann – Series of photos depicting costumes worn in European pagan rituals. (Hat tip to xJane)

Universal Monsters – Handy set of thumbnails of the classic monsters. Useful for profile photos and the like.

Tales You Lose – Micro-art project in which the faces on coins are painted to give them superhero masks or Bride of Frankenstein hair. It would be fun to occasionally sit down with a handful of change, paint them up, and then send them back into the wild.

Macabre Disney Heroines – A collection of artist Jeffrey Thomas‘ creepy reimaginings. I particularly like the supporting characters (like Rapunzel’s chameleon).

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Pulling the Cart or On the Cart?

November 7th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Bring Out Your Dead

Slate Magazine is doing a series of articles on life expectancy in the U.S., and their kickoff piece was an overview of the medical and public health advances that have contributed to the increased longevity of humans in the developed world.

It’s a fun conversation starter: Why are you not dead yet? It turns out almost everybody has a story, but we rarely hear them; life-saving treatments have become routine.

Or, as the article puts it with a riff on The Gashleycrumb Tinies:

M is for Maud who was swept out to sea…then brought back to shore by a lifeguard and resuscitated by emergency medical technicians.

O is for Olive run through with an awl…but saved during a four-hour emergency surgery to repair her collapsed lung.

S is for Susan, who perished of fits…or who would have, anyway, if her epilepsy hadn’t been diagnosed promptly and treated with powerful anticonvulsant drugs.

So I’ll pose the same question to you: Would you have survived the Middle Ages (or, possibly worse from a medical standpoint, the Victorian period)? Myself, I would have likely made it to adulthood (assuming my father hadn’t died of that burst appendix when he was six). I would probably have survived the teratoma* I developed in my late 20s, providing it didn’t strangle anything important. So far my closest brush with death has been childbirth, when my son would likely have died (the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck), and I may or may not have followed. So, provisionally, my status is, “I’m not dead yet.”

How about you? (Bring out your dead!)

*A teratoma is a usually-benign-but-really-freaky tumor which frequently contains tissue that resembles human body parts: Most often teeth and hair, but occasionally even stuff like eyeballs. They can cause problems when they grow big enough to interfere with your innards. (The strangest look I have ever received from anybody came from my surgeon, when she explained the removal procedure and asked me if I had any questions. I said, “If this thing has teeth, can I have them?” Her reaction indicated that she had never been asked that question before, ever. I was serious, though. Wouldn’t that be a great icebreaker at parties? “Hi, nice to meet you. You’ll never believe what these earrings are made from.” But I digress.)

Posted in Whatever | 13 Comments »

Corpse Bride Cake Tutorial

November 6th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Corpse Bride CakeMy mind, it is blown.

Heather of Sprinkle Bakes has applied her fine arts background to dessert-making, and the results are spectacular. She’s a fan of Tim Burton’s animation, so this year she made a Corpse Bride cake for Halloween. She’s also been kind enough to provide a highly-detailed tutorial, and she breaks the steps down so well that the project almost seems do-able by mere mortals. I love all of the little details, such as the cake interior matching the color of the bride’s hair.

She’s got loads of other tutorials as well; last year she did a Frankenweenie cake (with a bright-green interior), and there are several which are technically not supposed to be spooky but could easily be adapted. Her Matcha-Almond Layer Cake with Meringue Mushrooms, for instance, is a bilious green which evokes a mossy graveyard overgrown with toadstools.

Even if you aren’t interested in making a cake, the same instructions could be used for sculpting the Corpse Bride and Sparky from polymer clay. The Bride’s head would make a cute brooch.

She also has a book of her recipes available, which would be a great gift for an artistic baker.

(via When Geeks Wed)

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Trivia Tuesday

November 5th, 2013 by Cobwebs

(No prizes, but if you can answer them all without googling you get bragging rights.)

  1. Many of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories have been adapted to film. This actor has played in more of them than any other.
    A) Peter Cushing
    B) Boris Karloff
    C) Vincent Price
    D) Johnny Depp
    E) Christopher Lee
  2. The ghost of this English monarch, who ruled during the American Revolutionary War, is said to haunt Windsor Castle.
  3. The word “cannibal” derives from the name of the Carib people. What region of the world are they from? (Hint: They also gave their name to a body of water.)
    A) Azores
    B) Maldives
    C) Antipodes
    D) Seychelles
    E) West Indies
  4. The Addams Family as originally drawn by Charles Addams had no names, which he remedied when the characters were adapted for the 1964 TV series. He chose Wednesday from the nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child,” because “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” What is her middle name?
  5. In the Wizard of Oz movie the Wicked Witch of the West appears to be largely without portfolio, but in the books she is the cruel ruler of which area of Oz?
    A) Winkie Country
    B) Kingdom of Ix
    C) Land of Ev
    D) Rinkitink
    E) Merryland
  6. The first name of Harry Potter’s professor of Herbology was Pomona, after the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. What was her plant-related last name?
  7. In Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, what carnival attraction has the power to increase or decrease a person’s age?
    A) Hall of Mirrors
    B) Ferris Wheel
    C) Carousel
    D) Tunnel of Love
    E) Roller Coaster
  8. This actress, the daughter of Psycho actress Janet Leigh, had her film debut in the movie Halloween and garnered the title “ultimate scream queen.”
  9. The Donner Party was a pioneer wagon train who became infamous for resorting to cannibalism after they were caught in the mountains over the winter. What mountain range was their downfall?
    A) Sangre de Cristo
    B) Rockies
    C) Appalachian
    D) Sierra Nevada
    E) Cascades
  10. Area 51 is officially named this, after a nearby water feature.

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 5 Comments »

Cinderella/Carrie Trailer Mashup

November 4th, 2013 by Cobwebs

YouTube member Cracker76 combined the audio from the Carrie remake trailer with clips from Disney’s Cinderella. It works remarkably well.

(Why anybody felt the need to remake Carrie is a separate question entirely.)

(Hat tip to pdq)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

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