The Art of Darkness

Death is Not an Option

December 31st, 2015 by Cobwebs

After a long hiatus, it’s finally time for another round of Death is Not an Option! The rules, as always, are simple: Given the choice of a pair of characters, you have to decide which one you’d rather sleep with; choosing death instead is not an option. This time it’s Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.

The Sharp-Dressed Man Matchup
Gentlemen   Silence
The Gentlemen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) vs. The Silence (Doctor Who)

The Entirely Too Much Mucous Matchup
Xenomorph   Predator
Xenomorph (Alien) vs. Yautja (Predator)

The Grandma, What Big Eyes You Have Matchup
Martian   Invaders
Martian (Mars Attacks!) vs. Invaders (They Live)

The Wicked Witches Matchup
Wicked Witch of the West   Grand High Witch
Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz) vs. Grand High Witch (The Witches)

The Ugly on the Inside (Male) Matchup
Mr. Dark   Goblin King
Mr. Dark (Something Wicked This Way Comes) vs. Goblin King (Labyrinth)

The Ugly on the Inside (Female) Matchup
Maleficent   Ravenna
Maleficent (Maleficent) vs. Queen Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman)

The Psycho Slasher Matchup
Leatherface   Freddy Krueger
Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) vs. Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

The Harryhausen’s Hotties Matchup
Medusa   Kali
Medusa (Clash of the Titans) vs. Kali (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad)

The Scary Guys Played by Doug Jones Matchup*
Billy Butcherson   Pale Man
Billy Butcherson (Hocus Pocus) vs. Pale Man (Pan’s Labyrinth)

The Smells Like Pond Scum Matchup
Gillman   Swamp Thing
Gillman (Creature from the Black Lagoon) vs. Alex Holland (Swamp Thing)

Leave your choices in the comments. And remember…Death is not an option.

*What? Too niche?

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 6 Comments »

Elvira Sings

December 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Elvira Album CoverLong ago, my pal Kitten Herder made me a lovely mixtape of Halloween-related music. One track was “Full Moon,” a song I didn’t recognize, and the first time I played it I thought, “Wow, that really sounds like Elvira.” And lo, it was.

Back in the 80s when Cassandra Peterson was expanding her media empire beyond television, she released several Halloween-themed albums. Most of the songs were about what you’d expect (“Monster Mash,” “Dead Man’s Party”), but she also recorded several tracks herself. They’re…fun. Peterson is an adequate singer, and she does all of the songs in-character as Elvira. Here’s a list, if you want to explore her oeuvre.

Elvira and the Vitones 3-D TV (Rhino Records, 1982) – A single. The title track is here. The flip side was “Elvira’s Theme,” which may have been the same version as this one.

Vinyl Macabre (Rhino Records, 1983) – As nearly as I can tell from various online sources, Elvira did spoken intro/outro and “end of side one”/”beginning of side two” (remember those?) pieces, but the only singing was her theme, above.

Elvira Presents Haunted Hits (Rhino Records, 1987) – Full Moon.

Elvira Presents Monster Hits (Rhino Records, 1994) – She did two songs for this one, Monsta’ Rap and Here Comes the Bride (The Bride Of Frankenstein).

Elvira Presents Revenge of the Monster Hits (Rhino Records, 1995) – There were two for this as well, Haunted House and Zombie Stomp.

After this there was a hiatus of several years, then in 2008 she performed on a track called “Zombie Killer” for the band Leslie and the Ly’s. It was released as a single, but here’s the music video:

In 2010 she released Elvira’s Gravest Hits (Shout! Factory), which collected all of the songs listed above plus two new ones, Here I Am and “Le Music Hall,” which seems to be the song that she sings in Elvira’s Haunted Hills.

And she’s still chugging along. In 2014 she released another single (as a purple vinyl 7″), 2 Big Pumpkins. Both the title track and the B side “13 Nights of Halloween” were written by the B-52s’ Fred Schneider. The latter doesn’t seem to be available on YouTube, but if you can’t live without hearing it, it’s available on iTunes.

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The Miskatonic Railroad

December 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

General StoreModel railroading enthusiast John Ott has spent years creating a detailed miniature version of Lovecraft’s Arkham, complete with historically-accurate train engines and cars. He’s mapped out the rail line (with stops at Dunwich, Innsmouth, and similar towns), and all of the buildings have appropriate backstories.

Across Garrison, the Bensalem Building hosts a variety of enterprises. The mesmerists, Drs. Nikola and Mabuse, have set up shop selling questionable cures and “rubber goods.” One of the shady mesmerists can be seen with a female patient in the bay window, doubtlessly trying to convince the young woman how theraputic it would be to reveal the combination to her husband’s wall safe.

Next door, Messrs. Maskull and Nightspore offer astral travel for the adept, with tours of Tormance, Leng, and Barsoom a specialty. One would think they wouldn’t have many clients, but some prominent Arkhamites, namely the Carter family— Randolph, John, and Nick— rely upon them heavily. Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet, a curio shop, occupies the last address. Is that a shining trapezohedron in the window?

Up on the roof, Professor Pickering has his private observatory. Prof. Pickering is famous for having confirmed the sighting of those flashes on Mars a few years back. These days, he’s searching for a ninth, trans-Neptunian, planet— which he calls Yuggoth, for some reason— which he’s sure is there.

There are lots of photos and project details on his site:

The Miskatonic Railroad – Project overview.
Welcome to Arkham – City details and building backstories.
Arkham Wasn’t Built in a Day (or a Night) – Information about lighting and decor.
Deconstructing Arkham Station – Build notes for the railroad station, which was based on a real one in Salem.
Train Number Nine is Missing – A fictional history of the Miskatonic Railroad.

I’m a sucker for highly-detailed miniatures, and Ott’s layout has all kinds of fun stuff (like The Sarnath Theater, with posters advertising an upcoming show: “‘The DOOM’ Comes To The Sarnath, Sept. 24-30.” There’s also a group of workmen hauling a giant squid through the streets on a flatbed). It makes me want to grab a big sheet of plywood and start putting down track.

Ott has also done a couple of other non-spooky layouts, the Salem & Cripple Creek R.R. (inspired by Citizen Kane), and the San Diego and South Coast R.R., depicting San Diego’s gaslamp district circa 1908.

(via BoingBoing)

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The Jezabels: “Come Alive”

December 28th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This music video, done by Oh Yeah Wow, was painted on glass and animated frame by frame. A witch burning doesn’t turn out exactly as planned.

(via BoingBoing)

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Link Dump on 34th Street

December 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Lio Comic

Halloween Skull Socks – The motifs in this knitting pattern could be re-purposed for a lot of different projects.

Curious Cryptid Curios – “Miss Mantis” gives twee porcelain figurines insectoid makeovers, resulting in oddly winsome, elegantly-dressed bugs.

Krampus Time is Here Again – This amigurumi Krampus, complete with screaming kidnapped children, is adorably menacing.

Supernatural Horror in Literature – Interesting discussion thread about Lovecraft’s essay (linked at the top). (Hat tip to Bruno)

The Terror of Yurei – A look at Japanese haunted-house attractions, and how they differ from their Western counterparts. The article is actually an excerpt from a book, Scream, which sounds interesting.

Monsters’ Holiday – I had no idea that Bobby “Boris” Pickett followed up “Monster Mash” with a Christmas-themed tune. After listening to it, I can see why I had no idea. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Surviving the World – An amusing perspective on “the war on Christmas.”

3D Printed Cat Armor – For the feline gladiatorial games you’ve always dreamt of.

Wonderland – This is kind of an interesting game idea. It’s an audio murder mystery set in 1914 Toronto. There’s a puzzle at the end of each chapter, and you have to solve it to unlock the next one. If you get stuck, you can go for a walk (assuming you’re playing it on a device which can recognize when you’re walking) and every 100 steps unlocks one letter.

Countessa Ephemera’s Evergreen Gown – Amazing Christmas decoration made of evergreen branches. There are additional posts documenting the “gown’s” construction on the sidebar, along with similar decorations from previous years.

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Secret Santa Exchange List

December 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Our seventh Secret Santa Can Suck It pretend-gift exchange was heaps of fun, and even though we had a small turnout, everybody’s imaginary gifts were great.

Here’s a list of all the participants. Follow each link below to see what they chose for their giftees!

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Seen Online

December 23rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Cosplaying is for people who want to have Halloween whenever the fuck they want.

Just once, when people ask me how my day was, I would like to truthfully reply with “….sinister”

Who called it a “tramp stamp” and not a “tragic back story”?

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner summoned an undead army and forced their restless souls to play for his amusement and no one said a thing.

“Avada kedavra!” shouted Voldemort, instantly killing Lily Potter and her infant son.
The End
–George R.R. Martin’s Harry Potter

It’s fun to chant “Bloody Mary” into your car’s side mirror three times and watch her jog and try to keep up.

Dogs are just wolves who decided to get humans to hunt for them. We don’t own dogs, we just work for smart wolves.

When you saw only one reflection,
It was then that Dracula carried you.


I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
— Pablo Neruda, Sonnet XVII
(This isn’t funny; I just thought it was pretty and would be rather nice as the sentiment on a goth wedding invitation and couldn’t figure out where else to put it)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Spiderweb Quilt

December 22nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Spiderweb QuiltPatchwork quilts are a great way to use up leftover scraps of fabric that fall in that awkward area between “too small to use for a project by themselves” and “too big to throw out without feeling guilty.” If you happen to have some scraps of Halloween-print fabric stashed away, this spiderweb-themed lap quilt by Life in the Scrapatch is a brilliant way to use them up.

She made a small version in 2013, detailed here, and then followed up with a larger version the following year. Her instructions are easy to follow, and there are lots of helpful photos.

She uses a couple of tools that you may not have lying around if you aren’t a dedicated quilter, but it’s possible to improvise substitutes (such as using the edge of a plate instead of a curved ruler). I do wonder, though, how a construction method which differs from hers would work out. Her method involves sewing square patches into a pyramid shape, trimming the edges into a triangle that represents a whole “wedge” of the quilt, and then cutting the triangle into pieces width-wise to sew in the black borders. This allows the same fabric to appear on both sides of the border, which is pretty, but if you don’t care about that I’m thinking that it might be easier to work outward from the middle: Cut a small triangle, sew a black strip to its wide end, cut a trapezoid and sew its narrower end to that strip then sew another strip to its wide end, and so on until you’ve built up a full wedge. (This will also give you straighter black borders instead of her curved design but if, like me, you loathe and fear sewing curves it’ll also make your life easier. The spiderwebby vibe should still be clear enough.)

Be sure to check out the rest of the site as well; there are some other great ideas for using up scraps, like this trick-or-treat bag (which would also make a nice tote bag) and this September quilt which features pretty autumnal fabric.

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Happy Sad Songs: Jingle Bells

December 21st, 2015 by Cobwebs

The Gregory Brothers like to experiment with major/minor key changes, switching happy songs to sad ones and vice-versa. Here’s their mournful version of “Jingle Bells.”

One way that a lot of people die is by going out in the snow to ride sleighs, partying too hard, and then getting frostbite and hypothermia. BEWARE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! you’ll be safe if you drink a lot of hot cocoa, probably.

(via The Presurfer)

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Horton Hears a Link Dump

December 18th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Could You Survive a Victorian Slum? – For a new living history series, the BBC is looking for families and individuals to live as poor people in 1870s London would have done. (via WitchArachne)

Boris the Christmas Tarantula – Heartwarming tale about a Christmas-loving giant tarantula who journeys to the North Pole in hopes of finding a place to belong.

Happy Birthday, There’s a Corpse in Your Cake! – A look at Victorian “Frozen Charlotte” dolls. (I have a minor quibble with the author’s suggestion that the tradition of baking miniature dolls into cakes originated with these; the custom is a lot older, so these particular dolls were probably used during this time period because they happened to be readily available and cheap.) (Hat tip to Jes)

Yuletide Snake Advisory – Some species are more active at this time of year. Beware!

Classical Depravity – Atlas Obscura’s “guide to the perverted past.” You gotta admire the dedication of some sculptor who spent hundreds of hours carefully carving a statue of a satyr fucking a goat. NSFW (duh).

Haunted Beauty Zombie Bride Barbie – I’m rather miffed that I was unaware of the “Haunted Beauty” line of Barbies. This is the fourth in the series, following Mistress of the Manor, Vampire, and Ghost.

DiCaprio to Play H.H. Holmes – Martin Scorsese is filming a biopic of “America’s First Serial Killer,” which will star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Cthulhian Font – A TrueType font of Lovecraftian characters. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Neil Gaiman Reads A Christmas Carol – Everything is better with the addition of Gaiman, including Charles Dickens.

Wine Coffin – Instructions for making a gift “coffin” for a bottle of wine. If you don’t want to mess around with a miter saw, you could use thick cardboard and duct tape, then cover the whole thing in pretty wrapping paper to hide the seams.

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »

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