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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Shakespeare's Land of the Dead

on July 30, 2008 - 6:07pm

Actor dressed as Shakespeare with a zombie behind him

For those of you in the Minnesota area who've ever said to yourself "I need more culture, but Shakespeare is so...1608", now might be the time to attend some theatre.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival has a wide lineup of shows to choose from, but I'd probably try to see a production by Walking Shadow Theatre Company entitled Shakespeare's Land of the Dead.

Imagine London, 1599. Interior scene: Globe Playhouse. While Shakespeare is trying to launch his play, he's suffering from a few distractions including a plague that is turning his fellow Elizabethans into the walking dead.

Peek-a-boo Plant: First Prop of 2008

on July 26, 2008 - 6:56pm

plant with eyeballs instead of flowers
The first prop of the year, and it isn't even for me. I'd started making it for a friend last winter, and the poor little thing has been sitting in my office unpainted ever since. I finally took the time to finish it this afternoon.

She's made from styrofoam balls, acrylic paint, bathroom tissue mache, a stick, some moss for the base and an old pot. You can make one just like it using the same technique I did (see Carnivorous Plant in the Horrific How-To's section).

Basically, it's styrofoam balls stuck on wire and attached to a stick. I then dip toilet paper in a glue/water mix and cover the wire with it (creating leaves and eyelids). Wait for it to dry completely. Then start layering different shades and colours of paint.

Spookshows T-shirts & Vintage Toys

on July 24, 2008 - 7:38pm

box cover with Uncle Fester on it
If you're in the mood for vintage Halloween, there's some fun items on display over at Spookshows.com. The first terrifying toy that caught my eye was Uncle Fester's Mystery Light Bulb ( 1967). The bulb actually lights up in your hand (or your mouth in classic Fester fashion) when the metal lamp base comes into contact with a special ring included in the box (or aluminum foil). Adding an element of danger to this toy is the fact that the bulb base was not reverse threaded which apparently is good if you want to start a fire or give yourself a nice little jolt.

Alex Pardee at eyesuckink.com

on July 23, 2008 - 6:31pm

Man with tentacles coming out of his faceHailing from California, Alex Pardee is today's artist pick. He is a freelance illustrator and an apparel designer.

His bio, posted on his MySpace Page (and no, I don't link to MySpace Pages because they are just so wrong, but you can access it through his nicely designed, non-abomination-of-code website http://www.eyesuckink.com/), states:

"Final pieces are often brought to life by translating random shapes and colors into signs of torment and absurdity. By juxtaposing these two conflicting moods, Alex makes his works more personal to his viewers, forcing them to project their own feelings and emotions onto each character in his twisted universe. After months of hospitalization and many futile attempts at seeking out professional help, Alex finally overcame his battle with severe depression and anxiety through his own form of therapy: art.

The Movie of Many Names (But I Like to Call it 'Zombie vs Shark')

on July 22, 2008 - 11:32pm

poster for Zombi 2: city skyline and zombies
Zombi 2, Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombi.

Call it what you will. This 1979 movie by Lucio Fulci may not be the best zombie movie ever made, but it is worth a look. At the very least, watch the underwater zombie-vs-shark scene (with the actual shark trainer as the zombie; a last minute casting decision when the original stunt actor was unavailable the day before the shoot. Coincidence?). You can watch a clip of it further in this post.

I could go into more detail about the different titles this film went by around the world or what to expect in terms of plot, but Tim Brayton over on "Antagony & Ecstasy" does a great review with loads of information.

And don't go looking for Zombi Part 1, because this movie isn't actually a sequel. There just happened to be another movie out at the time called 'Zombie', so to differentiate it, they called it part 2. Because that's less confusing. Apparently.

Ghoulish Gary Pullin

on July 19, 2008 - 11:32am

Poster
Fellow frighteners, you may have seen the work of Ghoulish Gary Pullin before, but let me formally introduce you.

After earning a degree in graphic design and advertising, Pullin moved to Toronto from London (Ontario). For a time he was producing work for the corporate market, but soon Pullin became involved with Rue Morgue (which is where most of you have probably seen his work. And for any of you who thought to yourself 'What is Rue Morgue?', sweet lord. Get thee to their website).

When he isn't adding creepy-cool to Rue Morgue, he's creating web illustrations, posters (for bands like Canadian horrorbillies The Creepshow) and other various commercial pieces (all worth a peek). One day when I finish building the bones of this site, and come into money, perhaps I'll ask him to spookify my own little real estate on the web. Donations gladly accepted *wink*.

Until then, I've posted a couple of my favourite pieces here on this blog, including a nifty drawing of the 'Hilarious House of Frightenstein'.

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein...dot com?

on July 18, 2008 - 4:45pm

Collection of images from the showIf you were a kid growing up in Canada after 1970, chances are you can recognize the images shown here. 'The Hilarious House of Frightenstein' was a little show produced in Hamilton, Ontario. It did get some American exposure but it certainly wasn't as widespread south of the border. Frightenstrein was the brainchild of Billy Van who played almost all of the characters that appeared in the show.

Personally, I liked to watch Grizzelda the Ghastly Gourmet, and felt bad every time Igor was denied a new pet. I'd wait for the Gorilla sketch to see it get pelted with ping-pong balls in new and creative ways.

Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing Blaaahhhggg

on July 17, 2008 - 12:23pm

HauntedJukeboxCDCoverVol
Ok you Rockin' Rottens, listen up. If you like spooky tunes, jittery jazz and Halloween ditties, get yourself over to Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing Blaaahhhggg. Once there, you will find loads of hard (or impossible) to find ghoulish music to last you for a long, long time.

Dave, a gentleman in NY State, posts his rare finds to share with any fellow collectors or fans. You'll find:

  • Entire albums of old time Halloween music
  • Clips from television and film
  • Links to forums where you can chat with other frightful fans
  • Records he has for sale
  • A plethora of like-minded music maniacs who also run blogs of this nature

Website: Gallery of Monster Toys

on July 16, 2008 - 2:38pm

Toy wolfman
Raymond Castile, reporter and documentary film producer ('In Love with Toys', 1995), has put together a collection of classic monster toys and masks from the 1960's to the 1990's. Hundreds of photographs await you on The Gallery of Monster Toys, many showing items that can make a ghoul drool.

Prompted by the threat of these collections being forgotten, Castile has gathered images to remind us of what was, including Mego toys and masks by Don Post.

When asked what his favourite toy was, Castile picked the AHI Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure (specifically, the 'male' version with the wider waist).

If you reach the end of his catalogue and haven't run out of steam, go to his links page and start monster hunting all over again.

The Art of Laura Vegys

on July 15, 2008 - 1:21pm

watercolour painting of a little red demon creature holding a jar with a human heart inside. Cuter than it sounds
I love promoting local talent. Today, it's Laura Vegys, another Toronto artist. I'm usually not too into watercolours, but I think her work is thought-provoking and well done. Or perhaps I've been swayed by the free magnets she was giving away at her booth at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit held this past weekend. I mean...free magnets! Come on!

From her bio:

"I am a watercolor painter who loves melodramatic and tragic stories. I paint pictures that reflect my ideas about sad situations, isolated individuals and painful moments. I often channel my strong opinions about life through these images, but I love that people always make their own stories about what the images mean to them.

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