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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Clive E. Cleavers: Where a Ghoul can be a Ghoul

on September 4, 2008 - 12:14pm

The theme for this year's Halloween party will be a children's restaurant/game centre like Chuck E. Cheeses. It will have games, a souvenir shop, and a dining area; all the amenities you'd expect to find at such an establishment (with a few, small changes).

The place is called Clive E. Cleavers and it has fallen into disrepair, though there are still some hints of what it was like in its hay-day...and on its last day.

My first prop is a simple acrylic painting on canvas. The idea was to create a birthday poster advertisement, encouraging patrons to book their next bash with Clive E. Cleavers. I wanted it to walk a fine line between normal and horror; make it believable (that something like this would be hanging in a children's theme restaurant) yet creepy and with a slight edge.

Clowns are a classic scare, and will always remain a top fright-sight in any haunt. For me, I am kind of 'clowned out' and will be trying to limit the amount of clown characters/images I'll be using.

Gothic Portal

on September 3, 2008 - 11:53pm

Gothic Portal Logo
I was recently sent a link for a site that acts as a handbook for Goths. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but after a little exploring (it can be a little overwhelming to navigate the site through the labyrinth of links and google ads) I found myself curious.

Gothic Portal is described as "A deep and varied portal dedicated to the dark life of the gothic subculture, fashion, music, dating, tourism, culture and poems". Gothic dating, you say? I must see more.

Where are my Curds and Whey?

on September 2, 2008 - 8:07pm

When I arrived home the other night, I stepped up to my front door with my head down, looking for my keys. I unlocked the door and stepped up again (favouring the left side of the doorway as I always do) to enter the enclosed porch. It wasn't until I turned around to close the door that I noticed what suddenly seemed impossible to miss.

A spider, the size of a Canadian loonie, had spun a masterpiece that blocked over a third of my doorway. Being shorter, and having a tendency to step up to the left, I was spared a face-full of cobweb.

Dave O'Neill and his "Horror Hills" Children

on August 31, 2008 - 8:47pm

Artist and two zombie drawings
As an artist, I always feel like I've breathed life into something when I create it. If this is true of all artists, then Dave O'Neill has some wonderfully dark children.

Dave is a young man in his twenties from Burlington Ontario whom I met at, yes, the Festival of Fear (by the way, I only have one or two more posts left regarding my adventure there). I was most interested in his zombie comic book art (or was it a graphic novel? I need to remember to bring a pen with me next time) called Horror Hills.

As it turns out, Dave is also a musician, actor, singer and writer:

I prefer writing on a typewriter; I find the clicking of it to be quite soothing and inspirational. I watch the stars. I dread the deep. I like robots, aliens, dinosaurs, zombies, vampires, monsters and anything else that nestles quietly within my brain, waiting to be put to paper.

My Lil' Zombie: Puppetry of the Undead

on August 30, 2008 - 3:27pm

zombie dolls
While cruising the aisles of the Festival of Fear, I came across these wonderful Zombie puppets and plush toys by a local artist.

The puppets were a little on the pricey side, but they are one of a kind, hand made, and really, where else have you seen this product?

The artist's website,, is currently under construction but if you would like to contact her with questions, her email is

You gotta love the picture of George Romero (below) with a puppet in his likeness.

Adventure Visuals: The Art of Mark Rehkopf

on August 27, 2008 - 10:23am

Robot Monster Poster
As some of you know, there is more to the Fan Expo than the Festival of Fear. One turn down an aisle and you find yourself surrounded by sci-fi gadgets or happy little anime faces. In this instance, I looked into the eyes of a familiar creature whom I couldn't place right away.

His name is Ro-Man, from the 1953 movie Robot Monster (that is one of the original movie posters to the right). I'm pretty sure the first time I ever saw him was in a clip from It Came From Hollywood years ago.

Ro-Man, the star of the movie, is an alien (no, he is not a gorilla in a diving helmet) who has destroyed all but six people on the planet Earth, one of whom he develops feelings for (hence the dramatic conflict).

Mark Rehkopf, a local illustrator and sculptor, created his own homage to the great Ro-Man for the Vinyl Graffiti art show in Toronto. He explained to me he had imagined what Ro-Man would have done after his stint in the movies, and naturally (as other actors have done before him) Ro-Man would have tried his hand at a singing career. For that Special Ghoul in Your Life

on August 26, 2008 - 12:41pm

black and white purse with diamond shapes and skulls
Continuing with my tales of this year's Festival of Fear, I'd like to share a little splurge I indulged in to treat myself. That is my little Skully Bowling Bag, selling for less than the listed online price (I suppose they were taking pity on people who had already emptied their wallets at the ticket booth).

The company was, "jewelry and apparel for the undead". The ladies were very friendly even after a long, exhausting day of dealing with crowds. They even threw in a few free vampire bite tattoos for me.

vampire bite tattoos

On their website, you will find some pretty wicked Creepers and Mary Janes, along with more bags, clothing and cute little coffin gift boxes (all at reasonable prices).

Fiendish Curiosities and the Great Orbax

on August 25, 2008 - 10:19am

The Great Orbax
As someone who grew up in Ontario, I've come to associate certain things with certain regions of the province: Muskoka for cottage life; Toronto for shopping; and Niagra Falls for fairground-type tourist attractions. While strolling through this year's Festival of Fear, I discovered I may need to rethink this.

Guelph (which I usually associate with the Amish) is home to The Great Orbax, a creator and curator of "real and custom freaks of nature" (and I thought you could only see this at Ripley's Museum on Niagra's famous strip). He's one part artist, one part performer, and founder of Fiendish Curiosities.

Fiendish Curiosities was founded in 2003 by the Prof. Burnaby Q. Orbax, aka the Great Orbax, in an attempt to combine the greatest passions in his life: sideshow, science, and monsters. Having studied as a professional physicist since 1996, and been a sideshow performer since 1998, Fiendish Curiosities was the unnatural evolution of his loves.

Pedestrian X Art

on August 24, 2008 - 5:43pm

artist and doll
Today I get to blog about two favourite subjects: local artists and original creepy creations.

See the sweet face in the picture? That young lady is Heather Gillies, the Ontario artist who makes simple little plush dolls and transforms them into flesh eaters with her acrylic paints.

I met Heather and her mini-zombies at the Festival of Fear. If you missed the expo, and you're interested in picking up one of these little lovelies, don't fret: she has a website promoting her art called

Festival of Fear 2008 in Review

on August 23, 2008 - 10:47pm

Zombie Visitors
A special hello to creepy Canadian critters reading this blog. I've returned from a full day at Fan Expo Canada, and more specifically, the Festival of Fear brought to us by Rue Morgue. I'll be publishing a series of blogs on my experience and some great finds, but today's post will be a general overview. Let me get my harshest criticism out of the way.

My friend and I arrived at the convention centre at 11:15 AM. We had not purchased advanced tickets (having missed the deadline to do so) but knew we could get them at the door. Unfortunately, Hobbystar claims they haven't figured out how to make credit card payments available to visitors (though some retailers inside did, so I don't see what the problem is). If you don't have cash on hand (or in your bank account) you will be out of luck on Sunday (and that's a lot of cash for families to fork over at once).