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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Naoto Hattori, Artist

on August 4, 2008 - 9:16pm

Skeleton in a dress with a tree growing out of it. Woodland creatures nearby
Naoto Hattori is originally from Japan but has lived, studied and worked in New York for several years now. He went from graffiti tagging under bridges to creating company ads.

Hattori often gets hired for CD cover designs which suits him fine since he's a music fan and feels at home in the scene. You can also catch a glimpse of his art (perhaps only a fleeting glimpse) on snowboards and skateboards (keeping close to his graffiti-roots?).

What I like about him as an artist is that one picture can be soft, welcoming, almost disarming despite the gruesome undertones. The next can be completely in your face, pushing you back in your chair.

Hattori paints whatever fancies him; whatever pops into his head. You might say it reveals a darker side to him, but the man makes a good point about the public and his art:

Ghoul Friday's Wish List: Witch Lamp

on August 2, 2008 - 8:53pm

Lamp in the shape of a witch leg
Someone was talking about Grandin Road on a forum. Being Canadian, I'd never heard of the store. My first impression is Martha Stewart meets Pottery Barn with a hint of (overpriced) IKEA. They have some nice items for Halloween but it's way above my price point ($40 for a wreath. $100 for a lamp).

However...

If I were to create a Christmas wish list, I might have to put this little item near the top. Yes, it's borderline hideous but it reminds me of A Christmas Story ("the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window"); the beloved major award with a Halloween twist.

I especially like the skull at the very top.

Someone needs to tell my beloved Yetch that I've been eyeing this. And reassure him I'd put it in my office.

Too Late to Taste Flesh

on August 1, 2008 - 5:02pm

plate of brown stripas of tofu
For any freakish foodies out there, I am the bearer of bad news: your one legal chance to taste - or at least experience the taste of - human flesh has come and gone. The dark window of opportunity was briefly open between May 2005 and June 2006, and we missed it.

Mind you, if the idea of tofu turns you off even more than human flesh, you didn't miss anything.

The product was called Hufu (human tofu). It was the "healthy human flesh alternative", made to mimic the texture and taste (secret ingredient: teriyaki sauce) of human flesh and targeted at - get this - anthropology students studying cannibalism.

The End of Halloween?

on August 1, 2008 - 11:19am

pumpkins with a question mark above them
While lurking on Facebook, I came across one group's topic that asked the question "Is Halloween Dying Out?". Posters were quick to confirm this, citing sexual predators and political correctness (for example, kids no longer dressing up at their schools) as key causes. In my opinion, they missed the mark somewhat.

Halloween is not dying out, just evolving. Though there are rampant reports of a steady decline in trick or treaters, more and more people are throwing Halloween parties (for themselves as adults but especially for their kids). Instead of going door to door, the children meet up at one house to celebrate the holiday together. There is also an increase in community events that families attend. One stop trick or treating, so to speak. No fuss, no muss.

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'.

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