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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Scaring Ourselves More than the Monsters Do

on January 26, 2009 - 12:42pm

black hand and pumpkinface
While there are many things to legitimately fear in the world, I find that human beings have a tendency to heighten these fears to the point where we lose scope of what we should actually be afraid of; what the original source of fear was, and how to act in order to protect ourselves. If you lose sight of what the original source was, then any action you take to prevent it from happening again is fairly useless.

I just read a news story from last October about a town in Pennsylvania who, after 16 years, lifted a ban on trick or treating after dark. The ban was put in place in October of 1992, after an 11-year-old girl, Shauna Howe, was abducted and murdered by two men.

Death is tragic. Murder of children is devastating. The people who commit these acts are the source of fear, and have nothing to do with a holiday.

I decided to do a bit of digging on the original story, and what I found illustrates my point of displacing fear.

The girl wasn't taken on Halloween. She was actually attacked on October 27th, while walking home from a girl scout Halloween party. On her own.

New Content

on January 25, 2009 - 4:55pm

New propNothing terribly exciting to report today, but I thought I would mention a couple of extra bits of content on the site.

There is a simple article on black lights and materials that glow in the dark for those of you who know little about it.

I've finally started putting together a tutorial on different clays available/commonly used. I only have three written up so far, but will be adding to it in the coming weeks. Next material will be Celluclay.

I've been working on the website for far too long this weekend, so I'm off to work on the first prop of 2009. He's not very impressive yet, but I suppose I wouldn't be either if I didn't have a face.

Aaron Blecha and His Cartoon Monstrosities

on January 24, 2009 - 7:57am

Blecha alien
You may have seen his work on the Cartoon Network or through Warner Brothers. If you haven't, come sit by me and get to know Wisconsin-born Aaron Blecha.

It's the editorial work he's done while living in London that caught my eye (for example, the images posted below).

While I enjoy animated shows, there's something that changes just beneath the surface of a cartoon when you take the same animation artist and apply their skill in a different medium for an older audience: the corners are a little darker; the characters are a little edgier; there is a commentary to the unspoken story.

Rotting Hills: Shea Halloween

on January 23, 2009 - 8:20am


Dubbax3 is the username behind the work over at Rotting Hills: Shea Halloween. He does beautiful sculptural art and some gruesome corpses, along with cuter looking creepers.

blue girl zombie

Besides having obvious talent, I think the reason his pieces are so wonderful is because of the attention to detail regardless of scale; you see it in his small sculptures and you see it in his large corpses/zombies. I especially like the look of the hands in the image below.

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

on January 22, 2009 - 5:06pm


Stumbled across some wonderfully disturbing photographs of Halloween celebrators from the early 1900's. I've posted 3 of my favourites, but encourage you to browse the entire set.

There are additional images from the WIRED magazine article, where they interviewed the the man behind the collection:

...people back then were probably on a more intimate level with death — and that would have affected the way they celebrated Halloween...I am really fascinated by how these photographs of people dressed in primitive, homemade costumes and memorialized in faded, black-and-white photos often seem to have a real sinister aspect to them. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but to me Halloween a century ago looks much scarier than it does now in digitalized color

Archie McPhee: Eating Brains and Taking Names

on January 21, 2009 - 6:03pm


I can blame metalchick666 over at Skulls and Bacon for introducing me to a treasure trove of pointless gadgets I must have and am in danger of wasting money on. I'd followed the link that lead to the cute monster bandages I would proudly wear, and decided to explore the site some more.

It was then I realized Archie McPhee ("Eating Brains and Taking Names for 25 years" - an actual slogan that came up on-screen) is home to endless streams of kitsch and subculture! Including, but not limited to, this fantastic remote control zombie.

And I kept looking. Deeper and deeper I tumbled, loving the tv dinner napkins and other retro gear. But I'll focus on the darker goodies for this post.

Getting to Know Ghoul Friday

on January 21, 2009 - 8:01am


I don't normally post images of myself on the website, but this time I couldn't resist.

I have to get some x-rays done today, which reminded me I had this floating around on my computer.

That's me. No foolin.

I had a bone scan done years ago, and this is a copy of it. I've been meaning to post it (and incorporate it into a Halloween theme) for a long time.

There's something humbling about seeing your own skeleton; of seeing past the flesh.

There's also something really cool about it. Is it me, or do I have a happy evil skull?

I've posted a larger image below, including the scan of me from the back. Enjoy contemplating your own mortality...or mine, anyway.

Panna Cotta Brain

on January 20, 2009 - 3:58pm


My first experiment with a brain mould: a classic panna cotta dessert.

Ingredients for the brain:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin *
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of jam
  • Approx. 1 cup pomegranate or blueberry juice

Self-Indulgent Mutterings: Updating the Website

on January 20, 2009 - 2:47pm

ghoulfriday
You know that feeling of accomplishment that follows the completion of a menial task? I'm talking about mundane things like cleaning out a closet or sorting out the overflowing junk drawer. No one else really cares that you've done it, but man, are you ever chuffed. And if it was up to you, you'd get some sort of reward like a gold star.

For me, it was finally getting around to fixing some small details on the website. For instance, I replaced the bullets in the menu. I'd always hated the ones originally there, but hadn't come up with a new image to replace them with.

Captain Company

on January 19, 2009 - 2:47pm

magazine ad of child with projector, creating a skull image
Look at that image. I feel like a budding paleontologist spying a treasured dinosaur fossil for the first time. It's like documenting the history of haunting.

That is a classic example of the Captain Company collection. This one is courtesy of toyranch's flickr account where he has kindly shared a tremendous collection of these vintage ads.

So what is (or sadly, was) this Captain Company? Here's a very simple history from someone who just missed this cultural gemstone.

Horror movies really hit their stride in the livingrooms of the late 1950's, and UHF stations entertained audiences with classic films. Riding the monster popularity wave into the 1960's and 1970's was Famous Monster's of Filmland Magazine, in the back of which you would find Captain Company ads.

Captain company was a Philadelphia-based mail order business, and the merchandising arm of Warren Publishing. It specialized in horror movie related products including masks, model kits, rings, posters, Super 8mm films...you name it.

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