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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

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 www.pedestrianx.ca.

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).

MTV Remakes 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'

on August 22, 2008 - 11:38am

Tim Curry
Look at him. Perfection. The epitome of sauciness. No one could hold a candle to Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter. It's unthinkable that someone would even try to reinvent the iconic character on screen a second time. I mean, who would be that stupid?

MTV. MTV is that stupid. MTV who packages cool like it was cheaply made fake tanning cream (it's just like an authentic tan, except it costs more, and makes you orange and totally lame).

Only MTV, in partnership with producers from Fox Television Studios (another seemingly endless creator of American mainstream television trash), could look at a cult classic and think "Hey, I am sure we can make some money off someone else's genius by completely bastardizing the original and turning it into our pre-packaged, mindless fame machine, hack-filled product". Considering the fact that the success of the Rocky Horror Picture Show was a fluke made possible by underground followings, what makes them think they can generate the same type of fan base and financial windfall that has taken 30 years to accumulate?

Zombie Broadway

on August 21, 2008 - 11:14am

Cover of the comic with a man in a fedora flanked by two starlet zombies
When Zombies take over the earth (as they inevitably will), our first reaction might be to wall off cities, carpet bomb areas, or go underground. Apparently in New York, the plan is to put on a Broadway show.

David Stewart of Eurythmics fame released a graphic novel in March (2008) entitled Zombie Broadway.

That's right. You read that correctly.

The basic premise is that before the President of the United States bombs the city, the acting Mayor of New York convinces him there is another way. Apparently, Zombies have a taste for human brains, feet, livers and jazz hands.

Seems like zombies aren't so different from other New Yorkers. After all, they appreciate the theatre. In fact, music seems to be one of the few things that can tame the flesh-eating undead beings. And what better place than New York City to put on the show of a lifetime? Just keep your fingers crossed that the audience isn't eaten during the performance...

The Midnight Meat Train

on August 20, 2008 - 11:55am

poster of a man sitting on a submway
I love horror movies, but I am not the type of person who likes a movie simply because it fits a certain genre. Therefore, I don't get excited about a new film coming out just because it's a horror movie. There has to be something about it that catches my interest.

Clive Barker's 'Midnight Meat Train' is one of those movies that has the potential to be more than just a slasher gore-fest (though what's with the string of horror movies that focus on photography lately?).

For one night only, Rue Morgue is presenting the premiere of Midnight Meat Train at the Bloor Cinema this Thursday at 9:30 PM. There will be prizes and 'Evangelical Satanic Faith Healing' with Pastor Morgan Wilkes and Victor Marshall of Cloven Path Ministries.

Monster Extravaganza!

on August 19, 2008 - 3:34pm

'Creepy' Magazine coverOk creepy kiddies, and all you monster-crazed collectors, have I got a fun website for you. It's called Mad-Monsters.com, and it's filled with some visual treats.

Let's start with the magazine covers. The section is sorted into 30 categories, each one represented with an image from that collection. You click on the cover of choice, and it leads you to additional images. Titles include Famous Monsters, Horror Tales, Tomb of Dracula, and Modern Monsters (to name but a few).

If you like those, you'll appreciate the movie posters as well. There are vintage selections such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and some cult classics like Blackula and Astro Zombies ("See astro space laboratory. See brutal mutants menace beautiful girls").

Want more movie images? You got it. There are 13 movie titles that each have 30 or so movie stills to choose from.

A Wave from the Grave: Cake Idea

on August 18, 2008 - 8:22am


I originally saw this on a blog called Desserts by Candy. You can find the entire from-scratch cake recipe there. Since I rarely bake from scratch (I'm a cooker, not a baker), my interest is in how she does the fingers.

To make the fingers, shape the marzipan into five logs of vary length and score lines with a knife to make knuckles. If the marzipan is too sticky to work with, dust some icing sugar on your palm. Press a sliced almond to one end to make the finger tip and adhere with some left over chocolate glaze. Adhere the finger to the cake with more left over chocolate glaze and prop them up with toothpicks if necessary. Sprinkle some chocolate cookie crumbs around the fingers to make dirt.

Greg 'Craola' Simkins

on August 17, 2008 - 10:26am

creature
Like a number of other artists I have blogged about, Greg 'Craola' Simkins started his career as a graffiti artist. Now 33 years old, Simkins is more likely to showcase his artwork in galleries instead of back alleys.

I first saw his work on www.imscared.com which highlights sketches, illustrations and graffiti created by Simkins. The news section is out of date, but with some sinister sleuthing I was able to track down his blog. You'll find information about his current exhibits there (most of which are currently taking place on the west coast of the United States near his home of California).

I had a difficult time narrowing the selection of artwork to showcase on this blog. I've attempted to pick items that show the diversity of his subjects.

In one piece, Simkins creates a fantasy world reminiscent of 'Alice in Wonderland', where familiar creatures are given twisted transformations. In the next, it's a nod to Tim Burton or Walt Disney with a very creepy-cartoon rendition of popular icons. He's even recently signed to create vinyl toys with the first installation being Cap'n Rotnclaw.

2008 Toronto Zombie Walk Fiendraiser Party

on August 15, 2008 - 10:02pm

poster of rock and roll style zombies
On Saturday night, the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is having a fundraiser ...sorry, fiendraiser for the annual Toronto Zombie Walk that takes place in the streets of Toronto each October. I could describe the event to you in my own words, but why go through all the hassle? Here is the description from the Facebook events page (with a couple of links for the bands thrown in from moi):

"On August 16, the dead will rise and descend on the Smiling Buddha Bar for the first annual Toronto Zombie Walk Fiendraiser.

Prepare for an evening of ear-splitting monster bands, ghoulish performances, artist meat and greet and spooktacular giveaways. All the money raised from the Fiendraiser will go towards the operating costs of this year's Toronto Zombie Walk.

Only seven people attended the first Zombie Walk, held in Toronto in 2003, but the ghoulish plague has since spread across the globe. Zombie Walks are now held throughout Canada, the United States, England and Australia. Last year's fifth annual Toronto Zombie Walk drew a record-breaking crowd of over 1,000 living dead!

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