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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Greg 'Craola' Simkins

on August 17, 2008 - 10:26am

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 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 The news section is out of date, but with some sinister sleuthing I was able to track down his blog.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!

Is that Peter Lorre I Hear?

on August 14, 2008 - 10:06am

banner for 'the Pit' website - images of famous horror actors

I was doing a search for Halloween music online, and stumbled across a website promoting "classic horror sounds". Normally, I avoid wav/midi websites like the plague; they are often filled with flash, will bombard you with pop-up ads, and can crash your browser. I feel unclean just thinking about it.

CreepersCreek's Card Holder

on August 13, 2008 - 9:05am

Witch finger in a tiny terracotta pot
A big thanks to CreepersCreek for the pictures and how-to for this Witch Finger Card Holder.

It's a simple but beautiful idea for decorating your table with place settings or food labels. If you're interested, you can make your own by following the instructions in the Horrific 'How To's section.

You could do the same thing using mini cauldrons, teeny coffins, little skulls or pumpkins, but I happen to like the tiny terracotta pots. You could add spiders to the moss or LED lights.

You could replace the fingers with plastic or foam gravestones as well. The possibilities are endless.

(Note: How to was lost in the migrating of the site 4 years after this was posted, though I imagine using a little imagination, you can put together how to use a plastic finger and a painted terra cotta pot to make this!)

Coming Soon to Toronto: Festival of Fear

on August 12, 2008 - 6:29pm

In less than two weeks, Rue Morgue will be holding their annual Festival of Fear National Horror Expo in the Toronto Convention Centre.

I went last year and have mixed feelings about the event. As a horror fan, they had some impressive celebrity guests. As a Haunter/Halloweener, they had very little to get excited about. Most retailers weren't offering anything I hadn't seen around the city (either in speciality or party stores) and the prices were the same (or more expensive).

I'd gone to a workshop offered by a well known make-up artist complete with tips and free samples of their make-up line for making a classic Zombie look. Perhaps they didn't want to share complicated techniques in such a short time frame, but I was very disappointed.

I Spy with My Little Eye...

on August 11, 2008 - 5:47pm

green pumpkin hanging from a trellis
A simple blog post for a long, complicated Monday. Since I've spent the day dealing with what everyone else wants, I decided I would blog about something just for me. Something that makes me happy. Hopefully it will make a few of you smile as well. I want to share the view I see when I look out my home office window.

Located at the side of the house, my office overlooks the backyard of gardeners. And what are they growing this year? To my delight, it's pumpkins.

Boneyard BOOtique

on August 8, 2008 - 10:25pm

Flower with skull centre
For years, Spiderbaby (as she is known in the Haunting world) has been making jewelry, but it was only recently that her husband, Dagon began adding his own artistic expressions to her work. The result? The Boneyard BOOtique.

The couple, both fans of horror and Halloween, felt that others might appreciate their zombie and skull pendants and pins. Thus was the birth of their humble Etsy store.

We both really get into Halloween, horror movies, metal music, Gothic styles, and anything spooky so our art and craft projects reflect those interests. It also shows in the way we dress, our house DragonWyck Manor, and our two hearses.

Body Parts Bakery

on August 8, 2008 - 9:44pm

kid eating bread shaped like a face
Kittiwat Unarrom, now in his early 30's, has decided to go into the family business. In a bakery 100 km west of Bangkok, customers aren't greeted by sesame topped treats or dainty doughnuts. Instead they find body parts on hooks and plastic-wrapped decapitations.

Unarrom, an art graduate, took his talent for portrait painting and sculpting, and transitioned it to bread making. I think it's safe to say he is a new breed of baker in his hometown of Potharam, Thailand.

two flat faces sandwich wrapped
Hands, arms, feet, faces and entire torsos - each one so realistic I imagine they would be hard to consume - are waiting for hungry customers. The eeriness alone of seeing all the selection cling-wrapped like produce on lit display shelves is enough to make you shiver. I can only imagine having it on a plate in front of me.

Not feeling cannibalistic? Perhaps you could try the chicken and pig parts instead.

Oriental Trading Company: Delivering Crap Worldwide

on August 7, 2008 - 6:55pm

Black fake treePretty, isn't it? I mean, not beautiful, but not bad either. That's the image of the tree on the Oriental Trading Company website (don't look for a link. You won't find one here).

The description reads "Black Leaves Tree. Set an eerie Halloween scene with this painted wooden tree! Featuring silky, midnight black leaves, this elegant yet spooky tree makes a ghostly decoration for a haunted house."

Now, I know it's going to be cheesy looking (anything with fake leaves usually is) but I've jazzed up cheesy before. And since it was marked down about 40% off the original price, I won't care if it's a bit corny.

Keep in mind they used the words 'painted' and 'elegant' to describe the tree. The adjectives should have been 'splintered' and 'craptastic'. But I'm jumping ahead.

Three Ghoulish Cheers For Young Haunters

on August 6, 2008 - 10:26pm

young girl in bloody straight jacketWho says the youth of today have no determination or ability to plan ahead? Back when I was neck deep in work and this website was in shambles, I got an email from a young woman (we'll call her Emily the Strange) who said she was looking for Halloween theme May (you're making me look bad in front of the other haunters, Emily).

Miss Strange was kind enough to send me pictures and descriptions of her haunt to use on my theme page. I'm finally at the point where I can do this (a mere 3 months later). But I wanted to make sure I gave Miss Strange her dues and salute her with her own blog post. Besides, it looks like the girl has no pupils in that picture. How gruesomely gorgeous is that?

Emily has been haunting her friend's yard for the past two years. Last year, under a pair of raging red eyes glowing in the upstairs window, they created a Demented Hospital complete with an i.v. bag (made by a pop bottle filled with water and food colouring which ran down a slim rubber tube) hanging next to a, waiting to get her leg sawed off by the "crazy zombie doctor" (not just a zombie doctor...a crazy zombie doctor...the worst kind of doctor possible) as she screamed in pain.