I’m presently wrapping up a full semester of teaching Horror Writing to undergrads at Seton Hill University, and we’ve been having a blast doing all sorts of multimedia work — especially work using SoundCloud for audio critiques. Along the way, I’ve been been playing with the site, too, uploading lecture excerpts and strange sound prompts and other weird things. I even recently gave a little presentation about the class experiments for a conference we held on campus called the iTeach gallery.
During the term, I discovered the above excerpt (from my article in the wonderful book for dark authors, WRITER’S WORKSHOP OF HORROR, edited by Michael Knost — who just edited a similar book on Science Fiction and Fantasy coming out next month). The exerpt had been a featured reprint in THE WRITER magazine and therefore available in our college library’s online databases in full text format. The database included an audio player for the visually impaired, so I played it and recorded the robotic voice reading my article so I’d have a copy…then I distorted the file on my computer to give it, well, some kind of aura of the strange. Here’s the result: a mini-lecture by the ghost in the machine, about writing in the horror genre, drawing from my favorite quote by Psycho-author Robert Bloch: “Horror is the removal of masks.”
Arnzen, Michael A. “An Open Book: Writer’s Workshop of Horror” in The Writer (Jan 2010). Excerpt from Knost, Michael, Ed. Writer’s Workshop of Horror. Woodland Press, 2009.
Don’t put money under your child’s pillow if they put their lost tooth there before bedtime. Put something like this under there, waiting for them to awaken in the morning… money better spent!
Berkeley dollmaker Kerry Kate is doing some wonderfully macabre artwork with her collectable handmade doll series at October Effigies. Above is her Tooth Fairy Stuffed Print Doll from May 2010; I also found her “Wormbelly” doll quite disturbing. Visit her blog for the latest.
The Vampire Squid:
“Like many deep-sea cephalopods, Vampire Squid lack ink sacs. If threatened, instead of ink, a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus containing innumerable orbs of blue light is ejected from the arm tips. This luminous barrage, which may last nearly 10 minutes, is presumably meant to daze would-be predators and allow the Vampire Squid to disappear into the blackness without the need to swim far.” — wikipedia entry on Vampire Squid from Hell
The Vampire Bat:
“…The furry, bean-shaped bat with its rodent-like face resembles a rat with wings, but bats are actually more closely related in evolution to dogs and horses. In fact, vampire bats in the wild will gallop and leap across the ground much in the same way that horses do.
In South America where they are common, vampire bats approach their prey on the ground, galloping quickly and quietly as they sneak up on, bite, and drink the blood from sleeping cows, goats and birds.” — “What Steers Vampires to Blood,” UCSF Research
The Vampire Finch:
“…Their most important source of food during the extended droughts is blood. The finches begin by landing on the tail of a seabird. They peck at the base of its wing feathers, breaking the skin and causing it to bleed. As the blood oozes out, the finches sip it every few seconds. Other finches line up behind the booby like a queue at a blood bank and as soon as one leaves its blood-sucking perch another takes its place.” — “Islands of the Vampire Birds”
[Read about Oxpeckers and more at The Evolution of Vampires]
My long-standing adoration of comedic actor Bill Murray is probably no secret [see my earlier entry/photo: "Peter Venkman, Ph.D. -- Busted" ]. So you can imagine how enthralled I am by the new exhibit of Bill Murray-inspired artwork at Gallery1988 in California, called “Please Post Bills — An Art Tribute to a Comic Legend.” Nearly all of Murray’s major film characters are represented and I was pleased to see that some were not overlooked amidst all the Ghostbusters and Steve Zissou images (especially “Big Ern McKracken” from Kingpin). I was impressed by the numerous horror interpretations, especially the zombie versions of Bill from Zombieland (by Rhys Cooper, sampled above) and the zombie rendition of groundskeeper Carl from Caddieshack and others. Go check out the complete exhibit online — several prints and artpieces are available for purchase!
Watch the Gallery1988 blog for coverage and more.
This is probably the most literal Baby Costume I’ve ever seen.
Imagine if you answer the door on Halloween night, and all of these little wrigglers whisper “Trick or Treat” in infantile glee as they reach out at you for some candy. And in the center of the undulating gyre, “Daddy” would just stare at you.
Here’s a fantastic image from Noah Scalin’s five-year running SKULL-A-DAY blog, book, and other diverse creative projects. Lots of great art and ideas on his site, which has just been a great, sustained mill of morbid creativity with such a sustained commitment to the project.
My favorite, I think, is the image (pictured above) of a “Skull of Brains” that Scalin made by arranging actual brain slices encased in acrylic at the wonderful Mutter Museum. See his blog entry on the project for a behind-the-scenes video of its construction and more shots of this big, brainy skull.
I think a lot of creative writers and artists have been engaging in “daily blog art” (like “photo a day” web pages and what not) and I love this sort of thing. But for some reason, Scalin’s serial approach to skull-a-day reminded me of my original Gorelets poetry series — coming up on its tenth anniversary and soon to be celebrated in the upcoming book, The Gorelets Omnibus. The title should be out next season from Raw Dog Screaming Press, and I’m proofreading the book layout this week! Look for updates on gorelets.com or subscribe to The Goreletter on that site for news of its release.
Liked today‘s google doodle for Jim Henson’s 75th Birthday. It made me start thinking about just how bizarre Sesame Street (let alone The Muppet Show) really was. Also reminded me that I once wrote an alternative muppet piece in a (way) back issue of The Goreletter: if you missed it, check out “Grim Henzon Productions”.
p.s. The interactive logos are the best. I learned you can make the word ‘google’ eat itself in today’s doodle… I also made the bald man’s glasses spin off, but I have no idea how I did that.
Spotted in the grocer’s the other day: the ketchup critter vampire: http://www.evriholder.com/Ketchup-Kritter-Mustard-Monster.asp
Look for future faux squeeze bottles of blood in the lineup, like The Bulbous Tick Head and The Happy Funtime IV Needle.