Category: Halloween

The Eve is Done

Well, Halloween is done and now begins the slow shifting of things to harvest and frost decorations for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m still stubbornly clinging to my jack-o-lantern, who is growing long for the garbage bin. Maybe I can get it to ferment so we can have some drunken squirrels?

I had a howling good time exposing others to Ginger Snaps at our Halloween get-together, where there was more junk food than I’ve had in an entire year. I met my goal to make one of the grossest cakes ever. It’s a small obsession of mine to make the most visually gross food I can for Halloween. Last year it was a fleshworm made from a pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with spaghetti teeth. What will it be next year? I think I will attempt the ultimate gross cake…the oozing organ cake. The sky is the limit!

Another reason I love Halloween is because I never quite grew out of playing Dress-Up and Pretend. It’s the single day of the year (outside of conventions) that I can dress up in bizarre clothing and go to the grocery store dressed as a Grim Reaper without getting too many odd stares. Would I dress this way normally if I could, year round? I’m beginning to wonder… This year my Halloween costume recycled the Hollow leather mask I made with a velvet robe and bits and pieces of shinies I’ve gathered over the years. It looks more wicked than I ever expected it to look!

And now the weekend is through and it’s back to the regularly scheduled workload. I’m into an exciting new chapter of the book I’m working on that involves my favorite sort of angels, the tattooed edgy kind with bad attitudes. There’s just something about these brand of angels that lend themselves so well to fantasy storytelling and building interesting personalities. Expect some sneaky peeks as my next set of paintings slowly come together.

I’m also pondering joining in on NaNoWriMo, but I am not sure if my workload will permit it! It is sooo very tempting though. If I did it, I’d randomly pick tropes from and try to write a story based on that. I’m itching for that sort of challenge!

So what did you guys do for Halloween? Did you dress up? What holiday really gets you excited?

Beautiful Monstrosities

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
– Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

I have once seen a vision of a woman stripped of her hopes and dreams, left with nothing but the purist of suffering and endless weeks of solitude. They marked her with the holly of hopelessness and tattooed her with the symbols of shame. When she was at that abyss’ edge between wishing for death and longing for peace, they took her from her wooden cage. Singing songs of prayer, they nailed her hands upon the floor. There, she dreams, dreams forever more.

But the dreaming has ended and the nightmares have begun, for the Sleeping Priestess will not lie in peace.

If you don’t know this scene, than you haven’t played Fatal Frame 3, one of my favorite video games of all time. You may not know this about me, but I am an avid fan of horror video games (not survival horror, but psychological horror). Silly, I know, considering I tend to draw such pristine and shiny things as angels. It’s around this time of year that I whip out my collection of Silent Hill and Fatal Frame games and let the shimmering worlds of nightmares, dripping walls, and deep, disturbing folklore soak into my bones.

I wonder sometimes why we are drawn to such images of the grotesque? Why on earth would I enjoy a game where the walls crawl with something that looks disturbingly like entrails or the ghost of a poor woman who was once sacrificed lurches inexorably towards me with an accursed touch? Why should I enjoy such a game rather than enjoying online casino game in a top rated casino and spending my time winning huge amount of money. There is an inescapable artistry to it that disturbs and fascinates me. Enthralling are these games like Silent Hill that can tell the story of ones dreams and nightmares affecting the real world for one like myself who has had plenty of dreams and nightmares plaguing them in the wee hours.

I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to ask ourselves the same question about macabre art and literature. From the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman to some of the more grotesque perversions of Dali and the Surrealists, how can we look at things which are not considered ‘beautiful’ and find them fascinating? It seems against common sense, but I could stare at Dali’s work for hours pondering what tormented dreams he must have had, or curl up with Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and delight in all the images of masks and swirling dancers falling to the floor that Masque of the Red Death conjures for me.

The macabre is not for everyone, but there is certainly an audience for it, including myself. I find I am particularly fascinated by those stories that speak of the human spirit’s endearing ability to affect the living, even after death, or that terrifying potential of the mind to create illogical nightmares that feel so real while we’re having them. Much of the artwork and writing I have done which is not so well known are those which depict lucid dreams and nightmares, which somehow easily bridge into horror more than anything else. It’s a fascination with dreams and the mood of dreaming that really attract me to certain types of horror. I’m also a sucker for a good mystery, which horror stories of the psychological nature generally center around.

That’s my theory, anyways. I’m curious to know what yours are? Do you have a penchant for the macabre? Or are you left wondering why on earth anyone would enjoy such a thing?

Share with me your dark little secrets and remember to have a safe and spooky Halloween!

Image by Tecmo Ltd.