It’s probably no secret by now that I love YouTube, I watch it more than TV. So many artistic and weird things can be found that would never previously have seen the light of day outside of a few old tapes passed from hand to hand.
So I thought I’d share with you some channels entirely devoted to bizarre, freakish or otherwise surreal animations, the kind that shows you the real odd side of YouTube. I’m guessing most people know of Cyriak, David Firth and Rachel Maclean so I picked the smaller ones lurking below the surface.
Also, last night, my boyfriend Bill uploaded the trailer to an upcoming animation of his. It’s brilliantly absurdist and dark, I’m very proud of him, and I can’t wait for you to see the whole thing.
OK, first up is Colin Raff. All his animations are roughly a minute long and they’re a little Max Ernst, a little Monty Python, and very peculiar.
Supercriminal Pregnant Pink Surprise Eggs Fun in Real Life by Colin Raff
Next up is someone whose blog I’ve been visiting on and off for a few months, and recently discovered their YouTube channel. They’re videos are mainly surreal landscapes with jolly music, or a clip of a road or beach with some kind of animated layer on the top.
Gmcfosho hasn’t uploaded anything for a few years but his parody rap videos make me chuckle. With lyrics like “Fresh up out the water like a amphibian, I’m so fresh that I got a Aunt Vivian,” and rudimentary animations he’s entertainingly daft.
Good day! Funny seeing you here, I don’t remember giving you a key. No, you just make yourselves at home. Just try not to spill your drink on the sofa. I’m not calling the police, I’m…doing arm exercises…
When I’m not merrily hob-nobbing at sophisticated cocktail parties or reading the works of the finest minds (it’s true. How can you doubt me?) like most others I watch YouTube channels. My favourites are those that tell me things my little brain was otherwise unaware of and, of course, weird things. These are the best channels in my opinion that combine the two.
You’ll notice I tend to enjoy the skeptics over those who believe in the paranormal. I’d never knock those who believe, my mum is a spiritualist, but I personally enjoy looking into other theories behind spooky goings on. With that in mind, let’s plunge in!
I don’t know his real name, but Scare Theater creates such informative videos on such obscure subjects that he had to go first. I like his analytical mind, he tends to look for the most logical answers and he goes the extra mile in research. I can imagine him with a spooky detective series in which he’s paired up with a gullible, always getting into trouble partner.
I don’t always agree with Rob politically (his webs series Why Would You Put That On The Internet focuses on things that annoy him rather than information), but I’ve been a long time fan of Seriously Strange, Anatomy of a Murder and Twisted Tens. Whether it’s serial killers, weird online stories or peculiar events, his videos are professional, interesting and well researched.
As well as looking at bizarre youtubers, videos and channels she also takes a look at grizzly websites and disturbing challenges (never showing anything horrible, mind) and analyses possible hoaxes. The information is very in depth and she favours a calm, reasonable approach.
Cayleigh is a little more believing than the others (and occasionally perkier) but I find her videos very interesting, particularly the crime ones. A lot of care goes into them and she often manages to tell me things I didn’t know, even about well worn cases most have heard of. Plus her banner art and decor is really pretty.
If you need a break from all that crime and darkness, why not relax with a nice cake…of eyeballs! OK, that didn’t really work, but this channel is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to try (get Bill to try) some of these recipes.
Quick Tips From the Crypt: “Red Velvet” Rice Krispy Treats
I think we can all agree that it’s far too hot to think. If you’re one of those people who likes the sun then, well, nothing really, just carry on liking the sun and I’ll carry on hiding from it. However I will share with you a web series that I’m continually inspired and fascinated by, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.
When I saw the first one, many moons ago, I thought to myself, “what the hell is this?” Then I reached the surprise ending and I was in love. I shared the first episode with the other new authors of Eraserhead Press and we all agreed it was really about us and our editor was the writing pad.
However, I think the third is my favourite. If ever I were to utter the words “This is my aesthetic” it would be about that: a veneer of rainbows and cute, while underneath something very unpleasant lurks. Plus it has a catchy song.
So, without further ado, here’s Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1-6
I was interviewed for a new short comedy horror story I have coming out with F’d Up Fairy Tales, a new collection in which a few stories are released each month of the year. Mine will be released February 15th, January is available now here and here.
The entire thing is completely daft and the subject of boob milk somehow raises it’s sticky head, so enjoy!
Today’s google doodle is Charles Perrault. Well done Charles, you’ve made it! Fairy tale fascination is nothing new, children watch the Disney versions over and over, but as I grew older I realised there was something else to them, something…untamed.
A Jim Henson television programme from the late 80s told me that yes, there was something to that theory. Based on folk tales from the past they were often more unpleasant than the Disney versions – don’t let yourself be led astray, or such and such will happen.
Jim Henson’s Storyteller, Sapsorrow, an early version of Cinderella where she has to marry her father
That’s the gist of many of them: dark predictions if you don’t heed your guardian’s warnings. Little Red Riding Hood was much more The Company of Wolves than a story about a little girl avoiding a scary animal. In truth she was on the brink of sexuality and told not to talk to strangers on the way to her grandma’s lest they be an evil seducer.
But that’s not all they are. The listener no doubt felt a thrill of fear and disgust and the teller would delight in their reaction. They’re projections of worst case scenarios told safely indoors, the Urban Legends of their time. I got the same excitement and revulsion when I first discovered the Snopes website and saw society’s basest worries right there on the screen. There’s no PC filters here, everybody fits a stereotype and everyone wants to secretly maim you or put gerbils up you (neither sounds good).
Just like the Prince’s mother from Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty plans to eat his daughter, stories are whispered of meth taking baby-sitters mistaking children for meatloaf and putting them in ovens. A still earlier version of Sleeping Beauty has the Prince impregnating the Princess IN HER SLEEP, while other versions have the mother-in-law not only eating her son’s first daughter but secretly, apparently for a laugh, feeding her to the King. All of which sound a little like the tales passed between lips of scary foreigners and drug addicts.
So next time you listen to a biased and poorly researched story told to you by the bloke in the office who heard it from Fred just imagine: One day there might be a cartoon version where they get married at the end.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at the word bags that have unzipped my brain these last few weeks…
1. The Four Gentlemen of the Apocalypse by Various.There’s no apocalypse here, but there are four wonderfully different gentlemen. Each has written a novelette (about ten thousand words) of accessible absurdist, bizarro fiction. It may be mind-meltingly weird but the stories are easy to follow and entertaining, so if you’re normally put off by intense oddity the chances are you’ll enjoy at least one of these.
They’re very different in tone so if you’re not keen on extreme comedic violence you might prefer poetic beauty, or a surreal fairy tale, or a man turning into a cat. It’s fun, you should give it a whirl. And if you don’t like it, well, we can all move on with our lives and avoid eye contact from here on.
2. Jigsaw Youth by Tiffany Scandal. This book is pretty exciting, and I don’t just mean because the author is also a Suicide Girl and a photographer. It manages to transcend the angry alternative person cliches by packing in enough strangeness and raw emotion to make the reader’s eyes fizz like sour sweets.
Essentially it’s the main character’s story of navigating her way through life as an impossibly cool girl, falling in love with the wrong women and playing in a band, but it’s a lot more than that. I love her descriptions, her turns of phrase and the way it really seems to come from the heart. Everybody’s been through heartbreak at some point but here it feels fresh and somehow beautiful.
3. Gutmouth by Gabino Iglesias. I started this book on a journey and had to put it down until I got home because I felt carsick. That doesn’t sound like a compliment but it is. One of my favourite genres is noir and the other is weird (is that a genre? It should be) and this is essentially a mix of the two.
After the world faces apocalyptic mutations one man has a mouth in his gut, a mouth with a British accent and unpleasant attitude. He is friends with a rat-man who tortures people for their pleasure. His girlfriend was a one-legged cyber prostitute whom he now wants dead and everyone is watched over by giant eyes. It’s grim and fun, all rolled into one. Just don’t read it in the car.
4. Cirque Du Mort Volume 1 by Anastasia Catris. A circus of the damned is certainly not a new idea, any self-respecting oddball is drawn to dark circuses, and that’s because they’re brilliant. I read this in the early hours after taking painkillers and it tapped right into the place that drew me to weirdness as a young ‘un.
This comic is a collection of short stories, beginning with a character picture, of how each Circus of the Dead performer met their sticky end. The pictures and words are very pretty and I’m looking forward to getting the next one.
5. Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell. This is some high minded weirdness. Each story made me go ‘ooh’ and ponder the nature of the universe. I liked it a lot and found the concepts thought provoking. Don’t believe me? Have a peek at one of them for yourself, Dunce, that’s probably the best way of deciding if you’d like to read more.
I didn’t know who Kirk Cameron was before I started, perhaps because I’m British and he’s not so famous over here, but I got the gist. The more I read the more I was reminded of Georgian satire against royalty and political figures, which may not have been poetic but they succeeded in making the chosen figure look very silly. Plus there’s a Jesus made out of cheese! In fact, there’s several. It’s just a bit of fun and if you feel like a chuckle I suggest you have a look.
Well, that’s it! I put all these words into my face and they emerged from the back of my head as information. Yummy. See you next time!