Hello my little sections of time spent in bed when you know you have to get up soon thus making it even more comfortable, I found this stop motion animation the other day and couldn’t wait to share its creepy glory.
Alex, aka Guldies, is a Swedish stop motion animator. Have a look at his (pretty sure it’s a he, sorry if not) youtube channel. Enjoy!
Quick announcement: Bill and I are having a holiday at home, so after this post I shall see you in two weeks’ time.
Before the motion picture industry solidified in the 20s, The tens and 1890s were a period of gleeful experimentation, much like the advancement of YouTube from dramatic gophers to defined communities and vloggers.
From the cinéma vérité of the Lumière Brothers, the fantastical whimsy of Georges Méliès, the glamour and fun of Alice Guy-Blaché and the innovation of the world’s first animators, everyone had something they wanted to test. Vaudeville stars of the Belle Epoque and big events were a natural draw, but sometimes events don’t go according to plan, vaudeville acts seem alien to modern eyes and other things… are just odd.
The Balancing Bluebottle/The Acrobatic Fly (F. Percy Smith, 1910)
I honestly felt sick after watching this. It’s fascinating though and I couldn’t look away. But…yeah I still felt sick.
A fly is glued to a matchstick by the wings, it’s strength tested by placing objects onto it’s flailing legs, one of the objects being a dead fly. Yep, it spins around the corpse of it’s brethren on frantic arthropodic feet. You know that shudder Bart does in the Simpsons…
Fish (Bert Williams, 1916)
This next one isn’t creepy so much as sad. Bert Williams wrote and directed two films, unheard of for a person of colour back then. However this two reeler is very light on humour and audiences had a hard time accepting him, as a 42 year old man, playing a boy. Added to the mix are parents played by white people in black face with incredibly poor comic timing and pathos that leaves the viewer depressed.
Bert was never able to reach his full ambition, stuck as he was in ‘black’ roles often in blackface. Friend and fellow vaudevillian WC Fields said “Bert Williams was the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew.”
On stage and in his other short he was a more subtle comedian. After the disappointment of Fish he returned to live performances.
Death jump from the Eiffel Tower, 1912
On the 4th February, 1912, Franz Reichelt was scheduled to test his homemade parachute by jumping from a great height. Nobody in the watching crowd or French and British media thought to tell him it was a bad idea and off he went, falling from the tower to his unfortunate death.
The Dancing Pig (1907)
The internet is quite familiar with a small section of this vaudeville performance, namely the titular pig gurning grotesquely at the end. The rest is pretty darn odd too, involving public humiliation and torment. All in good fun though.
Perhaps it’s my phobia of dead bugs (live ones I’m fine with though, no idea why) that leads me to find this film so shudder inducing. It’s a shame because this satire by the Polish, Russian and French stop motion animator is really incredible.
The cast of deceased insects perform an operatic melodrama of betrayed love and revenge in a mischievous swipe at popular theatre.
Either this film is meant to show the absurdity of men who protested against the suffragette movement or it’s an indictment of what could happen if allowed to continue. Seeing as Alice was a filmmaker herself I’d prefer to believe the former, but we just don’t know.
This ambitious project was one of the first feature length films ever made (the first being The Kelly Gang, 1906). It’s packed with disturbing imagery from cannibalism to tortured souls and remains hauntingly fascinating to this day.
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
We’ve all seen this clip of the Nemertea, or ribbon worm’s, attempt to digest that man’s hand. Here’s a bit more info, and take comfort in the fact that they can grow up to 54 metres (177 ft) long. That’s longer than my nightmares can cope with:
I’ve been fascinated by disgusting animals since I saw a fly give birth to a maggot. “They don’t give birth to maggots” I hear you cry, “they lay eggs.” Well, I didn’t realise that until years later when it hit me that the thing wasn’t giving birth, it was being eaten from the inside out. Eeuuuuuurrr.
So, for anyone else delighting in the SciFi, B Movie creatures of our natural world, here are a few more (have a peek at my previous post) grotesques to see you on your way.
Here’s a BBC clip of a leech swallowing a giant worm. It’s like it’s eating itself. A self-hating leech. Well, not quite, I’m sure they have very different bodily make-up, but…oh, just watch it.
If ever a creature evolved from the tears of frightened children the ‘living fossil’ Goblin Shark would be it. Growing to lengths of 12.6 feet (384cm) the oddest thing about them is their freaky protruding jaws:
You know how it is. It’s spring, you’re thinking of which flowers you want in your garden, what would look pretty with what. Look no further – here’s The Corpse Flower, a plant known for the stench of rotten flesh:
Butterflies, bees and other creepy crawlies sometimes drink tears – my tears when I think about this too much:
Let’s end on a cute (but still pretty weird) note with the Dumbo Octopus. Look at its little ears!
Surely not? You say. Such a thing is impossible. I’ll leave you to judge. Can a book composed entirely of animated gifs really have a cohesive structure? Well…no. Is it scary? Only you can say. Some of them are very graphic and disturbing to look at, sure. Some of them are also very silly. However it’s probably the thought that counts, and the idea is definitely an intriguing one.
On her Model Mayhem page she says: “I’m always looking for these textures, finishes and effects that transform my models. I innovate with different materials compatible with use on the skin. In this way, latex, gold leaf, gelatin, photo transfer and makeup, characterized my work and allow me to convey my creativity on the epidermis…I give as much attention to the composition and details. I am looking for all these features to achieve a true transmutation of the body, then breathes life into my painting and my art who turns into true living canvas.”
Merry almost Easter! Is it me or does the date keep changing? Here we’re used to exchanging eggs and dancing naked whilst weeping (just me?) but other countries have their own ideas of spring tradition.
1. Girl Whipping (and Soaking) in Eastern Europe. Yes, show those Slovak ladies who’s boss! In the Czech Republic you give them a good hiding with a willow stick and then a dousing with freezing water! The water tradition occurs elsewhere in Eastern Europe too. Apparently the voracity of the dousing can vary from “having a teaspoon of warm tap water dribbled over you to a bucket of frigid well water thrown at you.” Likewise the strength of the stick beating can depend on how drunk people are, but it’s not really supposed to hurt. Read more about it here.
3. Crucifixion in the Philippines. Flagellation, genuine crucifixion… these people take the grim part of religion very seriously. Be warned, the video below features some very unpleasant business. Have a read about it here.
4. ‘Halloween’ Easter in Finland. In a kind of reverse trick or treat children dress up as witches and bring gifts door to door. Those gifts might be twigs and crepe paper but it’s the thought that counts, and they still manage to extort chocolate so all is right with the universe.
5. Pot smashing in Greece.Greeks just love breaking stuff! If you’re ever annoyed with a person it’s probably best to get down there and smash up a load of china – just be sure they’re not trying to eat off it at the time.
6. The Dance of Death in Spain. If you go to Verges, Costa Brava, you may find yourself surrounded by a procession of skeletons. Apparently to remind people that ‘death can occur at any time,’ everyone dances to drums and carries something ‘death related’ such as a scythe.