Tag Archive for 'creepy'

Vintage Photo Album – Keeping it Weird

Just keeping things weird around here with another round of weird vintage photos I found on eBay. This week, we have an awesome assortment of spirit photos. I love spirit photos!!! Click the links for more info on them.

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Mumm mumm I lub um wittle snookums. Hold still now little baby.
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Auction Ends: 5/12/13

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The not-so-lovely Lon Chaney Sr. and the lovely Renee Adoree from Tod Browning’s 1926 silent film, THE BLACKBIRD. What the heck is he doing?
Here
Auction Ends: Ends when it ends

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19th Century medium photo, attributed to Georgiana Houghton (another of her masterpieces is available for viewing here).
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Auction Ends: 5/12/13

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Another delight. I love how the chair back looks like bones thanks to the ghostly apparition.
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Auction Ends: 5/12/13

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Number 24 in a series by spiritualist John Beattie (more Beattie from my site, here).
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Auction Ends: 5/12/13

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Another John Beattie photo. This one with writing on the back.
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Auction Ends: 5/12/13

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Theda Bara! From the 1918 Fox film THE SOUL OF BUDDHA
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Auction Ends: 3/12/13

See more Vintage Photos here on Dark in the Dark.

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darkinthedark does not claim copyright on these images. If you are the copyright holder and object to their presence here, please contact me and I will remove them.

Vintage Photo Album – Know When to Run

It’s important to know when to run. Here are a number of occasions when a monster knows that it’s time to get out while the getting is good, and be ambulatory about it.

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When Alice and her dolls look like a gathering storm, it is time to make for the horizon.
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Auction Ends: 5/4/13

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Boxing clowns? Run.
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Auction Ends: 4/24/13

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Jump out of his lap promptly when the funny bear says you are the cutest little girl he has ever eaten. Uh… Er… He means SEEN. Cutest little girl he has ever SEEN. And smelled. You smell good.
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Auction Ends: 5/4/13

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When the natives dive for cover. Rank beginners just stand there clinging to each other. Pros make for the exit.
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Auction Ends: 5/4/13

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When the monkey girl starts to dance, razzmatazz! I mean – uh – run!
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Auction Ends: 5/5/13

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When the woman next to you starts to scream, it might be time to move away from the giant hand.
Here
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On your first day in the orphanage, if the strangely friendly girls surround you from behind, and you hear the faint sounds of cutlery coming out of pockets, it might be too late to run, but you’re a fool not to at least try.
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Auction Ends: 5/4/13

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If the lady waiting in the courtyard has no visible feet, it’s time to heed the warnings that have been scratched into the wall above your bed. Run!
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Auction Ends: 5/6/13

See more Vintage Photos here on Dark in the Dark.

Check this space for more weird photos on eBay.

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darkinthedark does not claim copyright on these images. If you are the copyright holder and object to their presence here, please contact me and I will remove them.

Häxan by Benjamin Christensen

haxan-lady

A proper subtitle for exploitation/witchcraft history film Häxan (1922) would be “Witchcraft as a Social Ill -or- Mistreatment of Women Through the Millennia.” I just had the chance to see Häxan on the big screen at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, thanks to Filmusik. As a fan of silent movies and dark subject matter, I’ve been wanting to catch this movie in the theater for a long time. It was awesome seeing this movie with not one, but two live bands to accompany it. For those interested, the bands were Jaggery and Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys.

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The title Häxan translates from Swedish (it’s a Swedish film) to Witch. The film is broken up into several parts. Haxan begins with an introduction to medieval beliefs about the nature of the universe. How the universe rotated around the Earth, how the stars hung from a ceiling that was held in the sky by columns, and how hell could be reached by digging. During this part, the movie resembles instructional films from the 1950s, featuring a pointer which intrudes from off-screen to show what the narrative is talking about (and the viewer becomes worried that the whole film is going to continue in this vein).

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It’s my opinion that this first part of the film was aimed at censors of the time with the goal of justifying what was to follow as “instructional.” Fortunately, a very sharp left turn is made, and Häxan gets lurid fast. The second part of the movie is about witches rites as they were believed to happen in the middle ages, and approaches the subject of witchcraft as a social ill, like poverty or crime: Lonely old ladies make potions from birds, toads, snakes, and rotting body parts of hanged criminals. Lonely younger ladies want the potions to seduce fat monks who have terrible table manners. Unfortunate babies are sacrificed. In a telling key scene, a conga line of witches stops one by one to kiss the behind of a gleeful devil.

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Part three continues the theme of witchcraft as a social ill by highlighting the ways in which accusations of witchcraft were used to oppress women. Once accused of being a witch, a person was screwed. It probably isn’t news to anyone reading this review that most of the “tests” used to expose witches were double-binds like the famous water test. A witch was thrown into a river. If the water rejected her, and the witch floated, she was found guilty and would be burned at the stake. If she sank, then everyone was happy for the drowned woman, because at least she wasn’t a witch.

The final part of Häxan is a meditation on how some things that were identified by superstitious people in the dark ages as “witchcraft” may really have been other problems like kleptomania, sleepwalking, or “hysterical women”. This part uses several vignettes to show parallels between women with these social ills in the middle ages and modern times. The modern woman being much more fortunate in that she is institutionalized or drugged instead of being burned at the stake. One of the scenes here was of a modern woman being caught red handed for compulsively stealing a ring in a jewelry shop. The shop keeper demands that she follow him into his office, where the viewer expects him to extract a (most likely degrading) price for her freedom. Instead, he lets her go with a stern warning.

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The best thing about Häxan is the lurid chiaroscuro imagery that plays out in each part. Many of the scenes are like folk automata as they would have been designed by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Häxan is populated by monsters, devils, animal people, and witches. The witches run the gamut from crones to young damsels in distress and/or various states of undress. Although Häxan portrays women in a number of compromising and unflattering positions, the men in the movie are worse by far. With only a few exceptions (such as the jewelry store keeper), the men are monsters, devils, torturers, accusers, and murderous zealots.

Creepy Factor: 3 out of 5
Suspense Factor: 1 out of 5
Weird Erotic Tension Factor: 3 out of 5
Funny and/or Strange Factor: 5 out of 5

Final result: Without a doubt the most lurid (non-pornographic) silent film I know of, Häxan simultaneously enchants and bores. It caused a lot of outrage during its own time, and as a result it was widely banned or censored. Besides the scenery, the most interesting thing about Häxan is its angle on witchcraft as a historical social ill, and yeah – that’s kind of dry, sadly. If you get a chance to see it in a theater, I would recommend checking it out, especially if you can see it with a live band. But the restored Criterion Collection edition? Maybe it’s a pass.

Häxan – directed by Benjamin Christensen – 1922Haxan (The Criterion Collection) on Amazon.

Book Review: The Last Page by Anthony Huso

THE LAST PAGE is a love story. Here we meet Caliph Howl, reluctant (and questionable) heir to the throne of a duchy on a world populated by men and monsters. Caliph meets Sena while plotting revenge on a rival and eventually falls for her. Unknown to Caliph, Sena is a witch trained in the dark arts of magic, deception, and sexual espionage. Both practice magic, which in this world is powered by blood.

It seems that Caliph would rather live a simple life, but instead finds himself compelled to rule and thus must come up with a plan to repel a civil war that seeks to take his throne. Sena eventually realizes that she is in love with Caliph but remains divided in her loyalties. She has accomplished her heart’s true desire: to track down a legendary magical tome. To unlock the book, she must first betray Caliph. Both Caliph and Sena seem to have daddy issues. Things get out of hand.

THE LAST PAGE is dark, creepy and violent. The main characters are conflicted and often wrestle with their own self-loathing. The technology is advanced to the point where it resembles magic. It can be used to distill souls from man and beast, and use them to power cities or build doomsday devices. The magic is unpredictable and the witches are like a sisterhood of female ninjas who take hallucinatory drugs and hold bacchanal ceremonies to cast hexes capable of atomizing entire cities. There are zeppelins and towering war machines bristling with projectile weapons of every flavor imaginable. Besides the rebellion, the kingship, the witchocracy, and the various nations surrounding Caliph Howl’s duchy, one of the interested parties is obviously a Cthulhu cult. Everyone is a spy.

Did I mention that BLACK BOTTLE, the long-awaited sequel to THE LAST PAGE, is coming from TOR Books in August? I will be reading it as soon as I can get a copy delivered to my underground lair.

Creepy Factor: 4 out of 5
Suspense Factor: 4 out of 5
Weird Erotic Tension Factor: 3 out of 5
Funny and/or Strange Factor: 5 out of 5

Final result: Sena might be like Lyra Belacqua if she was a beautiful witch who got around, if you know what I mean, and if she was losing her mind to a grimoire penned by elder gods, but only if she was living in New Crobuzon from Mieville’s PERDIDO STREET STATION. It’s a love story. You should really go get this book.

The Last Page by Anthony HusoTOR2010
The Last Page on Amazon
Black Bottle on Amazon

Thanks very much to TOR books for the copy of this awesome book. See you next time!

Vintage Photo Album – Visitors of Booth 8

Here is the only known photo of Booth 8, presumably taken just before an abducted Mardi Gras reveler dropped their camera in 1967. Authorities on the history of Booth 8 are scarce, paranoid and jumpy, mostly because they don’t last long. If you see Booth 8, it’s best to leave the area immediately. If you choose to take a less sensible course of action, here are some tips.
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Auction Ends: 7/26/12

If you happen to enter Booth 8, avoid its many traps and snares. For example, avoid Nurse Sandy. She likes to be of aid to patients with poor constitutions. The medicine she administers will keep you inches from death until she finds another plaything.
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Auction Ends: 7/25/12

Avoid the Towel Baby. Cloudy faces will watch from the windows as the Towel Baby wraps you in its fresh-smelling embrace. Do not succumb to this machination of Booth 8!
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Auction Ends: 7/25/12

Senorita Caboose

Avoid Senorita Caboose. She will show you a thing or two, if you let her. No matter how she tempts you, don’t peek under her mask.
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Auction Ends: 6/27/12

Above all else, avoid the various ghosts which haunt the hidden hallways of Booth 8. The squeaky wheels of this ghost can be heard from a distance.
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Auction Ends: 6/27/12

Avoid all things without faces.
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Auction Ends: 6/30/12

If there are two of them, it’s time to run.
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If there are two of them, it’s time to run.
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Auction Ends: 7/28/12

As with Senorita Caboose, avoid Fingers O’Hare.
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Auction Ends: 7/3/12

These six fellows would love to play a song for you. Do not let them!
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Auction Ends: 6/30/12

*****

That’s it for the Phantom Booth 8. I’ll leave you with a photo of Theda Bara. Theda Bara!

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Auction Ends: 7/25/12

See more Vintage Photos here on Dark in the Dark.

Check this space for more weird photos on eBay.

*Best Search Ever*


darkinthedark does not claim copyright on these images. If you are the copyright holder and object to their presence here, please contact me and I will remove them.
The flying monkeys let our technician out for a minute and he snuck away into the light of day. Thanks for your patience during this difficult transition.
I ated Tinkerbell.

Fhtagn Spoken Here.

... the attic, a vast raftered length lighted only by small blinking windows in the gable ends, and filled with a massed wreckage of chests, chairs, and spinning-wheels which infinite years of deposit had shrouded and festooned into monstrous and hellish shapes.
The Shunned House
H.P. Lovecraft




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