Odd Monsters

Posted in Around the World, Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2016 by ranranami

Bored with the bogeyman? Not finding the clown thing too funny anymore? Are vampires in your nightmares just sucking you dry? Well, not to worry, there’s plenty of ‘wonderful’ creatures out there to ensure that your psyche stays freshly traumatized for years to come. Keeping the Japanese one to just one, because their mythology is so broad with yokai and spirits, that you can’t possibly cover them all in one go.

 

kayawaguruma

Katawaguruma/Katawa Guruma

Origin: Japanese

The female counterpart to the Wa nyūdō, this creature appears in the shape of a woman (usually naked) burning in eternal torment with the lower portions, or attached to, an ox cart wheel. The causes bad luck, ill fortune, and misery to those who encounter her, what’s more…the bad luck doesn’t just stop at one person, it can spread through the entire community associated with anyone who has met her. She also harvests the souls of the ‘impure’, the cruel, the sinful, etcetera, etcetera.

 

likho

Likhoradka/Tryasavitsa

Origin: Slavic

Embodying a tall woman with black, messy hair, Likhoradka will spread  horrible calamities and plague wherever she goes, and to whomever she encounters. She can also possess anyone she chooses.

 

black_annis

Black Annis/Agnes

Origin: British

Save your jokes, this lady is not someone you want to mess with. Absolutely hideous creature, a wizened crone with gnarly black claws, sharp teeth, one eye, and mottled blue skin. Some say her claws are made of iron, some say they’re just…particularly strong, I suppose. Residing around Leicestershire, Agnes spends most of her free time tearing travelers to pieces, redecorating her cave with the flayed skin of small children, and generally just being a terrible neighbor. Meg Mucklebones, anyone?

 

kanon

Kanontsistonties

Origin: Iriquois

Say what you will about Native American mythology, it seems to me that they really take the cake for the creepiest monsters out there. As much as I adore the Windigo, I felt like maybe delving into something a little less popular. Varying in size from miniscule to massive, the Kanontsistonties are essentially flying skulls with bat wings and a desperate craving for…you guessed it…human flesh. They are the product of two possibilities, victims of murder by beheading, or…they used to be cannibals in life, and decided they just couldn’t kick the habit in death either. They can’t stop, as they have no stomachs, so they’re pretty much doomed to eternal hunger.

 

horse

Cheval Mallet

Origin: French

Horses. You can’t trust them. I had a horse step on my foot once. I didn’t like it. So when I learned of the Cheval Mallet, it came as no surprise that it turned out to be an evil horse. Well, that and the fact that I took French in high school, so the connection wasn’t too hard to make. Essentially, it appears at night as a beautiful horse, tricks you into riding it…and that’s it, for the rest of your life (and onwards), you’re trapped for eternity riding a beautiful horse. A beautiful evil horse. Or it drowns you. They like doing that, too.

Vintage Comics – Skeleton Hand, Issue 1 : Sea of Retribution, Chill Chatter, Death For Hire, Monster of the Deep, The Corpse Under the Carpet (Pg. 12 – end)

Posted in Comics, Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2016 by ranranami

This time around, I decided to celebrate the season you guys deserved a larger portion of the comic at once, so here’s the rest of the first issue of Skeleton Hand. There’s nothing better than a story about a man getting his just desserts, which is altogether my favorite sort of horror. Well, that and the kind that has you really cheering for the innocent victims to get out of whatever grisly mess they’ve ended up in. The first story also happens to be educational as well. I had no idea John Paul Jones founded the American navy! Actually, that’s simplifying what he did, but this isn’t a history lesson, it’s a pre-code comic, so give me a break.

Chill Chatter is an editors’ note, but I thought it was charming enough to be included. Honestly though, some of these stories in this issue are actually a little more gruesome than most of the fare I’ve shared with you guys, and despite the condition, this one quickly became one of my favorites, too. Plus, a zombie named ‘Cracker’?! Who can resist a story like that?

The last two one-off stories are…actually a little funnier than you’d expect, and I think only one of them may have been on purpose.

skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-015skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-016skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-017skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-018skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-019skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-020skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-021skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-022skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-023skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-024skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-025skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-026skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-027skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-028skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-029skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-030skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-031skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-032skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-033skeleton-hand-001-acg-septoct-1952-034

Book of the week – Lenore: Wedgies, by Roman Dirge

Posted in Books, Comics, Media, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by ranranami

wedgies

 

Back when I was in junior high, the webcomic world was blossoming for the first time across the internet. Aside from my Archie comics, which my mom bought me on every bi-weekly grocery trip, I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to really delve into others until then. So, I decided I wanted to use my extra cash from household chores to buy something special. I went to a comic store for the first time, and I found…Lenore, by Roman Dirge (a fun artist who also happens to be pretty close friends with Jhonen Vasquez of ‘Invader Zim’ fame.) This was the first issue I bought, and I instantly fell in love with the creepy little dead girl who didn’t really comprehend the idea of mortality, and thus many of her poor pets had to suffer from her unwittingly dangerous affection.

My Lenore obsession burnt out by the time I was in high school and really exploring other, slightly more mature comics, but this book will always hold a place in my heart, and even to this day when I pick it up, a quick look at a page or two always elicits a soft chuckle. Don’t let your possibly bitter memories of the overly marketed Hot Topic prevent you from reading these comics. You’d be missing out on something pretty good.

Horror Flick of the Week: Blood and Lace (1971)

Posted in Media, Movies and shows, Trailers, Videos and Clips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by ranranami

bloodandlace_poster

Drive-in fodder, ‘American Yellow’ pictures, stuff that’s just stylized enough to maybe hint that the creators may have occasionally watched something Italian. This movie matches those descriptions all too well. Blood and Lace is a movie that you may only watch once very late at night, but there’s just enough quiet tension in it, and just enough of a bizarre mystery as well as a combination of strangely mixed plot elements…to basically make this movie stick like glue to the back of your skull for years to come.

I first saw this movie when I was about 12, and I can honestly say…I still love the opening POV camera style for the poor protagonist as she has to relive a nightmare of watching her mother being murdered again, and again, and again…not only that…but in the dream, she actually sees it from the killer’s perspective.

Plus, y’know…gotta love that late 60s/early 70s ‘do. I wonder how much of the ozone was eroded from the hairspray used on the women in this film alone? There are definitely some bizarre twists in this movie, which is why it’s the flick of the week, just in time for Halloween too!

 

 

Skeleton Art

Posted in Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2016 by ranranami

I’ve always been fascinated by skeletons. Human ones in particular. Why? Because, as I’ve established, I was a very strange child. In honor of this interest, today I’d like to share a few artistic works with skeletons as their feature, along with links to information about the incredible artists who made these creations possible

Grim History: Gilles de Rais

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2016 by ranranami

Blood was flowing – in Bluebeard’s house, in the abattoirs, in the circuses where God had set his seal to whiten the windows. Blood and Milk flowed together.” – Arthur Rimbaud

Barbe Bleue

It is said that you can divide fairy tales into two categories, stories based on general fears and thoughts at the time, or apocryphal adaptations of historic fact. What can one say about the story of Bluebeard? A rich man who took many wives, locked them in his house when he left, and left them with a key and an egg just to make sure he could trust them not to discover all of the dead wives he’d slaughtered countless times before. Frankly, I don’t see why people Bluebeard could be associates with Gilles de Rais, but that’s what many people believe. Odd, considering a vast majority of the children he was purported to have slaughtered, if not all, were little boys…

Gilles was born in 1404-05, depending on your sources, precocious, titled, disgustingly rich, and destined to become orphaned at the age of 10. From then on, under the guardianship of his maternal grandfather grandfather, Jean de Craon, who was without a doubt one of the more interesting and dastardly schemers you may read about in history. The man desperately wanted to be the richest in all of France, and as any respectable person of his time would do, endeavored to earn this by wedding Gilles off to a toddler. He tried, anyway. The whole mess got immediately rejected by the Parisian Parliament, so he settled for kidnapping Gilles’ cousin, Catherine de Thouars instead.

But this isn’t Game of Craon, this is the history of Gilles himself. Ultimately, he ended up supporting the Dauphin in the Hundred Years War. He did quite well for himself, reckless, brave, just about everything you could imagine any model aristocratic soldier being. When Joan of Arc came to court, Gilles was to be her military advisor.

Following several successful battles, Gilles became Marshall of France.

gilles-de-rais

Things were looking up for our hero. Then, after a series of unfortunate events, not the least of which being the burning of Joan, and the death of his grandfather (who decided to leave the family title and respect to Gilles’ younger brother),  Gilles decided he’d had enough of being the typical good guy. Some believe the death of Joan may have been the major domino in his gruesome path later on, but really…a lost friend, or perhaps even unrequited love, does not account for psychopathic behavior. Otherwise the world would be far worse than it already is.

Gilles had one daughter with his wife, then it’s purported that he swore off women altogether. The man had spent a good deal of money investing in chapels, the church, and all things holy…suddenly decided to make a complete polar opposite shift in how he lived his life…

In 1432, the year after Joan of Arc’s death, Gilles killed his fist victim. His first documented one, anyway. A boy his cousin had sent to deliver a letter to him. Gilles, essentially went absolutely insane. He started to spend his fortune at an astonishing rate, to the point of having to sell of portions of the family lands and estate to support his activities. What’s more, his parties didn’t stop with boozing and debauchery. There are many claims that insist he raped, tortured, and cremated up to 200 small children by 1440. A majority of the murders took place in 1438-1439. These children were gathered for him by his closest servants, and there are even wild accounts Gilles himself described in his confessions at court of satanic rituals he would perform, very likely involving the remains of these children as well.

gilles-retrato

His brother finally forbade Gilles from selling off anything else, and the family lands were kept intact by a court order, while the man practically threw money at his favored ‘magician’, an Italian man  who had once been a priest, named Antonio Prelati. Gilles’ ultimate goal was to restore the money he had squandered, and he spent it like water just to find out if he could somehow transform common elements into gold. He actually thought murdering the children would somehow aid in this, and it’s clear by the sheer number that no cost was too high for Gilles to maintain his wealth.

Arguably, what ultimately did him in, was the kidnapping of a cleric. Though many people suspected Gilles of murder, kidnapping, and all sorts of crime, his military history and standing with the king had given him a great deal of protection from any persecution…the church, however, was just a little too powerful for him to get away from (at the time.) He was finally brought to trial, and after several witnesses (his own servants who had actually aided him in many of his crimes) spilled the beans.

Gilles at first insisted he was innocent, but quickly caved, and described in detail many of the horrible rituals he committed with Prelati, to the point of even trying to summon Satan himself. Gilles was put to death, but because of his standing he was allowed to be strangled/hanged (some accounts differ) before his brief burning, and even so, given a Christian burial on church grounds.

It is said that many testimonies given by witnesses and Gilles himself of the crimes he committed against his victims were so terrible, that they were stricken from the record so people could be spared ever learning of the horrid details.

Featured Fear: Hypnophobia (fear of sleep)

Posted in Media, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by ranranami

It would be so obvious to start this off with a rhyme from my favorite horror franchise, but I know you may already be thinking of it and humming along in your head without even meaning to. While water is pretty much inescapable, we all know we can just pretend it’s not in any other drink, or act as if adding flavoring to it suddenly changes the nature of that fear altogether…but sleep?

Without sleep, which can’t be disguised as anything else…you’d die. In fact, without sleep, you’d end up doing the ‘bigger’ sleep. As Poe once said, ‘ah, sleep, those little slices of death. How I loathe them.’

Actually, there’s no real evidence he ever said that, but it’s a fun line. Plenty of people hate sleep. They see it as a waste of time, something that somehow hinders them from doing anything valuable with the hours they have no control over…and sleep does make you vulnerable. In fact, when you’re sleeping, you’re at your weakest…no way to defend yourself, little if any awareness of your surroundings. The more I think about it, the more I think…maybe I should have another cup of coffee?

dreamsleep

Everyone sleeps. Everyone dreams. I’d say half of the fear of sleep owes to the fact that we dream, actually. Not only are you vulnerable to the world around you, but you’re vulnerable to your own subconscious at well. It is the ultimate assault on one’s will and body, and yet…at the same time…sleep does make us stronger. I suppose that’s because it doesn’t kill you, if you’re lucky.

Since I didn’t use a rhyme, I think today I’ll leave you with a poem instead. For what indeed is more poetic than sleep?

To Sleep

By John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,

Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,

Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,

Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:

O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close

In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,

Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws

Around my bed its lulling charities.

Then save me, or the passed day will shine

Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—

Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords

Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;

Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,

And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.