the horror

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My casual Ebay search for vintage patterns came to a screeching halt when I came across Mary Maxim’s Junior Casuals (Vol. 28). Oh sure, laugh at me for exaggerating the sheer freakiness of this particular volume, but you too will know the horror.

“Oh, is the little baby afraid of a widdle book of knittOH MY GOD HE’S STARING INTO MY SOUL!”


Crimson the Clown’s dragging that little girl straight to the sewer drains.

As if a creepy clown grasping a child’s hand with an all-too-knowing glance plastered right there on the cover weren’t warning enough, further terrors are found within:

“Gee this one looks ok…oh dear Lord. What…what is that behind them? Did I just see it move?!” You may have, but I bet they never did.



This manages to out-creep the rabbit TV show from David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’.





What dusty storeroom was this 1930s black cat costume dragged from? Who thought this would be a ‘charming’ character for children to display sweaters next to instead of seeing the void in the crouching figure’s eyeholes?



It’s saying something when a child leaning on an extremely intense extra from ‘Born to Boogie’ is the least scary image in the batch.



Even Pedro the Donkey screams in mute horror!


What’s interesting is, terrifying costume and prop choices aside, these are vibrant, charming photos. The saturated pastels, extreme foreground framing, composition, and acres of shiny blonde hair make every image look like a living illustration from the era.







All images via Ebay user tundi151.

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Below, two dance numbers from the first Pakistani vampire movie, ‘Zinda Laash’, aka ‘The Living Corpse’, aka ‘Dracula In Pakistan’ (guess which one’s the US title). It was the first movie in Pakistan to receive an X rating and supposedly caused a woman to have a heart attack watching it in the theater. Given the general Bolly- and Lollywood taboo towards on-screen kissing, it’s easy to see how a movie where the monsters mainly bite people on the neck would get slapped with an X.

The first clip’s from earlier in the movie, when everyone’s having a jolly time watching all sorts of entertaining dances. Don’t worry, the jazz band actually pops up with some jazz at the end. Sort of.

This next clip takes a page from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, specifically when young Harker finds himself trapped by sexy lady vampires in Dracula’s Castle. Except here it’s one sexy lady vampire threatening to lay down on furniture and gesture at him. She does get a baby to snack on from Dracula at the end though, just like in the book!

It’s funny how much the Pakistani Dracula resembles Christopher Lee’s Hammer Horror Dracula.

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A tragedy of being a teacher’s child is seeing beloved childhood books brought into the classroom and destroyed over time by thoughtless students. One year they’ll scribble on the illustrations with pink crayon. Another year someone will pencil in everyone eating penises or saying ‘UR A FAG!’ The book’s spine is cracked after being opened halfway and slid under a desk to stop wobbling. Strange sticky patches accumulate. Pages get torn out, half-ripped, dog-eared.

There’s little to do but watch; classroom libraries are such sad, motley collections of library castoffs, archaic textbooks and cheap paperbacks it seems miserly to reclaim anything, and after just a year of abusive treatment most books are unfit for any other space (classroom libraries are the bottom of the barrel for books just like kindergarten toys are the end of the line for toys).

One rare exception was walking into a 5th grade classroom and seeing my copy of ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ nearly untouched (save for some girl repeatedly writing her name in red marker on the inside page). I snatched it off the shelf and was shoving it inside my already-crowded bookbag when the teacher came in and reprimanded me. Thinking fast and having excised many an age-inappropriate paperback from classroom libraries before*, I said the book was too violent for 5th graders, and opened to the story ‘Bluebeard’, illustrated by Gustave Dore, to prove it.

‘Bluebeard’ is one of my favorite fairy tales; with spousal serial killing central to the plot, it resists watering down and kiddie-friendlifying, despite the Grimm Brothers’ sanitizing effort. The teacher concurred it would traumatize the kids and said I could take the book back home. Excelsior!

*If you’re a teacher’s kid, your summer ends 2 weeks earlier than other kids. As soon as they open the school you’re drafted into classroom prep, including weeding and sorting shelf after dusty, crooked shelf of worn books. Some common offenders are below.

80s Romance Novels - Combining Class and Mullets
Straight Up Romance Novels
I never knew how exactly these ended up in elementary school classroom libraries, but without fail I’d pull several from the shelf every year.

The Mods!
The Woefully Outdated
Books having nothing to do with curriculum or the current decade. I pulled several science books from the shelves (and kept them, of course) that wondered if man would ever reach the moon.

Cinderella Nurse
Pulp Paperback
Combining the confusion of the Straight Up Romance Novel and The Woefully Outdated as to how the hell it got there.

Programmed for Love
Age Inappropriate
This is about as current as it got, bookwise. I just stacked these up for the 7th grade classrooms.

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This was sent to our house. I refuse to let my mother become a crazy cat lady but she’s just one puff-paint kitten sweater away from buying this stuff.

For the cat too goddam lazy to move. I can’t tell whether that’s angst or ennui on the cat’s face.

Does snookums need more toys? Yessseee does!

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