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Signal boost for Vera Nazarian's monstrous mashup between Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and an original subplot containing mummies, vampires and other beasts. Regency manners meet things that go bump. Laughs result. It's Mansfield Park and Mummies!!
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Remember Cindy? In anticipation of my forthcoming Captain Thunderpussy doll, I tried to get an idea of possible outfits for the good captain. Cindy is modeling her bloody duds with the Aoshima fetish nun vinyl wimple. [Vinyl keeps bloodstains off, doncha know? :D ]

In other news, I am gonna either have to preserve Cindy better or throw her out. Like a real zombie, she keeps falling apart. Her head detaches from her body and, every time I squash it back on, her face paint chips. The end result does make her look more aged, however. Read more... )

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Now she has red and purple paint blood in her hair! Even better! Read more... )
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She started off as an innocent, perkily smiling Colonial Barbie head and turned into a shambling disaster! I was going to do a simple repaint on her, since I found her face cute in a somewhat manic way.

To reduce the appearance of derangement, I wanted to cut out her teeth and glue her mouth shut. I did not make a clean cut, however, and she seemed to have fangs or broken teeth worthy of some sort of undead creature.

The unhinged lower jaw, head wound, anxious look and bloody garments followed from there. What an improvement! Read more... )
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Side stories done and in progress
  • Janet, Velvette and Viktor
  • Absinthe [and Margie]
Side stories planned
  • Susie
  • Little Anneka
  • Little Will
Side stories that would definitely be really interesting!
  • Dom [and Geordie!]: how he got to Newton
  • Zinnia Pascale: how she became a zombie
  • Janet: how she got disgraced
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This weekend, I removed ZaeZae's original brownish hair and gave her a braid of purple and pink yarn attached to a new scalp of pink pulled-back hair. I also made her spectacles out of 20 gauge brass wire.

In other pink news, the pink count should eventually increase by 5:
  • I still need to remove Pippilotta's current hair and replace it with a sculpted scalp and wired yarn braids...pink, of course!
  • Come to think of it, Marabou would look fabulous with a really deep magenta hair color similar to Andrew's!!
  • If I give Janet pink hair, then a majority of the core cast and most frequent secondaries will have pink hair. ^_^
  • UberBarbie is making me a fabulous teen boy with pink hair.
  • Susie was supposed to have pink hair, but I had such a fight with her current red wig that I have temporarily given up on changing her hair.

Pink Squad as of now.

Standing, back row, L to R: Davry, ZaeZae, Andrew, Anneka, Will, Rori, Sibley.

Sitting, second-to-front row, L to R: Baozha, Sarah.

Lying, front row, L to R: Zinnia Pascale.
Read more... )
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Since I have finally figured out how to force my new camera to default to memory card use, I hereby present the Pink Squad [not actually a real group] of the LHF cast. Read more... )
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I pulled out Zinnia Pascale's dull default molded ponytails and bangs. In place of the ponytails, I glued two buns from some Bratz doll. In place of her molded bangs, I glued doll hair bangs from the same Bratz. Zinnia Pascale may now legitimately be counted among my pink-haired dolls. Furthermore, she has crazy hair to match her crazy outfit. She is the awesomest zombie I know!
Photographic proof of kick-assness. )
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Who pays attention to this shit anyway?

Hair Color
Black: 9
Pink: 6
Brown: 6
Red: 5
Blond: 4
Grey: 4
Blue: 1
White: 1

I want to paint at least Zinnia Pascale's ponytails pink. Then pink will be firmly in second place.

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Sideshow's upcoming entry in the Dead line is a zombie priest entitled The Harbinger. I must say that, while Sideshow's record for 1:6 likenesses stinks, they do a great job on The Dead. I love my Dead Babysitter [who became Zinnia Pascale], and I really like the Harbinger too. His hand sculpts look arthritic and bony, and his drawn face and rolling eyes accurately reflect a despair that I think much more pertinent to zombies than slavering rage. Sideshow really has to start making their zombies lose ears, though. I don't understand how this guy's brain became exposed without him getting an ear or two torn off.

I'm tempted to get this guy for Ethan [the poor man is having such a problem being immortalized in plastic!], but I'd rather not wait an untold number of months before he comes out. His release date is Q1 2009, but toymakers are never on time.

I've been contemplating the creation of my own Ethan, but my current materials always daunt me. I don't have an appropriate sculpting medium, just the remnants of some peach Sculpey and some rotten air-dry clay that won't adhere to existing heads. I have a resin skull that could conceivably be the base for Ethan's cadaverous visage, but that involves building up features, and I'm much better at scraping out features by using an Xacto knife or sandpaper.

Maybe I should just get an unpainted resin sculpt and shave it down. The prominent brows, sunken eyes, dour mouth and narrow cheeks of Hugh Laurie could work, as seen in this sculpt by Wanted Action Figure.

On the subject of Wanted Action Figure, maybe I should get a Johnny Depp head too. I've been toying with the idea of remaking Will with an appropriately scrawny body, but that would require getting him a new head, since his current one is already way too fragile. The Depp sculpt approximates his features best. Now if I could just find a body that's as etoliated as the Obitsu Slim Male, but with slightly broader shoulders... Jesus Christ, it'd probably be best just to modify a PB or a CG 2.0!

I STILL have a hard-on for Medicom's Young Indiana Jones because my mind thinks River Phoenix=Will. I wish I weren't so interested in it, because I'm sure that there's something disappointing about the sculpt that the prototype photos don't show.

Hot Toys is issuing a beautiful 1:6 Edward Scissorhands soon. I want its clothes. The fact that I could probably get a likeness of Will out of the head doesn't hurt either.

Sekiguchi's Momokos continue to tantalize me. I draw very close to purchasing one, but then I always cheap out because I don't have a designated character for such a doll, who costs a lot, even on sale. That said, I have found Miracle Party Girl, Wild and Sexy Tune, Dash After School, Sweet Poodle, Lovely Folklore and Berry Hunter for <$100 with s/h. Too bad I want Sea Maze/Blue Labyrinth/whatever the hell she's called.
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"Zombies enflesh our anxieties about the disintegration of our personhood on the political front, the occupational front and the medical front."
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How Stuff Works provides an overview of zombies, including some interesting info about Clairvius Narcisse, supposedly a verified zombie, and the ingredients of Haitian zombie powder, which may have ingredients scientifically proven to produce feels of paralysis and disorientation.

How Stuff Works also has an overview of vampiric creatures around the world, with an especially interesting segment on ancient Assyrian and Babylonian creatures.

The same site also discusses werewolves and the influence of Hollywood on traditional beliefs about these shapeshifters.

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Back in 2005, Sideshow did a 12" version of Jason from Friday the 13th 7. As I see from Michael Crawford's site, the Sideshow version looks much gaunter than the Mezco upcoming version [mentioned previously], so I think I will try to track down a Sideshow version of this dude for Ethan. Anyway, amazingly enough, the Sideshow Jason 7 has a relatively relaxed, neutral expression for a man in the process of decaying.  Hooray! I've been looking for a sculpt like this for some time...The Sideshow sculpt looks great, except for those white things on his face. At first I thought they were grains of rice [hahah!], but I think they're supposed to be maggots.
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One of my hardest LHF characters to capture in plastic has been Ethan Stuart, the oldest known vampire in New England. Born at the tail end of the 1500s [!!], he's just over 4 centuries. He was old in the first place because he was turned when he was 91, but the years are really taking their toll on him. Furthermore, he's wasting away, so he basically looks like an exhausted skeleton with skin.

I considered several possibilities for his 1:6 form. I thought I might use a cheap 12" Halloween skeleton with basic articulation, but that would require lots of building UP with Sculpey, and a) I only do well with simple building up, like hair and b) I'm much better at carving AWAY.

I thought I might like to get a Peril Unlimited zombie, as reviewed here, but a) he looks pissed, rather than tragic and b) he's sold out. Most zombie figs I've seen look pissed and/or stupid [like Zinnia Pascale, who looks like she's permanently pained by the lack of intelligence exhibited by humans]. [No zombie figs ever look depressed to be dead. I wonder why.]

Now I think that I may have found a good base for Ethan in Mezco's upcoming 12" Jason Voorhees as seen in Friday the 13th part 9,000,000,000 7. As you can see in the linked review, he looks skeletal and aged without appearing too stupid or annoyed. This is probably because he does not have enough face left to be expressive with. I could sand his head to give him a more even distribution of skin, since Ethan is not wounded, just really old and etoliated. I'd also repaint him as less putrefying and more aged. It could work!!

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Zombies can't always get fresh brains, you know!

Because my Boston area grocery store does not carry canned pork brains in milk gravy D: , I am approximating this 1:6 label with images that have been circulating on the Net. If I ever get a can of pork brains for myself, I will redo this 1:6 label, assuming I don't vomit copiously and render myself unable to complete this vital task.

If anyone wants to take one for the team and get me a can of pork brains...or at least send me the label, I'd pukiferously eternally appreciate it.

This should print at about 0.75 inches high x 1.5 inches long, but I haven't tested it.

EDIT: In order for this label to print at the correct size, save the picture to your computer. Then open it with an image editing program like Photoshop or Gimp. You need the imaging program to read the correct sizing information embedded in the file. Otherwise, the label will print out too big.
Glurg. )
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Zinnia Pascale arrived Tuesday. I took pictures of her for a pictorial review, as no one on the Web has done so for this Sideshow fig. So, forthwith, a review of the Sideshow Toy The Dead Babysitter 1:6 action figure. 
Read more... )

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Okay, I know all zero of you were on tenterhooks, waiting for the final installment in my epic examination of the kick-assitude of modern pop zombies, so here it is. After reviewing several reasons for the pandemic of modern pop zombies in parts one, two and three, I gave my own explanation in part four. Zombies are extreme vampires. I explain what that means here in part five.

Zombies are more extreme than vampires in a few ways.

Are you all paying attention? Too bad, you're going to hear this anyway. )
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I got some beading elastic, fake fur and pompoms last night. New developments in decora include elastic bracelets made of small glass beads and FURRY LEGWARMERS WITH POMPOMS!!!! The more that I photograph Frank in this style, the more I see how its loud, bright flourishes of pattern and color are perfect for his flamboyant, cheerful personality. I fear it will be difficult to pry the clothes away from him when Zinnia Pascale arrives....Read more... )
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Following Andrea's advice to eschew unpatterned solids, I removed the white arm sleeves, pink stockings and red pleather vest. Now the stockings are multi-colored stripes. The vest is purple with silver glittery spots. I subbed the origami choker for a ruby/diamond ring and a lock pendant with rhinestones. Still to do: Make hair doo-dads. Make eyepatch [as Zinnia Pascale is missing an eye]. Make one earring [or two, depending on how many ears she has].
Are you blind from mismatch yet? )
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My fantastically fascinating essay about zombies in modern pop culture continues, trying to find out why we think zombies are so rockin' awesome. Parts I and II looked at political parallels between us and zombies, while part III looked at the links between the administrative industry and zombiehood. None of these aforementioned theories about the prevalence of zombies are my original ideas, but I do have some speculation of my own about the origins of our collective zombiephilia.

This is my interpretation: Part of the reason we like zombies so much is that, as portrayed in modern pop media, they are extreme vampires. They are perfectly modern monsters in that they threaten humans at the essential seat of their humanity -- the brain -- thus updating the cannibalistic implications of the vampire for our current scientific state of knowledge.
Zombies: They're like vampires, only more so! )
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I don't think so. I think I need ribbon and seed beads for hair doo-dads. Made some more origami bracelets and sewed the flowers onto the vest and the belt. They remind me of squirty flowers for clowns.Read more... )
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In the past two sections, I've been answering the question: Why are zombies so popular here and now?? Section 1 proposed that they are a good metaphor for biological terrorism, while section 2 noted that zombies are perfect metaphors for the American climate of fear and recent governmental hawkishness. Section 3 looks at zombies as embodiments of the white-collar workplace.
 

Read more... )
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I'm exploring the current trendiness of zombies. In a previous section of this essay, I proposed one reason for their current prevalence: They are great metaphors for biological warfare, about which the American populace has been pretty freaked ever since 2001. There are more interesting thematic currents in the zombie bloodstream, though...

Related to my first reason, zombies may also be so popular because people perceive them as an accurate metaphor for the general mental state of the populace: one of loose-brained anxiety. Read more... )
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I've been singing Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains" for the past few days as I wait for Zinnia Pascale [who shipped today!] and contemplate the intriguing question: Why are zombies so prevalent in pop culture right now?

 
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Frank models the latest in 1:6 decora duds in the absence of their true owner, Zinnia Pascale, who is in the mail [woohoo!]. Changes include a new skirt, bracelets and choker out of origami paper and the felt zinnia belt buckle that I was talking about [currently attached with a pin because I don't want to sew it just yet]. I still need some more hair doodads [to be made when I actually get Zinnia Pascale] and some decoration for the backpack. Maybe something cute and dead...
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After my decora zombie told me yesterday that her name was Zinnia Pascale, I went to see what zinnias actually look like. Some of them have very bold, rich colors. I think I'm going to reproduce this one, for example, on Zinnia's belt buckle. Zinnia turned out to be a much more appropriate name than I expected! 

EDIT: I'm going to make her belt buckle out of felt, I think, and her bracelets out of some origami paper. The origami paper has different complicated patterns on each side that will contribute to the cacophony of Zinnia Pascale's outfit.
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Frank shows everyone what a Fruit[s] he is by helpfully wearing my decora outfit while I go get a zombie to put in it. Please note that the outfit is a work in progress; I still have to add a belt [craft foam?], various felt or craft foam hair decorations [hearts, teddy bears, kitties, smiley faces, etc.], a purse in the form of a stuffed animal and FUZZY LEGWARMERS!!! That said, I think it looks pretty damn good for having been scrounged entirely from my drawers of spare clothes.
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A Fruits zombie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

EDIT: Technically, a decora zombie.

Fuzzy legwarmers, patterned skirts in layers, stripey socks, hair full of barettes and clips, T-shirts with cartoon characters, purses and backpacks with cartoon animals and Very! Bright! Pink!
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Photographic evidence that you can repel a zombie invasion by separating them from you with copious amounts of ordinary garden mulch. Presumably something in the mulch hastens their decomposition so that they literally fall to pieces in minutes, unable to attack you and feed upon your flesh.

I imagine an entire horror garden of such sinking statues. A great variation on the rising zombie would be a person at the base of a tree, trying desperately to extricate him/herself from invisible quicksand. You could see deep scoring lines in the trunk where he/she had dug in his/her fingers in a futile attempt to get free from the hungry ground. Another awesome variation, usable only in winter, would look like a person flattened against a window, only you'd put it at the bottom of your pond so the person would appear to be smothered under the ice in the winter. There could also be statues that look like they are trapped in the trunks of old, cavernous trees a la Merlin, statues that look like they have been run over with glacial boulders, even statues that look like they've been stabbed with fence posts! The possibilities are endless!

Someone needs to get this statue and then do a photoshoot in a cemetery.

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Coming soon from Sideshow Toys, which is radically inconsistent in terms of quality from toy to toy, is the dead cute zombie babysitter. I personally think she just became a vampire while being consumed by flesh-eating bacteria, so her decay was halted, but so was her healing. Yuck.

Quality-wise, this conception looks pretty good with head in-scale...but why are there bendy arms? Why ruin a perfectly good fig with arms that can't do anything?
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I was reading When The Chenoo Howls by Joseph and James Bruchac, an awesome collection of monster stories from Native American traditions, when I came to the realization that most cultures distinguish between the smart vampiric or cannibalistic creatures and the dumb ones.
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I'm especially amused by this old Onion article because the mad scientists who bring back the dead are from MIT, which is where Janet, who reanimated her sister Velvette, studied. 
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Just in time for Halloween, New Scientist's October 13, 2007 issue has an article about what various types of death [hanging, drowning, bleeding to death] feel like, as reported by those who have survived massive injuries. I was particularly interested in the effects of exsanguination which, it turns out, are just an extreme version of what happens after donating blood.
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Morbid Anatomy is a compendium of posts about medical and death-related art, such as post-mortem photos, anatomical waxes and ecorches [engravings of partly flayed people showing musculature]. Off I go to waste my lunch hour. Janet would definitely have some of this stuff in her lab alongside the Kraftwerk posters. 

EDIT: The links from Morbid Anatomy are most instructive and detailed. For example, The Fantastic in Art and Fiction is a bank of thematically grouped images [Madness & Possession, Angels & Demons, the Grotesque] from across the centuries, supplemented with lists of scholarly studies, literary works, plastic arts and movies that pertain to the theme. There are many wonderfully freaky out-of-copyright images here that would be great for indie authors illustrating their own book covers.
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Pushin' Daisies is a mortuary store with funeral, death, vampire, skull, etc. sort of novelties. Hooray for hearse earrings, Dios de los Muertos shot glasses, tombstone-shaped soaps and little chocolate coffins with little chocolate skeletons inside. Clearly meant for the casual cemetery nerd (viz., no serious books about cemetery iconography in "The Grim Reader" section), this is nevertheless amusing. Now, in case you want to make your own coffin, which can serve as a "beautiful blanket chest or coffee table" before holding you, you know where to buy the book.

P.S. I ordered We So Seldom Look On Love from half.com. The shipping was more than the price of the book. Half.com: where cheap-ass bibliophiles shop.

P.P.S. Because I'm in a morbid mood, today's word is "trocar." A trocar is a big sharp hollow needle that an embalmer sticks into a corpse's abdomen after the blood has been replaced with embalming fluid. At first the trocar is attached to a suction pump via hose to slurp out organs and body tissue. When that's done, the trocar is hooked up to a bottle of cavity fluid and waved around in the abdomen to fill the space where the organs were. The incision site is plugged up with a plastic plug called a trocar button. There. You should now be both nauseated and edified. I know I sure am.

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