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Monday, January 30, 2012

The New Dark Shadows Film (A first look)

 The web has been buzzing about Burton's new film "Dark Shadows", especially about the fact that we now have Johnny Depp playing a vampire. The fangirls are all aflutter. For those that don't know Dark Shaodws was originally a television soap opera from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. It was big back in the day and was a hit with the late comers of the baby boom generation. Just think of it as the Buffy, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Being Human, etc. of its time, just with a better plot. The show itself has a bit of an impact on pop culture, but I'll get back on that in a latter post.

Plot Synopsis:

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles. Written by Warner Bros. Pictures

The Entertainment Weekly website has more on the subject such as character descriptions and what not.

 I have yet to see a trailer, but at the moment I'm feeling a bit iffy on how the film is going to turn out. There is a certain atmosphere to Dark Shadows that doesn't seem present in the preview shots. Just look at the group image at the top of this post and the new  group shot, there is a definite eerie feeling to the original that the new image doesn't seem to capture. I'm not afraid to say that I'm not a fan of Burton's more current films and I'm a bit worried about how the material is going to be treated. It seems to me that the film is going to focus more on the campy comical atmosphere of the show instead of the dramatic horror aspect of it. Of course it's still too early to tell, so I'm hoping for the best.

Can't touch this.

There is much noise about Johnny Depp's look in the film and well even though I think the make-up job in the pic above is a bit wonky looking, I'm not surprised that they are trying to stay close to how Johnathan Frid (Original Barnabus Collins) looked on the show. 

Those that wish to learn more about the show can check out The Dark Shadows website or the Wikipedia page. 

-Horrorwood Doll

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Garments made from spider thread

Yep, that's right a whole robe and a scarf were completely woven from spider thread. Spiders from Madagascar to be exact. For the spooky darlings that are thinking of now having a closet full of spider woven garments, I have bad news for you in order to produce such a garment is quite a process and terribly expensive. The cloak shown above was made in four years with over a million spiders and done with a weaving technique that hasn't been used since the 1800s.

The Golden Orb spider is able to produce strands  of golden colored threads and it takes 96 strands of thread to make a single fiber.  The history of spider weaving is actually pretty remarkable and started back in 1710 with François Xavier Bon de Saint Hilaire. He discovered that one can actually spin spider threading to produce textiles. He was able to do this by boiling the cocoons and using the comb to separate the fibers. In the early 1800s Raimondo Maria de Termeyer discovered that one could extract the threads from the source itself and thus producing a higher-quality silk. A machine was made up around 1807 to perform such a task. In the late 1800s there was a short period of spider weaving popularity, but it sadly died out as soon as it came to be. Bedroom drapes were known to be produced during this time period, but no surviving specimens are known to exist.
The cloak and scarf that were produced are truly remarkable one of the amazing properties about the Golden Orb spider's thread is that the fibers are so light and delicate that one hardly notices them touching you. When one has their eyes closed and a portion of the cape is put into ones hand, that person is unable to tell that they are actually holding anything. Many are calling the garment a real life invisibility cloak due to how light it is.

 This is a closeup of the intricate weaving woven into the cloak. Doesn't it remind you of the tale of Arachne?
The cloak itself is currently on display at the Victoria and Albert museum in London (A.K.A the Greatest museum of all time.)

A short video about the process.


-Horrorwood Doll


Be Prepared

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency.