Category Archives: dark
The Dead of Winter
Here it is again. Winter. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. Where others see beauty in a fluffy white glazing of snow, I see only three months of hibernation. Because I hate the stuff.
It’s no mystery why my mind tends to wander to the grim topic of death. I’m in the dead of Winter here in Missouri, after all. I’ve been thinking about the dead – more specifically, how different cultures remember the dead – and decided to share what I know.
Winter takes my mind to dark places. Perhaps its icy clutches haunt me…
Over the years, humans have honored their dead in peculiar and sometimes macabre ways.
Ever heard of post-mortem photography? Straight from Wikipedia: “Post-mortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture or a mourning portrait) is the practice of photographing the recently deceased. These photographs of deceased loved ones were a normal part of American and European culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Commissioned by grieving families, postmortem photographs not only helped in grieving, but often represented the only visual remembrance of the deceased and were among a family’s most precious possessions.”
No disrespect intended, but having grown up in a different century, some of these photos seem a bit disturbing now…
Look closely. The youngest child on the far left is deceased, propped up with a wooden stand. You can see the discomfort and sadness in her brother’s face.
The story goes that the photographer drew pupils on her closed eyelids to make her more life-like.
Sometimes even a man’s best friend wanted to say goodbye.
Then there’s the following photograph, which has become somewhat of an urban legend, because no one can prove or disprove the story behind it. People say the reason all the children seem to be frowning, or even grimacing, is that they are being forced to pose with a classmate who died the day before.
They say the deceased student was propped up with a wooden board and her head was tied to the board by means of a head scarf. Do you see her? Look closer…
Urban legend or not, that’s pretty creepy.
And then there are cultures like the Toraja people of Indonesia who keep their post-mortem loved ones around for weeks, months, or even years after death, until enough money is raised for a fitting and proper funeral. During this time, the deceased relative is symbolically fed, dressed, cared for and taken out, and is very much a part of their family’s lives.
But if you think post-mortem photography and mummification is strange, the thought of drinking from a human skull might push you over the edge, right? That’s probably why the Aghori tribe of India are considered taboo among their neighboring communities. They ritualistically smear themselves with cremated ashes, consume human flesh, and drink from skulls to become closer to the spiritual world of the dead.
To each his own, but that’s not quite my cup of tea.
So there you have it. THIS is what Winter does to me, people. The dead of Winter… when the deceased whisper to us on the icy breeze, telling us to cherish our precious days, albeit bitterly cold. Winter will pass, just as humans pass, and the world will continue to spin.
Well, as usual, this has been a bit of uplifting cheer from your admin here at Dirty Little Horror. Happy Winter, folks.
The Dirty Dozen: Top 12 Horror Comedies You Might Have Missed
Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I don’t know about that, but I know laughter is one of my favorite things in the world. Life can be grueling. Humans need comedy. For my next countdown, here are 12 movies that will keep you laughing AND sate your hunger for horror. Most of us have seen Army Of Darkness, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil, and Dead Alive, but here are a dozen you might have missed.
COTTAGE COUNTRY (2013)
When a man accidentally kills his brother with an ax, his fiancé is determined not to let even murder stand in the way of their happiness.
THE PERFECT HOST (2010)
A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where the host is anything but ordinary.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014)
Undead housemates try to cope with the complexities of the modern world while showing a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being a vampire.
THE VOICES (2014)
A likable guy pursues his office crush with the help of his evil talking pets, but things turn sinister when she stands him up for a date.
ZOMBIE STRIPPERS (2008)
A zombie epidemic spreads throughout a strip club in Nebraska.
LET’S KILL WARD’S WIFE (2014)
Ward’s wife is a bitch and everyone in his life wants her dead, Ward most of all. But when his friends’ murderous fantasies turn into an (accidental) reality, they have to deal with a whole new set of problems.
BUBBA HO-TEP (2002)
Elvis and JFK, both alive and in nursing homes, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy. Starring Bruce Campbell and based off a short story by Joe Lansdale.
KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (2013)
Live-action role players conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and they must deal with the consequences. Starring Ryan Kwanten (who played Jason Stackhouse in True Blood).
MURDER PARTY (2007)
A random invitation to a Halloween party leads a man into the hands of a rogue collective intent on murdering him for the sake of their art, sparking a bloodbath of mishap, mayhem and hilarity.
DEAD BEFORE DAWN (2012)
A group of college kids accidentally create, and then unleash, a curse that makes anyone they come into contact with kill themselves and then turn into zombie demons.
MONSTER MAN (2003)
Two guys and a female hitchhiker are terrorized by a monstrous looking man driving a giant monster truck.
BLACK SHEEP (2006)
An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.
So there you have it. Twelve movies people never seem to recognize when I mention them but are truly horror comedy gold. Feel free to comment with more titles!