We’ve probably all by now seen the “Free Candy” van and the “Rape Van” memes circulating on the Internet. For some reason the vans are always white (why?) with poorly spraypainted logos or creepy-ass wording on the them. They’re obviously vehicles you wanna steer clear of if you value life, limb or wish to avoid being in an amateur porn video.
Somehow (don’t ask) I got lost today Googling “sketchy vans.” Let me tell you, there are a lot of freakin’ sketchy vans out there. Perhaps too many. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order of yuck.
Not that most folks ever go out looking for nightmare fuel, but just in case you happen to be in the market for some, might I recommend the website of Characters Unlimited, Inc.?
Nevada-based Characters Unlimited, Inc. specializes in creating life-sized animatronic characters. These automatons have voice-activated jaws which will move to pre-recorded messages or respond to audio input from a wireless microphone.
In aesthetics the “uncanny valley” is the notion that replicas appearing almost-but-not-quite human create feelings of uneasiness in the observer.
Now, we’ve all seen these sorts of coin-operated dummies in fortune-telling booths and marksman games and novelty pizzerias, but these particular specimens are extra-special. It’s not really any kind of uncanny-valley-ness that makes them so horrifying. In fact, no one would mistake these grotesqueries for being anything close to human, and it would be difficult to pick any single one as the most frightening. They’re ALL pretty creepy.
The site claims that prices on these things start at $495, which is a small price to pay for something that could potentially make SO MANY children cry.
Check these guys out. My favorite is “Man With Black Face: Man Dressed as African-American.”
Okay, sure, so this is probably just totally gross and unnecessary, but hey, in my defense, my job here at Dangerous Minds is—often, not always, but often—to expose you, our dear readers, to the bowels of Internet hell. And this, unfortunately, includes posting about cupcakes that look like giant cystic pimples that you can actually squeeze! Blessed By Baking, in California came up with this idea because of the Internets’ obsession with pimple-popping videos on YouTube by Dr. Pimple Popper. Apparently people are strangely satisfied by watching videos of pimples and blackheads being extracted.
So naturally the next step with this obsession is to make squeezable pimple cupcakes, right? Ew.
According to Blessed By Baking, the cupcakes taste awesome. The yellow pus-like substance is actually custard or lemon curd. To be honest, I wouldn’t touch this shit. No way!
Prokofiev’s orchestral composition/children’s story Peter and the Wolf is familiar to everyone who had to take music appreciation as a schoolkid: briefly, a young boy named Peter and his animal friends are spending a day by his grandfather’s pond when a wolf attacks. Peter, with his ingenuity and some help from a bird, captures the wolf, beating a group of hunters to the prize, and the story ends with a parade as the wolf is carted off to a zoo. Every character has a distinct musical theme played on a different instrument, and Peter’s theme alone is surely one of the the most recognizable pieces of classical music from the 20th Century.
If you’re feeling like a quick-and-dirty head trip, by all means visit Peter and the Wolf’s Wikipedia page and hit ‘play’ on all the themes at once.
Another highly worthy Prokofiev head trip was released in 1975—an art rock Peter and the Wolf featuring a laundry list of British pysch, blues, and prog luminaries. The narrator was the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s Viv Stanshall, in a remarkably subdued performance. The various themes were performed by Manfred Mann, Chris Spedding, and Stephane Grappelli, among others. Already pretty cool right there, but the wolf was memorably performed by Brian Eno, and the hunters were played by a quartet of prog drummers—Jon Hiseman, Cozy Powell, Bill Bruford and Phil Collins.
Oh, the wonders of the Internet. Somehow this one is only now hitting my radar, but boy-oh-boy is it good. Kentucky’s Norma Lee ticks off every check box on my list of what makes an outsider artist truly great: creative use of the form, provocative content, and a complete and utter lack of self-awareness. Like the Shaggs or Wesley Willis before her, Norma Lee is trying her darndest, seemingly oblivious to her own lack of talent in a traditional sense—but all the while being incredibly entertaining.
I adore her Kentucky hills accent. She sounds a bit like a brain-damaged Loretta Lynn when she sings in “He’s Swapping His Boat” about her husband being “retard from a factory.” “He’s Swapping His Boat” is Norma’s big hit. It’s essentially about giving up on every bit of joy in one’s life—specifically her poor husband who had to sell his boat to buy a tractor to clear six acres of land. If you only hear one Norma Lee song in your life, IT MUST BE THIS ONE.
He’s a middle-aged man who needs a hand to help him work his land… he’s just a swappin’ all that fun on that boat, ‘cause he done sowed his oats… now it’s time to get down to earth and put his hands to work.
Forget emo or goth. You want monotone music extolling the bleak reality of absolute depression? Here it is.
Your dreams are dead, get to work:
After the jump, hear how Norma Lee feels about Paris Hilton, and more!
Here at Dangerous Minds, we’ve hipped you to the death metal version of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, as well as the death metal version of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins, but this right here may be the ultimate “death metal version” of all time.
Depending on who’s doing the talking, John Cage’s 4’33” is either a brilliant minimalist classical masterpiece which challenges the very definition of music, or the greatest musical in-joke of all time, or a pretentious load of horse-shit devised to make you feel dumb because you “just don’t get it.” It’s probably, to varying degrees, some vivid combination of the three.
The band Dead Territory have created their own wickedly unique take on Cage’s vision, and quite frankly it’s one of my favorite performances of this groundbreaking piece of music.
To those of our readers unfamiliar with the piece, I’d rather not spoil it by explaining it before you take in this BRUTAL death metal rendition of the work. The wikipedia page devoted to the controversial 4’33” has plenty of information on the piece, its background, and critical reception.
Without further ado, the absolutely sickest rendition of 4’33” to date. Top this, Internet…
I recently had a conversation with film composer Harry Manfredini, the guy behind Friday the 13th‘s infamous “tch tch tch…” about the primary influences on modern horror soundtracking and we agreed on the works of Kryzstof Penderecki and Bernard Herrmann being basically ground-zero for fright music for the last 40 years or so of cinematic terror. One specific Herrmann work has informed horror scoring more than any other single piece of music anyone could possibly name: his iconic theme music for Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho.
A novel rendition of Herrmann’s Psycho theme was recently brought to my attention, and, as covers go, is quite masterful in its own right. Joachim Horsley is a composer and orchestrator for television and film and has a few albums under his belt. His 2014 album Joachim Horsley Was Dead the Whole Time contains this particular version of the Psycho theme as played on a piano… with knives.
Horsley is able to coax some odd tonalities out of the piano strings both with the knife blades and by striking the strings with the knife handle, while muting with his palm. These sounds mimic the orchestration of Herrmann’s original score.
Obviously, there’s both symbolism and novelty going on here with the use of kitchen knives, Norman Bates’ personal weapon of choice, but the end result is quite beautiful. Horsley takes some liberties towards the end of the piece and it gets a bit jazzy (maybe even slightly Latin jazzy?) in its climax. It’s cool though. He owns it.
Dolls waiting around in a doll factory in France, 1930.
When I came across these photos I immediately drew the conclusion that they could have been shot by Alfred Hitchcock during his downtime, as most of them are (and I’m pretty sure it’s intentional), as terrifying as fuck.
Taken over the course of two decades from 1931 - 1955, the images were culled from photos of doll factories in the United States, England, Germany, France and Italy. And I’m not kidding when I say these photos will give you the creeps - because the photos, such as the one of a group of disembodied, freshly cast doll heads impaled on iron stakes, or say dangling doll legs that are hanging up to dry (pictured below), look like they belong at a gourmet cannibal meat market run by Hannibal Lecter. You can thank me later for not sleeping tonight after checking out the rest of the photos. If you need me, I’ll be under the bed.
Dangling doll legs in a factory in England, 1951.
Drying doll heads, 1947.
Trimming doll eyelashes, 1949.
Various rather terrifying looking dolls being painted inside a doll factory in Italy, 1950.
Yeah, the packing looks harmless enough, but as they say never judge a book by its cover. Or a facial mask.
Apparently these officially-licensed Winnie the Pooh “relaxation” facial masks are scaring the bejeezus out of users once they get applied to the face. In fact, folks in Japan are taking photos of themselves on Twitter wearing Pooh’s “relaxation” mask and are trying to outdo each other in the creepiness factor. There is absolutely nothing cute about these masks. Nothing.
A warning: You cannot unsee these disturbing images. Proceed with extreme caution.
Nevada’s historic Old Tonopah Cemetery was founded in May 7, 1901 and was active until April 1911 when it outgrew its tiny confines and a larger plot of land was secured elsewhere. The graves consist of a little over 300 folks who succumbed to the “Tonopah Plague.” (Other websites say it’s full of deceased gold miners.)
But that’s not really why I’m posting this, you see right next to the cemetery is a clown motel. Yep you heard me, a clown motel. It’s even called the Clown Motel and it’s located halfway between Reno and Las Vegas, where Route 6 and Route 95 merge.
When you’re lookin’ for a motel in the middle of the desert—especially if you happen to be a clown yourself—why not rest your weary unicycle a clown-themed dwelling adjacent to a cemetery? Totally makes sense, right? Maybe it’s a lil’ on the Stephen King side, but you be the judge…
Anyway, the wood-paneled lobby/office of the motel is packed with inviting toy clowns. With porcelain clowns, portraits of clowns and there’s even a grinning life-size clown that’s sits in a chair and watches every move you make. Not cool.
I wonder if you arrive in full clown make-up if they’ll roll out the red carpet for you. Someone should do that and make a video of what happens.