Thursday, August 28, 2014

DARK ARTS: Abigail Larson

The Alchemist's wife
If you are a lover of the Victorian England aesthetic than you will fall head over heels for Abigail Larson’s illustrative art.

The Virginian artist’s work has been featured all over the United States as well as in galleries in Paris, London, and Madrid; she has appropriately been featured twice at the Poe Museum in Richmond. She has illustrated various books, comics and posters including Sarah Faire and the House at the End of the World and the covers of such anthologies as Beyond the Pale (edited by Henry Herz), The Mysterious Affair at Styles & The Secret Adversary (Agatha Christie), and The Book of Whispering Spirits (Jeff Ferrell). Prints and other fun items are available for sale here (

Abigail, herself, is a lover of Poe, Shelley and the gothic masters of the time, and she recreates these worlds in her artwork. Many of her paintings directly reference Poe—she has many portraits of characters like Ligeia, Madeline Usher and even the master scribe, himself. Her pieces reek of gothic mystery, and peering into them one can almost smell the dusty tomes or the stinging aroma of lilies. Her portraits are of milk-skinned maidens dressed in the gorgeous fashions of the 19th century, or tall, gaunt men in cloaks and waistcoats.

As usual, it was extremely hard for me to select just a few examples of her work, so please continue to view her creations on her deviantART (, or on her website (

Halloween Queen

Spirits of the Dead

Till death do us part

When the last rose of summer is gone

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mindless Movie Monday: Lord Of Tears (2013)

~review by Marie Robinson

Shame on me for getting my hopes up for a movie. Since I heard about Lord of Tears about a year ago I’ve been dying to see it. Well, I finally did and… let’s just say this is going to be a pretty rough review.

James Findlay (Euan Douglas) is a soft-spoken and somewhat awkward teacher who has just received word of his mother’s death. She has passed on to him his childhood home, which he had little recollection of, only the memory of a terrifying half-man, half-owl figure that haunted his dreams. He informs his friend, Allen (Jamie Scott Gordon), that he intends to go live there and unearth what he can about his mysterious childhood.

The first thing James finds at the house is a beautiful young American woman named Eve (Alexandra Hulme), whose inexplicable presence goes unquestioned by the smitten protagonist. They quickly become inseparable, and while James’ days are filled with laughter, picnics, and stripteases (not a joke); his nights are plagued by alarming dreams riddled with prophecies and warnings of ill fate from the infamous Owl Man.

As I previously stated, when I heard about the film I was sold. The imagery of the Owl Man is unsettling and inspiring for sleepless nights. He is voiced by David Schofield, who completes the creature with a delicious tone of an insidious ancient. While the being is chillingly beautiful, he doesn’t do a whole lot other than stand there, and let’s be honest, standing ominously in the distance loses it’s potency after a while.

Lord of Tears, directed by Lawrie Brewster, gives an attempt at avant-garde that I feel was missed. The soundtrack is scattered and inconsistent, sometimes playing jarringly loud over dialogue. A scene that sticks out to me in particular is where Eve is doing one of her painful burlesque dances with a modern electronica song playing over it; not only does it not fit the scene, it does not fit the movie at all, where the rest of the soundtrack is minimalist piano.

While we are on the subject of Eve I want to take a moment to tell you that I hate her. Which is bad because that was absolutely not the intention of the writer and director. Hulme’s attempts at being quirky and charming are WAY over the top, unrealistic, ill timed, and annoying. I was also completely perplexed as to why James was not concerned that there was a random woman living at his deceased mother’s estate. The only time he questions it, with the appropriate phrasing, “So, what exactly do you do here?” He is met with the snobbish answer, “Please, don’t ruin it.” And then he just stupidly nods his head.

The dream sequences are completely random and muddled about the plot, not making sense until the very end. While there is a pay-off with them, I do feel they could have been placed differently in a way that isn’t so obnoxious and confusing. The filming is amateur and the whole film is pulsing with nauseating melodrama.

I know I really ripped this film a new one, but other sites such as Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central have given it really good reviews. So maybe I’m an asshole and missed out on something brilliant.

Even better than the movie were the promos, which include the Owl Man chatting with folks on Chat Roulette :

...and the creature appearing at a popular urban exploring location and scaring the piss out of people. The filmmakers have good ideas, I just didn’t feel they were executed to their potential (or, perhaps, just to my liking) in the film.