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Welcome to our ongoing series spotlighting original horror creations. This time we have is an illustration titled “The Night Begins” by Director and Illustrator David Hartman, also known as SideshowMonkey on DeviantArt. Be sure to read out exclusive interview with the artist as well.

The Night Begins” by David Hartman
What was your inspiration for “The Night Begins”?

I really love doing groups of monsters reminiscent of the old horror magazine covers seen on “Witches Tales,” “VooDoo” and others like them. This piece also has a bit of influence from the old Hammer films with the seductive female vampire surrounded by her horde. I really like the classic monsters and tend to draw them frequently.

What sort of tools did you use for the piece?

This piece was done completely digital on the iPad Pro using the Procreate app. I also did a time-lapse video on the creation of this piece which can be seen on my youtube channel.

Do you have any projects you are working on?

I always have too many going on. I have a comic series called “the adventures of Rite” that is available on Amazon that is a mix of horror, comedy and adventure. I also have a project with Rob Zombie going on as well as currently directing for a Netflix animated series that really delves into horror and the supernatural.

Do you have any particular horror themes you like to explore in your art?

I tend to go to the malformed, the Frankenstein monster and other man-made creatures as well as humanoid monsters. I like the creatures that are considered evil and horrible but actually have a sympathetic side to them. I also do a lot of damsel in distress type art but where the damsel has a weapon or some other device to actually have a strong chance of fighting back.

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Do you have any particular horror films/books/movies you particularly love?

Tons and tons! As far as movies I love Jaws, The Shining, Hammer films and ALL 1980’s horror films good or bad. For books, I tend to read a lot of non-fiction cryptozoology books on creatures living among us as well as most of H.P. Lovecraft’s many stories. I also go back a lot to Clive Barker’s Books of Blood and King’s Night Shift collection. Two of my favorites.

Have you ever experienced something supernatural? Anything you would like to experience?

I’ve had the “shadow figure out of the corner of your eye” and the “strange object in the sky” that a lot of people have experienced but one memory really stands out. Not sure if this is considered supernatural or not but it definitely influenced my path into horror and the strange.

I was probably about 7 or 8 years old and my parents took me to the Ohio State fair. This was right before they got rid of all the freakshows and strange animal exhibits seen at fairs. We were walking through the midway surrounded by banners for two-faced goats and gorilla women when I saw a trailer with a painting on the side showing a bigfoot frozen in ice. I had to see this! I asked my parents for some quarters to go to the arcade while they watched a show. Instead, I snuck to the trailer to see the weirdness inside.

I paid my fifty-cents to get in and walked into the trailer. It was freezing, and I was standing before a block of ice with a bigfoot inside it. I later found out this was the “Minnesota ice-man” that traveled from fair to fair. ( if you are into bigfoot and weird stories you should definitely look this one up.) That day I was instantly hooked on the supernatural and finding out more about bigfoot and other creatures supposedly living amongst us.

I think this is one of the moments that hooked me onto drawing monsters. When I drew the story “Carnival Kill Ride” for the “Devil’s Rejects” comic book for Rob Zombie I put myself as a kid in the background seeing that trailer for the first time.

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Did you enjoy David’s illustration and our interview with him? Please check him out on the web. You can learn all about projects he has worked on on IMDB and you can also follow him on social media such as Twitter and DeviantArt. You can also watch Phantasm: Ravager on Amazon.

If you have an original creation you would like us to spotlight here on Haunted MTL please let us know!

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David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

Original Series

Nightmarish Nature: Zombie Snails

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This time on Nightmarish Nature, we will look into zombie snails, because we were having so much with the Whore Snails recently. So this is a lot like the Freaky Fungus except that this time it’s a parasitic worm that is the cause of the horror… Leucochloridium paradoxum, the green-banded broodsac worm, forces snails to be a part of its nefarious plans to take over the world (well, really more just continue on keeping on in its strange and bizarre life cycle).

Hungry birds want nummins
Hungry birds want nummins

This Is What We Get for Eating Poop

The worm, which spends much of its life as a parasite in birds’ digestive systems, is part of a weird cycle that includes both birds and snails, though the snail end is much creepier. It starts when a snail ingests worm eggs in bird droppings. These eggs hatch into worm larvae that eventually turn the poor hosts into zombie snails! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Snails make questionable food choices, but I guess this comes from being where they are on the ecosystem clean up crew...
Snails make questionable food choices, but I guess this comes from being where they are on the ecosystem clean up crew…

The worm larvae work their way up into the snails’ brains and take over, hijacking them on suicide missions to continue their own life cycle. These worm larvae eventually grow large and worm their way into the poor snail’s eye stalks, pulsing and throbbing therein to resemble maggots or other tasty treats.

Zombie Snails
Zombie Snails

Mind-Control

The worms use the zombie snails to get into their bird hosts by mind-controlling them into climbing out of the shady undergrowth where they will be easily spotted by bird predators which will feed on them, ingesting the eye stalks and continuing the worm’s life cycle as it gets into the bird’s digestive tract. The huge, bulging eye stalks are irresistible to birds looking to snatch maggots and other delicious delicacies. Eventually, after the worms are well ensconced in its bird hosts, the bird poops out more worm eggs for unsuspecting snails to ingest, completing the cycle.

Birds love their grubs and maggots and other nummins, even if they are just zombie snails.
Birds love their grubs and maggots and other nummins, even if they are just zombie snails.

You can watch this in action on Nat Geo Wild: World’s Deadliest here, if you dare. Warning, it’s a little gross but not near so much as some of the other topics we’ve covered. If you enjoyed this slimy segment of Nightmarish Nature, please check out past segments:

Vampires Among Us

Perilous Parenting

Freaky Fungus

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Worrisome Wasps

Cannibalism

Terrifying Tardigrades

Reindeer Give Pause

Komodo Dragons

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Original Creations

Snails a Whorl Whirl Whore World…

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So a friend and I made some artsy snails awhile back. Essentially this was in response to her granddaughter proclaiming that her favorite animals are whorl snails. My friend heard “whore snails” and was a bit perturbed that the child would use such a word so nonchalantly, whether or not she knew what it meant. But then again toddler-speak is like that sometimes… Anyway, it stuck.

So we made some whore snails, all glammed up and ready to go. We started with these flat metal snails and then painted and decorated them, to whore them up a bit. I figured this would be apropos after my recent Valentine’s Day posts and that the end results were horrifying enough to appear here.

My friend's whore whorl snail
My friend’s whore whorl snail

This is my friend’s creation. I especially like the David Bowie star and cherry bling to match her cherry red lipstick. The purple shell is a great color on her too. I think my friend went back and decorated her shell more after the fact, but I didn’t see the snail after those changes.

My whore snail
My whore snail

And here’s my whore snail. She’s a bit more of an ice queen with her deceptively lovey-dovey eyes and mouth full of poison darts, like the underwater snails do. I believe I called her a Hoar Whore Whorl Snail as when the discussion first came up I heard “hoar” and thought of hoarfrost. Hence the ice queen take…

And another friend joined us via Zoom just to visit and have fun making art together.

Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom
Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom

This little Zoomed in snail is kinda cute, like she’s out on the beach in her bikini… Mixed media on paper.

So if that wasn’t disturbing enough, check out my inappropriate Shrinky Dinks posted here before, or maybe this Eye Candy Peeps Easter basket, both taking some innocuous thing(s) turning into something… else…

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Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites. Her friends will remain anonymous for now…

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Original Creations

Have a Dystopian Girls on Film Valentine’s Day

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So it’s finally actually Valentine’s Day, and thus marks the final segment of our dysfunctional dystopian romance. So far, we’ve survived both Gen X and Krampusnacht, what else could possibly be in store? Girls on Film…

Valentine's Day card Girls on Film
Girls on Film Valentine’s Day card from Jennifer Weigel

Image description: Video camera umbrella shower succubus stares through the lens at the viewer, surrounded by eerie Cthulhoid horror embellishments with text.

Text reads: Happy Valentine’s Day; lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling; give me shudders in a whisper; take me up ’til I’m shooting a star; (she’s more than a lady)

OK so this Valentine’s Day dystopia ends in a Duran Duran video, because of course it does. If the video doesn’t load properly, you can find it by following this link. Girls on Film.

Duran Duran official video

Here’s the camera eye succubus all by itself, for your viewing pleasure. Actually this is the original original image from an Unselfie performance art piece in the shower before I decided to forego the umbrella. Girls on Film.

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Unselfie performance art video still
Video still

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

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