Once you wade through the blood and terror, horror thrillers like Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Silence of the Lambs have a unifying theme at heart: The only thing serial killers love more than murdering people is completing a really ambitious arts and crafts project. Whether it's fashioning suits out of women, stitching masks from travelers' faces, or building a puppet that can ride a tricycle, the real moral seems to be that you should never trust anyone who genuinely seems to enjoy sewing.
Michael's stores should really have some kind of watch list.
And if you needed any confirmation that the parallel between poking holes in congress cloth and poking holes in people extends beyond fiction, look no further than the online arts and crafts mecca Etsy.com. If you are unfamiliar, Etsy is an Internet marketplace where artistically minded people can hawk their hot-glue-and-glitter creations to the world, but buried between the innocuous unicorn hats and soap cupcakes are some legitimately worrisome knickknacks. Granted, Etsy is famous for its charmingly macabre offerings, but certain sellers aren't interested in creating something spooky or intentionally dark. No, they sincerely believe that their nightmare merchandise is something human beings need every day, and they're happy to oblige ... so long as you're willing to send them money and, more importantly, your address. So if you're curious about the minds of serial killers or you just have a dream of one day being on the news, here are five Etsy members you can contact who desperately want to sell you fear in the form of ...
#5. This Gentleman Wants to Sell You Animal Faces
Is there anything more embarrassing than planning a party only to realize just moments before guests arrive that you're completely out of carved-off animal faces? What will everyone wear? Well, this seller is aiming to ensure that you never run into that problem again. Not only does he sell the faces of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats ...
"Bob?" - Neighbor with a missing cat.
... but he also sells the legs and skulls of just about every other animal you can think of.
And he's not arrogant enough to presume the reason you need the remains of 30 different species, so unlike the other artists on Etsy, he's not going to fashion them into lampshades or leg warmers. He's a simple man, with 565 simple corpses, and he knows that sometimes you're looking to start your own crafts project with bull scrotums and raccoon penises behind that false wall in your cellar.
But for those of you who aren't handy and are looking for something functional right out of the box, he does have a few horrific options, like this motorcycle helmet with a fox tail fused to it, a "great gift for that lady in your life."
Or this frog body that doubles as a purse, because if there's one present women are going fucking crazy for, it's a hollowed-out amphibian they can stuff with ChapStick, nickels, and tampons.
Just about everything he sells was at one point a crucial body part of a living creature, which prompts the question: How many animals has he pulled apart in his lifetime to build up this stockpile of skin, limbs, and bones? And what on earth was he doing with it all before Etsy?
#4. This Guy Hopes You Like Human Flesh Koozies
If you're anything like me, you're sick and tired of the glass jars in your basement lab silently judging the fall and fold of your naked body when you work in the nude. If only they could feel the sadness and despair of being bound by the flesh of a mortal being, and if only they had an eye through which to see the same judgment knitted on your face as they stand on the shelf, pink, naked, and vulnerable for the first time in their goddamn lives. That would show them, that would show them all. Man, fuck those jars.
Well, at least one man is apparently sympathetic to our plight; he constructs skin suits for metal clip jars almost exclusively. When capitalists coined the phrase "There is a market for everything," they probably never anticipated that that truism might someday include glassware disguised as teratoma tumors, but here we are.
Oh, and I'm not kidding about that being actual human flesh. I would hope that Etsy has rules about selling pieces of a human being, but the product description on this jar insists that it was made from the skin of a cadaver, and I have no reason to suspect that it wasn't, considering that the other product descriptions are pretty forthcoming about what they're made from.
While the creator is clearly gunning for horror with his items, he's successful on such a varsity level that I have a hard time believing he's just pretending at crazy.
I refuse to accept that someone could start designing a Christmas ornament of a baby and end up with that last monstrosity if they haven't watched at least one person bleed to death before.
#3. This Lady Wants You to Own the Last Thing You See Before You Die
Hey, remember that nightmare you had once where you wandered into that rural cult compound and everyone celebrated the arrival of an outsider by tying you to a banquet table, putting on their ceremonial animal masks, and drinking your blood from a chalice? Well, even if you don't, this nice woman sure does, and she was really hoping you'd like to be reminded for only $30.
She's a Canadian photographer and expert in subtle terror. Objectively, there's nothing scary about a kid wearing a plastic animal mask, and yet her pictures are so ominous, they look like something you'd find in the attic of a house no one will buy.
And the icing on the horror cake is that all of her pictures look exactly like this. Even when she's not photographing night terrors, the pictures are still just as unnerving. She has a whole photo series of just toys, and it's like her camera can't help but suck the joy and innocence out of everything it captures.
While I'd ordinarily be dismissive of anyone who believes that a camera can steal their soul, if it's this particular camera we're talking about, I would tell those tribesmen to run, run as fast as they can, and never look back.