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 ...
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?
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.
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.
The natural question when you find out someone is selling another person's dentures and crowns online is "Hey, where did you get all those dentures and crowns?" But if the answer could potentially be "From an old mental asylum, of course," are you sure you'd still want to know? Because that's exactly where this seller claims to have gotten all of his teeth, teeth he now wants you to have.
I don't want to put too fine a point on it, but these belonged in another human being's mouth, a crazy person, and now they can be yours to own. If that's not particularly unsettling to you, then maybe you'd also be interested in buying one of the prosthetic legs or old medical braces of which he fell into possession.
He's is more cagey about how he acquired these gems, or where the legless man from the picture may be buried, but it doesn't seem wise to pry. A quick scan of his Etsy page reveals that all proceeds go to helping him take care of feral cats, and also he intentionally took these pictures of himself:
That's him modeling a leather collar he found and that you could own for only $14.90. I don't know what it is about serial killers and plastic animal masks, but they really know how to milk as much terror as possible from harmless objects. Is that covered in some introductory course for mass murder? That kind of thing must exist, right? There's no way he took a picture like this one if he didn't come from the same murder school as that Canadian photographer.
Working in the same vein as the man who sells the faces of coyotes, this woman offers hunks of different species: beetle wings, sea urchin spines, spent cocoons, and all types of bird feathers. But in addition, she has whole piles of doll eyes for sale. These eyes were pried out of the heads of dolls, or out of the mud from collapsed doll factories, so you can be certain they've seen at least one tragedy in their lives.
But easily the most troubling item she offers is called the "Magical Mystery Box" of "Curious Supplies." She promises that it will include all the supplies a normal person could want, like rodent bones and birds eggs, but also whatever she has laying around that she can pack into the box. If you're wondering what a serial killer might have laying around, here's the picture that accompanies the mystery box:
So I ordered it four days ago. I still haven't received the package, and I honestly have no idea if I will actually get a piece of a puppy or something even more startling. But regardless of what falls out of the mystery box, I fully intend to douse it all in hot glue and build something horrible in honor of the woman who sold me the parts. Oh, and if you never hear from me ever again, keep an eye out for my fingernails and teeth on Etsy. I'll be furious if you pay anything less than $30 for them.