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Modeling the Macabre

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When I was a kid, I found inspiration in a local department store's annual Halloween-to-Christmas HO train setup. It was a (relatively) huge setup behind a plexiglass sneeze and fingers shield, but what fascinated me was the Haunted House.

It was sited on a hill significantly higher than the surrounding terrain and settled next to a graveyard (of course). I couldn't tell *what* the original kit was (other than they probably had it on the shelves for sale), but this Polar Lights BATES MOTEL gives you the jist (

Whoever built it had a sense of humor, since the grounds and windows where filled with all sorts of Easter Egg details barely visible from the edge of the display.

Since then, I've tripped across similar inspirations.

Like Kris Kuksi's works, from his framed creations to his CHURCH TANK

Then there's the Chapman Brothers' Hellscapes.

Any other inspirations lurking out there?

My favorite horror/science fiction/fantasy book (and I hate fantasy...) is "The Night Land" by William Hope Hodgson. He was an inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft. Unfortunately, Hodgson went out of his way to make the book appear as if it had been written in an archaic English and style from the 1600s-1700s, which makes it a slog to read. James Stoddard rewrote the book in modern English and it's far more readable and memorable: "The Night Land, A Story Retold"

Some people have done a great job of drawing some of the creatures and places in the book, and they've been remarkably consistent (and close to what I imagined):

Google image search

Some examples:

More at Night Land website

Jeffry Fontaine:
I thought at first the artist was the same one responsible for the opening scene artwork from Starz Television Series 'Black Sails' (2014–2017) . 


--- Quote ---Abigail Goldman highlighting a selection of her miniature murder scenes. Created at a scale of 1:87, Goldman's die-o-ramas present intricately gruesome crime scenes and violent acts. Having worked many years as a reporter and investigator for the Federal Public Defender in Las Vegas, Goldman draws on her work experience to create pieces that put an interesting spin on society’s fascination with crime.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---New York based artist Thomas Doyle invites us to look into another world with his humorous, and often times dark dioramas.  his small-scale sculptures of houses and suburban towns provide an unexpected perspective of domestic life.
--- End quote ---


Not exactly macabre, but the model railroad layout in the basement of  the railroad museum in San Diego's Balboa Park complex has a shark in a swimming pool as a bit of an easter egg.


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