In pre-production on an upcoming short film, I’m enjoying the unique task of making an evil book. That is to say, I am making the prop, for the movie. In the movie it is an unnamed, tattered old German text filled with, in the words of one Character, “Just like, a lot of funny pictures of eyeballs and stuff, and some German gobbledygook.”
It is based on Unaussprechlichen Kulten (The Unspeakable Cults) by Friederich Wilhelm Von Junzt, A fictional book from the short story “The Black Stone” By Robert E. Howard. It is a sister-text to other evil books of arcane, forbidden knowlege by Weird Tales writers, like Ludwig Priin’s Des Vermis Mysteriis (Mysteries of the Worm, Robert Bloch’s addition), or The ever-popular Necronomicon, by Abdul Alhazred, and his real life counterpart, H.P. Lovecraft. You didn’t ask for that much context, but you got it.
I’ve always loved the idea of these fictional grimoires, who’s tendency to pop up in short stories, novels, poems, and movies by disparate authors, lends a delightful credibility to their mysterious, interdimensional natures in a fun meta-textual way. So it is extra fun to be making this prop, evil book. A cheap leather bound, hand-made blank paper journal from an A.C. Moore, which my good friend Chris and I have distressed ad nauseam with sandpaper, dirt, Tea, fire, and of course, repeated throwing at walls and the ground. As for the content of the book, I have been researching antique German, Dutch, and Scandinavian books, looking at old type faces, page layout styles, and woodcut illustrations. For me, this is the really fun kind of homework. And that is how I came across the above image, courtesy of Bing image search. Yes, Bing. It’s a 19th Century German Mineralogy book, and that’s all I know. But it also sports this beautiful illustration that is equal parts Journey to the Center of the Earth and Skeleton Witch posters, with a Crocodile and Sauropod cameo at the bottom. I love this cover. Anywho, I gotta do some laundry and translate some grim shit into German.
‘Till Next Time, Boils and Ghouls.