Halloween is without a doubt my favorite holiday. It's fantastical, creepy, over the top, and the perfect excuse to binge out on all things chocolate and Tim Burton.
|Pre Willy Wonka of course.|
Decorations are up, pumpkins are out, and the horror movie section is a lot busier.Conjured up images of the lurid and macabre tend to fascinate on a normal day, but in October everyone gets in on the gag. So in honor of Halloween, here's a list of the truly depraved that have inspired so many of the films and stories most prevalent this time of year.
6. The Soap-Maker of Correggio
An Italian murderess, Leonarda Cianciulli's story is equal parts Silence of the Lambs and Fight Club.
|Yet she looks like somebody's grandma.|
Four sons remained, and Leonarda would be damned if she lost any more.
In 1939, her eldest son was drafted to fight in WWII. Afraid for her son's safety and being a rational human being, Leonarda consulted two gypsy fortune tellers.
The first one told her that all her children would die, so naturally she got a second opinion. The next gypsy told her: "In your right hand I see prison, in your left a criminal asylum."
|Miss Cleo says, your life is going to suck.|
|Eh, seems legit.|
|Things worked a little differently back then|
Two more women were dispatched in the same way. Feeling generous, Leonarda gave away the extra cakes and soap to friends and neighbors.
|No really, I insist you join in my cannibalism.|
|Works great on blood stains!|
Body snatchers, turned murderers.
"Up the close and down the stair,
In the house with Burke and Hare.
Burke's the murderer. Hare's the thief,
And Knox the boy who buys the beef."
... goes a well-known English rhyme.
Apparently the antics of these two scoundrels were recently made into a movie starring Simon Pegg. Which I was unaware of until I started writing this drivel.
|Shaun of the Dead and Gollum, go figure.|
These two enterprising chaps realized they could get a fair amount of money by selling the body to a medical school, since the dissection of corpses was technically illegal and fresh bodies were hard to come by. Subsequently, Old Donald's coffin was filled with wood, while his body was sold to anatomist Dr. Robert Knox for four pounds more than what the dead man owed in rent.
Most were elderly, mentally retarded, or prostitutes, and all were sold to Dr. Knox. In fact one of the victims, prostitute Mary Paterson, was recognized by Knox. He had been one of her clients. If Knox realized how Burke and Hare came by their goods though, he never mentioned it.
Burke was sentenced to death, while Hare turned king's evidence and was eventually released. Supposedly Hare later worked at a quarry, until his co-workers discovered his identity and blinded him.
That'll teach you to steal grandma.
4. H.H Holmes
Another body snatcher, Mr. Holmes is probably best known as America's first recorded serial killer. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he stole corpses, insured and disfigured them, and then claimed the insurance. Pretty ingenious really, except that he was also a twisted son of a bitch.
|Ah, the reckless confidence that a mustache like that can inspire...|
|H.H Holmes Castle = One city block.|
|"It seemed like a good deal at the time."|
He officially admitted to 27 murders, but it's estimated the true number of victims was over 100.
After moving around the country, H.H Holmes was finally caught and hanged in Philadelphia. The executioner botched the job, (although he couldn't have done it to a more deserving guy), and Holmes was slowly strangled to death. Taking over 15 minutes to die.
His final request was that he be buried in cement so his body couldn't be dissected.
3. Bordello from Hell
For about ten years, sisters Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez operated a nightmarish brothel in the middle of Mexico.
|Not quite. But close.|
Once the girls were "worn out", became too difficult, or lost their looks, they were murdered. Delfina and Maria also killed their clients, (generally bandits who wouldn't be missed), that came through with large sums of money.
The police failed to link the missing girls to the Rancho El Angel for almost a decade.
|Bet no more girls would've been Taken if Liam Neeson was involved.|
This is what we call a clue.
Miss. Josefina Gutierrez, crack hoe extraordinaire, was arrested and confessed that the girls were destined for the Rancho El Angel. Police raided the brothel, but the sisters had already peaced out. Instead they found a bunch of drugged girls and the bodies of 11 men, 80 women and several fetuses.
Eventually Delfina and Maria were caught and stood trial in 1964. Both were sentenced to 40 years in prison. Delfina died, but Maria completed her sentence and is possibly operating a vegetable stand somewhere in Mexico.
|At the ripe old age of 87.|
If you were born a peasant girl in 17th century Poland, your life already kind of sucks. What with the whole being a peasant, and a female, in a society that places more value on a well-trained horse than you, thing.
|Seriously. The damn cow even comes first.|
Well, add a sadistic Countess with a penchant for bathing in the blood of young virgins procured from the local peasantry, and God is clearly just fucking with you at this point.
Meet Erszebet Bathory, born of a wealthy Transylvania family and Countess of Cachtice Castle.
|The original cold-blooded bitch|
As a child, Erszebet suffered from violent seizures. It has been suggested that Erszebet's seizures may have had something to do with turning her bat-shit insane later in life.
|So what's your excuse, lady?|
Erszebet married young, as was typical back in the day. Her husband, Count Ferenc Nadasdy, probably realizing his wife was crazy, was absent for most of the marriage. Preferring to go to war against the Ottomans rather than stay home.So Erszebet was left alone and bored while teenage hormones kicked into high gear.
Not surprisingly, she got it on with several of the local peasants. And probably as a result of adolescent angst, developed an interest in the occult.
|I can't help but feel she's responsible for bullshit like this.|
Also, Hot Topic.
After the death of her husband, there was no one to keep the crazy in check. And Erszebet began torturing the shit out of young girls.She commissioned a giant birdcage lined with spikes, which she forced young women into. Once the girl was inside, Erszebet enjoyed stabbing at them with hot pokers. In an effort to escape, the girls wound up impaling themselves on the spikes.
It's estimated that the Countess is directly responsible for the deaths of over 500 young women.
Oh, she also liked to do this:
|And was made into a collectors item?|
Somewhat protected by her status as a noblewoman, the Countess was instead walled up inside her own castle. All windows and doors were bricked over, with only a small opening left through which food could be passed. On August 21st 1614, Countess Erszebet Bathory was found dead at the age of 54.
I kind of hope she made a good looking corpse though, you know, to justify all those blood baths...
|And apparently to inspire goth fan fiction.|
Half Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and half Hannibal Lecter, Nikolai Dzhumagaliev was the scariest thing to come out of Kazakhstan until Borat.
Nicknamed "Metal Fang" because of his false metal teeth, Nikolai was something of a lady killer.
|You know what, maybe it's the hat, |
but that is an attractive cannibal.
|Kind of makes you consider vegetarianism, huh?|
After accepting a dinner invitation, two alcoholics discovered a woman's severed head in the kitchen, presumably while they were searching for the vodka. Yet they managed to keep their collective shit together long enough to summon the police.
|Did you say top shelf or....|
|Probably coming to a neighborhood near you.|