Thursday, 20 August 2015

From Dusk Till Dawn Cupcakes

     During these sticky summer nights, we all need something fun and refreshing to help beat the heat. Here's a little something for you sweet-fanged party animals: margarita cupcakes, with fresh lime, real tequila, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Now you can have your cake and drink it too! What could be better?

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     The table legs and tequila bottle are, of course, inspired by the film From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. The story begins as the Gecko brothers, wanted bank robbers and murderers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Tarantino), attempt to make their way into Mexico, where they intend to live out their debaucherous lives in peace. To this end, they force a retired minister (Harvey Keitel) on an RV holiday with his two adolescent kids to smuggle the pair of criminals across the border. Once there, they must all pass the time in a horrendously rough bar until dawn, when the Geckos are to meet their Mexican contact tasked with their resettlement.  Unfortunately, this is no ordinary dive, and the movie takes a sharp, unpredictable turn after nightfall. When the sun rises, who will be left alive?

"Okay, hard drinkers, let's drink hard. I'm buyin'."

Friday, 13 June 2014

Damn Fine Custard

Long time no see!

     Just when you thought you'd seen the last of me, Terrifying Treats is back from the grave! I thought I'd bring things back to life by taking on that staple of English puddings: custard. Hopefully I won't turn you off of the stuff permanently. The gently cooked egg yolks give this custard its thick texture and creamy yellow colour. The fondant ear is adorned with a pearl earring painted with lustre dust (all edible). The strawberry coulis and simple syrup make this heavy pudding more seasonally appropriate.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These custard dishes were inspired by a scene from the movie Braindead (1992), one of Peter Jackson's pre-Lord of the Rings splatter films, released as Dead Alive in North America. This movie takes the concept of zombies and pushes it to its hilariously gory and ridiculously gross extremes. There's a reason George A. Romero listed it as one of his favourite zombie films. The setting is Wellington, New Zealand in 1957, and the zoo has just acquired a rare Sumatran rat-monkey. The flustered and endearing Lionel Cosgrove is taking his shrew of a mother to the zoo when she is bitten by the aforementioned rat-monkey. Shocked and distraught, she falls to pieces... literally. And then she starts to get a bit bitey. I'll leave a clip of the custard scene below, but beware: you may never want to eat custard again. 

"Damn fine custard! Rich and creamy, just the way I like it."

Want another dessert that plays an important role in a horror film? Be sure to check out Minnie Castevet's "chocolate mouse" from Rosemary's Baby.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Clockwork Orange Cookies

Happy Halloween!

     Here are some festive black and orange cookies to celebrate. As the title would suggest, they are actually orange flavoured. From actual oranges, no fake stuff! The icing is a simple royal icing and I drew the designs on with food markers.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     Stanley Kubrick's dystopian and controversial film, A Clockwork Orange (1971), is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess, O my brothers. After a series of violent activities, naughty boy Alex and his droogs have gotten into more trubby-wubble than he can handle. So when he's offered a place in an aversion therapy experiment instead of serving time, he thinks he's been given the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. Too bad "freedom" doesn't feel like he thought it would. 

     And appy-polly loggies to anyone who doesn't think this is horrorshow horror... But quit govoreeting that chepooka, you bezoomny lewdy! I was poogly enough when I viddied it!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Jaws Cupcakes

Open wide...

What better way to bid farewell to summer than with one of the great summer blockbusters? These are fruity and delicious piña colada cupcakes with pieces of fresh pineapple, topped with coconut icing. 

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

    Spielberg's Jaws (1975) always puts me in a good mood... unless I'm being reminded of it while at the beach. This classic film is set on the fictional Amity Island, a popular holiday destination off the coast of Massachusetts. When a great white shark (whose name, contrary to popular opinion, is not Jaws) violently stakes claim on his territory, only Spielberg's dream team featuring a jaded mainland cop, a spunky young scientist and a gruff, maritime war veteran can save the day. Wonderfully exciting and entertaining, Jaws took elements from the quest story and the monster movie and fused them together with that classic Spielberg storytelling, practically inventing the summer blockbuster.

"That's some bad hat, Harry."

Here, have another treat inspired by a fun thriller based on a common phobia: Arachnophobia.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Madness in the Mouth

Some treats are just crazy good.

     These cinnamon sugar cookies are topped with homemade royal icing and decorated using my new Wilton food writers. I'd been seeing all these cute popcorn cupcakes online and wanted to try it out myself. This one is caramel-flavoured and topped with mini marshmallows painted with a bit of yellow food colouring. You can find the template I used here.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     Together, the cookie and the cupcake are a reference to the end scene from one of John Carpenter's weirder films: In the \Mouth of Madness (1995). But first things first: the story. A talented insurance fraud investigator is looking into the disappearance of a celebrated horror fiction writer, Sutter Cane, who has vanished along with the manuscript for his latest book, In the Mouth of Madness. This leads him to a small, uncharted town in the middle of New Hampshire that looks alarmingly like the setting of Cane's book. But the landscape and architecture aren't the only things that seem familiar... And then some weird things happen.

     In this scene, Sam Neill is at the cinema watching the maddening film within the film, based on the book within the film, which tells the story of the film itself... I know. Anyway, he loses whatever marbles he may have had left.

"Do you read Sutter Cane?"

      If you're a Carpenter fan, be sure to check out one of my early posts, Halloween Thanksgiving Pie.

Monday, 22 July 2013

American Mary

Here's another dessert combo for you sweet-toothed scare-seekers out there...

     First I made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate suturing on top, based on an idea I saw in this book. Then came the dark chocolate surgical glove sugar cookies dipped  in even more dark chocolate. 

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     I was inspired to make these treats by the recent horror flick American Mary (2012) from newcomer, twin sister directors Jen and Sylvia Soska. Med school student Mary (Katharine Isabelle) wants nothing more than to become a surgeon. So when she becomes disillusioned with the world of medicine, she turns to underground surgery as a way to get her kicks and make ends meet. Mary performs body modifications, altering physiques, excising tissue and amputating appendages according to the whims of her eccentric patients. Isabelle is a knockout in more ways than one and the film itself is so sleek and deliberate that the overall effect is actually... charming. That, or I've really gone too far down the rabbit hole and there's no hope for me. 


If you're the indecisive type when it comes to sweets, you might also like my cookies and apple crisp combo.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Cronenberg Cookies

Happy Canada Day!

     I baked this batch of maple sugar cookies to celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday. Delicious maple goodness!

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

In honour of the holiday, I decided to pay tribute to four amazing films from the great Canadian horror director David Cronenberg.

Shivers (1975), Cronenberg’s first feature, is a wonderfully strange sci-fi film that mixes sex and body horror. These parasitic worms infect their hosts in the most invasive ways possible. 

The similarly titled Scanners (1981) explores the world of telepathic and telekinetic individuals known as “scanners”. The exploding-head cookie seen here depicts a memorable moment from the film.

Videodrome (1983) tells the story of a TV station executive who discovers an eerie snuff program broadcast by a mysterious source. As he investigates further, he enters a world of increasingly violent and strange hallucinations. 

Finally, in The Fly (1986), quirky scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) attempts to solve the mystery of teleportation with tragic, metamorphic results. 

In conclusion, Canadians are weird. Let's celebrate!

"Be afraid... Be very afraid."

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Misery loves Cupcakes

Have a cockadoodie cupcake!

I made these toppers entirely out of gum paste this time, which I find much easier to work with than fondant. I think the colours come out brighter, too.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     This cupcake series pays homage to Reiner's Misery (1990), an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. It's unique for featuring one of the best movie villains of all time: the role that won Kathy Bates an Oscar. The story begins as Paul, a successful novelist, drives from Colorado to Los Angeles, only to end up driving off the road in a blizzard, breaking both his legs in the process. He is rescued by his "number-one fan", a nurse named Annie, who takes him back to her isolated cabin to nurse him back to health. Lucky coincidence, right? Not so much. When Annie says she's his number-one fan, she really means it. She will stop at nothing to keep him there, and after the two have an artistic disagreement, Paul finds himself writing to survive.

Don't be fooled... This is the face of pure, deranged evil.

"I thought you were good, Paul... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy."

For another excellent film adaptation of a Stephen King novel, check out my Shining Cakes.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Blair Witch S'mores

In May of 2013, an amateur 
baker disappeared in 
the woods of Ontario 
while making delicious treats for her blog.

A year later, these photos were found.

      Who doesn't love s'mores? They're the perfect treat for the beginning of the camping season. The best s'mores have a hidden dose of nostalgia sandwiched into the holy trinity of toasted marshmallow, crisp graham cracker and melted chocolate. And you'll always want some more!

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

      The Blair Witch Project (1999) was one of the earlier entries in the now wildly popular found footage sub-genre. Three student filmmakers venture into the woods of Maryland to make a documentary about the witch who supposedly lives there. Hunger, anger, and madness soon set in as they get increasingly lost. They start to hear strange noises outside their tents at night, and then awake to find rocks, figures and bundles of sticks arranged in threatening ways, sometimes containing animal organs.

      I think your enjoyment of the film is highly dependent on your expectations coming into it, and whether or not you can convince yourself that it was actually found in the woods. I was never fooled by it, but I'm always willing to suspend my disbelief. That said, I find myself cringing more with empathy than with fear (e.g. the "map" scenes). I can only imagine how well this film must have worked on opening night in 1999, in a dark theatre full of people who were completely new to shaky-cam horror (motion sickness!) and actually believed it was real. In any case, it's an inspiring example for new filmmakers short on cash: It cost just $22,000 and made over 240 million, making it the most profitable feature film of all time.

"Mmm. Marshallows. Soft."

For more fun with marshmallows, check out Nosferatu Pfeffernüsse.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

American Werewolf in London Cupcakes

Pupcakes, anyone?

     I first laid eyes on these lycanthropic cupcakes through Annie's Eats and knew I had to make them myself, in honour of my favourite werewolf movie. I try out different recipes all the time, and here I discovered a great one for dark chocolate cupcakes that I'll definitely be using again. The Underground sign is made from painted and coloured fondant with white icing piped on top. 

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     The things I could say about John Landis' An American Werewolf in London (1981)... It's charming from start to finish, and it succeeds in being both a comedy and a horror film while excelling at the former. The makeup and special effects are phenomenal and still renowned today. It's my favourite werewolf film and my second favourite horror-comedy after Shaun of the Dead (2004). It starts with two young American men who begin their Euro trip by hitch-hiking through the Yorkshire moors. So they're pretty much asking for what happens next. They get attacked and one of them, David, ends up in a hospital in central London, where he starts experiencing strange hallucinations and cravings for live deer. As the full moon approaches, David struggles to keep his animal instincts under wraps, but soon finds himself engaging in "carnivorous lunar activities"...

"I will not be threatened by a walking meatloaf!"

If, like me, you enjoy movies set in the 1980's that feature attractive, dark-haired young men overcome by their darker impulses after nightfall, you should check out this post I made for Donnie Darko.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Apple Crisp Has Eyes

Is there anything better than homemade apple crisp? Maybe, but not much. 

     So, I decided to bake some up, and I noticed a striking resemblance to the Nevada desert. I topped it off with a sugar cookie decorated to look like an Airstream trailer. The glaze is a simple milk + sugar mix with a bit of black colouring and silver lustre dust. The wheel and blinds are made from gum paste. The "rocks" are actually cinnamon cookie nuts I bought at Picard's Peanuts. If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend picking some up.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     Just like my Dawn of the Gingerbread, this treat was inspired by a horror film with an almost-equally-famous remake. The original (1977) is a cult classic by the legendary Wes Craven, and the remake (2006) is a brutal gore-fest courtesy of Alexandre Aja, who's not one to mess around. Both tell the story of a happy American family (mother, father, son, daughters, son-in-law, baby and dogs) traveling through the Southwest when they find themselves stranded in the desert. As if this weren't enough of a problem, there are also mutant cannibals living in the surrounding hills. Once the attacks start, our heroes are pushed to their limits in fighting for their survival. I wish I could combine these two films into the ultimate hunted-in-the-desert film. 

     I find the first one a little slow and unintentionally goofy, and the remake is so cruel and gruesome that even I, a seasoned horror fan, found it hard to handle. But I love the gritty, nostalgic feel of the first and I thought the back-story that was introduced in the remake was worthwhile and added interest. If you could take the best of both, you would have a fantastic film, but I respect them separately and for their own merit. 


"We're gonna be French fries! Human French fries!"

Friday, 12 April 2013

Mummy Cupcakes

No one escapes the cupcake curse.

     Certainly not me, anyway. These are salted caramel cupcakes with salted caramel icing. Good lord. It's a toss-up between these and the Leprechaun Cupcakes for the title of Most Delicious Thing I've Made for the Blog. The recipe is here. I highly recommend it. I used a ribbon tip to make the bandages, and chocolate chips for the eyes.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     The most interesting mummy movie I've seen would have to be Bubba Ho-Tep (2002). I'm not that drawn to mummies for their own horror merit, so there has to be some comedy for me to get into it. This movie fits the bill. In it, senior citizens Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy defend their nursing home from a mummy looking to snack on some souls. You read that correctly. There are some hilarious one-liners that I unfortunately can't repeat here. You'll just have to see it for yourself.

"Thank you. Thank you very much."

Any Bruce Campbell fans out there? You might be interested in the Evil Dead Cake I made a while back. 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Frank the Bunny Cookies

      Happy Easter!

     I made these creepy bunny cookies to celebrate the beginning of spring with something terrifying. They're basic sugar cookies, cut into bunny shapes and decorated with a simple glaze, with white chocolate for the teeth and eyes. I brushed them with silver lustre dust to give them that eerie shimmer.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     While it's not strictly speaking a horror movie, Donnie Darko (2001) was one of my favourite films during my teen years. You'd be more likely to put it in the category of sci-fi, fantasy or drama, but it's still a creepy film that defies genre. The story is confusing and admittedly flawed, but the dark, stylish direction more than makes up for it. It's set in 1988, and Donnie is your average moody teenager played by a very cute Jake Gyllenhaal. However, Donnie has quite a spectacular problem. He is led out of his house one night by a terrifying, 6-foot-tall bunny who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. He has until then to find a way to stop it, all while getting the girl, taking down an annoying motivational speaker and figuring out why his new best friend is wearing that stupid bunny suit.

Now excuse me, I need to go back to grad school.

Check out another holiday sugar cookie I made: Gremlin Cookies.