amy merrickliving in

living in: the dark crystal

by amym

Today’s living in is all about facing your childhood fears head on bravely and declaring for the whole world to hear, “The Dark Crystal, it’s taken 20 years but I am no longer scared of you.” Repeat a few times till you trick yourself into believing it.  Sort of.  I grew up in a family that supported a healthy respect for Jim Henson, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street. But while my big sister couldn’t get enough of The Dark Crystal, I think I spent repeated viewings completely under the covers. Heck, I was even scared of the Gelflings.

Natural geode $57, wooden flute $10, antique oil flagon $425, deerskin bracelet $80, diy pressed ferns, vintage  demijohn and basket $148, leather sandals $149,  petrified wood slices $40, citrine cluster $9, threshing basket $349.

Honestly I’m still kinda creeped out, even by the good guys.  But evil skeksis or no, I have a firm appreciation for 1980s style elfin fantasy style.  A little thatched hut in the woods with lots of baskets and bottles and viney tree roots doesn’t sound too bad these days, but let’s skip the whole sucking of life essence bit. That, my friends, I could do without.

Iron globe chandelier $1873, leather fringe bag $84, set of 4 wicker votive holders $10, mushroom specimens $20, agate geode $29, antique wooden cart $698, iron table $548, wooden trivet $18.

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  • can’t do it. this movie, who framed roger rabbit, and ET are all movies i have irrational fears of. total weenie.

  • Hilarious! I was in the same boat a few months ago when I bought this movie on DVD. Honestly, I remember watching it as a kid (among my all-time fave: Labyrinth) but I didn’t know they were puppets in the Dark Crystal, until recently! I know, stupid. The most terrifying part in this movie for me as a youngin’ was the part where the annoying skeksis gets ripped of all his garb. Proudly, I can admit I am no longer afraid of this movie, 20+/- years later. :)

  • I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where the Dark Crystal aesthetic is alive and well. I was happy to move.

  • omg LOVE this movie!! yes, it is hella creepy, especially when the skeksis emperor is dying, EEK!! I missed this one as a kid except we loved all things Jim Henson back then so how I missed this I will never know. it ranks up there with the awesomeness of the Neverending Story.

  • The first thing out of my mouth upon seeing this post… was “No oo ooo…” (said like a goat, if goats could express disbelief).

    Anyways, I like the pieces pulled out of it. I would give a skew-eye to anyone who admitted to this as a design inspiration though.

  • What a surprise Living In choice this was! I really like this little movie. It’s sort of magical and mysterious.
    That said, this movie doesn’t creep me out so much as gently put me to sleep. Since it’s all rainy here in Texas, I think we’ll have to open a bottle of wine tonight and break out this DVD. Maybe I’ll finally find out how the whole thing ends….

  • Strangely enough, I always loved this movie. Even as a little girl, where it did scare me a little bit… I always seemed to want to watch it. I loved the scenery, and the weirdness of it. I especially loved the sandals you chose to go along with this movie.

    I would sooo wear those.

  • I adore this movie, we named our sweet little miniature poodle muppet after the character Fizzgig. Love having a bit of the Dark Crystal bouncing around the house, but will leave the aesthetics on the silver screen.

  • Love love love the Dark Crystal!!

    I sure wouldn’t mind having that basket-y chandelier and those awesome geodes in my house, either :)

    Thanks for the post, I’m smiling!

  • Haha! One of my favorite movies, ever! My sisters and I still quote it. Yes, it was slightly scary at times (Ogra holding her own eyeball?!), but I think that makes for the best movies. Cool finds, too!

  • oh my gosh! i still can’t look at the pictures. those puppets still creep me out more than anything else. i am glad that i am not the only one.

  • HOW WEIRD!!! I totally watched this last night! so funny to turn on design sponge today and find it in living in!!! haha!

    all-time classic!

  • This is hilarious! I bet you had a blast selecting movie stills and products for this ‘living in’…

  • I can’t think of this movie without having the line, “looks like a gelfling, smells like a gelfling, maybe it is a gelfling!” go through my head.

  • When I saw the words “the dark crystal” at the top of this post, I’m not going to lie, my head whirled around to be sure there weren’t suddenly any skeksis lurking in a dark corner of my studio.
    Very creative to go this route, and good for you for trying to overcome the fear. My fear is still full and strong though. It is because of this movie alone that I keep the lights on at night when my husband is out of town.

  • Maybe this explains things…most people were afraid and disturbed by this movie and I watched it constantly. My subconscious is always trying to decorate my house to live in this movie and I never look enough like Kira. Yikes. haha. Oh well, I’m glad it got a shout out!

  • This film sparked my present love for the dark beauty of Tim Burton. I haven’t seen The Dark Crystal since I was a young teen….think it’s time to experience it as a twenty-something! Great finds!

  • Yaaa Dark Crystal!! I had a poster in my room growing up! Huge fan..awesome. I watch the movie at least once a year, and mimic the skeksis when I eat anything ucky..”Rotten”…Thanks for the great post.

  • I watched this this morning with my son, he picked it out at the library. Some parts were a little too scary for him but it was fun to see again.

  • That movie scared me so bad. Oh- I think it still would! ;) I can’t remember much, but, I totally remember it being creepier than creepy. Makes me shiver!

  • OMG. My husband got this for the kids this weekend from Netflix. My 3 year old daughter wants to watch it over and over and I can’t stand to watch it for 5 minutes. So funny you posted this, I have to link my hubby up to see this. I agree, it is so creepy!

  • My husband and I had a kind of O. Henry moment in which each of us bought the other this movie for Christmas one year. Love it! The designer for the film was fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, who also did the design for Labyrinth.

    Love this movie! Still, not so much a world I want to live in…

  • ginny’s comment up there totally cracked me up. i love this movie, but can only bring myself to watch it once every couple years – those bird guys are just a lot to handle. and yes, i am a 27 year old woman. ;) love the inspiration compilations, though.

  • My first memory of seeing this movie was when I was very small at the children’s hour at the public library. My older sister loved it, but I think it was kind of disturbing to me. Even seeing the pictures in this post gave me a weird feeling – lol!

  • wow, i had no idea this movie traumatized so many others! i no longer feel so alone!! :) thanks for sharing your fears, everyone. and all those of you who have watched it again…you are braver than me! :) nowadays instead of henson puppetry i watch scary stuff like jersey shore! yikes…

  • i have a completely irrational fear of the movie “return to oz.” i made my husband watch it as an adult and, suffice it to say, it did not have the same effect on him.

  • A masterpiece! I think the character of Monty Burns is actually a skeski. My sister and i still quote this 25 years lateras in, …”there’s something about being in Walmart that ‘sucks my essence…”

  • I hate this movie. I’m terrified of it. I’ve tried to watch it as an adult but it’s just too disturbing. You hit the nail on the head. I could never get past how horrifying the gelfings were. The Dark Crystal is made of nightmares. F Dark Crystal.

  • I completely squeeled when i saw this post!! I love the dark crystal!! this and bugsy malone were my two favourite films growing up! x

  • Wow – haven’t thought about this movie in forever! The orrery is fantastic! I’ve been wanting one ever since I saw Charles LeDray’s miniature orrery carving at the ICA in Boston last month – I just made a limited edition screenprint of one because I was so head over heals with it.

  • I love this post, have been looking for citrine clusters for ages. Just realised I have cocooned my home into a veritable middle earth..with rope chests , crystals and iron and ferns everywhere…

  • I’m so glad Brian Froud’s been mentioned! His aesthetic has been absorbed and adapted by so many since this lovely movie, his Faeries books, and other films like Labrynith and Peter Pan from 2003. Wonderful whimsy and a great post.

  • I’ve never heard of this movie but it looks like something that would give me nightmares. I’m liking the idea of childhood movies for living in though. Keep up the good work. I love this series!

  • You get MAJOR points for blogging about this movie! I was scared of it when I was little too…it was the Skesis. But I grew out of it and it’s been a favorite of mine for years! (along with all other things Jim Henson) I wish I could say it’s The Dark Crystal that my name is from, but my parents actually picked it after watching Xanadu. (I DARE you to do a “Living In” feature about that movie!) ;)

  • Ok, I posted yesterday I hadn’t seen it… so I looked and it’s on NetFlix Instant Play! So DH and I watched it last night!
    It was… slightly bizarre, but overall I really liked it! :)

  • Ok… this movie use to scare the begeezes out of me as well. Those creatures were crazy scary for a 5+/- year old. Please just look at these images of the Podlings and Skeksis:



    … nuff said.
    I’m all for it NOW… after 20-some years, I should be over it. This along with Labyrinth and the Last Unicorn (cartoon movie) are probably the most memorable of my childhood. For that, I am appreciative.

  • Wow, The Dark Crystal! I saw this movie when it first came out in 1982 (I was in my 20’s), and though some scenes were indeed creepy (never mind the Skesis, how about the Landstriders? Aughra? And even the aligning of the 3 suns!), the movie was no creepier than Star Wars (c’mon, some of the SW creatures were very creepy too!) The film was far ahead of its time; the precursor to The Lord of The Rings, Avatar, etc. Kudos, Design Sponge, for opening up a dialog about the movie (unfortunately, it takes away from the whole point of the post, which is to show design items inspired by the movie!) By the way, if you Google images from the movie, you’ll see a few pictures of a couple of celebs who look like some of the characters (Steven Tyler as Jen, the Oldsen twins as Kira, Mikey Teutel/Brigitte Bardot/Maria Shriver [?] as Aughra). Fun!

  • this is, essentially, my favorite movie ever, but everyone is right about how terrifying it is/was!

    the comments crack me up! and it’s great to know that other people have mental ties to this film and the last unicorn, labyrinth, and return to oz — all the things that childhood trauma and love are made of!

    not really my style, but love the post nonetheless.

  • I think it was their creepy sing-songy voices that gave me the wiggins. Though I still use the the line “words that stay” on a nearly daily basis. Good job with the living in finds, though I never want to live in this one…

  • wow, when I said what I said before, about any of the others being my favorites, I lied. This is wonderful. It both cracks me up and delights me with whimsy. And it will be my favorite forever, or until you do a little Anne of Avonlea, or Ever After or Chocolat… okay, clearly it will be my favorite for at least 30 seconds…

  • Well, of course you were scared of that movie. Look at how freaky those gelflikngs and skeksis are! My bff at the time was obsessed with it, so I always had to watch it when I was visiting her and it rained. I never got over the creeped-out feeling. We’re no longer bffs, and it’s no surprise…

  • OMG! YES! I’d be into this way more if my love for the movie was of a dangerously geeky scifi worshiping degree….its not (thank god) but if it were I’d want my taste to be this kick ass. I still love this movie.

  • Daaaaang. This is amazing. Thank you for this.
    I want those sandals SO BADLY but the website doesn’t have them anymore! Ah!

  • People who FORCE other people to sell, throw away, or otherwise divest themselves of this movie are bad people. You have no child left in you, your sense of magic and wonder is gone.

    This movie embodies those things and does so in an intelligent and imaginative way. Never get rid of it! I never will!

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