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The Unconventional Beauty of the Macabre: Perfumer Beth Moriarty Loves Horror

080.jpgCrafting horror-inspired scents is a tricky business. Yet Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) has invented hundreds of unique perfume blends, carving a niche via fragrances like Embalming Fluid and Night-Gaunt. With lines inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft, the BPAL team has set a high standard for exploring the darkest depths. “There are traditional formulas in classic perfumery,” explains founder Beth Moriarty. “The challenge in creating horror-themed scents is forcing yourself to throw that all away.”

Moriarty makes light of her work (“No one should take themselves too seriously, especially a woman that makes Eau de Herbert West for a living”) but she’s passionate about horror. Says Moriarty. “People may find that the scent of graveyard dirt, embalming fluid, or shoggoth pheromones stimulates them.” A scent such as Dracul is part “black musk, tobacco, fir, balsam of peru, cumin, bitter clove, crushed mint, and orange blossom.” That’s an overall aroma every bit as dark and complex as the Count himself! “I’d rather wear a scent that embodies the sensuality of Salome or the ferocity of the Sacred Whore of Babylon than some pre-packaged formula,” states Moriarty. Her favorite from the BPAL line? Snake Oil.

It’s no shock that someone who finds beauty in Hellraiser‘s Cenobites can recommend a pretty mean list of horror films, too.

Beth Moriarty’s Top 10

10. The House on Haunted Hill
9. Otsuyu
8. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
7. Repulsion
6. The Omen
5. The Bride of Frankenstein
4. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
3. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
2. The Exorcist
1. The Shining

The Shining
scared the hell out of me when I was a kid,” says Moriarty. “I thought to myself — even
without all the clairvoyant stuff — this could happen. People go nuts
all the time in real life, and some of them have hatchets. To this
day, I’m not all that keen on typewriters or hedge mazes.”

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