In the lead-up to Halloween, Dazed Digital is running a Dark Arts season inspired by our November Dark Arts issue. Among other things, we've walked the path of darkness via the Hollywood Walk of Death and talked to Don Mancini, the creator of Chucky. Check back on our Dark Arts section for a journey to hell and back.
Traipsing down Hollywood Boulevard is a vacation in American celebrity. Old Hollywood legends are paid tribute in 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars that make this 1.3 mile stretch a huge attraction to tourists. Their achievements live on here, a monumental ode to their star quality. Some people, however, prefer to go to the source of these oft-remembered talents – site specific tours where these famed VIPs' presences can still be felt. Gravesites, burial grounds, mausoleums, crypts. From Père Lachaise to Forest Lawn, these perished celebrities now have CCTV and orgies to keep them company – a Hollywood Walk of Death worthy of National Lampoon.
After leaving England to escape the shame of his conviction for 'gross indecency', Oscar Wilde continued the indecency even after his fatal bout of meningitis. Entombed at the famous French cemetery, Père Lachaise, Wilde's executors erected a huge monument of a naked angel, complete with realistic penis and balls in his honour. The marble testicles were stolen in 1961 (allegedly the cemetery manager used them as a paperweight), though multimedia artist Leon Johnson felt compelled to replace the statue's junk with a silver 'prothesis'. A shining member to compliment the thousands of russet-stained kisses which visitors have left behind in their own sort of 'gross indecency'.
Jimi Hendrix's grave has a four-star rating on TripAdvisor and it's Renton, Washington's proudest tourist attraction. A domed cement gazebo in the middle of the cemetery holds portraits, plaques and engravings of his song lyrics alongside a likeness of his famous Stratocaster. The site is known for attracting young music fans wanting to pay homage to the rock legend, and they do so by leaving beers, joints, condoms and, occasionally, the odd bunch of flowers for the deceased rockstar.
Jim Morrison's grave is probably one of the most visited tourist attractions in the French capital. Also buried in Père Lachaise, Morrison's tomb is under regular surveillance to prevent theft and vandalism. A bust of the the lizard king was stolen from the tomb causing cemetery officials to erect metal barricades around the site, though it hasn't deterred fans from trekking across the globe in hopes of paying tribute to Morrison. Security had to be employed to prevent the gravesite from being regularly used as a location for orgies, drug parties and riots.
Forest Lawn in California is a privately owned and operated cemetery and is also under heavy guard by security, which is why you're not likely to see smeared lipstick, graffiti or used condoms adorning any of the tombs. Interred here are some of the world's most famous people including Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Michael Jackson and, of course, Walt Disney (despite the cryogenically frozen head rumours). Michael Jackson's solid bronze coffin is entombed in an unmarked crypt, though it hasn't stopped fans from sneaking in, hunting down his resting place and writing messages to Jacko on the inside of the mausoleum walls in permanent markers.
Andy Warhol is buried at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh, though if you can't physically make the pilgrimage to pay your respects to the Factory founder, simply logon to the Figment Project and watch a live stream of Andy Warhol's inanimate headstone, doing nothing. True devotees will want to contribute to what's become an art installation in of itself, with visitors leaving famous pop-culture mementos like Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Mylar balloons and the occasional toupee.
Marilyn Monroe is buried in the Westwood Memorial park in Los Angeles alongside the most glittering of old-Hollywood celebrities. Of all the celebrities laying in rest at Westwood, Marilyn's tomb is the most frequently visited and adored. Even after her death, her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio had roses sent to her crypt weekly, for twenty years until he died. Adoring fans of the voluptuous siren trek to the burial site in hoards to fondle her plaque and as a result, Monroe's headstone is the "dirtiest one in there". Covered in lipstick, fingerprints and greasy impressions of overzealous admirers, Marilyn remains well 'loved'.
Victor Noir was a controversial French journalist and his bronze monument continues to cause controversy hundreds of years after its erection (pun intended). Depicting Noir realistically as though he'd just fallen over in the street (as he died), the sculpture has a very awkward protuberance jutting out from the bronzed-formed trousers – an erection. Thousands of women have made the pilgrimage to give Noir's crotch a sneaky rub; so many in fact that the cemetery had to fence-off the hoards of women who believed it held magical fertility powers. The fence was removed in 2004 after protests from the "female population of Paris".
Whitney Houston needs more bodyguards in death than she ever needed alive. Fairview Cemetery in New Jersey had to hire round-the-clock, armed security guards to protect the singer's sacred resting place. The overwhelming number of fans trying to pay their respects to Houston forced the private cemetery to beef up security. Following threats of grave-robbers wanting to dig Whitney's body up to claim the £300,000 worth of clothes and jewels she was buried in, the cemetery was closed indefinitely.
Two weeks after Elvis Presley died, police were informed of a plot to steal Elvis' corpse and his four-hundred kilogram, steel-lined, copper-plated coffin. The plan to hold the King's body for a ransom of $10 million never eventuated, because police were only able to charge the thieves with trespassing. The Presley estate got spooked, dug-up Elvis' and his mother's body, then shipped them off to the butter-scented, 23-room Graceland Mansion in 1957. They lay today alongside Elvis's chimp, two of his horses, his dog and an estranged aunty. The grounds are under constant surveillance 24-hours a day by security guards, cameras and probably Lisa Marie.
Tupac Shakur doesn't have a grave site and he never really had a funeral, either. The private burial was cancelled by his mother; she instead cremated him just days after his death, fuelling rumours that the OG wasn't actually dead. Why would you cremate a murdered body? Maybe cremation offered his friends and family more than a burial could. His mother scattered some of his ashes on the beach while the rest of the remains went to Shakur’s crew, the Outlawz, who then mixed-up his burnt bones with weed, rolled a big fat joint and proceeded to smoke the rapper. Heaven ain't hard 2 find when you're an airborne smoke particle.