Waiting for a sequel for nearly two decades could be considered one of Satan’s personal jokes, were it not for the fact that in this case the irony would be too blatant even for the Prince of Darkness himself.
Clive Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels has been teased for so long, and in so many incarnations, that it was beginning to look like one of the worst publicity stunts in publishing history. As far back as 1993, Barker talked about a new book of short stories that would include a sequel to The Hellbound Heart, the novella that introduced the world to the Cenobites.
Those rumors soon morphed into scuttle about a potential short novel pitting the most famous Cenobite, Pinhead, against another iconic Barker character, the occult detective Harry D’Amour.
However, as the story developed over the course of several years, Barker decided to expand the concept into a novel and the unrelated short stories were put aside.
Rumors of a release date were bantered about, sending Barker fans into repeated frenzies of speculation. But delays came in the form of Barker’s several throat surgeries, and in 2012 his lapse into a coma for eleven days following a trip to the dentist that led to blood poisoning. Barker recovered, but his near-death experience left him with “many strange visions” (which may or may not have found their way into his work).
Finally on Sept 9, 2013, Barker announced via social media that although no date has been set for release, “The Scarlet Gospels are finished.”
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When we first told you about it, the seriously creepy novel The Woman in Black by Susan Hill had already been a long-running play in London’s West End, a made-for-TV movie in the UK, and barely a rumor from Hammer Films about a theatrical remake starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter); which turned out to be true after all. The WiB with Radcliffe in the lead role hit theaters in February, 2012.
Almost immediately, Hammer Films made the announcement of its intent to pursue a sequel – which was kind of a no-brainer considering they grossed $112 million globally on a $17 million investment.
Love it or not, the old girl made bank.
The first film saw Radcliffe as lawyer Arthur Kipps, who travels to Eel Marsh House on an assignment, only to discover the house belonging to his client is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to find someone and something she lost.
The film was Hammer all the way, intending to shock and in many scenes being quite successful. The atmosphere is moody and brings to mind the old Roger Corman movies based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. The movie version won’t go down as a personal favorite, mainly because the play was just so darn awesome. Still, it’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it.
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As if in response to the modern day bastardization of the vampire image (flannel shirts, shunning blood-drinking, etc., etc.), Dracula himself has started popping up everywhere.
Pardon the phraseology.
First, in June come the report from the University of Tallin that Vlad Dracula’s final resting place was likely not in the ruins of a Romanian monastery, but was instead in a Neapolitan chapel.
And now, just in time for Halloween, the UK’s Daily Mail reports more archaeological history about the real man Vlad Dracula.
A winding maze of secret dungeons and tunnels has been discovered beneath Tokat Castle in Turkey during restoration work on the site. The ruins of the castle are located in the northern town of Tokat and these hidden cells may have been where Vlad Tepes himself was held hostage during the 15th century.
“The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” says restoration archaeologist İbrahim Çetin, who is working at the site. He went on to tell the Daily News that one tunnel found is believed to have been used to reach nearby Roman baths. The dungeons, Çetin told the paper, were “built like a prison.”
“It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept,” he said, “But he was around here.”
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What seems like a million years ago, while digging through stacks of used books at my local library sale, I discovered a tattered copy of Zenna Henderson’s collection of creepy tales, The Anything Box (1977). Within those pages, I found what is today one of my top 10 favorite short stories of all time, “Hush.”
It is the classic literary scare relying on the terror of lurking things that cannot be seen, rather than the in-your-face-violence of things that can. “Hush” tells the story of an ill little boy whose fevered brain gives life to the horrors in his imagination, which in turn, stalk his unwitting babysitter… naturally.
Eerie little kids with large, soulful eyes staring at you from someplace they shouldn’t be – frankly there is almost nothing more frightening, if you ask me.
Flash forward to October, 2014 and a new offering from the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child, Keith Donohue — where once again we have a creepy little kid trapped in his own world, and whose solitary imagination blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.
Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter (“Kip”) Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. When Kip takes up drawing, his parents, Holly and Tim, hope this new creative outlet will help Jip to combat his introversion, agoraphobia and occasionally violent tendencies.
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Just in time for the start of the Halloween season, we hear that Pride And Prejudice And Zombies has truly risen from the grave.
Based on the 2009 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austin of course) P&P&Z tells the tale of “manners, morals and brain-eating mayhem” and has been sitting in movie development hell ever since before the book hit store shelves.
Back then, the British Sunday Times reported that Hollywood was all over Grahame-Smith, which he confirmed at a book-signing just after P&P&Z’s release, saying the novel had officially been purchased by an undisclosed major film company to be produced as a feature film.
Lionsgate turned out to be the film company and Natalie Portman was in to star as Elizabeth, but she later reconsidered and decided instead to serve as a producer. Shortly thereafter, director O. Russell left production due to scheduling conflicts (or Portman’s involvement if you believe gossip, which of course we never do…) and Mike White stepped in to direct the adaptation.
But nearly a year later, in January 2011, White also left the project due to “scheduling conflicts” as did his successor Craig Gillespie who signed on in April, 2011 but bailed in October.
What the heck?
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We met author Chad Bednar at this year’s Chicago Comic Con when he lured us into his booth with his stories promising vampires, evil artifacts, and the Vatican.
What can I say? Not all girls like chocolates and flowers.
After reading the first installment in his Keeper of the Sins series, it was obvious that you all needed to meet Chad as well. With Black Gate being an oasis for emerging authors, where they can always be assured of a cushy chair, an adult beverage, and a warm welcome – everyone, meet Chad Bednar.
Chad, meet everyone.
GC: How did you first get into writing? Was it to meet girls?
CB: No, nothing that weird. Besides, I met the girl of my dreams in a cadaver lab (GC: Really? You’re always welcome in the Goth Chick News office in that case). I started writing because I had more to say, but only thought of the perfect way to say it later. My brain is irritating that way.
What was your inspiration for Keeper of Sins?
It’s a dovetailing of a number of my interests. I am constantly distracted by all things fantastical. If the SyFy channel had been around when I was younger, I would have starved to death in front of it. The question of faith is a journey I’ve wrestled with, and this is my lifelong research.
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When exploring the back roads on the far outskirts of my beloved New Orleans, it is not unusual to spot the occasional decrepit plantation home. It will be there, nearly out of sight behind the dense, mossy trees, but you can just spot the vine-covered columns barely supporting what was once a magnificent monument to the splendor of the “Old South.”
The sight of such a house, nearly consumed by the wildness lurking just beyond the paved road, always ignites sadness and dread in equal measure; sadness at the idea that this once, much-loved structure has been abandoned to the swamp, and dread at the idea that those who once loved her might still be doing so while peering back at you from behind those rotted lace curtains.
An isolated, deteriorating mansion sitting at the end of an overgrown road triggers something in all of us. You hear “I dare you” in the back of your mind. You wonder if there’s a flashlight in the trunk and you start thinking there would be no harm at all in going up one or two of the porch steps, just to see…
Author Scott Kenemore knows exactly how we feel.
He welcomes you to The Grand Hotel, where nobody checks out.
Where the desk clerk invites you into his mysterious and crumbling hotel, then takes you on a little tour to introduce you to the hotel’s “long term” residents who only look like they never call for room service.
As the very proper and solicitous clerk takes you deeper and deeper into the heart of the hotel, secrets that have been hiding for eons begin to show themselves. Although your guide seems quite prepared for this experience, there is some question as to whether or not the rest of the world shares his readiness.
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Where Star Wars is concerned, even a goth chick can go fan-girl.
Just in from the UK today: A pilot taking publicity photos for a flying school accidentally buzzed one of the sets of the new Star Wars movie with pretty impressive, if unintentional, results.
Matthew Myatt originally thought his pictures were of experiment aircraft at the Greenham Common airfield in Berkshire, England. Greenham Common is a former RAF airbase. Myatt was photographing one plane from another and it wasn’t until he got back and started reviewing his images that he realized what he had captured: none other than a partially built Millennium Falcon and an X-Wing fighter.
It appears that, at least in part, director J.J. Abrams will use models for filming rather than pure CGI. As one excited fan wrote on www.theforce.net, “Who’d’ve guessed filmmakers still build physical models?” and “Looks like the Falcon got a paint job!”
Star Wars is due out in December, 2015
Last week and prior to the end-of-summer bacchanalia that is Labor Day weekend, we got half way through telling you all about the adventures kilt-clad Black Gate photog Chris Z and I had at the largest Wizard World Comic Con Chicago has ever hosted.
On the hottest weekend of the summer, with temperatures climbing into the three digits, we arrived at one of the city’s biggest convention centers and waded into a sea of vendors, artists, and cosplayers clad in unbreathing fabric which, in some cases, was stretched to the breaking point.
After agreeing it was about time to ask “The Boss” John O’ for hazard pay, we set about scoping the con’s coolest people and products to tell you about.
So here is part two; and let me say, we’re pretty excited…
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It is hard to believe, but we once again find ourselves in that very special time of year here in Chicago. It’s August, temperatures push well past the 90 degree mark, Labor Day looms just around the corner, and Midwesterners from a 150 mile radius (or more in some cases) descend on the city in unforgiving, unbreathable, highly form-fitting, man-made fabrics.
Yes dear Black Gate readers – its once again time for Chicago’s Wizard World Comic Con.
Though Wizard World never officially discloses attendance numbers, local media reports that the 2014 event has drawn nearly 100,000 visitors to the Rosemont Convention Center during its four day run. And like we have done for the last six years, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I are wading into the fray that has literally backed up traffic almost to O’Hare airport.
With weathermen ominously reporting daytime temperatures would “feel like” 115 or more, Chris shows up dressed for battle in his Black Gate polo shirt and a kilt, commenting about how on this day above all others, a breeze is necessary.
This isn’t the first time Chris’s Utilikilt has made an appearance and it won’t be the last. At least I am happy to report most Hollywood starlets could take a lesson from Chris on entering and exiting a low-riding vehicle without acquainting the free world with what lies beneath – if you get my meaning.
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