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Goth Chick News: The King Kong vs Godzilla of Movie Remakes

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image006It’s probably time for me to cave and stop complaining about present-day remakes of classic (or at least older) films.

Things have just gone far too far.

According to several movie sites, upwards of 50 (yes, five-zero) movies remakes / reboots have been green-lighted for production between 2013 and 2016. These movies make bank and there’s no use trying to stop Hollywood by crying foul that they’re defacing original works of art by replacing effect makeup and animatronics with CGI.

Blasphemous as it may sound, CGI can indeed take films that were somewhat “conceptual” 30 years ago and make them insanely realistic today. That’s not to say this is better, just different.

And success has landed all along the spectrum; with blockbusters like Star Trek at one end, whose reboot was admittedly cool and embraced by the fans, to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, whose high-tech remake was spectacularly rejected by fans (rightly so) and which slunk off into obscurity in favor of the low tech but brilliant original.

Sometime more just isn’t better.

Which brings us, in a rather convoluted way, to today’s topic.

During the Legendary Pictures panel at San Diego Comic-Con last Saturday, the production company announced plans to bring King Kong back to the multiplex in the form of a prequel.

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Goth Chick News: Movie Release Hell; The Suspense is Killing Me

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image002Is it possible to wait for something for a very long time and still find it lives up to your expectations? If you’re like me, you probably have some pretty profound examples on both sides of the argument, especially where movies or books are concerned.

This week, there are (finally) updates on two movies that I have personally been anticipating for over a year, with news on one being somewhat of a disappointment.

To start, in January, 2013 I reported Disney had tapped Guillermo del Toro to reboot the Haunted Mansion. In case you haven’t been keeping track, there had been a 2003 attempt to bring the backstory of the popular theme park attraction to the big screen starring Eddie Murphy.

But if you don’t remember it, consider yourself lucky.

Needless to say, the idea that the man behind Mama and Pan’s Labyrinth was taking what could potentially be an R-rated swing at Haunted Mansion gave me chills (in a good way).

However, del Toro had and continues to have quite a lot of irons in the fire, including Pacific Rim 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, and a creepy, animated version of Pinocchio, among others. All this makes me ever-so-slightly worried that del Toro is spread too thin to give Haunted Mansion the attention it deserves.

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Goth Chick News: The United States of Horror: There Is No Escape

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

A few days ago, one of my highly confidential sources shared a map posted on Imgur by a creative but anonymous user. Even if you’re not familiar with Imgur, you’ve likely seen content from it on your social media page. In its own words, Imgur is a warehouse for “the most viral images of today, sorted by popularity.”

You know, stuff like this:


The map in question is a really cool visual representation of my favorite genre’s geography and clearly took a significant amount of research – I mean, a horror movie really took place in Idaho?

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Goth Chick News: Dracula Meets Game of Thrones

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image004There is no denying the juggernaut that is the HBO series Game of Thrones.

As the BBC pointed out in a recent article, GoT has whipped its 18.4 million viewers into a lather about an entertainment category we hadn’t seen to this magnitude in some time.

In appealing to its audience’s need for escapism, Game of Thrones revitalized a genre that few knew needed revitalizing: the sword-and-sandals saga, a once-hardy movie sub-species that gave us serious-minded epics like Ben-Hur, as well as primitively-animated Ray Harryhausen monster movies.

So with that many eyeballs pointed toward the screen for GoT’s season four, and with seasons five and six already green-lighted, it was inevitable that other filmmakers would be inspired to break out the leather strapping and chainmail.

But I did not see this one coming…

This week Universal Studios posted the first trailer for their upcoming release Dracula Untold, led by freshman director Gary Shore (and I do mean freshman: his only other directing credit, since graduating from film school in 2006, is a short film). So either Short is a film school prodigy or someone has some naughty pictures of someone at Universal.

Dracula Untold stars Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) as “Vlad Tepes” and Sarah Gordon (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as Vlad’s first wife “Mirena.” It also stars Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hottie Dominic Cooper as Vlad’s Turk nemesis, “Mahmed.”

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Goth Chick News: A Review of The Heavens Rise

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Christopher Rice The Heavens Rise-smallIn May, the 2013 Bram Stoker award-winners were announced, creating a nice summer reading list for us genre enthusiasts. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted in 1987 by the Horror Writers Association and cover eleven literary categories, recognizing “superior achievement” in dark fantasy and horror writing.

Though he didn’t ultimately win the category “Superior Achievement in a Novel” in which he was a finalist, Christopher Rice’s work The Heavens Rise piqued my interest. I’ve been keeping an eye on Rice since his first novel A Density of Souls appeared back in 2000. He has since published three other New York Times bestselling thrillers, and if his name rings a bell, it’s because he is the son of legendary vampire chronicler Anne Rice.

Honestly, until this year I hadn’t actually read any of Rice’s works end-to-end. I tried because I wanted to like him, probably due to spending so many hours with his mom’s books. But like many new, young authors finding their story-telling voices (Rice first published at 22 years of age), he often went over the top with his characters and plot lines.

He hadn’t yet learned to trust his readers, and allow their imaginations to immerse them in the story and fill in the tiny details. Instead, I found Rice’s self-indulgence, generalizations, and in-your-face descriptions made me feel like I was riding along on a story he was telling himself, rather than pulling me into a tale he was telling me.

The Heavens Rise marks a different direction for Rice. It’s his first foray into supernatural suspense. Perhaps because it is difficult to over-describe something you’ve never witnessed, his writing style has shown a marked evolution, helped along no doubt by interaction with his audience via his blog and weekly radio show. The upshot is that his style has become more confident and more interactive, which means it was time for me to tuck in and read one of his tales cover to cover.

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Goth Chick News: Nice Souvenir – Dracula’s Tomb Found in Italy (Maybe)

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image008The Goth Chick News office has been closed for the last two weeks while I did a bit of globetrotting to dig up some interesting gothy bits of news from elsewhere in the world.

And this one is a doozy.

While I was visiting Italy, a picture in one of Rome’s newspapers caught my attention. I mean, Vlad Tepes is recognizable in any language, but it was necessary to employ some translation software to figure out why he was rating coverage in a city paper not exactly known for subject matters like Dracula.

What I learned was this.

Estonian researchers apparently believe they may have finally discovered the whereabouts of the grave of Vlad Tepes III, which is in Italy and not the Romanian Alps as first thought.

In case you’ve forgotten the background, Vlad was the 15th century Prince of Wallachia in Eastern Europe, known posthumously as Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for a countless (and growing) number of books, movies, plays, comics, etc, etc.

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Goth Chick News: Jurassic World: Hold On To Your Butts…

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Jurassic World-smallWith Godzilla now in theaters and our appetites all juiced up for giant reptilian destruction, it seems like the perfect time to let loose with the latest rumors about the upcoming fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise: Jurassic World.

What we know up to this point is that Jurassic World is due to hit theaters June 12, 2015 and that relative new-comer Colin Trevorrow is at the directorial helm.  We also know it stars Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Law and Order), as well as Omar Sy, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer, and Nick Robinson.  And last, we know the plot centers around a fully functional JP theme park.

What we did not know is the direction Colin Trevorrow, who is also one of the writers, would be taking the story.

Much of what I’m about to tell you is rampant Internet rumor, substantiated by more than one source, so if you’re spoiler-averse when it comes to JP4, you may want leave now.

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Goth Chick News: Comic Aficionados, Prepare to Have Your Minds Blown

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Shifter graphic novel-smallWhen attending an event as gi-normous as Chicago’s C2E2, if you come upon a booth with a crowd so large you can’t get close enough to see what is going on, it can only mean one of two things.

Either the girls from Gorilla Tango Burlesque are promoting their Star Wars: A Nude Hope girlie show again or someone is demonstrating something truly amazing.  And though Black Gate photog Chris Z was hoping for the former, in this case it was the latter.

Comic fangirls and boys, allow me to introduce “augmented reality” comics.

To start with augmented reality, or “AR,” is defined by the Mashable tech site as:

A direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory inputs.  As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.  Unlike virtual reality which replaces the real world with a simulated one, augmented reality is in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) information about the surrounding real (or in this case “comic”) world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulate-able. Artificial information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the “real” world.

Translated, this means by downloading a free companion app and pointing your tablet or smartphone’s camera at pages in an AR comic, you can literally watch the art get up off the page and interact with you.

And this is what drew the insane crowd to the Anomaly Productions booth at C2E2.

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Goth Chick News: 2013 Bram Stoker Award Winners

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Doctor SleepBack in March, we gave you the list of nominees for the The Horror Writers Association’s 2013 Stoker Awards for superior literary achievement in horror, in a variety of categories. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted in 1987 and the eleven award categories are: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Screenplay, Graphic Novel, and Non-Fiction.

The 2013 awards were distributed at the Association’s annual award banquet on May 10, 2014, at the World Horror Convention in Portland. Black Gate and Goth Chick News would like to congratulate the following authors and editors for their superior achievements and suggest you start loading up your Amazon wish list immediately.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • R.L. Stine
  • Stephen Jones

For Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (Scribner)

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Goth Chick News: Lovecraft Fans, It’s Time for a Road Trip

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Atlas on your phone

The Atlas on your phone

In last week’s coverage of C2E2, I promised to share two of the coolest products from the show in upcoming posts – and I am about to do just that.

Though my buddy and Lovecraft devotee, comic artist Dirk Manning, was hoping for Cthulhu footy pajamas, I believe what I am about to serve up is (almost) as exciting.

Allow me to introduce you to Chris Karr and his Pnakotic Atlas.

Karr was first struck with the idea for the Pnakotic Atlas when driving through Maine. As a fan of Stephen King, Kerr became curious as to the actual locations of some of King’s more famous tales and thought it would be cool if there was a way to easily find some of them. Karr is an app developer by trade and an avid fan of H.P. Lovecraft (in addition to King). He decided to tackle the idea of an atlas that documented Lovecraft locations: a less potentially litigious option, as Lovecraft’s works are in the public domain.

The inspiration for the name Pnakotic Atlas, as all of you Lovecraftians know, comes from The Pnakotic Manuscripts, which are fictional manuscripts created by Lovecraft that first appeared in his short story “Polaris” (1918). They appear again in several other Lovecraft stories, including At the Mountains of Madness (1936), “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (1926), “The Other Gods” (1933), and “The Shadow Out of Time” (1936).

The fictional library city of Pnakotus is where the Manuscripts are housed and where they, and Karr’s app, get their moniker.

Karr combed through Lovecraft’s works, pulling out any detail he could find about locations (the ones on Earth, anyway), and was able to document approximately 400 potential sites.  Then using the stories as guides, he went about meticulously locating each place on Google Earth.

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