New Treasures: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl-smallThe Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a popular YouTube web series starring Paige McKenzie, created by Nick Hagen and Mercedes Rose. The series focuses of 16-year old Sunshine following her move to Washington state from Texas with her mother, as she enters a new school, meets new friends (and boys)… and discovers her hew house is haunted by a host of malevolent spirits.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is the first book based on the web serial, and it has received a lot of attention all on its own. Written by star Paige McKenzie and author Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Second Star, The Beautiful Between), it is the opening book in a promising horror series aimed at young adults.

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening — and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger — Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was published by Weinstein Books on March 24, 2015. It is 304 pages, priced at $16 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital edition. Check out the YouTube series here.

Goth Chick News: A Horror Convention Starring Bud Bundy? Read On…

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Norman Reedus at Wizard World’s Fan Fest

Norman Reedus at Wizard World’s Fan Fest

If you’re the kind of person who gets misty-eyed with nostalgia when you hear sitcom titles like Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Married With Children, then Wizard World’s Fan Fest which took place March 7-8 in Chicago would have been just the place for you.

And if you’re considering possible explanations for how the heck I ended up there (dragging BG photog Chris Z along for fun), the answer is no – I did not have a fever or a head injury.

There is a darn good explanation actually.

Fan Fest came to be when Bruce Campbell, the cult-favorite TV and movie actor, had to cancel his appearance at the Bruce Campbell Horror Fest because of a television commitment. The horror fest was scheduled to take place that weekend and Goth Chick News had been invited to attend.

“We knew we couldn’t continue to hold the Bruce Campbell Horror Fest without Bruce Campbell!” said Jerry Milani of Wizard Entertainment. “But it also seemed a shame to let the weekend go to waste, since we already had the date and the venue.”

And so, the idea of Fan Fest was born. Organizers quickly secured a lineup of actors along with celebrities from the comic-book and pro-wrestling worlds. (The Bruce Campbell event has been rescheduled to take place in August with Wizard World’s Chicago Comic Con.)

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What Are the Best Star Trek Original Series Episodes for Kids?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 | Posted by Sean McLachlan


When I’m not writing for all you fine folks, I’m generally hanging out with my nine-year-old son, a budding engineer and scientist. If you have an intellectually curious child it’s best to feed their head, so we give him a steady diet of Lego Tech sets, electronics kits, and educational shows.

(Thank you, National Geographic, for getting my kid to actually ask to see documentaries on Saturday mornings.)

As we all know, there’s nothing better for a young mind than some good science fiction, so we’ve been watching Original Series Star Trek. The blend of action, humor, science, sociology, and good old silliness is what makes the program a classic. It’s hard to pick which episodes are the most fun for kids, so I gathered a panel of experts (i.e., my Facebook friends) and asked them. It turns out many parents agree on the best episodes.

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Belated Movie Reviews #3: Blood of Heroes

Saturday, March 21st, 2015 | Posted by Adrian Simmons

The Blood of Heroes poster-smallThe 80s were quite a time for movies (word has even reached me that certain millennials have discovered the decade over at, and some of my favorites are firmly rooted in that era — and one of my favorites from that decade is the 1989 Rutgur Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent “REH” D’Onofrio effort The Blood of Heroes (BoH).

BoH stands both above and beside the many other dystopian movies for being a post-apocalyptic sports movie. And here’s the thing — that is ALL it is.

The apocalypse that put the world into such a sorry state? Not discussed — too busy trying to put a dog skull on a stake.

The high-tech dingus that will turn things around? That doesn’t happen in this movie — too busy winning matches in the hinterlands.

The guy-who-knows-the-only-weakness-of-Lord Motherraper? Also does not happen. Gotta win matches in the hinterlands to get into the Red City match.

But surely Joan Chen is going to get revenge on Lord Motherraper for murdering her family when he was roaming the world for steel and they wouldn’t name another target, a military target.

NO! Her family is alive and well, she just wants more out of her life than sustenance farming. And that means being a kwik for a team of juggers, sticking dog skulls on stakes in the hinterlands to win enough matches to play in the Red City and the big leagues!

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Adapting Nostalgia to Be More Awesome (And How I Try to Contain my IDW Anger While Remaining Spoiler Free. Mostly)

Friday, March 20th, 2015 | Posted by mariebilodeau

Reboots are awesome. There you go. I’ve said it. Call blasphemy all you want, but I’m a fan of (some) adaptations, and 80s cartoons are high on my list of “Yes, please adapt.” It’s not just that modern companies are making the storylines better; they’re quite frankly making some of them make sense. Not in all cases, but in a heck of a lot of them.

I’m a child of the 80s. I grew up on these cartoons, and enjoyed their adaptations. I followed their various incarnations, too, but now is a golden age for storylines, with plenty flourishing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I would not pause to admire these turtles' beauty. I would pause to stare at them in confusion.

Knee pads are a ninja’s BFF.

I’ve always been a fan of witty repartee, martial arts and turtles. Combine all three and you’ve sold me. Easily.

TMNT started as a rather dark comic book, grew into a 10-year long cartoon show in the 80s, then a 6-year run starting in 2003. Nickelodeon bought the rights in 2012, and BOOM, started everything up again.

IDW has two new comics lines, one based on the new cartoon show and one more based on the old comics (and much darker. I love it). I struck that out because they just repeated one of my least favorite storylines ever (spoiler link). No conclusion on that yet, so I’m no longer including it (take that, IDW!) Let’s also ignore anything live action, because there is absolutely no winning there.

Anyway, back to the new cartoon. What makes the new turtles unique? Their personalities are more defined.

Michelangelo, the party one, is now more funny than annoying. Donatello gets more chances to shine (he’s my fave). Leonardo, the poor always responsible lead turtle, is now a geek and gets excited about Space Heroes (a riff off Star Trek: The Animated Series). Raphael is still angry and one of the most loyal and, although he pretends to be a hard-ass, he’s one of the more sensitive.

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Manning’s Manly Movies: Beast of the Yellow Night

Monday, March 16th, 2015 | Posted by Nick Ozment

Beast_of_the_Yellow_NightThis week Nick Ozment and David Manning team up to track down the Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) in another installment of Manning’s Manly Movies

[MANNING] Look what I’ve got.

[OZ] Another Mill Creek Entertainment 20-movie pack, huh? “Beyond the Grave.” Why? Why do you keep buying these things?

Why? Why not, my friend? Twenty movies for seven bucks on sale at Shopko — think of all the monsters and mayhem and manliness for a measly 35 cents a movie!

Or, looked at from a slightly different angle, you paid seven dollars to squander away approximately thirty hours of your life.

Not alone.

No! You don’t expect me to sit through those crappy movies, do you?

What do you think I’m paying you for?

You don’t pay me anything.

How much of my beer and whisky do you drink?

I have to tranquilize myself for these cinematic torture sessions.

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Goth Chick News: Will Ripley Finally Get a Happy Ending?

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Alien Ripley and Hicks-smallFor all of you who daydreamed about what could have been, as far as the Alien franchise goes, today I bring you official glad tidings.

But first I must take you back to those dark days in 1992, and again in 1997 (forgetting the whole Aliens vs. Predators thing for a moment) when, following the beleaguered Ellen Ripley’s escape from LV-426 and its Xenomorph inhabitants, she found nothing but continued misery in the form of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection respectively.

Ripley repeatedly saved mankind from not only corporate tyranny, but from having our collective intestine ripped out as human incubators. But did she ever get a moment’s peace or happiness.  Or for that matter, did the fans?

That would be a great big “no way.”

However, hope now springs eternal.

Last week Sigourney Weaver raised a collective cheer when she publicly announced the Alien franchise was now in the capable hands of District 9 director Neill Blomkamp; then doubled our joy by saying she’s looking forward to returning to her signature role of Ellen Ripley in a new installment of the science-fiction series.

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Representations of the Amazon in Poul Anderson’s Virgin Planet and in DC’s Wonder Woman

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 | Posted by Gabe Dybing

Legolas_portrait_-_EmpireMagBut first, I’d like to ask readers a very important question:

Do Tolkien’s Elves have pointy ears?

This came up after my last post, in which I wondered why Anderson and Tolkien (and many other fantasy writers) agree that elves are tall and have pointy ears. After reading this, Frederic S. Durbin contacted me to say,

Does Tolkien ever say that the elves have pointed ears? To my knowledge, he never does. Please correct me if I’m wrong! This is a bone I had to pick a few years back, when some writer somewhere described hobbits as having “hairy toes and pointed ears.” I think this misconception about Tolkien’s elves and hobbits has come from artwork. Artists need to have a way of making magical races look different from humans, so they go for the ears. We need Spock to look different from humans in a cheap and easily-reproducible way from day to day in the studio, so we give him pointed ears. People have been seeing illustrations of pointy-eared elves and hobbits for so long that they’ve begun to believe Tolkien described them that way. I don’t think it’s true. (Again, I’m willing to stand corrected if someone shows me a passage!)

So there you have it, folks! Please help! Is there a passage anywhere in Tolkien’s writings that suggest that Elves (or even Hobbits) have pointy ears?

And now let’s turn our attention to Poul Anderson’s Virgin Planet.

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Adventures In History: George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman

Monday, March 9th, 2015 | Posted by markrigney

First FlashmanA few months back, I was (ever so gently) castigated for not giving proper credit to the screenwriter of the Michael York / Oliver Reed rendition of The Three Musketeers. That man was George MacDonald Fraser, he who wrote the Flashman books, a series into which I had never delved.

That has now been corrected, and just in time, too: no lesser a light than Ridley Scott (Alien; Blade Runner) is developing a reboot of Flashman with 20th Century Fox. As the fool on the hill once opined, everything old is new.

So let’s set aside fantasy for just a moment and allow for historical action-adventure as a sideline of the vast cultural behemoth that is now Black Gate. Swords, after all, form a big part of heroic fantasy, and in Flashman (first published in 1969, never out of print), swords of many types are on display and put to use. Lances, too. Plus primitive rifles, dueling pistols, and cannons.

The only thing missing? The heroism of our anti-hero, Harry Paget Flashman. He’s a survivor, and an accurate judge of other people’s character and abilities, but beyond that, he’s the very definition of reprehensible. He’s a cad, a coward, and an unrepentant racist; he’s treacherous, larcenous, and vindictive besides. Let’s leave off his appalling treatment of women, at least for now, and accept him for what he’s best at: looking sharp in military regalia. Ah, if only looks could kill…

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Goth Chick News – Don’t Open: Dead Inside, Walker Stalker Con Drags into Chicago

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Walker Stalker Con ChicagoZombies continue their relentless, feet-shuffling domination of all things pop culture – proof (we continue to hope) that sparkly, angsty, Seattle vampires with sappy theme songs are staked for good.

One of many indications that our infectious love of the undead shows no signs of a cure is the proliferation of Walker Stalker Con, a convention spawned by and primarily dedicated to, AMC’s hit TV show The Walking Dead.

What started in Atlanta, GA (near where the show films) as a small fan convention organized by fanboy pod-casters James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff, then spread to Chicago in 2014 and has now grown to a seven-city tour.

Walker Stalker Con is more than a standard fan convention. In the two Chicago events we have attended, Frazier and Nordhoff have managed to secure a sizable chunk of the cumulative cast of the show’s five seasons and space for “the talent” accounts for more than half of the convention floor.

In addition, the organizers strive to ensure all guests “come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and became part of a greater community of zombie lovers!”

Is this great or what?

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