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Author: Sue Granquist

Goth Chick News: Is Universal Finally Treating Its Iconic Catalog the Right Way?

Goth Chick News: Is Universal Finally Treating Its Iconic Catalog the Right Way?

I’ve spent more words here than I care to count ranting about the atrocities Universal Studios has repeatedly tried to visit on its iconic monster movie catalog. I could dry heave every time I think about the whole Dark Universe debacle and the fact that we were this close to having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde courtesy of Russell Crowe, a Van Helsing brought to you by Channing Tatum, Dwayne “the rock” Johnson as Wolfman, and (I can barely type this) Angelina Jolie recreating the Bride of Frankenstein. Literally, the only good thing I can say about the first step in this hellish march to mediocrity that was Tom Cruise in The Mummy (2017), is that its spectacular crash and burn lit fire to the entire concept.

But here we are in 2024 and a mere year away from the launch of Universal’s new Epic Universe theme park, part of which is a new “land” called – you guessed it – Dark Universe. Sources point to plans for the new park being in the works since the early 2000’s, and scuttling the big-budget remakes of their classic monster films meant Universal was left with a revenue gap that tied their new park property to their movie vault. The answer, when it finally started being talked about at Hollywood cocktail parties, is a classic example of the best ideas being the original ones.

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Goth Chick News: A24 Comes at Us Hard With Their Latest (Risky) Release – But Is It Horror, or Reality, or Both…?

Goth Chick News: A24 Comes at Us Hard With Their Latest (Risky) Release – But Is It Horror, or Reality, or Both…?

If you hang around here often, then you know we here at Goth Chick News love a good indie horror film, and if it comes to us via Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, aka the independent film company A24, we love it even more. Founded a mere thirteen years ago, A24 has been a juggernaut in the horror industry with such titles as The Witch (2015), Hereditary (2018), Midsommer (2019), and Talk to Me (2023). In all, A24 has cranked out an incredible 156 movies across multiple genres, but it has been horror that has gained them the most mainstream attention.

Considering the creativity of A24 titles, it seems almost inevitable that current headlines would eventually provide source material. Most A24 plots have a deeper social commentary anyway, but their current outing is incredibly interesting on a few levels. Civil War, from writer-director Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd, Ex Machina), represents a fairly risky venture for our favorite indie company.

Allow me to explain.

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Goth Chick News: Here Comes Your 2023 Reading List…

Goth Chick News: Here Comes Your 2023 Reading List…

Gather round friends – it’s once again time to don the footie pajamas, pour a steaming hot-toddy and hunker down until spring with the most awesome reading list of the year: namely the annual nominees for the coolest award ever.

The Bram Stoker Awards have been presented annually since 1987, and the winners are selected by ballot from the active members of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).

Several members of the HWA including Dean Koontz, were originally reluctant to endorse such writing awards, fearing it would incite competitiveness rather than friendly admiration. The HWA therefore went to great lengths to avoid mean-spirited competition by specifically seeking out new or overlooked writers and works, and officially issuing awards not based on “best of the year” criteria but for “superior achievement,” which allows for ties.

Which is lovely and all, but I believe I would not be above doing something mean-spirited if not downright evil to get my hands on the award itself, a haunted house whose front door opens to reveal the category and winner.

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Goth Chick News: A Lost Boys Musical? Oh, Hell Yes

Goth Chick News: A Lost Boys Musical? Oh, Hell Yes

The Lost Boys (Warner Bros, 1987)

In the constantly evolving world of pop culture the horror genre, like fashion, cycles through which monsters or tropes are currently in vogue. In the dark era from 2000-2010 we lived through sparkly vampires thanks to the Twilight books and subsequent movies. From 2010-2014 it was all about zombies due to the height of Walking Dead fandom and from 2015-2020 we had a run on jump scares and final-girls, while overlapping those last couple of years were a lot of slasher/serial killers. Of course, these subgenres weren’t alone during these timespans, but every so many years Hollywood seems to turn its attention to one specific monster more often than others.

Considering how shafted vampires got the last time it was their turn, it seems only fitting that this time around they are being portrayed as nature intended. Both big and small screen offerings like Blood Red Sky (2021), Midnight Mass (2021), The Invitation (2022) and The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023) have returned to depicting vampires as dark-needing, dirt-sleeping, human-eating, bringers of terror – which is how things should be. The only way this depiction gets better is when vampires are all of the above, as well as being really great to look at. And for that we need to go back to the 80’s.

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Goth Chick News: As I’m in No Danger of Being Replaced by AI, Let’s Talk About Abigail…

Goth Chick News: As I’m in No Danger of Being Replaced by AI, Let’s Talk About Abigail…

You likely don’t know I have a day job in the tech industry where I have funded all my macabre obsessions for more years than I care to count. Like nearly everyone these days, my company is in a frenzy over artificial intelligence (AI) and all the cool ways we can/will use it. Through said day job, I also have access to the most current generative AI engine which got me to thinking whether or not this technology would eventually do me out of my Black Gate side hustle? Could AI create my GCN content in a seamless undetectable way, thereby effectively Cyberdyne’ing the whole BG staff out of existence? I decided to give it a go.

I had planned on the topic of this week’s article being a new big-screen offering scheduled to land in theaters on April 19 entitled Abigail. Entering all the appropriate links and prompts into the AI engine, I held my breath for the few seconds it took to return a response.

My initial reaction was dismay. AI’s article looked to be about the right length and was interspersed with visually interesting graphics. Remembering that I had pointed the AI engine toward my content, asking it to mimic the style and “voice” of my previous work, I had a moment of panic wondering, “Is this technology actually me, only better?”

The answer, at least for now, is thankfully no.

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Goth Chick News: del Toro Is Making Frankenstein for Realz (We Think)

Goth Chick News: del Toro Is Making Frankenstein for Realz (We Think)

Back in July of last year, I wrote a cautiously optimistic piece about Guillermo del Toro working on his own adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I say “cautiously” because as part of that article I also provided a Wikipedia page dedicated to del Toro’s “unrealized projects,” (30 by the way) which was a nice way of listing out all the times he ghosted us. Ironically, this list included Frankenstein. Since that time there has been a lot of back and forth, specifically regarding the strike by writers and actors, and whether or not those would kill del Toro’s film, or at the very least delay it right back into an “unrealized project.”

However, on January 7th, Deadline reported that Jacob Elordi whose movie career took off last year with starring roles in Priscilla and Saltburn, will take over the role of Frankenstein’s iconic monster in the del Toro treatment; a role that had been long rumored as going to actor Andrew Garfield. Deadline also reported that filming was getting underway in February (confirmed by a tweet from del Toro), possibly in Scotland where del Toro had been spotted off and on since 2022, at various sites in and around Edinburgh.

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Goth Chick News: It’s January, So Let’s Start Our 2024 WTF File…

Goth Chick News: It’s January, So Let’s Start Our 2024 WTF File…

Writing a column called “Goth Chick News” is pretty much a dead giveaway that I love almost everything to do with the horror genre. I have, in past posts, made clear exceptions for what I call “sociopath training films” (Saw franchise, I’m looking at you), as well as examples of violence for violence’s sake such as haunted attractions like those explored in the Hulu documentary Monster Inside.

These exceptions have huge fan-bases and I make no judgment. They are just not my thing. It perhaps sounds weird to say, but to me, being scared is only entertaining when it doesn’t depict something that I could find on the True Crime channel. However, that’s not to say I still don’t frequently stare at my computer monitor and say “WTF” to it like I expect it to explain itself.

So, as we embark on this brave new year, I had to tell you about my first slow clap of 2024.

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Goth Chick News Classics: Ray Bradbury’s The Wish Has a New Meaning This Year

Goth Chick News Classics: Ray Bradbury’s The Wish Has a New Meaning This Year

The Book

For the last few years, as my last post of the year, I have reposted an article I wrote about Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Wish.” It is a Christmas tale of loss and love and magic which Bradbury penned following the death of his father. When it first appeared in Women’s Day magazine in 1973, my Dad was deep in his own grief having lost his own father, my beloved Grandpa, earlier that year. The story I told in Black Gate was how “The Wish” helped ease my Dad’s grief and led to my lifelong love of all things Bradbury.

That article led to my meeting and becoming friends with Bradbury’s editor Peter Schneider from Hill House Books, who published the only standalone hardcover of “The Wish.” He presented me with one of the numbered copies, signed by Bradbury, which is one of my most prized possessions.

Last December, as I prepared for the holiday festivities, I was suddenly faced with the loss of my own father. He was 94 and his health hadn’t been the greatest for a few months, so maybe his leaving us peacefully in his sleep should not have come as the shock that it did, but the sense of loss was crushing.

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Goth Chick News: Could I Really Have Never Interviewed a Medium? Situation Corrected…

Goth Chick News: Could I Really Have Never Interviewed a Medium? Situation Corrected…

It seems nearly impossible for even me to believe, but in going through twenty-three years of Black Gate archives, I realized I have never interviewed a medium. Guys who made lamps out of old doll heads? Check. The kid who played “Newt” in Aliens? You betcha. A goth boy band? More times than I can count. But someone who communicates with the dead – for real? Never until now.

I wasn’t aware of what now seems like a glaring oversight on my part, until I made the acquaintance of Ms. DeEtte Ranea at the last show of the spooky season, Days of the Dead. Though in my head I was expecting a much older woman of some vague Slavic descent, likely wearing an earring and a headscarf, DeEtte in no way fit my mental image of a medium, and once I got used to that, I realized I had oodles of questions. DeEtte was gracious enough to agree to answer them and I managed to whittle them down to thirteen, which seemed like an appropriate number given the topic.

So, everyone, please meet DeEtte.

DeEtte, please meet everyone.

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Goth Chick News: ‘Tis the Season for Scary Stories

Goth Chick News: ‘Tis the Season for Scary Stories

The Scary Book of Christmas Lore: 50 Terrifying Yuletide Tales from
Around the World by Tim Rayborn (Cider Mill Press, November 14, 2023)

Anyone who has ever read, or watched a screen-version of, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843) knows that the tradition of telling ghost stories during the holidays goes back to the early Victorian era. In the 19th century, the celebration of Christmas underwent a transformation, influenced in part by the works of writers such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. These authors, among others, painted romantic visions of the season as a time for festive gatherings, family reunions, and acts of kindness, playing a large role in the Christmas images we have today.

However, alongside the cheerful and heartwarming aspects of Christmas, the Victorians had a lingering fascination with the supernatural. This interest in ghost stories and the macabre was likely influenced by earlier traditions and folklore associated with the winter season, particularly the ancient pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were thin.

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