Goth Chick News: Three New Horror Stories to Chill Your October Nights

Thursday, October 18th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Dark Beneath the Ice-small The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein-small Dracul Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker-small

With our favorite month of the year nearly half over, and the last two weeks of “the season” in full swing, we here at Goth Chick News have been living on a diet of adult beverages, caffeine and Pez. From making the rounds to Chicagoland’s best haunted attractions, to hosting our biennial Halloween bash for 200 (this year’s theme was Freak Show), there has been very little time to sleep as we work to cram in every last drop of fun before November 1st.

So, normally I would bring you these three new releases one at a time. But as it’s 3 a.m. here in the Midwest and I’ve had quite a lot of espresso, you’re getting them all in one go.

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé was released in August and is the Canadian author’s first book. Technically it is considered YA, but as I didn’t know that going in, I honestly wouldn’t have guessed. Though I wouldn’t exactly bill it the way the publisher did, as “Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity,” The Dark Beneath the Ice is a terrific, creepy story that poses many questions, one of which is: can an inner demon summon the supernatural?

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Goth Chick News: Asteroid of Death Gives Halloween a Near Miss

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

People of Earth You are Doomed

This is kind of funny, until it isn’t.

Asteroid 2015 TB145 (which reminds me of LV-426 for some reason) was discovered uncoincidentally back in 2015, and its initial appearance made a lot of people’s “reasons to avoid the outside world” lists. The rock, which looks just like a giant human skull, showed up around 300,000 miles from Earth right on Halloween. This time around it’s going to be late for the occasion, and thankfully quite a bit farther away.

The asteroid, which has a peculiar oblong shape, was captured in an image by astronomers who first noted its skull-like appearance. It didn’t take long before the rock’s heavy metal look took on a life of its own, with some nicknaming it the “death comet,” and “death asteroid.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is one of a handful of organizations that keeps tabs on objects that come within notable distance of Earth, forecasts that 2015 TB145 will come within around 24 million miles of Earth this year, and it will do so on November 11th. After that, the “asteroid of death” will take a long hiatus from Earth, not appearing near our planet again until after 2080.

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Goth Chick News: Visiting Great America’s Fright Fest, I Mean Hell Fest… Well Neither Actually

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Six Flags Fright Fest

It was in my second year of writing for Black Gate, that I was invited to my very first Halloween press event, which was to cover our local Six Flags Amusement Park’s Fright Fest. Launched in 1993, the Gurnee, IL attraction, Six Flags Great America, is hosting its 25th Fright Fest this year, and the Friday prior to its opening Saturday night has traditionally been used as a “dress rehearsal” for the staff while also hosting corporate outings and press. Attendance is held to 2000 people which is awesome for a park that reportedly has a capacity of 30K. This means lines are short and its actually possible to hit up all the rides as well as the special “haunted attractions” in the five hours the park is open that evening.

Over the years Fright Fest has had its ups and downs which seems to have loosely followed the mood of America itself. In 1999, Six Flags licensed and opened Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet “haunted house,” featuring music from the album and using leather-clad go-go dancers as entertainment while you waited in line – assuming, I can only suppose, that something called “Fright Fest” was meant to be more of an “adult” event. Six Flags also licensed other intellectual properties for mazes and scare zones over the years, including the Saw films. Décor in the park back then pulled no punches, with elaborate and sometimes very gory scenes set up in the grassy areas, and impressive, movie-quality makeup on the actors.

Following the real-life horror of 2001, Great America pulled way back. That year and for several years after, Fright Fest became family friendly in the extreme with almost no decorations and the scares confined to a corn maze and lots of creepy clowns. I didn’t mind. We’d seen enough stuff on the news to last us awhile.

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Goth Chick News: Visiting Chicago’s Own Masters of Disguise

Thursday, September 20th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Zagone Studios-small

We first became acquainted with the gents at Zagone Studios way back in 2012 when Tony Kosart (champion of the SyFy channel’s show Face Off) brokered an intro. At that time Tony was using Zagone’s latex prosthetics in his special make-up effects and we were thrilled to learn Zagone creations had a storied history right here in Chicago.

Over 40 years ago, Chicagoland brothers Phil and Bob Zagone realized that nothing ruined the chances of picking up a date on Halloween with a fantastic costume, faster than the sweaty mess you became under a rubber mask.

That — and there was no way to consume adult beverages while wearing one.

Committed to solving this age-old dilemma the brothers started working on several solutions which they eventually proposed to the Godfather of Halloween himself, Don Post of Don Post Studios in California.

Unfortunately (or rather fortunately), Mr. Post was too busy to consider their ideas, but advised the Zagones that if they were so keen to improve the mask industry, they were welcome to start their own company and have at it.

Which was precisely what Phil and Bob did in 1974, here in their hometown of Chicago.

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Goth Chick News: Wizard World’s 2018 Chicago Comic Con

Thursday, September 6th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Wizardworld Comic Con Chicago 2018

Nothing says summer in Chicago like the annual August bacchanalia that is Wizard World’s Chicago Comic Con. Granted, the title Granddaddy of All Comic Cons still belongs to San Diego, which paces our attendance at 167K fans annually, but the local Midwest version is still a sight to behold.

Though exact attendance figures haven’t been made public since 2009, estimates place the August, 2018 event at the Donald A. Stephens Convention Center at over 100K. With more than 300 exhibitors, many of which attend a number of Wizard World shows across the country every year, all (and I do mean all) of the 840K square feet of exhibition space is consumed. Black Gate photog Chris Z and I have covered this event since 2010 and its been amazing to watch the show nearly double in size, both in the number of exhibitors as well as attendees, during the past eight years. It is equally amazing to consider the guy who works on your car during the day may be dressed like Superman for four days every summer.

Because though it is billed as a “comic” convention, Wizard World draws in a large number of cosplayers from all over the region, and they are what make this event one we never miss. The costumes are simply incredible, but just as entertaining are those which are not; created from cardboard and fabric scraps and held together by the sheer love of a particular character.

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Goth Chick News: Everyone Needs an Exorsister

Thursday, August 30th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Exorsisters 1-small

When we were little, my cousin and I used to discuss our future career aspirations. Connie, who was a few years older, had what seemed like an unusual obsession with becoming a truck driver — unless you knew she was binge-watching BJ and the Bear courtesy of the cable channel Nick at Night, and was teen-aged crushing on Gregg Evigan. So, the whole truck-driver thing actually made sense.

Meanwhile, I was sneaking into the family room in the wee hours to watch old Universal Studios monster movies on the public access channel. While Connie dreamed hunky guys calling her some cute name over their rig’s CB radio, I either wanted to look for mummies in the desert or be a gypsy fortune-teller.

Connie thought I was strange.

Years later, she went on to be Miss Illinois before moving to NYC for a soap opera stint followed by a lucrative career on Broadway. I’m writing a weekly horror column under the bi-line “Goth Chick.” All this also makes sense when you think about it.

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Goth Chick News: Jamie Lee Curtis Was, Is and Always Will Be a Serious Bad A**

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween 2018

Forty years ago, 17-year-old baby sitter Laurie Strode had a really lousy Halloween that forever changed her (and our) lives. Played by a then 20-year-old pedigree scream queen in her first movie role, Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh of Psycho fame, Laurie spent October 31st of 1978 being menaced by the evil-incarnate psycho Michael Myers who, in spite of being repeatedly damaged to death, returned for seven sequels collectively raking in $366 million at the box-office worldwide.

Unfortunately, not all of these films were created equal and though many had great elements, quite a few of us still considered the original film to be one of the quintessential horror films of a generation. That said, it probably comes as no surprise that a now 57-year-old Laurie Strode is facing Michael Myers one final time in what is meant to be the swan song of the franchise and one that ignores all the sequels, picking up the story line left off in 1978.

Thanks to USA Today, a brand-new shot from the final installment to John Carpenter’s original classic shows Laurie preparing to take down Michael once and for all, and she’s looking mega badass in the process.

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Goth Chick News: YouTube Takes the Virtual Ruler to The Nun

Thursday, August 16th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Nun poster-small

As we all know, there is no such thing as bad press. But in the world of horror, “bad” press is actually the best possible press you can get. Remember when several stores pulled the 90’s PC game Phantasmagoria off their shelves due to the violence? And suddenly if you had a copy you were the most popular kid on the block?

I do.

Earlier this week, a YouTube ad for Corin Hardy’s The Nun got a lot of people talking, mostly because it scared the crap out of them. In case you haven’t been following the plotline, The Nun is a spin off from The Conjuring 2, which itself is the fifth installment in The Conjuring series. Based on a story from James Wan, chief architect of the franchise, The Nun will be the chronological starting point for the entire shared universe, telling an origin story of sorts for a recurring villain, the ghoulish nun Valak.

And by the way, Valak isn’t and never has been a nun. According to the demon conjurer’s go-to guide, The Lesser Key of Solomon, a 17th century grimoire that acts a kind of Yellowpages of Hell, Valak (or Ualac, Valac, Valax, Valu, Valic, Volac) is none other than the Great President of Hell. Often depicted as riding a two-headed dragon and commanding 30 legions of demons, he takes on the visage of a small child with wings, which if you ask me, would have been way more terrifying than a nun in corpse paint. Hopefully The Nun will explain why a big cheese in the demon world has decided to take on the persona of early Marilyn Manson.

Anyway, back to the video.

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The Lithuanian Legend of Witches Hill

Thursday, August 9th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Lithuanian Legend of Witches Hill 5

Each year I have the pleasure of traveling abroad, in part to seek out the folklore and legends of other cultures. Though every country I have visited (53 as of this trip) has its own take on the supernatural, I find it fascinating that from Egypt to Germany, and Iceland to Singapore, every culture without fail agrees that ghosts, demons and witches most definitely exist.

On this year’s visit I discovered Lithuania, a country full of fairy tales and legends about its history, geography, and its people. Many of these amazing stories never make it outside of the country, often due to the language barrier. However, you need only to sit and talk to a native Lithuanian to learn the mystic legends that surround their country. Following the advice of one such local I set out to pay a very early morning visit to Raganų Kalnas, Lithuanian for Witches Hill.

Located in the sleepy little island village of Juodkrante just off the coast, Witches Hill is situated on a long, narrow islet called Curonian Spit. It is made up of beautiful sand dunes and dense pine forests, and the only way to get to it is via ferry leaving from the town of Klapedia, which only adds to the magical quality of the location.

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Goth Chick News: Welcome to the World of Comic Book Gross-Outs…

Thursday, July 12th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Die! Die! Die!-smallThis week Image/Skybound Entertainment broke with new release tradition and dropped the first issue of an all-new series without preamble, by comics titans Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta, Oblivion Song), Scott M. Gimple (Punisher: Nightmare, writer and producer for The Walking Dead TV adaptation on AMC), and Chris Burnham (Batman Incorporated, Nameless, Nixon’s Pals), with colors by Nathan Fairbairn who gets to use whichever one he wants as long as it’s red. The first issue of the series entitled DIE!DIE!DIE! went on sale Wednesday.

Kirkman himself made the rather gleeful announcement circulated Tuesday, which is rather last minute as these go, and entirely on purpose:

That’s right, in stores TOMORROW! We want to make going to a comic shop exciting again — a place for discovery! The internet has drained all surprise and anticipation from comics. Everyone hears about exciting new projects and then has to wait months or years for it to be in their hands… and half the time at the end of that buildup, the stories get spoiled in some lame attempt at getting wider media attention. So, surprise! Here’s a new monthly series. How cool is that?! This is literally the only way I can be like Beyoncé.

Gimple added:

I spend most of my time working in TV, the big Walking Dead programs keep me plenty busy, but I’ve had a burning passion for comics since I was nine. I used to go to panels to see Robert Kirkman talk. And now he’s writing quotes in a press release as me that I can read over and tweak!

Yes gentlemen – the euphoria is real and we feel it too.

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