Goth Chick News: Christmas at Beetlejuice’s House – Midnight Syndicate Does It Again

Thursday, October 8th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Midnight Syndicate's "Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering" album coverAs you are all likely aware by this point, I go all fan-girl when it comes to my goth-boy-band crush, Midnight Syndicate.

From way back when they were providing the soundtrack to the Playboy Mansion’s Halloween bashes to the music they produced for movies like The Dead Matter, I’ve hung on their every note; and no fantasy game night or Halloween season would be complete without them.

So when Ed Douglas contacted me to say Midnight Syndicate had recently completed something really special that would be right down my under-lit, cob-webby alley, I promptly began stalking the mail carrier until the package arrived.

And once again, the boys deliver – in a wonderfully different and unexpected way.

A Christmas album.

Yes, you read that right. Midnight Syndicate has just released Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering.

How, oh how to describe this to you?   Let’s just say that if Beetlejuice invited you over to the Maitlands for a holiday Zagnut, he’d be playing this collection on all speakers.

Midnight Syndicate has taken your favorite holiday tunes and added in their unique mixture of dissident chords, eerie harmonics and original craftsmanship to deliver charmingly haunting fare that will take you from October straight through December.

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Goth Chick News: The Best Scares Are Made In America Scares…

Thursday, October 1st, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Tony Zagone and Franco Pacini

Tony Zagone and Franco Pacini

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 Zogones 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, right here in their hometown of Chicago.

Welcome Black Gate readers, to the famous Zagone Studios Mask and Costume Company.

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Goth Chick News: Kicking the Apocalypse’s Ass

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The 5th Wave poster-smallThough she has been in the biz since she was six years old, we only really got a chance to fall in love with Chloë Grace Moretz in 2010, when she was all of thirteen and played the little purple-wigged assassin in Kick Ass.

From that point forward it sure seemed as though either someone was giving Moretz awesome advice on what roles to take on, or her own quirky tastes in characters was leading her to some juicy parts. Either way, and if the movie was a hit or not, Moretz’s performances always left an indelible impression; whether it was her reworking of blood-drenched Carrie or the vampire Abby in Let Me In.

So imagine the anticipation when last week we were gifted with the first trailer for The 5th Wave and found the now 21-year-old Miss Moretz continuing her tradition of headstrong, revenge-dishing, ass-kickery.

The 5th Wave began as a 2013 young adult science fiction novel by Rick Yancey; the first installment in a trilogy. Critics have compared the book favorably to The Hunger Games and noted that it “should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires.”

Okay, let’s hope the heck not. But moving on…

The story follows 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan as she tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of alien invasion that have already decimated the population and knocked humankind back to the Stone Age.

First, they wiped out the power. Then, an earthquake hit, causing worldwide devastation. Third, a massive epidemic, spreading across the globe.  And for the fourth wave, the alien invaders responsible for all this chaos finally descended to Earth — with the ability to inhabit human bodies. So the question is: What is the fifth wave going to look like?

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Goth Chick News: You Don’t Have to Go To Hell, But You Can’t Stay Here – Ghost Sex Comes to TIFF

Thursday, September 17th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Lace Crater-smallYou can always count on interesting offerings from the Toronto International Film Festival. Founded in 1976, “TIFF” is now one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world, considered second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.

Screening close to 400 films each season, just a few of the notables which launched at TIFF include American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, all of which went on to win Best Picture at the following Oscars.

So perhaps we should entertain such hopes for Lace Crater, an indy film which made its debut at TIFF on Tuesday.

Being billed as a lo-fi, horror-comedy, the trailer teases the story of an awkward young woman (Lindsay Burge) who gets a sexually transmitted disease from a ghost. That’s right: this woman has sex with a ghost and suffers the consequences.

And you thought your twenties sucked.

Lace Crater is the feature directorial debut of writer/director and local Chicago, Northwestern University grad Harrison Atkins. Here’s the official synopsis.

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Goth Chick News: Crushing On Neil Gibson’s Tortured Life

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Tortured Life-smallAdmittedly, I’m a sucker for a Brit.

And that goes double when he’s also a comic writer.

If he also happens to write dark, gothy stories…

Well, you get the idea.

We first met Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids). Then he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark; the illustrated story he had written which had just been published by indy comic house TPub in the UK.

TPub believes it is their mission to change the way people view comics and get more people to read them, and in May last year Twisted Dark had already reached number one on the UK Kindle chart. And though I could not locate current stats, when I was in London’s famous Foyles bookstore last month, Twisted Dark was highlighted as a “staff pick” in the graphic novel section.

So a couple weeks ago when Neil emailed to let me know his newest project with TPub, Tortured Life was complete, I was has happy as a cosplayer in at a 2-for-1 spandex sale to get a look and tell you all about it.

Tortured Life tells the story of Richard Carter and his little “problem.”

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Goth Chick News: Leonardo DiCaprio as Unrepentant Serial Killer… Finally

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Devil in the White City-smallNearly two years have passed since I first reported Warner Bros. continued to slog through script development on a movie version of Erik Larson’s tale of murder in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, The Devil in the White City.

Larson’s book, which tells the twin narratives of serial killer H.H. Holmes and Daniel H. Burnham the architect behind the World Fair, was first put in development by Tom Cruise’s production company, but the option lapsed in 2004.

What then ensued was a series of various studio options, all which lapsed before the movie could get out of development hell. White City finally came to rest with Warner Bros. where it has languished for the last several years until their option also expired, resulting in an aggressive bidding war which was ultimately won this summer by Paramount.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been attached to the White City project for nearly ten years, doggedly pursuing the film since shortly after Cruise’s company lost out. DiCaprio is specifically keen to play Holmes rather than the far more likable character of Burnham, because DiCaprio wants to portray an entirely unsympathetic “bad guy.”

Holmes most certainly fits the bill.

H.H. Holmes murdered between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, against the backdrop of the Chicago World’s Fair. The reason the spread on the quantity of victims is so large is, due to his insidious corpse disposal methods, the exact body count was impossible to pin down. Even Holmes himself couldn’t recall the precise number, when he was finally caught, tried, and hung in 1896.

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Goth Chick News: Comics, Cosplay and Speed Dating — ComicCon Swings Into Chicago

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Cosplay at Chicago ComicCon 2015 3-smallFor one glorious weekend each summer, Chicago stops being The Windy City and instead becomes Metropolis. The urban crime rate takes a giddy plunge, not for lack of playing host to some fairly spectacular villains, but likely because the bad guys are too busy comparing breathable fabrics with their super hero arch-enemies.

Yes it’s August – ComicCon time in the city…

Wizard World Chicago, commonly known as the Chicago ComicCon, is the annual bacchanalia of pop culture held at the fairly ginormous Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near O’Hare airport. The four day event is among the largest comic book convention in the United States, in third place for overall attendance behind only the New York ComicCon, and the granddaddy of all entertainment cons; ComicCon International in San Diego.

Chicago ComicCon consumed nearly the entire 840,000 sq/ft facility and though at this time, attendance numbers for the 2015 event have not been officially stated, local media estimates the participants at well over 100,000.

Originally showcasing comic books and related popular arts, the convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as professional wrestling, science fiction/fantasy, film/television, horror and animation.

In addition to an impressive array of vendors, ComicCon played host to a large, daily offering of programming and events such as, “Advanced Costuming and Armor,” “Costumes + Playing = Cosplay,” and “Legal Basics for Game Developers.”

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Goth Chick News: New (Horror) Treasures – Star Wars Screenwriter Gives Us an Abomination

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Abomination by Gary Whitta-smallBy anyone’s standards, writer Gary Whitta is having one heck of a good time.

Whitta was best known (at least until now) for his original screenplay for The Book of Eli, the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Denzel Washington and as the co-writer for the Will Smith sci-fi movie After Earth.

Clearly no one held him personally responsible for the outcome of that last bit, which is why he went on to spend a year knocking out a draft screenplay for the upcoming Star Wars standalone film Rogue One, which will be released in December, 2016; a project with which he amicably parted ways in January to move onto the movie adaptation of the Mark Millar comic Starlight for 20th Century Fox.

Somewhere along the line, Whitta had the time and creative energy to finish his first novel, Abomination – released on July 30th. And though his screen work has been straight up fantasy/science fiction, Whitta did significant historical research for his freshman literary outing, with pretty spectacular results.

Abomination takes us back in time as King Alfred the Great desperately tries to bulwark his kingdom from invading Viking forces. Desperate for a solution, he turns to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has uncovered an ancient secret in the form of a dark magic that could help turn the tide in England’s favor. Nothing comes without a price, though, and soon the Archbishop is driven mad with power, corrupted by the very forces intended to save the kingdom. With an insane priest on the loose, Alfred must turn to his bravest warrior, the knight Sir Wulfric, in order to put an end to the Archbishop’s insanity before it’s too late.

The period in which the book is set, 888 A.D., actually saw a significant drop in written recordings of events. It is that gap in history that lends itself to much speculation, which Whitta takes full advantage of in his story; claiming that those who witnessed its inconceivable horrors purposely concealed the truth from future generations.

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Goth Chick News: It’s Halloween in July

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Chicago Frights-smallIf you recall, a verbal thrashing from Editor and Big Cheese John O’Neill, resulted in we here at Goth Chick News publishing a thorough accounting of our whereabouts throughout the year. The purpose being less about flaunting the enviable circles Black Gate photog Chris Z and I roll in (i.e Days of the Dead and Walker Stalker Con) and more about attempting to squeeze some additional expense account funds out of the boss.

That strategy went about how you would expect.

What we didn’t expect was additional invitations to some new events celebrating their inaugural year here in the Windy City. And since the invitations were local, we’ll be able to further stretch the Black Gate expense account which basically consists of some Starbucks gift cards tossed during the St. Patrick’s Day parade and several hundred game play tokens from Dave and Busters.

Haunted attraction industry icon and all around nice guy Leonard Pickel, launched a new haunts and Halloween conference here in Chicago, called Chicago Frights, which Chris Z and I had the pleasure of perusing this last weekend.

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Goth Chick News: Checking In at the Hotel Transylvania

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Hotel Transylvania TV-smallIf only this place really existed, I would never again suffer a Black Gate company road trip, trapped in a zeppelin with a load of less-than-hygienic fan boys, but instead would be enjoying my suite in the goth girl’s equivalent of the Four Seasons.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, my all-time favorite animated film Hotel Transylvania will be coming to the small screen, courtesy of Canadian company Nelvana Enterprises.

Debuting in early 2017 (venue pending), the series will focus on Mavis, the daughter of Dracula, expanding on her teenage years and her friends at the world-famous monster five-star resort.

News of the TV adaptation comes ahead of the sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 hitting theaters this fall, on September 25.

And speaking of the sequel…

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