Thursday, June 25th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
Long before the dystopias inhabited by Peeta and Katnis, or Tris and Four, there was life under the domes with Logan 3 and Jessica 6.
Originally published in 1967, Logan’s Run is a classic science fiction novel that has rarely been out of print in the subsequent years. It has also been a movie (and about to be a remake), a television show, several iterations of comics, music and even a computer game.
In the world of 2116, a person’s maximum age is strictly legislated: twenty one years, to the day. When people reach this “Lastday” they report to a “Sleepshop” in which they are willingly executed via a pleasure-inducing toxic gas. A person’s age is revealed by their palm flower crystal embedded in the palm of their right hand that changes color every seven years, yellow (age 0-6), then blue (age 7-13), then red (age 14-20), then blinks red and black on “Lastday”, and finally turns black at 21. The story follows the actions of Logan, a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule, as he tracks down and kills citizens who run from society’s lethal demand, only to end up running himself.
Logan’s Run has been one of my favorite books since I first discovered a dog-eared paperback at a library book sale in high school. Since then I’ve never not had a copy on my shelf and periodically go back to reread it – the story never ceases to entertain.
That is why I could not have been more excited a couple months back to learn about a new edition distributed by Centipede Press. I nearly burned up my keyboard preordering a copy.
This new edition of Logan’s Run features striking dustjacket art, and over a dozen full page and spot black & white interiors, by artists Jim and Ruth Keegan. It has a new introduction by Jason V Brock, two bonus stories in Logan’s Return and The Thunder Gods, a gallery of old editions of the novel, excerpts from the original manuscript, and a few images from William F. Nolan’s personal notebook.
Thursday, June 18th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
You know how some people talk about seeing something that scarred them for life?
I mean really scarred – like way worse than any episode of My Strange Addiction, or “casual Friday” in the Black Gate offices in July.
This happened for me in my early teens when during a sleepover, my friend snagged her Dad’s secret, “unrated” copy of Malcolm McDowell in Caligula.
Though I’ve seen things since that could be categorized as “more disturbing,” nothing has come close to those vomit-inducing scenes burned into my 14 year old retinas.
Of course, as you probably guessed, in the coming years I got seriously busy seeking out every bit of cinema that McDowell had ever done and eventually found my way to Cat People and A Clockwork Orange. If you only know McDowell from Star Trek or Entourage, you definitely need to check out his earlier work.
It takes a special talent evoke an audience’s gag reflex with that much panache.
So it really came as no surprise that today, Rob Zombie’s Facebook page made the following announcement.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
The last place in the world I expected to find something interesting to tell you about this week is on the website Business Insider.
Like the rest of the staff here at Black Gate, I have a day job. Because as BG boss John is fond of reminding us, it is the palatial offices or a salary – we can’t have both.
So when existing in the very separate, cube-dwelling portion of my career, I am obligated to read about topics that would never darken the stairwell of the underground bunker of Goth Chick News from riveting sources like the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business and yes, Business Insider.
So imagine my amazement when my two worlds collided.
Business Insider reports this week that Pizza Hut, coming to the earth-shattering conclusion that pizza and movie nights sort of go together, is releasing their new Blockbuster Box; a way to combine food with entertainment in one package.
Here’s how it works: You order your pizza and it comes in one of four themed boxes. There’s the horror-filled “Slice Night,” “Anchovy Armageddon” for sci-fi fans, “Hot & Ready” for the romance lovers, and the action-packed “Fully Loaded.” When you get your box, you pop out a hole in the front, insert the provided lens, scan a QR code on the box to load the movie, and then put your phone on a stand inside the box to blow it up on your wall.
Right off the bat you can guess at the issues with this concept, but then again – “Slice Night”? How could you not fall in love with that?
Thursday, June 4th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
If you can’t remember the last time you were left slack-jawed and speechless then get ready.
Today is your day.
Steve Ramsdan is a London based filmmaker, editor and all around “behind the camera” sort of genius. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of him until today, when I looked up his IMBD profile after someone sent me this.
Apparently he admired how Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick framed their shots in a similar way, and just got to wondering, “What if..?”
Go ahead – take a look…
Well? Do you agree? Genius?
Post a comment or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org, which goes for all of you except those who CAN remember the last time they were left slack-jawed and speechless – we really don’t need those details (you know who you are).
Thursday, May 28th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
It definitely would have been a very good scoop to have landed back at C2E2. Then again, I might have been too busy having a fan girl swoon to have caught on anyway.
Earlier this month I had the chance to chat with Max Brooks, author of one of my favorite novels, World War Z. At the time I pressed him as much as I dared on the topic of a sequel as it seemed to be a rather touchy subject. Brooks stated he’d do it when the spirit moved him to and not a moment before.
This week I learned two things – first, something has definitely moved Brooks, and second, a possible reason why the topic of a follow up story might have been a tad touchy at the time I asked about it.
Paramount Pictures has just set a release date for the sequel to World War Z, effectively ending speculation, and Max Brooks is on board as one of the writers.
Granted, we’ve been hearing rumors about this for some time. In spite of the original production being plagued by so many problems it came close to being scrapped, World War Z ultimately became a blockbuster hit ($540M worldwide) and is in fact considered the highest grossing film in Brad Pitt’s career.
As Pitt not only starred in but produced the original film via his Plan B production company, it seemed inevitable that Paramount would green light a follow up at some point.
Thursday, May 14th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
Back in February the Horror Writers Association announced their nominees for the annual Bram Stoker Awards for superior writing in eleven categories, including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction.
This week they announced the winners, who will receive what must be the coolest trophy ever.
Here are all the winners, as well as the runners up.
Superior Achievement in a Novel – Blood Kin, Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris)
If you happened to be hanging out in downtown Chicago recently, perhaps enjoying the first wiff of a thaw in the air, then you also ran a fair chance of seeing Khaleesi riding the El train.
After all, April in the Windy City can only mean one thing.
It is once again time for the mother of all spandex parades, otherwise known as the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids).
Started back in 2010, C2E2 is a fan convention spanning the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games. The 840K square foot show floor was packed light saber to body suit with literally hundreds of exhibitors, panels and autograph sessions. And though this year’s attendance has not yet been officially published, estimates place it at a record-breaking 60K plus.
As we have done for the prior four years, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I gleefully donned our official press passes (by far the coolest looking ones in the industry) and waded into the fray; in order to provide you a chance to peep at least a small portion of the sights too numerous to catalog.
Thanks to a pre-opening chat with perennial Goth Chick News fav, horror comic writer Dirk Manning, we were able to skirt the biblical-sized masses queued at the entrance and get an early look at show floor. The sheer number of booths dedicated to comics alone made me wonder (and later discover) the actual size of the domestic industry for comics and graphic novels, in dollars.
Thursday, April 30th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the only US stop of the touring exhibit Vikings at the Field Museum in Chicago. There I learned much about the Norse “tribe of gods,” which included stories about Odin, the god of war and death, but also the god of wisdom and poetry credited with creating the world. I also learned about Loki, the trickster god and companion of Odin, who helped him with clever plans but sometimes caused a world of trouble (literally).
It is easy to see some similarities between Odin and Loki, and Christianity’s God and Satan, though Norse mythology is far less black and white. Odin and Loki often work together to teach mankind lessons, both directly and through their own failings.
All in all, a fascinating experience.
Which is why I was beyond thrilled to find a package from my friends at Wunderkind, waiting for me when I got home.
The Gospel of Loki, by Joanne M. Harris, is scheduled for release on May 5th and at first, I thought I was going to have a chance to delve deeper into the Norse myth of Loki, which in and of itself would have been a treat.
However, what I really received was so much more fun.
Now this may come as a shock, but my favorite type of humor is that which is liberally tinged with irreverence. In other words, I like no one I like better than someone with the ability to poke fun at topics which are normally taken seriously by everyone else.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
It’s been three years – count them because I sure have – since I crushed on author Steven Roman over his first novel Blood Feud.
Back then I was all enamored due to the fact that Roman’s main character, Pandora (Pan) Zwieback, was a zombie-shooting, werewolf booting, leather clad heroine of a goth chick.
Finally, a book I could relate to.
Never mind that Blood Feud landed in the “young adult fiction” category either. Roman doesn’t insult readers of any age, with lip-nibbling, flannel-wearing whiners. These characters were a dark fantasy cross-over all the way, with nary a “romantic” slipped in there anywhere.
If Roman’s name sounds familiar it may be because before Blood Feud he was responsible for highly successful, but mainly fan-boy facing fare such as X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy and Final Destination: Dead Man’s Hand, as well as appearing in anthologies such as Untold Tales of Spider-Man and Dr. Who: Short Trips.
I’m not knocking Roman’s horror chops – no way, not now.
But when you’re a guy taking on the persona of a sixteen-year-old goth girl and aiming your story at a young adult audience, you’re taking on a whole new level of imagination.
Thursday, April 16th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist
Last week I mentioned running into Mike “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and his crew at the HAA in St. Louis. Fitz is the proprietor of Evil Intentions, a haunted attraction housed in the former Elgin Metal Casket Company in the suburbs of Chicago and during what is now the off-season, Fitz has opened the place up for paranormal investigations.
When we visited Evil Intentions last fall we agreed it was one of the best experiences of the dozen or so haunts we attended, mainly because of Fitz’s “low tech” approach which allowed the utter creepiness of the building to play a central role in the attraction. So I was entirely psyched when Fitz invited us to do a ride along during an upcoming investigation.
Mysteriously, BG photog Chris Z had a pressing engagement elsewhere, and perhaps not so unexpectedly, I could not solicit any of my colleagues to join me on this little outing. So it was down to me to go hang out in the abandoned casket company from 9 p.m. on a Friday night, to 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Granted, the building does look even eerier in the middle of a March night while not decked out in all its Halloween lighting and finery. But the first thing I had to ask is why Fitz thought the place was haunted, just because it used to make coffins?
Apparently, it is a documented, historical fact that in 1890 a cemetery on the grounds became overcrowded and remains of early settlers were dug up and moved to the new Bluff City Cemetery less than a mile away.
Relocating bodies… Doesn’t it always start that way?