Goth Chick News: A Rare Opportunity to Attend the HAA

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist


As you likely know the Halloween Association and Attractions show (HAA for you cool kids) is the grand kickoff of each year’s scare season. Usually held in March it is the only industry trade show of its kind in the world, gathering the entire haunt industry together to view and purchase new products from over four hundred exhibitors. It’s a place to see the hottest trends and get a peek at the latest in special effects, from small visuals perfect for a home haunt, all the way up to $15K ‘life size’ dragon animatronics. Normally this is an ‘industry only’ show requiring a tax ID number and other credentials to score a ticket. However, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I have been lucky enough to be invited to cover the HAA for the past 17 years and we look forward to it each and every time; along with the ability to give you a look behind the curtain of a $9B industry. Impressive when you consider that money comes from six weeks annually.

Unfortunately, the current zombie apocalypse caused the HAA, like everything else, to be cancelled for 2020. Postponing is not an option as the haunt industry gets after it early, to be ready for September / October. Holding the show over the summer would not allow enough time for orders to be placed and received before the start of the haunt season.

However, out of sadness comes opportunity.

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Goth Chick News: A Virtual Visit to The City of Death

Thursday, March 26th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick the City of Death-small

Translation: “Stop! Here lies the city of death.”

As we enter week number two of the great zombie apocalypse of 2020 with the Black Gate offices on lock down, even I am starting to get a tiny bit stir crazy. You’d think I’d be thrilled to be sequestered in my own carefully curated environment. However, I must admit I’m starting to miss the constant overhead cacophony that comes with sharing space with a pack of over-caffeinated D&D players who simply refuse to put the seat down in the unisex bathroom.

Charming in an ‘ew’ sort of way.

Still, my fellows in the haunt and horror industry have been extremely industrious in these difficult times; hosting virtual watch parties for favorite movies and sharing more night-vision videos of ghosts than are possible to keep track of. Which makes me wonder if the ghosts, like our pets, are sick of having us all hanging around and wish we’d just go back to our day jobs.

However, a couple of the onslaught of offerings have been pretty unique and definitely worth a look. For instance, you can now take a virtual tour of the Paris catacombs.

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Goth Chick News: Watching Pet Sematary in a Pet Cemetery Is the Distraction We All Need

Thursday, March 12th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

On Set Cinema

With the zombie apocalypse bearing down on us in the form of this year’s flu season, Big Cheese John O has given up and ordered the Black Gate staff to work from home. I mean, there was really no point in Clorox wipes when this office is full of boys who haven’t dusted anything since we moved in. Trying to disinfect surfaces simply resulted in swirls of little antiseptic-smelling puddles everywhere. Weeks ago, I had fully abandoned the office’s unisex bathroom as a bad bet and started dropping in at the far more hygienic bus station down the street. And since no bakery would deliver individually-wrapped donuts, the only safe alternative to keep Black Gate running was to separate everyone. Of course, there’s no telling what leaving the staff unsupervised will do to the quality of the writing, but time will tell.

So, though hunkering down for some serious binge-watching seems fairly attractive at the moment, there are still some extremely good reasons to go out, besides having the outside world pretty much to yourself.

Namely, a company called On Set Cinema.

The concept is a simple one. Kenny Caperton, owner of The Myers House NC, which is a life-size replica of the infamous Michael Myers house from John Carpenter’s Halloween, came up with the idea to show movies in their actual filming locations. Though he screens content from all genres, his focus is horror films.

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Goth Chick News: C2E2 and a Goth Chick Wannabe… The Sequel

Saturday, March 7th, 2020 | Posted by Chris Zemko

Goth Chick C2E2 2020

A couple weeks ago I was startled by a knock on my window. As curiosity got the best of me, I discovered a raven pecking at the glass with a note tied around its leg. My first thought was, “Winter is Coming.” My second thought was, “Evil Hogwarts?” Turns out the second was a lot closer, it was from Goth Chick. I unwrapped the little scroll and read the following….

The Summons

Apparently to maintain her standing in the Goth community, she’s required to attend a “Get Back to Goth” retreat every time a darker shade of black is discovered. Who Knew? If it’s anything like her “Book Club” it’s just a lot of drinking, incense burning, soul devouring and complaining about pastels. But that’s a story for another article.

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Goth Chick News Reviews: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Sun Down Motel-smallEver since Psycho, there has been something distinctly creepy about motels. You know the ones. Originally built along highways as a respite for weary cross-country travelers, the name literally comes from “motor hotel.” They were usually long, one-story building consisting of side-by-side rooms with doors that opened out into the parking lot, enabling guests of the time to sleep pretty much beside their beloved vehicles.

They’ve also been the location for a whole lot of up-to-no-good. Besides being the preferred location for extramarital shenanigans, they’ve been the site of murders (Psycho, Vacancy and Motel Hell), serious mental breakdowns (Identity and Insane) and all manner of general badness (Bad Times at the El Royale).

These days you can still find motels, though for the most part they look like perfect location shots for any one of the aforementioned films. And with some rare exceptions, any one you come across isn’t going to be a preferred place to spend the night.

Which is why my latest listen from has made me late for my day job, three days running. I cannot audibly ‘put it down.’

The Sun Down Motel, written by Simone St. James (Broken Girls) and performed on the audio book by Brittany Pressley and Kirsten Potter, is set both in 1982 and 2017. It tells the story of Viv, who disappears from her night job at The Sun Down in 1982 after doing a bit of poking around in some local, unsolved murders. In 2017 her niece Carly follows in her footsteps, to see if she can uncover what happened to her.

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Goth Chick News: Classic Horror Fans, We Have a New Home

Thursday, February 13th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Classic Monsters World-small

Remember when you were a kid, and you had your first epic theme park experience? Maybe it was at one of the Six Flags parks, or even a local attraction like Santa’s Village here outside of Chicago. Or maybe it was one of the Disney parks which for someone under ten would have been utterly mind-blowing. Wherever it was, you probably remember thinking, “I want to live here forever!” having your every sense assaulted, jacked up on too much sugar and endorphins, and grinning until your face hurt.

That was certainly me then. And when I read this news, it’s me now.

I seriously had to check this out through several sources as it seemed too much to get my over-stimulated brain to comprehend.

Universal Studios Orlando is building a new theme park, two miles away from its current property and named Universal’s Epic Universe. It will be made up of four themed ‘lands’; Super Nintendo World, How to Train Your Dragon, Fantastic Beasts, and… and…


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Goth Chick News: The Crazy Reality of The Show

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Show banner-small

A whole 22 years has passed since we marveled at reality TV taken to the extreme via The Truman Show, and my, my, my weren’t we naïve back then? I mean, we were still almost 10 years from the train wreck that would be Keeping Up with the Karadashians, and even 4 years from the first Bachelor episode. Though we had by then voyeuristically tuned into The Real World, it would seem downright pedestrian when compared to what came later in the form of Temptation Island and Survivor. Today, I can’t come up with an accurate count of how many total reality television programs are currently airing, but several sources list at least 15 as ‘must see TV’ so the number must be well into the double-digits. And each year, audiences demand edgier, more titillating, more graphic content until we arrive at…

The Show.

It was a simple idea. Take a man, lock him in a room and film him slowly go mad. That man was Johnny Teevee and he’s been locked away for six years.

But, as Johnny’s antics become more predictable, ratings start to drop, and his producer is forced to go to extreme lengths to keep things entertaining.

It might be cruel, it might be immoral — but it makes good TV.

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Goth Chick News: Follow Me into the Dark…

Thursday, January 30th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Twisted Dark Season Two Volume One-small

I fell hard for writer Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. At the time he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark, his illustrated story which had just been published by indie comic house TPub in the UK.

A Brit who also writes dark stories with twisted endings?

All I could say to that was “Yes, please.”

By May 2015, Twisted Dark reached number one on the UK Kindle chart, and six volumes later it’s clear I’m far from being the only fan of Gibson’s unique style of storytelling. Along the way, Gibson has been personally responsible for several other unique and riveting tales such as Tortured Life, Twisted Light, and Tabitha, while TPub has continued to produce some of my favorite graphic novels like Transmissions which I told you about last fall.

So, it’s with a shiver of anticipation that I can now tell you Gibson is once again headed back into the dark, with me devotedly in tow.

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Goth Chick News: Grab a Pen, Here Comes Your 2020 Reading List

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Coyote Rage-small Inspection Josh Malerman-small The Worst is Yet to Come-small

If you live somewhere that, like Chicago, has been experiencing temperatures incompatible with human life recently, then thinking about a lounge chair, a book and an umbrella drink wearing anything less than a Tauntaun skin is pretty darn appealing. And with perfect timing, here comes the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot hot off the press from the The Horror Writers Association (HWA), providing a categorized list of reading material.

Now all you need is the lounge chair, an umbrella drink and a space heater.


Named in honor of Dracula’s beloved Pappa, the Stokers are presented annually by the HWA for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. The HWA also presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to living individuals who have made a substantial and enduring contribution to the genre. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman.

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Goth Chick News: The Fireball Makes Our Feet Hurt Less, or 2020 Show Coverage

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick Press Pass

As the winter doldrums settle over the offices of Black Gate, exacerbating the fug which permanently hangs over the men’s WC, the only remedy is to start thinking about all our upcoming events.

Black Gate photog Chris Z and I will once again be crisscrossing the Midwest seeking out new authors, indie filmmakers and the purveyors of the strange and unusual; partially for our own amusement, but mostly for yours. I mean, let’s be honest, once we’ve downed our customary pre-show Fireball shots, pretty much everything is funny. But I am always careful to get a good night’s sleep before telling you about all we saw, to ensure what I share is interesting, if not hilarious, once we’ve sobered up.

So, without further ado, here is the 2020 lineup. Most of these shows are open to the public and many do a wider national tour, so if you’re interested, be sure to click the link to see if a similar event is coming to a city near you.

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