Goth Chick News: The Greatest Sci-Fi / Horror Movie / Covid-19 Mash Up of all Time

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

What do you get when creative people have a lot of time on their hands? Well, if you’re the Black Gate staff you start choosing obscure, pulp-SciFi paperback covers to use as Zoom backgrounds and then geek-shame your colleagues when they can’t name the artist and the year. But if you’re writer/director Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) and editor Evan Gorski, you get on the horn, fire up the iMAC Pro, and get to work creating the most timely and entertaining genre movie mashup ever delivered to a stir-crazy public.

Titled “Everything I Need to Know to Survive COVID-19 I Learned By Watching Sci-fi & Horror Movies,” this perfectly-strung-together, 3-minutes of clips from movies like Alien, World War Z, The Thing, I Am Legend, The Mist, Terminator, The Shining and Jaws seem eerily suited to the current mess we call reality. And what do they tell us?

Stay together.

Stay indoors.

Stay safe.

Wash your hands.

And hole up until spring when the rescue teams arrive…


Goth Chick News: Quarantine Ghost Patrol…

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

Goth Chick get your butt home

One of my good friends from college works for the Canadian embassy in Jakarta, so when I heard this, I had to contact him to see if it was really a thing.

And it is.

Apparently, ghosts are a very real deal in Indonesia, and like everywhere else in the world, so is the continuing threat of Covid-19. The country is in fear of its economy and healthcare system being overwhelmed. Why? Because it has a population of 267 million located on 735,400 square miles. As opposed to the U.S., which has 382 million people on 3.8 million spacious square miles.

So it’s easy to see how devastating the virus could be to a small, densely populated island, which is why the authorities there have very little tolerance for quarantine violators.

An article in the Jakarta Post from last week quotes Kusdinar Untung Yuni Sukowati, an Indonesian politician, as saying, “If there’s an empty and haunted house in the village, put people in there and lock them up.” Yep, you read that right. And she’s not talking about the Halloween-funhouse kind either. Belief in the presence of spirits, called ruh, is deeply rooted in all the Malaysian cultures, with each region having its own variations. Though many spirits are harmless, a quick internet search turned up no less than 81 named Malaysian demons. People there take their supernatural entities seriously.

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Goth Chick News: Stoker Winners Are Going to Need a Bigger Mantel…

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

Coyote Rage-small The Bone Weaver's Orchard-small Oware Mosaic-small

Each year around this time I experience a fit of jealousy for those lucky few individuals who receive a Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Not only are there far fewer of them than Oscars or Emmys, but let’s be honest, they are far cooler to look at. Interestingly enough, you will never find one for sale or auction, as clearly horror writers at this level are never hard up enough for money to sell their trophies (believe me, I’ve looked). When you Google “replica Oscar statues for sale” you find nearly 2 million hits… but can you guess how many hits you get when you Google “replica Stoker awards for sale”?

Exactly zero.

That’s right – no cheesy dollar-store models of this little gem. No inflatable, larger-than-life Stokers, no Stoker costumes, no Stoker greeting cards. And why is that? Because it’s rare and amazing and too incredible for words, in spite of the fact I’d pay big bucks, even one made by those ceramic Christmas house people (if any of those are listening).

Nope. Only the best of the best, of the best, get to take home a Stoker. Back in January I gave you the list of lucky nominees. Little did I know we’d all end up with plenty of time to read each and every one. This week the HWA dashed the hopes of most writers on that list to arrive at 12 winners and the subsequent “finalist nominees” who do not get to go home with the coolest award ever created. In fact, this year they are at least spared the agony of having their pictures taken next to the winner, standing near to, but not being allowed to touch the coveted Stoker award.

Sigh.

So, without further pontificating, here are the talented winners, and the finalists…

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Goth Chick News: Beetlejuice Gets a Documentary and It’s Everything We Ever Wanted

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

Beetlejuice Goth Chick

In an attempt to not succumb to the stresses of working above ground near windows, rather than in the cozy, underground bunker of the Black Gate offices, I have been systematically making a list of my favorite movies. I am then ranking them in watch order, with a view to not overindulge in too much of a single genre. I do know people who have done Friday the 13th or Halloween marathons during the lockdown, but most of them are on the verge of not being suitable to ever be in public again. Therefore, my movie list, though heavy on the horror, still runs the gambit from hardcore to light-hearted fun; from Evil Dead to High Spirits and a whole lot in between.

But any list I compile, regardless of how it is organized, would have Beettlejuice right up there near the top. Yes, I’m partial to Tim Burton on most days, but the ghost with the most is nothing short of a classic.

Hard to believe that it’s been just over 33 years since Michael Keaton offered to chew on a dog to get the hapless, recently deceased Maitlands to hire him to scare the living out of their charming, New England farmhouse. The movie, also starring Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Winona Ryder among others, earned close to $75 million at the box office, which is roughly five times its $15 million budget, and bagged an Oscar for costume and makeup. Since then, Halloween costumes, pop-up bars and museum exhibits have paid homage to this comedy-fantasy-horror flick to the point you’d think it would have all been done.

Thankfully, we’re wrong.

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Goth Chick News: Touring Dracula’s Castle (Virtually and in Air Quotes)

Thursday, April 9th, 2020 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick April 2020

A couple weeks back I shared a virtual tour of the catacombs of Les Innocents cemetery in Paris. It’s been entertaining to see other historic locations catch onto this trend and this week a place I have always wanted to visit, jumped on the bandwagon and posted a 360 virtual tour of their site – Bran Castle.

In case that doesn’t ring a bell, the castle is a historic landmark located in Romania, but outside of its native land it is most often associated with the Dracula legend, however erroneously. Historically speaking, the castle has only tangential connections to Vlad Tepes, the presumed historical inspiration for Dracula. Due to the politics of the time, it certainly would not have been a place Vlad would likely have visited, however the castle has been linked to his imprisonment after he was captured by the Hungarians in 1462. Alas, contemporary historians agree Vlad was most likely held in a fortress in Budapest and probably never set foot in Bran Castle.

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Goth Chick News: A Rare Opportunity to Attend the HAA

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

Capture

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 Audible.com 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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