Goth Chick News: Before the Turkey There Was Days of the Dead

Thursday, November 29th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Days of the Dead 2018-small

For the last six years, Goth Chick News has concluded the haunt season with a final show which rolls through Chicago each November. Days of the Dead (DotD for you cool kids) has always been an interesting experience and the 2018 show which occurred last weekend was no exception.

In past years DotD has resulted in memorable encounters with the likes of Vampire Santa, Carrie Henn who played “Newt” in the movie Aliens, and my spiritual hubby, Brad Miska aka “Mr. Disgusting” owner of the premier horror website Bloody Disgusting. It has also been the source of quite a lot of under-the-breath commentary from Black Gate photog Chris Z such as his whispered “What the f***?” when Sleepy Hollow actress and former Tim Burton muse finally showed up to her press call (click here for why) and his speculation on the cause of Tara Reid’s extreme tardiness which likely wasn’t the “late lunch” her handler offered.

The 2018 event was a little thin on “celebrity” front with the biggest names being Clive Barker, who was quite a score since getting someone out of LA to Chicago in November is no small accomplishment, and the rapper Coolio who I guess was there for his appearance in the 2004 movie Dracula 3000 and not his web foodie show Cooking With Coolio. Nonetheless, there was still a lot of fun stuff to share.

So let’s dive in shall we?

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Goth Chick News: Killing Time Until the 2019 Show Line Up

Thursday, November 15th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Ripley and Newt

With the 2018 “season” behind us and cold, dark Chicago winter ahead, it’s time to hunker down with what remains of our current reading list and wait for the start of a new set of Goth Chick News adventures in 2019.

On that note, I told you about three new horror releases a few weeks back, which were currently on my nightstand. I can now report that having finished Dracul, written at least partially by a great, great nephew of Mr. Stoker himself, it’s definitely worth your time. I wasn’t a fan of author Dacre Stoker’s first foray into Uncle Bram’s iconic character via a Dracula sequel entitled Dracula, the Undead. However, this time around Stoker teamed up with a co-author (or was teamed up with one by his editor). J.D. Barker has impressive horror creds and the results for the overall storytelling are definitely better.

Dracul is a pre-quel of sorts with Uncle Bram as the main character. The story concerns the events that inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, and though it is so slow in places you’ll think perhaps that was when Barker turned his back on the writing process to grab a sandwich, the overall story is clever and connects entertainingly enough to the source material to be a good read for fans of the original Dracula, as well as those who just like a good gothic vampire tale.

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Goth Chick News: The Dark Lord Is Not Amused

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Dark Lord is not amused

Last week I told you about my latest Netflix obsession, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the original Archie universe character, introduced in the comics’ storyline back in the 1960’s.

So, how do I tell you this next bit without sounding politically insensitive and perhaps even a tad snarky?

I guess I don’t, so here goes.

Turns out the actual for-real Satanic Temple is a wee bit upset at the cultural appropriation perpetuated by the show runners. Headquartered in (color me shocked) Salem, Massachusetts, the organization, which is not considered a tax-exempt religion in case you were wondering, has started legal proceedings against Netflix, specifically over the statue of the “Dark Lord” on display in the show’s fictional Academy of Unseen Arts.

Lucien Greaves (I’m not smiling, you’re smiling), the co-founder and spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, took to Twitter to make it clear he and the congregation are not amused.

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Goth Chick News: Netflix Bring It for Halloween

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

As “the season” officially ended yesterday as it always does, with me getting in the coffin that’s been sitting in my front yard all month, and jumping out of it to scare the snot out of the neighbor kids, I’m a bit behind schedule on this. But it’s okay, because these two new Netflix shows are well worth a binge, regardless if we’re now all supposed to put away all the fun, scary stuff because its ‘not appropriate’ and go back to being ‘normal’ and get right onto the rest of the holidays with little elves on the f…

Sorry, lost my head there for a minute.

First up is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This story line harkens back to the original Archie comic, circa 1962 when Sabrina Spellman first appeared as a friend of the Archie gang. Sabrina didn’t go to Riverdale High, but Greendale, a nearby town where Sabrina lived with her two aunts and her cat familiar, Salem. In the original comic Sabrina mainly dealt with problems associated with not being able to tell her friends or her boyfriend that she’s a “half-witch” (her father was a famous warlock and her mother was a human) and just being a normal teenager, using her powers to do generally good things for others.

The Netflix version is much, much darker and it’s awesome.

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Goth Chick News Visits HellsGate

Thursday, October 25th, 2018 | Posted by Sue Granquist

HellsGate the House-small

HellsGate — the house

Most of us grew up with a local Jaycees or some other community organization putting together their annual ‘haunted house’ every October. With tickets in the neighborhood of $5 each, my friends and I would make the rounds, hitting several in a weekend as more of a social event than the adrenaline rush of real scares, which were hard to come by when your best friend’s parent or older sibling was behind the semi-cheesy mask and resale-shop costumes.

These days however, haunted attractions are decidedly more elaborate and sometimes permanent establishments. Instead of ‘haunted walks’ through the local forest preserve, or forays through mazes of black Glad bags and PVC, Halloween season thrill-seekers can expect to treat themselves to multi-thousand-dollar special effects and real actors in Hollywood-worthy costumes. Of course, tickets are closer to $50 than $5, but you get what you pay for.

And did we ever when over the weekend Black Gate photog Chris Z and I road tripped nearly two hours to visit HellsGate Haunted House, ranked #11 in the industry magazine HauntWorld’s annual list of the Scariest Haunted Houses in the Nation – and that is out of 5000 entries. Obviously, you don’t rank that high on the list without some impressive moves, and we were particularly interested to see an effect in use which we first saw on the show floor at the Haunted Association and Attractions Show last March. The owner of HellsGate, John LaFlamboy, purchased one of the biggest show effects, a $16K, ‘life size’ animatronic dragon, right off the show floor and we couldn’t wait to see how it turned out.

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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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