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Goth Chick News: Here Comes Your 2023 Reading List…

Goth Chick News: Here Comes Your 2023 Reading List…

Gather round friends – it’s once again time to don the footie pajamas, pour a steaming hot-toddy and hunker down until spring with the most awesome reading list of the year: namely the annual nominees for the coolest award ever.

The Bram Stoker Awards have been presented annually since 1987, and the winners are selected by ballot from the active members of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).

Several members of the HWA including Dean Koontz, were originally reluctant to endorse such writing awards, fearing it would incite competitiveness rather than friendly admiration. The HWA therefore went to great lengths to avoid mean-spirited competition by specifically seeking out new or overlooked writers and works, and officially issuing awards not based on “best of the year” criteria but for “superior achievement,” which allows for ties.

Which is lovely and all, but I believe I would not be above doing something mean-spirited if not downright evil to get my hands on the award itself, a haunted house whose front door opens to reveal the category and winner.

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Goth Chick News: A Lost Boys Musical? Oh, Hell Yes

Goth Chick News: A Lost Boys Musical? Oh, Hell Yes

The Lost Boys (Warner Bros, 1987)

In the constantly evolving world of pop culture the horror genre, like fashion, cycles through which monsters or tropes are currently in vogue. In the dark era from 2000-2010 we lived through sparkly vampires thanks to the Twilight books and subsequent movies. From 2010-2014 it was all about zombies due to the height of Walking Dead fandom and from 2015-2020 we had a run on jump scares and final-girls, while overlapping those last couple of years were a lot of slasher/serial killers. Of course, these subgenres weren’t alone during these timespans, but every so many years Hollywood seems to turn its attention to one specific monster more often than others.

Considering how shafted vampires got the last time it was their turn, it seems only fitting that this time around they are being portrayed as nature intended. Both big and small screen offerings like Blood Red Sky (2021), Midnight Mass (2021), The Invitation (2022) and The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023) have returned to depicting vampires as dark-needing, dirt-sleeping, human-eating, bringers of terror – which is how things should be. The only way this depiction gets better is when vampires are all of the above, as well as being really great to look at. And for that we need to go back to the 80’s.

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Goth Chick News: As I’m in No Danger of Being Replaced by AI, Let’s Talk About Abigail…

Goth Chick News: As I’m in No Danger of Being Replaced by AI, Let’s Talk About Abigail…

You likely don’t know I have a day job in the tech industry where I have funded all my macabre obsessions for more years than I care to count. Like nearly everyone these days, my company is in a frenzy over artificial intelligence (AI) and all the cool ways we can/will use it. Through said day job, I also have access to the most current generative AI engine which got me to thinking whether or not this technology would eventually do me out of my Black Gate side hustle? Could AI create my GCN content in a seamless undetectable way, thereby effectively Cyberdyne’ing the whole BG staff out of existence? I decided to give it a go.

I had planned on the topic of this week’s article being a new big-screen offering scheduled to land in theaters on April 19 entitled Abigail. Entering all the appropriate links and prompts into the AI engine, I held my breath for the few seconds it took to return a response.

My initial reaction was dismay. AI’s article looked to be about the right length and was interspersed with visually interesting graphics. Remembering that I had pointed the AI engine toward my content, asking it to mimic the style and “voice” of my previous work, I had a moment of panic wondering, “Is this technology actually me, only better?”

The answer, at least for now, is thankfully no.

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Goth Chick News: del Toro Is Making Frankenstein for Realz (We Think)

Goth Chick News: del Toro Is Making Frankenstein for Realz (We Think)

Back in July of last year, I wrote a cautiously optimistic piece about Guillermo del Toro working on his own adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I say “cautiously” because as part of that article I also provided a Wikipedia page dedicated to del Toro’s “unrealized projects,” (30 by the way) which was a nice way of listing out all the times he ghosted us. Ironically, this list included Frankenstein. Since that time there has been a lot of back and forth, specifically regarding the strike by writers and actors, and whether or not those would kill del Toro’s film, or at the very least delay it right back into an “unrealized project.”

However, on January 7th, Deadline reported that Jacob Elordi whose movie career took off last year with starring roles in Priscilla and Saltburn, will take over the role of Frankenstein’s iconic monster in the del Toro treatment; a role that had been long rumored as going to actor Andrew Garfield. Deadline also reported that filming was getting underway in February (confirmed by a tweet from del Toro), possibly in Scotland where del Toro had been spotted off and on since 2022, at various sites in and around Edinburgh.

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Goth Chick News: It’s January, So Let’s Start Our 2024 WTF File…

Goth Chick News: It’s January, So Let’s Start Our 2024 WTF File…

Writing a column called “Goth Chick News” is pretty much a dead giveaway that I love almost everything to do with the horror genre. I have, in past posts, made clear exceptions for what I call “sociopath training films” (Saw franchise, I’m looking at you), as well as examples of violence for violence’s sake such as haunted attractions like those explored in the Hulu documentary Monster Inside.

These exceptions have huge fan-bases and I make no judgment. They are just not my thing. It perhaps sounds weird to say, but to me, being scared is only entertaining when it doesn’t depict something that I could find on the True Crime channel. However, that’s not to say I still don’t frequently stare at my computer monitor and say “WTF” to it like I expect it to explain itself.

So, as we embark on this brave new year, I had to tell you about my first slow clap of 2024.

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Goth Chick News Classics: Ray Bradbury’s The Wish Has a New Meaning This Year

Goth Chick News Classics: Ray Bradbury’s The Wish Has a New Meaning This Year

The Book

For the last few years, as my last post of the year, I have reposted an article I wrote about Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Wish.” It is a Christmas tale of loss and love and magic which Bradbury penned following the death of his father. When it first appeared in Women’s Day magazine in 1973, my Dad was deep in his own grief having lost his own father, my beloved Grandpa, earlier that year. The story I told in Black Gate was how “The Wish” helped ease my Dad’s grief and led to my lifelong love of all things Bradbury.

That article led to my meeting and becoming friends with Bradbury’s editor Peter Schneider from Hill House Books, who published the only standalone hardcover of “The Wish.” He presented me with one of the numbered copies, signed by Bradbury, which is one of my most prized possessions.

Last December, as I prepared for the holiday festivities, I was suddenly faced with the loss of my own father. He was 94 and his health hadn’t been the greatest for a few months, so maybe his leaving us peacefully in his sleep should not have come as the shock that it did, but the sense of loss was crushing.

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Goth Chick News: Could I Really Have Never Interviewed a Medium? Situation Corrected…

Goth Chick News: Could I Really Have Never Interviewed a Medium? Situation Corrected…

It seems nearly impossible for even me to believe, but in going through twenty-three years of Black Gate archives, I realized I have never interviewed a medium. Guys who made lamps out of old doll heads? Check. The kid who played “Newt” in Aliens? You betcha. A goth boy band? More times than I can count. But someone who communicates with the dead – for real? Never until now.

I wasn’t aware of what now seems like a glaring oversight on my part, until I made the acquaintance of Ms. DeEtte Ranea at the last show of the spooky season, Days of the Dead. Though in my head I was expecting a much older woman of some vague Slavic descent, likely wearing an earring and a headscarf, DeEtte in no way fit my mental image of a medium, and once I got used to that, I realized I had oodles of questions. DeEtte was gracious enough to agree to answer them and I managed to whittle them down to thirteen, which seemed like an appropriate number given the topic.

So, everyone, please meet DeEtte.

DeEtte, please meet everyone.

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Goth Chick News: ‘Tis the Season for Scary Stories

Goth Chick News: ‘Tis the Season for Scary Stories

The Scary Book of Christmas Lore: 50 Terrifying Yuletide Tales from
Around the World by Tim Rayborn (Cider Mill Press, November 14, 2023)

Anyone who has ever read, or watched a screen-version of, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843) knows that the tradition of telling ghost stories during the holidays goes back to the early Victorian era. In the 19th century, the celebration of Christmas underwent a transformation, influenced in part by the works of writers such as Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. These authors, among others, painted romantic visions of the season as a time for festive gatherings, family reunions, and acts of kindness, playing a large role in the Christmas images we have today.

However, alongside the cheerful and heartwarming aspects of Christmas, the Victorians had a lingering fascination with the supernatural. This interest in ghost stories and the macabre was likely influenced by earlier traditions and folklore associated with the winter season, particularly the ancient pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were thin.

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Goth Chick News: Saying Farewell to Another ‘Season’ at Days of the Dead

Goth Chick News: Saying Farewell to Another ‘Season’ at Days of the Dead

That time of year has once again rolled around and another official spooky season is in the rearview mirror. Black Gate photog Chris Z has thrown a tarp over the Hummer and sent his kilt to the dry cleaners. We’ve emptied the final airplane-sized bottles of Fireball and filed our last expense report with BG’s financial fun police. As it has been for the past 11 years, the weekend before Thanksgiving means we attend the final convention of our annual show circuit, Days of the Dead.

It certainly doesn’t feel like that long since we attended our first DotD convention at its sophomore outing in the Chicago suburbs. I readily admit that Chicago isn’t Los Angeles or even New Orleans when it comes to subcultures, though the elements that do exist are certainly worth wading into if you know where to look. But when DotD came to Chicago for the first time in 2011, its home was the Schaumburg Marriott of all places.

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Goth Chick News: In Praise of Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher

Goth Chick News: In Praise of Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher

Having fallen behind on my normal planned October activities, I am admittedly a bit late to the party when it comes to Mike Flannigan’s latest outing for Netflix, The Fall of the House of Usher, which debuted on October 12th. Flannigan is batting about 500 on the Goth Chick News stats board of directorial successes, so I was holding my breath in hopes he wouldn’t butcher one of my beloved Edgar’s properties.

On the plus side Flannigan helmed The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manner and Midnight Mass, all for Netflix and all in my top ten fav series list. On the downside, and this is a huge one for me, he is personally responsible for completely hosing the big screen version of one of my favorite Stephen King books, Doctor Sleep, for which I am hard pressed to forgive him. But perhaps Netflix is his true medium. So, with this in mind, I queued up The Fall of the House of Usher.

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