Goth Chick News: Touch My Books and I’ll Turn You into a Newt

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick She turned me into a newt-small

For years my one grand ambition was to have an Edwardian-type library in my house, providing the perfect sanctuary for perusing my favorite titles, while offering all my lovely tomes a suitable resting place from which to be admired. So, when I built this house the focus was entirely on having my library, and who cared about anything else?

Though my collection of hardcover volumes is small by most standards (not the least of which is compared to BG Big Cheese John O’s library), I am extremely proud and highly protective of my 500+ collection. Each one tells a story in addition to the literal one, as I’ve collected them on my travels and sometimes, in those early days, saved up for extended periods to buy a highly-desired volume, stood outside in Chicago winters to get first editions signed by the authors, or had them given to me by very special people. Friends have long since stopped asking to borrow a book off my shelf as I’d rather purchase another copy and gift it to them then let any of mine out of sight.

You get the idea.

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Goth Chick New: Who You Gonna Call? The Vatican Apparently…

Thursday, May 16th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth chick meme 1

The Roman Catholic Church has always been a bit cagey on their stance regarding possession. They haven’t exactly confirmed they believe it exists in the modern day, nor have they denied it exactly. After a bit of online research, I discovered that even “official” Catholic websites seem to indicate that yes, demon possession ran rampant in ancient times, but today is extremely rare and most often the symptoms of mental illness.

Rumors of there being an official “head exorcist” at the Vatican have for years been the stuff of urban legend and movie plots, which is why this most current information is a bit astounding. Apparently, the Roman Catholic Church has been hosting an annual exorcism class in Rome for the past fourteen years and this year, due to the rising tide of demonic forces worldwide, opened up the class up to all major Christian faiths.

“The idea is to help each other, to establish best practices if you will,” Father Pedro Barrajon, 61, one of the organizers of the 14th edition of the “Course on Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” taking place at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum, told the Telegraph News in the UK. “This is the first time that different denominations have come together to compare their experiences on exorcisms.”

Described as the first of its kind in the world that proposes academic and interdisciplinary research of exorcisms, the one-week course, taught exclusively in Italian, from May 6 to 11, was priced at $450.

Accommodations and meals not included.

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Goth Chick News: Please Welcome the New Official GCN Game Company

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Roswell 51

You know how you feel when you meet a new friend and there’s an instant connection? Someone you know will just ‘get you’ and who you’ll now want to spend all your time with, texting them, stalking them on social media, finding out where they live and driving by, and…

Okay, never mind.

The point is, I just met this guy Larry Wickman.

Now Larry has quite a lot going for him. For a start, he’s a big fan of Black Gate, and right behind that he’s an indie game designer. Not of slick VR stuff, but of the righteous RPG-card game variety, the kind of games that consumed a large chunk of the youth of most of us here at BG, and which a lot of the guys upstairs still spend a lot of time playing when they’re supposed to be writing. Which alone would make Larry a very popular guy around here — but now there’s this.

Larry is the creator of a series of board games called Shuffling Horror, and this is where his most recent honor lies: the title of Official Game Designer of Goth Chick News, as bestowed by me.

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Goth Chick News: Strange Blood

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick Strange Blood-small

As our friends over at The Nerdist pointed out, 2019 is seeing a resurgence in our favorite classic fiend, the vampire. Not those angsty, flannel-wearing lot from Seattle, but the old school leather and lace variety who unapologetically drink human blood. The kind who either haunt our nightmares or make us think maybe sunlight is overrated after all.

And that’s a big relief if you ask me.

So, know it or not, the timing was just about perfect for author Vanessa Morgan to come out with a compilation of the strangest of the strange vampire stories ever placed between covers.

Strange Blood brings together 71 essays from 23 countries, delving into the most offbeat and underrated vampire movies going back 90 years and right up to the present day. Titles include The White Reindeer (1952), Requiem for a Vampire (1971), Nadja (1994) and my person favorite, the Swedish version of Let the Right One In (2008) just to name a few.

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Goth Chick News: Climbing The Mountain of Souls with the Band Haunted Abbey Mythos

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Mountain of Souls

As you know, or likely can guess, I am a collector of scary stories from all over. The fact that every culture has them and they collectively have quite a lot of similarities is something I have always found fascinating.

Though US Halloween traditions are still catching on in Spain, listening to and telling scary stories is a tradition during the Spanish All Hallow’s Eve. A favorite and oft-told tale is called “El Monte de las Animas” or “The Mountain of Souls,” a legend written down by Gustavo Adolfo Bequer, a nineteenth century Spanish Romanticist poet, writer and playwright. and first published in the newspaper El Contemporáneo in 1861. The author claimed to have heard the tale in the city of Soria during All Hallows Eve´s night, and not being able to sleep, he decided to write it down.

The Mountain of Souls tells the story of Alonso, the youngest son of Count Borges, and his cousin Beatriz, a somewhat haughty young lady. One day, while on a horse ride through the countryside, Alonso entertains Beatriz with a legend that the nearby hill is haunted by the spirits of ancient Templar knights. When they returned home, Beatriz finds she has lost a blue sash during the ride, and asks Alonso to venture back to the mountain to retrieve it for her, as a token of his love. Alonso is reluctant to go to the mount at night because the souls of the dead are said to wander there, but at Beatriz’s insistence and longing for her affections, Alonso goes.

As you can imagine, the outcome isn’t pleasant – for either of them.

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Goth Chick News: Plunging into Twisted Dark

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Traveller comic The Theory comic

In the name of full disclosure, I must admit I’m a sucker for a Brit. And if that Brit happens to write dark, twisted, steam-punky comics, then put your thumbs in your ears while I do a full on, fan-girl squee…

Okay, maybe scratch that mental image and let’s move on.

We first met British writer Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Then he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark; the illustrated story he had written which had just been published by indie comic house TPub in the UK.

In May 2015, Twisted Dark reached number one on the UK Kindle chart. And when I was in London’s famous Foyles bookstore last year, another of Gibson’s offerings, Tortured Life was highlighted as a “staff pick” in the graphic novel section.

Six volumes of Twisted Dark and several other series later, it’s clear I’m far from being the only fan of Gibson’s unique style of storytelling. So a couple weeks ago when he emailed to let me know his newest project with TPub, The Traveler, was complete and a Kickstarter campaign had been launched to bring it to life in print, I was as happy as a cosplayer at a 2-for-1 spandex sale to get a look and tell you all about it.

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Goth Chick News: And Just Like Merlin, I Have My Very Own Magic Wand…

Thursday, April 11th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick Rowan pen 1 Goth Chick Rowan pen 2

When I built my current house, I had my heart set on planting a Rowan tree in the front yard. I learned about the tree’s long, sacred history when visiting Scotland; that since ancient times people have been planting a Rowan beside their homes.  It is known as the Tree of Life and symbolizes courage, wisdom and protection.

Celtic mythology says that when the goddess Hebe lost her chalice of youth, an eagle fought to recover the cup and return it to her. Wherever the bird shed a drop of blood or feather, up sprang a Rowan tree. Another legend states how the Rowan tree bent over a fast-flowing river and rescued Thor from being swept away into the Underworld. There are several recurring themes of protection offered by the Rowan. Pieces of the tree were carried by people for personal protection from black magic, and sprigs of Rowen were worn inside clothing and fastened above door frames to ward off evil. My favorite story has Merlin’s wand being made from the branch of a Rowan.

So, after a lot of research and effort, I determined that the climate in Chicago would be hospitable to a Rowan tree and ordered one. I positioned it in my front yard right outside my office window where it grew pretty quick for a tree, maybe because I regularly talked to it. To its credit, my house was pretty evil-free for nearly ten years, considering what I do as a side job, so it was fairly heartbreaking when my Rowen started looking a little sick. I contacted an arborist who informed me that though the climate in Chicago was good for the tree, the soil of Northern Illinois was not. Alas, my Rowan tree was dying and could not be saved.

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Goth Chick News: New Horror Movies and the Oreos to Eat With Them…

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick 2019 movie mashup

With spring having recently sprung and a Chicagoland weather forecast with nary a single-digit temp in sight, we here at Goth Chick News are decidedly giddy. The Big Cheese John O has thrown open the windows of the Black Gate offices letting in a breeze that finally disperses the smell of skunked Molson and Cheetohs, and Howard A. Jones is once again starting to make noises about that damn zeppelin again…

So in celebration of nature’s renewal, here’s a double-dose of goth stuff.

The first item up gets credited to Fandango who did a fabulous job getting us ready for all the 2019 reasons to hold tight to your date in a darkened theater. Feast your eyes on an awesome mashup of upcoming horror movie trailers. Us is in theaters now, and Pet Sematary, which is already getting early raves, opens this weekend but everything else is down range. Previews includes sneak peeks at flicks such as Child’s Play, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, BrightBurn, Hellboy and The Curse of La Llorona to name a few.

Check it.

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Goth Chick News: Kicking Off “The Season” at the HAA

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Transworld Halloween and Attractions Show 2019-small

Unless you are a regular visitor to the subterranean offices of Goth Chick News, and let’s be honest, no one voluntarily comes down here unless its “The Big Cheese” John O. to yell at us about our expense reports, then you may not know Halloween only takes a short hiatus for Christmas, before ramping right up again. Each year the new “season” kicks off in March with the mother of all industry conventions in St. Louis, MO, TransWorld’s HAA Show, resulting in a sometimes hazardous, 5-hour commute from Black Gate’s home in the Windy City.

The Haunted Attraction Association (HAA) is the only official association for the haunt industry, boasting a worldwide network of members from professional attraction owners, to Hollywood special effects and makeup artists. For the past 30 years, TransWorld Tradeshows LLC has hosted the HAA show where professional haunt content providers come together to show off their new offerings. Though 2019 actuals aren’t yet available, an estimated 9,000 guests from around the world piled into the St. Louis America’s Center, which has hosted the HAA for the past 10 years.  The tradeshow floor space itself has tripled since the show moved to St. Louis from Chicago in 2009, which is understandable when you think about Halloween now being a $9 billion industry with most of that money being made in the month of October.

One would think that being at the forefront of such a lucrative niche would earn us the right to expense a couple of Fireball shots… but alas… no.

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Goth Chick News: The Resurrection of Penny Dreadful

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

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Three years ago, I primal-screamed at Showtime for not only ending one of my favorite binge series, Penny Dreadful, but for how they ended it. I won’t put any spoilers here in case you haven’t had the pleasure since I still highly recommend it – all the way up until the last episode.

If you have seen it then you know showrunners left the door open just a smidge to allow for the series to possibly pick up where it left off. And now the news is out that Penny Dreadful is indeed coming back, but in an entirely new iteration entitled Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.

First a little background. If you weren’t aware, “penny dreadfuls” were first produced in Britain in the 1830’s and referred to a serial story published in weekly parts, each costing a penny. The content was usually something shocking by Victorian standards, involving characters such as Varney the Vampire and Sweeny Todd and touched on crime or the supernatural. The Showtime series riffed on the same, artfully bringing together a litany of monsters into one storyline. Penny Dreadful showcased Dr. Frankenstein, his creature, his bride, Dorian Gray, vampires, witches and werewolves, to name a few, all set against a backdrop of 1830’s London.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is set to begin production “soon,” and creator John Logan describe it as a “spiritual descendant” of the original. As you would guess from the title, the new iteration takes place in Los Angeles and will once again deal with the conflicts between the forces of good and evil – both human and supernatural.

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