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Goth Chick News: A24 Comes at Us Hard With Their Latest (Risky) Release – But Is It Horror, or Reality, or Both…?

Goth Chick News: A24 Comes at Us Hard With Their Latest (Risky) Release – But Is It Horror, or Reality, or Both…?

If you hang around here often, then you know we here at Goth Chick News love a good indie horror film, and if it comes to us via Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, aka the independent film company A24, we love it even more. Founded a mere thirteen years ago, A24 has been a juggernaut in the horror industry with such titles as The Witch (2015), Hereditary (2018), Midsommer (2019), and Talk to Me (2023). In all, A24 has cranked out an incredible 156 movies across multiple genres, but it has been horror that has gained them the most mainstream attention.

Considering the creativity of A24 titles, it seems almost inevitable that current headlines would eventually provide source material. Most A24 plots have a deeper social commentary anyway, but their current outing is incredibly interesting on a few levels. Civil War, from writer-director Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd, Ex Machina), represents a fairly risky venture for our favorite indie company.

Allow me to explain.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender; A Worthy Adaptation?

Avatar: The Last Airbender; A Worthy Adaptation?

Why hello!

Well, Netflix has dropped the first season of its live-action adaptation of the much beloved animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender. It just so happened that it dropped just as I was falling very ill and had no energy to do anything but binge television. So, naturally, I’m going to talk about it. A few caveats before the hard-core fans come after me for what seems like a controversial opinion on the show (based on what I’ve read).

First, I came to the animated show quite late. I was already a full adult, with a fully formed pre-frontal cortex and everything. AtLAB was not, by any stretch, a formative part of my childhood in the way The Transformers or The X-Men cartoons were for me (aging myself here). I do adore the animated show, but I’m also not connected to it in the way that those who grew up watching it are.

Second, I’m much more lenient for adaptations than a lot of folks, I’ve come to realise. Certainly, there are just some that are horrendous (looking at you, M. Night), but most of the time, I’m okay with the changes made, so long as the spirit of the thing remains intact.

With these things in mind, let’s crack on, shall we?

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Ellsworth’s Cinema of Swords: They Seek Him Here…

Ellsworth’s Cinema of Swords: They Seek Him Here…

The Scarlet Pimpernel (UK, 1999)

With his double identity, outlaw status, and penchant for disguise, the Scarlet Pimpernel may have been the clear template for Zorro, but in the novels, he was more secret agent than swordsman, and most screen adaptations have been light on the action side. The BBC’s 1999-2000 series of TV movies, in direct competition with ITV’s swashbuckling Hornblower shows, sought to rectify that imbalance.

Richard Carpenter’s new version of the dapper outlaw of the French Revolution was given a hidden array of gadgets reminiscent of ‘60s spy heroes, and in most episodes found occasion to put a sword in his hand. And since Carpenter made the Pimpernel a good swordsman but not great, and constantly menaced him with guns and explosives, it added a level of urgent threat to the stories not previously seen. If Richard E. Grant as Sir Percy and the Pimpernel was less light-hearted than the Leslie Howard and Anthony Andrews incarnations, he had good reason.

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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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Murder as Comedy, Murder as Fantasy: Unfaithfully Yours

Murder as Comedy, Murder as Fantasy: Unfaithfully Yours

Of all the subjects for comedy (romantic entanglements, domestic misunderstandings, military SNAFU’s, workplace kerfluffles, political shenanigans, high school hi-jinx etc.), murder might seem one of the least promising. That’s actually not the case, however, as there have been many comedies of homicide, among them Murder He Says, Arsenic and Old Lace, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Monsieur Verdoux, The Trouble with Harry, Murder by Death, and The Ladykillers (watch the wonderful 1955 Ealing Studios version with Alec Guinness, not the woeful 2004 Cohen Brothers misfire with poor, miscast Tom Hanks), to name just a handful.

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A Nightmarish Vision of Dracula: The Last Voyage of the Demeter

A Nightmarish Vision of Dracula: The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter (DreamWorks/Universal Pictures)

A doomed ship and a doomed crew: The Last Voyage of the Demeter. Rated R – Bloody Violence.

Bloody great film! I watched this film while recuperating from another back procedure in December. The movie stars Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworthy from Game of Thrones), and Corey Hawkins (Heath, from The Walking Dead.) This film is well acted by a superb cast, masterfully directed by André Øvredal, with an excellent script written by Bragi F. Schut Jr and Zak Olkewicz, and a nice soundtrack by Bear McCreary, who’s worked on a lot of theatrical films and television shows, including The Walking Dead.

The combination of CGI and practical special FX works quite well, too. And an incredibly skinny actor named Javier Botet is perfectly cast as Count Dracula, who is depicted here as an ancient, malnourished, emaciated inhuman creature; the more he feeds, the more he “evolves” and grows stronger.

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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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Five Things I Think I Think (January, 2024)

Five Things I Think I Think (January, 2024)

It’s the first 2024 version of Ten Things I Think I Think – albeit, in abbreviated form. And awaaaay we go!

1) ARCHER KNOWS HOW TO DO HOMAGE

Back in November’s What I’m Watching post, I mentioned I would talk about Archer Later. I’m not yet ready to do a deep dive, but I want to give a shout out for a couple seasons I just watched.

The adult cartoon just wrapped up its fourteenth and final season, last month. It had its ups and downs, but it was terribly wrong and almost always funny, for 144 episodes. Archer is the chief spy at the international Secret intelligence Service. The fact that their name is ISIS, tells you all you need to know about this satirical show. Archer is the most self-absorbed, irresponsible person imaginable, and his office mates are all terribly flawed as well (though Lana is pretty close to normal).

A lot happens over fourteen seasons (I’m on season eleven). A few seasons take place with Archer in a coma – they’re dream seasons. The first of those was an homage forties hardboiled/noir. Centered on The Maltese Falcon, with a dash of Chinatown thrown in, I LOVED it. Visually it was wonderful. As a fan of the genre, it was clear that the show’s staff were as well. Still ‘wrong’ in that Archer way, it was a terrific take on the genre. Extremely well done.

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Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher is a Masterpiece

Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher is a Masterpiece

The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix, October 2023)

Mike Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher is a masterpiece.

I say this having recently finished watching the final episode. And yet, a couple of episodes in, I was feeling a bit ambivalent towards the series, wondering how it could possibly sustain itself over 8 episodes.

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