Little Miss Scare-All

A college goth trying to find her way in the world.
Christmas threatens the liveliness of Halloween decorations

Christmas threatens the liveliness of Halloween decorations

It’s the scariest time of the year for all macabre beings of the world, and no, I’m not talking about Halloween.

Christmas decorations have crept up onto store shelves.

When the month of October first arrived, I woke up with a smile, knowing that in the following days I’d find myself down some aisle as I looked for ways to aesthetically darken my dorm room. This feeling grew as my free day of the week drew closer, that is, until I checked Instagram one day.

A friend of mine, who also relishes in all things spooky, had posted an image he had taken at Target. At first, I thought it was a joke, but as I stared longer at the lines of skulls facing an army of snowmen, I realized that this was my new reality. The world has no more room for Halloween decorations.

Not my friend's picture, but this was taken during one of my trips to Target. I'm slowly becoming numb.

Not my friend’s picture, but this was taken during one of my trips to Target. My heart aches.

Any conservative that speaks of a war on Christmas is unhinged and delusional; clearly the war is on our precious fall holiday.

When I younger, black and orange hues started making their way into stores in early September. First Michaels would stock up and then the others would follow. All the pastels and illusion of sweetness made space for a new type of decoration.

I don’t remember ever believing in Santa, so instead of discovering magic on the costumed lap of some poor fella in a shopping mall, I found it in morbid beauty. Every other month seemed so normal, so plain and conventional that it bored me. These few months felt like home. I was happy in the simplest, most delightful of ways.

It’s cheap now, material-wise at least.

These items look like they would break in a matter of seconds.

These items look like they will break in a matter of seconds.

Target’s rows reek of plastic and simplistic designs. Rather than putting out items that could actually serve as year round decor, as they have in the past, their items look overly fake. Even my beloved Michaels has lessened their output. There were two rows, maybe three, when I visited, and the options presented were minimal. Before, I never had to search to find their Halloween decorations; it actually took me a while this time.

As is with almost all my shopping as of late, I have to look online, unless I want to drive for an hour to get to World Market. I like the ease of shipping, but my heart longs to be able to walk into somewhere, anywhere, knowing I can find aisles overflowing with the weird and grotesque.

It could be the nostalgia of a hardened 21 year old talking, but I’m saddened. I really am. I’m an adult now. I have my own place, but it feels like I arrived at the party maybe a little too late. The games have been played and the guests have all gone their separate ways. The next party, the one with all the people I hated from high school, is already starting, and I’m forced to sit around and take it.

Oh where, oh where has my Halloween gone?

 

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Ghost establishes sensual atmosphere for Orlando show

Ghost establishes sensual atmosphere for Orlando show

From the pinnacle to the mosh pit, Swedish band Ghost swept back into Central Florida territory Oct. 10 for their Black to the Future tour in promotion of their latest album, Meliora.

Papa and his Nameless Ghouls brought along female-fronted Purson for the Satanic adventure; the five piece was a psychedelic opener that filled the Beacham with the sounds of their sensual ’70s aesthetic. I had found out about them a few days after buying my ticket for the show, but I didn’t think to look into them. I’ve been to a lot of shows, and the vast majority of the opening acts are forgettable.

This wasn’t the case.

I didn’t know a single song, yet I couldn’t stop swaying my hips with the groove. When your music has a heavy past-decade feel, it can turn into a nostalgia fest. Purson, however, legitimately feels like they time-traveled. Think of them as Wolfmother but with less focus on the guitar and a vocalist that draws in audiences members with her alluring eyes and enticing voice. I definitely plan on looking into them more.

After probably the quickest wait time in between sets, the creepy sounds of “Spirit” started up, bringing out one Nameless Ghoul and then another until, finally, Papa Emeritus III made his Orlando debut. It’s clear that what’s seen here isn’t a gimmick. The costumes and darker themes aren’t a lazy way to get media attention because, unlike most “Satanic” bands, there’s no time wasted to discuss how cool Lucifer is.

Meliora took up the majority of the set, with the next song being “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” and “Majesty,” “Cirice,” “He Is,” “Absolution” and “Mummy Dust” being scattered throughout. A lot of the performance focused on their singles, but it never once felt like it was a cheap way to get applause and maintain interest. Everything is laced with a feeling of respect for the fans. It’s about the music and the grand presence that the band has on stage. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to deal with empty comments on how Orlando is miraculously the best city on the tour so far.

The surprise of the night was the first notes of “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen,” a fan favorite but not a chart-topping one. The soft drawn out beauty of part one slipped into the speed of part two, and it’s here that it becomes easy to forget that these individuals are singing about the rise of Satan. It’s peaceful and sexy at the same time.

Ghost

The night ended with the predictable choice of “Monstrous Clock,” the same song they ended with when I saw them two years ago, but I didn’t mind this lack of change in the ending. I still get chills when Papa directs the audience to sing along.

“Come together, together as one. Come together for Lucifer’s son.”

It rang throughout the venue from hundreds of fans. We became a chorus, a part of this odd, musical church from a distant country. I’ve seen musicians fill arenas with their vibe, but I’ve never felt so connected to a band before. Maybe if you have ghosts, you really do have everything.

 

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Halloween Horror Nights celebrates anniversary in bloody style

Halloween Horror Nights celebrates anniversary in bloody style

Some know a Jack who went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Others know of one so-called Jack Be Nimble and his candlestick. The Jack I know and love murders people.

The iconic master of ceremonies has returned for Halloween Horror Nights’ 25th anniversary, bringing along the psychotic yet delightful Chance for torturous fun. To celebrate the milestone, classic houses made a reappearance for the gore-filled festivities.

(photo courtesy of Universal Studios)

(photo courtesy of Universal Studios)

Transportation and scheduling issues made it impossible to come to Horror Nights during previous years, making this year my induction into the Central Florida tradition. I had seen pictures and commercials, yet I had no idea what to expect. The biggest haunted house I had ever gone through was put on by my high school back in Miami. Not that impressive, I’ll tell ya.

The houses this year included The Walking Dead, Insidious, The Purge, An American Werewolf in London, Asylum in Wonderland, Freddy vs. Jason, Run, Body Collectors, and the anniversary house.

The Walking Dead is making its third appearance at the park, and even though this is my first year, I’m already tired of it all. The show has seeped into everything and never seems to end, sparking a repetitive zombie craze with no hint of originality. The house itself mirrors this as it’s just zombie racing around and people with shotguns trying to kill them.

Right by it is The Purge, another absurd concept that shouldn’t be granted its own spot. People in animal masks is overdone. I would have preferred the Scream house it almost was and am saddened that this didn’t end up happening. Insidious is bearable but it’s not worth the wait that comes with it. However, I will credit it with having an interesting looking exterior.

The above are houses that thrive on name alone and can be skipped. Trust me, you won’t be missing much.

Although not scary, An American Werewolf in London satisfies fans of the movie who wish to identify the various scenes from the classic. You’ll walk through the Slaughtered Lamb into the hospital and witness the transformation scene that made history. The same concept is explored with the anniversary house. It was satisfying to be able to find and point out the Universal monsters that changed horror forever. This alone makes it my favorite attraction of the nine presented.

The fight between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger is documented in their house of rivalry, and it takes on a tale of slashes and gashes. It’s more of a story than an opportunity to terrify, yet I still appreciated it.

I did not get a chance to go through the other three, so I’ll withhold my thoughts on them.

Let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby...

Let’s all go to the lobby, let’s all go to the lobby…

The scare zones themselves were surprisingly interactive. I expected scareactors to come racing up for a fright, but I didn’t ever think that they’d occasionally talk to me or silently follow me with their eyes as I walked by. The Icons section has an array of the latter – make sure to stay by The Usher and The Director – but it holds no comparison to the All Nite Die-In section of Universal. The Wolf Man’s Maleva roams about with her knowing stare and the The Monster stomps his way from one to the next. The best part? They’re painted to look like they’re straight from a blank and white movie.

The Bill & Ted show is popular, judging from the filled up stands, but I’m not entirely sure why. I did chuckle at certain moments, but most of the jokes were based around the concept of people laughing because they understood a reference. Yeah, Mad Men is my favorite show, but the punchline merited a “meh” at best.

The Carnage Returns makes up for it sevenfold. It drips personality and chaos in an entrancing way. Starting off with My Chemical Romance’s “Blood” playing through the speakers, it’s not too much of a guess as to what direction things will go in. What follows is death galore, and while Jack may be the star people recognize the most, Chance is the clown that steals the show. The R-rated Harley Quinn is filled with attitude and has no time for your nonsense. If you need a break from standing line, this is the place to be.

There’s room for fun all over Halloween Horror Nights, but it doesn’t matter if one goes in without a plan. If you don’t have a Frequent Fear pass, get one. It’ll allow you to meander around and actually enjoy the atmosphere. Scare zones can be an experience rather than something you walk through. If for whatever reason this isn’t possible, get an Express Pass. This will be the only way to guarantee that you’ll make it through a significant amount of houses, especially since waits are usually more than an hour.

Some of the costumes are exceedingly well done.

Some of the costumes are exceedingly well done.

If none of the above is possible, get there early enough to be there when the gates open. If you plan to go through An American Werewolf in London, save it for later in the night since the attraction doesn’t gather many people, unlike the other houses which host wait times that grow as the night goes on. And, for the love of all things horror, avoid the rides. They’re there all year long. These houses are around for a limited period.

You can be easily scared like some of my friends were or you can be tough like me; it doesn’t matter. There’s times to be had at Horror Nights. Come join the carnival. They’re all waiting for you.

 

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Twitter: @TheKimSlichter

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