Little Miss Scare-All

A college goth trying to find her way in the world.
New Years resolutions: What horror aficionados should pledge to do

New Years resolutions: What horror aficionados should pledge to do

As this year hides behind us, an array of New Years resolutions rise up from the depths of hesitance. Everyone pledges to eat healthier or to give up some bad habit. When admitting to their determinations for the year to come, people often finish with a sigh. Why is it that people are so unhappy with their plans? Shouldn’t this promised change be something they should look forward to? No wonder so many people give up after the first week or just don’t try at all.

Horror lovers have it a bit easier, so toss your taxing resolutions aside. These plans hold not a hint of bore.

Watch more foreign language horror

(photo courtesy of Moho Films)

(photo courtesy of Moho Films)

The genre has dug its roots deep into the globe, yet the movies most people seem to talk about come from English-speaking countries. This is the case for a lot of foreign films as well. I adore The Babadook, but other countries exist too, which is why I was excited about A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. There’s a beautiful array of culture out there in the world, and each of it brings its own folklore and shooting style to the mix. Open your doors to the world; you won’t be disappointed.

Check out the shorts

(photo courtesy of Shant Hamassian)

(photo courtesy of Shant Hamassian)

This is something I actually need to work on more. Other than catching a few shorts every so often, I hadn’t delved much into this side of things. That changed at Spooky Empire earlier this year when I attended one of the short film screenings. As expected, there were a few duds, but the rest were solid works of horror. There’s something intriguing about being able to frighten people or make them laugh at the macabre in only a matter of minutes.

Create your own pieces

(photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

(photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

Sometimes it’s not enough to just observe the evolution of horror around you; many movie lovers out there are host to a strong urge to create as well. What many people fail to realize, however, is that you don’t need to have access to film equipment worth thousands of dollars to satisfy this need. Although not a horror film, Tangerine was filmed on an iPhone, the high quality achieved through a reasonably-priced Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter. For a cast and crew? Use your friends. It’s all about the drive, so if you want to do it, go for it!

 

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Gods & Monsters: Perfect for Christmas shopping, full of hidden gems

Gods & Monsters: Perfect for Christmas shopping, full of hidden gems

It’s time to finish up all that last-minute Christmas shopping, and if you’re anything like me, you have loads of geeky items you’d like to wrap up for your friends. Gods & Monsters, located in the Artegon Marketplace, is the perfect place to find a present that’ll show that you truly understand your loved one’s interests. It’s also a place of many wonders.

The store is defined by its details, so you’re bound to miss several things while strolling around. If you find yourself stopping by to pick up a few comics or figurines, keep these five lesser known facts in mind:

The smallest man alive

It's the little details that make the biggest impact.

It’s the little details that make the biggest impact.

Unless you’re specifically looking for this little guy, he’s probably crawled past your radar. Standing high up on one of the Marvel pillars, you can find a life-sized version of Ant-Man, and no, I don’t mean when he’s at average height. The place is crawling with surprises like this one. The Riddler poses questions on the walls while an alien is hatching at the center of the store.

Zoltar machine

Before you head to the arcade machines in the back, you might want to make a pit stop at the Zoltar machine, something any fan of the movie Big will instantly recognize. “It tells your fortune, but be careful what you wish for!” warns Tracy Lulu, Gods & Monsters’ event coordinator. Still have the guts to try it out?

Battlekasters

The game

The adventure of Gods & Monsters even makes its way to your phone.

This virtual/real world mix has been swept up by the shop, and all you have to do to start participating is download the Battlekasters app. Make sure to take your phone out as you peruse the aisles because various interactive spots are set up around the store. Everyone who’s playing around you is involved; if you cast a specific spell in the game, it can affect players nearby.

Costumed discount

If you need a reason to cosplay outside of MegaCon, a visit to Gods & Monsters serves as the perfect excuse. Throw on your green Phrygian cap or latch yourself onto a Pipboy before you head over to I-Drive. Those who dress up tend to get 10%-15% off their purchase or bar tab.

Find the DJ

Introducing your entertainment for the evening: DJ Maus

Introducing your entertainment for the evening: DJ Maus.

Tired of walking into stores only to hear the same Top 40 hits in all of them? Well that’s a non-issue here. No matter how many times you walk in here, chances are that you’re never going to hear the same tune twice. For that, you have DJ Maus to thank. His playlist is constantly growing, currently hosting approximately 1,500 songs. One minute you’ll hear a track from an ’80s cartoon. The next, it’ll be the theme for the Golden Girls. His favorite addition at the moment? Billy and the Boingers.

Maus can be found over by the beautiful, Blade Runner-themed bar, which is host to more than 150 craft beers, sodas and ciders. Rick Deckard would be proud.

 


 

 

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Parenting done right: Introducing your kid to horror

Parenting done right: Introducing your kid to horror

A few months ago I gave some tips on how to handle new horror fans with care. But what if this new horror fan is your child? Well, that changes things up a bit.

Horror is bombarded with bloody scenes, sex scenes and bloody sex scenes, so depending on your kid’s age, a lot of the genre is inappropriate. Finding the right starting point is difficult with what’s currently being released, but there’s hope.

If your spawn is too young to remain interested in a feature-length movie, TV shows are the way to go. Some kids are more sensitive than most, so introducing them to monsters through the old Scooby-Doo cartoons can be a way to ease them in without frightening them away. If your kid is tougher than others, however, I’d recommend jumping straight to the scary stuff.

(photo courtesy of Cartoon Network)

(photo courtesy of Cartoon Network)

Courage the Cowardly Dog, which is currently streaming on Netflix, is a satisfying introduction.  It has some comedic elements, but the foundation of each episode is downright creepy. The infamous “King Ramses’ Curse” episode was known to have given kids nightmares back in the day, but there’s also lighthearted content to balance it out.

Everyone mentions Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps, but one show no one seems to talk about is Truth or Scare. This early millennium Discovery Channel series, which lasted only 20 episodes, laid its foundation in history. Horror host Michelle Trachtenberg would entertain kids with talks of famous “witches” or how the legend of Dracula came to be, among other things. While it’s up to one to decide if the supernatural elements brought up are true, there are actual facts to be learned from the show. It’s eerie and educational.

Once you feel that your child is at the age where they can pay full attention to a movie, the doors open significantly wider. Your best bet is to start with showing them a movie that has horror elements but isn’t necessarily horror. However tame Disney might be, they have a great selection. Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown are absolute classics. They’re goofy to a degree, but that’s what makes them work so well for such situations.

(Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

(Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Sometimes starting a child’s love for horror isn’t necessarily about showing them someone getting stabbed a million times over. All you need is that special spark that they’ll keep revisiting as they grow older. This is why Edward Scisssorhands and Beetlejuice stuck with me so much. The humor was dark and the fashion was gothic. I was in awe of this macabre reality which was so different from the world around me.

And hell, if you’re comfortable with showing your child some of the PG-13 and R-rated flicks out there, by all means, go ahead. I discovered such films at a young age, and I honestly don’t feel like it had a negative impact. The only way it changed me was that I knew about some things my classmates didn’t. Plus, I got to say that I saw some pretty damn good movies.

If none of this works, your kid simply might not like horror, and that’s okay. They’re still your kid after all.

 

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Krampus sleighs its way into the Christmas scene

Krampus sleighs its way into the Christmas scene

You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not shout, or Krampus and his helpers will murder your entire family.

Set aside your hot cocoa and stockings, everyone; Michael Dougherty is back for another holiday adventure, this time following the German legend the movie takes its name after. For those unaware of the folklore, Krampus is a two-legged, horned, hooved and menacing beast who punishes the naughty children of the world. Santa gives coal? Ha! How tame. There’s a reason this fella is known as the shadow of Saint Nicholas.

What a cute lil fella.

What a cute lil fella.

The naughty ones of our story, other than our antagonist of course, compose an entire family. It’s only a few days before Christmas, yet not a hint of cheer can be found in this household of overly-critical individuals. At the center of it all is Max, a boy who’s kind at heart and just wants everyone to cherish the days ahead. When it becomes clear that this won’t happen, he abandons all faith in Santa and togetherness.

The snow begins to rumble down as the child’s anger draws Krampus into his suburban neighborhood. Now these people really have something to complain about. Mostly, you know, dying.

It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, never fully venturing into horror or comedy territory. Even with the majority taking place in darkness, it’s filled with a relaxed feel. This works for the first half, but it starts to lose its touch when there’s no real tension being built up. You can only do this for so long before every scene starts to feel the same.

The movie stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner (photo courtesy of Universal pictures)

The movie stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner (photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

What I loved about Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat was that, despite its comedic foundation, it still led me to wonder what would happen next. The last story had me captured and anxious as I waited to see where danger would strike. Therein might be the problem. The move from an anthology format to a fleshed out feature film is a big one, and it seems that the director/writer missed a few steps.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie; it’s a B- in my eyes. It just bothers me to see someone go from a great film to an all right one. I know the potential is there, so let’s count this as a practice run I suppose.

If anything, seeing the folklore come to life makes me smile (the amount of screen time he’s given is almost Jaws-like), and the ability to make this seem like a family Christmas movie to a degree is commendable. It’s not next to Black Christmas on my holiday-viewing horror list, but it’s definitely on there.

 

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