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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    You've probably heard scientists refer to cockroaches as the most indestructible creatures on earth, and that they'll outlive humans no matter what disaster might befall the planet (world war, mega-meteors, zombie apocalypse, you name it). Now there's more proof that the toughest of these critters are spreading across the globe.
     
    Roach2
    Photo: AP/University of Florida
     
    According to Associated Press, Rutgers University biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista have confirmed that the Japanese cockroach (Periplaneta japonica), a species capable of surviving extremely cold temperatures that would kill just about any other living thing, has found a way from its native Asia to North America, possibly by hitchhiking on imported plants. Specimens have recently been located in Manhattan's West Side, where they could already be competing for turf against domestic species.
     
    "There has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates,” said Ware, “so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York.”
     
    While the Rutgers team says competition with domestic roaches should keep the Japonica population in check, not all scientists agree. There's also a remote possibility that the the invading species might interbreed with local bugs to create a super-cockroach, but most experts say that's not likely... and we hope they're right.

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    We've featured some pretty awesome shoes on FEARnet (shoes with dinosaurs, with teeth, with sharks) but none quite as delightfully gory as these stitched zombie shoes. Made to look like freshly stitched skin, these shoes look like something from the Ed Gein collection - but they are from artist Nixxi Rose.

    $160 at Etsy


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    Aussie director John V. Soto got in touch to provide us with a look at the teaser trailer for his new feature The Reckoning, as well as to give us an update on the upcoming psychological thriller.

    According to Soto, who previously directed the Lionsgate Home Entertainment 2011 feature release Needle (which was awarded the ‘Skully’ for Best Makeup at the venerated Screamfest LA), "We're currently in the final stages of post production on our revenge thriller The Reckoning, and the film is looking great, with some outstanding performances.”

    A Filmscope Entertainment production, The Reckoning stars Luke Hemsworth, Jonathan LaPaglia, Viva Bianca, Hanna Mangan Lawrence and Alex Williams, and revolves around a cop’s search for two missing teenagers whose video footage contains the identity of a killer.

    “Our test screenings have gone well, particularly with younger audiences, who have really connected with our two teens on the run,” says Soto of The Reckoning.  “I've been told a number of distributors are very interested in the rights, so we hope to get our film released in the US in the second half of 2014."

    Check out the teaser trailer below, and for more information check out The Reckoning on Facebook


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    The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
     
    Cthulhu_Dice1
     
    Cthulhu Dice (Steve Jackson Games, 2010)
     
    The stars are right tonight. Praise Cthulhu, may His power and greatness rise out of the sunken city. Tonight you will invoke His power. Tonight you will declare yourself the most loyal of His followers. Tonight you will set the world ablaze. You will shame all would-be cultists who dare attempt your level of devotion. Tonight… you will roll a twelve-sided die?
     
    From the makers of Munchkin and Zombie Dice comes a game that's all about keeping your wits about you for as long as possible. In the face of the almighty Cthulhu, who could hope for much more? This simple dice-rolling game for two to six players is all about keeping your sanity while you serve Cthulhu. Your little glass beads in front of you represent your sanity. Run out and you go stark raving mad. Be the last to run out and you win!
     
    Cthulhu_Dice2
     
    Gameplay Mechanics
     
    Talk about an easy game to grasp! Cthulhu Dice may have some of the simplest rules we've ever seen. Each player starts with three glass beads. These are tokens of your sanity. The game comes with a single, twelve-sided die. On the die are several symbols that correspond to different effects. When it's your turn to roll the die, you choose another player to target. You then roll to attack. Once finished, the person who was just attacked rolls back at you. After both the attacker and defender has rolled, it moves on to the player to the left (of the initial attacker). So what do the die faces do?
     
    There are several instances of different symbols on the die. The Tentacle, The Elder Sign, Cthulhu, The Yellow Sign, and The Eye of Horus are all represented on the die. So what happens when you attack another player? If you roll The Yellow Sign, the person you attack loses one sanity (it goes into a pile in the middle). If you roll The Elder Sign, you gain one sanity from the center pile of stones. If you roll the Tentacle, you steal one sanity from the person you attack. If you roll Cthulhu, that's bad… everyone loses one sanity. And if you roll the Eye of Horus, you may choose any of the effects mentioned above. If you run out of sanity, you still roll, attacking others even though you have "lost the game." You're still serving Cthulhu, after all. The last person standing with any sanity wins the game!
     
    Cthulhu_Dice3
     
    Replay Value
     
    As long as you don't play a marathon of this game, playing it over and over in a single night, I can't think of any reason anyone should get bored of these quick rules. There's a bit of thinking involved, but mostly this is dumb, Lovecraftian fun. Because the entire game is based on luck and variability, you'll never play the same game twice.
     
    Cthulhu_Dice4
     
    Overall Impressions
     
    You're not going to write an essay on the stratagems and tactics involved in winning a game of Cthulhu Dice. But that's not really the point of the game! Roll the die, lose some sanity, backstab your friends, and get out alive (and hopeful not gibbering like a lunatic). This is a quick, easy to learn, easy to teach dice-roller with an outstanding theme. I love to play this game with people while we're setting up a bigger game for the night. It's a ten-minute game flavored with the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Who could resist?

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    Women in Horror calendar

    Still don't have a calendar picked out for next year?  That Calendar of Sexy Monsters we posted about last month wasn't up your alley?  Well don't worry, because we've got you covered!

    The brain-child of UK-based filmmaker Melanie Light, the Women in Horror Calendar is a year-long celebration of the artists, actresses and talented ladies that dominate the horror scene, each month shining the spotlight on the women who unfortunately only seem to get recognized one month out of every year - February being 'Women in Horror Month.'  The Woman's Pollyanna McIntosh, Hellraiser's Barbie Wilde and taxidermy artist Tessa Farmer are just a few of the lovely ladies that fill out the calendar, the focus being placed on their talents rather than their bodies - refreshing, to say the least.

    All proceeds from the sale of the calendars will be split between the charities Rape Crisis England and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which are dedicated to providing support for victims of rape and abuse.

    Help out a good cause by ordering one for yourself, over on Etsy, and see more images from the innards on the Women in Horror Calendar Facebook page!


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    Marilyn Monroe once said that "this life is what you make it," an idea that unfortunately most people fail to grasp.  We all have our own personal hardships and troubles in life, and only through rising above those things and never giving up do we ever truly live.

    This is something that teenager Nick Santonastasso understands all too well.  Nick was born in 1996 without legs and only one arm, but he's never let that stop him from being an inspiration, and living life to its fullest.

    Through his Vine account, Nick recently started a series of prank videos that are some of the best we've quite frankly ever seen, using his disability to make people think, for a split-second, that he's actually a zombie.  Nick applies a bit of zombie makeup to his face and then lunges towards unsuspecting shoppers, mimicking the deathly sounds of the undead along the way.  As you might imagine, the resulting videos are absolute gold.

    Check them out below!

    As reported by BuzzFeed, the videos resulted in a Change.org petition to get Nick on The Walking Dead, which anyone who's inspired by his story is encouraged to sign, in an effort to get him to be a zombie on the show.  If you'd like to see that, be sure to offer up your support for the cause.

    All of us here on FEARnet salute you, Nick!


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    Last month we premiered the lyric video for “The Crazies (The Zombie Song)” from industrial metal supergroup Beauty In The Suffering – the brainchild of Marazene's DieTrich Thrall, featuring members of American Head Charge, Genitorturers, Dope, Skinlab and more – and now the band has followed up with a visual mini-epic that lets you experience the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of the undead.
     
    BITS_Zombie2
     
    Directed by Jonathan Shahan and Mike Walsh, who employ a chilling, desaturated color scheme, the full-footage video for "The Crazies" (which premiered last week on Bloody Disgusting) focuses on an intense performance by the band disrupted by a horde of zombies, who have much more than moshing on their minds.
     
    “Visualizing the music for Beauty In The Suffering has been a primary goal of this project from day one,” says Thrall. “For my band's first videos it just so happens the first couple of songs took a zombie apocalypse turn. But whether the setting is that of a dystopian future, or focuses on interpersonal pain from the present or demons from the past, my goal has and will always be to enhance the musical experience through a cinematic approach.”
     
     
    Be sure to visit Beauty In The Suffering's Bandcamp page, where you can name your own price to download the single and the video.

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    In case you hadn't noticed, we're big fans of Garbage Pail Kids here on FEARnet, and are particularly fond of mash-up art that combines horror icons with those little garbage-dwelling derelicts.  Artists Omar Hauksson and Mark Pingitore have brought us such delights in the past, which you can check out by clicking their names, and today we've got some more for ya!

    This batch comes courtesy of the bearded Brent Engstrom, an artist who has contributed to - and continues to contribute to - the official Garbage Pail Kids and Whacky Packages trading card lines.  Brent's one of the best of the best when it comes to fun and grotesque art, and he has over the years turned a handful of his favorite horror villains into Garbage Pail Kids characters.

    What would folks like Jigsaw, Pinhead and Leatherface look like if Topps gave them the trading card treatment?  Take it away, Brent!

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    Horror Garbage Pail Kids

    See more of Brent's art over on his blog!

    Omar Hauksson

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    Creepy Diary

    Ah, imaginary friends.  We all had them when we were kids.  But why?  Is it merely because kids have vivid imaginations?  Or is the explanation a little more complex than that?  Could it be that children are for whatever reason more in tune with the paranormal than adults, and that imaginary friends are actually spirits of the departed?  A frightening thought, isn't it?

    Kid's Creepy Diary

    A handful of pages from a child's diary have been making their way around the internet this week, which we initially spotted over on the website Quick Meme.  The pages tell the tale of a young girl with a particularly creepy looking imaginary friend, and as the story goes on, the reality of the situation becomes more and more horrifying.  Named Lisa, the little girl's imaginary friend looks to be covered in blood, and the story reads like the plot of a nightmare-inducing horror flick.

    Kid's creepy diary

    You can read the full diary over on Quick Meme, and then be sure to let us know what you make of it.  Are these real pages from a real diary, or is this just an adult's way of cleverly telling a scary story?  I don't know about you, but I'm sure as hell hoping it's the latter!


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    Jessica Harrison

    Hailing from the UK, Jessica Harrison is an artist after my own heart, oftentimes infusing ample doses of horror into her highly unique artwork.  From eyelashes made of fly legs to a revolting series of "skin furniture" sculptures, Jessica's art is tailor made for horror fans like ourselves, and the blood and guts are flying in her latest project.

    Jessica Harrison

    As spotted over on the website HyperAllergic, Jessica has been using those porcelain figures that populate thrift stores and grandma's house as her canvas, repurposing them and turning them into gory sculptures that folks like us would be proud to display alongside our Freddy and Jason action figures.  Using enamel paints and epoxy resin putty, Jessica disfigures the once peaceful figurines - tearing open their throats, ripping out their hearts, cutting off their heads and skinning their faces.  Now that's my kind of art!

    Jessica Harrison

    The figures are currently on display at New York's Museum of Arts and Design, as part of their Body & Soul: New International Ceramics exhibit.  Head over to Jessica's website to see more of her art.

    Jessica Harrison


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    Pan's Labyrinth

    We've talked several times in the past here on FEARnet about California's Gallery 1988, one of the leading pop-culture art galleries in the world.  The gallery has over the years played host to countless exhibits dedicated to everything from movie villains to the films of Edgar Wright, and their latest exhibit is the seventh in a series of signature events called 'Crazy 4 Cult,' which returns to the Big Apple this weekend.  Crazy 4 Cult 7 kicks off tonight in Manhattan, and runs through December 21st.

    Though the artwork from the show hasn't yet been posted on the gallery's website, the folks over on Slash Film have gotten the exclusive on a handful of sneak peeks, and we wanted to show you some of the horror highlights today - which include stunning art pieces inspired by films like The Thing, Aliens, Pan's Labyrinth and Tremors.  Check them out below, and then be sure to head over to Gallery 1988's website tomorrow, where the full gallery will be posted for virtual viewing!

    Aliens

    Tremors

    Wolfman

    They Live

    The Thing


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    'Tis the Friday the 13th before Christmas, and all through the house an evil creature is stirring... well, lots of creatures, actually. Nasty, deadly ones, to be exact.
     
    This_Xmas1
     
    You'll be singing “Oh Holy Crap” when you see what this sinister Santa brought all the bad boys and girls this year, courtesy of the demented video for “This Christmas (I'll Burn it to the Ground)” by Florida-based symphonic rock quintet Set It Off. The track comes from the new compilation album Punk Goes Christmas, the latest entry in the Punk Goes series from Fearless Records.
     
    Punk_Goes_Xmas
     
    In addition to “This Christmas,” the record features roof-raising holiday anthems by New Found Glory, All Time Low, Issues, Yellowcard and many more... but the clip below shoots this title to the top of our macabre gift list, not only for sheer creepiness, but because it's a pretty badass track to boot, showcasing the band's hooky melodic skills, cinematic flourishes and a twisted sense of humor. Check out the World Premiere right here!
     
     
    You can hear more tracks from Punk Goes Christmas at the Punk Goes series landing page.

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    Growing up in the eighties and early nineties, I genuinely believe that my generation and the generations before me had some of the best cartoons the world will ever see. Kids growing up today probably don’t even know what ‘Saturday morning cartoons’ are. Much of the current lineup for youngsters consists of CG, reboots of shows from years past, and straight-up nonsense. I used to spend all week looking forward to Saturday; even the commercials were amusing. As young horror fans, may of us found ourselves rooting as much for the villain as we were for the good guy. In some cases, the villain was much more debonair, interesting, and relatable than the hero, so it wasn’t all that unreasonable to cheer for them. So with that said, we've prepared a list of memorable villains from those beloved cartoons... villains we sometimes liked just as much, or even more, than the protagonists. 

    We ran the first installment of this piece in July. It proved popular, so we are embarking on part two! Check out part one of this feature here.

    MegaTron from Transformers

    MegaTron originates from the planet Cybertron. He is a pretty serious badass and is capable of shifting in to various forms – including weapons and vehicles. If you like to cheer for the bad guy, chances are that you grew up rooting for MegaTron when watching Transformers. Interestingly enough, there were reportedly complaints about the name ‘MegaTron’ being too scary for children, but the counterargument that a villain is supposed to be scary was lobbed back and the name stayed the same. 

    Miles Mayhem from M.A.S.K

    M.A.S.K. was part of my Saturday morning routine as a lad. In revisiting the show all these years later, I can say that Miles Mayhem is still a worthy villain. As the leader of the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M., Mayhem was constantly using his array of disguises and fiendish tricks to make trouble for Matt Trakker and the M.A.S.K. team. Miles Mayhem was originally part of Matt Trakker’s M.A.S.K. squad, but he turned against Trakker and made off with half of his awesome masks, later forming his own acronymic organization.  

    Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races

    Richard Millhouse Dastardly, Dick for short, has a cool name, a rad mustache, and a penchant for evil. Dastardly is known for his trademark colorful catchphrases. He popped up as a villain on more than one Hannah-Barbera cartoon. His first appeared in Wacky Races and then, based on his propensity for awesome, he was offered a spin-off series called Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines. Later on, Dastardly and his sidekick Muttley popped up in the 1980s Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, Fender Bender 500, and Yo, Yogi. Dastardly and Muttley have gone on to appear in various other television projects in the years since. 

    The Stingers from Jem and the Holograms 

    The Stingers are comprised of Roxy, Minx, and Riot. They moved to the states from Germany to play music and raise hell. Jem and The Holograms just wanted to perform and help orphan children. The Stingers, however, had other plans for The Holograms. What made The Stingers unique was that, unlike The Misfits, they weren’t just trying to upstage The Holograms; they also specialized in con artistry and always had a trail of hijinks in their wake. 

    Mumm-Ra from Thundercats

    Anyone that watched Thundercats in their youth likely has fond memories of the devious Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra is a sworn enemy of the Thundercats and he is awesome not only because he is a curious looking mummy-like character, but also because he is a demon-priest and a sorcerer. Mumm-Ra is virtually invincible and seems to also be immortal; if Mumm-Ra is conquered in battle, he only needs to returns to his sarcophagus for regeneration. I regard him as one of the most complex and compelling characters of children’s cartoons. He has an intricate and thought-provoking back-story and is a character that I was always curious to learn more about. 

    The BreadMaster from The Tick

    The satirical superhero franchise, The Tick went to great lengths to create something both funny and entertaining; The BreadMaster is no exception. The BreadMaster is a bizarre and unique villain but that is much of his appeal. He uses baked goods to thwart The Tick and his sidekick Arthur. He most definitely gets points for originality! Because he is awesome, The BreadMaster created his evil sidekick, Buttery Pat, out of butter, of course. The Breadmaster’s primary objective is to condemn and punish the purveyors of American baked goods for their substandard offerings.  

    Catwoman from Batman: The Animated Series

    Catwoman doesn’t always necessarily get the recognition she deserves. Sure, she was not the primary villain on the show, but she is most certainly memorable and she has a unique set of capabilities. She climbs all over the city like it is her jungle gym and she has sharp claws that serve her criminal misconduct quite nicely. And as a completely awesome bonus, Adrienne Barbeau voiced her on the animated series! 


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    Be a monster on the lanes with this lizard-eye bowling ball. Yup, they are monster-fying everything nowadays. With Godzilla on his way back to theaters, it seems fitting, doesn't it? Though I suspect this is too small to represent Godzilla's eye. Maybe Son of Godzilla. Bonus: it glows under black light.

    $96.95 at Amazon


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    New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!

    Viral: A Slasher Comic
    From the inventive Comixology Submit program (in which indie comic artists submit their comics to the digital publisher) comes this gory little tale from Randolph Gentile. The story centers around Wes Welling, a heavily-bullied kid whose embarrassing internet video went viral. After two years and twenty five million hits, Wes finally begins to snap. The story follows his life and the morbid fantasy comics he draws as he attempts to cope with a world that constantly mocks him.

    Bag it or board it up? Forget the fact that this comic is only ninety-nine cents. I'd recommend it even if it cost much more than that. This is a sad story at its core. And the story-within-a-story framing adds to the tension and drama on the page. There's real empathy behind the "hero" (term used loosely) of this story, and we see realistic cause and effect behind the very real problem of bullying. With an eye toward revenge stories, this comic attempts to deal with some pretty heavy stuff. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

    Eerie No. 4
    Dark Horse comics brings us another installment of their "weird science horror." Eerie issue number four delivers plenty of scares in the style of the classic horror and sci-fi anthologies of yesteryear. This issue's theme is "Bad Medicine," and it covers all types of malpractice and malfeasance. In this issue you'll find tales of bad tribal magic, improper psychiatric advice, and plenty of ads for precarious cures and solutions. Just what the doctor ordered!

    Bag it or board it up? There's nothing wrong with a good anthology. And Eerie is always chock-full of great horror. Personally, I'm a little nostalgic for an older way of (horror) life. I'm nostalgic for a time when you could turn on the radio and hear a chilling tale, or switch on one of three channels and watch The Twilight Zone, or pick up one of seven different horror comics from your local comic shop. The world looks better through the rose-colored glasses of history, but Eerie helps me experience those old horrors that were snuffed out before I was born. 

    Wraith No. 2
    Last issue we saw a strange, pale man driving an old Wraith around to a Christmas-land. This issue we see a totally different scenario. The year is 1989, and three would-be criminals head to jail in a prison van. When one of them, a sideshow "Geek," gets under one of the skin of one of the guards the van goes astray. Stranded, hurt, and still wanted for their various crimes the group turns to an old friend for help. It's a nasty, thought-provoking little comic this week.

    Bag it or board it up? I've been eagerly awaiting the return of Wraith. I don't know when last I actively looked forward to a comic's release, but Joe Hill's new series about a twisted Christmas carnival land hits all the right triggers for me. This issue seemed so different from the last I thought I was reading an off-shoot, but that's okay. When it all ties together in the end I'm all for it. And this is based off of Joe Hill's novel NOS4A2, so it's only natural for the story to wind a bit.

    Abe Sapien No. 8
    The current world of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. is being chomped up, burnt down, turned around, and generally destroyed by giant monsters that came through cracks in the earth. This issue of Abe Sapien breaks from that storyline to show us an adventure of Abe's from the early eighties. In search of missing divers in a sunken Mayan city of the dead, Abe stumbles upon way more than he bargained for in the swollen depths.

    Bag it or board it up? Definitely "bag" this issue. This is classic Mike Mignola fun in a current climate of upheaval and change. It's nice to take a break from the end of the world to focus on smaller stories, and that's just what Abe Sapien should be all about - fun, paranormal adventures that take place all around the globe! 


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    Remember our story last month about that gigantic alien landscape revealed by a team of researchers who poured concrete into an abandoned ant colony? (If you missed it, take a look here.) How would you like to own a creepy work of genuine anthill art for your home?
     
    Anthill1
     
    It's now possible, thanks to an anonymous US artist who creates incredibly intricate and surreal metal sculptures by pouring molten aluminum or zinc into the abandoned tunnels left by carpenter and fire ants. Once formed, the twisted, branching and zig-zagging shapes (which can reach heights of 18 inches or more) are mounted on wooden bases, and the larger ones are usually positioned topside-down, which makes them resemble eerie snow-covered trees... so they're kind of festive, in a slightly creepy way.
     
    Anthill3
     
    The pieces appear regularly on eBay, and you can check out the latest creations at the artist's official site and Facebook page... but first, check out this video showing the casting of a huge fire ant colony:
     

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    Christmas is no doubt a sacred time of the year - a time to celebrate the birth of our lord and savior, a time to spread happiness and joy, and a time to hold our loved ones tight and let them know how much we appreciate them.

    Well, for most people at least.

    For horror fans like ourselves, Christmas is a time to dust off our DVD copies of Silent Night, Deadly Night and Black Christmas, bust out our Cthulhu ornaments and zombie Santa decorations, and scour the internet for unique Christmas cards that are sure to make our relatives worry about our sanity and well-being.  Ah, the joys of the holidays!

    If you’re looking to infuse a little horror into your holiday season, but aren’t sure where to start, then we’ve put together this handy guide to help you out.  Here are 10 products guaranteed to get you in the holiday horror spirit!

    Jason Voorhees Christmas cards

    JASON VOORHEES CHRISTMAS CARDS

    We have to date seen twelve different incarnations of Jason Voorhees, and they’re all represented in these badass Christmas cards from artist Joel Robinson.  I’m not sure the big guy would approve of his machete being replaced with a candy cane and a fluffy white beard being added on top of his hockey mask, but I sure do.  $25 for a pack of ten (or $4 each), from Joel’s Etsy shop.

    Zombie Nutcracker

    ZOMBIE NUTCRACKER

    Zombies are absolutely everywhere these days, and so there’s no shortage of zombie-themed holiday decor available on the internet - from zombie elves to zombie reindeer, zombie Santas to zombie… nutcrackers?!  Yep, not even nutcrackers are safe from the zombie apocalypse.  And something tells me these gruesome little guys are more into cracking open sternums and ripping out guts than they are cracking open shells and ripping out nuts.  $70 from Etsy shop Zombie Nutcrackers... where else?!

    Krampus Gift Tags

    KRAMPUS GIFT TAGS

    As much as I’d love to tell you that you can get away with just sending out cards and being done with it, the truth is that Christmas is the most wallet-draining holiday of them all, and you’re going to have to go out and shop around in stores you hate, to spend a lot of money on things you know nothing about.  That’s just the way it works - and please know that we feel your pain.  So why not add a little personal touch to your gifts this year, and have some fun with the stressful and expensive gift-giving process?  I can think of no better way to do that than with these Krampus gift tags, which showcase vintage depictions of the Christmas demon from Alpine folklore.  $3.50 for a sheet of six, from Etsy shop Curious Crow Digital.

    Horror Gift Wrap

    SANTA MONSTERS GIFT WRAP

    Of course, you can’t hand out gifts or put on tags before wrapping them up, and we’ve got you covered in that department too.  All of the iconic and beloved Universal Monsters are all up in the holiday spirit on this unique gift wrap, some looking happier to be spreading holiday cheer than others – I’m looking at you, Frank.  $4.03 for two 20”x30” sheets, from Archie McPhee.

    Silent Night, Deadly Night stocking

    SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT STOCKING

    Whether you’re getting a lump of coal or candy and lotto tickets this year, the jolly fat dude is going to need something to stuff when he comes tumbling down your chimney…. aside from his face.  If a stocking with your name spelled out in glitter and glue just isn’t going to do it for you anymore, then hang this bad boy from your chimney with care, in honor of the greatest Christmas horror movie of all time.  $10 from Inked Up Merch.

    gingerdead man cookie cutter

    GINGERDEAD MAN COOKIE CUTTER

    Christmas is just about the only time of the year that I feel compelled to put on those bulky mitts and channel my inner Martha Stewart, as I’ve developed an annual tradition of baking gingerbread cookies while watching Full Moon’s Gingerdead Man– come on, it stars Gary Busey as the voice of a killer cookie… what’s not to love?!  With these gingerdead man cookie cutters – nothing to do with the movie, mind you – that annual tradition has just gotten all the more awesome.  $6.99 each, from Think Geek.

    Captain Spaulding Hot Cocoa

    HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES HOT COCOA

    Yes, there is indeed an officially licensed blend of House of 1,000 Corpses hot chocolate mix – your eyes do not deceive you.  Nothing soothes the soul on these frigid winter nights quite like a mug of warm hot cocoa, and Captain Spaulding is all about making your holiday season as bright as possible.  This is his very own Christmas Blend, a blood red hot chocolate that he made especially for you, with his own two hands.  And no, he didn’t wash them first.  Don’t be silly.  $14.99 from Halloween Town.

    Wreath Monster

    WREATH MONSTER

    If I’m being honest, I never really understood wreaths.  I’m all about getting a fresh-cut wonderful smelling Christmas tree every year, but I’ve never felt compelled to complete the look with a wreath.  That is, until I saw this bad boy.  This handmade wreath monster, inspired by Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, is the absolute perfect way to dress up your front door, and let those annoying carolers know that you’re not one to be trifled with.  It’s an imitation wreath, but that just means you’ll be able to use it year after year.  $29.95, from Etsy shop ChalupaVille.

    Mistle-Toes

    SEVERED MISTLE-TOES

    Perhaps the most bizarre Christmas tradition of them all is the one that dictates you plant a big wet kiss on the person nearest to you, if you should happen to find yourselves underneath a sprig of hanging mistletoe.  It’s already weird, so why not make it even weirder?  Introducing a brand new tradition for us horror folk; kissing under severed mistle-toes… get it?  GET IT?!?!  Just make sure to keep your mouth firmly pressed against your lover's... wouldn't want any drops of blood falling in there.  $10 each, from Etsy shop VooDooWilly.

    Jaws ornament

    ‘JAWS’ QUINT ORNAMENT

    And finally, there’s no easier way to add ample doses of horror into your holiday celebrations than with horror-themed ornaments, and these days there are tons of them out there to choose from - as we recently posted, there’s even one of the worm-eyed dude from Fulci’s Zombie.  If it’s a unique horror-inspired ornament you’re looking to hang on your Christmas tree, this year and for years to come, I’m thinking you’ll agree when I say that this one fits the bill.  Quint’s one of the most heroic and badass characters in the history of horror, and this ornament is the absolute perfect holiday conversation piece - you'll be comparing scars with your family members in no time!  $7.50 from Etsy shop Castle McQuade.

    Can you think of any other products that horror fans should have in their holiday arsenal?  Comment below and let us know about ‘em!


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    Artist Patricio Oliver has fashioned some incredibly cool minimalist portraits capturing the chilling charms of the witchy vixens in American Horror Story: Coven.
     
    AHS_FionaAHS_Marie
     
    With a paper-doll style and great use of negative space, Oliver's portraits totally nail each character's personality: Fiona Goode, Madison Montgomery, Marie Laveau, Delphine LaLaurie, Myrtle Snow, Cordelia Foxx, Misty Day, Zoe Benson, Cecily Pembroke, Nan and Queenie are all represented. 
     
    AHS_DelphineAHS_Zoe
     
    Each poster is also accompanied by a classic quote (for example, “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme. It needs a new rug,” or “She done messed with the wrong witch”).
     
    You can see large versions of Oliver's AHS posters on Buzzfeed and other sublime artwork at his Tumblr gallery.

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    Grimm Episodes 307 and 308
    “Cold Blooded” and “Twelve Days of Krampus”
    Part 1 Written By: Thomas Ian Griffith
    Part 1 Directed By: Terrence O’Hara
    Part 2 Written By: Dan E. Fesman
    Part 2 Directed By: Tawnia McKiernan
    Original Airdate: 13 December 2013

    In This Episode…

    We’ve actually got two episodes here, squished together as a two-hour special.

    In “Cold Blooded”

    The guys investigate a crime scene which, at first look, appears to be a robbery gone bad. But the guy who came home and interrupted the thief has his arm ripped out of the socket. The M.E. later says that, while there were a number of injuries that could have been fatal, the cause of death was a broken neck, as if he had been shaken so hard his neck snapped and his arm dislodged.

    A second victim surfaces. Jimmy, a city worker, was being lowered into a sewer to check for signs of a blockage. The safety rope he is attached to suddenly unwinds, and his crew brings him up. Well most of him: Jimmy has been mauled, and his leg has been ripped off. The deputy M.E. only ever saw this among animals. Wu suggests it was an alligator. His uncle used to tell him stories of alligators living in the sewers. Hank, Nick, and Wu (hesitantly - he is claustrophobic) head down into the sewers themselves. They find a backpack and lots of little worthless tchotchkes like a gym card and a medic ID bracelet. All of these things belonged to other burglary victims - ones who didn’t lose their lives.

    A consult with Monroe leads Nick to believe they are dealing with a gelumcaedus - an alligator wesen. According to his books, a vambrace is the best defense. Luckily Nick has one in his trailer. Nick and Hank realize that there have been clusters of burglaries centered around sewer outfalls. The guys go back in, off-duty, and check the outfalls. They find a treasure trove and a bed - the beastie has been living here. He attacks, and Nick easily placates him with his vambrace. The gelumcaedus realizes that Nick is a Grimm. They take him into the station.

    Gricoric refuses to answer questions. His rap sheet shows he is from Florida, and the crimes overlapped. Nick calls Hank - they are looking for others. Nick alerts Hank, but Hank doesn’t get to do much with this information. One of Grigoric’s brothers is waiting for him, knocks him out, and takes him hostage. Nick gets a call from Hank’s phone. His captor tells Nick to bring Grigoric to the outfall. Afraid for Hank, Nick agrees. As instructed, he leaves his gun in the car before entering the sewer - but he still has his vambrace on. They make the exchange of hostages, but Andre has decided that they are going to kill Hank and Nick. A third brother appears, the fighting begins, and it ends with Grigoric as the last wesen standing and he is arrested for the burglaries and murders.

    In “Twelve Days of Krampus”

    A couple kids steal Christmas gifts from a car and retreat to a space under the bridge to go through their loot. They are visited by a very angry Santa, with a demony face and huge horns. One of the kids he whips then puts into his Christmas sack; the other he chases into a car and crushes it. He leaves a chunk of coal on the ground. When the cops come to investigate, the kid in the car, Derek, is not dead - just terrified. At the hospital, he sees a guy dressed as Santa and has a meltdown. Nick and Hank question the Santa, but he is just a plumber who dresses up every year for the kids. Derek’s dad is okay with his son being arrested for stealing. He is a troublemaker and thinks it would do him some good. Derek admits his cohort is Quinn, but Santa took him away in his sack.

    Another kid snatches some Christmas presents from a woman walking down the street. Apparently in Portland, there is an epidemic of hooligan street kids snatching Christmas presents. Anyway, this kid takes his loot to a parking garage. He is followed by the same demonic Santa who flogs him, then puts him in a sack and leaves a chunk of coal. But this time, there is a witness: a man who was coming into the garage to get his car. When he gives his statement to the police, he just assumes Santa is wearing a mask. 

    Hank and Nick go down to the shopping district and start interviewing Santas. A surly ex-con gives them lip, reveals himself to be wesen, and sees Nick is a Grimm. He runs, the guys give chase, and it ends with them battering the Santa in front of a small crowd of horrified onlookers - every single one of whom are recording the smack down. Naturally, it is time to check in with Monroe, who is terrified - it sounds like the legend of the Krampus. And if it is, they only have until midnight tonight before Krampus kills them. He would take the kids to the tallest tree on the tallest hill, so that is where they go. Bud comes along, too - he is good friends with Quinn’s dad, who is worried sick about his missing son. When they find the kids, hung up in the tree, Bud stays with them while Hank, Nick, and Monroe battle Krampus. Between the three of them, they have no trouble knocking Krampus out. But then they have to decide what to do with him. Krampus’ face is not going human. They can’t bring him into the station like this. Monroe wants Nick to kill him - after all, that is his job as the Grimm. Nick is hesitant after his zombie bar brawl, and Monroe and Hank try to peer pressure him into it. Hank finally volunteers to do it himself, but suddenly the clock strikes midnight and Krampus morphs into a middle-aged man.

    Back at the station, the would-be Krampus has no idea what is going on. This happens every year, he blacks out for most of December, always wakes up on the 23rd, sometimes covered in blood, always in a Santa suit. Nick suggests that, since he has no idea he is a wesen and has no memory of his actions, that they turn him over to the wesen council; let them deal with it.

    Meanwhile, in Vienna…

    Renard has a meeting with the resistance, debating what to do about the royal families. No one trusts anyone. Renard’s two cents is that they must stop the royal families before they rule the world. His blood gives him access to those they need, and he understands wesens in a way no one else can. Plus, he has a Grimm. The meeting breaks up and I still have no idea what is going on. I assume they are going to try to instate Sean Renard and prince.

    Adalind has an audience with the prince, Victor, who is Eric’s second cousin on his mother’s side. (He only considers Sean a “half-cousin.”) He wants Adalind to stay on as his attorney. Her first task is to put together a list of everyone in Portland who may have had a hand in Eric’s death. Back in her room, Adalind finds a note and a rose from Renard. He alerts her that she is being filmed in her room. Smile at the note as if he wrote something charming, change your clothes, and meet me. She follows his instructions, but has a hard time wiping the fear off her face.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I don’t like that they “combined” these two episodes into a single, two-hour special. Just play them as two separate episodes. There is nothing that would tie them together otherwise. 

    “Gators in the sewer” was fun, but I feel like they could have given a little more back story on the urban legend. And I was really disappointed there were no mutant turtles who had an affinity for the ninja arts….

    Krampus was fun too. I like the idea of a wesen that doesn’t know he is wesen.

    Big Bad…

    Gelumcaedus. These rare wesens are some of the oldest in existence. they were guards for Caligula, and when Rome fell, they escaped to the sewers… and just stayed there. They are the wesen versions of alligators.

    Krampus. Krampus was the other half of the traditional St. Nick. He would go to naughty children, beat them with sticks, and stick them in his sack. He then hangs the kids from the tallest tree in the forest, like Christmas ornaments, and eats them at midnight on the winter solstice. in Grimm, Krampus is a a one-of-a-kind wesen who only changes for a few weeks each year, and has no idea he is doing it.

    Prophecies?

    In the new year, we meet Rosalee’s mom, Juliette fights a wesen, and Adalind has the baby.


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    There is an embarrassment of horror riches on TV these days. In some ways, that makes it easier to choose ten best episodes, because you have a ton of options to choose from. In other ways, it makes it more difficult because there are so many options to choose from, and you have to sift through the bad (like Under the Dome and the disappointing final season of Dexter) to get to the good. Last year a fair amount of series made my list; this year, I limited it to an episode or two. Sometimes that is because I thought a season as a whole was not worthy of being “best of;” sometimes it is because the whole season was good, but there was one or two episodes that really stood out.

    Enough yammering. Let’s get to the picks. In no particular order....

    Hannibal Episode 109: “Buffet Froid”

    I have been championing Hannibal as my favorite new show of last season since it premiered, so it was hard for me to narrow down a favorite, but I think “Buffet Froid” has to be it. It was a chilling episode that embodied everything you love about a good, taut horror movie. This episode had more “scares” than others, but not “jump out at you” scares. More like the creeping, omnipresent horror that you waited for with baited breath until it crawled out from the bed again.  It was a sophisticated and effective way to bring in “monsters under the bed” and “zombies” without turning it into a free-for-all.

    Honorable mention goes to episode 106, “Sorbet.” I don’t know what it was about that episode, but it really got to me.

    Teen Wolf Episode 306: “Motel California”

    First of all, this episode wins just because it is set in a creepy, run-down motel. All the best horror movies happen in cheap motels; anytime I see a cheap motel on the side of the road, I call it a “murder motel.” And the motel at the center of this certainly had that going for it. There is plenty of insanity and weirdness here, told almost in vignettes. Add to the generally creepy location with a haunted history, you have living creatures trying to escape from human beings; people trying to cut themselves open with power saws; frozen ice girls; and explosions.

    Supernatural Episode 811: “LARP and the Real Girl”

    This episode had it all: Felicia Day. Respectfully nerdy portrayals of LARPers (Live Action Role Players). Porn jokes. I know - and respect - several real-life LARPers, yet the whole thing just seems absurd to me. This episode found a good balance between respecting LARP - but making fun of it.

    Honorable mention goes to episode 813, purely for the title: “Everybody Hates Hitler.”

    The Walking Dead Episode 406: “Live Bait”

    The Governor carries this episode with a quiet intensity that is both chilling and heartbreaking. It’s hard to feel bad for him because this comes in the aftermath of a massacre of his people. The episode shows him clearly trying to come to grips with what happened: losing his utopia, killing people he considered family and friends (or maybe just subjects), and realizing that the two people he allowed to live didn’t want to live with him. He is trying to find a new place to belong, a reason to keep going - and he does so with very, very little dialogue.

    Bates Motel Episode 106: “The Truth”

    Amid violence and bloodshed and chaos, the truth finally comes out. Norma learns the truth about her boyfriend; Dylan learns the truth about his mother’s second husband; and why she is so overprotective of Norman. On top of that, there was lots of action, violence, and a healthy splash of blood.

    “Toy Story of Terror”

    This Halloween special from the Toy Story characters was really impressive. Toy owner Bonnie and her mom are on a roadtrip (with the toys, of course) when they get a flat tire and are forced to stay the night at a creepy roadside motel. (Remember: roadside motels are always creepy.) There are lots of references to horror classics here: Night of the Living Dead, Predator, Aliens, Silence of the Lambs, Godzilla, offering a great blend of smart horror for adults and cute scares for kids.

    The Vampire Diaries Episode 418: “American Gothic” and Episode 419: “Pictures of You”

    I couldn’t narrow it down. Both episodes were crammed with insanity, violence, torture, humanity, and humor. The end of season four was pretty insane. I wish some of that awesomeness had transferred to season five.

    The Originals Episode 105: “Sinners and Saints”

    I love The Originals - I think that it is stronger than The Vampire Diaries has been this year. “Sinners and Saints” was especially enjoyable to me, because we learned the chilling truth about the witches. It was a great backstory and took Marcel from being a sociopathic egomaniac to a fully fleshed-out character with a compassionate side, while it knocked the witches off their high-and-mighty pedestal. For me, it was a real turning point in the series.

    The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror”

    As per usual, the annual Simpsons Halloween outing was hit-and-miss. I really liked the ode to Tod Browning’s Freaks (one of my favorite movies) but the centerpiece of this season’s Halloween episode was the opening credits done by Guillermo del Toro. With dozens of horror movie references ranging from Nosferatu, Blade, Hellboy, Frankenstein, Robot Monster, Phantom of the Opera, Night of the Living Dead, The Birds, The Shining, and The Day the Earth Stood Still (to name a mere few), that opening sequence was a horror fan’s wet dream.

    The Following Episode 101: “Pilot”

    The show became a little ridiculous as the season wore on, but the pilot was intense. More was crammed into that one episode - a pilot, no less - than some shows cram into an entire season. Series creator Kevin Williamson managed to fit a prison escape, manhunt, capture, multiple murders, a kidnapping, and a good foundation of back story all in one episode - and made it feel natural. 

    What did I miss? Did your favorite make the list? 


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