Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year, New Me....and Assorted Bullshit

new-yearI used to love New Year's Resolutions, or rather, the idea of them. My longest running streak is most likely somewhere around about 9 days or so. I don't expect this year to be largely different, because when you try to change your behavior, there are always setbacks. And do-overs. And moments when you basically nuke any progress that you've made. But you see, I'm ok with that. After everything that happened last year, I'm inclined to think that it's not so much an annual thing, as it is an every day thing. They say that you only stop learning when you die. I intend to make that the case.

This year, there are some things I'd like to accomplish. In an attempt at being kinder to myself, here are some things I'd like to improve upon, not only in the coming year but going forward in general.

  • THE GYM - Dipper pointed out that if I tire myself out, I will have less energy to spend on stressing about nonsense. (My therapist calls this "being a moving target". I'm not sure I like that phrase, because it gives too much power to my anxiety.)

  • DE-CLUTTER - I really really want to de-clutter my house, and my life. I have clothes I haven't worn in years, tupperware without lids or bottoms, and other bric-a-brac that I can do without.

  • CROCHET - I need to finish my 2016 temperature blanket, and I am setting up to make one for my parents. I also want to work on learning more stitches.

  • CHR - I owe a few authors book reads and reviews. I intend to not only make good on that, but to do so in a more timely fashion in the future.

  • CLEANING - I want to get my house to a state where it's more of an issue of upkeep, rather than having to rip the rooms apart and clean.

  • SELF - I will spend the rest of my life battling anxiety and depression. And that's ok. The important part is to FIGHT. I intend to be kinder to myself going forward. (Every day above ground is a good day. - Dipper)

  • PRESENTS - Leaving the crafting presents until the last minute HAS GOT TO GO. This year, I did so much crochet, I thought I would be stitching in my sleep. I have to start sooner!


Here's to a New Year, and all the shit that goes along with it!

2016 in Retrospective

finally-overThis morning I was looking through my "On This Day" section of Facebook, where you are able to peek back through the years at some posts. I'm not sure what algorithm is used to determine what posts show, but there is a definite trend. Each year, I hoped that I could leave behind a bad year, and go valiantly into the next.

Let me tell you, 2016 was a whopper. To the extent that I am ready to consider it a circle of Hell unto itself. The eve of my 30th birthday was spent surrounded by my friends and family, in the house of my deceased grandparents, celebrating the life of my deceased Uncle Bill. That occasion marked the close to a strange series of deaths in my family. My grandmother passed in July 2015, my grandfather in December of 2015, and the day of his wake, we lost my Uncle Bill unexpectedly.

From there, things continued downward at an alarming pace. In November of 2015, I had begun fighting my then-employer over a harassment issue. To put it succinctly, they failed to protect me, and then blamed me for the events. In March, my mother was hospitalized. That night, something broke. I fell into the worst depression I have yet suffered. I'm not sure it was a nervous breakdown, although that's what I tell people, because it's easier to understand. So far, few people have understood the description "my world came to a halt, and I fell off into purgatory". That night, I had hit my breaking point. I was ready to take my life. Over the next few months, while my mother's health spiraled downward, my husband and brother fought daily to save my life. I became despondent, and couldn't see all there was that was worth living for. I just wanted the pain to end. I saw my doctor, and was prescribed Lexapro for depression and anxiety, as well as formally diagnosed. I applied for FMLA at work, so that I could take time off without penalty while I crawled my way towards safety.

Over the summer, I watched my niece twice a week, attended her soccer games, and spent time with my brother and husband. My brother is technically my best friend, and although we are not related by blood, we are nevertheless connected deeply. He's got a few years on me, but we are twins in more ways than people I know who ARE related by blood. We walked in parks, went to shops, and tried to reclaim parts of ourselves that we had lost for one reason or another.With Phoebe, I watched movies, did crafts, and hung out with my pets. She lavished the menagerie with love and they loved her right back.

Lexapro was a joke. It was like wrestling a pissed off, rabid grizzly bear. When the meds kicked in, everything would get worse. In fact, the first hour after taking it, I was a complete mess. My brother suggested I change meds. My doctor gave my Zoloft, which was infinitely better. I'll admit, every time the dose changes, things go haywire for about two weeks. But that's ok. At least it evens out eventually. I also started seeing a therapist, though I don't remember exactly when that began.

Peter, my therapist, is a strange man. He's slight and grey, and very quiet. During the sessions, he doesn't talk much, just sits back and lets me work things out. At first I found this endlessly frustrating. Over time, I've come to realize that he follows the tough love advice my brother gives me (when I need it most). That advice is that sometimes, you just have to do it for yourself. Nobody can do it for you. So far, he's been right. There's times I can be helped, but I'm learning more and more that I have to find ways to self-comfort.

Through all of this, my parents and I experienced a schism. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel as close to them as I had always felt. They didn't realize the depths of my depression, but in many ways that's forgivable. Especially considering I wasn't there for them during mom's myriad medical disasters this year. My brother recommended that we just chalk it up to the fact that dad and mom, and Panda, Dipper, and myself, were all battling different sets of troubles and call it even.

And yet, despite all the chaos, 2016 was a blessing as well.

Through the hardships we endured, and with Dipper's guidance and help, my husband and I have become much closer. We have crossed bridges together that we didn't even know existed. We also strengthened our connections with Dipper and Phoebe. I have changed jobs, and found a company that I enjoy working for, that also values me in ways my old company didn't. My backbone has emerged since having to go through so much, and I have learned who I can count on, and who I can't.

I can proudly say that I have survived 2016, a little worse for the wear, and definitely stronger for having weathered the storm. I am ready to meet the new year on my feet and standing tall, because I know that the people I love, love me just as deeply and loyally as I love them.

2017, bring it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Survive Killer Spiders....According to Phoebe

movieFor a change of pace, I decided to show Phoebe the (in my mind) classic Arachnophobia. I couldn't believe she had never seen it before. Now, while writing this post, I realized the movie is from 1990. She wasn't born for another seventeen years. Shit. You. Not. Anyways...

...she got a kick out of the idea we were going to see a spider movie. I hadn't as yet made my peace with spiders. Which means she was used to me wailing for my husband to come and deal with them in the house, and running from them when I encountered them outside. She thought she was going to watch me cringe and squeal, which was the majority of the appeal. (Recently I have begun to appreciate spiders for their intricate colors and markings. Not to mention, their practicality. I was lamenting the size of the spiders in my basement to someone, and they told me, "You think they're ugly? Just think of the ugly things they're eating to get THAT big." For the most part, they now get either a photo session if they're particularly interesting, or a wide berth. If they become truly problematic, I have no doubt my cat will happily dispatch them.

Phoebe made sure to snuggle Zelda tight, so that the little Boston wouldn't fear the spiders. (I only know this because I heard her whispering to Zelda that she would keep her safe, and then covering her with a fuzzy blanket.) Zelda was all for it, stuck her nose out of the blanket, and the movie rolled.

Good. Lord. There is nothing quite like getting a talking to from your niece. You see, I completely forgot to tell her that there are a few scenes where the spiders menace cats and even a dog. None of the animals are harmed, but it's a close call. Each time it happened, she would hold Zelda more snugly, and I'd hear:

"MISS HOLLY! THE [insert animal species here]! DOES THE SPIDER GET IT?!" her voice laced with concern, panic, and consternation.

Quickly, I gave up on telling her to watch and see. That went over like a fly in mashed potatoes, let me tell you. I gave in and told her the animal makes it, most times the person doesn't. She is nothing if not consistent, and was completely alright with the ratio of animal survival to human death and suffering. (The only change in pattern was the crow. She was totally ok with that dying.)

Poor Manley, the unlucky photographer. He was pretty much a running joke for her the arachnophobiawhole film. She couldn't figure out why he had agreed to take the photography job with Dr. Atherton if he was so terribly afraid of insects. It was, after all, an insect-finding mission. Nine year olds not only have the funniest way of looking at things, but they also ask the best questions. She wanted to know why Manley's body looked so weird in the coffin when it reached Canaima. I explained that the spider got in the coffin with him and that's how he wound up in California. Phoebe asked what that had to do with the body, and I explained that the spider had been snacking on it. She asked if that was possible, and I told her it was highly exaggerated. Some spiders do save their dinner, but not to that extent. After some more examination, Phoebe decided that not even a big Amazonian mf'er of a spider like the one in the movie could do that to a person.

Most of all, she was completely and totally disgusted with Dr. Jennings, Dr. Atherton, and arachnophobiaDelbert McClintock. She couldn't figure out how Dr. Jennings hadn't seen the spider bites on the victims. After all, he was a doctor. When Dr. Atherton twangs the gigunda spider web and gets eaten, all she had to say was, "Well, he was SUPPOSED to be the expert. Guess he didn't know you don't play with spiderwebs." And poor Delbert McClintock? What kind of exterminator was so unprofessional?

She loved the ending of the movie, when all of the spiders hatched at the Jennings' house and ran amok. Some of her joy was ultimately stolen when I told her that they couldn't, in good faith, use real live venomous spiders in the movie. That day we learned the words "liability" and "ethical". I explained to her that you just couldn't put actors in harm's way for a movie. This greatly disappointed her, and she said that it affected the movie's authenticity. Phoebe is nothing if not a realist.

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dinosaurs...and Stupid People

jurassic-parkThe day started out like any other. Dipper and Phoebe came over to visit. Phoebe grabbed up the blankets and pillows for the living room, and then set about playing with Zelda. I was hellbent on not having to watch another episode of that insipid show Walk the Prank, so I asked her, "Hey Phoe, wanna see stupid people get eaten by dinosaurs?"

Her eyes lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. "YES!"

Thus began our adventure of watching 1993's Jurassic Park. As it turned out, she had seen the newest movie, Jurassic World. I shook my head. How can you see these movies out of order?

I had been planning on showing her Jurassic park, so I pulled out our themed snack. I dinohad made chocolate-covered popcorn with dinosaur gummies. (Yeah, I know. I used to be a teacher.) They're based off this recipe for Shark Bait Popcorn. I played with the type of cake mix as well as the gummies. It came out great! The chocolate was sickening sweet! And so were the gummies. The kiddo got ramped up, I straight up died and slept through part of our movie.

snuzzlePhoebe and Zelda took up the couch. Like, the WHOLE couch. And wouldn't you know, my dog settles right in and snuggles up to Phoebe. I don't know what it is about Boston Terriers, but they LOVE children. That dog lets her get away with murder. Every time. It's seriously the cutest thing in the world. But I digress. I wound up in the armchair, trying to crochet a blanket and listen to her maniacal laughter. Apparently it's obvious to EVERYONE that you shouldn't clone dinosaurs. Or put them in a glorified zoo. Or run when in the presence of a tyrannosaurus rex. Basically, when the shit hits the fan, all you need is Phoebe. To hear her tell it, she's the undisputed survivor of every type of situation. Which may sound sarcastic, but seriously. This kid has things figured out QUICK.

She wound up loving Jurassic Park, which accidentally started a marathon of all the movies. I'll leave the other reviews for other posts, but suffice to say, she's an adorable little ham. It's worth noting too that Jurassic Park is a stellar movie for a young girl to watch. Despite being made in 1993, it features strong female characters. Both Lex and Ellie are strong, capable women who don't spend the whole movie waiting to be saved. Dipper and I like showing Phoebe those kinds of movies. We want her to grow up to shatter glass ceilings, and never put limitations on herself. Not to mention, it's a stellar way to introduce the little sweetie to Samuel L. Jackson, in one of his earliest roles.

She's not as much of a fan of my movie trivia bits sometimes. I regaled her with stories about how the impressive dinosaur sounds were, in fact, modified tortoise noises. (I left out the part that the sounds were tortoises mating, but maybe when she's older...)

NO REMORSE.

Yep. That's right. I can say with a completely unrepentant heart that I showed my nine the-texas-chainsaw-massacreyear old niece Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now, before you go and start a village mob, consider this...

...there is no nudity nor is there sex in the movie. (Honestly, the characters don't live long enough for either.)


...there is relatively little gore, and much is left to the imagination.


...there is no drug or alcohol use (Again, the characters don't really live long enough to partake.)


...I watched that movie when I was seven. Two years younger than her. And look how I turned out! (Well, maybe scratch that piece of evidence...)


Not to mention, I had discussed this choice with Dipper thoroughly.

When they arrived at my house that morning, I pulled out the DVD and showed her. I let her read the synopsis on the back, and asked her if she would like to see it. She was very excited, because as she explained, it wouldn't be before bedtime and wouldn't possibly give her nightmares. She asked if it was about a monster, and I told her it was kind of like a grown up Scooby Doo in that the monster was actually a human in a costume. (I challenge you to now disassociate Scooby Doo with Leatherface.) She LOVES Scooby, so her decision was made.

Once again, we got our pillows and blankets, and Zelda (my Boston Terrier) and set up in the living room. I got our snacks and Capri Suns read, and we began the movie.

She wasn't too impressed with the opening images of the corpses set up on the tombstone. Nor was she interested in the preface. But once the unfortunates picked up the hitchhiker, she was hooked. Not only that, but she had a scathing commentary throughout the entire movie.

I had never asked her what she knew about hitchhikers, and truth be told, wasn't sure she'd ever given it a thought. But when the hitchhiker went crazy and cut Franklin, and smeared his blood all over the van, she couldn't help herself.


"Wow. Really? What did he do that for?"


"Well, Phoe, he's not right in the head."


"He looked creepy. Why did they pick him up in the first place?"


"Because this movie is set in the 1970s, and people acted differently back then. They gave rides to strangers because they didn't think anything of it."


"Right. So they saw creepy people at the side of the road, and they picked them up? And then were surprised when they got hurt?"


Sensing a teachable moment, I explained that looks don't necessarily mean anything. A hitchhiker could look like something out of a Gahan Wilson drawing, but be harmless. Likewise, the most attractive hitchhiker could be a serial killer. I cautioned her to never pick up someone on the side of the road, no matter what, just in case. To my surprise, she rolled her eyes and said, "Everyone knows that! That's how you get chainsawed! Speaking of which, when does that happen?"

Aaah. Out of the mouths of babes. She and Zelda snuggled closer, and we kept watching.

ruuunThe actions of the characters baffled her. She couldn't quite figure out how they kept getting themselves into worse and worse situations. For example, when Pam went into Leatherface's house and saw all of the bird feathers and skeleton parts, Phoe couldn't figure out why she didn't just turn around and get the hell out of dodge. I explained that she was scared out of her wits, but Phoebe said she should have been better at getting out of the house if that were the case.

She couldn't stop laughing when Franklin got whacked with the chainsaw in the middle of the bushes. Phoebe couldn't figure out what in the hell he was doing out there in a wheelchair to begin with. I tried to explain to her that he was searching for his friends, but the explanation died on my lips. There were other ways to look for them than go charging off into the bushes in the dead of night.

All told, she really enjoyed the movie. She actually asked to watch it again a few days later, so we did. She liked that it was straightforward. In her words, "They were stupid, they got chainsawed." She also liked the effects - the fact that the kills weren't overly gory. She realized extreme gore isn't to her taste when she saw the Sharknado franchise. (I take no credit for that. I wouldn't have shown that to her.) She's interested in seeing the rest of the franchise and the other movies in the Texas Chainsaw family. Maybe one day. I'm not sure I'm ready to show them to her. To be honest, the original is the most unique, and I don't want the charm of it to be lost to her by overburdening her with the others.

As a side note, Dipper and I missed out on our chance to meet Gunnar Hansen, Leatherface himself. After coming to a convention near us ended, he died unexpectedly. From what I hear, he was a wonderful person. I wish I would have had a chance to meet him.

I should also take a moment to give a shout-out to my husband, Panda. He bought me the 40th Anniversary Edition of the movie pictured at the beginning of this post. (That's right! 40 years. Can you believe it? I can't!)

 

 

 

What do you mean 'the alien killed the dogs' ?!

john-carpenter-the-thing-movie-posterOver the summer, I showed Phoebe one of my favorite movies of all time, John Carpenter's The Thing. I thought it would be a good one to show her because the effects, while still looking good, aren't as realistic as some of the more modern movies. I also thought she'd like the psychological guessing game - wondering who survived and who was an alien.

It surprised Dipper and I when it took me two tries to get through the movie with her. As it turns out, The Thing is a little too heavy on talking, and a little too light on the alien massacres. She wanted less discussion and more alien transformations. The second time through, I prepped her that once the proverbial ball got rolling, it was a bloodbath. That seemed to satisfy her. She picked out a craft, and we continued the movie.

Just like with Ridley Scott's Alien, Phoebe was all about the animals. In fact, the movie opens with a helicopter flying low over the snow, shooting at a beautiful husky. I would be doing her a great disservice if I said she was merely disturbed. I think the phrase, "losing her shit", while a bit crass, is a better approximation of her reaction.

"MISS HOLLY!" she squealed.


"Yes, Phoebe? What ---"


"WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING AT THE DOG, MISS HOLLY? ARE THEY GOING TO KILL IT?" Now, it's important that at this juncture, I point out that her speaking in capitals is not because she was yelling. Her eyes were the size of the moon, and her body was very still. She was speaking very carefully, emphasizing every single word.


"Phoebe, it's great that you ask questions and you're curious, but you're gonna spoil the movie for yourself."


"I don't care. DO THEY KILL THE DOG?"


"Not that one."


"THEY KILL OTHER DOGS?" Shit. I shouldn't have let that slip.


"Well, not the humans. More like the alien comes and kills the dogs."


"Oh. Do the humans kill the alien?"


I was at a loss. I was about to spoil most of the movie. Having learned my lesson with Ridley Scott's Alien, I proceeded thusly:

"The whole fun of this movie is that at the end, you don't know if the alien is gone or not. Yes, the alien kills all the dogs --"


"MISS HOLLY!"


"Hang on, let me finish..."


"Ok."


"Yes, the alien kills all the dogs. But the alien also kills most of the humans. And the humans give the alien a helluva fight."


She considered that for a moment. I could tell she still wasn't happy with the dogs dying. After a little more consideration, she shrugged and told me that the humans were stupid because they let the alien kill their dogs. I tried to explain that they weren't necessarily stupid, more so that they just didn't know what they were dealing with. I tried to explain that as the viewer, we are omniscient, and having that to our advantage, can suggest better courses of action for the characters. She then told me that if she were in a horror movie, things would be different, chiefly because she wasn't stupid. (That, however, is a topic for another post at a later date.)

Her final decision on the movie was that it was alright. She didn't like the alien wiping alienout the dogs, and she would have liked a better idea of who was human and who was an alien. Not knowing made it confusing sometimes. Not to mention there were several characters to track, but not much real character development to help her keep them separate. She also wasn't terribly impressed with the special effects, until I told her that the movie was made in 1982, and without the help of computers. Once I explained how the special effects artists (Rob Bottin's work was fantastic!) she began to appreciate it a little more. I promised the next movie would have less talking, and more straight-to-the-point killing.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Where's the kitty?!

Subtitled, "Watching Alien With My Nine Year Old Cat-Obsessed Niece"...

I spent the summer watching my niece a few days a week, which was awesome. She's super smart, sweet, and very fun to hang around. But I have to say, you can only see so many Scooby Doo episodes before you begin to question your sanity. I brought up the idea to Dipper of starting to introduce her to more adult horror movies. He gave me the green light.

The first movie we watched was the 1979 classic, Ridley Scott's Alien. Dipper and I figured it wouldalien be good to start with. Interesting but not overly-verbose plot, strong female lead character, suitable horror with little gore, and the pièce de résistance...a cat. My niece will watch ANYTHING, so long as there is a cat involved.

Phoebe and I piled up the blankets and pillows in the living room, got my Boston Terrier a few toys so she'd stay with us, and snagged some snacks from the pantry. Capri Suns in hand, curtains drawn, we began the movie. The opening parts kept her interested because she was looking to see the cat. The real fun began once the crew of the Nostromo encountered the alien ship.

When Kane began descending into the egg chamber, Phoebe turned to me, furrowed her brow, and asked, "Miss Holly? Is he stupid?" I explained he wasn't stupid, he was exploring. She wasn't quite convinced, but agreed to keep watching. When the facehugger attacked Kane, she said "That's what you get for not being careful!" Try as I might, I couldn't disagree.

Fast forward. The Xenomorph is rampaging on the ship, the crew are starting to die, and Ripley's damn cat is nowhere to be found. After the captain gets killed in the airshaft, Phoebe paused the movie. I asked her if it was too scary.

"Miss Holly?" she asked.


"Yes, Phoebe?"


"Why is everyone so stupid?"


I sat there staring at her, literally unable to answer. I thought she was kidding. I burst out laughing, and she took offense. Apparently she was serious.

"What do you mean? Why do you think everyone is stupid?"


"Because they are. They're not really fighting the alien and it keeps killing them. And nobody is looking out for the cat. They better not hurt the kitty!"




[caption id="attachment_2195" align="alignleft" width="300"]Phoebe LOVED this scene! Phoebe LOVED this scene![/caption]

I couldn't really argue with her logic. I am an animal-lover, and Xenomorph or not, my animals would be on my mind too. I tried to reason with her. Then, in order to restore peace and order, I had to spoil the movie. I told her the biggest secret of all...JONESY LIVES. All the way to the end. She thought a bit on this and then...

"If they weren't stupid, we wouldn't have a movie."


In case you didn't know, there are some arguments you don't win against a nine year old. Especially not a smart one. I thought that was the end of our discussion on the merits of having smart horror movie characters. We continued watching.


Prior to putting on the movie, I had prepped her for the chestburster scene. Truth be told, it was the only scene Dipper and I were unsure of her reaction. I felt like I was spoiling it for her, but I told her a little about it, and that the cast didn't actually know what was coming. The reactions in the scene are priceless - most likely because they're genuine. Irregardless, Phoebe loved it. She leaned forward, and watched with rapt attention as Kane writhed and screamed. Her eyes got as big as saucers when the chestburster appeared, and she roared with laughter when it ran amok. I couldn't help but laugh with her. Though it was a serious scene, there was a certain charm and hilarity watching the ugly little bastard run through the set.

[caption id="attachment_2193" align="alignright" width="300"]According to Phoebe, these are the only two characters worth watching. According to Phoebe, these are the only two characters worth watching.[/caption]

Fast forward. It's now just Ripley, Jonesy the cat, and the rampaging Xenomorph. Phoebe again pauses the film.

"Yes you could," she says confidently, apropos of nothing. "You could have a movie where everyone wasn't stupid."


"I guess you could, but it wouldn't be very fun, would it?" I wasn't sure where she was going with this line of inquiry.


"Yeah it would! They could find the alien, fight it smart, kill it, and move on. With the kitty."


I told her I would have to think about that and get back to her.

Her final take on the movie was that it was excellent, but she wished there was more of Jonesy the cat. She loved that Ripley took charge and (for the most part) made smart decisions. She was shocked to the core that Ash turned out to be an android, and asked why Ripley didn't know that. She thought that was silly, considering androids were part of their everyday norm. She was suitably horrified that Ash had been tasked with bringing back an alien organism, and that she was glad it hadn't happened. Most of all, she wanted more Jonesy. In the end, it turns out that my niece doesn't care about the human body count, especially when they're stupid humans, she just wants to know the animals make it out alive.

She is very interested in seeing the other Alien movies, though at another time. The second one is more of an action flick, and she's significantly more curious about "hardcore horror" movies. Preferably with cats. Our movie watching has continued, as I see her twice a week, and every other weekend. Be on the lookout for more of Phoebe's take on popular horror and sci-fi movies!

 

 

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Creeping Flesh

Clearly I'm on an old school horror kick tonight. The next movie in the marathon is The Creeping Flesh. I'm apparently having a marathon secondary to the theme of old school horror, as I inadvertently chose another Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing film. Which I am ALL ABOUT right now. The Creeping Flesh is from 1973, and although a bit dated, includes very well done special effects. This is another of Dipper's recommendations.

Not going to lie, this movie synopsis has given me the most trouble of almost any that I've written recently. Put plainly, the viewer can tell at the start of the film that any peace and quiet in Cushing's life is the creeping flesh 2balancing on spidersilk, because he can't seem to put anything in order before rushing off to the next project. For example, he has spent the last year in Papua, New Guinea, chasing the origins of mankind and proof of evolution. When he comes back, it turns out that the estate's finances have been dwindling, and his daughter has had to let go of two of the servants in order to make ends meet. To the extent that his brother, played by Lee, has been funding his expeditions. As if that weren't enough, she's distraught and pining for the mother she believed died when she was  younger. She's been struggling to find some scrap to tie herself to the mother she barely remembers. The truth, it turns out, is far worse. Her mother has recently died, in an asylum run by Lee, no less. It would seem that not only is Cushing's life a mess, but so is Lee's. Shortly into the film, one of the asylum inmates breaks free and is on the loose.

In the forefront of all of that chaos, is the discovery that Cushing made while in New Guinea. He has brought home with him a massive skeleton, one that creates more questions than it answers. It's extremely old, but far more advanced. A paradox which intrigues Cushing to the extent that he basically forgets everything else around him. (Including his daughter starting to nose around in her dead mother's locked room - which can't be a good thing by any means! It's worth noting that while poking around in her mother's room, she discovers the truth of her mother's committal in the asylum.) While examining the bones, Cushing decides to wash them off, and takes a wet towel to the hand. He quickly discovers that the flesh reappears on the bones when water is applied. He's curious, so he removes one finger and allows the flesh to regrow.

the creeping flesh 1While reading up on the legends of the region and searching for some clue about the bones, Cushing comes across a legend about a race of giants buried deep. They were supposed to be exposed slowly as the earth eroded around their bones, and a rainstorm was supposed to facilitate their return by fleshing out the bones. They were supposed to be the ultimate evil, and the legend says that by the time they are out and causing havoc, the peoples in New Guinea were supposed to have evolved enough to be able to fight them. (Holy mackerel! Such detail!) Cushing makes the leap that he can develop a serum against evil from the flesh - how the hell he came to that conclusion is kind of foggy - and begins to test it. Meanwhile, a thief enters Cushing's lab and attempts to steal the skeleton, but winds up just exposing the whole thing to a rainstorm.

Cue unspeakable evil amid a backdrop of a deeply dysfunctional family, and you've got one helluva creepy classic! Once again, Cushing and Lee do not disappoint. The film is very well acted, well written, and very complex. If you're looking for a solid creature flick with interesting characters, I would highly recommend that you see The Creeping Flesh.

 

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

Tonight is my night off - and I'm spending it in the nerdiest way possible. I'm working on crocheting a temperature blanket and watching horror movies.  (For those that don't know, a temperature blanket is a year-long project, where every day the highest or lowest temperature is recorded, and a row is added to the blanket with a color corresponding to the temperature.) I haven't watched any movie recommendations from my brother lately, so tonight I decided on Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. To be honest, it was an arbitrary pick. I don't remember him specifically recommending it, but it's on a list of movies he has watched, so I figured what the hell. Anyways, it's always good to discuss old horror with Dipper, who is very knowledgeable.

dr terrorI was immediately pleased to see that Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Donald Sutherland were in it. (Kid you not - Donald Sutherland looks just like his son, Keifer, in this movie!) I'm sure there's other actors that I'll recognize, but none by name.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is an anthology movie, or rather, it's composed of several stories woven together by a central theme. The mysterious Dr. Schreck tells the fortunes of five strangers on a train. Each fortune is a story about their future, and the horrors that will befall them. In the first one, "Werewolf", Jim goes to his former home to make alterations for the family that lives there. While there, he finds the coffin of Count Cosmo Valdemar, and hears a legend that the Count turns into a werewolf hellbent on killing the widow living in the house. The truth, he will find out, is much more terrifying.

"Creeping Vine" is the second fortune, and in it, Bill returns with his family from vacation to their home. Bill's wife asks him to get rid of the vine that has sprung up seemingly out of nowhere, fearing it will overpower the hydrangeas. Instead of overpowering the other plants in the garden, the creeping vine has higher aspirations. Soon the family is trapped in the house, with a homicidal vine covering every window. It becomes a fight for survival between the plant and the family, with only one victor.

"Voodoo" is adapted from a story by Cornell Woolrich called "Papa Benjamin". Biff is playing a jazz gig in the West Indies, where he overhears a voodoo ceremony. Enthralled by the music, he decides to sample one of the songs in the ceremony. He ignores a warning not to steal the song, which belongs to the devotees of the god Damballah, who is portrayed as fierce and not taken to sharing his rituals with nonbelievers for the purpose of entertainment. Biff more than ignores the warning, even incorporating the high priest's mask into the background for his performance stage.

In "Disembodied Hand", Christopher Lee plays Franklin Marsh, a scathing art critic. He publicly humilates artist Eric Landor during a heated exchange at a gallery. Marsh, not to be outdone, hits Landor with his car. Landor loses his hand, and with it the ability to paint. He then kills himself. His disembodied hand seeks revenge.

"Vampire", features Donald Sutherland as a doctor returning to the United States with his French wife. They no sooner settle down when there begin a rash of strange killings. He enlists the help of his friend Dr. Blake, who helps him discover the true identity of the vampire. But that's not the end of Sutherland's problems, as he is soon betrayed by his friend.

I'm incredibly sorry that most of these descriptions are sparse at best. Despite the film's small running time of 98 minutes, each story is absolutely packed with great acting, fast-paced storytelling, and quirky twist endings. That's why I can't divulge the last story, "Epilogue", which is the wrap-around tale for the film. Suffice to say, it's absolutely brilliant.

I had never heard of this film until I saw it in my brother's collection, but I will say this much: this is exactly why I listen to all of his recommendations. I'm also pleased that I'm expanding my horizons when it comes to Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who until I started watching the old horror movies, were known to me only in their later careers. I'm not going to lie, films like this also cause a certain degree of melancholy. At the risk of sounding cliche, they just don't make horror films like these anymore. Straight-up storytelling with no gimmicks. Well acted. Decent production value. And well-written tales. I'm already sorry for the day I've seen all the older horror films I can, because it really is an experience to watch them for the first time with fresh eyes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Expo Scores!

The first weekend in April, Dipper and I went to Buffalo's Record Pop Culture Expo. A local VFW post was hosting it, and basically it was vendors galore! There were all kinds of merchandise on sale, and even if you didn't buy anything, it was neat to look at what was for sale and who was buying it. If I had known at the time that I would inherit my grandparent's record player, I would have spent time thumbing through the hundreds of records. Other than that, Dipper and I thumbed through comic books, action figures, and signed memorabilia.

This was the first time I'd ever attended that type of event, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As in, I will be saving up for their Fall event, in the hopes that I can score more signed items, and maybe even a few comics.

We had our eyes on a few items from the get-go, but made sure that we circled the event a few times just to make sure those were the items we wanted. Dipper checked out a couple vintage metal lunch boxes, and I had my eye on a few Leatherface items (most notably a bobblehead and an action figure).

Pop Culture Expo

In the end, we wound up getting a signed Maxx comic for our friend (signed by both the artist and the author), as well as a BONE figure that she didn't have. As for ourselves, Dipper and I got the same signed Romero (The Godfather, above) print. Or, I should say, my brother spoiled me rotten and got it for me. He also snagged me the signed Caroline Williams, which I still have to find a frame for. The other item he snagged for me was the Horror: Illustrated Book of Fears magazine.

There were a few stickers that caught our eyes, as well as some other signed prints, but I suspect we will be going back for those in October. Most of the same vendors should be there. As for me, I can now say I've caught the bug and I will be looking forward to any future expos or conventions that we come across.

March Mr Ghost Subscription Box

A friend of mine is a bit of a subscription box fiend. She does makeup boxes. Stationary boxes. Skin care boxes. Anything she can get her paws on. I was visiting her about a month ago and commented on the super cute sticker on her laptop. It featured a ghost wearing a monocle. She explained that it was part of a subscription set called Mister Ghost's Highly Enviable Monthly Parcel of Simple Yet Amazing Wonderments. Yes, it's a super long title for a very simple box. I opted for the subscription, which renews every month. That box goes for $12, but if you want to try it out and go on a monthly basis, it's $16.

I'm over the moon with what I received, but I don't think I'd pay $16 for it. But for $12? It's very much worth the money. It's a box suitable for younger people, as it doesn't contain anything offensive, but it definitely is more of a niche box than most. The skeletons, bats, robots, ghosts, cats, and other figures depicted are cartoonish rather than scary. But all in all the aesthetic is pleasant. It's produced by a company called Evil Supply Co. which sells stationary, stickers, patches, cards, and other like goods in addition to the box. (What you find in the box is exclusive - you can't purchase it separately.) The March box theme was "Magic Gardens". (I missed the February vampire theme.) I am extremely pleased with the offerings for April, and am already eagerly awaiting the May box, even though it'll ship on the 25th of this month.

Here's a look at the loot...

mr ghost

  • Blank Booklets (graveyard and deadly nightshade) - On the left you'll see two little white booklets. The top one is going to Dipper's daughter Phoebe, because I think she'll really dig the purple and graveyard theme. It's fairly small, but you can totally doodle in it or use it to write notes. The deadly nightshade one I'll keep for myself. Not sure what I'll use it for, but happy to have it all the same.

  • Deadly Nightshade Stickers (x2) - Next to the graveyard booklet are two green stickers. They look like bottle labels and they say "Deadly Nightshade". Not sure what I'll use them for, but they're pretty cool just the same. Maybe when Dipper and I are out doing our yardsale shenanigans this summer we'll find some creepy bottles we can put them on and then display them.

  • Rectangular Garden Patch - Next to the deadly nightshade stickers is the embroidered patch for the month. It features a walkway through a creepy garden. So. In. Love. No idea what I'm going to put it on, but it's freaking awesome!

  • Purple Rose Stickers (x2) - These stickers are pretty cute - they feature a purple stylized rose. I'm giving these to Phoebe too. I think she'll really dig them.

  • Blank Notecards (x2) - The top one features a walkway through a haunted garden to a haunted house. The other one has a skull, and I'm not quite sure what the other components of the pattern are. Still, not bad. And certainly for all occasions, or cute to frame.

  • Art Print - Every box comes with an art print fitting the theme. This one says "Bloom in the Darkness", which is appropriate for me because I've been battling some dark times. It's funny how you find things that really speak to you in the strangest places, and at the best times.

  • Zippered Pouch - Each month the goodies arrive in a screen printed, zippered pouch. This month's pouch features skulls, bones, ghosts, and plant parts. It's pretty cool. I have more pouches and bags than I know what to do with, so I'm giving this to Phoebe for her toys. Some of the toys nowadays come with tiny little accessories. It should make it easier for her to hold onto them. Or colored pencils. Or hair ties, or whatever she wants to use it for.


I will very happily continue to subscribe to this box. I think it's a steal for the price, even considering some of the items are better as gift items than things I'd keep for me. April's theme is "Bad Luck for Sale" and promises to be full of black cats and other familiars.

March HorrorBlock Subscription Block

March's HorrorBlock just arrived in the mail today. (In case you're new to it, it's part of the NerdBlock family, and focuses on bringing unique horror merchandise to subscribers every month. Usually there's a theme, but lately they've chosen one or two movies or tropes and centered the box on that. It costs $19.99 per month.) Per usual, I waited to see Dipper before opening it, which incidentally meant that I had to wait until I was at work tonight.


This month's theme was again zombie-centered. After the letdown of last month's block, I was not looking forward to this one. As luck would have it, the second try was really the charm. This month's block was a delight to open.

horrorblock


* Samara t-shirt - This month's t-shirt was a close-up of Samara from The Ring franchise. It's blue and white on a black background, and not bad at all. I was dreading what Ring merchandise would be included, as it's not one of my favorite films by any stretch. (It also doesn't stand up to a second watching, as all of the secrets are spoiled by the first viewing.) Dipper recommended that I give the shirt to our co-worker for his daughter, since she's pretty all-in when it comes to horror movies.


* Oven Mitt - I'm not gonna lie, I pounced on the oven mitt. I enjoy baking, and have been looking for a new oven mitt. This one is most likely going to be too thin to actually use with any sort of safety in mind, but the pattern is really awesome. The color green also goes with my current oven mitts, which are the same slime-snot green. I can't wait to hang this on the cupboard door above my stove! (UPDATE: Omg! It really works! I can use it without burning my hands!)


* Zombie Hand Back Scratcher - I'm not going to use that for it's intended purpose by ANY stretch of the imagination. However, having a telescoping zombie hand plaything is about the best thing you can think of in a cube farm environment. After taking it out of the packaging, I spent about 10 solid minutes terrorizing coworkers (and my unsuspecting supervisor) with it. The possibilities are literally endless!


* Zombie Squeeze - To me, he looks more like a voodoo doll, or a shrunken head with a body. But he's pretty cool just the same. When you squeeze him, you can see his brain stretching at his head to get out. It also makes a nasty kind of squick noise when you squeeze him. I suggested Dipper give this little ugly to his horror-loving daughter, but I have my suspicions that it's going to go to his personal collection instead.


* Zombie Door Stop - This was in a mystery box, and when we opened it, Dipper's eyes about boggled out of his head. I was over the moon that I already have a zombie door stop, because I really wanted to be able to give this item to him. When we divvied up the goods, this was the first item he chose. I don't think he'll use it as a doorstop because the guts are kind of delicate, but I think it'll look great on whatever table or shelf it winds up on. (I'm actually hoping his kitten menaces it, so that I can snag a picture of that!)


* Walking Dead Building Blind Bag - I had no idea these were a thing. I thought it was going to be some kind of Lego, but it's really a little figurine that comes in pieces. You put it together and then you have whatever character (or zombie). Apparently it's part of a set you can get where you build the pieces. I'm not going to track down the set, but it'll look pretty neat on one of my shelves. Preferably somewhere that my cat and dog can't get to it. It's a little small for them to safely menace.


* Zombie Dog Tags - These are pretty cool - not gonna lie. I'm not usually the dog tag type of girl, so they went to my husband. While not quite the zombie fan that I am, he enjoys his military shooter video games just fine. (He was pretty psyched when he got them!)


* Rue Morgue - It's taken practically everything that I have not to purchase this magazine before it arrived in the box. When Dipper and I were out in Barnes & Noble the other day, I saw the cover. Love me some Rob Zombie! Apparently he's got a new album coming out, so that is something I'll be looking forward to. Probably should put his other stuff on rotation again to make a comparison when the new disc drops.


Overall, I think this block made up for the last one, which was incredibly lame. They varied the contents, and included 3 exclusive items. I also didn't feel bad giving Dipper any of the items - when the block isn't as good, I can't escape the feeling that I'm giving him sub-par horror merch. And that is NEVER a good thing!


If you're still debating on whether or not to order this block, I'd say go ahead. The instances where the block isn't as good are few and far between, and usually even if you get one bum item per box, the rest of the merch more than makes up for it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Platonic Valentine's Day

This year, Dipper and I celebrated Platonic Valentine's Day. We got each other
cards, he got me a candy bar (it was DIVINE! Chocolate and crystalized ginger...be still my beating heart!) I can't tell you what I got him just yet, as it hasn't arrived. midnight blueBut he had apparently been searching high and low for a particular book to give to me. It's called Midnight Blue, by Nancy Collins.

There's a couple reasons why this is such a noteworthy gift, not the least of which is that he described it was one of the two most important books he'd ever read. (The first, Norwegian Wood, was my Christmas present. And it's going to get it's own post. When I'm over the extreme trauma of reading it. I'm not even kidding. If you ever want to have your heart torn out, slowly, surely, and page by page, that's the book for you.) The next is that he found me the omnibus edition. I'm a completist. If I start a series, I like to be able to read all of them. With this particular edition, I don't have to hunt down all the volumes. It contains Sunglasses After Dark, In the Blood, and Paint It Black.

I'm on a big werewolf kick at the moment, but I am deeply intrigued by the title and the character. Apparently she's a vampire vampire slayer. No, that wasn't a typo. And she's badass. I'm going to try and chew through the few books I'm working on now and then start this. CANNOT. WAIT.

BoOk CrAwL!

This past Tuesday's BoOk CrAwL was extra special. During one of our first few BoOk CrAwLs, we met a girl from Barnes & Noble who we had asked for some recommendations. Her name is Liz and she's super awesome. She's an avid reader, environmentalist, and all around fun gal. She came along with us to Crazy4Books. As the weeks go on, it would appear that we are well on our way to having a BoOk CrAwL posse. I am more ok with that than I would like to admit!

I didn't know if we'd be able to find much this run, considering we had just gone to Crazy4Books last week. But boy was I wrong! All three of us wound up with arms filled. It was fun to go from aisle to aisle with Liz, grabbing at books, reading them, shelving them, and running onward. Dipper, on the other hand, takes a more measured approach to the used books. As he does in most things. He carefully peruses the aisles, and if you look, there appears to be a method. My method, on the other hand, appears to be "shiny shiny". As in "OH WOW! BOOKS! WHERE DO I BEGIN?!"

My shining achievement was finding an Umberto Eco for Dipper that he didn't have before. (If you're wondering, it was The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.) In hardcover. Spotless, no less. Score!!! As for me, it was all about the fluff reads this time, I'm afraid.crawl

  • The Secret World of Teddy Bears - This is a super cute book featuring poems about the daily activities of silly, dressed teddy bears. Chris' mom is going through round two of cancer, and I thought it would make a super cute pick-me-up from him to his mom.

  • Geisha: A Living Tradition - My mom LOVES Geishas. This coffee table book was pretty much a no-brainer.

  • Martin Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker - Mom used to play guitar in coffee houses. She'd play Joan Baez and other folk singer covers. Her favorite (and only) guitar is  Martin D28.

  • The Nameless Dead - Liz and I were in the paperback section making fun of some of the titles, and I happened to take a peek at this one. I read the back of it, and was pretty much sold on the idea that there is possession involved.

  • A Treasury of Great Science Fiction - Liz grabbed one copy. I grabbed the other. I'm a sucker for older anthologies. Especially science fiction or horror! She grabbed volume 1 and 2, and I grabbed the first volume.

  • Gumbo Ya-Ya: Folk Tales of Louisiana - How could I not?! I love Louisiana, and have always wanted to walk the streets of New Orleans. Maybe some day. But for now, I'll cozy up and read this book and all about the loup garou, voodoo, and the other practices and traditions of Louisiana.

  • Love is Strange: Tales of Paranormal Passion - I can't help it. Pure fluff. Whatever. But fluff can be fun, am I right?

  • My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding: A Collection of New Short Stories - Fluff, fluff, and more fluff. I think, if I were to be brutally honest, I picked this up only because of the cacophony of groans from Liz and Dipper when I announced the title. (If I were to tell you my darkest secret regarding this volume, I would tell you I can't wait to see exactly how bad it can get!)


I'm not sure when I'll get to reading the books on this list. To be honest, there's nothing here I absolutely HAVE to start tonight. But it does feel good to have them in my possession. After all, one can never have too many books, can they???

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My New Favorite Movie

All apologies in advance to Dipper, who is going to read this post soon after publication. (I can see the eye roll in my mind's eye.) Why the apologies, you ask? Because he rues the day he showed me this film. You see, Dipper and I bonded over horror movies and paraphernalia. It quickly became clear that I was not as up to date on all the horror movies that I should be. (Which will be the subject of subsequent posts - of which this will be the first.) what we do in the shadows

I have been absolutely positively stuck on What We Do in the Shadows since November/December. By "stuck on", I mean Dipper and I can't have a conversation with another human being where we recommend movies without it coming up. "Stuck on" as in my poor husband is sitting at his computer watching it with me on our TV while I write this post. It's really getting to be quite a thing. "Stuck on" as in we had a guest in from Kuwait and I flat out insisted on showing him this film. (Poor Pickells - though he did enjoy it immensely.)

That isn't necessarily unwarranted though. I've just burned them out on this movie. I will be counting for hours if I count all the ways that I adore this movie! It's a send-up of everything vampire. Nosferatu. The Lost Boys. Everything and anything vampire. The catch is that they're all really out of date, and each one is a caricature of a popular vampire stereotype. Petyr lives in an upright sarcophagus in the basement (he's Nosferatu-based) and they pass him chickens through the opening. Viago is my favorite. He's a dandy, based on Anne Rice's characters in Interview with the Vampire. Deacon is a Nazi Vampire, and if he is based on anything, it's nothing I'm aware of. That being said, he likes to knit and is very petty. Vladislaw is the Vlad the Impaler/Dracula mix. He thinks he's ultra sexy, and favors lap dancing.

It's also a send-up of housemate comedies, as the vampires are living together in a sort of vampire frathouse. The movie is a faux documentary, in which an unseen documentary crew follows the vampires as they go about their business. They hold flatmate meetings, have victims over for dinner parties, and attempt to go out on the town. No matter what they're doing, it's always one step away from a total disaster. There is not one competent vampire in the whole bunch. Despite a lifespan of several hundred years, they are not able to easily kill and drain their victims. They have "batfights" (a send-up of cat fights). And in general fail at everything they try.

Yes, I can almost hear what you're thinking. Trust me - this movie is worth it in every sense. It's by the people who ares responsible for Flight of the Conchords, and it's very reminiscent of Shawn of the Dead. They're lovable in their incompetence.

What We Do in the Shadows is a movie that bears watching multiple times. Each time you'll find a subtlety that you missed the first time, and that only adds to the experience. It's also a nice compromise for people who love horror, but have friends who aren't exactly into it. There's just enough general humor that anyone can appreciate it. (Unless their favorite movie is The Notebook - in which case there may be no hope for them.) My husband has seen this movie about four times and he's still laughing as I'm writing this post. It holds up to multiple viewings, and it's pretty much the greatest movie ever.

Book Crawl - Crazy4Books

Every Tuesday, Dipper and I do something we call Book Crawl. Basically, we meet up, pick a bookstore to haunt for a bit, and then find lunch. It's the day I look forward to all week - because there is nothing better than wandering around the stacks upon stacks of books in a used bookstore. Don't get me wrong - I love new bookstores too. Hell, I love books. But there's something about discovering books discarded and looked over by everyone else that is amazing. And doing it with someone who is just as excited as you are? Absolutely priceless.

That being said - let's get to the finds! (Mostly because Dipper reads this blog, and I know he's already rolling his eyes.) He took me to a place called Crazy4Bookz, which is deceptively large. It's a small storefront tucked in between two larger buildings. But when you get inside, the bookstore is quite deep. It's got the usual and comfortable used book smell, and every wall is covered in shelving and books. It's an absolute heaven! IMG_8385

  • Crochet Gifts to Go! - If I've never mentioned it before, let me mention it now. I crochet. Wherever I can. And with terrible reckless abandon. And since this is full of hideous
    patterns, well, I just had to have it.

  • Not Your Mama's Crochet - I have no idea why the hell I bought this. (But let me take a moment to defend myself, saying yes, I have a cat. And yes. I am married.)

  • The Zom-B Chronicles - It's three books in one, and I love series! It looks like it might be young adult. I love stories about kids adapting to - and surviving - the apocalypse. Despite it's size, it should be a quick read.

  • Carnival of Souls - I love movies that get turned into books, and I prefer to read the book first. Not to mention, this looks trashy-scandalous and absolutely awesome.

  • Midnight Fright: A Collection of Ghost Stories - I bought this solely for the cover. I love the terrifying clown looking out from under the bed. Scary stuff! The stories aren't bad either - Man-Size in Marble and The Yellow Wallpaper are just two of them. I will say, they're strange picks for a young adult book listed as reading level 6.5.

  • The Amityville Horror - A first print hardcover edition of this book. Because - OH MY GOD THAT'S AWESOME! Squee aside, I love hardcover first edition books. And I've been looking for this one for quite some time. There it was, laying on a shelf in between some other books. The dust jacket is a little beat up, but not bad at all for a book from 1977. The first page has the name of the previous owner scrawled in pen, but what do you expect?


I absolutely loved hitting up Crazy4Books. It's the kind of used bookstore that you want to spend hours in, because that's the only way you'll be able to truly appreciate all of the bookcases and the nooks of the shop. After I had paid and was waiting for Dipper, I discovered a whole other room in the back of the shop that I hadn't even noticed. Apparently the shop is double the size I thought it was. A handy lesson for the next time we happen to Book Crawl.

If you're wondering, on the off-chance, what lunch was - we happen to favor a nice little teriyaki place in the mall. Not too greasy. Good portion size. And good grief is the food amazing!

Horror Block - January 2016

Everyone at my call center is obsessed with subscription boxes - most notably Loot Crate. Those items are hit and miss for me. I don't play most of the video games they reference, and some of the other nerd references are lost on me. Then, my brother Dipper mentioned that there's actually a crate for people like us - Horror Block. It's by the same people that do Loot Crate, but it's all horror. All the time. And let me tell you, it's fabulous!

Horror Block is $29.99 a month, but it's really a steal. There's always a t-shirt and a copy of Rue Morgue magazine, both of which will cost you more to buy separately than if you just get the box. Then there's always 3-5 other items included. Sometimes there's a cohesive theme, but more often than not they're just random items. Past boxes included Freddy Kreuger and Chucky plushies, as well as a really cool zombie hula girl that's supposed to go on your dashboard. (The hypnotic sway of those undead hips is quite distracting, so she's on a shelf in my library instead.)

Most of the items are awesome, but occasionally there are some that aren't quite my style. That's where Dipper comes in. He's an even bigger horror afficionado than I am (and has been showing me all the horror movies I'd been neglecting over the past few months). Sometimes items come in the box that either are more in his vein, or I look at it and just KNOW he has to have it.IMG_7996

January 2016 was an exceptional block. The Rue Morgue magazine centered on horror comics - which is something I am definitely interested in experiencing. Additionally...

  • Gravestone Cell Phone Charger - It's a plot of land with a zombie hand and a daisy, with a crooked tombstone in the back. You place your phone on it, and slip the cord underneath the plot and your phone charges discreetly. LOVE IT!

  • OBEY t-shirt - From John Carpenter's They Live! This one immediately went to Dipper, who cut off the design and attached it to his leather jacket. (It looks awesome, by the way!)

  • Cleaver keychain - A hefty metal keychain. Sturdy and amusing tucked among your keys. Except I hung it on the bulletin board in my library.

  • Carrie Film Cell Bookmark - The iconic image of blood-covered Carrie makes up the majority of the bookmark. Above is a film cell. It's almost too cool to use.

  • Baby Eat You Alive - (I shit you not!) This item went immediately to Dipper. SO CREEPY! I'm not a fan of dolls to begin with, and this one was no exception. He kept it at work for a bit, but now it perches on top of the main bookcase in his living room. And it follows you around the room. Again, it bears saying, SO CREEPY!


I can't wait to see what the next Horror Block will bring, but it's due to come soon. It's literally like a little slice of Christmas every month. (Except everything in the box is awesome, either for me, or my brother.) I'll keep you up to date on the next block, and all other blocks thereafter! And if you're serious about horror, it bears repeating that you need this unique subscription.