Goth Chick News: Comics, Cosplay and Speed Dating — ComicCon Swings Into Chicago

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Cosplay at Chicago ComicCon 2015 3-smallFor one glorious weekend each summer, Chicago stops being The Windy City and instead becomes Metropolis. The urban crime rate takes a giddy plunge, not for lack of playing host to some fairly spectacular villains, but likely because the bad guys are too busy comparing breathable fabrics with their super hero arch-enemies.

Yes it’s August – ComicCon time in the city…

Wizard World Chicago, commonly known as the Chicago ComicCon, is the annual bacchanalia of pop culture held at the fairly ginormous Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near O’Hare airport. The four day event is among the largest comic book convention in the United States, in third place for overall attendance behind only the New York ComicCon, and the granddaddy of all entertainment cons; ComicCon International in San Diego.

Chicago ComicCon consumed nearly the entire 840,000 sq/ft facility and though at this time, attendance numbers for the 2015 event have not been officially stated, local media estimates the participants at well over 100,000.

Originally showcasing comic books and related popular arts, the convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture elements, such as professional wrestling, science fiction/fantasy, film/television, horror and animation.

In addition to an impressive array of vendors, ComicCon played host to a large, daily offering of programming and events such as, “Advanced Costuming and Armor,” “Costumes + Playing = Cosplay,” and “Legal Basics for Game Developers.”

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Goth Chick News: New (Horror) Treasures – Star Wars Screenwriter Gives Us an Abomination

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Abomination by Gary Whitta-smallBy anyone’s standards, writer Gary Whitta is having one heck of a good time.

Whitta was best known (at least until now) for his original screenplay for The Book of Eli, the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Denzel Washington and as the co-writer for the Will Smith sci-fi movie After Earth.

Clearly no one held him personally responsible for the outcome of that last bit, which is why he went on to spend a year knocking out a draft screenplay for the upcoming Star Wars standalone film Rogue One, which will be released in December, 2016; a project with which he amicably parted ways in January to move onto the movie adaptation of the Mark Millar comic Starlight for 20th Century Fox.

Somewhere along the line, Whitta had the time and creative energy to finish his first novel, Abomination – released on July 30th. And though his screen work has been straight up fantasy/science fiction, Whitta did significant historical research for his freshman literary outing, with pretty spectacular results.

Abomination takes us back in time as King Alfred the Great desperately tries to bulwark his kingdom from invading Viking forces. Desperate for a solution, he turns to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has uncovered an ancient secret in the form of a dark magic that could help turn the tide in England’s favor. Nothing comes without a price, though, and soon the Archbishop is driven mad with power, corrupted by the very forces intended to save the kingdom. With an insane priest on the loose, Alfred must turn to his bravest warrior, the knight Sir Wulfric, in order to put an end to the Archbishop’s insanity before it’s too late.

The period in which the book is set, 888 A.D., actually saw a significant drop in written recordings of events. It is that gap in history that lends itself to much speculation, which Whitta takes full advantage of in his story; claiming that those who witnessed its inconceivable horrors purposely concealed the truth from future generations.

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Goth Chick News: It’s Halloween in July

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Chicago Frights-smallIf you recall, a verbal thrashing from Editor and Big Cheese John O’Neill, resulted in we here at Goth Chick News publishing a thorough accounting of our whereabouts throughout the year. The purpose being less about flaunting the enviable circles Black Gate photog Chris Z and I roll in (i.e Days of the Dead and Walker Stalker Con) and more about attempting to squeeze some additional expense account funds out of the boss.

That strategy went about how you would expect.

What we didn’t expect was additional invitations to some new events celebrating their inaugural year here in the Windy City. And since the invitations were local, we’ll be able to further stretch the Black Gate expense account which basically consists of some Starbucks gift cards tossed during the St. Patrick’s Day parade and several hundred game play tokens from Dave and Busters.

Haunted attraction industry icon and all around nice guy Leonard Pickel, launched a new haunts and Halloween conference here in Chicago, called Chicago Frights, which Chris Z and I had the pleasure of perusing this last weekend.

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Goth Chick News: Checking In at the Hotel Transylvania

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Hotel Transylvania TV-smallIf only this place really existed, I would never again suffer a Black Gate company road trip, trapped in a zeppelin with a load of less-than-hygienic fan boys, but instead would be enjoying my suite in the goth girl’s equivalent of the Four Seasons.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, my all-time favorite animated film Hotel Transylvania will be coming to the small screen, courtesy of Canadian company Nelvana Enterprises.

Debuting in early 2017 (venue pending), the series will focus on Mavis, the daughter of Dracula, expanding on her teenage years and her friends at the world-famous monster five-star resort.

News of the TV adaptation comes ahead of the sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 hitting theaters this fall, on September 25.

And speaking of the sequel…

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Goth Chick News: Not All Marketing Immediately Shines

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

saul-bass-the-shining-film-poster-3-small saul-bass-the-shining-film-poster-2-small saul-bass-the-shining-film-poster-1-small

It is an amazing time to be a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s body of work, and in my case, specifically a fan of The Shining.

Thirty-five years ago in May, The Shining debuted in US theaters and redefined the term “psychological horror.” Kubrick, the film’s director, was already an unparalleled auteur due to his previous work that included 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange.

2015 has seen a wealth of previously unpublished information about Kubrick and his work, including Centipede Press’s massive 752-page compendium, The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film and the currently-touring Stanley Kubrick exhibition.

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Goth Chick News: Logan Returns – In a Big Way

Thursday, June 25th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Logans Run Centipede Press-smallLong before the dystopias inhabited by Peeta and Katnis, or Tris and Four, there was life under the domes with Logan 3 and Jessica 6.

Originally published in 1967, Logan’s Run is a classic science fiction novel that has rarely been out of print in the subsequent years. It has also been a movie (and about to be a remake), a television show, several iterations of comics, music and even a computer game.

In the world of 2116, a person’s maximum age is strictly legislated: twenty one years, to the day. When people reach this “Lastday” they report to a “Sleepshop” in which they are willingly executed via a pleasure-inducing toxic gas. A person’s age is revealed by their palm flower crystal embedded in the palm of their right hand that changes color every seven years, yellow (age 0-6), then blue (age 7-13), then red (age 14-20), then blinks red and black on “Lastday”, and finally turns black at 21. The story follows the actions of Logan, a Sandman charged with enforcing the rule, as he tracks down and kills citizens who run from society’s lethal demand, only to end up running himself.

Logan’s Run has been one of my favorite books since I first discovered a dog-eared paperback at a library book sale in high school. Since then I’ve never not had a copy on my shelf and periodically go back to reread it – the story never ceases to entertain.

That is why I could not have been more excited a couple months back to learn about a new edition distributed by Centipede Press. I nearly burned up my keyboard preordering a copy.

This new edition of Logan’s Run features striking dustjacket art, and over a dozen full page and spot black & white interiors, by artists Jim and Ruth Keegan. It has a new introduction by Jason V Brock, two bonus stories in Logan’s Return and The Thunder Gods, a gallery of old editions of the novel, excerpts from the original manuscript, and a few images from William F. Nolan’s personal notebook.

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Goth Chick News: 31 Shades of Malcolm McDowell

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

31 A Rob Zombie Film-smallYou know how some people talk about seeing something that scarred them for life?

I mean really scarred – like way worse than any episode of My Strange Addiction, or “casual Friday” in the Black Gate offices in July.

This happened for me in my early teens when during a sleepover, my friend snagged her Dad’s secret, “unrated” copy of Malcolm McDowell in Caligula.

Though I’ve seen things since that could be categorized as “more disturbing,” nothing has come close to those vomit-inducing scenes burned into my 14 year old retinas.

Of course, as you probably guessed, in the coming years I got seriously busy seeking out every bit of cinema that McDowell had ever done and eventually found my way to Cat People and A Clockwork Orange. If you only know McDowell from Star Trek or Entourage, you definitely need to check out his earlier work.

It takes a special talent evoke an audience’s gag reflex with that much panache.

So it really came as no surprise that today, Rob Zombie’s Facebook page made the following announcement.

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Goth Chick News: The Pizza Delivery Box of Horror

Thursday, June 11th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box-smallThe last place in the world I expected to find something interesting to tell you about this week is on the website Business Insider.

Like the rest of the staff here at Black Gate, I have a day job. Because as BG boss John is fond of reminding us, it is the palatial offices or a salary – we can’t have both.

So when existing in the very separate, cube-dwelling portion of my career, I am obligated to read about topics that would never darken the stairwell of the underground bunker of Goth Chick News from riveting sources like the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business and yes, Business Insider.

So imagine my amazement when my two worlds collided.

Business Insider reports this week that Pizza Hut, coming to the earth-shattering conclusion that pizza and movie nights sort of go together, is releasing their new Blockbuster Box; a way to combine food with entertainment in one package.

Here’s how it works: You order your pizza and it comes in one of four themed boxes. There’s the horror-filled “Slice Night,” “Anchovy Armageddon” for sci-fi fans, “Hot & Ready” for the romance lovers, and the action-packed “Fully Loaded.” When you get your box, you pop out a hole in the front, insert the provided lens, scan a QR code on the box to load the movie, and then put your phone on a stand inside the box to blow it up on your wall.

Right off the bat you can guess at the issues with this concept, but then again – “Slice Night”?  How could you not fall in love with that?

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Goth Chick News: Sometimes There Just Are No Words…

Thursday, June 4th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

If you can’t remember the last time you were left slack-jawed and speechless then get ready.

Today is your day.

Steve Ramsdan is a London based filmmaker, editor and all around “behind the camera” sort of genius. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of him until today, when I looked up his IMBD profile after someone sent me this.

Apparently he admired how Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick framed their shots in a similar way, and just got to wondering, “What if..?”

Go ahead – take a look…

Well? Do you agree? Genius?

Post a comment or drop a line to, which goes for all of you except those who CAN remember the last time they were left slack-jawed and speechless – we really don’t need those details (you know who you are).

Goth Chick News: World War Z Rages On…

Thursday, May 28th, 2015 | Posted by Sue Granquist

World War Z poster-smallIt definitely would have been a very good scoop to have landed back at C2E2. Then again, I might have been too busy having a fan girl swoon to have caught on anyway.

Earlier this month I had the chance to chat with Max Brooks, author of one of my favorite novels, World War Z. At the time I pressed him as much as I dared on the topic of a sequel as it seemed to be a rather touchy subject. Brooks stated he’d do it when the spirit moved him to and not a moment before.

This week I learned two things – first, something has definitely moved Brooks, and second, a possible reason why the topic of a follow up story might have been a tad touchy at the time I asked about it.

Paramount Pictures has just set a release date for the sequel to World War Z, effectively ending speculation, and Max Brooks is on board as one of the writers.

Granted, we’ve been hearing rumors about this for some time. In spite of the original production being plagued by so many problems it came close to being scrapped, World War Z ultimately became a blockbuster hit ($540M worldwide) and is in fact considered the highest grossing film in Brad Pitt’s career.

As Pitt not only starred in but produced the original film via his Plan B production company, it seemed inevitable that Paramount would green light a follow up at some point.

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