Paranormal Anti-Romance, anyone? The Gloom Queen is coming soon!
The con is intended for fans and creators of dark fiction, dark fantasy, dark sci-fi…
…let’s be honest, “Dark Fantastic” sums it up quite well.
Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin is an exciting new novel in the Grimdark genre. Spectacular fight scenes, wonderful world-building, and an interesting plot all add up to a dark fantasy story you won’t want to miss!
The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.
When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?
If you’re looking for a quick, dark, well-writ-read, look no further. My sister in darkness, Carole Lanham (USA Today Bestselling author of The Reading Lessons) is re-releasing her awesome collection of short stories – The Whisper Jar.
The revised version of The Whisper Jar includes creepy pictures and a new cover which out-creepifies the old cover, and that is no small task.
The following is an excerpt from my original review:
The Whisper Jar blends dark and sometimes paranormal situations into the really-real everyday world with clever writing, an Edgar Allen Poe sensibility, and a splash of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. Carole Lanham writes in her own carefree but intuitive voice. Audiences will slip into these short stories as easily as they would a warm bath, only to be surprised at how quickly the waters deepen. Those looking for a variety of dark character studies, whimsical situations and disturbing relationship dynamics will enjoy The Whisper Jar.
Check out the full review here: Dark Fiction Review: The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham
The Whisper Jar is available on amazon.com in ebook format for only .99 so go check it out!
The Whisper Jar on Amazon (Affiliate Link – thanks for your support!)
Since 2003 I’ve been writing blog-reviews here about dark and beautiful things. I’ve used the category Ubercool to reference arts, artists, events and things that I think are glorious. And I never once worried that anyone would read them.
But now, my site traffic and ranking have increased to astonishing levels. My inbox is filled with requests for reviews and offers for paid advertising. You read that right. Paid. Advertising.
“You should have an award. You know, like a seal of approval!”
Ten years ago, I felt like the weird kid sitting by himself and reading Lovecraft while listening to Marilyn Manson. Now I feel like some kind of Dark Fiction Authority. The Goth Guru? The Hipster of Darkness? [Read more…]
You already knew that Minnesota was the coolest state on neither coast, but Zombie Pub Crawl (ZPC) is just one more reason why. On 13 Oct 2012, around 30,000 people dressed as zombies and painted the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul red. With fake blood.
The Zombie Pub Crawl is like Mardi Gras crossed with Halloween for adults. It’s a combination of several things:
Streets were blocked off, food trucks and portapotties set up along the block, bands and DJ’s blasted, and bars made a literal killing. Music acts included the Gin Blossoms, DMX, Exodus, The Sex Rays and more. A shuttle bus trucked loads of zombies back and forth between the two locations. August Shell Brewing Company, local brewers of Grain Belt Premium Beer and sponsors of ZPC, released a limited edition beer called Brain Belt Cranium just for the event. There was a giant slide, a gigantic inflatable zombie, and even a foam pit.
OK, so maybe it was the foam pit, but there is definitely a point where you realize something has gotten out of hand. Just ask Taylor Carik, who thought it would be fun for him and his handful of friends to theme out their annual pub crawl by dressing as zombies. Eight years later, the Zombie Pub Crawl has grown to “zombie apocalypse” proportions. Estimates are between 30,000 and 40,000 people attended. They should have no problem breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Largest Gathering of Zombies”. A recent interview with Taylor in the City Pages shows the level of planning needed to pull off an event of this magnitude.
Technically, you don’t HAVE to dress like a zombie for this event, but if you don’t, there are people who will find you and spray you down with fake blood. Or cover themselves with fake blood and hug you. Or drag you into the foam pit. (true story…) So at the very least, do not wear anything you care about. Some of the fake blood does not come out of cloth, and takes a while for the color to fade away on hair and skin. However, ZPC is a good way to get rid of unfitting, unfashionable or unwanted clothing. Shred em, douse them with fake blood, and you are in. Paint your face white, eyes black and lips blood red. Seriously, you cannot overdo the makeup.
It’s even better if you can theme your zombiness. Last year, I was a hit as a zombified “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski. This year, I was a dignified zombie steampunker with cane, tophat and monocle. I saw a Zombie Elvis, Paramedics, Police and Firemen. Even a zombie Spongebob Squarepants, if you can imagine such a thing. Lots of wedding dresses, and lots of people in cleansuits. I’ll point out that my mother dressed as a zombie bride back in Halloween 2007 and had talked about the idea for years before that, so I think it’s safe to give her some credit for the fashion trend. And sexy zombies are always in fashion. There was a gigantic zombie donkey that dubsteped through the crowd. A good costume or makeup will get you asked for lots of pix.
Anyone who’s been to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival can tell you – buy your tickets early. Pre-event tickets are cheaper and you bypass the line to buy tickets at the door. I heard that ZPC came close to selling out of tickets this year, and you definitely don’t want to get all dressed up only to get shunned at the gate.
You might want to grab a bite before heading down there too. The food trucks are an interesting combination of foody and spendy meaning you’ll pay a lot for very little.
One of the great things about ZPC is that it’s in Minnesota. People from Minnesota are joiners, and they are nice unless they are driving. They are especially nice when they dress as zombies, drink beer and listen to dubstep. So come, eat, drink, be bloody. Bring a camera. Take lots of pics and share them. Bring fake blood and apply liberally to yourself and others. It’s one of the few times it’s OK to spray bodily fluids on one another in public.
And never pass up the opportunity to start up the zombie chant:
What do we want? Braaains!
When do we want them? Braaains!
One reason this event has grown so large is simple – its fun for you and your friends to dress and act all silly, and people from Minneapolis aren’t likely to start a riot while they’re having fun. So no hatin’. Save all your ‘come at me bro’ for the country bars.
And do not drink and drive. Minnesota pays the state electric bill with all the fees they charge people for driving under the influence, so don’t do it.
Also, zombies are fairly unsanitary to say the least, so you might wanna bring some hand sanitizer. Just sayin.
In the winter, Buck Hill is a good place for skiing/snowboarding that’s not far from Minneapolis. But during October, it’s transformed into a community of horrific fun.
Frightmares at Buck Hill is not a haunted house. It is more like a haunted village. One admission fee ($20 Wed-Sat and $18 on Sundays) gets you a wristband that lets you stay as long as you like and you can keep going through the different attractions as many times as you want till they close at midnight. they stop selling tickets at 11, but you really will want to get there early so you have a chance to see everything. Lines for the attractions are all outdoors and can get quite long, so dress warm and give yourself plenty of time.
The chalet/bar has live music, dancing, food, and drinks. As we were told by our host “A Haunted House without alcohol is just a Museum.” There’s an outdoor stage where Kevin Hall runs down a series of fast-paced magic tricks. Bonfires and spooky lighting enhance the mood of the central courtyard area connecting all the events, and there are monsters that WILL try to sneak up on you. They love the screamers, so if you’re a screamer, be ever-watchful.
There are four primary attractions:
The only outdoor attraction, and my personal favorite. The Haunted Hollow starts with a ride on the “magic carpet” if you are familiar with skiing/snowboarding, the magic carpet is simply a conveyor belt that carries you up to the top of the hill. There were no scares on the way up, but once at the top, you are in for an anything-but-leisurely walk down to the bottom.
Lights, smoke, a corn maze and disturbing characters lie between you and the exit.
We were advised to hit this attraction first, to take advantage of the last bit of sunlight, and to avoid the chill of night. But then again, darkness would ramp up the intensity of this attraction.
This is your classic haunted house, and I mean that as a good thing. A quality scare, although I don’t remember anything specific about it except the end which I won’t give away, but you won’t want to miss it.
This attraction was originally created as an insane asylum, but unfortunately it burned down a mere three weeks ago. The organizers have done a marvelous job of rebuilding it, turning it into a series of dungeon laboratories and now called Inferno.
Come and explore THE INFERNO, where the gates of hell have been unleashed and the tortured souls of the past yearn to share their pain and fear with all who enter.
Doctors, laboratories and inmates behind bars – all the scariness of an insane asylum moved underground. Best part was trying to get through the operating room, where the doctor was persistent that I get on the table for some kind of transplant. I didn’t wait around to see exactly what he wanted to transplant…
This was a fun surprise, you get a pair of 3-D glasses when you enter. Once you are inside, the neon oranges, greens and pinks really turn the place into a cross between a 3-D movie and a Duran Duran video. There was a spinning tunnel I’d challenge anyone to try walking through it without using the handrails. Those who get motion sickness can simply close their eyes and use the handrails to get through.
Overall a cool effect, but it may not work as well for everyone. If 3-D movies give you a headache, you could certainly go through this without the glasses and still enjoy it.
Overall I give Frightmares at Buck Hill an A. They really have done a great job with the whole event. The entire event is PG-13, and overall scariness was around 7 out of 10. And it’s a great dollar value. Keep in mind that you can go through the attractions as many times as you want, so give yourself some extra time to stop off at the chalet for some pub grub and a glass of Mold, then go back and revisit your favorite scare.
I recommend groups of 2-4 people. If your group is larger, break it down into smaller groups and stay close together for a better experience as you go through the attractions. There is a group discount for groups over 20.
Keep the weather in mind. Although three of the four attractions are inside, the lines are all outside, and you could be standing there for a while.
Get there early. It wasn’t very busy when we first arrived around 8PM and there were hardly any lines at all. By the time we left at 10:30 the lines had grown to a reasonable size, and I’ll bet you could wait for an hour to get into some of the attractions at the peak times. I’d expect it to get more busy as word gets out and as we get closer to Halloween.
Frightmares at Buck Hill
15400 Buck Hill Rd
Burnsville, MN 55306
Zero here. If you caught Dark Shadows in theaters, then you already know it was good, Gothic fun. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp never fail to entertain. Darkly. The combo pack containing the Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copy versions was released on 2 October 2012, and Warner Brothers have graciously provided me with a promotional copy that I’m giving away to one lucky winner from my mailing list. See below for more details.
Here’s the press release:
Warner Bros. Pictures is proud to announce the release of Dark Shadows on DVD and Blu-Ray October 2nd 2012; along with the Dark Shadows Blog App!
From the incredible mind of Tim Burton comes the hit film Dark Shadows, based on the classic television series! Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) has been trapped for two centuries by an evil witch (Eva Green) who just happens to be an ex lover. Barnabas now has to struggle with the ever changing 1970s and save his families business! With an all star cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller and more, Dark Shadows will be sure to whet your appetite for fun.
If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Dark Shadows, simply sign up for the cult of zero mailing list by October 14, 2012. Winner will be selected at random and notified by e-mail. Winner must provide their mailing address within 48 hours or the prize will be forfeit and another winner will be chosen. The prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS. No P.O. Boxes please.
Meanwhile, have fun with the quiz/app below that gives you access to the trailer and some fun clips from the movie. Take the “Are You Creepy Enough?” quiz, try your hand at the Barnabas’ Terror Trivia, or get your own Hauntified Horoscope.
Take Up Productions has put together a series of classic Japanese Horror Movies to be shown as the Trylon in MN Mondays and Tuesdays through the month of October 2012.
Imagine a cross between the action of Fight Club, the mystery of recent Sherlock Holmes films, a splash of horror a’la Seven, the darkness of The Crow, and maybe a dash of paranoia from Angel Heart or Jacob’s Ladder…
I know, you can’t really imagine such a thing. So stop stretching your imagination and go see The Raven starring John Cusack as the enigmatic granddaddy of all horror authors, Edgar Allan Poe.
I haven’t seen a bad John Cusack film yet, and he continues to impress even though he still looks, sounds and acts like John Cusack, and you half expect him to whip out a boom box and hold it overhead like he did in Say Anything (1989). All the same, he does a great job as Edgar Allan Poe…that is to say, a drunken lush of an author-slash-suffering-artiste.
The sound was wonderfully loud and clear. I usually make mental notes about the score/soundtrack throughout movies, but The Raven kept me so engaged that I never had time to notice the music. Obviously, this is a good thing, because bad background music will pull me right straight out of most films, and that didn’t happen here. Till the end credits anyway, see below.
The horror that occurs in The Raven is the top-shelf psychological stuff crossed with enough really-real gore to set a disturbing mood and enough mystery and mind-screwingly, insidious, underlying darkenss to keep you biting your nails right up until the end.
You needn’t be well-versed in the works of Edgar Allen Poe to appreciate this film. I doubt there’s any historical accuracy in this, but it’s a good primer of Poe’s stories for those who don’t know much about them. Many of his classics come up throughout the movie, wonderfully woven into the actual plot by a serial killer who murders his victims in the method of Poe’s writings: The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, (which I’ve been apparently pronouncing wrong all these years), Murders in the Rue Morgue, Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Raven of course…
Don’t try to solve the mystery. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you there aren’t enough clues shown in The Raven for you to solve it. In fact, I’m saving you the trouble. Just keeping up with the plot will keep you busy. Actually, the film attempts to duplicate the hectic pacing and feel of the recent series of Sherlock Holmes films, with limited success.
The denouement seemed like a “we’re about to run out of film!” rush-job. While it provided ample closure after a marginal climax, it would have done better as a cookie; a bonus feature shown after the movie credits.
At the very start of the end credits there was some annoying music and some metallic-animated-thing that that was so utterly bizarre that if it didn’t actually say “The Raven” in it, I’d swear the projectionist screwed up the reels. My guess is that someone got a new After Effects Plugin. It belonged in a music video behind a Tool song remixed into dubstep. Whatever it was, it did not belong in this movie.
If you like your fiction as dark as your coffee, and if you enjoy John Cusack, then you owe it to yourself to check out The Raven while it’s still in theaters.