Ooh, here’s a lovely idea to help while away the time until Halloween: Start a book club oriented around gothic books.
A club can consist of local people who periodically meet to discuss a book, an online forum where members can post discussion and comments, or some combination of the two. A local group has the advantage of real-time conversation (which, for a small number of people, could also be done online with Skype), more incentive to actually read the latest book, a convivial atmosphere (with snacks!), and an excuse to get out of the house occasionally. An online club is great for geographically-diverse groups or for people with busy schedules who may not be able to carve out time to meet on a regular basis.
Real Simple and LitLovers have some useful tips for organizing a book club in meatspace, and many of the suggestions (such as choosing a theme) are applicable for virtual clubs as well. For an online club, you’ll need a discussion tool: A blog (free at hosts like WordPress), a forum (like ProBoards), or a group (such as Yahoo Groups, Google Hangouts, or Facebook). Goodreads has a group feature that’s oriented toward book discussion, and there’s a site called BooksterClub which seems to specialize in online book clubs.
Once you’ve organized the club, it’s time to select books. You can either focus on a specific subgenre–for instance, Goth Shopaholic has 12 months’ worth of suggestions for “Goth, Horror and Dark” biographies–or consider a theme like “Gothic” (vintage or modern), Classic Horror, or the works of a particular author.
If you’ve regretted not setting aside more time for reading, joining a book club is great motivation. If it’s a gothic book club, well, so much the better.
The Discworld is balanced atop four elephants, who in turn balance atop Great A’Tuin the giant star turtle. Which of these is NOT one of the names of the elephants?
B) Great T’Phon
D) Cori Celesti
In 1982 Tim Burton wrote and directed an animated short film which was a tribute to an actor who served as a lifelong idol and inspiration for Burton. The actor in question also narrated the film. Name it.
Ed Wood, affectionately known as the worst director of all time, began his moviemaking career with this 1953 film (in which Bela Lugosi served as the narrator):
A) Glen or Glenda
B) Bride of the Monster
C) Plan 9 from Outer Space
D) Night of the Ghouls
E) Jail Bait
An enduring maritime mystery involves the fate of this ship, which left New York in November 1872 and was found floating deserted off the Azores Islands a month later. It inspired a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle entitled “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement,” which did much to encourage paranormal myths about what was most likely an unfortunate case of a panicked crew abandoning ship after mistakenly believing it was about to sink.
In TV’s Bewitched Samantha’s mother is named Endora, a reference to the Biblical Witch of Endor who was consulted by which Israelite king?
Ray Parker, Jr. was sued over the “Ghostbusters” theme song by this popular 80s band, who claimed it was plagiarized from one of their previous hits.
Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October follows various Victorian gothic archetypal characters as they fight to keep the Great Old Ones from coming through a portal on Halloween. The title is taken from a line in which poem by Edgar Allan Poe?
A) “The Bells”
D) “Annabel Lee”
E) “The Raven”
In the Resident Evil series of video games, the mutated monsters and zombies roaming around were originally created by the release of the T-virus, a biological weapon created by this corporation.
The TV series Supernatural began with a “monster of the week” format in which brothers Sam and Dean Winchester encountered a different supernatural being in every episode. What creature did they fight in the series pilot?
A) Woman in White
B) Hook Man
D) Bloody Mary
At the end of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, the Baker “softly and suddenly vanished away” because the Snark was actually what?
This concludes yet another Link Dump Extended Dance Remix. Regular posting (and once-a-week Link Dumps) return Monday.
Creepy Rabbit Mask – This spooky thing is the work of artist Nymla, who sells masks in her Etsy shop. As somebody commented in the Reddit thread about this, “I want to chase after boy scouts on their camping trips while wearing this.”
French Perfume Maker Bottles Scent of the Departed – For one brief moment I thought this somehow involved cremated remains and wondered, “How does that work?” but the truth is both more prosaic and weirder. This company claims that it can extract the unique scent of a departed loved one and turn it into a perfume. (Hat tip to pdq)
Be Witching – Odd little pen-and-paper game in which you compete to become Witchqueen of the ball.
Edison’s Talking Dolls – In 1890, Thomas Edison used miniature phonographs to create talking dolls. Some of their recordings have been recently digitized, and they are creepy as all get-out. Commenter Janice points out that these would make excellent ringtones.
Button Clock – This simple DIY clock is made from a round cookie-tin lid and mismatched buttons. If, like me, you have a stash of Halloween-themed buttons, this would be a great way to display a few of them.
Synthesis – Attractive cyberpunk-themed deck of playing cards.
Unicorn Hoof Boots – For the creepiest cosplay you ever imagined. The same Etsy seller has several other hoof styles too.
21 Grams – Designer dildo containing the ashes of a loved one. Something something le petit mort something….
Eruption of Vesuvius – A video reconstruction of the eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.
AtmosFEAR – Creators of neat “digital decorations” that let you make a TV or computer monitor look like a morphing portrait, a window with spooky things on the other side, a haunted fireplace, and several other effects.
Black Angel is a short fantasy film which is semi-legendary among Star Wars fans; it was shown in theaters in Europe and Australia before The Empire Strikes Back, and was directed by ESB art director Roger Christian. It’s also got something of a following amongst fans of 80s sword-and-sorcery movies, because it was hugely influential on the look-and-feel of films like Legend and Excalibur. The film was also notable because it pioneered “step-printing,” a method of slowing down action scenes, which was used for the lightsaber duel in ESB.
The film was lost soon after its theatrical run and was presumed gone forever, but a print was recently discovered at Universal Studios. It’s been digitized and is being made available on YouTube until the end of this month.
Here’s the press release:
Black Angel, the short film attached to initial screenings of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, is to be made available for free on YouTube until the end of May 2015. It will be released on Tuesday, 12th May, accompanied by an exclusive introduction from director Roger Christian. A crucial part of the Star Wars legacy, Black Angel was commissioned by George Lucas, who chose it to accompany Empire in Europe and Australia. The 25-minute film was produced on a budget of £25,000, given to Christian by an Eady Scheme fund from the UK government.
An epic fantasy adventure, the script follows a knight (Tony Vogel) who returns from the Crusades, only to be transported to a fantasy world to rescue a princess from the clutches of a dark and mysterious character. Shot in the Scottish Highlands, the film highlights the beauty and majesty of the location. It was loved by fans and industry tastemakers the world over, with Steven Spielberg describing it as ‘one of the most enigmatic films I’ve ever seen.’
Following its release, all copies of the film were lost for over 30 years. That is, until December 2011, when an archivist at Universal Studios came across the negative. The prints had ended up in the US after the collapse of the UK studio Rank, which had stored the prints along with other film negatives in WWII bunkers. The film was restored frame by frame by a visual effects company, before having its ‘re-premiere’ in October 2013 as the closing film of the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival. It was also screened at the Glasgow Film Festival in Scotland and released on iTunes in early 2014, where it quickly ranked as ‘#1 short film.’
Christian won an Academy Award for Art Direction for his work on the original Star Wars movie. He was also nominated for the same award for his work on Alien. Christian is widely acknowledged as a key part of the ‘Star Wars family’ of writers, directors, cinematographers and crew who have been involved in the billion-dollar franchise since day one. Black Angel was his directorial debut
And here’s the full movie. Ain’t technology grand?