Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pumpking Ale

Now, I'm no expert in the world of beer and ale. More of a wine person here, I do have to admit that I like my ale on the dark and rich side. And being that I have never met a pumpkin product I didn't like, I could not wait this year to try my first pumpkin ale.

Pumking by the Southern Tier Brewing Company may have spoiled me for all other pumpkin ales. Rich and dark, it smells and-- more importantly-- tastes like fall. I could describe the dark, dusky ale taste that is smoothly followed by the blossoming taste of pumpkin, as full of flavor as a homemade pumpkin pie. But that would not be doing this drink justice. To me, it tasted like the sun setting on a bright, breezy autumn day, cool orange leaves following from their branches on a tree, and the soft, firey flicker of a jack o'lantern's candle beginning to light the coming night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stoker descendant pens sequel

If Ron Chaney's new film effort is enough to get horror film fans excited, the upcoming release of "Dracula The Un-Dead," the first official literary sequel to Bram Stoker's literary masterpiece, should do even more for fans of the literary persuasion. Written by a great-grand nephew of Bram's , Dacre Stoker, and Ian Holt, the novel will be released on October 13, 2009. Sadly true, the literary market today is overcrowded with vampire novels-- not all of them quality. However, "Dracula The Un-Dead" has much more going for it than just the Stoker family name; we have a fictionalized character of Bram himself involved with the descendants and proteges of his characters we all know and love.

Here is a description from the novel's website:

"Dracula The Un-Dead is a bone-chilling sequel based on Bram Stoker's own handwritten notes for characters and plot threads excised from the original edition. Written with the blessing and cooperation of Stoker family members, Dracula The Un-Dead begins in 1912, twenty-five years after Dracula "crumbled into dust." Van Helsing's protégé, Dr. Jack Seward, is now a disgraced morphine addict obsessed with stamping out evil across Europe. Meanwhile, an unknowing Quincey Harker, the grown son of Jonathan and Mina, leaves law school for the London stage, only to stumble upon the troubled production of "Dracula," directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Raven's Blight

Today I thought I would write about Raven’s Blight (, Ray O’Bannon’s wonderfully creepy site full of images, games and, yes, paper toys. His art is wonderfully spooky, and the cut out toys—figures, games and displays—are available to download free of charge for you to put together on your own.

Here is his “Count Yargle” I spent a few minutes yesterday afternoon assembling. Even though he appears in black and white (the downside of not having a color printer at the office), he brings a certain festive charm to my office desk.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Poe: Last Days of the Raven

Edgar has always been a friend of mine. When I was in grammar school, I poured through his stories-- black cats and paranoia and murder and mystery and being buried alive. And as I grew, I discovered his deeply personal poetry. The sense of companionship I find with his work, his sympathy for those who, like him, have a demon in their view, is a comfort I have found in no other writer.

So. I am always worried when filming his work is attempted. Unholy sorry excuses for film that seek to capitalize off of his name have, sadly, become commonplace, as we most recently saw with Ulli Lommel's 2006, for lack of a better word, film. However, this offering has much promise.

"Poe: Last Days of the Raven" is Brent Fidler's 26 year labor of love about what is arguably the most controversial days of the writer's life. What began as a one man play, Fidler directs, writes and stars. The film is already available for purchase on his website for $19.99, where you can also read about Fidler's personal connection to Poe and view some very smart looking stills.

On October 29 at 9PM ET / 7PM PT, the film will air on the Bravo Network in Canada. No official word from Bravo on whether the airing will also take place here in the States. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What once was old...

I came across this film trailer today, rather unexpectedly. It appears we have a brand new vintage style black and white horror film in theaters October 1. "House of the Wolf Man" stars Lon Chaney Jr.'s grandson Ron. What more could anyone ask for?
Watch Ron talk about the film, his role and the books he is in the process of writing about his grandfather here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Double, double, toil and lead?

On my first trip to one of our area's newly opened Spirit stores, I found this rather appealing broom discounted to $9.99. Upon taking my bevy of purchases to the register, the young man behind the counter, who was already annoyed at the props and decorations that customers kept setting off, asked me, "How bad do you want the broom?"

Very much, I replied.

"There's lead in it. Lead paint."

And I told him that was fine, and decided I could easily incorporate it into the outdoor decor.

Spirit has a similar broom on their website, but there is no mention of the lead. My receipt did say that it was a "LEAD DISCARD."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has some facts about the dangers of lead, and lead paint in particular. It would appear that as long as my broom is not peeling, chipping or chalking, I can use it as long as my trick or treaters don't attempt to touch and/or it.

For all the strangeness about lead, I still love this broom and its rustic, natural look.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Film Review: "Death of a Ghost Hunter"

Add "Death of a Ghost Hunter" to your list of required viewing this Halloween if you enjoy a good ghost story. This little film had slipped under the film world's collective radar, but is now beginning to enjoy quite the sleeper hit following. Building off the popularity of ghost hunting reality TV shows such as "Ghost Hunters" of the last several years, "Death of a Ghost Hunter"is a very well put together, albeit low budget, film.

Carter Simms (played by Patti Tindall,) a renowned ghost hunter, if offered money to investigate a home in which a family was murdered nearly twenty years before, along with a provided technician, journalist and member of the church where the quite religious deceased family attended. Carter is the only professional hunter in the group, which provides, while she is explaining her craft to these other characters, for a rather interesting and sensible explanation into the science of ghost hunting. What ensues in this film under the guise of a documentary (in the tradition of "The Blair Witch Project") is an often delightfully wicked, subtle and sometimes not so subtle exploration of this allegedly haunted house.

Mike Marsh and Sean Tretta's script is literate, funny, disturbing, tight and full of possibilities; a rarity in much of today's horror film. The opening scene is jarring and disturbing, featuring glimpses of the family's murder. In an abrupt change in tone that actually works, we are soon taken into Carter and her crew setting up their ghost hunting shop at the house. From then on the viewer is in for an intriguingly original take on the ghost story. The film walks-- and rarely stumbles--along the fine line between subtle and gory horror, though whne the filom does divert into overt gore, the narrative never rests there long, as the film is fully aware that its power to frighten lies more in the possibilities surrounding the story.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spirit Store Locator Up and Running!

We still have not yet passed Labor Day and I have yet to see one officially open around me, but Spirit's Store Locator is now up and running. You can search your zip code and find out where Spirit Stores will be opening by you.