Monday, December 31, 2012

Film review: Excision

I'm not sure how to begin speaking about EXCISION, except to say that I can't remember the last time I was this touched and impressed by a horror film. "Touching" is not a word one can often use when it comes to this genre, which isn't to say that we don't connect to the characters in these films. We often do, at least if they're written, developed and portrayed well. This film is different than the usual fare, though.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book review: The Dead and the Gone

If you enjoy books that leave you with a certain feeling... heart-wrenching despair? Just this side of utter hopelessness? A hollow, depressing fear of the future? Boy have I got a series for you!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Horror Comic Awards

I just discovered this, so forgive the last-minute nature of it all but is taking votes for their Horror Comics Awards over the next couple days. Even if you're not that up to date on your horror comics (like *ahem* you'll still see some familiar titles like THE WALKING DEAD, LOCKE & KEY and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. You do need to register for an account in order to vote, a minor hassle but not a huge deal.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Invasion of the End of Year Lists

It's that time of year where millions of "Best Of..." lists scatter across the vast wasteland that is the internet.

For many of my friends, that means compiling lists of their favorite albums of the year. While music is like oxygen to me, I have never done this. For one thing, I don't keep up on current music. My other issue is that I'm not an "album" listener. I prefer my playlists to be made up of a variety of individual songs played in no special order at all. The age of on-demand streaming music is a good time to be alive if you're like me.

I also don't make any sort of BEST HORROR OF WHATEVER YEAR THIS IS list because frankly, I don't get to see most of the movies that come out during a given year. I wait for the sites I follow to make their lists, then I embark on a quest to find any that sound good to me. It's gotten a little easier to find new horror movies within my library system over the years, so some are ordered through interlibrary loan, others I find on Netflix and the rest are put on a shelf until they otherwise make themselves available to me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Vampire Slayer Update

Remember when I said I was going to drink the hell out of this Imperial Stout?

Totally did. That's the very bottle I bought. 
And... that's my tablecloth. It has skulls on it.

It's delicious (the beer, not the tablecloth) and every bit of 
"Mmmm... itsss good" that I hoped it would be.

I'll have some new entries coming up soon, you know how this holiday mess goes. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Buffy vs. The Mayans

Like It's 1999

Happy Mayan Apocalypse Friday!

As I discussed when reviewing THE DIVIDE, I have a profound fascination with apocalypses thanks to all the nightmares I've had over my life. But worry not, your Librarian of the Dead is not one who believes the Mayan-zombie-comet-flaming-Planet X apocalypse is really happening. I am wary of tomorrow, but more because I'm afraid of what other people with fewer critical thinking skills might do. It's something horror has taught me: Be more afraid of other people than the monsters.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Claw

Have you ever played video games for so long, you get "the claw"? Your fingers curl in, perhaps your thumbs begin to blister. I've given myself "knitting claw." Next time I think it's a fantastic idea to knit some of my CRYPT-mas presents, I'm going to start in June.

Seriously, I've been working myself to the BONE. I've been in a caffeine-and-Star-Trek-TNG-fueled knitting whirlwind for a couple weeks. I am DEAD tired and ready to TERROR my hair out. I wish I could bribe Santy CLAWS and the BRAIN-deer that pull his SLAY to do my work for me, if only they were real. In fact, I--

Alright, alright, I'll stop, don't hurt me. I do love a good Crypt Keeper pun though, so here's some fun to be had before the weekend:

Crypt Keeper Pun Time
Crypt Keeper Tumblr
Crypt Keeper via Comic Vine

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A new weapon against the undead...

I had never heard of Clown Shoes up until last week, while having lunch at a restaurant near work. I was prepared to go with a bottle of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale because it's a current favorite, but I like trying new beers so I took a chance on their draft of Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp, which is a Belgian IPA. I felt pretty safe with that, I like IPA's, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Since I can't help but start researching things (how I ever got along without a web-enabled smart phone is a mystery) I looked up the brewery on RateBeer's app and my jaw dropped:

They have a beer. Called "Vampire Slayer". And I have not drunk it yet.
Truth be told, my palate isn't quite sophisticated enough for imperial stouts. Yet. It's a little intimidating, but I have to try this beer. I'm making it my mission to track it down soon. Merry Christmas to me, indeed. 

I'm sorry to say I won't be reviewing it, but I don't think I have much talent for reviewing beers. I'm much more in the "Mmmm.... itsss goood" camp when it comes to that. But if you want to see some reviews, I'd recommend RateBeer's Vampire Slayer page. Plus, if you click on "Locate Sellers" on the right hand side you can find someplace to purchase it from. Dear Binny's in Arlington Heights, we have a date with destiny approaching. Hearts, me.

Clown Shoes Beer from Ipswich, Massachusetts
Try RateBeer or Beer Advocate for your boozy researching needs
Or Untappd to feel your boozing is accomplishing something. I'm there (rachelsstorm)!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Film review: Rec 3: Genesis

The first [REC] is one of the best horror films to come out in the past few years. I was completely unprepared the first time I watched it and, as a result, terrified. I couldn't look out my windows, I didn't want to sleep. It was so well done, so perfectly claustrophobic and realistic that I couldn't turn off that little panic switch in my head.

Before seeing it for myself, I had heard that REC 3 was not like the other two films that came before it, but wanted to give it a chance. Unfortunately the person who told me that was right, it's a different zombie movie altogether.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book review: The Devil I Know

"It is possible to live in the logical world and the spiritual. The two are not mutually exclusive."
 - Jackie Barrett, "The Devil I Know"

If you plan on reading THE DEVIL I KNOW, you're going to need an open mind. I'm talking wide open, stretched to the max, maybe with something like those metal fasteners they held Alex's eyes open with in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. You'd better be ready for a heavy dose of spirit communication, ritual, astral projection, demons, exorcism and all manner of spiritual manifestations. And that's aside from Ronnie DeFeo's psychosis, which is its own kettle of crazy fish. I consider myself pretty open-minded and even I found a few things tough to swallow.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Is it over yet?

Hold back your shock, but I'm not really into Christmas. I don't even decorate. I can't stand holiday music. I do the family thing, I do the presents thing, I appreciate friends and family who send cards. I have my own little batch of Christmas movies that I may or may not toss on near the... what is it, the 25th? But overall I don't get very much out of the holiday itself, and like many people the world over, I often find it a very stressful time of year. 

With the stress, and the business of preparing for the holiday, it's been a little more difficult to keep up with blog posts, but I'm chugging right through, looking forward to that light at the end of the tunnel that is 2013. I've got a lot in mind for this next year, so here's to gaining a little momentum out of the ashes of 2012.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Horror Marathon: Snow Edition

Chicagoland gets its share of wintery weather, and then some. The icy winds, the lake effect snow, the inevitable Hoth jokes. The cold doesn't get to me, but I despise ice and snow unless I'm housebound. This year we've had an extremely mild winter so far which I am delighted about. But what I do love is the effect all that cold, wet, frozen stuff has in a horror movie. As part of my December vacation I decided to have a marathon of snowy terror in lieu of the real thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Central Burying Ground (Boston, MA)

I've been a little slow on the posts this week, I'm taking some of my last vacation of the year and that means my mind is occupied by some other at-home projects. One of those tasks involved getting some old files off a laptop from two replacements ago. Luckily they were perfect to talk about here.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Boston, and although I was very sick at the time and didn't have much money to travel I couldn't pass up that kind of chance. Back in college when I was preparing a thesis paper on the value of cemeteries (go on and try to act surprised) my adviser rightfully suggested that I make time someday to visit two places: Boston and New Orleans. Reason being, their cemeteries are unique and in a word, amazing. So off to Boston I went.

I have many photographs from that trip that I'd love to share here over time, but for today I just have a few from the first cemetery I visited while there, the Central Burying Ground.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homespun Threads now on Amazon!

The eBook I mentioned on Friday is now available on Amazon as a Kindle version! Click here to check it out!

If you do happen to buy the book, please leave a review of it somewhere-- either on Amazon, or if you're on Goodreads or some other book website that you prefer. We'd all appreciate it! It will help promote and encourage other people to buy the eBook as well. Remember, this is to help support children's theatre!

LORDS OF SALEM also released as a book!

I recently wrote about the upcoming LORDS OF SALEM film coming from Rob Zombie-- turns out he's also publishing the story as a book, to come out a month earlier than the film! The book is set for March 12, while the movie will be out April 26th. I really like this approach, he says the book and film will complement each other and I'm interested to see how.

Rob Zombie's "LORDS OF SALEM" has a release date; book details via Fangoria

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Days of the Dead @ Ax Wound Zine Blog!

I've got an article up on Ax Wound Zine's Blog about the evening I spent at Days of the Dead Chicago this past November. It was a fun little horror fest out in the northwest suburbs, my neck of the Chicagoland woods, and they had a great panel with the three leading ladies of ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. As you may or may not recall, two of the three are horror actresses as well. See the article for more info!

I was very lucky when years ago, I stumbled across Ax Wound and "met" Hannah Neurotica, its founder. The zine focuses on exploring gender, sex and sexuality in the horror genre which was right up my alley. Gender and media studies almost became my unofficial second major in college I loved it so much. Hannah's amazing, and she has some fantastic people working with her that are just as passionate about the genre as she is. I've written for Ax Wound a few times over the years, never as much as I'd have liked to. Even if you don't go to read my piece, check out the website and grab a copy of the zine. If you love horror and want some brain-stimulation it's a must!

More about Hannah Neurotica

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters...

...I said it three times, did that work?

If you keep even half an ear on the film world I'm sure you've heard about all the back-and-forth, will-they-or-won't-they, crazy stories about the GHOSTBUSTERS sequel. It's been going on for years. There have been scripts, there have been revisions, there have been issues getting Bill Murray involved, it's been a debacle. Some people don't want to see this happen, but I'm too curious to be against it. Besides, a sequel being a bad idea has never stopped anybody before! And I think this could actually be a good idea.

A few days ago there was an article from /Film that discussed an interview Dan Ackroyd did with Esquire where he of course, talked about the film again. No solid news out of it, but it sounds like he's had his fill on all this frustration and is calling on Sony to either do it now, or forget about it. I don't blame him, after all the work they did. Kudos to /Film for this line, though:
"The guy is on a marshmallow man fueled rampage and I love it."
That's one I'll have to start incorporating into my everyday speech: marshmallow man fueled rampage. Check out both the article and the interview for more on Ackroyd's Stay-Puft rage:

Dan Ackroyd Challenges Sony to Make Ghostbusters 3 via /Film
Q&A: Dan Ackroyd is Keeping Ghostbusters 3 Alive via Esquire

Friday, December 7, 2012


If I can be off topic for moment, I have a short story called "The Blacksmith's Daughter" in this collection of fairy tales that Homespun Theatre UK JUST published as an eBook! It's called Homespun Threads and it's available on Smashwords for $9.99, and will eventually be up on Amazon. I'm super excited about it, and I can't wait to read the other stories in this book. My story is a little dark, so if you like reading about everything else I post here you'll probably enjoy my tale too :)

Click here to check it out!

Profits from the eBook are going towards the development of Homespun's theatre productions, so if you love fairy tales, theatre, me or some combination of the above please help support them and grab a copy :)

I would be really grateful for this to be spread further, so if you can share either here or elsewhere that would be awesome!

Rites of Passage

An anthropology professor sleeping with one of his students takes his would-be girlfriend and several of her substance-abusing classmates to another student's family ranch home with an ancient Chumash Indian burial site, his whacked out brother and a looney drug dealer on it? What could go wrong!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zombie Statistics

Nothing punches up charts and graphs like a handful of the walking dead! Or in this case, hundreds of them. Canada's National Post has a lovely bunch of zombie statistics based on, well, The Walking Dead's two and half seasons worth of kills. Had to be fun being in the Post's art department the day they pitched this one.

And if you haven't already, check out The Talking Dead Podcast or Live Show with Chris Hardwick for more undead analysis and discussion!

That reminds me, I have mega-serious catching up to do on the Walking Dead comics!

Book review: "Red Rain" by R. L. Stine

Before I was the Librarian of the Dead, before I was even a teenage Library Page of the Dead, I was just an odd little kid who liked reading all sorts of creepy stuff. Some of which I probably shouldn't have been reading. The price one pays for having a reading comprehension level that exceeds one's mental and emotional maturity.

I used to love the paperback, pulpy horror-thriller novels about high school kids being terrorized and haunted and vamped and slaughtered. One shots, anthologies and series by the likes of Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney and of course, R. L. Stine.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Much of the movie news I try (and sometimes fail) to keep up with is tossed in a mental junk drawer, rattling around until I come across it again and think "Oh! I remember hearing about that. I think I'll see it." This plan has more holes in it than a moth-eaten piece of lace, but keeping a huge list of movies I came across and wanted to see someday wasn't working out either.

I only take special notice of films that I think I may not get reminded of again, and/or I absolutely don't want to miss. So I read an advance review of the film RESOLUTION recently and had a strong feeling that both of those might be true.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Random "Buffy" List

Yeah, alright. So I teared up by the end.

115 Reasons Why We Love Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

It's wise not to agree to watch the series finale with me, it would be embarrassing for us both. So many tears.

And don't worry, it's 115 photos. You're not making a serious long-term commitment if you decide to jump in and read the article!

Zombies on Ice!

If you live in the Chicago area and like more Halloween in your Christmas, you absolutely must check out Zombies on Ice 2012! It's happening Sunday, December 16th from 2:30-5:30 p.m. with more undead fun at the Christmas Market afterwards. They'll be skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, which is the rink under the Bean. 

Sadly, I will not be there. The Librarian of the Dead has to slave over her reference desk that Sunday. Always missing out on something the weekends I've gotta work! I'm not big into Christmas anyways, but this would definitely have been a sight for red-and-green sore eyes. Have a blast for me!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guillermo Del Toro's Haunting

Earlier today reported that Guillermo del Toro's next film "Crimson Peak" is going to be a haunted house movie. In the article,  he cites films like THE HAUNTING, THE INNOCENTS and THE SHINING as inspiration for the type of film he wants to make. He says:
"I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback."
Be still my black little heart! This is truly my favorite sub-genre of horror, and THE HAUNTING is one of the best films in the entire genre, as far as I'm concerned. Not to discount THE SHINING or THE INNOCENTS, the former is also one of my favorites and I think the latter doesn't get enough credit, which makes me happy that he mentioned it. I've just taken on THE HAUNTING as one of my personal crusades, especially after that crummy remake. The original version is amazing on so many levels, and I want the entire world to know!

I'm so excited that there will be a new, lovely, grand film to add to the haunted house canon in the near-ish future. Thank you Mr. Del Toro!!

Circus of the Damned

With the overwhelming amount of information the web serves up it's difficult to stay in the know and yet preserve the feeling of surprise at discovering a great new film. Horror can be especially tricky since there are many that never make it to a theater, never get mainstream press, but are still worth pursuing, so you have to seek out that information. Oh, my first-world Librarian of the Dead problems! Weep for me!

It's easy to learn too much about a film, to the point that it affects your reaction to it. I always forget how much damn fun it is be surprised by how good a movie is.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What is this, Cemetery Week?

I've been talking about cemeteries a lot already in this blog, which I suppose is indicative of the way my mind works. I find a thread and I follow it, sometimes much too far. But I discovered this article from last year which gives a great summary of the history of cemeteries as well as answering some of my own questions about how technology might be changing our burial customs. The interviewee also echoes many of my own thoughts and feelings about cemeteries, so I think it's worth a read. Check out:

Our First Public Parks: The Forgotten History of Cemeteries