Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And the winners are...

Winner - VainGlorySinner

Runner-Up: Frances Cardarelli

Runner-Up: Sal Kaye

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and helped me to celebrate my blog birthday in such style. By virture of all your delightful imaginings, my little soiree was a thing of virtual sartorial splendour! 

The winner of the replica prop of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is VainGlorySinner! The two runners-up are Frances Cardarelli and Sal Kaye, who will each receive a replica Betelgeuse business card and replica Betelgeuse flyer. I will be in touch to get all your addresses and soon your Beetlejuice goodies will be winging their way to you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Blog Birthday and a Giveaway!

Welcome to the Party!

Today my little blog turns one! It's hard to believe that I've been blogging for a whole year now, and although it can be hard finding the time for all the work involved, it's definitely a labour of love.

Replica Props of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, Business Card and Flyer

Some of you may remember me doing a post (here) about a replica prop of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased that I found in an Etsy shop. Well... knowing that my blog birthday was fast approaching, and since Beetlejuice is one of my favourite movies, I decided to buy the replica handbook (pictured above left) and offer it as a giveaway for my blog's special milestone. The replica handbook is meant as a display piece only and does not open. It has a distressed finish which simulates wear and years of collecting dust in the afterlife waiting room.

Plus, two runners-up will each receive both a replica Betelgeuse business card and replica Betelgeuse flyer (pictured above right).

Screenshots of the Movie Handbook

In Beetlejuice, the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is a manual to aid ghosts with their transition to the afterlife. The handbook pops up throughout the movie, first when Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin) discover it in their home after the crash that causes their deaths, and then other copies can be seen in the afterlife waiting room. Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) gets her hands on the book for a while, and towards the end of the story, Otho swipes it in an attempt to perform a seance but unwittingly sets an exorcism in motion instead.

Screenshots of the Movie Business Cards and Flyer

The business cards are seen in a crumpled pile, on Betelgeuse's table, early in the film, and then later, after the Maitlands summon him, Betelgeuse gets some from his jacket and presses them into Adam's hands. The folded and torn flyer, which advertises Betelgeuse's services as a "bio-exorcist", drops out of Barbara and Adam's copy of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased.

So if you would like to enter the draw, simply leave a comment below telling me what virtual costume you are wearing to my virtual blog birthday party. I will assign a number to each comment in the order that they are left (one entry per person) and will pick the winners via a random number generator. Just make sure you leave me some way to contact you if you win.

The giveaway is international, however you must be a follower of the Little Gothic Horrors blog or a follower of the Little Gothic Horrors Facebook page to enter because this giveaway is my way of saying thank you to the people who have supported me. You have all weekend to enter and I will announce the winners early next week.

And just finally, thank you to my husband, Danny, for drawing the awesome monster party illustration at the top of the post.

Please note: This giveaway is now closed. You can see the winners here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bendigo Bound For Grace Kelly: Style Icon

En Route to the Exhibition

A few weeks back, I took a day trip out of town with my mother and sister to see a Grace Kelly exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery. I live in Melbourne, which is the state capital of Victoria, in Australia. Bendigo is a major regional city, 150 kilometres north west of Melbourne. The trip was a gift from my sister, Jillian, as a late birthday present for my mother, and a very early birthday present for me.

Bendigo Architecture

Bendigo was a Victorian era boomtown. Gold was discovered in 1851 and that led to a gold rush and a massive influx of migrants. The Bendigo gold fields are the seventh richest in the world and the wealth from the gold was responsible for producing a city notable for its fine Victorian era architecture.

Whirrakee Restaurant 

We arrived in Bendigo around midday and had lunch at the lovely Whirrakee restaurant, located on the ground floor of the historic Colonial Mutual Life building (formerly the Royal Bank) built in 1908. The building has retained its original art nouveau stonemasonry, pressed ceilings and stained glass windows. The restaurant itself was charmingly simple with a small menu of delicious food, and I had trouble tearing my eyes away from the multitude of gorgeous black chandeliers that hung from the beautiful ceiling. After lunch we made the short walk to the gallery through the pretty tree-lined streets.

James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock
on the Set of Rear Window

Grace Kelly: Style Icon was a highly successful exhibition held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and was secured exclusively, in Australia, by the Bendigo Art Gallery. The exhibition features a selection of the actress's film costumes and clothing from her personal wardrobe. I was particularly interested to see the costume from Rear Window, a film made in 1954, and Kelly's second collaboration with director, Alfred Hitchcock. The pair made a total of three films together before she gave up her acting career to become the wife of Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956.

Edna Mode and Edith Head

Grace Kelly's elegant costumes in Rear Window were created by legendary Hollywood designer, Edith Head, who enjoyed a close working relationship with Hitchcock and was used on all the films that the director made for Paramount. Kelly's extensive high-fashion wardrobe in Rear Window was key to establishing her character, Lisa Fremont, as a successful career woman in the fashion industry, and was in contrast to her co-star, James Stewart's, pyjama-clad, "Jeff", who was confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg. Incidentally, the character, "Edna Mode", from the 2004 Pixar/Disney computer-animated film, The Incredibles, is generally believed to be an homage to costume designer, Edith Head.

The Exhibition Dress from Rear Window
and Grace Kelly with Alfred Hitchcock

The exhibition's Rear Window costume was displayed behind glass, in a stylized set, with a life-size photographic backdrop of the scene it featured in. A stunningly ornate full-length mirror stood behind the dress to show the details on the back. Sadly, photography was banned, so instead I purchased a couple of postcards from the gallery gift shop. The picture above left is of the dress that was on display and was also the image used as the backdrop. The picture above right is of Grace Kelly and Hitchcock together at the premiere of Rear Window, and judging by the look on Alfred's face, I think he was rather smitten with his leading lady.

After the long train trip back to Melbourne that evening, the three of us were all pretty exhausted, but between the exhibition, the wonderful food and the beautiful architecture of Bendigo, it was a fun excursion. Thank you, Jill!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dark Shadows

I went to see Dark Shadows today and I can't stop thinking about it. There has been much controversy over this movie, partly because diehard fans of the original series are concerned about the way the material will be treated, and partly because Tim Burton is experiencing something of a backlash at this point in his career. Neither of these factors were relevant to me as I have never seen the sixties TV series, and I remain a fan of Tim Burton. I just went along hoping to see an entertaining movie.

This is not a review blog, so I'm not going to give an actual review of the film. I'm also not going to give away any of the plot. I just have a few thoughts. First of all, Dark Shadows is  visually stunning and some of the special effects are breathtaking. It's also darker than the trailers would lead you to believe, but still funny. Essentially, it's an utterly over-the-top Gothic melodrama. As I said, I've never seen the original soap opera, but I get the feeling there were a lot of references to it in the movie. It felt like a condensed Gothic soap. I also loved the seventies soundtrack, which included a couple of performances by Alice Cooper.

This movie is certainly not going to be everyone's cup of tea. In many ways, like a soap opera, it's quite surreal, but I think that's why I can't get it out of my mind, and I definitely want to see it again!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May Monster Madness - Monsters of Supernatural

Sadly, we've come to the seventh and last day of May Monster Madness. I'd like to thank Annie, of Annie Walls blog, for masterminding this blog hop, and my co-minion Ked, of Something WicKED This Way Comes blog, for helping me to spread the word about all the macabre merriment. This event has been eerily entertaining and I appreciate everyone who dropped by to check out my contributions to the fiendish festivities. I also enjoyed getting around to see all the diverse and fascinating monster themed posts put up by my fellow May Monster Madness participants.

So, I've chosen to conclude May Monster Madness with the TV series Supernatural, which is not only one of my absolute favourites, but is also a show so chock full of monster-y goodness that it's practically bursting at the seams. Over its seven season run (It has just been renewed for an eighth season! Yay!), Supernatural has covered virtually every monster one could possibly imagine. The show has featured urban legends, all manner of creepy children, killer clowns, vampires, zombies, ghosts, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters, reapers, wicked fairies, mythological creatures from the ancient world, pagan gods, rogue angels, hellhounds, demons and Lucifer himself. Once in a while, the monsters weren't  even of the supernatural variety, but were simply monstrous people, like murderous backwoods hillbillies who kidnapped and killed for sport, or feral children who lived hidden away in the crawl space of a house, imprisoned by their incestuous grandfather.

So here's just a tiny sample of the monsters of Supernatural:

Demons, Azazel and Lilith, and the Devil, Lucifer

Bloody Mary, Hook Man, Woman in White

Murderous Ghost Child, Zombie Child, Changeling

Killer Clown, Slaughtering Scarecrow, Reaper

Vampire, Werewolf, Wendigo

Djinn (evil genie), Siren, Amazon 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Monster Madness - Creepy and Kooky

Mr Straker and Mr Barlow

For day six of May Monster Madness, I've picked monsters from two of my all-time favourites, Salem's Lot and Beetlejuce, which are at opposite ends of the horror spectrum, and prove that great monsters can be very creepy or downright kooky.

I love both the Stephen King novel, Salem's Lot and the 1979 television mini-series that was based upon it. Mr Barlow, also known as the Master, and Mr Straker, his preternaturally strong human watchdog, remain for me, one of the most sinister duos of the horror genre. In the two part mini-series, Kurt Barlow (Reggie Nalder), is portrayed as a silent, terrifying Nosferatu-style creature, while Richard Straker, played chillingly by James Mason, is an urbane and mysterious Englishman who acts as a minder for his master and facilitates the killings.

As if Barlow and Straker weren't bad enough on their own, they also infect the town of Salem's Lot with vampirism and before long it is crawling with nightmarish vamps, the most unnerving amongst them, floating undead children who scratch at bedroom window panes,  and plead, in eerie whispers, to be allowed in.


At the other extreme there is Betelgeuse, the comical "ghost with the most", from Tim Burton's 1988 comedy horror, Beetlejuce. Played by Michael Keaton, Betelgeuse, is a grotesque and chaos-causing "bio-exorcist", or in other words, a ghost who scares away humans for other ghosts.

Beetlejuice the Animated Series

Beetlejuce was both a critical and financial success, and spawned an animated television series, executive-produced by Tim Burton, and based loosely on the film. The series focused on a friendship between Lydia Deetz and Beetlejuice.

I stumbled across a fantastic blog called Toy-A-Day that provides a free printable PDF to make the cute Beetlejuce paper sculpture that I've pictured above.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Monster Madness - Monster Cupcakes

Okay... I simply had to include these cupcakes for day five of May Monster Madness because they are just soooooo cute! I found them on a blog called The Seven Year Cottage, and if you click on the link, you'll find the instructions to make a batch of these adorable little monsters for yourself.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Monster Madness - Frankenweenie

For day four of May Monster Madness, the "monster" I'm featuring is a dog named Sparky.

Tim Burton's upcoming black and white stop motion-animated film, Frankenweenie, is the story of Victor, a young boy who uses science to bring his beloved dog, Sparky, back from death. Frankenweenie is inspired by the 1931 film, Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, which in turn is based on the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley. As you can see in the picture below, Sparky even gets his own doggie "Bride", complete with the iconic Elsa Lanchester hairdo.

Both a parody of, and an homage to Frankenstein, Tim Burton's, Frankenweenie is actually a feature length remake of a black and white short film he made in 1984. The short, which was live action, starred Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, and Barret Oliver.

The voice cast of the 2012 remake includes a number of actors who have worked previously with Tim Burton, like Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, and Conchata Ferrell. Plus, Christopher Lee, another Burton regular, will apparently be making an uncredited cameo as Dracula in a movie scene playing on television.

Frankenweenie is due for release in October.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Monster Madness - A Karloff Quote

I have already used this quote in the past, as part my Delightfully Dark Quotes series, but I've decided to re-post it for day three of May Monster Madness because it's so appropriate, and well... I love it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Monster Madness - The Grr! Aargh! Monster

For day two of May Monster Madness, I thought I'd share a monster that is bound to be a sentimental favourite for anyone, like me, who loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series.

The Grr! Aargh! Monster is the crudely drawn vampire creature that crosses the screen during the end credits of Buffy. It is the mascot of Buffy/Angel creator, Joss Whedon's, Mutant Enemy production company, and apparently, was drawn and voiced by Whedon himself.  At the end of each episode, the monster would make its way past the Mutant Enemy logo uttering, "Grr! Aargh!" 

Occasionally, the animation would change slightly to reflect a special episode. I found a clip (above) on YouTube with a compilation of "Grr! Aargh!" variations.

I also found a clip (above) from the episode, "Bargaining - Part One", where the Grr! Aargh! monster is referenced when Tara gives Giles a plastic finger puppet monster as a going away gift.

In the final season of 'Buffy', the "Turok-Han", or "Ubervamps", seem to have been styled to look like a more detailed version of the Grr! Aargh! Monster.

Etsy Shop, Branded, sells t-shirts featuring the  Grr! Aargh! Monster.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Monster Madness - The Monster and His Mate

Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff as The Monster and his Mate in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Welcome to day one of May Monster Madness, a sinisterly spooky scheme spawned by Annie Walls and nefariously nurtured with the help of her diabolical deputies (Ked and I). For the next seven days, forty blogs will be participating in a little monstrous mayhem and you're all invited to join us in the macabre merrymaking. Just click on the links provided with each post to make your way around to all the frightening blog festival fiends. So without further ado (and before I get myself into trouble for any more shameless abuse of alliteration), let's begin:

The word "monster" can mean many things. It can be an umbrella term for all the supernatural beings of the horror realm, or a convenient title for creatures who aren't as easily identified as, for example, a werewolf, vampire, zombie or mummy. It can be used to brand a person who seems inhumanly cruel, like a serial killer, or the perpetrator of genocide, but it can also be a lighthearted and humorous characterization of a rambunctious child. So with so much potential, where does one start? Well, with me, it's Frankenstein's Monster.

The Monster and the creature fashioned to be his Bride are amongst an elite handful of screen monsters whose images and names have become universally recognizable. Originally the creations of Mary Shelley, from her 1818 novel, Frankenstein, this iconic and creepy couple have influenced writers, film makers, and artists in countless ways since their inception, and have had a huge impact on popular culture, just a few examples of which, I have included here.

One of a kind Bride of Frankenstein doll by Barbie designer, Sharon Zuckerman

Made for Each Other by artist, Mike Bell

The Bride and Frankenstein Coffee Mugs by Burke & Hare Co. on Etsy

The Bathers by artist, Damian Fulton

Never the Bride, the first in the series of The Adventures of Brenda and Effie, by Paul Magrs

The Adventures of Brenda and Effie
is an ongoing series of novels that tell the story of the Bride of Frankenstein, who has reinvented herself as "Brenda", and has retired to the English seaside town of Whitby to run a B&B. With the help of her friend Effie, the two investigate spooky goings on in this town famous for featuring in Bram Stoker's, Dracula.