Tag: Week of Geek

Week of Geek: Back to the Wizarding World

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It’s almost time again, Geeklings!  Time to head back to that magical realm, where wizards and witches live undercover, where history gets a sprinkling of sorcery, and where the most unlikely of individuals can become heroes… or villains.

Yup, this Friday Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theaters.

And though the early reviews are ‘meh‘ and this flick is already coming in controversial, I’m still excited.  How could I not be?  It’s Newt!  And Queenie, and Tina, and Jacob, and Credence!  And even Albus Dumbledore!  DUMBLEDORE!

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Yaaaaas!

As a wand-carrying, scarf-wearing Gryffindor, I am ready, willing and able to see what the next chapter will bring.  Though it’s so hard to beat the original Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a nice surprise for me.  I loved the characters, I loved the setting of 1920s New York, I loved the magic in America historical context (MACUSA and the New Salemers), and I loved the message.  Also, the beasts, my goodness the beasts!  So many amazing critters, including Nifflers, which have become one of my favorites.

And now we’re back!  A few years later, a growing threat, some new characters and some familiar faces.

So of course, Warner Bros, the studio behind the movie, is getting everyone excited, releasing some videos to catch people up and get them in the mood…

And on Peter’s Hill in London, Warner Bros UK unveiled something pretty darn awesome.

So yeah, people are excited.  Is it going to take us in a whole new direction?  Is it going to answer questions we may have?  Is it finally going to let two main characters be gay in a mainstream movie?  Is it going to fall flat on it’s face and totally muck things up?  Who’s to say?  We’ll have to wait until this weekend to find out.  But what do you guys think?  Are you excited too?  Indifferent?  Over it?  Post away in the comments below.

Enjoy Geeklings, let us know what you think, and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 5 – The Final Chapter

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Hi again Geeklings!  Happy Halloween 2018!  Hope you’ve got a lot of awesome plans for tonight and some killer (not literally) costumes.

All this month we’ve been discussing scary media to indulge in, and we’ve covered books, comics, movies and TV shows.  What else is there?  How about an experience not just for the eyes, but for the ears?  There’s lots to listen to that perfectly encapsulates the feel of the season, so let’s throw some tunes on, fire up some podcasts and close our eyes while we listen, hoping that nothing scary creeps up on us while we do so.

First, some Music

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – No list of creepy, Halloween-ready music would be complete without this song.  Not only has it been a staple of Halloween parties (and regular parties) for almost 40 years now, it’s music video is still one of the most iconic and influential out there, from the dance moves to the fashion to the make-up to the cinematic feel to the inclusion of Vincent Price.  There are a ton of videos out there of people mass-dancing to this song.  It’s huge, is what I’m saying.

“Disturbia” by Rihanna – This dance number has a beat I think any zombie could get down to.

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. – Really, what needs to be said?  If you haven’t seen the movie, put a hold on it right now!

“Grim Grinning Ghosts” – If you’ve ever been to the Haunted Mansion ride in various Disney parks, this is the song that plays as you ride through the graveyard.  It’s upbeat, despite the subject manner, and lets you know that though the ghosts are spooky, they only pretend to terrorize,  so you’re all good.  The band Creature Feature released a cover of it this fall.

“This is Halloween” by The Nightmare Before Christmas cast – Is it a Halloween movie?  Is it a Christmas movie?  The debate rages on, but one thing we can all agree on is that this opening number captures Halloween perfectly.  My favorite line?  “I am the who when you call ‘Who’s there?’; I am the wind blowing through your hair.”

Podcasts – These can be a little tricky to recommend because, like horror movies, they can get a little gruesome.  But the following options should be pretty safe for younger ears.

Lore – Created by author Aaron Mahnke back in 2015, Lore has gone from a part time job to a full time job for Mahnke over the years.  Our world, it’s history and it’s folklore is full of scary stories, and Mahnke wants to shine a light on where our best known freaky tales come from.  He discusses real-life events, legends and myths and how they all come together in a macabre collage to reveal what we are truly afraid of.  If you like history and spooks, this is a great place to start.  Plus, there’s a TV series on Amazon Prime and there are books from the podcast as well.  Check the first book out here.

Unobscured – Another one by Mahnke, in partnership with How Stuff Works.  This one just debuted this last October, and we’re a few episodes in so far.  What Unobscured hopes to accomplish is to visit a historical event each season and give it a deep dive, and this first season is all about the Salem Witch Trials.  I’ve been listening in, and it seems the whole thing was a bit more complicated than just ‘mass hysteria’.  Check it out!

Unexplained – Kind of like Lore, but British.  Richard MacLean Smith tries to freak you with spooky real-life tales and legends, told with a delightful accent.

Welcome to Night Vale – Admittedly I am way behind on this one, but when I first discovered it I fell in love hard.  Like, hard.  The fictional town of Night Vale is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, where the strange and terrifying are pretty mundane to it’s citizens.  The podcast is told as a radio show hosted by Cecil, the Voice of Night Vale, as he discusses the current events, any major developments and his own personal life (especially a certain scientist named Carlos).  I’ve listened to the first few seasons and it is freaky, gripping, funny, heartbreaking, smart, romantic, deep and just so many other things.  You definitely want to tune in.

Bonus: War of the Worlds 1938 Radio broadcast – Some of you may have heard of this already.  A famous actor, Orson Welles, puts on a radio broadcast of an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds that sounds a little too real to 1930s audiences and everyone promptly freaks out, thinking aliens are literally invading earth.  Well, that happened (though the panic was not quite as widespread as some of the tales would have you believe), and this year is the 80th anniversary of that event.  80 years!  Some might be wondering ‘Why would I care about an 80 year old radio show?  Who listens to radio anymore?’  And while radio has kind of been pushed to the back burner by TV and the internet, for a long time it was the main way to communicate with big audiences, which is what TV and the internet do for us now.  And radio was not always trusted as a reliable and factual form of communication (sound familiar? cough*internet*cough), and this broadcast certainly didn’t help matters.  But it’s worth a listen just for how brilliant it was at the time.  It was found footage before found footage was a thing.  It was also fake news before fake news was a thing.  It was ahead of its time.

So there we go.  Between these and our previous posts you’ll have a busy Halloween.  Anything I’ve left out that deserves a shout out?  Post in the comments below.

Happy Halloween Everybody!  Have fun, be safe, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 4

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Hi again Geeklings!  Halloween is a week away!  Can you taste all that candy yet?  Got some great costume ideas and some fun times ahead?  I certainly hope so!  I know I’ll be trying by best to creep out our library patrons that day.

So far these last few weeks we’ve covered scary novels, scary comics and scary movies that teens can indulge in.  But what if a movie just isn’t long enough to get properly creeped out?  Luckily, we have TV shows that cover all sorts of spooky subjects, from zombies to vampires to werewolves to slashers to ghosts to headless horsemen to the Upside Down.  So grab some of these and prepare for an epic Halloween bingewatch.

Image result for supernatural season 1 Supernatural – This show is currently airing it’s 14th season.  14th season!  It premiered all the way back in September of 2005, and through it’s entire run the show has focused primarily on the two Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam.  When we first meet them we learn quickly they are not usual new adults; they were raised by their single father after their mother was killed by supernatural forces, and they were raised as ‘Hunters’, meaning their sole mission is to travel the country and take down the scariest creatures, ghouls and ghosts out there.  Over the years the boys have loved and lost, and have found new enemies and allies, particularly an angel named Castiel.  There’s a rich mythology and many near-misses for the whole world.  If the entire run seems a little daunting to watch just start with the first season to get a taste.  (BTW, in Season 13 there’s a crossover episode with Scooby-Doo.  I kid you not.  And it’s great.)

Image result for buffy the vampire slayer season 1 Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampiresdemons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.”  So this iconic 90s show begins, and it just builds from there.  Buffy Summers wants to be a normal high school student in Sunnydale, California, but there’s a slight hitch.  She’s the latest Slayer and her town is built on a mouth to hell.  7 seasons, several apocalypses, a few love interests, a few ground breaking episodes and characters and a whole lot of scary later, Buffy remains the pivotal slayer, and while some aspects of the show haven’t aged as well as we’d like, she still remains one of the strongest female characters ever put to screen.  Come for the scares, stay for the character development and witty dialogue.

Image result for teen wolf season 1 Teen Wolf – A much more serious revamp of a campy 80s movie, MTV’s Teen Wolf made werewolves a thing again.  Scott McCall is an ordinary guy in high school, hanging out with his best friend Stiles and trying out for the lacrosse team.  Typical stuff… except the night before his sophomore year he ends up getting bit by a werewolf.  We all know what happens now.  Every full moon becomes problematic, and the rest of the time may not be much fun either.  Scott therefore has to learn how to control his power and how to balance all of this with his life at school.  Throw in werewolf infighting, budding romance with massive complications,  werewolf hunters and a whole lot of teen strife, you’ve got yourself a TV show.  Just maybe don’t go walking during a full moon.

Image result for scream queens season 1 Scream Queens – Created by Ryan Murphy, the same guy who brought us Glee and American Horror Story, Scream Queens is big on scares but also laughs and camp.  The first season focuses on the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority (typically made up of catty mean girls), which was involved in a murder and cover up 20 years prior.  Now, someone seems to be out for revenge, dressing as the Red Devil mascot and picking off students one by one.  Some of the sorority members try to solve the mystery while trying to staying alive, and very few people are who they seem to be.  The characters are outrageous, the secrets massive and the slashing abundant.  Plus, Jamie Lee Curtis, one of the original Scream Queens, is in it, so there’s that too.

Image result for the vampire diaries the complete season 1 The Vampire Diaries – This series has a lot of what you’d want from a spooky show, but also has big dashes of romance and drama mixed in as well.  Here we meet Elena Gilbert, a high school student living in Mystic Falls, Virginia, a town with a long supernatural history.  That spookyness comes into Elena’s life full-force when she becomes the object of affection for Stefan Salvatore, who happens to be a 162-year-old vampire.  Things are further complicated when Stefan’s older brother Damon, also a vampire, comes back to town.  Vampire hunters, witches, werewolves and family drama are also thrown in.  The show had a spinoff series, The Originals, and will have another spinoff, Legacies, debuting on TV this week.

Stranger Things, Season 1 Stranger Things – One of the biggest hits on Netflix, Stranger Things has taken the current nostalgia craze and run with it, creating something chilling and clever all it’s own.  Set in Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, the story kicks off with the disappearance of Will Byers.  While his mom and the other adults of Hawkins try to find him, his three D&D playing best friends, Mike, Dustin and Lucas, end up trying to solve the mystery as well, and the arrival of a mysterious girl with even more mysterious abilities unearths a whole bunch of freaky things that should not have been messed with.  Plus there are some older siblings in high school with their own stuff going on.  Both seasons are on Netflix but we have season one in the library system.

IZombie iZombie – Another CW series, but this one takes on everyone’s favorite shuffling undead people eaters.  Liv had her whole life turned upside down when she was turned into a zombie during a boat party.  Leaving her old life behind she quickly learns that if she doesn’t have a regular diet of brains she’ll turn into a shambling, mindless zombie we tend to see in movies.  How to fix that little problem?  By working at the city morgue, natch.  Liv also soon learns that when she eats the brains of the people she’s autopsied she can inherit some of their personality traits and memories for a while, and she uses that ability to help the local police solve murder cases.  Meanwhile, her boss is helping her try to find a cure.  A serial crime show with zombies thrown in?  So intrigued!

Image result for sleepy hollow season 1 Sleepy Hollow – Gotta give a shout out to this one, seeing as how The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my all-time favorite stories around Halloween.  I grew up on the Disney special and then watched the heck out of the Tim Burton version.  In this TV series, Ichabod Crane was a spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War, but was killed on the battlefied while fighting a horseman and ultimately beheading him.  Crane is then brought back to life in the 21st century.  After meeting Lt. Abigail Mills, Crane soon learns the now headless Horseman is back as well.  Not only that, he and Abby are the two witnesses from the Book of Revelations and that the Horseman is actually Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  So yes, a man really misplaced in time and a police officer just trying to live her life suddenly have to stop the end of the world.  That premise alone is enough for a watch, but watching Crane try to adapt to the modern era after 232 years is also delightful.

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So there are a few to get you started.  Did I miss any?  Post away in the comments below.

Enjoy the last week before Halloween, and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 3

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Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to week 3 of our Month of the Macabre celebrations!  Only 2 weeks to go until Halloween!  How are your costumes coming along?

This week let’s go over one thing no Halloween season would be complete without; scary movies!  Ah, the scary movie; a true staple of this time of year.  It’s the perfect season to just get cozy on a couch, turn the lights down, grab snacks and pull a blanket over you (ya know, in case you need to shield your face during the scary bits).  It’s even better when you can do it as a group.

Just this last weekend I watched The Conjuring again.  Still super spooky with a lot of atmosphere.

But that is just one of many movies out there designed to deliver thrills and chills.  From ghost stories to monsters, sci fi to fantasy, knife-wielding maniacs and psycho killers, films have captured just about every which way there is to be scared in the safety of our own home or local movie theatre.

But it can be a bit tricky for teens to find movies to watch that are actually scary.  Why?  A little something called the R rating.  The bane of many a teen’s existence; you’re almost old enough to watch it but just not quite!  And though some movies rated G or PG can be freaky, they often are tame compared to other options.

Fortunately we got you covered.  I’ve compiled a list of scary movies that are all rated PG-13 or 14A or lower.

We’ve got quite a few to select from.  IT, of course, was a huge hit last year, so much so that they’re doing a new big screen version of Pet Sematary next year.  I’ve seen IT, The Lost Boys (80s vampires my friends!) The Woman in Black, Warm Bodies and The Conjuring (and Supernatural, but we’ll talk more about the Winchesters next week).  I’d like to see The Hole, Unfriended, The Purge and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Grab a few of these and your next movie night is sure to freak some people out.  Any good ones (appropriately rated) that I’ve left out?  Post away in the comments section.  And if after my last two posts you’re still looking for some spooky reads, Nerdist released a list of scary short stories you can read online, including authors like Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King.  Check ’em out.

Have a good week Geeklings, keep enjoying the thrills, and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 2

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Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to week 2 of our Month of the Macabre, designed to get you in the spirit of October and celebrate all the spookiness that comes with it.  This week, let’s talk about graphic novels, the books that deliver both verbal and visual scares.

First, let’s talk Archie Horror.  The Archie comics offshoot that started with one title everyone thought was pretty crazy and has since blossomed (get it?  Blossom? As in Cheryl?) over the last few years into it’s own publishing line.  Taking familiar characters in very unfamiliar settings you can find pretty much anything your horror fan heart could want.

Afterlife With Archie Afterlife with Archie, Book 1: Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – Some people thought it just wouldn’t work.  Take some of the most long-lasting and wholesome characters in all of comicdom, and drop them into a no-holds-barred zombie apocalypse.  Well, it happened, and it was a huge hit.  Jughead’s dog Hotdog is killed in a hit and run, and he turns to Sabrina Spellman, the resident witch, for help.  Going against her aunts wishes, Sabrina uses forbidden and dark magic to raise Hotdog from the dead.  But Hotdog doesn’t come back right, and one bite is all it takes for everything to be turned upside down and for the survivors to band together and try to stay alive.  Though this was advertised as a parody of horror films it gets downright grim at times.  Seriously, it made me cry.  But the artwork is gorgeous and it is suitably gory for your Halloween needs.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – By far my favorite book of the Archie Horror Line (so far).  Going back to Sabrina Spellman, this sets the teen witch’s story in the 1960s.  A lot of the same elements are there; Sabrina’s a half-witch being raised by her full witch aunts while maintaining a double life at Greendale High School and dating regular guy Harvey.  The main twist in the horror version is that Sabrina’s family are witches because they’ve sold their souls to the devil.  And on her 16th birthday (which is also Halloween night) Sabrina must decide if she’ll undergo the dark baptism or live as a mortal.  It’s intense and dark but so well-written and intriguing.  Plus, Netflix is making a TV series out of it.

Jughead: The Hunger Vol.1 Jughead: The Hunger Vol. 1 by Frank Tieri – Jughead Jones has always been famous for his insatiable appetite.  Where does it come from?  How about a nice big dose of lycanthropy?  Yup, in this universe Jughead is one of a long line of Jones werewolves, and another prominent Riverdale family are also werewolf hunters from just as long of a time back.  Looking at how much Jughead can eat in one sitting this makes a lot of sense to me.  And the two families locked in combat and with real consequences are just more reasons to read this series.

Vampironica Vampironica Issue 1 by Greg and Megan Smallwood – Veronica Lodge has had pretty simple goals in life.  Be rich, be popular, date Archie and sometimes Reggie, and maintain a frenemy status with Betty.  Everything changes when she ends up the victim of a vampire attack and she comes back as a blood sucker.  How will the change affect Veronica and her goals?  Will she be the same old shallow teen or will this make her something more?  You’ll have to read to find out.

So you’ve got those four series, and there’s more coming.  In 2019 Archie Horror will release two new series.  One is called Blossoms: 666 and features the Blossom twins, Cheryl and Jason.  Still popular and wealthy, but one of them is the Anti-Christ and no one, not even them, knows which one, and both twins want the title.  The other series is Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica, which is exactly what it sounds like.  In the meantime, you can find more issues of all four of the current series on Hoopla.

So, what else we got?

Anya's Ghost Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – Anya’s having a bit of a rough time and could really use a friend.  Even a ghost who’s been dead for a century that Anya finds at the bottom of a well seems like as good a friend as any.  But, of course, it’s not that simple.  Will this ghost be a new best friend or something much darker and more sinister?

 

 

Gotham Academy Gotham Academy, Vol 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan – Set in a school supported by Bruce Wayne (aka Batman; you’ve probably heard of him), Gotham Academy follows Olive Silverlock and her new friend Maps as they navigate regular teen stuff in addition to ghosts haunting the school and old secrets from Gotham’s past being unearthed.

 

 

Tokyo GhoulTokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida – A series that’s become a classic in horror manga.  In this world Ghouls exist, and they look pretty normal but they really really like human flesh.  Ken Kaneki is a typical college student until a chance encounter leaves him not quite a Ghoul but not fully human anymore either; something in between, and the first of his kind.  Now stuck between two worlds, Ken must learn how the Ghoul society operates if he wants to get a handle on his new powers and survive this new life.

Wytches Wytches, Volume 1 by Scott Snyder – This story takes witches and makes them about as spooky as you possibly can.  Hogwarts students these guys ain’t.  Sailor Rook and her family moves to the town of Litchfield NH to escape a family tragedy, and all Sailor wants to do is start over and get settled into her new high school.  But there’s something in the woods.  Something sinister, and it has other plans for the Rooks.

 

Death Note Death Note, Volume 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Oba – Another manga horror classic with some big questions and some Japanese legends to boot.  Light Yagami is brilliant but bored.  But everything changes when a rogue Shinigami death god leaves the Death Note lying around and Light finds it.  It’s a notebook that kills whoever has their name written in it.  Light wants to use the Death Note to rid the world of evil but, of course, things get complicated.  One of the biggest complications is the Shinigami, named Ryuk, who is pretty darn scary just in appearance alone.

So there’s a few to get you started.  Any really good ones I missed?  Sound off in the comments below.

Stay tuned for more scary selections.  Have a great week and until next time, End of Line.

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