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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ouch! Oh, and the giveaway winner!

I'm a bit late in choosing a winner for our Lovecraft giveaway, but I'll get to why in a minute. First, to announce our winner! We made a chart, and Dave pulled out his trusty d20, and the winner of our Lovecraft giveaway is : The Zombie Crafter! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who participated, be sure to come back often for other giveaways.

Now, to the ouch, and the reason it's taken a few days to announce our winner. David and I went out to sneak a peek at the new Games Workshop opening in our little town last Tuesday, then ran off to the theater to catch a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark. After the movie, we got up to leave, and my back said no. I'm not sure what I did to it, but it put me down for nearly a week. I spent several days in bed, and took several trips to the chiropractor, but I'm up and walking again just in time for the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival! Still not back 100%, but feeling much better now than I did a week ago.

We watched several movies over the past week - not much else to do when you're stuck in bed - and we worked through a bunch of the random horror movies we've had on our Netflix queue for awhile now. Most of them were really bad, but we did find one gem.

First, we watched The Hunger, a movie featuring David Bowie from 1983. This movie was awful, which is sad, because it started out with something that could have turned into a really interesting film. Somewhere in the middle, the first story is tossed aside, and I got an eyefull of far more Susan Sarandon than I ever needed to see. It was disjointed, and bad, but not the sort of bad that I usually enjoy in a horror film.

We watched Suspiria, a 1977 film which was directed by Dario Argento. Joan Bennett, of Dark Shadows fame, played the head mistress of a prestigious ballet school. The art design was really striking, and disorienting, and it seemed like everything in the movie was red. It had a fairly interesting plot, but was told haphazardly and left several holes in the story.

Dead Snow is a Norwegian zombie film that mixed elements of classic slasher movies with zombies. From the start you know they're not going to take the plot too seriously, as all of the zombies are Nazis, and the college kids are on vacation in a cabin in the woods. This was hilarious, and totally enjoyable. I didn't think I'd care for it from the start, because the main characters aren't terribly likable, but it was a perfect bad zombie flick.

Fright Night... oh, what to say about this one... It's a vampire movie, it's terrible, and it's packed full of 80's. BUT if you're interested in special effects in horror films, I think it's worth watching. Some of the vampire transformations were really cool.

Purely out of morbid curiosity, we watched the first 30 seconds of Thankskilling. David insisted he had to see what a homicidal turkey looked like. 29 seconds of boob, 1 second of homicidal turkey, 5 full minutes of laughter. I'm sure this movie is just as awful all the way through.

We re-watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, which brought up the question that's been plaguing me for the past 18 years... who in their right mind would cast Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins next to Keanu Reves and Winona Ryder? Why?

And, for the diamond in the rough. Tonight, we sat down to what we had expected to be a typical slasher or haunting type movie; Session 9. From the start, I wasn't expecting much. The movie takes place in an abandoned asylum, and the film quality says from the get-go "Low Budget." However, they really make the best of it. The plot is interesting, and I got really drawn in to the story. There are several striking shots, and shots that make you uncomfortable. They had me hooked to the very last sentence. In my opinion, a good horror film is very difficult to make. You either have to focus more on character development and allow the horror to come second, or you have to keep the horror out of sight, allowing the mind to fill in the dark places. This movie successfully did both.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nerddom New and Old

On the way to lunch today, Valorie and I spotted a new, temporary sign up in one of the shopping centers for Games Workshop. I excitedly pulled over to check it out. They had just put the sign up this morning and weren't even open for business yet; but the manager let us come in and poke around and we talked to him for an hour or so. They're opening for business on Thursday so you Denton, TX nerds should check that out. They'll be doing game nights and model paintings nights once they're open.
Then tonight we went to The Movie Tavern for their retro movie summer series and saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. All in all a pretty nerdy day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy 120th Birthday Lovecraft! A Giveaway.

David and I have been reading a lot of Lovecraft recently, usually while we're winding down for the night (as you can imagine, that has a fun effect on dreams :P).

If you're not sure who H. P. Lovecraft is, chances are you've heard of some of his creations. The Necronomicon for example, Cthulhu, and all manner of weird creatures and myths. He's a well loved horror and science fiction writer from the early 1900's, and his work has inspired a huge following of horror writers, game designers, toy lines, and even several of the decals we have in our shop.

If you would like to find out more about Lovecraft, you can find all sorts of information on, including full texts of a lot of his public domain writings.

What's really amazing to me about Lovecraft is that over 70 years after his death he's remained a very relevant influence in his genre. As a celebration of his life work, I'd like to feature some of the modern things that he's influenced, and do a little giveaway.

These two videos, both made by badadvicegoodtimes on Youtube, are just great:

Then there's the plush Cthulhu, everyone's favorite Elder God, designed by Toy Vault. My daughter had her very first little stuffed Cthulhu before she was a year old :) This isn't the only stuffed version of Cthulhu out there, and he and several of the other Elder Gods have been turned into statuary and miniature models, from companies like Reaper Minis, among others.

Then there's the endless line of games. Arkham Horror is a fantastic board game, and Call of Cthulhu is a horror role playing game in the vein of Dungeons and Dragons. There are video games for several different consoles, from games based directly on Lovecraft lore, to games that are heavily influenced by his work.

One of my favorite movies made from a Lovecraft story is Reanimator, where Jeffrey Combs has earned a special fangirl slot in my heart for his portrayal of Dr. Herbert West, a doctor who has found a way to beat death. And of course there are the Evil Dead movies, and In the Mouth of Madness. There are tons of really bad horror adaptations of his short stories roaming around too, so if you love really bad horror films as much as I do, they're worth looking for.

His work is featured in several modern songs, including Call of Ktulu and The Thing That Should Not Be by Metallica, Behind the Wall of Sleep by Black Sabbath, as well as inspiring the work of bands like Morbid Angel, Nile, and Cradle of Filth.

He's also inspired other writers in his genre, allowing the Cthulhu Mythos to grow. Brian Lumley has written several books using Lovecraft's mythos, Donald Tyson has turned the Necronomicon into a memoir of the bizarre life of the Mad Arab, Alhazred.

The Giveaway!
As a happy birthday gift, we're offering up one of our Cthulhu decals! The winner can choose from either the Nom, or the O'Rlyeh decals, or any of our Miskatonic University decals, in whatever color they'd prefer.

There are three different ways to enter:
1) Leave a comment telling me your favorite Lovecraft story, or your favorite thing that his work inspired. (Required)
2) Become a follower of our blog! (Optional)
3) Become a fan of us on Facebook (Optional)

Leave one separate comment for each entry, and be sure to leave your E-mail address so that I can contact you if you win! I will choose the winner on August 27th, at 12:00 noon central time. The winner has 48 hours to claim their prize, or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to participants world wide!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ender's Game

A few years ago, I read through a few of the books in the Ender's Game series. I was introduced to the series in my Science Fiction Literature class while at college, and have really enjoyed reading it. I recently picked up a book in another of Orson Scott Card's series, The Seventh Son, and it rekindled my love for his writing style. I ran out to the used book store to find the second book in the series, and finding that it wasn't available, I came home with Ender's Shadow.

There are two story lines in the Ender's Game series and there are a number of short stories that flesh things out. I haven't read all of these (though I plan to in the future), and have stuck to the Ender Series so far. I have been curious about reading Ender's Shadow, which focuses around another boy in Battle School named Bean. I was also a little hesitant because Ender's Game doesn't really give Bean much of a personality, and so I didn't find him particularly endearing, or know what his story could add to the story line.

Well, I read it, and I loved it. Card succeeded in making Bean a genuinely interesting character, and even though a good portion of the book centers around things that were already talked about in Ender's Game, having it from another view point really rounded out the story.

After reading Ender's Shadow, I dug out my old beat up copy of Ender's Game, and started to re-read it. Ender tends to examine things internally, he's wrapped up in emotion and fear. Bean, on the other hand, is interested in analyzing other people, and so his story examines other people, and why the events in the first book happened as they did.

All of this has also reminded me about how much of a story I forget over time, and I'm considering re-reading some of my other old favorites.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I love inspiration!

We get inspiration for our decals from so many places, but mostly it happens at conventions. Those fantastic places where the nerds come out to play, and put all of their inhibitions aside. We were contacted by the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival a while back and asked to be a vendor at their show this year, and really, who can pass up an entire FESTIVAL centered around indie horror films? Not me. That's who.

We've already got a pretty good selection of horror themed decals, but there's always room for more, and so we set to work brainstorming for new additions. The first one is a lot of fun, and was made to work with some of our existing zombie decals, or as a stand alone.

I think David had fun making this one. It started out in our studio with his hand dipped in paint of different consistencies, and the image is actually made up of two separate hand prints. He cleaned the design up a bit to make it friendlier to our vinyl cutter. I can't wait to see how it's going to look on the back of our Jeep :D

The second new design inspired by this show is a little more girly. I've long lamented that we don't have a vampire themed decal. I'm a big fan of vampires, and one of my very early movie crushes was Gary Oldman as Dracula (young and sexy Vlad traipsing around London, not ancient Vlad with the bouffant). I can honestly say that the Twilight phenomena has completely passed me by, but I'm glad to see the love affair with vampires in American culture continues.

I'm getting more into designing multi colored layered decals, and having a lot of fun with it. I put one of these together the other night, and it's just adorable.

Both of these decals are in the horror section of our shop, and we hope to add a few more before the festival in two weeks!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Welcome to our blog! There's not much to see here yet, but we've got plans for this little place on the net.

Valorie and David here, ready to share all of our random geeky thoughts on video games, books, conventions, movies, and anything else that strikes our fancy. Of course, you'll also get updates on when we have new decals up in our shop, when we're running sales, giveaways, or when we'll be traveling to conventions.

We're planning our first give away next month, so be sure to follow us here and on Facebook. The first one's going to be BIG!