Gremlins

Horror Block May 2016

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Another Horror Block, you ask? Wasn’t I officially over it when I got my last one? Well, yes. Yes I very much was. But as an early birthday surprise, I received a subscription from a friend. This was pretty much a box made for me. The quality is so much better, it’s unbelievable. I am excited about literally everything in this block. That hasn’t been the case in any subscription box I’ve ever gotten… ever. So way to go, Horror Block. Way to pull yourselves up by the boot straps.

There were seven items in this month’s box. So moving right along then…

1. Rue Morgue – issue #167

I’ve been seeing a lot of people complain about receiving a copy of Rue Morgue in every box. These people are idiots. Since I fly to America on Wednesday, this is a welcome addition to the long-haul flight. Conjuring 2 features on the cover (which needs to hurry up and be released in the UK now), and there’s an article about Joe Hill. So as always, Rue Morgue wins.

2. Penny Dreadful comic by Titan Comics

I only ever made it to episode two of this Showtime drama, but it made an instant impact. Laziness is pretty much the only thing standing in between me and getting into this show. The comic, though, is very welcome. It’s issue #1 from Titan Comics, and Horror Block even received an exclusive cover. The artwork is just beautiful, and the drawing of Eva Green’s eyes is fantastic: doll-like and dripping with Victorian gothic. It works for both fans of the show, and anyone even tempted in it. So more horror comics, please.

3. Deathgasm blu-ray

What makes New Zealanders so good at horror-comedy? From Brain Dead to What We Do in the Shadows, the Kiwis always knock it out of the fucking park. Deathgasm is a continuation of that tradition. It’s a horror-comedy about two metal-fans who accidentally summon a demon. This is a film I have not watched yet, but it will definitely be watched as soon as I’m back in London.

4. The Omen 7″ record

The Omen had to be one of my favourite horror-movie soundtracks when I was growing up. The film was so sophisticated, dark and brutal and most of the atmosphere was created by the haunting Jerry Goldsmith score throughout. Side A contains the chill-inducing “Avi Satani” while side B is “The Killer Storm.” I saw quite a few people complaining about not having record players, but alas. That’s what you get for missing out on life.

2,000 subscribers got a limited edition red vinyl, which would have been super great. But alas, mine is just regular black.

5. Jason Voorhees mask pin

Since Friday the 13th Part III, Mr Voorhees has been sporting his iconic hockey mask. This pin is a great way to sport your love for horror tastefully. I do love me wearables, and this pin went straight onto my denim jacket where it will live in its forever home. It’s a surprisingly heavy and well-made pin. From photos it might be difficult to see, but it’s rounded like an actual mask instead of a flat-back.

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6. Pocket Pop! 3 pack

These little guys are seriously the cutest killers ever. The tin includes a mini Jason, Freddy and Sam. I’ve never seen a pocket pop before, but they’re seriously adorable. The way Jason has blood splashed across his machete…  I do love Funko’s products. They increasingly out-do themselves with the sculpting. They really manage to get character in these figures, despite how small they are.

But seriously, look at how good these are.

7. Gremlins “Midnight Madness” t-shirt from ShirtPunch.com

THIS is the greatest item I have ever received in a subscription box (other than that time I got that Gizmo “Peltzer’s Pets” shirt. I guess that’s the greatest). I do have a string of Gremlins related shirts growing in my wardrobe and more are always welcome. I especially love the reference of “never feed after midnight” rule and the “Mega Madness” references in the back of the graphic. Plus the character in the faces is so great.

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Gremlins with Zach Galligan at the PPC

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means that the Christmas season can officially start on Friday. If you’ve been celebrating any earlier, you’re not doing it right. Christmas is a holiday seeped in personal traditions, and one that I’ve begun here in London is seeing Gremlins each year at the Prince Charles Cinema. But this year has an added bonus: Billy Peltzer.

Yes from Wednesday to Saturday, actor Zach Galligan is doing a live Q&A and a meet and greet at the cinema. The PCC will be showing both Gremlins and Gremlins 2: New Batch, and Galligan will be talking at all nine showings.

I saw Galligan talk back at the last London Film & Comic Con. He was comfortable, interesting and really in love with the fandom that loves him back. I always find it refreshing when actors are really involved with their fan base. At this point, I’ve been to many a panels at various conventions, but Galligan always reaches the top for me.

The stories he shared on Wednesday night were funny and interesting, even if this was my second time hearing some of them. He obviously gets the same questions time after time, but he never answers them with any sort of fatigue.

The Q&A was before Gremlins this evening, and it was unfortunately all too short, perhaps just enough time for six questions or so. Since this was the first showing, the house was packed and full of enthusiasm. Guests were also able to receive a photo and an autographed object if they wanted.

I’ll be seeing New Batch on Friday, and I’m really looking foward to hearing some new stories about the film. Galligan suggested he come back every year as a new tradition, and that would be one I would certainly hold on to.

Nerd Block October 2015 unboxed

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I splashed a tiny bit more cash this month to try out the classic Nerd Block, who also runs Horror Block (which is being sent out later this month). As I receive the newsletter every week, the teasers for this month’s Nerd Block caught my eye immediately for containing two items from some of my most favourite brands. After opening this block, I was more than satisfied.

  1. Bob’s Burgers Mad Libs

I have to admit I don’t know the first thing about Bob’s Burgers other than watching an episode or two back in my university days. It seems fine enough, but who the hell doesn’t love a good Mad Lib?

2. Zombie Hunter Dog Tags

Do people still wear fake dog tags as fashion accessories? For a few of my teenage years I wore my father’s dog tags, but I had to stop after several people thought I was actually in the army and started thanking 14-year-old me for my service (who ever said Americans were smart?). Anyway, this is hands-down the worst item in the block and that’s including more of those god-awful Titan Vinyl figures.

3. Peltzer’s Pets ShirtPunch t-shirt

I cannot and will not talk about this t-shirt rationally. LOOK AT THIS FUCKING T-SHIRT!

This shirt and the Jem annual are the two reasons I tried out Geek Block this month. And I really, really was not disappointed by this t-shirt. I’m normally a pretty normal adult by bland white-people standards: skirts or dresses every single day. But the one time I usually go out on a limb is with shirts with mogwai on them. Especially if said mogwai is everyone’s favourite hero, Gizmo. I’m going to MCM Comic Con London again this weekend, and this shirt is bound to make an appearance.

As an added bonus (just when I didn’t think this shirt could get any better) – the information card tells me that IT GLOWS IN THE DARK. Not only glows in the dark, but the sweet image of Gizmo disappears and a gremlin appears instead with “feed after midnight!” as the caption to egg you on to make bad choices. God. I fucking love Gremlins.

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4. Jem and the Holograms Outrageous Annual #1 with exclusive cover

I’ve already read this Jem annual twice already since I picked it up when it came out a couple weeks ago. As we all know, I’ve really been loving the shit out of this IDW series. The annual is a selection of short stories all illustrated by various artists. The Holograms attempt to watch a movie after a long day, but all fall asleep to have some rather interesting dreams.

There are about five different covers for this first annual, and there are some really nice variants (as always because IDW always publish about 8 covers for each issue and I need them all). This Geek Block exclusive cover is by artist Amy Mebberson. Mebberson also drew a variant cover for the first Jem issue and did the art for the “Wired” part of the annual.

5. Moe’s Tavern coasters

These are really great. While I was never a massive Simpsons fan, it’s pretty difficult to deny how fun these coasters are. And for once these are really nice quality. They even have proper cork on the back and a plastic (?) topping, which means they’ll last infinitely longer than the usual cardboard fare.

6. Geek Block Ripley and Xenomorph Titan Figure 2-pack

Fucking great. Is this how you repay me for months of support, Nerd Block? MORE of these disgusting things? Who on earth likes these? Seriously. Who are you so I can hunt you down and make sure you never buy one of these horrifying things again. Last month’s rant on my Horror Block unboxing is enough. I’ve said all I can about these monstrosities and I shall never give them anymore of my time. Even if it is Ripley. Sorry.


Next month the people at Nerd Block are launching the new Sci-Fi Block, which promises plenty of science fiction-related goodness from brands like X-Files, Firefly and Star Trek. The first block (which is shipped in November) promises a Star Wars: The Force Awakens Funko Pop and a celebrity autograph.

London Film and Comic Con Summer 2015 – Friday Preview Day

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I was rejected for a press pass for this summer’s London Film and Comic Con. Just putting that out there first thing because I am still full of bitterness. Why would someone choose the Daily Mail over this fantastic blog? I mean, what the hell is a Reuters anyway? Okay, so perhaps it is easy to see why such an in-demand event would not choose me, but still – I’ve got sass.

Alas, missing out on a press pass (and not being notified until a week prior to the event) also meant I missed an opportunity to buy tickets to the nearly sold-out London Film and Comic Con. Thankfully there were still a few tickets left for the Friday Preview Day to be snatched up by me and my constant-con-cohort Virginia over at Corleones and Lannisters. Thankfully, there was still much to be seen on Friday.

And it was no surprise that this summer’s convention had such in-demand tickets. The con had a plethora of high-profile guests like Sigourney Weaver, Michael Gambon and a whole slew of Game of Thrones cast members. Oh and just a little 30th anniversary reunion of Back to the Future. But I’m sure no one has ever watched the movie to care or anything like that…

Jokes aside. The reunion of Back to the Future was also there support The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The campaign called ‘Up to 88!’ is fundraising all weekend to help the foundation reach its goal of $88,000 by October 21, 2015 – Back to the Future Day. At every corner of the convention there was solidarity and support for this wonderful foundation. People who donated were given a poster that was exclusive to the convention in London. The convention also sold exclusive ToonStar Toys which donated a portion of the proceeds to the foundation.

In its 11th year, the London convention moved to its new home at the Kensington Olympia. This was a much-needed move as they had very much out-grown their old haunt at Earl’s Court. New digs also brought new problems, but things seemed to move quite smoothly for a first try.

But there is something so much bigger and better we need to talk about here. We need to talk about Billy.

The Panels 

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Zach Galligan and faithful side-kick Gizmo

I GOT TO SEE ZACH GALLIGAN. ZACH GALLIGAN, EVERYONE!

Oh the fangirl in me had to restrain myself to not squeal in delight when the actor walked on stage for this panel with a small Gizmo plush. My friend and I have noticed a trend that most 80s actors have ceased to grow older (see last October’s LFCC for Ralph Macchio proof). Galligan looked absolutely amazing. The actor was joined on the panel by his on-screen mother, the wonderful Frances Lee McCain. The two hadn’t seen each other in almost two decades, but got along as wonderfully as old friends.

The discussion at the Gremlins panel was lively and friendly, and it even got a bit naughty (lots of sexual innuendos – all greatly appreciated for a good laugh). When an attendee asked if Galligan of McCain ever thought the puppets were life-like when acting with them, the responses were all gold.

“The sound editing on Gremlins was amazing. I didn’t get to hear any of Howie Mandel’s voice saying ‘bye Billy’ or anything,” said Galligan. “When I acted with the puppet, all I could hear was machine sounds. Acting with Gizmo was like working with an escalator.”

They were both thoughtful with their responses. Galligan had an unique view on a possible Gremlins sequel. One that was positive more than ornery or negative. He made valid points on puppetry vs CGI that made me even second-guess my own opinions on the matter. They were very gracious to fans for their love and engagement. A refreshing take on the cult-adoration. This was one of the most engaging and entertaining panels I have seen at any convention thus far.

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Zach Galligan and Frances Lee McMcain pose for a quick photo

The last panel of the day was simply titled ‘horror panel’ which is even less descriptive than I am. But there were some real legends on the stage on Friday, including the one and only Tom Savini. Joining the iconic special effects make-up artist were Canadian stunt man and Jason Voorhees Ken Kirzinger, Saw II director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor J Larose.

While there were some horror fans in attendance, it seemed as though the emcee had no idea what was going on. I do have to say he was quite good on many other panels (as he hosted the Q&A’s at the last LFCC and did a fantastic job with the Gremlins panel), but he seemed a bit out of his league – he even forgot J Larose’s name and the poor actor sat in silence for most of the panel, which is a shame because he’s a really cool guy.

Most of the discussion seemed a bit stuck on repetitive questions, unfortunately. But interesting people will always deliver good answers regardless of the monotony in the conversation. I wish the panel would have been directed a little bit better, but alas most of the discussion was centred around favourite this and favourite that.

I really have no right to complain because I didn’t have the guts to ask my own question during the panel (which was of course about Deranged). While I love interviewing people, asking questions in large groups where I have a funny accent really isn’t my idea of fun.

Perhaps the most interesting story of the hour-long discussion was Bousman’s talk about how he got his film Repo! The Genetic Opera into theatres and into the hearts of cult movie lovers. After Lionsgate gave the film little promotion and a very limited release, Bousman took it upon himself to get the movie out there. He drove across the US paying theatres to show his film until it gained the momentum it has today. It was a great story to hear from a director so passionate about his film and not giving a flying fuck about the studio.

I don’t think it was the fault of LFCC that the panel was a bit bumpy. It was fantastic to see some horror legends up on stage, but they really ought to be where they belong – in a horror convention. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a better fit at the moment than a comic convention (in London anyway, there is always the Sheffield HorrorCon where Savini was the previous weekend). Maybe next time I can be hired to ask questions. I have zero personality, but at least I will never forget the name Larose.

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Despite the impressive array of guests, this summer’s LFCC definitely had hit a few bumps in the road. The lack of rooms to watch panels was a bit of a mistake. Having more talks and more places to wander would be a great improvement. That was one thing MCM Comic Con has a leg up on – there is always something to do.

The new layout also meant that it was difficult to find anything. There were a few posters on the walls with the daily schedule and a vague map, but something more would have been nice. MCM Comic Con always gives a really in-depth programme for their weekend party. Plus the layout had become very confused, which was a little surprising considering how well everything had been planned when it was held in Earl’s Court.

That being said, this convention is really bigger and better than ever. That’s exactly what it said on the press release I stole, but I actually mean it. This convention was an absolute monster in size. We were there from about 2 until close at 8 and I’m not even sure if we got to explore every part of the convention.

IMG_1193I also got to pick up a few things at this convention. The first was a selection of three comics written by John-Paul Kamath. These independent comics were a great buy (but more on that later). He was extremely friendly and clearly passionate about his work. Meeting artists and writers at conventions has now become one of my favourite ways to spend my time at conventions. These comics are definitely worth picking up. Check out their website at The London Horror Comic and Graveyard Orbit.

The second purchase had to be something Gremlins because at this point in my life, this movie obsession has seriously taken on some kind of disease in my brain. The poster I bought at this convention is done in the now very popular minimalist style. I bought this in hopes that it wasn’t too offensive for my husband that I would be allowed to hang it up in our flat. The verdict is yet to be reached…

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a name of the creators anywhere on the poster. That and the vendor didn’t give me any flyers. So if anyone can IMG_1195point me in the right direction, please do. I would love to give credit where it is due. They make loads of movie posters and its all on great heavy-grade paper for a much more high value feel.

On a different note, the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) was a wonderful breath of fresh air (literally – it smelled in the main area). Working as one, yet seperate, the YALC boasted some major names in young adult literature, such as Judy Blume and Robert Rankin. This was a much more quiet area of the convention. It was a wonderful place full of books and chocolate cake.

The one disappointing part was seeing several of the comic artists squashed in upper floor with the YALC and the video games. I make it a point to buy either art or independent comics when I go to these conventions. Seeing them cut off from the main area was a bit sad, but thankfully many people seemed to have ventured out of their way to seek out the artists.

While I might still be a bit sore about missing out on a press pass, I do have to admit I enjoyed the convention. There was still so much more to see. Definitely worth seeing every day. Just remind me to buy my tickets ahead of time from now on.

MCM London Comic Con haul: let’s talk about comics

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Half the fun of going to comic cons is learning about new comics, shows and products that you might have missed elsewhere. After attending my first two comic cons last October, I was determined to go out of my way to discover the greatness people had to offer. I certainly found it in different shops, independent comics and art.

Both of these buggars in the photo above came from the A Place in Space stall. This shop is located in Croyden. It’s so close to my neck of the woods I was almost embarrassed that I had never heard of them before. But alas, they had a great selection of Funko Pop! figures that were calling out to be purchased. My husband and I have a slowly growing collection that I’m afraid needs to stop growing soon or we will be out of a room.

Being the fantastic wife I am, I picked Ultron for my husband. But of course I had to nip Hong Kong Phooey for myself. The unfortunate thing about comic con is if you’re not into superheroes, you really miss out on a chunk of what’s going on. I greatly appreciated that someone carried a bit of nostalgia for a unusual collector like myself.

Another store I came across was Travelling Man. All of their stores are mostly up north (another thing that greatly pleased my Northern husband), but they also have a very nice online shop. I assumed that most stalls would run deals at the convention this weekend, but clearly marking up prices seemed to be the game for most vendors there. Travelling Man was one of the few exceptions. They had such a great selection of books and board games, and all at a great price. They will definitely be a shop I keep an eye out anytime I leave London. I also send my apologises to the nice man who tried to talk to me about the Saga volume I bought. This was another gift for the husband and I could only say “yessssss” in response to any questions. Plus my conversation skills usually extend to “hmmm” and “aaaaah” anyway.

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A great part of MCM was the fantastic Comic Village. Absolutely every type of comic and manga art under the sun was there from superheroes to sloth people to unicorn women. And it covered big names like Marvel, but had a superb amount of indie comics and prints available. This was the first place IMG_1016I headed to on Friday because I knew exactly what I was looking for: a Lee Bradley print. I have seen his work at every con I have been to in London. There was one piece in particular that had been on my mind since the last batch back in October.

Enter his The Walking Dead illustration with Gizmo and the gremlins. Everything about this piece is something to love, but for some reason I had talked myself out of buying it then. Thankfully it were prints still available and I bought one without the slightest bit of hesitation. Unfortunately every bit of free time I had seemed to be at a contrast with Mr Bradley’s schedule. Every time I popped back to his table for a chat, he was busy or had gone. Next time, sir.

I picked up one indie comic for a read from Attackosaur Comics. Their comic Devil Executioner immediately caught my eye because the cover art reminded me of early Karl Moline and because it appeared to be one of the only horror IMG_1017comics available at the convention. The work on the inside is quite interesting. Written by Martin Ian Smith and art by Nicolás Giacondino, Devil Executioner is one beautiful badass book.

It is a contained one-shot comic, which is really a cool way to get exposed to a new area of comics. This particular story follows the gun-toting exorcist Father John Torrento as he tries to save the life of of an Italian girl who has been possessed by a demon. I’ve always found real exorcisms extremely fascinating. The fact that I happened upon a comic that was based on those instances was pure, happy luck. Actually, I’m so into this comic it probably deserves its own write-up later.

Clearly I spent a fair bit of cash this weekend (sorry, bank account), but I’m already really looking forward to the next con – theLondon Film and Comic Con that’s happening in July. Lots of great guests coming up on that one, but for now this commences my coverage of my crazy weekend at the MCM London Comic Con. I am off on my honeymoon in Scotland this weekend, but I promise to return and not touch any stones at Craigh na dun.

The day an obsession went too far (probably)

Being unemployed for any amount of time has never been good for my health.

Since I was 15, there have been few periods in my life not spent either working, going to school (or usually both). People have told me to enjoy this time I have before I enter the “real world” of adulthood. There is nothing enjoyable about waiting around for two months waiting to get back to work. Maybe I could get a hobby, but there is no motivation when you could just sit around and watch a marathon of Hoarders: Buried Alive.

This is my reasoning for playing the Gremlins Gizmo game for the Wii. Probably because I really have no other excuses.

IMG_0571 My poor father took me out of the house for the first time in a few days. As there is a used gaming store going out of business, we decided to take a look at the picked-over selection.

As a side note, the Gremlins have somehow taken over my life. Even reading that sentence over has made me realise my situation is perhaps a little more pathetic than I’ve been able to admit to myself. The movie terrified me as a child. Stripe and co constantly raided my nightmares and I absolutely refused to join in at the height of the Furby craze.

And yet… and yet mogwai have now become ‘my thing’. I even went as a sort-of female version of Billy Peltzer for Halloween. Even as we approached the store, a vision of Gizmo flashed into my mind. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t surprised to see him staring back at me from the shelves of the sad store.

Unfortunately I’m the type of sucker who can’t resist the sweet face of a fictional monster, so I bought (25% off, baby) the game completely unaware of what I had done.

Gremlins Gizmo is kind of a shit game. There really isn’t two ways to put it. Like most Gremlins merchandise, the game is aimed towards young children. Always a bit bizarre considering the movie’s dark tone and the sequel’s occasional mature-content (sexy gremlin, anyone?).

I could tell instantly when turning on the game I had entered some sort of bizarre mishmash of a child’s innocence learning to be spooked for the first time and a game made purely for Gremlins die-hards. There are plenty of references in the game that only people who know their Gremlins films would get (the dancing game, being able to play as one of the scrapped mogwais from New Batch).

Before I knew it I was three hours in and had poor Gizmo dressed as an alien. I couldn’t resist. Even in a video game I couldn’t stop myself from needing to reference the book’s back story for the mogwai from an alien world. He bobs around playing with toys, racing a little doll car and spends time learning about constellations. It’s a strange universe, but it’s the one I’ve entered.

The mental decline of a young-woman and her mogwai.

The mental decline of a young-woman and her mogwai.

I’m not even entirely sure if I’m supposed to say if this is a good game or not. If there’s any dignity involved, I would say this game is a completely stupid waste of time.

But there I am, still thinking about trying to play it again later. Even if it’s just to see what other costumes there is to unlock.

Whatever. Haters gonna hate. Right, Giz?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIwrP1Od0Qw&w=420&h=315%5D

Merry Christmas from an American in London

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

May your days be filled with good food, great drinks and hopefully even better music. If not, always always be glad you’re not a French exchange student in the United States.

This is my second Christmas in my new country and it has had plenty of drinks and great conversations. But I do want to send the message to my friends and family back home that I miss you all dearly and next Christmas – I hope there is snow, schnapps and stollen. What I’ve learned over these few years is that you can still have your dream life and miss the old and I certainly feel that today.

Lots of love to all (and especially those French exchange students….)