The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'Blade' coming to Spike

Blade, the half-vampire, half human Marvel superhero, is coming to Spike TV as a series. From Coming Soon:

Spike TV has given the green-light for a television series based on Marvel Super Hero Blade as the network's first original scripted series. The network has ordered 11 one-hour episodes, in addition to the previously announced two-hour kick-off episode, to be produced by New Line Television, set to commence production in Vancouver this spring. Blade premieres in June 2006.

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Vampire candidate arrested

Remember that self-described vampire running for governor of Minnesota? He was arrested in Indiana. From UPI:

Self-described vampire and Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey has been arrested on Indiana charges of stalking and escape. Sharkey is wanted in Indianapolis on the charges on which bond has been set at $100,000, the Princeton (Minn.) Union-Eagle reported. Princeton police said their search discovered the May 2005 warrants that led to Sharkey's arrest Monday.

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Turn your friends into zombies

Bibi explains how.

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final girl's life off line

Go read this post by Stacie at final girl. I did not one, but two spit takes. Also she links to the new Silent Hill trailer. I saw the trailer at the theater and this movie is going to rock.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Haunt X

I don't usually feel like this, but some days I wish I had unlimited wealth. Then I would just drop everything and spend a week at Haunt X.

Haunt X is an event for people who prefer the "dark" things of life! This one-of-a-kind horror, haunt & Halloween expo features horror film celebrities, exciting tours, a real paranormal investigation, séances, Halloween & haunt seminars, world class speakers, horror movies, a to-die-for costume ball, special events and a giant dealer's room filled     with the latest and greatest spooky merchandise and collectibles. 
Now that is my kind of expo.

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Monstrous behavior

Jesus' General and Ginmar cover behavior that is worse than anything a horror writer could imagine.

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Battling the forces of darkness and evil

In case you were wondering, two of the site's contributors have not been posting. I wish to go meta for a moment to explain why. Cookie Jill is bravely facing the forces of darkness from California. I suspect the troubles are werewolf related. Pastor Dan is battling evil, this time in Pennsylvania. Plus he's carried me on his blog Faith Forward for years. Should they need assistance in their fights, they need simply to put up the vampire bat signal and help is on the way.

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Scary Personals

I'd love this blog even if the owner hadn't just made me a lot of play money in Blog Shares.

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Steam-powered tanks and robots

Makes me want to write science fiction in the Victorian era. Via Boing Boing.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Flying car and black helicopters

The Register in England has fun with Google Earth. The "flying car" and the "spot the black helicopter" series.

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Strange skeleton found in Malaysia

The New Straits Times has the details.

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The curse of Stonehenge

Any reader of my vampire novel knows the special regard I hold Stonehenge. From The Guardian:

West of Amesbury on the A303, the road dips and rises towards a meadow in the distance. In the meadow stands a clump of grey stones, looking like dominoes rearranged by a shell from the neighbouring artillery range. The clump is Britain's greatest stone-age monument. Nobody can touch it. Stonehenge is cursed. I have bet every chairman of English Heritage - Lord Montagu, Sir Jocelyn Stevens and Sir Neil Cossons - that no plan of theirs to meddle with the stones will ever work. This week the latest tunnel proposal collapsed, following last year's rejection of a new visitor centre. The fate of the site is consigned to that Blairite neverland called "consultation", joining St Bart's and Crossrail among the living dead, projects which move only because they are maggot-ridden with costs. I have attended many Stonehenge consultations. They are raving madhouses. The sanest people present are the pendragons, druids, warlocks, Harry Potters, sons of the sun and daughters of the moon. They have a clear use for the stones and speak English.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

"We think it was pirates"

We haven't had a good pirate story in a while... From France:

Frustrated detectives had been trying to identify the woman, said to have been in her 30s, for two years without success. Her skeleton was found in December 2003 during an exceptionally low tide near the Brittany seaside town of Plouezoc'h. Police reckoned a 14 cm gash to the skull suggested she had been bludgeoned to death with a hatchet or other sharp object.
No luck with missing persons or DNA or, well, anything. Then they radio carbon dated the skeleton - and found that she'd died sometime in the first half of the 15th century.
François Gerthosser of the local police said the case was now closed. "We are satisfied because at least we know the date now. We think it was pirates," he said.
D'oh! Now that's a cold case... [via Charles Stross]

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Indian sovereignty

Have you ever read blog posts and suddenly felt enlightened about what is really going on, that fills in the piece that is missing from a puzzle so it suddenly makes sense? Down the wrong rabbit hole, Part 1. A Clue! A Clue! Forget About The Little Fish The Metaphysics of Indian Hating Redux

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mayfair Witches

Bella on the Mayfair Witches.

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College students spot ghostly battle

Shepherd College is on the bank of the Potomac River on the West Virginia side. It is near where the Confederate troops retreated after the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War. One Union regiment that followed was badly mauled while crossing the river. Keep that in mind while reading this email report from Susan Crites of the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters:

Several students from Shepherd College called to the top of their lungs...a ghost sighting from the bank of the Potomac River on the WV side looking at the river bank on the Maryland side, near the old bridge uprights. They were near the river at the old Tobacco Warehouse. There is a small park-like area below the warehouse which is suitable for late-night "socializing." From this vantage point, they said they couldn't see much. [LOL] They heard screams, gunfire... "all hell breaking loose." It went on long enough for several to jump from the back seats of their cars, find the source of the noise [across the river] and focus on a remarkable scene. They said they saw fighting between ghostly men in uniforms. The could see the men but could also see the trees and foliage THROUGH them. They estimated that the ghostly event lasted between one to two minutes.

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'Doom' poster deemed too scary

From New Zealand's Stuff:

An advertising agency may be the victim of its own success with a ruling that a horror movie poster was too scary to be displayed at bus stops and on billboards. The Advertising Standards Complaints Board has ruled the placement of the posters – which were headed "No one gets out alive" and features a distorted evil-looking face of a monster for the movie Doom – failed to fulfil their social responsibility to consumers and society. Five people complained to the board that posters were likely to scare the complainants' young children and give them nightmares. "This is totally unsuitable to be seen in public places," one wrote.
Hat tip to Keith of Old Haunts for emailing me the link.

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Final Girl on Pretty/Scary

Final Girl posted her first column on Pretty/Scary, a horror site aimed at women. Yes, I'm a week behind on this news.

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Dracula Machinima

There are whole cultures existing in the vastness of the Internets that I had no clue existed. Via Dracula Blogged which got it from Boing Boing, Candlelight Stories has made two Dracula movies using computer game animation. Other movies from cartoons for kids to horror flix also available on the site.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Needs more Whedon

Now that UPN and the WB are merging into one network, Chicago Tribune TV columnist Maureen Ryan has a fantastic suggestion on how to build its popularity:

Monday: Right now, the UPN has a block of mostly so-so comedies and the WB has “Seventh Heaven,” which is gone after this season, and “Related,” a struggling comedy-drama. This is a prime spot for some fresh, bold programming. Get "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon on the phone and have him whip up one of his patented, obsessively loved cult dramas. Cowboys in space, vampire detectives, superhero gals -- whatever. But making Whedon the cornerstone of this night would be a smart move (and in this iTunes-oriented and DVD-crazed age, there’s no doubt The CW would make a mint from ancillary sales of any Whedon drama). It would make sense to pair up Whedon’s new show with the critically acclaimed “Veronica Mars” (which Whedon adores and has guested on). The downside: My head might explode from sheer joy.
I agree with her.

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Carter on UFOs

Best selling author and Nobel Peace Prize winning former President Jimmy Carter discusses the difference between being evangelical and fundamentalist, greedy Republicans and UFOs in GQ:

GQ: One of the other aspects of your life that struck me as a conflict between your experience and your scientific training was that you saw a UFO. Carter: I saw an unidentified flying object. I’ve never believed that it came from Mars. I know enough physics to know that you can’t have vehicles that are tangible in nature flying from Mars, looking around, and then flying back. But I saw an object one night when I was preparing to give a speech to a Lions Club. There were about twenty-five of us men standing around. It was almost time for the Lions Club supper to start, which I would eat and then I would give a speech. I was in charge of fifty-six Lions Clubs in southwest Georgia back in the late ’60s. And all of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, “Look, over in the west!” And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it. And then the light, it got closer and closer to us. And then it stopped, I don’t know how far away, but it stopped beyond the pine trees. And all of a sudden it changed color to blue, and then it changed to red, then back to white. And we were trying to figure out what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance. I had a tape recorder—because as I met with members of Lions Clubs, I would dictate their names on the tapes so I could remember them—and I dictated my observations. And when I got home, I wrote them down. So that’s an accurate description of what I saw. It was a flying object that was unidentified. But I have never thought that it was from outer space. GQ: One of the promises you made in 1976 was that if you were elected, you would look into the reports from Roswell and see if there had been any cover-ups. Did you look into that? Carter: Well, in a way. I became more aware of what our intelligence services were doing. There was only one instance that I’ll talk about now. We had a plane go down in the Central African Republic—a twin-engine plane, small plane. And we couldn’t find it. And so we oriented satellites that were going around the earth every ninety minutes to fly over that spot where we thought it might be and take photographs. We couldn’t find it. So the director of the CIA came and told me that he had contacted a woman in California that claimed to have supernatural capabilities. And she went in a trance, and she wrote down latitudes and longitudes, and we sent our satellite over that latitude and longitude, and there was the plane.

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Tales of Hot Rod Horror

Laughing Squid previews:

A psychedelic ride with a disembodied eyeball, a deal or two with the devil, the true story of James Dean’s car, a Lovecraftian Day of the Dead hot rod race, cars that drink blood, and many other stories to rattle your bones are included in this volume. Created by some of the finest up-and-coming writers and illustrators working in comics today, this collection is guaranteed to satisfy your need for speed and terror!

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Medieval cemetery discovered

Evil Mommy digs up a story of the discovery of a medieval cemetery in Leicester. Archaeologists have found more than 1,300 skeletons, buried tentatively between 1100 AD to 1573 AD. For the record, I issue my standard denial. I had nothing to do with those bodies found in Leicester.

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Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon was born this day in 1947. He sang of werewolves and bad men. "Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan." Two sentences that pretty much sums up the 1980s. My favorite, probably not surprisingly, is his classic, Werewolves of London.

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's Going to get himself a big dish of beef chow mein Werewolves of London If you hear him howling around your kitchen door Better not let him in Little old lady got mutilated late last night Werewolves of London again Werewolves of London He's the hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair Better stay away from him He'll rip your lungs out, Jim I'd like to meet his tailor Werewolves of London Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen Doing the I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen Doing the I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's His hair was perfect Werewolves of London Draw blood
Zevon also wrote this horrific gem, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner:
Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day So he set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray Through sixty-six and seven they fought the Congo war With their fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in gore For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese Roland the Thompson gunner... His comrades fought beside him - Van Owen and the rest But of all the Thompson gunners, Roland was the best So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen blew off Roland's head Roland the headless Thompson gunner Norway's bravest son (Time, time, time For another peaceful war But time stands still for Roland 'Til he evens up the score) They can still see his headless body stalking through the night In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun Roland searched the continent for the man who'd done him in He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg Roland the headless Thompson gunner... The eternal Thompson gunner still wandering through the night Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun And bought it.
The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf has this terrific post from July 5, 2005 on Zevon. Tip of the hat to Maryscott.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Stephen King's 'Cell'

The New York Times reviews Stephen King's "Cell":

"Cell" begins with a big, graphic jolt. On a pleasant October afternoon in downtown Boston (beware any scene featuring an innocent ice cream truck), everything suddenly goes crazy. People attack strangers, break things and speak in wild gibberish, all as a consequence of the brain zapping that the book calls The Pulse. It has been delivered via cellphone. Only the Luddites and phone-phobes are safe. So far, so good - although it would have been better had Mr. King not agreed to promote "Cell" with cellphone ring tones being sold by his publisher. Anyone who uses a cellphone (Mr. King does not) has been zombified: in a book dedicated to two pioneers in this thematic area, Richard Matheson and George Romero, Mr. King creates a "Night of the Living Dead" scenario with a technological twist. "Except these people aren't dead," explains a still-sentient Boston police officer. "Unless we help them, that is." Mr. King spends part of "Cell" contemplating the essential darkness of human nature. Stripped of social constraints, the Pulse people create a Hieronymous Bosch tableau of hellish depravity. They can be found reeling, staggering, biting their own mothers or fighting over Twinkies. The author's mouthpiece, a comic book artist named Clayton Riddell, finds time to take the long view about this disintegration and comeuppance. "Three days ago we not only ruled the earth, we had survivor's guilt about all the other species we'd wiped out in our climb to the nirvana of round-the-clock cable news and microwave popcorn," Clay observes. "Now we're the Flashlight People."
Positive review overall. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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Howling at the Dog Soldiers

Ginmar's been on a werewolf kick. Here's her reviews of Dog Soldiers and the Howling.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Skull cane sold on eBay

Via Boing Boing, a cane from about 1900 with a naturalistic skull carved from ivory sold on eBay:

On top of a long & slender rosewood shaft we find a knob shaped ivory handle boasting the portrayal of a human skull. Due to the complete set of 32 teeth and the count Dracula style collar that is visible at his neck it appears as if the skull was proudly grinning and alive, adding a mythical and slightly humorous note to this fine artwork. The skull cap is hinged and can be opened up revealing a hollow container where small items such as money coins, medicine or tobacco can be safely stored. The hinges, the collar and the small globules on the jacket collar are made of silver. The ivory portrait of the skull is highly expressive and very neatly executed with immaculate attention for anatomical detail such as the nose, the eyeholes, the cheekbones or the teeth. Especially remarkable is the naturalistic surface of the skull – the artist achieved to create a real bone texture with delicately incised indentations and skullcap joints.

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Moon River Brewing Co. update

Curt at The Groovy Age of Horror does some paranormal sleuthing for me at the Moon River Brewing Co. and interviews a bar keep who works there.

ME: Do tell? HER: Yeah. One time I got pushed down the stairs. I looked back and there was no one behind me. Another time, I got chased up the stairs. I was just coming down, and all of a sudden this spirit started to appear in front of me. This great fear came over me, so I ran back up as fast as I could.
Entire post well worth the click. Here's my original post that put Curt on the trail of the haunted pub. Horror bloggers will go to any lengths for a good beer haunting.

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'Supernatural' like a weekly horror movie

I don't watch much television so I don't know how accurate this article is, but it makes me want to check out the show. From The New York Times:

In a recent episode of "Supernatural," the two lead characters, both good-looking men in their 20's, walked down the hallway of an abandoned, haunted insane asylum. "Hey, Sam," one said to the other. "Who do you think is a hotter psychic, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt or you?" The line was an acknowledgment of the large number of current shows (the hot psychics appear on "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer," respectively) that share the otherworldly subject matter. But it was also an indication of the wry, self-aware humor that has made this show stand out. "Supernatural," shown on Tuesday nights, chronicles the adventures of two brothers who crisscross the country's back roads in a 1967 Chevy, pursuing and destroying evil as they search for their missing father. The show has emerged as WB's only new hit of the fall season so far, attracting a loyal audience of young female viewers as well as bringing in more young men, which is one of the network's main goals. Before its debut in September, "Supernatural" was just one of a crowded field. "We were in that mix, the one-word genre shows," said Eric Kripke, 31, the show's creator, in reference to "Threshold," "Surface" and "Invasion," new science fiction series begat by the success of "Lost." "But it's like, we're a horror show," Mr. Kripke said. "We weren't a paranoid, government-conspiracy, alien thing. We weren't an endless-mystery 'Lost'-style format. We're just this rollicking, red-blooded horror movie."
Anyone seen it?

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'Murderous, blood-thirsty thugs'

An open letter to the so-called Rev. Fred Phelps of the notorious God hates campaign,

I never thought you would make me proud of my adopted state of West Virginia.

But as your latest press release makes clear, West Virginians have got some crowing to do. From your Westboro Baptist Church statement:

(Apologies to my gay brothers and sisters for the hate speech I'm quoting, but I think it's important to see what we're dealing with)

West Virginia is by far the worst. Murderous, blood-thirsty thugs is not too strong. Foul-mouthed issuers of terroristic threats - which is felonious conduct in most states. Not the Castro faggot district in San Francisco; not New York's sodomite Village; nor any of the lesser famous hotbeds of perversion like the French Quarter of New Orleans - all of which places WBC has picketed on multiple occasions - none rivals West Virginia for filthiness. WBC members will testify against you on Judgment Day. 500 West Virginians threatened to kill us.


WBC to picket the fag-infested University of West Virginia [sic] in Morgantown on the first day of their shameful, infamous Gay Pride Week - Monday, April 3 - in religious protest & warning: "God is not mocked!" God Hates Fags & Fag-Enablers! Ergo God hates West Virginia

Let me interrupt you right there, Phelps. Now I've got to give you points for the headline of "Brokeback Mountaineers." It's kind of catchy. But it's West Virginia University not University of West Virginia.

Dumb ass.

I take pride in the fact that of all the places you've picketed, the worst "by far" reception you ever received is in West Virginia. And yes, we are blood-thirsty thugs. Keep that in mind when you mess with one West Virginian, you mess with the entire fucking tribe.

I see you're also planning to picket the Sago Baptist Church in Tallmansville -- again like you did at the memorial service for the 12 miners.

You write:

...for blasphemously misrepresenting the sovereign, predestined providences of The Almighty in the Sago Mine matter. When God punishes a nation with death-dealing lightning bolts, hurricanes, and IEDs, it slanders the Great King to utter maudlin preacher-lies in vain attempts to gloss over God's condign wrath so as  to avoid repentance.

Phelps, keep in mind what you wrote about West Virginians. You looking for wrath, you just might find it. The people in coal country are not people to mess with -- even when you've got field artillery and the U.S. Army behind you as people found out in the Coal Mine Wars of the 1920s.

I believe God is loving and merciful.

But you fuck with West Virginians at your own risk.

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Claymont ghost hunt

The West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters conducted an investigation at the Claymont Court Mansion. Here's a report from Leigh, a senior paranormal investigator:

I'm late getting this written, but when you get old like me it takes longer to do everything. I have a hard time walking up steps, so I didn't spend much time in the house. I did pick up a few orbs in a couple of the rooms downstairs. I decided to take off and explore the grounds outside. Not long after walking the grounds I felt a presence beside me. I could hear foot steps walking beside me. I tried to get pictures, but it seems to move, as if it didn't want to be photographed. I continued to explore some paths into the wooded areas. I met up with Jay and Sharon and we proceeded down one of the paths. We ran into some cold spots, and the path sometimes in front of us was almost black. I did have some problems walking from the energy that was there. Sharon and I both felt like there was a heavy pressure on our chests. I did pick up some orbs in that area. We went down another path we thought would lead us to the barn? As we continued down this path I still felt this presence with me. There was an erie slience as well. There were times we ran into some really cold spots where the temperature must have dropped about 10 to 15 degrees? We also detected tobacco smoke as if someone was smoking a pipe. All the way down the path there was this feeling of extreme cold on the left side of me. The futher down the path we went we realized this was not the path to the barn. We did however come upon an old house and shed. I did get quite a few shots of miasma while on this path. The presence that followed me continued to stay by my left side. We left that path, and found the path that did lead to the barn below the house. The closer to the barn we got the stronger the energy was, and we felt the colder temperature once again. It was quite an experience. There was heay miasma in that area. Susan called me back to the house, because we were getting ready to leave to go to another barn. I was able to take a few more pictures of the house and I said goodbye to whoever the enity was, that had kept me company. We arrived at the other barn, and I didn't like the smell inside, so I went back out into the yard. I continued to take some pictures of that area. That area seems to have quite a bit of energy. There also I was able to get quite a few shots of miasma before we left to come home. I really enjoyed being at Claymont, at times I could vision how it must have been living there! One more thing I would like to add about the ghost hunt. I mention earlier how I felt a presence walking on my left side, and how cold my face was on that side. When I got home and looked in the mirror, my cheek on the left side was red and very cold to the touch. The other side of my face was warm. If you have never been touched by a ghost, you are in for quite an experience. After looking at the pictures I took on the path, the miasma in the pictures there, showed up on my left side.
More on Claymont at the official site:
Fashioned after a design by George Washington, the Claymont mansion was built by his grand-nephew, Bushrod Washington, in 1820. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion is a picturesque and protected environment for seminars, conferences, workshops, or retreats. Original oak paneling and crystal chandeliers preserve the architectural integrity of the building. Up to thirty participants can be accommodated overnight in the mansion. The simply furnished library, music room, and ballroom provide a variety of meeting rooms, ranging from smaller, intimate spaces to larger rooms suitable for group activities. Large lawns and quiet woods allow informal gatherings with moments of solitude during intensive activities. the mansion can have retreats of up to 40 people.

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Amish werewolf stalks in Kornwolf.

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

In "Kornwolf," Tristan Egolf's posthumous novel, Owen Brynmore, a jobless newspaperman and cranky nicotine addict, returns home to Blue Ball, Pa. After taking a spot at the local paper, Owen is handed a lead he just can't resist: Something is roaming the cornfields of Amish country, taking livestock, terrorizing the townspeople and leaving an unearthly stench. Aware that it's probably a hoax, the paper's editor is all too eager to go tabloid with Owen's sensational articles on the Blue Ball Devil. But by exploiting a local legend, Owen and his editor (not to mention Egolf) ignite a bloody and hilarious romp through Pennsylvania's dubiously named townships and villages -- Intercourse, Philth Town, Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball. Soon, Owen's curiosity has the best of him. Despite the scorn of the townspeople, repeated warnings he'll be called crazy, and even after losing his job, he looks for answers, and the more he finds out, the less his hastily published story seems off the mark. The story, told by various characters, follows Owen's pursuit of the Kornwolf -- a.k.a. the Blue Ball Devil, which turns out to be a werewolf who happens to be Amish -- toward a grotesque climax.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

My Underworld: Evolution review

Let me start off by talking about the original. The original was entertaining, but deeply flawed, mainly because I've seen better story lines and acting during late night sessions of the roleplaying game Vampyre: Masquerade. Also werewolf Scott Speedman was totally unbelievable as a love interest for vampire Kate Beckinsale. He was more like somebody a vampire would feed off and forget before the last drop of blood fell. But it was entertaining to me. It had vampires and werewolves and was shot decently. And it had Kate Beckinsale in tight black leather. Grrrr, as Bob Hope would have said. I wanted to love the movie, but I couldn't. I liked it for what it was despite a nagging sense of disappointment about what it could have been. But I wanted to love it and considering it had two of my favorite supernatural creatures, it shouldn't have been hard to make me love it. Instead it was more of a "I'll call you" but I never did and didn't even pick up the DVD. So I saw Underworld: Evolution this afternoon at the cheapie theater: $3 for ticket, $1 for small popcorn, $1.50 for medium soda and $1.50 for Milk Duds. At that price, Underworld: Evolution is worth seeing and is a fun way to spend an hour and change. The first movie is all about the war between the vampires and the werewolves and betrayal of trust for some secret plan that makes no sense after it's explained because the plot is more riddled with holes than a lycan corpse after Selene (Beckinsale) emptied clips into it. After a brief history lesson of the start of the war between vampires and werewolves, you get a recap of some of the events in the first movie. Then Marcus, the founder the vampire race, is accidentally freed from his imprisonment when blood from the first movie's big bad drips down on him, and he kills most of the characters left over from the first movie in a 30-second span. Nice bit of cleaning the slate by the film's director, Len Wiseman. Then the half man/half bat Marcus drinks another vampire's blood and you discover one of his abilities is the movie exposition and flashback superpower, so you get more back story. Apparently Wiseman listened to the critics of the first movie who called the plot too convoluted and decided to go overboard explaining things this time out. Except when you learn the story, it's really not worth knowing. But as I explained in my BloodRayne review, the story is not what vampire fans go to these things for: it's the fangs and blood. And Wiseman apparently read my criticism elsewhere about Speedman's character and took it to heart and made his character less like someone out of Vampire Felicity. Instead he's more like a werewolf/vampire hybrid version of Neo from one of the Matrix movies. So I like Speedman's Michael much more in this movie than the original. There is still no heat between Speedman and Beckinsale. Sure there's the obligatory sex scene between the two (if it's totally expected and cliched does revealing it count as a spoiler?). It's more like casual sex than romantic sex so in a way that seems more appropriate for a vampire than what Wiseman probably intended. Maybe he just had trouble directing his wife Beckinsale in a sex scene with another man, but the lovemaking was about as hot as my popcorn which was cold and stale and cheap. Wiseman also could take a few tips from professional wrestling on how to build suspense in a climatic fight. The hero should be in more dire circumstances and then make a big comeback. Not here. The conclusion seemed so obvious that I kept thinking it had to be a set up for a twist. No, the last 10 minutes are completely predictable. Oh well. It also -- just as predictably -- set up the next in the series. And I'll be there. I guess Wiseman isn't the only one who can't veer from the inevitable.

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Kenyans don't like horror movies


As the year came to a close however, it became clear that Kenyans do not, as a whole appreciate big screen horror movies. The four main horror movies of 2005 included The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Ring 2, White Noise and Hide and Seek. These movies walked the dark path of blighted numbers and failed to gather a following worth noting, according to Ms Buddhev.
But Mr. and Mrs. Smith did well followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday vampire cat blogging

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TheVeep reviews 'Hostel'

Via Jesus' General, TheVeep's review on IMDB of Hostel:

Not very realistic, 16 January 2006 Author: TheVeep from An Undisclosed Location *** This comment may contain spoilers *** I really wanted to like this movie, and I'll admit that parts of it excited me in a way that required me to shift the position of my popcorn, but the film lacked the realism I was told to expect. Men don't scream like that when they're subjected to pain approaching, but not equivalent to organ failure. Their screams are much more piercing and non-human in nature. And when a man is using a power drill to penetrate human flesh, he's thinking about something very different in his mind, thoughts that are physically expressed in a very noticeable manner if you know what I mean. My wife tells me that it's art and that it's aimed a broad audience rather than simply at experts. I don't know about that. It seems to me that even the layman can sense when something isn't authentic.

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Underworld: Evolution

OK, just one more cheesy vampire movie and then I'll quit. I swear. I'll get clean off them and wait until a good vampire movie comes along. I'll even do VA this time - Vampires Anonymous. Just one more bad vampire movie and then I'm off them. No more. And besides, you don't know. It might not be that bad. It might even be good. It's got vampires and werewolves. And sure Scott Speedman or whatever-his-name-is was totally unbelievable as a love interest for Kate Beckinsale or any vampire or any living, breathing being now that I think about it. But Beckinsale looked glorious as a vampire assassin. So I can stop seeing bad vampire movies any time I want to. Right after this one. update -- Or as Jack Twist would say: I wish I knew how to quit you!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006


Exploding Aardvark posted a scary image. I live with three similar creatures. Don't get between a girl and her jelly bread!

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'Rage' poster at Fangoria

Maybe not work safe, but sexy poster for upcoming horror flick The Rage is worth a look.

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Stephen King on the phone

As part of the marketing campaign for his new novel, Cell, Stephen King is going to write text messages to send to cell phones of fans who sign up for the service. There also will be cell phone wallpapers and ring tones. Details here.

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Big damn heroes

I sent my wife the link to this photo of the Firefly cast at a recent convention and she now says she wants us to attend the next convention. "They just look like they're having so much fun," she said. She's never been into science fiction, prefers true crime to horror fiction and has never seen Star Wars. But Firefly and the movie Serenity struck a chord with her.

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Being dead: When it pays off

Would-be corpse gets chance to join ‘Stiffs’

Ohio man's TV auditions pay off, receives offer to play dead body in comedy

And then, there's when it doesn't:

Police: Man faked death to avoid child support

'Ultimate deadbeat dad' now owes more than $30,000 for two kids

Evidently, the first guy has a website; the other guy... not so much.

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Edgar Allan Poe - b. 19 January 1809

The man to whom we owe, well, pretty much everything as far as modern horror goes was born on this date in 1809. Just think - in three short years, we will be observing Edgar Allan Poe's bicentennial.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006


From Wired News:

You haven't heard of the vampire film Moonshine yet, but you will. The film premieres at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, which starts Thursday in Park City, Utah, and it has a back story to make every aspiring filmmaker green with envy. Roger Ingraham, the film's director, dropped out of high school, wrote a script and, at age 19, shot Moonshine using several dozen volunteer actors and crew. Total price: $9,200, including the cost of a Panasonic camera, a PowerBook G4 and website hosting. An agent from the William Morris Agency saw a trailer for Moonshine while surfing the net, and helped usher the film into Sundance.
Here's the official site to Moonshine with details of the story:
In a working class Connecticut town, a young convenience store clerk's monotonous life is about to end. His boss holds herself over him, his parents spend their days in the house unemployed, and he moves back and forth, from work to home, fearful not to overstep. One night, in the cellar, lit by a dangling bulb, something emerges to take his life. A dark man creeps into the incandescent light. His wiry hair hides his glossy eyes, boney face, and a pair of fangs beneath his lips.
This is one to look forward to seeing. Hat tip to FARFetched for emailing me the link.

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Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing reviews Octavia Butler's new vampire novel, Fledgling:

Fledgling's heroine is a young vampire who awakes, amnesiac and badly mutilated, in a cave. She soon encounters the smoking wreck of a village, and then a young man, whom she bites and then beds. The sexual politics of this are really creepy, since she appears to be an eleven-year-old girl (she is much older, but vampires age more slowly than humans). What proceeds is a darkly erotic story of the family and race crisis that led to the extermination of her clan and her near-fatal injuries. On the way, Butler masterfully handles the moral dimension of feeding from, and becoming symbiotic with human (fans of Butler's story Bloodchild will recognize the symbiosis theme here), all the while never neglecting to tell a fast-moving, action-oriented story that had me turning pages well past my bedtime. I even stood on a freezing subway platform and finished a chapter before putting the book away and heading out.
Entire review well worth the click.

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A cross-stitching Spike

Via WHEDONesque, a story you must read to believe.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Help! Ghost!"

From The Daily Telegraph (UK) comes this tale of supernatural mistaken identity:

An Indian man has been banished by his family who are convinced he is a ghost. Raju Raghuvanshi, believed by friends and family to have died in prison, came home this month after a short jail sentence to be greeted by shouts of "Help! Ghost!" He has now enlisted the help of police to try to convince them that he is alive.
Bummer. But I think the best line in the article is this:
The best proof he had - that his feet were still properly attached, not turned backward as ghosts' feet are thought to be - was dismissed.
Now that's cold. What's the use of having rules for ghosts if you won't apply them when they prove someone isn't a ghost!?

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Bloggers of the night! What sweet posts they make...

I've been fighting to keep demonic hordes at bay for the past couple of days* so haven't been around the horror blogosphere. Here's an update about what else is going on: The CavBlog directed me to a really cool web comic, The Yellow Jacket. Pulpy goodness from Thrill Seeker Comics. Sam Costello of the Dark, But Shining crew is doing a bit of self-promotion for his comic book tale, Dark Matters in Variants 2. That means I'm promoting his self-promotion. Viral marketing at its finest, but the comic does indeed look worthy of picking up. Cover art on the left. Congratulations Sam for being published. Fustar has a terrific post on UFOs, a topic I find fascinating but don't cover nearly as much as I should. Exclamation Mark reviews one of the classics, The Day of the Triffids. Mark's reviews are often better reads and more informative than many professional reviewers. Tim has a nice tribute to the recently departed Shelley Winters at Mondo Schlocko. Also don't be afraid to check out his cool Mondo Schlocko pod casts. Episode 2 is up. Once bitten, twice damned links to an anime film in my Netflix queue. Warrenzone reviews The Boogeyman. Everything at Final Girl is worth reading, but the humor in her post on the 10 worst slasher films in her Hall of Infamy is especially cutting. The Groovy Age of Horror is nominated for a Rondo award. Congratulations Curt! He's too nice to campaign for votes. Fortunately he's got friends like me not above such things. Go vote for the Groovy Age of Horror or face the vampire's curse! And last, but never least, Keith at Old Haunts has a spooktacular collection of 8mm "horror" movies.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Ghost hunter school at haunted castle

From Lakeland Radio in the U.K.:

A new school for ghost hunters is being launched at a Lake District spot that is reputed to be one of the country’s most haunted buildings. Dr Jason Braithwaite wants to teach people the genuine scientific skills needed to investigate ‘haunted’ houses, in a two-day course at Muncaster Castle.
More information at the Muncaster Castle site.
Muncaster is one of Britain's most haunted castles. Paranormal researchers often come to the Castle to seek rational explanations of the strange happenings, without success. Many tales revolve around Tom Fool, a powerful force at Muncaster. Tom is rarely seen, but his spirit continues to play tricks on people at Muncaster. Hauntings often occur in The Tapestry Room. Visitors complain of the disturbed nights, hear footsteps outside the the room, see the door handle turning, and the door opening although nobody is there. A child is frequently heard crying towards the window end of the room, and sometimes a lady heard singing, comforting a sick child. Visitors have also felt cold in the room for no apparent reason.

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'The House Among the Laurels'

The Public Domain Podcast returns to William Hope Hodgson with the Carnacki tale, The House Among the Laurels.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Gwyneth Paltrow haunted

Gwyneth Paltrow and a man she married even though he's not good enough for her have a ghost in their house. From Monsters and Critics:

Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin claim they are being haunted by the ghost of a 19th century musician. The pair believe their north London home, which they share with daughter Apple, is possessed by the ghost of Adolphus White - a Royal College of Music professor who died at the property in 1902. The pregnant 'Shakespeare In Love' actress is so worried about the musical apparition she is planning an exorcism at the house - located in the capital's plush Belsize Park region - before she gives birth in the spring. Friends of the 33-year-old actress and her Coldplay star husband say the pair have become increasingly anxious about the alleged spectre.
Go read the article to see what is being blamed by Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow for his inability to write his next album. Except for causing anxiety to my dear Gwyneth, I'd say the ghost is doing the world a favor.

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Friday vampire cat blogging bonus

To make up for forgetting to post Friday vampire cat blogging last week, you get a bonus today. Hat tip to Lisa Boucher of Exploding Aardvark for emailing the pic.

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Happy Friday the 13th!

Friday the 13th movies. Why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky. Friday the 13th, The Series. Antique dealers search for cursed items to protect the public.

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Frapper is working for me again. Don't know if the problem was on their end or a glitch in my computer system. But it is a fun mapping tool. If you haven't signed up and would like to, please do.

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Friday vampire cat blogging

Hat tip to PhillyGal.

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Top 10 paranormal events of 2005's paranormal expert Stephen Wagner lists the Top 10 paranormal events of 2005. My favorite was No. 7:

Ghosts were hunted and sighted in 2005, of course, and sometimes even photographed. A family in Kingston, New Hampshire was tormented by levitating objects, disembodied voices and apparitions, seemingly brought about by digging on the property. The staff and customers of a lighting shop in Lincolnshire, England reported mysterious footsteps, slamming doors and shades thrown about. Soldiers in guard towers in Afganistan reported the haunting of a little girl.
Lot of great stuff. Well worth the click. Hat tip to The Daily Grail.

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James Wolcott: werewolf hunter

Remind me to never piss off James Wolcott.

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I have a 4 year old daughter. Every time I see this photo I want to cry.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Whedon on Goners

Via WHEDONesque, Joss Whedon talks about Goners to movie mag Empire:

Post Serenity, Joss Whedon is a very busy man. Not only is he currently up to his eyes in the screenplay for Wonder Woman, but he's sold his script for Goners along the way. The problem is, while everybody knows the story of the hotpant-sporting superheroine, no one seems to know owt about Whedon's other project. "I'm keeping it all pretty close to my chest at the moment," Whedon told Empire. "I'm something of a blabbermouth. What I will say is that it ventures more into the horrific than I normally tend to. I love horror movies but I looked back on Buffy and I was like 'Oh, we forgot to make it scary.' It was occasionally scary but I got so wrapped up in the emotions and people and things that I missed the horror aspect. Goners comes back to that a little bit."
I'll try not to geek out too much, but I want Goners and a Serenity sequel and a Buffy movie and a Spike movie and a TV adaption of Frey and then Firefly returning as a weekly series. Is that too much to ask?

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Self-described vampire runs for governor

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Take a gander at Jonathon (The Impaler) Sharkey, who will launch his gubernatorial campaign in Princeton, Minn., on Friday the 13th as a "satanic dark priest" and the leader of the "Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party." snip For starters, he describes himself as a "sanguinary vampyre ... just like you see in the movies and TV, I sink my fangs into the neck of my donor (at this time in my life, it is my wife, Julie), and drink their blood," he said in an e-mail. snip "I'm going to be totally open and honest," he said. "Unlike other candidates, I'm not going to hide my evil side." Sharkey's religious convictions also might be described as well removed from the middle of the road. Call it compassionate Satanism. "On a whole, those who worship Lucifer are no more evil than those who worship other gods," he says on his website.
I don't believe he's really a vampire and I don't believe he represents the views of pagans or witches well either. Hat tip to PhillyGal for emailing the link.

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Vampire Freaks history

I sometimes lurk at VampireFreak's founder, jet, has posted a cool history of the site.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My BloodRayne review

OK, let me get this out of the way at the beginning that I did sneak in a bottle of Jack Daniels into the theater. One does not go into a movie with the reviews BloodRayne received unprepared and without assistance. That said... I really enjoyed BloodRayne. Oh the holes the story are bigger than the hole in opne of the corpse's skull after a battle scene. But as a fan of the vampire genre, I've endured much worse movies. And when I say it's Uwe Boll's best movie yet, that might be seen as damning with the faintest of praise. So let me put it this way: BloodRayne had better vampire action than Blade II; had fewer script issues than Blade III; and had fiercer vampire attacks than Van Helsing. I confess my view might be colored by lowered expectations (not the whiskey). I had high hopes for Van Helsing because I really like both of the main actors, Kate Beckinsale and Hugh Jackman. And say what you will, I say Stephen Sommers made two great popcorn movies with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns so I really had high hopes for Van Helsing...wait, this is turning into another Van Helsing rant. Where was I? Oh right! BloodRayne. You can read tons of reviews about BloodRayne's flaws and I'll just say this: they're right. I mean, look at this cast: Ben Kingsley of Ghandi, Silas Marner, and Sexy Beast, Michelle Rodriguez of Girlfight, Billy Zane of a lot of movies where he seemed on the verge of breaking out into the big time. These are people who know how to act and could be in a great movie together. BloodRayne isn't that movie. Wait, I was just getting ready to praise it not damn it. When Rayne escapes from her cage and attacks her fellow circus performers, it's fierce and it's bloody and it's one of the best vampire-going-for-the-jugular scenes filmed. Notice I'm not talking about the plot? The plot's irrelevant in these things. We go to these things for the fangs and the blood. There's not enough of that. But the other stuff isn't all bad. Sure blood shoots like arterial spray from flesh wounds not close to arteries or veins while a slit throat oozes blood - go figure. And Rayne seems to get control of her blood lust rather quickly and when she has sex with one of her cohorts it doesn't seem nearly as dangerous as it should. But Boll isn't afraid of showing a lot of blood and gaping wounds and naked breasts. And that's a far sight more than Cursed which was done by Wes Craven. So I'll say this about Boll. He made a better film recently than Wes Craven. That's a sad indictment of Craven and surprise praise of Boll. I wouldn't recommend BloodRayne to anyone other than vampire lovers or fans of the video game (and I've never played the game so I don't know how it compares). But for vampire genre fans, we've seen worse.

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When spambots attack...

Sorry, all... We got hit by a spambot today (or a human spammer working with a script) and got 24 bogus comments in under 10 minutes. Deleting that many by hand sucks like the proverbial Electrolux, so we've moved to moderated comments for the time being. If we don't experience further attacks, I think we could probably go back to unmoderated comments. My apologies for the inconvenience.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pretty Scary

This one is for the ladies: Pretty/Scary.

Pretty/Scary was created to provide women in the horror world a place where they could build a community of like-minded individuals. We got sick of watching women get treated like meat on other sites and magazines in order to promote their projects. Now there is a place they can go to be taken seriously, while celebrating the fact that they are hot, funny, and covered in blood. Pretty/Scary is open to horror fans, authors, filmmakers, actresses, webmasters, any woman involved in horror in any way, and even men. It's a site about celebrating the feminine while acknowledging the dreadful power women possess to frighten. We embrace the darkness, the fear and the female of women in horror. Pretty/Scary is the first website of its kind, by women of horror, for women of horror, but also by and for the men who love women in horror. We think men are wonderful, creative, and frightful beings, and we welcome their participation and contributions. We celebrate women because the genre is overwhelmingly male, and we simply want to give women the recognition they deserve. Our "Scary Studs" section is our way of celebrating men gifted with attractive physical attributes, the way men have long admired women for their beauty. Our Scary Studs may not always fit the stereotypical male model, Adonis physique, but we choose men whom we find please our eyes.

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Top 10 vampire list runs down their list of 10 favorite vampires from movies. Fun read. Here's the top 3:

3. Salma Hayek as Santanico Pandemonium in "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) It's a toss-up for favorite vampire in this collaboration between writer Quentin Tarantino and director Robert Rodriguez. There's Cheech Marin's bitin' bouncer, Chet Pussy; Danny Trejo as the bartender, Razor Charlie; and Tom Savini as Sex Machine, with a gun in his pocket (he's not happy to see you). But as Santanico Pandemonium, a belly-dancing monster vampire, Salma Hayek can snake-charm the machine-gun-wielding pants off of pretty much anyone. Remember, folks: Even in Mexico, never drink tequila off of a vampire's toes. 2. Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" (1933) Obvious choice? Sure, but the fact remains that when someone says the name "Dracula," Lugosi's wine-abstaining Prince of Darkness is still the image that pops into mind. One of the most indelible portrayals in film history, the Hungarian stage actor's Transylvanian Count might not be as frightening as, say, Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's otherwise miscast 1992 remake — Keanu and Winona? Please! — and he might not be the number one vampire on our list. But Legosi, with his thick accent and stiff, exotic demeanor, is by far the most iconic. 1. Max Schreck as Count Orlok in "Nosferatu" (1922) After over 80 years, still the scariest. In F.W. Murnau's 1922 German film, "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens" (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror), Max Schreck plays Count Graf Orlok, a bone-white human rodent with elongated claw-like fingers and ratlike teeth. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," the film is a haunting black-and-white exemplar of German Expressionism. "Nosferatu" has only grown in creepiness since 1922 — partially due to the alienating feel of the film that has accrued with time. Modern viewers often find even comedies from that era unsettling due to the stark difference in style, technology and setting. When you add a plague of rats and a truly terrifying Dracula to the mix, there's absolutely nothing comforting in "Nosferatu." And we mean that as the ultimate praise.
Selene from Underworld and Underworld: Evolution was ranked 10th. Personally I think Sadie Frost as Lucy Westerna from Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula should have been in the top 5.

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Ghosts sighting?

From an email from the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters:

"We've known each other for years so I think you know I'm not crazy. LOL! For a minute or two I thought I'd lost my mind tonight. Basketball season started and I've been going to my son's games. After the games, he rides with my husband and I drive my car home. Since the games end at about the same time, I've been on the same place on Route 11 at about the same time as I drive home. Two times before I saw these two little kids walking on the side of the road. It was about 7;15 and dark. Both times I wondered what two little kids about five or six were doing walking on the side of the road. They looked too little to be out by themselves and it is dangerous on 11 because of the traffic and people coming out of the bars. Last night I saw the little kids again and couldn't stand it anymore so I stopped the car. The mother in me just had to tell them they shouldn't be on the road. I pulled over and got out of the car. They were just behind the car walking toward me when I got out. A passing cars lights lit them up for just a second or two. They were dirty little kids in crummy old fashioned clothes. Their hair was dirty and their faces looked dirty and their clothes looked like they were too big. No coats or gloves or anything warm. The weirdest thing was that they were wearing big dark boots that were way to big for them. The clothes were old fashioned like real old time farm clothes. I want to say were from the 1920s or maybe even older than that. I got to within about three feet of them and could see them real good. It was a girl and a boy. I smiled at them and said, "Don't be scared. I won't hurt you." Just at that exact moment a big truck went past real fast. It made a huge wind as it passed and blew off my hat. I reached down to pick it up then looked up for the little kids AND THEY WERE GONE!!!!!!! I searched all up and down the road and looked off the side of the road EVERYWHERE!!! They were just gone in that moment it took to look for my hat. I am pretty sure they were ghosts. I think I've seen the same ghost little kids at least three times now at the same place on Route 11. It's just before you get to Gables going in the direction of Winchester. What do you think? Am I nuts? Has anybody else seen these kids? Are they ghosts? I think I need a drink! Thanks.

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Books bound in human skin

Paging Henry Armitage. Dr. Armitage to the white courtesy phone please. From Local 6:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University's library boasts an anatomy book that combines form and function in macabre fashion. Its cover -- tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, like fine leather -- is made of human skin. In fact, a number of the nation's finest libraries, including Harvard's, have such books in their collections. The practice of binding books in human skin was not uncommon in centuries past, even if it was not always discussed in polite society. At the time, the best libraries belonged to private collectors. Some were doctors who had access to skin from amputated parts and patients whose bodies had gone unclaimed. In other cases, wealthy bibliophiles acquired skin from executed criminals, medical school cadavers and people who died in the poor house. Nowadays, libraries typically keep such volumes in their rare book collections and do not allow them to circulate. But scholars can examine them.
Long waiting list for the Necronomicon though.

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Family misses home, ghost

Hurricane Katrina costs a family their haunted house. From the Hattiesburg (Mississippi) American:

The call came unexpectedly Sunday night. It was from a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When my wife answered, he identified himself and said, nonchalantly, that our home in Pascagoula would be bulldozed "within the next 24 hours" and wanted to know if we had any questions. snip Along with it was stuff accumulated in 32 years of marriage that can never be replaced. After the storm, we salvaged only a handful of items. Fortunately, earlier last summer we had moved precious family photos and videos to a safe place away from the Coast so we wouldn't have to move them every time a storm entered the Gulf. But many items couldn't be saved: little mementos, hundreds of books that had accumulated over the years, gifts from special occasions that carried only sentimental value. The list goes on and on. But one thing we really are going to miss is the home's ghost. We bought the house, which was built in the 1970s, from a man who everyone knew as Mr. Casey. He sold the house to us because he developed back problems and had trouble getting up and down the stairs. After he moved to his new home, he would invariably show up at our home to give us a key he had forgotten to leave, or a document concerning the heating/air conditioning unit or some other minor thing. We realized his little trips back were actually excuses to visit the house again. Several months later, Mr. Casey died. Almost immediately, things of a peculiar nature started occurring in the house. Doors that were shut suddenly opened. A cold unexplained presence could sometimes be felt in a room. Strange noises were heard. I became convinced there was something other-worldly going on one night as I was in the kitchen and heard someone in the living room. Thinking it was my daughter, who should have been in bed an hour earlier, I yelled at her from the kitchen. I went into the living room, but no one was there.
May Mr. Casey rest in peace.

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Too much school spirit


Bhopal: Children in a village in Madhya Pradesh are refusing to go to school and their parents aren't forcing them either. A village school in Revar, Madhya Pradesh, has become an eyesore for the state's school education department after a couple of children fainted in the school premises. After the incident, word spread in the village that the building is haunted and villagers stopped sending their children to the school. "There's a black-coloured thing in the school which slaps the children," a student said.

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the church lady

The White Trash Poet tales of a ghostly encounter. Really good stuff.

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Ask a ghost

Susan Crites of the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters asks an interesting question:

What makes you most curious about the supernatural?  I know we all have questions about why ghosts exist and what they do. So, what are you thoughts? If you encountered a ghost on this week's Ghost Hunt and it was willing to sit down to talk with you, what would you ask it? Let's say it would answer three questions.  What are the top three things you would ask an intelligent, well-informed and talkative ghost?

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Torture vs. horror

What Stacie says.

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Sci-fi author Steven Barnes has a mini-review of the film Hostel up on his blog:

Do NOT see this movie unless you are bored by lightweight fare such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Eli Roth (“Cabin Fever”) has made one of the most genuinely frightening films I have ever, ever, seen in my life... [...] This is probably the most gruesome film I could ever recommend. While not merely an all-out torture marathon (and such films actually exist, believe me) it is pretty close to the line. But Hostel ultimately has more on its nasty little mind, and if you’re a fan of the genre, this gets an “A.” But brothers and sisters, if you aren’t, it is an “F” minus. Trust me on this one.
There isn't a whole lot more to it than that, but he follows it up in the same piece with an interesting meditation on horror and current events:
It was inevitable that post 9/11, horror films would begin to raise their heads. First timid “PG-13” stuff, just sticking their toes in the water. Then, As the fear level was maintained for months and years, the amount of fictional trigger necessary to release the pent-up anxiety became severe. We’re about to get a real, no-nonsense deluge of hard-core horror in 2006, from remakes of “The Hills Have Eyes” to new Zombie gore fests from George Romero and company. And torture is on the menu, children. Some critics have wondered why this would be, and I wonder if they’ve been reading the news.
It's got some good, thought-provoking stuff in it.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ghost hunting video

Via a comment, a great online video feature on ghost hunters Ghost Hounds of Atlanta. Link at Angels & Ghosts. Hat tip to lcduplatt, who has a new blog worth checking out too called Ghost Pictures.

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BloodRayne premiere

I couldn't let this pass even though it's more Hollywood insidery than I normally do here, but.... From The LA Daily News:

The premiere of "BloodRayne" at the Mann Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Wednesday night resembled a fantasy/horror/sci-fi film reunion. The cast of the bloody vampire movie ambling down the very red carpet included Kristanna Loken of "Terminator 3," Billy Zane ("Vlad"), Udo Kier ("Blade") and Michael Madsen ("Sin City"). Some of the other ethereal guests - Domiziano Arcangeli ("Devil's Highway"), Kylie Sparks ("Complete Savages"), Kelly Brook ("Ripper"), Ron Perlman ("Hellboy") and Virginia Madsen ("The Haunting") - also had a macabre 18th-century Transylvanian air about them. And the ghoulish after-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel appropriately featured blood-red Transylvanian Sunset cocktails that were "so smooth you won't feel the bite." There were also miniature black coffins and dark roses on every table, temporary tattoos of dripping blood and pulsating vampire music from DJ Dracula.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Ghosts of Baker Street

Must. have. this. book. From Monsters and Critics:

Finally, a collection of new Sherlock Holmes pastiches based on a promising idea: conflicts between the great detective`s super-rational nature and hints of the supernatural. Conan Doyle was a great believer in spiritualism, especially as his life drew to a close. Yet despite numerous red herrings, he never allowed any supernatural incidents or explanations into the Holmes canon. Greenberg and Co. (Murder in Baker Street, 2001, etc.) have enlisted ten contributors eager to make up this deficit, either by providing Holmes with an apparently ghostly apparition that turns out to have a rational explanation (Jon L. Breen, Gillian Linscott, Carolyn Wheat, H. Paul Jeffers, Colin Bruce) or by posing a problem with alternative explanations, natural and supernatural (Loren D. Estleman, Paula Cohen, Bill Crider, co-editor Stashower).

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The V Word

A vampire is part of this season's The L Word. I might have to watch TV. From AP:

Starting its third season Sunday (9 p.m.), Showtime’s drama about a circle of gay friends and lovers who move in the trendiest of L.A. circles has upped the emotional ante while restoring the light touch. “The L Word” can’t match ABC’s series in ratings, but the action on “The L Word,” including a wrenching journey for tennis pro Dana and Alice’s fling with a vampire, makes Wisteria Lane look sleepy. snip One example: Alice’s (Leisha Hailey) obsession with her ex, Dana, reaches comic proportions, including a spooky shrine. Then comes a rebound romance with Uta the vampire, whom Alice meets through a bisexual speed-dating service

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BloodRayne: fun in spurts

The Boston Globe says BloodRayne is fun in spurts. I thought I'd get to see it after I got off work early Saturday from my second job, but turns out it's not playing here yet.

A few days ago I made a list of stuff I was looking forward to doing in 2006. ''BloodRayne," I'm embarrassed to say, didn't make the cut, but it has managed to give me a few things I didn't know I wanted. One was a trip to Revere, which is the only place in town this intermittently interesting vampire-slayer adventure is playing. The other is a celebrity death match between Kristanna Loken and the increasingly shameless Ben Kingsley. Yes, stop the presses! ''Lad-mag princess squares off against Sir Ben." Seeing a fit former model and an Oscar-winning thespian stab the dickens out of each other won't change your life, but one does appreciate the convergence of two disparate universes for a cause I think we can all relate to: Getting paid is fun! The willowy Loken has been hired to play Rayne. She's half-human, half-vampire, and totally miffed that Kagan, Kingsley's ultravampire, has killed her mom. Revenge is in order, and Rayne spends the movie fighting her way from one crypto-medieval set to the next to get to Kagan's castle, where Kingsley sits on a throne and mechanically performs dark-lordliness like a coin-operated Dracula.
I've already expressed my feelings towards the director, but I'm a vampire addict.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Ramona Bell, RIP

This is so sad it's hard to write. From Coast to Coast AM:

Art Bell's beloved wife of fifteen years, Ramona, died unexpectedly last night after an asthma attack. At present, the exact cause of Mrs. Bell's death has not been determined. It apparently took place during her sleep. Until her death, Art and Ramona Bell had not been apart a day since they were married. Mrs. Bell had suffered from asthma for years, and took her normal steps to control the attack, which occurred sometime last night in Laughlin, Nevada where the Bells were taking a brief vacation. Ramona Bell was 47 years old.
Deepest condolences and sympathies to the Bell family.

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The Voice of the Spoiler

It's awards time for many. Please go here to vote for the short story The Voice of the Spoiler by Michael Ehart from The Sword Review. Ehart is a highly talented writer and well deserving of this award.

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World DominationTM, on the cheap...

Finally, that army of killer robot monkeys is within my grasp! Oh, and the new LEGO Mindstorms kits sound like they'll be really cool, too...

The heart of the new system is the NXT brick, an autonomous 32-bit LEGO microprocessor that can be programmed using a PC, or for the first time in the retail offering, a Mac. After building their robots, users create a program within easy-to-use yet feature-rich software, powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments. Downloading programs to an invention is easy. Users with Bluetooth®-enabled computer hardware can transfer their programs to the NXT wirelessly, or anyone can use the included USB 2.0 cable to connect their computer to the NXT for program transfer. The robot then takes on a life of its own, fully autonomous from the computer. The inclusion of Bluetooth technology also extends possibilities for controlling robots remotely, for example, from a mobile phone or PDA.
And, according to the Wired article linked above, LEGO is keeping with encouraging hacking and reverse-engineering of their systems. The only problem I forsee is that anyone who wants an army of killer robot monkeys can just go out and build one. There's gonna be competition, so perhaps it's time to start on the Planet Melting Death RayTM as well... [x-posted in a more MotHV-specific version from protected static]

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King heats up a library

From The Bangor Daily News:

ALLAGASH, Maine --The public library in the remote northern Maine town of Allagash has been given new life thanks to a donation from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Library supporter Faye Hafford feared that the two-room library would have to close because of the high cost of fuel and an aging furnace that might not make it through the winter. The King Foundation heard about the library's plight and asked Hafford for an estimate on the price of a new furnace. She said the cost was just over $20,000, and the foundation responded by sending a check for $25,000, telling Hafford to use the remainder to buy fuel.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

5 weird habits

Fustar tagged us. I'll start. If any of the blog mates want to play along feel free. 1. I can't fall asleep without a movie playing. I put the TV on the sleep timer and fall asleep often before the opening credits finish. If I don't have it on, sometimes my mind keeps racing. For years the movie was the Sherlock Holmes movie "Terror By Night." Then it was the Bob Hope classic "The Cat and the Canary." Currently it's the old TV series version of Sherlock Holmes with Ronald Howard as Holmes. I can trace back the incident to when the habit began, but that's another story. Another weird thing about this habit is I watch almost no television at other times. 2. When I'm with colleagues out at restaurant or bar, I sometimes slip into father mode and ask "Does anyone need to potty before we leave?" It's a habit from having three young children, but it's embarrassing. 3. Sometimes on my commute home from work I pull over at a tourism welcome center and take a nap in the parking lot. 4. Even on the coldest days when the rest of the family is wearing sweaters I run around the house in a T-shirt and cargo shorts. 5. I drink an average of 10-12 cups of black coffee a day. I'm going to tag protected static, Bella Snow, FARfetched, Sherm, and Cedwyn.

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Taking a stand

After the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, Mohammed Irshaid and many other people in this country were arrested and thrown into prison cells for no other reason than they were of Arab descent.

Irshaid is a middle-aged man with a wife and three young children.

After the attacks, bumper stickers appeared on many vehicles with the phrase "We stand united."

And for the briefest moment of time after the attacks, the entire world stood as one.

I know. I took it upon myself to email the embassies and consulates of more than 100 countries to thank them for their support for the United States. Call it personal diplomacy. Call it quixotic. Call it what you will. To me it seemed like the right thing to do, like writing thank you notes to those who signed the guest book at a family member's funeral. And almost all of the people in the United States seemed united for the briefest of time too. (With the exception of the American haters like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and their ilk.)

I traveled to NYC two weeks after the attack. The New York Times had written an editorial saying if people wanted to help, what New York needed was tourists. That the city's waiters, hotel housekeepers, retailers, etc. were facing layoffs because of the dearth of the city's tourist trade.

So I went. I've mentioned before how much I loved New York City from afar and how Ms. Carnacki and I had spent our honeymoon there.

I looked up an old friend to see her for myself even though I knew she was OK. I went to the Jekyll & Hyde Club and tipped too much and bought T-shirts for the kids and spent more than I could afford because when something bad happened to one of us, it happened to all of us.

United we stand.

And you saw it with the regular New Yorkers. I walked every where and New Yorkers were friendlier than ever, people on a crowded Chinatown street corner applauded the police arresting a man and people opened doors for one another.

Of course, some of that fades naturally with time after any event.

And the government began locking up innocent people like Mohammed Irshaid.

And we saw how George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others saw the event as an opportunity for partisan political gain.

We saw their use of the fear felt by many to push their agenda that had nothing to do with making America safer, but everything to do with enriching themselves, their friends and their consolidation of power.

We saw how they played up the irrational fears of terrorists so that a nation that once knew the only thing it had to fear was fear itself was told to fear everything.

And we saw "We stand united" bumper stickers appear on vehicles every where and we heard if we didn't stand by the president we stood with the terrorists.

And although I had tried to enlist in the military after Sept. 11th only to be told I was too old, I shook my head at this line of thinking in disgust.

We were still America, but we were being told to watch what we say. I had tried to enlist because it seemed like the right thing to do not because I ever thought al-Quaeda could defeat our nation. But the thinking and words I saw coming from the White House back then, that worried me. The only nation that could defeat America was America.

The "We stand united" stickers now make sense to me.

And it's a litmus test that separates the right from the left in this country.

To those on the left, "United we stand" means when something terrible happens to one of us, it happens to all of us be it the illegal detention of an Arab, an unjust invasion of Iraq, or a failure to help those trapped by the floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina.

To the Bush supporters, "We stand united" is a requirement for everyone. They want us all to march in lockstep with them. And they want to be part of a united crowd because they are fearful of those on the outside -- be they Arabs, Mexicans, gays, people of different cultural values. They fear the future.

They are frightened children willing to surrender all that America once claimed to stand for in order to save themselves from threats that exist only in their imaginations.

The Bush supporters want us to stand behind an imperial presidency. They want us to stand aside to allow the trampling of the Constitution. They want us to stand silent at the illegal detention of Mohammed Irshaid and others.

I don't stand for that and I never will.

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Pan's Labyrinth

Time Out London points us to a trailer for the French release of Guillermo Del Toro's newest film, Pan's Labyrinth:

The Spanish-language pic, written by the 'Hellboy' director, will loosely form the third part of his fantasy trilogy that kicked off with 'Cronos' and continued with 'The Devil’s Backbone'. [...] The trailer is creepy as hell however, and if it's even half as good as 'The Devil's Backbone', we're all in for a truly horrific treat later in the year.
The trailer is here (requires Macromedia Flash 8; there's a short, static ad for another film first); it looks cool. I loved Cronos and Hellboy, but somehow missed The Devil's Backbone... Anyone else catch that? At any rate, this latest offering looks quite dark and tasty.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Creating a werewolf

MTV interviews creature costume and mask maker Patrick Tatopoulos of his work on Underworld: Evolution:

Werewolves are created here. And so are vampires, robots, aliens and dozens of other monsters who aspire to haunt your nightmares. When creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos recently finished his work on this month's "Underworld: Evolution," however, he imparted that his experience was less a nightmare and more like a dream — one that had finally come true. "I've watched many movies," grinned Tatopoulos, a T-shirt-clad film veteran. "I saw 'The Howling' many years ago, and I've seen 'An American Werewolf in London.' All those movies have inspired me, and ... I go to the zoo and check out wolves. I think they're really cool, but the day you design, you forget all that and you start from scratch. You take a white piece of paper and you draw something that flows and feels good — you don't worry too much about things that you've seen before. [New ideas] just come into your mind. Once you come up with something interesting, you start sculpting."

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Nefarious nuptials in The Netherlands

Jimmy at The Second Side reports that quite a few engaged couples in The Netherlands plan to marry on June 6, 2006 to have a 6-6-6 anniversary date. Maybe the Devil made them do it.

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Authorities seeking 'Bigfoot' in Malaysia

How in the world did we miss this choice nugget, posted by the AP on New Year's Eve?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Authorities began searching the jungles of southern Malaysia on Friday for the mythical "Bigfoot" following a reported sighting of three giant human-like beasts, officials said. Wildlife authorities may set up cameras in the 309 sq.mile Endau Rompin National Park in Johor state to see if the creatures do exist, they said. Park director Hashim Yusof ventured into the jungle Friday to survey the site where three fish farm workers reportedly saw the beasts - two adults and a young one - last month, Hashim's secretary told The Associated Press. She did not want her name used and declined to give details. The fish farm workers were in the jungle to clear an area for a fish pond. They alerted their employer who photographed what appeared to be footprints measuring up to 17 inches, said Lim Teong Kheng, the chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society in Johor. [...] Lim welcomed the investigation by the national park saying "Bigfoot" sightings have been reported for decades in the area but never taken seriously for lack of evidence.
The original N.S.T. articles are here (this one has the footprint picture) and here. [stumbled across this while following a link from MSNBC's Clicked to another piece about an Elmo toy with thanatos issues (that I now see Carnacki has already covered).]

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Elmo says, "Who wants to die?"

From Local 6, a TV news station in Dallas, Texas:

A mother in Dallas is one of several parents complaining about a new interactive book for toddlers in which Sesame Street character Elmo asks "who wants to die?" according to a Local 6 News report.
We bought this exact same potty training book for our 2 year old, but on our copy Elmo just asks, "Who wants to go potty?" Why? Why couldn't we get the morbid, creepy version? My children would have loved it.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Meteor crash on the moon

Paging Mr. Wells. Mr. H.G. Wells to the courtesy phone please. From NASA:

NASA scientists have observed an explosion on the moon. The blast, equal in energy to about 70 kg of TNT, occurred near the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains) on Nov. 7, 2005, when a 12-centimeter-wide meteoroid slammed into the ground traveling 27 km/s. "What a surprise," says Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) researcher Rob Suggs, who recorded the impact's flash. He and colleague Wes Swift were testing a new telescope and video camera they assembled to monitor the moon for meteor strikes. On their first night out, "we caught one," says Suggs.

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Pyramids found in China lake

From China Broadcast:

Chinese researchers have found ancient buildings similar to Mayan pyramids under Fuxian Lake in southern China’s Yunnan province. Gengwei, a professional diver, told reporters on December 19th, 2005, that images from sonar scans showed that a large relic covering at least 2.4 square kilometers sits underwater in Fuxian Lake. He said eight main buildings were found all under the water, including a round building and two large high buildings with floors that liken to the Mayan pyramids of Latin America.

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50 greatest robots

Via Kat at The Daily Grail, the 50 greatest robots as picked by Wired. My favorite, R2-D2, was ranked 19th.

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An addiction to vampires

This post is a desperate cry for intervention. Some one stop me from seeing Blood Rayne. Even with German director Uwe Boll at the helm, there is a large part of me that wants to see Blood Rayne because it's about vampires. I don't want to contribute to the problem that is Boll. But it has vampires. Do you know how often I've thought I'd bottomed out from my addiction sitting through the dreck of some cheesy, badly lit, poorly told vampire tale? Well, I don't know either. But a lot, I can tell you that. I need a 12-step program. I mean, it's Uwe Boll! How low am I willing to go to feed my vampire need? Apparently very low. From IGN:

"I felt that setting BloodRayne in 1750, Transylvania created a stronger, creeper atmosphere then placing Vampires in the Second World War," Boll explained in an interview at Dark Horizons. "I see BloodRayne as a franchise and chose to focus on the story's origins." Boll acknowledges the edgy, violent characteristics of his movie. " BloodRayne is an extremely violent, disturbing mainstream Vampire movie. Our heroine is no 'Elektra' or 'Catwoman'. It may be difficult for some audience members to accept her as such an unlikely heroine. Hopefully some people will embrace her less than traditional qualities." Starring as the movie's title character is Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), whom Boll feels was a perfect fit for the part. "Loken is the perfect Rayne.....she's hard, strong, tall and sexy.....a warrior and a women. Rayne doesn't win over everyone's heart in the film. She has her own sense of purpose and destiny and frequently resorts to extreme violence. Rayne is a sexy, blood sucking opportunist with elements of heart and vulnerability. She is a survivor." For her part, Loken felt that the raw violence of the movie and the ambiguities of her half-vampire character made the film worthwhile. "We really just wanted to make it very primal. In the moments of her blood rage or blood lust it's subconscious because [Rayne] doesn't rationally want to kill to sustain herself. It's very animalistic and very raw. That's one of the reasons I really loved working with Uwe [Boll, director]. He really likes to go to those places.

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