Sunday, July 26, 2015

Yankee Candle Halloween 2015 (featuring the Boney Bunch)

For those Yankee Candle fans out there, the Boney Bunch Love Facebook page posted some scans from this year's Halloween collection. It looks like the Halloween preview sale has been moved back almost a whole month from previous years. Save the date for The Witches Ball on Saturday, August 29th. Take a look and like the Boney Bunch Love page for more news.

I'm loving that Steampunk collection (which will be the first thing to sell out - wait and see)!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Clive Barker's The Scarlet Gospels: Review

As a fan of Clive Barker since the first Books of Blood, his vision of the world, in its mystical, sexual, and baroque darkness is both unique and incredibly imaginative. He's veered into dark fantasy for a great portion of his work and his illustrative skills were revealed to be as gruesomely wicked as his writing.

It's been almost 30 years since The Hellbound Heart novella was published and he's finally circled back to the story of the Cenobites and that dreaded puzzle box. It's highly anticipated for fans who grew up watching the (admittedly awful) Hellraiser movies with it's icon of horror, Pinhead – a demon of suffering whose head is covered in rusty nails.

The Scarlet Gospels is a road trip through hell, literally, with a misguided band of unlikeable characters trying to save their friend who is captured by the smug Hell Priest (as Barker prefers to call him instead of Pinhead) for reasons so arbitrary and vacuous they are outright laughable. The book goes nowhere slowly and doesn't have a good payoff, which is the final nail in the coffin.

Yes, it sounds dire, but Barker is a visual artist and his gift is creating fully formed, bizarre and outlandish worlds that they feel like real places. In this case, he creates hell as a formal society with a caste system, streets with employed denizens, and much daily banality but then there's those unnatural touches like gravity defying architecture, black trees and sewage rivers, and a sky made of stone. His worlds are all encompassing for the reader, and I could spend ages reading this imaginative prose.

There's also some highly graphic passages that make this worth a read for horror hounds. Barker is at his best when the horror is visceral and ghastly, and this book goes to great lengths to make you queasy. It's never outright scary or thrilling, but it is entertaining for those with nefarious proclivities. Unfortunately, his graphic nature is a double-edged sword. There is also some truly unnecessary vileness (the rape of old woman) that add nothing to the story or the character development apparently thrown in for shock value. This cheapens the strides Barker makes.

As he loses his reader with a trite plot, other problems emerge, like the stilted dialogue (never one of Barker's strengths), and thinly-written stereotypical characters (the gruff detective, the sage but blind psychic, the quip-spouting queen) whose motivations are as murky as hell's health plan. Why does the Hell Priest choose to go on his mission? Why is it so important that some puny human sees what he's doing? Why do this group decide to dive into hell to save this woman? Barker has previously said that at one time the novel ballooned up to 2000 pages but has since been whittled down to a slim 368 pages. Perhaps all the devil was in those cut details, because the book in severely underwritten.

The book has been promoted as a definitive end to one of Barker's most enduring sagas, and unfortunately it is unsatisfying all around. Perhaps in a few years, he'll release an expanded edition that patches the many holes, but until then The Scarlet Gospels can only be recommended for the diehard Hellraiser completist.

The U.K. edition of the book received a
fantastic bloody design and red-edged pages.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cost Plus World Market Halloween 2015

Cost Plus World Market is a great place to find Dia de los Muertos decor (see below), as well as everything pumpkin-flavored you can possibly imagine. I really like the untraditional melding of the iconic black & orange colors with the Dia de los Muertos illustrations. Usually the very vibrant colors of the Mexican holiday decor doesn't quite fit in with any of my other decor. Products don't usually hit their shelves until late in August/early September but their website is now stocked. I wonder what other goodies they'll add over the season.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pottery Barn Halloween 2015

Pottery Barn is off and running with their Halloween line. Here are some of my favorites.

Guests are sure to bleed when they reach in and get snagged on a tooth!

Classy and creepy cocktails for that swanky hoe-down.

This is great (until people want dip and take the cone off). 

These craftsy pumpkins reminds me of Sam from Trick 'r Treat.

Who doesn't like a spooky vintage-inspired table?

Great little village for the mantle. 

How's Your Halloween Season Going?

For some, Halloween is that one weird day in October. For others, it's a season that starts in early summer (July? June? May!) and involves weeks months of tireless work, paper mache, styrofoam carving, black paint, modified light strands, projectors, tubs of glue, scrap wood, and a third of your annual salary.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ash vs. Evil Dead

The long-awaited trailer for the new Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead is finally upon us! Fans of the Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell, geek humor, creepy demons, the Necronomicon, or those who love buckets of blood rejoice! It appropriately premieres on Halloween night. Groovy.

YouTube Link