13 O’Clock Movie Retrospective: Beetlejuice

On today’s long-overdue discussion, Tom and Jenny finally get around to talking about one of Jenny’s favorite movies of the 1980s, the 1988 Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice, starring Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder.

Audio version:

Video version:

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Odds, Sods, Gods and Broads: The Goddess Makes Entirely Too Much Work For Herself

The cause of evil never rests, as all of you know, and as a card-carrying emissary of said evil, I work tirelessly to bring you, my minions, the most enjoyable nastiness that my fevered brain can vomit up. Yes, I bestow upon you small nuggets of nefariousness in the form of these here blog posts (and I will have a new Scary Silents up by the beginning of next week, I promise; it will either be about The Sealed Room from 1909 or Dante’s Inferno from 1911, so sit tight), but there is so much more, darklings, and perhaps you don’t realize the extent of my iniquitous empire. If you’ve read any of my previous ramblings, you’ll know that I often piss and moan about how busy I am, so for your edification, I’m gonna outline exactly what I’m doing with all my malevolent hours. So here, in handy-dandy list form with pictures and links and everything, are the ten projects the Goddess has going on right now:

1. Something Old, Something New

Like any writer, I have a fuckton of unpublished bullshit lying around on the sofa, not helping out with the rent and just generally being useless wastes of space. In order to make these shiftless little word-bums earn their keep, I’ve decided to put out a NEW print book containing a veritable gumbo of goodness: New short stories! Older short stories that appeared in anthologies years ago that you probably didn’t read! Unpublished screenplays! Even modified versions of some of my favorite posts on this very site! At the moment, the book’s working title is Salmagundi, but I might change it if I think of something better, which I probably will. It’s gonna be an epic compilation of my various brain leavings and obsessions, and you’ll all need to buy copies for everyone you know for the upcoming holiday season, or else Jesus won’t bring you any presents and Santa Claus will let his reindeer shit in your rain gutters. I will, of course, be posting the link when this literary milestone drops, so keep your eyeballs peeled.


2. Mammoth Mountain Mischief

By now you all know that the book I co-authored with the God of Hellfire, The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist, is the best poltergeist book ever penned and will bring about world peace in our lifetimes. In my frazzled, half-assed way, I try to promote the thing, mostly through paranormal-type radio shows and podcasts (such as here, here, and here). The GoH and I will soon be appearing on yet another one of these, the UK-based Keeping the Paranormal Friendly show! Tune in on Sunday, August 9th at 4:00pm Eastern Time and watch our sexy, Skype-enabled mugs flapping our jaws about the book. Then buy a copy in print or Kindle, goddammit.


3. More Paranormal Hijinks

As I believe I’ve mentioned a few times before, my above-mentioned foray into paranormal nonfiction drew the attention of British parapsychologist Steve Mera of MAPIT, and I am working with him on a book about the Rochdale poltergeist case from 1996. I’ve written the bulk of the narrative, and now the first draft of it is in Steve’s hands so that he can correct details and add his own insights. I’m not sure when this will be done, but it will definitely be soon, so again, keep watching this space.

4. Dirty, Filthy Sex

Since some of my horror stories veer into erotica territory, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a series of straight-up erotica tales (which, since it’s me, will likely have horror elements, because I just can’t seem to help myself). These will be longer short stories, published as ebook exclusives and sold for about 99 cents each. I will also probably write them under a pseudonym, just to keep everything kinda separate, but I’m not gonna make a big secret about what the pseudonym is (when I decide on one, that is), so I’m not trying to be sneaky or nothin’. I’ve written part of an erotic short story so far, and hopefully I’d like to get to the point where I’m cranking out at least one a week. Keep the lube and tissues handy for the first moist installment!


5. Ambition, Thy Name is Goddess

Christ on a cream cracker, I’m already worn out and I’m only on number five. But this here is a project I’ve been mulling over for years, and I hope to have it come to fruition fully in 2016. It’s going to be a serialized novel/interactive mystery that spans several mediums. I don’t want to go into too many details, because I’m still working everything out, but I’m very excited about this and hope I can do it without fucking it all up. I’ve already got gobs and gobs of notes, layouts, designs, video scripts, and so forth; the logistics of it are complicated, but I think it’ll either turn out super cool and make me a beloved horror sensation, or flop spectacularly into a wet diarrhea fart of insignificance. Either way, it’ll be fun for me to do, so, y’know. *shrug*

6. Cooking With Satan

Here’s something you might not know: In addition to being a writer, I am also a graphic designer. Here’s another thing you might not know: I have cool-as-shit friends. One of these friends is the motherfuckin’ Vegan Black Metal Chef, who is rad and metal as fuck and has an awesome YouTube show where he cooks delicious vegan vittles whilst he serenades you with ear-bleeding death-metal tunes that describe the recipe so that you may follow along in your own kitchen/dungeon. Subscribe to him, he rules. Anyway, I have been working with him for the past several months to design a cookbook as epic as his show is, and we’ll be coming down the home stretch in the next couple months. By the way, he has a Patreon, so throw some filthy lucre in his direction. The book is gonna be badass, and seriously, you don’t have to be a vegan to want to cook some of this shit in here, because all of it is devilishly delectable. *horned hand salute*

7. All About the Club Life

Speaking of cool-as-shit friends, I have another one known as DJ Lavidicus, and he hosts the best monthly goth-industrial night in central Florida, Memento Mori at Independent Bar in downtown Orlando. Great music, great crowd, great vibe, and if you’re in the area, you need to check it out as soon as you can. The GoH and I always make an appearance, and we also have a hand in promoting the night and the scene in general! I design all the posters and promo materials! The next one is going to be on Monday, August 17th, but go to the Facebook page to keep up with dates and make requests! (Might as well check out the Facebook page I run with the GoH too, Our Gothic Orlando, while you’re at it, and also check out Cold Therapy, the band featuring the beautiful wife of DJ Lavidicus, Jen Draven.)

Oh, and I can’t mention Memento Mori without mentioning our other beloved monthly scene night, Escape at Southern Nights! Hosted by some talented and batshit insane friends of ours, it tends more toward fetish, with outrageous costumes, monthly themes, sexy dancers, crazy game shows, and general debauchery, so kindly stop by, say hello to the GoH and myself, and maybe have a chance to go up on stage and get playfully molested by a giant bunny! Here are a few videos to whet your appetite!

8. I Know People in Bands Too, You Guys

Speaking of that graphic design work I do, a large percentage of it comes from my amazing friend Imani and her company, Valkyrie Management. She manages tons of (largely) death metal bands in the area, and she’s always got shows going all over the place, for which I design several posters, tickets and T-shirts every month. Check out her page, check out her bands, go see some of them play! Live music, motherfucker!


9. Looking for a Handout

If you have a few meager pennies left after tossing money at everything else on this list, won’t you consider dropping a few into the coffers over at my Patreon page? You can get free books and other cool shit, and I promise it’ll be a couple bucks well spent. COUGH IT UP, PEONS. Ahem. I mean, thank you in advance.


10. Oh Yeah, That Nine to Five Thing

Did I mention I also have a full-time job doing graphic design at a printing company? I’m not gonna tell y’all where it is, though, because you might stalk me. 🙂

And now, back into the fray. Until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.

The Goddess’s Favorite Creepy Movie Scenes, or Ankhs for the Memories

I have to admit that, as a rule, I’m kinda over vampires these days. Like all self-respecting darklings, of course, I was all about Anne Rice back in the day, and my first (terrible, unpublished) novel was actually a painfully angsty vampire love story along those same lines. If only I had known that years later, someone would write Twilight and make all the money in the world, I might not have been so quick to shame-toss my manuscript in the garbage, but on such lack of foresight doth the vagaries of fate turn, or something.

On the other hand, though, as an unrepentant goth chick for nigh on three decades, I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t be seduced by a genuinely great vampire film, especially if it was stylish as fuck, starred three of the best-looking people on the planet at the time, and boasted an opening scene featuring one of my favorite bands performing the grandaddy of all goth-rock anthems. By now you should have guessed that I’m talking about this gothic wet dream right here:

And who will we be having for dinner this evening?

And who will we be having for dinner this evening?

Tony Scott’s The Hunger (loosely based on an okay novel by Whitley “I Was Anal Probed by Extraterrestrials” Strieber) has been dogged by criticisms of style over substance pretty much since its release in 1983, but in my opinion, time has been very kind to it, and I would happily defend it as one of the very best vampire films of the 80s. Not only was it gorgeous to look at and chock full of fantastic acting performances, but it also took the tired vampire schtick and did something fairly original and arty with it (though of course much of the concept of interpreting vampire tropes through the lens of modern genetic science was present in Strieber’s book).

The Hunger is the story of beautiful, centuries-old vampire Miriam Blaylock (Catherine Deneuve) and her understandable but ultimately cruelly selfish quest to find a companion who will be with her forever. Her latest consort, John (David Bowie) has been with her for two hundred years, but John soon learns that Miriam’s promises of eternal youth were a lie when he begins to rapidly age, due to an apparent incompatibility between human and vampire blood that takes centuries to manifest.

Oh, did I neglect to mention that you'd spend eternity as a shambling living corpse? My bad, honey bunch.

Oh, did I neglect to mention that you’d spend eternity as a shambling living corpse? My bad, honey bunch.

John and Miriam enlist the services of cutting-edge gerontologist Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon) in an attempt to reverse the aging process, but all to no avail. After the feeble John kills the couple’s young music student, hoping that her blood will revitalize him, Miriam tenderly carries his still-living but disintegrating carcass into the attic. There she places him in a coffin along with her other former lovers, all of whom are enduring the same living death. It is this aspect of Miriam’s character that makes her monstrous: she is so desperate for companionship that she will strategically neglect to mention that the vampire gift she is bestowing comes with eternal life, yes, but not eternal youth. She will also keep her lovers alive and with her forever, even though they are suffering terribly.

Grief-stricken and lonely after John’s confinement, Miriam then sets her sights on Sarah and begins to groom her as her next companion. The pair exchange blood during a languid, gauzy, and super-hot sex scene, but Sarah discovers soon enough what Miriam’s gift entails. At first she refuses to accept her new blood-drinking nature, preferring to starve herself of the sustaining red stuff, but eventually her willpower fails her and she ends up killing her boyfriend Tom and feeding on him. Miriam thinks that Sarah is now on board with the whole vampire thing, but Sarah’s steely resolve is such that she attempts to cut her own throat with Miriam’s purpose-made ankh pendant rather than spend the next few hundred years at the vampire’s side. The distraught Miriam attempts to save her, but evidently Sarah’s attempted self-sacrifice has rallied the troops, so to speak; all of Miriam’s rotting former lovers rise from their coffins, kill Miriam, and fall to dust upon the floor, finally finding the sweet release of death that they had been denied for so long.

Exactly what about this whole scenario doesn't appeal to you???

Exactly what about this whole scenario doesn’t appeal to you???

There is then an odd coda to the film that doesn’t really make any sense in terms of the story, as we see briefly that Sarah has survived her suicide attempt and is now living as a vampire with a male and female consort of her own. Susan Sarandon has reported that she was not happy with this tacked-on ending, as it negated the whole arc of her character and the point of her rebellion, but there was little she could do about it, since the producers apparently wished to leave the film open-ended in case they wanted to make a sequel down the line (sigh). The scene is only a few seconds long and doesn’t spoil the film, but it is kind of a WTF moment.

All that aside, though, let me take a moment to rhapsodize about all the great things this film does. Casting the impossibly beautiful and elegant Deneuve as a vampire was a stroke of genius, as her quiet gravitas and cold yet seductive grace lend a sense of timelessness to her portrayal that makes it very easy to believe, not only that she has been alive for millennia, but also that she could easily embody the conflict of genuine loving feeling existing alongside such fiendish cruelty. Susan Sarandon’s character is a perfect counterpoint, a thoroughly modern woman whose pragmatism and independence is the polar opposite of Miriam’s needy heartlessness.

OMG, stop being so pretty.

OMG, stop being so pretty.

Bowie is likewise great as the doomed companion, putting in a restrained and perfectly balanced performance in which the struggle between his deep love for Miriam and his anger at her betrayal of him are readily apparent.

At least Ann Magnuson got to be felt up by David Bowie before her tragic exsanguination.

At least Ann Magnuson got to be felt up by David Bowie before her tragic exsanguination.

The set design is also gorgeous, soft-focused and romantic, with billowing white curtains, shafts of dim light illuminating flocks of doves, and the spectacularly old-world interiors of the Blaylocks’ tastefully appointed New York townhouse brilliantly contrasted against the sterile environment of Sarah’s medical clinic. I’ve heard many people complain that The Hunger looked more like a music video than a movie, and I understand that assessment, but I feel as though the entire look of the film is a crucial part of its enduring charm. Its aesthetic flair was certainly one of the things that first drew me to it in the 1980s, and to be frank I think it looks even better now that we’ve had more than thirty years’ perspective on it.

Holy shit, I would live in this house so hard.

Holy shit, I would live in this house so hard.

The fact that the film also has such a dynamite opening, with the vampiric Peter Murphy in a cage intoning “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” with his band Bauhaus, is simply the pitch-black icing on the darkly glamorous cake that is this movie.

Undead to the third power.

Undead to the third power.

Unlike many other vampire films of the period, The Hunger is more concerned with artistic visuals and exploring the relationships of the characters than it is with outright horror or gore. That’s not to say that there aren’t some intensely bloody scenes, and the final shots of Miriam’s ancient, skeletal companions rising up against her are fairly horrific, but fans of more in-your-face horror may find the film far too cerebral for their tastes, and that’s as it should be. Different strokes, and all that.



Until next time, Goddess out.