Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: A Boy Born from Mold and Other Delectable Morsels


Following his unique first book, Simon Snootle and Other Small Stories which I absolutely adored (review), author Lorin Morgan-Richards has released another delightfully delectable collection of illustrated short stories in A Boy Born From Mold. In this, the author’s second pocket-sized, handmade and handbound book, he returns with quirky stories of fantastical characters, from the titular boy born from mold named Ruin (or Rune proper) to a young vampire named Zoog whose parents are distressed at his distaste for blood. The small tome boasts seven new tales, each a delight to read!

Film Review: Death of a Ghost Hunter (2008)


Ever since The Blair Witch Project there have been a plethora of “found footage” faux documentaries. Some are good (My Little Eye, Evil Things) while others are just groan-worthy (Paranormal Activity).

Can you guess which category Death of a Ghost Hunter falls into?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Watermelon Lemonade Agua Fresca

Traditionally, agua fresca ("fresh water") is a popular summer drink from Mexico that's basically water infused with fruit essence, giving the drink a light and refreshing feel. I absolutely LOVE agua fresca, especially during the hot days of summer. I was making a batch with a mini seedless watermelon, when I thought of the idea of adding a few splashes of lemonade to the mix! The result was a sweet 'n' sour hybrid of watermelon and lemonade that just danced on my taste buds!  

 My watermelon-lemonade agua fresca likes to chill out
in the herb garden!

I kinda threw this together, so the measurements aren't all that precise...feel free to play around yourself to create the perfect balance of tangy and sweet! 

Ingredients:

1 mini seedless watermelon, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup water*
1 1/2 cup lemonade* (I used Trader Joe's Low Calorie Lemonade to make sure the drink wasn't too sugary)
3 - 5 Ice cubes

*These are approximations...I wasn't measuring when I made this so play around with the amounts until you get the right consistency.  It shouldn't be smoothie-thick, but it should be a bit thicker than the consistency of water.

Directions:

Cut watermelon flesh from the rind and chop into small pieces. In a blender, process half of the watermelon with half of the water and lemonade (you can also omit the water completely and just use lemonade) plus a few ice cubes until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher. Now do the same with the remaining watermelon, lemonade, water and a few ice cubes. Serve immediately or stick in the fridge to chill. If you are feeling fancy, you can even garnish it with some mint leaves when serving!

Be warned, if you stick it in the fridge to chill the lemonade and watermelon have a tendency to separate, so give it a nice stir before serving!

The result is the perfect refreshing drink for a sweltering summer day (like today)!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thoughts on the "Let Me In" Remake

Over at Fatally-Yours.com we received some news and a new trailer on the Let Me In remake, which prompted this post...


Ever since I heard about the remake of the jaw-droppingly awesome Swedish flick Let the Right One In (my review) I've been a little pissed. The remake is totally unnecessary (except for the money factor...hey, filmmaking is a business) and I just didn't see the point to "re-imaging" it for American audiences. However, I finally took a peek at some of the trailers and I gotta admit they don't look all THAT horrible (bonus point to the filmmakers for casting "Hit Girl" from Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz).

It looks like it stays pretty true to the original in story, tone, setting and atmosphere. My concern with this is, am I just going to be bored with this remake? I mean, I've seen the original, so if director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) doesn't tweak anything then I'm probably NOT going to see it...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I much prefer the original to just a carbon-copy!

Still, the new trailers have piqued my interest enough that I might actually go see this in theaters October 1st.

What do you guys think? Will you go see it October 1st? Do you think this remake was unnecessary or do you think it has some value? 

Check out the trailer below:

The Spooky Vegan Receives "You Scare Me" Award!


The lovely Melissa Helwig of Little Miss Zombie was nice enough to award The Spooky Vegan with a "You Scare Me" blogger award! Thanks so much, Melissa, for your kind and thoughtful words! They really meant a lot to me!

Now, it's my turn to follow the "rules" of this award!

1. You must thank the blogger who sent it to you (Thanks again, Melissa!!)
2. You must choose two Horror Bloggers that you feel are outstanding and deserve to be recognized for their work and dedication to the Horror genre.
3. You must describe why you think each recipient deserves this award.

Wow, it's going to be extremely hard for me to choose just two blogs!! Since I just awarded some blogs the Versatile Blogger award, I'll try to avoid said blogs and highlight two blogs that I haven't given any love to yet.

Hmmm...so I guess I'll have to award this to the two blogs I read the most: Orange and Black and Creepy Cupcakes. Surprisingly, neither of these two blogs are horror review blogs, but rather Halloween blogs (because of their kooky creepiness I still consider them in the "Horror genre", as stipulated in the rules. It may be a bit of a stretch, but it works!). Still, these are the two blogs that I jump to read every time they have a new post!

I was reading Orange and Black even before I had a blog, and it pretty much inspired me to start my own blog where I could incorporate Halloween posts into my usual horror reviews and vegan recipes (yes, Halloween, horror and veganism might seem like an odd combo, but that's just me!). Orange and Black posts all sort of Halloween goodies, including handmade props, costumes, photos, etc. If you haven't already, go check it out for some spooky Halloween spirit all year-round! 

Creepy Cupcakes is a Halloween blog I discovered more recently, but still hold an insurmountable love for! There's all sorts of goodies on here, and I just love reading each and every single post, whether it's a post on a vampire feast, a crocheted Mr. T necklace or Human Centipede cupcakes, this blog has always something different, fun and interesting to share!

If you haven't already, check these two awesome blogs out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ooooh Lookie What Goodies I Got in the Mail Today!!

Halloween goodies ahead!!

 Oooooh look at all these goodies!!!

Buy it on Amazon!

I love receiving packages in the mail! Don't you? And today was an extra special day as I got a delivery filled with Halloween goodies!!! I've been wanting Martha Stewart's (I can't help it...I love her!) Halloween book for quite a while, and I finally caved and bought it! I love browsing her home decor ideas, especially the amazing things she does with pumpkins!

Buy it on Amazon!

I also got Halloween: Vintage Holiday Graphics, which is filled with old-timey Halloween artwork. It is just absolutely gorgeous and brings me a smile (and even a shiver) whenever I look at it! In case you hadn't noticed, I love vintage Halloween art and this is one book that will definitely satiate my love for old skool design!

Buy it on Amazon!

Mad Monster Party (review), one of my favorite animated movies that I watch every Halloween, was also a must-buy! I thought I had this movie for a long time, but apparently I don't, so THAT had to be remedied ASAP. I love this silly, zany stop-motion film from 1967! Do the mummy!

I'm thrilled with these purchases and can already feel my Halloween spirit soaring! I'm off to enjoy these fanta-BOO-lous finds, so spook you later!

Clean(ish?) carpets and Halloween paraphernalia...cuz that's how I roll!

Feel free to check out my complete Amazon Wish List! I don't know why, but I love looking at other people's wish lists...I guess I like comparing lists to see if I've missed anything! Feel free to leave your own lists below, if you're so inclined! I'm sure that with Halloween around the corner all of our wish lists will be filling up!

A July Visit to the Halloween Club!

Yes, my friends all laugh at me when I head to the Halloween Club as early as July...but fellow Halloween enthusiasts will understand my early excitement over the holiday! So when my boyfriend suggested we go check out our year-round Halloween super-store yesterday, I was all over it! Before you could say "bubble bubble toil and trouble" I was dressed and in the car!

Check out my pictures of the Club below:

 Pumpkin Head Puppet - I WANT!!!!

The particular Halloween Club we go to is about 20 - 30 minutes away, so we had plenty of time to blast some Halloween tunes as we cruised down the highway. Of course, I was all giddy with anticipation...The Halloween Club is one of my absolutely FAVORITE places...right up there with Disneyland, pumpkin patches and my parents' house! At the Halloween Club it feels like Halloween everyday and they have (almost) everything my Halloween-loving heart wants!

Totally cute napkins!

When we got there I immediately headed towards the animatronic props, as they were 50% off!! I then pretty much spent the next few hours wandering aisle by aisle and checking out all their cool stuff. I even tried on a few costumes! I was originally gonna be Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty or Belle from Beauty and the Beast to fit our Halloween party theme of "Unhappily Ever After", but now I think I may go even simpler and just choose a cute witch outfit.

 My Halloween costume? 
You'll never know until after Halloween!

Eventually, we had to leave (my boyfriend had to practically pry me away) and since this was more of a lookie-loo trip I didn't buy anything. Boo-face. :(

However, I think we'll be back mid-to-late August when they are more fully stocked. Gives me an excuse to browse some more and pick up a few items I wasn't able to buy this trip!

Check out more pics below to get you in the Halloweenie spirit!

Monster claws!

These zombie pets don't come cheap...this was $15!!

You can never have too many cauldrons!

Seriously awesome "Miss Vorhees" costume...
and it says "Vorhees" on the back of the jersey!
I bet this would be super-easy to make yourself!

Happy Halloween tombstone

Body bag

Mini Leatherface!

Grim Grinning Ghouls!

Rock Star Skellington's

Beauty Review: LUSH "Too Drunk" EmotiBomb

I absolutely LOVE Lush! Their products are absolutely fantastic and I use them on a daily basis. Not only are most of their products vegan, but they also use natural ingredients like essential oils and never use any toxic chemicals.

 Happy lil' Lushes!

I have a drawer full of Lush's bath bombs, but the other night I wanted the benefit of the yummy smelling bath bombs without having to actually take a bath. So instead I decided to use Lush's "Too Drunk" EmotiBomb in the shower. All you do is stick the tablet under the shower spray and it releases its intoxicating scent.

Lush's site says: "This is for the day after you got too drunk. It has essential oils of peppermint, tagetes, fennel and reviving sweet wild orange to refresh you, soothe a sore head and bring you back to life."

Duckies not included

I didn't have a hangover when I tried this, but was looking for a pick-me-up to sooth my frazzled senses. So, I threw it under the shower water and waited for the EmotiBomb to take me away! And waited...and waited...until the whole EmotiBomb melted away. I don't know if I got a bum bomb or if these EmotiBombs just aren't all that strong, but it did absolutely nothing. There was no nice scent and no relaxing side effects. Overall, it was a very disappointing experience and probably the very first Lush product I've used that hasn't "wowed" me.

Lucky, the "Too Drunk" EmotiBomb only set me back $4.50, so it wasn't too much of a loss. Still, for a Lush product is was disappointing that this was such a dud.

Buy it on Amazon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Film Review: I Spit on Your Grave aka Day of the Woman (1978)


Wanna know a secret? I had never seen 1978’s notorious rape-revenge flick, I Spit on Your Grave (aka Day of the Woman). In fact, I’d never even wanted to see this infamous exploitation flick from director Meir Zarchi. First off, I’m not a big fan of the rape-revenge subgenre. If I really wanted to see chicks exploited and humiliated I may as well watch Girls Gone Wild. I prefer my horror more based on the supernatural, unknown element rather than real-life horrors, thank you very much. Second, people have such strong opinions about I Spit on Your Grave and it’s been so hyped up that I knew it could never live up to its supposed nasty reputation.

However, with the impending remake, I figured I should give the original 1978 I Spit on Your Grave a chance and see if it holds up to the hype.

Friday, July 23, 2010

100 Days 'Til Halloween!

Yay! Today marks the 100 day countdown to my favorite holiday, Halloween!

See, even Frankie thinks so!

Most people think 100 days sounds like all the time in the world, but not me, no siree! I know that Halloween will be here before I know it so I've really gotta start working on Halloween content now, as well as really starting to prepare for our annual Halloween party!

 Dreaming about Halloween...

All this "work" preparing for my fave holiday is a delight, though, and I can't wait to count down the days until All Hallow's Eve!

To celebrate the kick off of the 100 day countdown, check out this adorable video made with Halloween marshmallow Peeps!


Stay spooky!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tonight's Viewing: The Virgin of Nuremberg aka Horror Castle (1963)

The Virgin of Nuremberg (1963)

aka Horror Castle (1963)

La Vergine di Norimberga (1963)

Film Review: Screamplay (1985)


Screamplay has got to be one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen. It is filmed like a washed-out, grainy black and white movie from the silent era mixed with sparse, geometric set design of German Expressionism and all pulled together by a murder mystery. I’m surprised more people don’t know about this film because it’s a very creative and mesmerizing effort from filmmaker (he co-wrote, directed, edited, did the visual effects, etc. for the whole film) and actor (he also plays the lead!) Rufus Butler Seder.

Film Review: The Perfect Witness (2007)


What was it that grabbed my attention and made me want to sit down and watch this flick? Well, it certainly wasn’t the crappy DVD artwork or the generic name (thought its other title, The Ungodly, is just as clunky-sounding). No, this film was in my queue for a long time before I realized that hunky Wes Bentley was in it, which shot it to the top of my must-see list! Yes, call me shallow but I’m a sucker for the blue-eyed, dark-haired actor and would pretty much watch whatever he’s in! While his scruffy, “independent filmmaker” look in this film didn’t do him justice (no offense to all the fab independent filmmakers out there!), I nonetheless found myself riveted to The Perfect Witness.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Panzanella - Tuscan Bread Summer Salad

Growing up, my dad made this amazing bread salad from Tuscany called panzanella. It was the perfect summer salad - cool, refreshing and crisp. I always get a hankering for it during the hot days of summer and luckily it's really simple to make! Traditional Tuscan cooking calls for minimal ingredients and usually uses leftovers, so it's ideal for people on a budget or who are lazy (like me!).

Ciao bella!

Ingredients:

1 loaf of day-old crusty Italian peasant bread like ciabatta, cut into cubes
1 lb. of tomatoes (Roma, chopped up, or alternatively cherry tomatoes)
1 cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch scallions, diced
1 generous handful of shredded fresh basil
Equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing
Dashes of salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cubes of bread in cool water for about one hour (make sure your day-old bread is dried out enough to ensure it soaks up enough water without becoming mushy - if you don't think it's dry enough pop the bread cubes in the oven on 300 degrees for roughly 10 minutes). Make sure the bread is completely submerged.

While you are soaking the bread, chop up your tomatoes, cucumber, onion and scallions and tear the basil into small pieces.

Once the bread has soaked long enough, strain all the water out and squeeze each individual cube of bread (ewwww squishy!!). Then throw everything - bread cubes and veggies - into a big bowl. Dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. If desired, stick in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the flavors to develop. This dish is best serve chilled.

The result is a rustic and filling salad that is perfect for the dog days of summer.

Mangia, mangia!

"Say Tofu" T-Shirt Giveaway!

Peta2 is giving away an awesome "Say Tofu" tee from the lovely folks over at 11:11, who specialize in organic, eco-friendly and fair trade clothing.

I totally fell in love with this shirt; it is awesome in so many ways! 

I mean, what vegan can resist this?!:


It comes in a wide variety of colors (my personal fave is the black one pictured above, of course!) and is made with soft, organic cotton. And who can resist a little vegan humor?

Click HERE to enter Peta2's giveaway, or just head to 11:11's site and order the shirt HERE!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tonight's Viewing: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

aka Day of the Woman

Believe it or not, this will be my first time watching this notorious exploitation flick. It's one of the few horror films I've never had the desire to watch (another one is Irreversible). I can watch all the goriest stuff imaginable, but rape-revenge movies bother me and I guess I'd rather watch make-believe horror rather than stuff that can and does really happen in the real world. 

However, with the impending I Spit on Your Grave remake I figured it was finally time to give the original a looksie and find out what all the hubbub is about.

Wish me luck on this endurance test and I'll let you know what I think!

The Spooky Vegan is Honored with a Versatile Blogger Award

Many thanks to Freddie over at Full Moon Reviews for bestowing me with a Versatile Blogger Award!

Update #1: I was also awarded this award from the awesome Halloween Overkill! Thank you!

Update #2: The Girl Who Loves Horror also bestowed me with the Versatile Blogger Award! Many thanks!

Ta-da!


I am honored to have been nominated for this award and graciously wish to pass it along to the following awesome bloggers:


The rules attached to this award are:
• Thank the person who gave it to you (Thanks again, Freddie!!)
• Share 7 things about yourself (See below).
• Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason (See above).
• Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

7 Things About Myself
1. I have an obsession with bats...the flying kind, not the baseball kind.
2. I was born in Italy and can speak Italian (though I'm getting kinda rusty).
3. I have an unhealthy obsession with black iced coffee and could live off of that and my dad's flat bread for the rest of my life and be content!
4. The colors orange, black and purple make me giddy.
5. I love gardening but have a black thumb.
6. I grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere...with no electricity except for a generator.
7. I have my BA in Communications and PR.

My Top 10 Female Horror Villains

When people think of females in horror films they usually imagine a woman running away from a killer, usually stumbling as she screams for the help that will never arrive. In your mind's eye she is probably scantily clad (pervs!) and usually makes boneheaded decisions while trying to escape the killer. Most women in horror films experience graphic, violent deaths...unless, of course, they are the ones perpetrating them!!

While female horror villains are a much rarer breed than female horror victims, they are every bit as vicious, manipulative, violent and evil as their male counterparts. Just take a look at my personal top 10 selections below. And perhaps next time when you think of women in horror you won't think of the stereotypical damsel in distress but of these lovely and deadly ladies!

Katharine Isabelle in Ginger Snaps

Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) – Ginger Snaps 

I feel weird putting Ginger on a "villain" list because I love this feisty character so much and really feel sympathetic towards her during most of her transformation. However, she veers from sympathetic sexpot to bloodthirsty biotch as soon as she butchers that poor, innocent janitor and goes on to become a (literal) man-eater.

 Barbara Steele in Black Sunday

Princess Vajda (Barbara Steele) – Black Sunday (review)

This evil princess vows revenge after being killed for practicing witchcraft and true to her word returns from the dead for vengeance. The stunning Barbara Steele steals the show in this gothic Mario Bava tale, playing both the evil Princess Vajda and her innocent descendant.

Samara in The Ring

Samara (Daveigh Chase) – The Ring

I'm not ashamed to admit that this film scared the holy you-know-what outta me when it first came out and is one of the few remakes that actually improves upon its predecessor. And Samara, whoooo wheee...well, who hasn't had nightmares about her crawling out of that TV?

 Lesley Gilb in Lemora, A Child's Tale of the Supernatural

Lemora (Lesley Gilb) – Lemora, A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (review)

Not many people have heard of this film, but it is an underrated, fairy-tale-like horror movie that's an analogy to growing up. The vampire Lemora is a frightening character because she is the ultimate corrupter of innocence, and yet she is also very beguiling and charming.

 Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed

Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) – The Bad Seed (review)

Childhood and innocence don't always go hand-in-hand, and little Rhoda Penmark is definitely proof of this! This evil child likes getting other people in trouble, causing "accidents" and is generally rotten to the core. Which, of course, is why she is so darn endearing!

Béatrice Dalle in Inside

La Femme (Béatrice Dalle) – Inside (review)

When was the last time I was truly shocked during a film? That'd be the first time I saw Inside a year or two ago. "La Femme" (aka "The Woman") is an absolutely terrifying villain and proof of the brutality that women are capable of. Don't think women can be intense and merciless villains? Check this film out...it will prove you wrong.

 Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 

An absolute classic performance from the legendary Bette Davis. She makes crazy look so deliciously EVIL!

 Eihi Shiina in Audition

Asami (Eihi Shiina) – Audition

Think you'll never find the right mate? Well, whatever you do, don't hold "auditions" to find a girlfriend/boyfriend and have them find out that they "auditioned" for the part of your significant other. Or you just might find yourself at the wrong end of a piano wire that can cut through flesh and bone easily. I'll never forget the "Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri!" sounds Asami makes...

Angela Bettis in May

May Dove Canady (Angela Bettis) – May

Poor misunderstood May...all she wanted was some friends to play with! This is another character who I absolutely love and don't really think of as a "villain". How can you not love a girl who reads anatomy books for fun and gets to make out with Jeremy Sisto AND Anna Faris?

Mater Suspiriorum (Suspiria), Mater Tenebrarum (Inferno), Mater Lachrymarum (Mother of Tears)

The Three Mothers (Mater Suspiriorum, the Mother of Sighs, Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness/Shadows and Mater Lachrymarum, the Mother of Tears) from Argento’s "Mothers" trilogy (Suspira, Inferno, Mother of Tears

Technically, this should count as three separate villains, but since they are all part of the same trilogy (and I do what I want!) I'm counting them as one. These three witches have been around for millennium before being released in each of the three films above. The Mother of Sighs (Mater Suspiriorum) is the oldest and wisest, residing in Germany before dance student Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper) defeats her in Suspiria. The Mother of Darkness (Mater Tenebrarum) is the youngest and cruelest, residing in New York City until defeated in Inferno. However, the most powerful and most beautiful is the Mother of Tears, Mater Lachrymarum, who resides in Rome until her undoing at the hands of Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento) in Mother of Tears.

Honorable mention: Marie (Cécile De France) - Haute Tension, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) - Misery, the villain in Tale of Two Sisters (to avoid spoilers, I won't give her name), the Merrye women in Spider Baby, the killer in Alice, Sweet Alice, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) in Carrie, Mum (Elizabeth Moody) from Dead Alive, Angela (Amelia Kinkade) from Night of the Demons, Muffy/Buffy (Deborah Foreman) from April Fool's Day, the Bride of Frankenstein (though I don't really consider her a villain), Mary Lou from the Prom Night sequels, and, just for kicks, Serial Mom (Kathleen Turner)! I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch here...

Question: Who are your favorite female horror villains?
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