PlantPure Nation just hit Netflix streaming, and it is a revolutionary look at the unsustainable U.S. healthcare system and the one simple solution that has been buried time and time again by the U.S. government and big agribusiness. The documentary examines the research behind how a whole foods, plant-based diet could reverse/cure many diseases (and why no one is telling the general public about this), our bonkers healthcare system, how our nutritional system is ruled by the influence of corporations (i.e. money and greed) and not by what is right or best for the people, the plight of food deserts in lower-income communities, and the changes we can make to revolutionize all this and take back our health.
Today, February 22nd, marks what would have been Edward Gorey's 91st birthday. He was born in 1925 and died April 15, 2000. His numerous pieces of work were usually pen and ink illustrations, often with morbid Victorian/Edwardian themes. He had a very peculiar style, one that is instantly recognizable. His strange and unusual artwork is near and dear to many people's dark hearts, including my own.
Why not celebrate this wonderful artist by throwing around a skull, like the
Victorian ladies in his "Dull Afternoon" above?
Or bake up an impressive birthday cake for Mr. Gorey's ghost!
Happy birthday, Mr. Gorey, and thank you for your wonderful illustrations that will continue to delight many for generations to come.
Note: I haven't done a full film review in quite some time, though I might do them on a more regular basis if I start to enjoy doing them again. I thought this film was worth writing about, and had to get my thoughts on it down somewhere. Anyways, I give you my thoughts on The Witch!
Why aren't there more horror films set during Colonial America? It was a time of upheaval and religious reformation, not to mention a period when colonists faced living on an entirely different continent, which sparked fears of the unknown and fueled superstitions, all the while early settlers endured unimaginable hardships in their fierce fight for survival. All these frightening experiences that colonists went through seem so ripe for horror movies, since many are about facing basic fears. It's really a pity we don't have more period piece horror films, because The Witch is an example of how well horror works in a historical context.
In 1630's New England a family is banished from a settlement and determinedly set out for the wilderness to start anew, alone. The family consists of father William (Ralph Ineson), mother Katherine (Kate Dickie), eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson), and baby Samuel. Together they establish a small farm on the edge of a dense forest, but when baby Samuel is snatched by a supernatural evil lurking in the woods, despair and panic envelope the family. Soon, crops begin to fail, the other children are threatened, goat's milk turns to blood, and suspicions of witchcraft began to mount.
It is best to go into this film knowing as little as possible. I saw The Witch Thursday night, and besides seeing the trailers I tried to avoid seeing/reading much about it at all. I wanted my own experience, and didn't want to hold any expectations for the film going into it. So please, if you have yet to see this film consider stopping here and reading no further. I don't give any spoilers away below, but it really is best to have no preconceived notions before seeing The Witch. If you do want to read what I thought, continue reading...
As soon as I heard this movie was set on Halloween, I HAD to see it! There could never be too many horror movies set in or around Halloween! And evil, perhaps otherworldly, trick-or-treaters, too?! Ooooh I was soooooo in!
Alone at home on Halloween, a 17-year-old waiting to share big news with her boyfriend is instead besieged by a pack of evil young trick-or-treaters.
I am always on the lookout for an awesome vegan moisturizer, and since the weather has been warming up here in SoCal I decided to look for a new, lighter one that can be used day and night. Many people recommended Pacifica's Dreamy Youth Day and Night Face Cream, so I decided to give it a go!
I already love Pacifica's cruelty-free and vegan products, so I couldn't wait to try their Dreamy Youth moisturizer! This anti-aging moisturizer contains peptides, antioxidants, floral stem cells and natural extracts along with Pacifica's Fleuracell Complex with ingredients shown to improve the overall appearance of skin.
If you haven't seen the gross-out first installment, Contracted, do it now (it's on Netflix, too!)! It is a great indie film about a sexually transmitted disease a woman picks up that...changes her. I really enjoyed the first film in all its groddy body horror glory, and was excited to see Contracted Phase 2 hit Netflix.
I had heard many things about the foreign horror/drama film from Denmark called When Animals Dream - some were good, some not so good. It was intrigued by it because it focused on female werewolf transformation, like Ginger Snaps (which I LOVE), so I knew I had to give it a go myself.
When 16-year-old Marie breaks out in strange rashes, her small-town neighbors panic and her family's terrifying secret can no longer be contained.
The recent boom in adult coloring books (yes, I'm a fan!) has given rise to some intriguing books for those of us that aren't necessarily going to be interested in coloring flowers or pastoral scenes. There are coloring books for Halloween, classic horror, goths, and other creepy categories, but I have to say that the newly released Occult Activity Book trumps them all! It features not only fantastical drawings of macabre magics, historical figures, arcane rituals, and so forth, but also witchy word games. This is the perfect adult coloring book for those with darker tastes!
Feeling anti-Valentine's Day this year? Well, instead of sending lovey-dovey cards, you can send Vinegar Valentines and insult those you dislike this year! Vinegar Valentines were a popular Victorian tradition of sending offensive cards to your enemies or people you disliked or you thought had done wrong.
According to Wikipedia, these cards were first produced in America as early as the 1840s and really gained in popularity around the turn of the century, and continued to be produced until about the 1940s. In Britain, they were more commonly called "mock" or "mocking" Valentines, and they were even erroneously referred to as "penny dreadfuls" at one point.
They were mean-spirited, sarcastic, and cynical - each card was decorated with a caricature of a certain type of person accompanied by a cruel, insulting poem that usually rhymed. The cards attacked people's appearances, those that didn't conform to social norms of the time, those that acted above their social station, the rude, the lazy, feminists, the pompous, the flirtatious, bookworms, bosses, Civil War surgeons and secessionists, etc. These unflattering Vinegar Valentines were sent out, usually anonymously, around Valentine's Day to condemn the behavior of family members, acquaintances, neighbors, store-clerks, couples, and so on.
Check out some examples of these insulting Victorian Vinegar Valentines below:
Last year at Expo West I was introduced to a company called Wholesome Chow that makes vegan and gluten-free baking mixes. Since then, I have been seeing their baking mixes appear on more and more grocery store shelves! Wholesome Chow makes vegan and gluten-free baking mixes for pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, scones, brownies, and more. I have been having mad cravings for brownies lately, so I decided to try their brownie mix.
Valentine's Day is kinda meh for me...don't get me wrong, I adore love, but I feel our modern celebration of the holiday is kinda lacking. I don't want roses, a box of chocolates (unless it's the Fatally Yours box, I'll totally take that!), rom-coms, or whatever else they try to sell you for VDay (unless it's on my wish list!). All I want is to snuggle up on the couch with a decent horror movie that shows us how monstrous love can really be!
Luckily for those of us with darker desires, horror movies that examine both the pain and euphoria of love are our escape from the vapid Valentine's sentiments. And while horror movies aren't generally known for their love stories or romantic side, there are those that do explore this theme, some in a straightforward way while others turn the concept of love on its head.
I've compiled some horror movie titles below that I feel encapsulate a darker shade of love, some are creepily sweet, some are for the hopeless romantics, others are twisted, where adoration is shown through acts of revenge, while others are simply set on Valentine's Day. There is a wide range of films below, including a few titles that aren't quite horror but that dark hearts like myself appreciate.
It's this kind of unconventional, monstrous love that really makes my dark heart flutter, which you'll see from my selections below! I've grouped them in several categories, depending on what you are looking for...
So have a bloody heart this Valentine's Day and cuddle up with some horrifying love:
It's almost Valentine's Day again, and though I'm not the biggest fan of the holiday, I couldn't resist putting together a gift guide full of goodies for your Valentine, which kinda doubles as my own personal wishlist as many of the items are gothy and dark, along with being cruelty-free and vegan! These are the kinds of things I would loooooove to receive for Valentine's Day (or any ol' day)! Even though I don't believe you need to give gifts of monetary value to express your love, the items below are quite handy as tokens of affection!
Vegan Shepard's Pie that Mister Spooky made. It was the perfect
comfort food, filled with veggies, Beyond Meat crumbles,
mushrooms, and topped with toasted mashed potatoes!
Soooo, the last time I did a What I Ate post was way back in July, and I can assure you, I've eaten LOTS of vegan food since then. However, posting all of it would mean an enormous post, so I decided just to share a few photos from the past couple of months over the holiday season.
These are mostly random food photos, meaning I haven't featured any of these in previous posts, including any recent food reviews. If you follow me on Instagram, though, you are probably familiar with some of the photos below:
I recently watched the horror short The Herd, which has been dubbed "the first feminist vegan horror film", and I was absolutely blown-away! It is such a visceral, disturbing short film from the talented Melanie Light (I previously reviewed her short film Switch on my old horror site - an archive of this is available HERE). This short comes at a perfect time, as February is Women in Horror Month (in past years I covered this awesome event on my old horror site - full archives of these articles are available HERE)!
This award-winning short is directed by Melanie Light, written by Ed Pope, and stars Pollyanna McIntosh, Victoria Broom, Charlotte Hunter, with Dylan Barnes, Jon Campling, Francessca Fowler, Andrew Shim and Sarah Jane Honeywell.
In the short, young women are imprisoned in dirty, small pens, artificially inseminated, and when they give birth they have their newborns ripped away (male babies are simply discarded in a trashcan to die, females are kept alive, but raised to suffer the same fate as their mothers), are poked and prodded, tortured and taunted by their captors, hooked up to milking machines, and when they are unable to produce babies and milk, killed. It is horrifying how these women are treated, and early on you develop a seething hate for their tormentors. Who in their right mind would treat a human being this way? If you expand that thinking a bit more, you may ask, who would ever treat a sentient being that way?? Shockingly, this kind of treatment happens every single day to dairy cows.
This February marks the 7th year of the fantastic Women in Horror Month, which is a celebration of all that women do for my favorite genre, whether it be in film, literature, or art. It not only highlights all the work that women already do in the genre, but also encourages women to get involved in horror in all roles, including but not limited to directing, writing, acting, editing, producing, blogging, art, music, and so on. I love that there is a month that showcases so much female talent!
Green Saturday is an all-vegan shopping event that was a great success back in December (I previously wrote about it HERE)! I wasn't able to attend, but I heard that it was an awesome event filled with eco-friendly, vegan vendors selling all kinds of items from clothes to jewelry to housewares to makeup and so on! Most items are locally-made from small, independent companies and all are cruelty-free.
In fact, Green Saturday was such a success that it is returning this February, 13th, 2016 for a second pop-up at the Alpine Village! Again, it will host a wide array of vendors, and will also host vegan beer and food options!
Like the last time, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Whiskers and Tails Foundation, a local organization that rescues and adopts various animals, from cats and dogs, to ducks, pigs and goats.