O, Holy Night

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Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

~ Isaiah 7:14

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Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

~ Matthew 1:23 Continue reading

Your Next Stop: The 5 Best Episodes of The Twilight Zone

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When we discuss Twilight Zone episodes, we’re usually talking about our favourites — “The Howling Man”. Or the most famous — “Time Enough At Last”. Or the worst — “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”. But recently I was watching “The Obsolete Man” (an episode that didn’t even make my Top 25 list) and it got me thinking: What are the best episodes of The Twilight Zone? Continue reading

Lest We Forget

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Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote the famous “In Flanders Fields” poem in May 1915, less than a year into the brutal four-year First World War

On November 11th, Armistice Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. A moment of silence at 11 a.m. commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany on November 11, 1918. In Canada, we now refer to it as Remembrance Day, but regardless of what you want to call it, its meaning remains the same. Continue reading

In God We Trust

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If I were a voting American, on Tuesday I’d “spoil” my ballot with “Truth and Love, Jesus is His name”. Today’s verses are for any of you who are feeling anxious or afraid about the impending election (or anything else, for that matter). Always remember the One who is watching over us.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

~ Psalm 18:28

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Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

~ Proverbs 19:21 Continue reading

“The Hilarious House of Frightenstein”: The Beginning of My Monster Obsession

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“Another lovely day begins, for ghosts and ghouls with greenish skin. So close your eyes and you will find that you’ve arrived in Frightenstein. Perhaps the Count will find a way to make his monster work to-day. For if he solves this monster-mania, he can return to Transylvania! So welcome where the sun won’t shine, to the castle of Count Frightenstein!”

As we get older, we inevitably start wondering where our love of certain things comes from. We ponder what could have influenced us in the early days of childhood. Every October, I shift into full on horror-mode, both here on the blog and on Twitter. And at some point, I asked myself the question, “Why are you such a fan of horror? Where did that come from? When did it start?”

As it so happens, I actually know the answer to all of those questions. Here, I’ll show you.

That, my friends, is of course the great Vincent Price. And this is the intro to a little-known Canadian children’s sketch comedy program called “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein”. And I’m quite certain that this is where my love of all things creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky came from. (Also my adoration of Vincent Price, obviously!) Continue reading

It’s 50 Years of the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

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Who doesn’t love a good animated holiday special? Surely the most beloved cartoon holiday special of all time is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, with “A Garfield Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” running up a close second and third (not necessarily in that order).

But today marks the 50th anniversary of the Peanuts Halloween special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”.

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The cartoon premiered at CBS on Thursday, October 27, 1966, and has since become an annual holiday tradition for many people, both young and old. Whether you saw it the night it first aired, or if you’re a second/third generation fan, no one is immune to the magic of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts gang. Continue reading

The Making of a Monster: My Bride of Frankenstein Painting

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Last year marked the 80th anniversary of Universal Pictures’ Frankenstein sequel, “The Bride of Frankenstein”.

The film stars Elsa Lanchester as Mary Shelley in the opening sequence, and as the Monster’s mate — the Bride — at the end.

As the Bride, Lanchester is seen onscreen for a mere 4 minutes of a 75 minute film, but with such a memorable, show-stopping look, she was forever immortalized as the Queen of Monsters in those few 240 seconds.

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As an artist, I’ve spent years painting still-life, portraits, and wildlife. One thing I had never painted was anything pop culture related. How crazy is that? I’m constantly mooning over the monster art of artists like Basil Gogos and Jason Edmiston, yet I’d never done any of that myself. So last October, I set out to create a Bride of Frankenstein-inspired piece to commemorate the film’s 80th anniversary. I featured the finished painting in my Halloween night blog post, “A Toast to Gods and Monsters“.

In that post, I said that I would do a follow-up that chronicled the progression of the painting. So here’s your one and only warning: A whole slew of geeky, potentially boring art-speak follows. If you’re not keen on listening to me wax poetic about the who, what, when, where, why and hows of painting, then feel free to skip over the art jargon and scroll ahead to look at the pretty pictures. I won’t judge you. Much. Continue reading

Creepy Cartoons: Monster Bash

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Like most little kids, I loved getting up early on weekends to watch cartoons. Some of the most prominent memories I have from my younger years involve binge-watching my favourite animated characters in the wee A.M. hours.

Unlike all of my friends, I was lucky when it came to program selection. At my house, we had a big C-band satellite dish and access to all American programming. I love Canada, but all-Canadian content television is absolutely horrendous. The two basic Canadian stations we got DID have some good stuff, like “The Mighty Hercules” and one of my favourite shows of all time (though not animated), the Canadian classic “The Littlest Hobo“. But as far as quality and quantity? Yeah, the American stations were head and shoulders above the rest. Continue reading

“I Love Lucy”: Celebrating 65 Years of a Comedic Classic

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Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

And you can start by explaining how a television show that first premiered 65 years ago today is still more popular and beloved than 90% of all the other programs which have aired in the last six decades.

Who could have known that the crazy antics of a zany redhead and her heavily-accented Cuban husband was the perfect recipe for a comedy series? But here I sit, 65 years later, attempting to put into words how Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz broke the television mold so long ago. Far from fading into the land of lost shows, the series is still shining as brightly as it ever was.

On October 15, 1951, viewers tuned in to “I Love Lucy” for the first time. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo were actually Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz — a real-life husband and wife duo who were determined to make a go of their tumultuous marriage.

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Continue reading

Peter Cushing: The King of Horror Who Never Liked the Term

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I recently watched an interesting old black and white video clip of my favourite actor, Peter Cushing. In a 1973 BBC interview, the interviewer asks Cushing to explain why he doesn’t like the term “horror” when referencing the types of movies he’s done.

Cushing: “It isn’t that I object to it. I just feel it’s the wrong adjective as applied to the films I do. Because horror to me is, say, a film like The Godfather. Or anything to do with war, which is real and can happen, and unfortunately, no doubt, will happen again some time. But the films that dear Christopher Lee and I do are really fantasy. And I think fantasy is a better adjective to use. I don’t object to the term horror, it’s just the wrong adjective!” Continue reading