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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Yule/Winter Solstice

YuleYule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences. It is a pagan religious festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christianized reformulation resulting in, the now better known, Christmastide. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.  Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. There are literally dozens of ways you can enjoy the season.

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. On this night, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.

The traditions that I have grown accustomed to incorporating into to the holiday season, many were already apart of my Christmas tradition from childhood, decorating my home with evergreens-holly-mistleto-trees-lights. These are all apart of the Yule tradition as well as modern Christmas traditions. I have since added, as an adult, the bonfire (Yule log burning) which protects against the powers of evil in whatever shape or form they stalked the land, and symbolizes the light returning to conquer the darkness. I also decorate my altar in honor of Yule. You can also make a symbolic Yule log for decoration.

Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour. The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival, Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice. Oak is also great for making a Yule log-and has special significance to pagan beliefs.

altarHere are some great links that have helped me explore and express my  own Yule practices as a solitary pagan.

Deities of Yule:  All Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.
Full List Of Deities Of Yule: Goddesses-Brighid, Isis, Demeter, Gaea, Diana, The Great Mother. Gods-Apollo, Ra, Odin, Lugh, The Oak King, The Horned One, The Green Man, The Divine Child, Mabon.
Symbolism of Yule:Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule: Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule: Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule: Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Incense of Yule: Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Divalia

angeronaDecember 21st is the day of the ancient Roman festival known as Divalia, in honour of the goddess Angerona. The festival is also known as Angeronalia and to drive away all the sorrow and chagrin of life. She was a goddess who relieved men from pain and sorrow, or delivered the Romans and their flocks from angina. Angeronalia is also thought to be the goddess of the new year and the returning sun.

Angeronalia is known as The Lady of Silence and Secrets, She Who Stands As the Protector of Rome, and she is represented with her mouth bound, or with her index finger held over her mouth, commanding silence. Aspects and attributes of the goddess are strength, passion, guardianship, and it is customary to have a cleansing fire to symbolize joy. Her incense are olive blossom, white nectarine, vibrant blood orange, honey absolute, lemongrass, elemi, sensual patchouli, and the quiet purity of gardenia. Angeronalia and the Divalia make a perfect additive to the Yule, Winter Solstice celebration.

First Official Still Of Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak”

The first image of Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming gothic horror “Crimson Peak” has been released. The image is of actress Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe. “Crimson Peak” will be released in theaters on October 16, 2015. The film also stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Leslie Hope, Burn Gorman, and Javier Botet. “Crimson Peak” is an homage to the gothic-romance, ghost stories of yesteryears.

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.

Crimson Peak

Official Poster Released For “It Follows”

Check out the official poster for upcoming horror “It Follows”. The film is described as a teen horror that has its foundation in action/consequence as promiscuity leads to nightmarish ends. ‘It Follows” is directed by David Robert Mitchell and stars Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe.

It FollowsFor 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe, AT ANY PRICE), the fall should be about school, boys, and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Official Trailer And Release Details For “Suburban Gothic”

subFilmBuff has released the official trailer and release details for horror comedy “Suburban Gothic”. The film will hit VOD on January 30th, 2015. “Suburban Gothic” stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Ray Wise, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs, and John Waters. The film is described as a quirky, paranormal comedy.

Raymond has a prestigious MBA, but he can’t find work. He can also channel the paranormal, but chatting with a cute girl still mystifies him. Kicked out of his apartment, Raymond returns home to his overbearing mother, his ex-jock father, and some beer-bellied former classmates. When a vengeful ghost starts terrorizing his small town home, Raymond the city-boy has to recruit Becca, the badass local bartender, to solve the mystery of the spirit threatening their lives.

Eight Contestants Find Out If They Can Survive Zombies In “Fight Of The Living Dead”

fotldPress Release:
Think you can survive a zombie apocalypse? The forthcoming horror series “FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” will put eight contestants to the test.

From Alpine Labs, BlackBoxTV, and Revolver Picture Company, the unprecedented mash-up of reality and scripted genres “FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” follows a collection of online celebrities including Joey Graceffa, Jesse and Jeana (PrankvsPrank), Justine Ezarik (iJustine), and more as they work to survive the first 24 hours of a simulated zombie apocalypse. Contestants will face a series of grisly challenges in an attempt to eliminate the competition through the undead’s frightening realistic onslaught.

The thrilling original series will debut on Cinedigm and Wizard World’s forthcoming digital channel CONtv, due to launch in early 2015.

FOTLD 1Shot over the course of two days at Sybil Brand Women’s Prison in Los Angeles, “FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” competitors were first blindfolded, driven in circles, led onto the set, and zipped into body bags, all to help simulate the all-too-real tension of awaking in a post-apocalyptic landscape riddled by monsters out for blood. Instructed by a faceless character named Dr. Altagracia (portrayed by Tony E. Valenzuela, Executive Producer and founder of YouTube’s #1 ranked genre channel BlackBoxTV), the “survivors” are tasked with finding the antidote that can save mankind.

FOTLD 2Enlisting over 200 extras, FX Supervisor Tommy Pietch (“Face Off”) and his team create a horrifying mob of rotting, wounded, bloody zombies tasked with keeping the competitors from accomplishing their mission. “FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” also turns up the thrills by including a collection of zombie-clad Parkour experts, overseen by renowned stunt coordinator Chris Carnel (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who use the prison’s walls as their terrifying playground, threatening to unleash destruction from any angle.

Requiring over 60 cameras to track each competitor as they fight to survive the game, each participant was also clad with their own GoPro cameras so that the viewers may get even closer to all the explosive action.

FOTLD 3“FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” is produced by Alpine Labs and Revolver Picture Company; Alpine’s Kevin Abrams, Jamie Denenberg, BlackBoxTV’s Tony E. Valenzuela, and Aaron Lewis are Executive Producers; Revolver Picture Company’s Rodney Frazier, Nick Phillips, and Kelly Martin Wagner are Co-Executive Producers.

My Review Of “The Bible Belt Slasher: The Holy Terror”

TBBS2“The Bible Belt Slasher: The Holy Terror” is the feature film follow-up to 2010’s slasher short written and directed by Bradley Creanzo. It is a low budget, retro flick set in the 80’s, and it is so bad that it is almost good. It stars Creanzo, Taylor Raftree, Keri Korner, Greg Huneke, Stella DiFabio, Dan Del Ben, Travis Raftree, Andy Salmon, Siddharth Gupta, Genoveva Rossi, Nicolina Hemingway, Robert J. Huntley, Missy Heather Byron and Larry Baumer as Jason Fry. A lot of the cast you may recognize from another low budget horror franchise- “Kids Go To The Woods…Kids Get Dead”. This is pretty much dime-store, hot-mess movie making its best.

So much about “The Bible Belt Slasher: The Holy Terror” doesn’t work, I will get to that in a minute, one thing that does work here is the story its self. It is a great slasher set-up with a truly psychotic killer. I didn’t recognize any mess-ups in the story arc, the base tale and the back story of the killer seemed cohesive, and the continuity is definitely there. Most of the hot mess comes from over-stated scenes with over exaggerated line delivery. That being said, what should have been acting that should have made me turned this off, actually became entertaining. Almost as if Creanzo was aiming for a tongue-in-cheek, spoof-like quality. I am not sure, but for some reason what doesn’t work with the acting and character development is part of what makes “The Bible Belt Slasher II” so bad it is almost so good.

Now the special effects and 80’s “staging” of this film is a hodgepodge of hit and miss. When Creanzo has an obvious control of the environment, “The Bible Belt Slasher II” looks and feels totally 80’s, but outdoor scenes and moments when scenes are at the mercy of its enviornment the 80’s become blended with the now. However, once again, as with the acting, instead of turning me off of this film, it becomes entertaining. Like a game to spot what doesn’t belong-and trust there is a lot in here that is not even close to the 80’s. Still the mash-up of decades feels like some sitcom parents flashback to their teen days.

The film has a couple of things that demand respect, the full on use of practical gore effects and blood without pulling away from the death scene is commendable-and it works. There is a lot of splatterfest happening in “The Bible Belt Slasher II” that will please any fan of low budget / homegrown/ SOV horror fans. Plus the cast and Bradley Creanzo seem to be on the same page as far as vision and passion for making this movie happen. The things that most horror fans will hate about this one, like the silly one-liners and hilarious character portrayals, are the things that I found entertaining. A few scenes are worthy of a good laugh, sometimes intended, sometimes not.

Overall, “The Bible Belt Slasher II: The Holy Terror” is not gonna go over well, but for many this is gonna be one of those bad movies that make its way to cult status. Oh and it happens during the Christmas holiday season so that is a nice additive.  The music and soundtrack is the other element of this movie that works. The music screams 80’s hard rock which pulled me back to my youth, and the instrumental is classic slasher/giallo sweetness that creates both the mood and atmosphere needed to put this thing in retro status. “The Bible Belt Slasher II” is a cheap, fun, slasher that really can be entertaining if you don’t take it serious.


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