Dec 20, 2023

The Fiery Festive Game of Snap-dragon

 Nothing says we like to party like thrusting your hand into a plate of burning alcohol to snatch a piece of fruit or a nut and pop it in your mouth without getting burned. And that's just what some Victorian families did at this time of year, even the kids!

Snap-dragon, or Flap-dragon, is a parlor game that came into being in the 16th century. The game was usually played on Christmas Eve, and also on Halloween by some counts! You'd take a shallow bowl, drop in some raisins, almonds, grapes, or figs, pour in some brandy, light it up and see who can eat the most treats...presumably with the least amount of bodily harm. And kids today will complain when their phone battery runs out. Ha! 
Using a liquor around 50% proof creates blue flames which give off a lot of light but doesn't burn as hot as your average candle. An 18th century writer even said of the blue fire "the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit". That sort of ties the game into the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories and would probably be a fun way to wrap up your Halloween night.
Here's a short video that explains a little more of the history and gives a demonstration.

If you decided to give Snap-dragon a whirl this year, please read up on it and take the necessary precautions for playing with fire in your house.

Have a great holiday!

Dec 13, 2023

A Pair of Creepmas Reads

Here's a couple of books I read recently to help put the creep in your Creepmas. Clicking on the covers will take you to an Amazon affiliated link, where you can get the book and I may earn from qualifying purchases.

First up is the newest from Ben Farthing's "I Found" horror series. I mentioned the first two of this series in my Halloween Reading List and loved them both. This one is just as good and it has the added bonus of being a Christmas horror. And like the others, it's a quick read at only 126 pages. Perfect for Christmas Eve by the fireplace.

After last year’s tragedy, Douglas’ parents are ignoring Christmas.
But when Douglas finds an eerie strand of lights slithering through the sewer, he unwittingly unleashes merry terror upon his neighborhood’s tacky lights contest. String lights spread like invasive kudzu, turning festive decorations into surreal, predatory nightmares. Determined not to lose both Christmas and his family forever, Douglas gathers his courage to confront the source of the holiday horror: deep in the concrete pipes beneath the street.
While Krampus has started getting a foothold in the US over the past few years, things are generally bright and cheery here in the month of December. Europe, on the other hand, has some darker characters associated with this time of year. The next book is a guidebook to these festive frighteners.
It features 24 entities across Europe and Denmark, with each one having a danger rating, a couple paragraphs and a wicked illustration that might inspire something other than sugarplums dancing in your head at night.

While it doesn't go into too much detail, I think it's a good way to briefly learn about these stories and possibly find some (or all!) that intrigue you enough to dig into them more. It's also absolutely worth it for the illustrations!

Dec 6, 2023

Plunderlong 8-Ball Figure

 It has been so long since the Plunderlong/Plnuderstrong Kickstarter ended that I forgot which figure I had picked! This guy washed up on my doorstep last week.

In addition to 8-Ball, I also order the "Leather Crate" which probably sounds a lot more kinky than it is. The figure also came with this cool (and heavy!) two-sided golden coin. Let's bust him out!

8-Ball comes with two bundles of dynamite, two sets of hands, three heads, a helmet, and a torch. I had some trouble swapping the heads and had to put him under a hair dryer for a bit. To be fair, Lone Coconut had mentioned this in a project update. Now that I've gotten off the head he shipped with, I'm a little shy about fully plugging one on there in case it gets stuck. It doesn't seem to make much difference if the head rests on the neck and you'd only notice it if you were moving the figure around.

Dec 1, 2023

Monthly Media Recap - November 2023

 It's the penultimate Monthly Media Recap for 2023! As always, links below are Amazon affiliated and I may earn from qualifying purchases. The holidays are coming up so use the links to buy yourself, your friends, or even your enemies something!


Goosebumps (2023, Disney+)
I didn't know much about this going in, I just presumed they'd be redoing the original stories. Boy was I surprised to get an ongoing series and that it was TV-14! It's not R but it's not kiddie either. I really like how they worked multiple stories/objects into one story.

A disgraced cop goes under cover at an amusement park to investigate a murder that happened in the ghost train ride. She meets two members of rival carny families and they find there's a serial killer stalking the fairgrounds. There's a lot going on in this 8 episode series. There's horror, comedy, and plenty of drama within, and between, the families running the carnival. If you're looking for something different (and don't mind subtitles) give this a try!

Loki (S2, Disney+)
I won't say I 100% understood the series from start to finish but I think of all the Marvel series, this one has the best main character story. While the fate of the multiverse is on the line, it also gets very personal by focusing on the characters.


A movie I enjoyed so much, I forgot to include it in the October recap. Movies like this are why I tend to shy away from low budget indie horror. It's an anthology and only one of the stories kept my interest. The whole "lost TV show found on VHS" premise thing didn't work for me either.

Rating: 3/10

If you're looking to see Nic Cage put the beat-down on homicidal animatronic creatures, this is your movie! Overall, it's just kind of okay. Cage being Cage and playing the silly situation totally straight is probably what makes it worth a watch. It's got some fun moments but I feel like it needed a little more to it.

Rating: 6/10

I'm not as big into DC as I am Marvel but their animated movies are usually great and this one was no exception. This is a series of linked stories that take place in a fantasy setting (Did not expect to see Warlord popup!), the Old West, the 1950s, and modern day. It was really cool exploring the different settings and seeing "alternate" versions of the Big Three. I guess this is a setup for the animated version of Crisis next year so that's something to look forward to.

Rating: 7/10

The Satanic Panic and the Religious Battle for the Imagination (2022, Tubi)
This documentary follows ordained minister Derek White (aka The Geekpreacher) as he interviews various people in the RPG biz and talks about the Satanic Panic from the 1980s. I don't know if you'd find it as interesting if you're not somewhat into RPGs but it is an amusing look back at a particular time in gaming history.
Dark Dungeons (2014, YouTube)
If you missed it, I did a separate post on this last week. It was talked about in the above doc and I immediately knew it was next on my watch list. Again, you'll get more out of this if you're familiar with RPGs but it's still pretty entertaining to watch them turn an anti-D&D religious tract into live action.

Rating: 6/10
I was sold on this from my first viewing of the trailer. However, I wasn't familiar with the character Onyx before this and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get through an entire movie of him after the first few minutes. He's like an SNL character that's great in short skits but might not be fit for feature length movies. Luckily, I warmed up to him and was able to enjoy a super fun movie! It's got a very 80s horror/comedy vibe complete with practical effects.

Rating: 7/10

I saw this one mentioned a few times recently online and decided to give it a watch. I guess it's sort of a home invasion movie but the home is a college campus where most everyone has gone home for break. Some of the killers masks are made from tin foil and I'm sorry, I just can't take you seriously no matter how hard you're trying to kill me. The lead girl is good in her role even though the story can be a little weak.

Rating: 5/10

I'm a sucker for horror set in an amusement park and that usually results in me sitting through some less than stellar movies. The idea of a horror themed amusement park is great (even if a couple of the 'mascots' look like they're Scooby Doo knockoff villains). The plot was actually decent as slashers go. The killer looks pretty good but has no presence. When he shows up it's "Oh look, the killer is here to thin out the cast." and sometimes he seems pretty clumsy with his weapons, which I blame more on the effects work than anything else.

Rating: 4/10

This is one you have to see it for yourself because there's no way I could explain how bad it is. And yet, I'm low key obsessed with this now. It's weird in the way that only an 80s horror movie can be. It seems like Tubi left the gore in but for some reason censored the word sh!t.

Rating: 6/10

I was going to roll this over into the December watch list but I wanted to make people aware of it so they could watch it during the holiday season. This is a dark comedy take on the trope of family tension at a holiday gathering where people don't keep their feelings in check. I can even forgive the CGI blood because I had such a good time with it.

Rating: 7/10

Month Total
New: 10   Rewatch: 0

Year to Date Total
New: 91   Rewatch: