Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crimson Peak: Gothic Romance, Tragic Horror

The internet first started buzzing about Crimson Peak when costuming shots surfaced and everyone saw the delightful leads Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska in beautiful period dress. Then set pictures. Then the director, Guillermo del Toro, mentioned that it was a gothic romance rather than straight horror. By this point, I was super excited to go, so this Saturday my friend and I loaded up our purses with candy and went to go see it.

Without spoiling too much, a young woman named Edith Cushing is ferreted away to a creepy mansion in England with siblings Sir Thomas Sharpe and Lady Lucille Sharpe. Ghosts ensue.

So, is it worth seeing?

Well, it depends. You see, Crimson Peak was conceived of (at least, in my view) for a very specific person.

If you like Gothic novels such as Jane Eyre, The Monk, The Castle of Ontranto, Wuthering Heights, and Rebecca, yes. If the cover art of trashy Gothic romance novels with heroines swooning about  in billowing white nightgowns near creepy castles is part of your aesthetic, yes. If you've always secretly (or not so secretly) wished you lived in a crumbling gothic manor house, yes. If you have a soft spot for wounded characters and would like to gather them to your chest and soothe their sorrows, yes. If you love period costumes, yes. If you are content to see something very pretty regardless of its faults, yes.

If you want truly gripping horror, no. If you want a plot that innovates at every turn, no. If you hate being able to guess what the next move will be, no. If the misogyny of early gothic literature upsets you, no. If you want characters that act in believable, realistic ways with coherent motivations, no. If blatant symbolism turns you off, no. If the sight of Tom Hiddleston's ass makes you want to run for cover, no.

That being said, I was the perfect candidate for this movie. My favorite novel for many years was Jane Eyre and I had more of a crush on Mr. Rochester than perhaps was reasonable (yeah, yeah I know.) I spent the entire movie happily swooning at, not the campness, per say, but the movie's success at reviving the turn-of-the-century gothic. I could guess every move and I didn't mind because, like watching a familiar ballet or listening to a rendition of a favorite tune, I can still appreciate brilliant execution. 

And, okay, Crimson Peak doesn't break new ground but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. It's easily the most beautiful movie I've seen in a long time. The rich contrasts of gold, turquoise, and red, highlighted by white and black, give the entire movie a very emotionally charged atmosphere. The acting from the leads is wonderful. The costumes are stunning (read more about the costume philosophy here, if you like.)

And for that I'm willing to forgive a lot. I'm willing to forgive plot holes, bad decisions, lingering threads, predictability. I'm willing to forgive the truly atrocious ghost design (I know some people liked it, I didn't, and I don't like the "symbolism" that has been attributed to the different kinds of ghosts.) I'm willing to forgive how quickly it moved. I'm willing to forgive that red clay like the clay seen in the movie doesn't exist in Britain because it requires volcanic activity to exist (my friend who I went to see it with is a geologist and rock nerd and was less willing to forgive this.)

Am I blinded by my own preconceived tastes? Of course. As I said, this movie is made for people like me. And I'll forgive these flaws because I recognize them from the source material, the original gothics, which are flawed and over the top and everything modern minimalist clean storytelling isn't which is part of what makes the gothic genre so beautiful to me. I've heard the film be called a "modern gothic" which isn't true at all, but it is a pretty great synthesis of the fin de siecle gothic mode.

Have you seen Crimson Peak? What did you think?

NOTE: the comments of this post are a completely spoiler-friendly zone, don't read if you don't want it spoiled!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

5 Classic Monster Themed Outfits to Wear on Halloween

Halloween coming up, are you prepared? Candy, horror flicks, nightclub or party ready to go? What about an outfit? If you're not going for a full costume this year, how about an outfit that many Goths could probably pull out of their closets with just a few extra touches? With a bit of makeup, these are super easy to pull off.


Vampire Chloe

The classic look would, obviously, be the vampire. A plain, if low cut, black dress pairs wonderfully with bat, coffin, skull, and ankh themed accessories. I like my vampires dripping with blood, which is a bit impractical for daily wear, but a bit of red eyeliner at the corner of your mouth or little puncture dots on your neck would get the point across. Extra points awarded for vampire fangs.


Witch Itch

To get a witch look, pair flowy black fabrics with vintage looking touches like lace cuffs or a capelet. I added pretty dagger earrings and a witches hat, both of which can be DIYed. If you like, add a stuffed black cat or DIY Halloween broom to the look. Witchy face makup optional.


Werewolf Shona

While I personally can't pull this look out of my closet, I know enough of you have some things left over from your shameful raver pasts (mostly kidding) to do so. I can't be the only alternative type who went to a middle school where raver fluffies, ears, and faux fox tails were daily wear for some of the weird kids? Anyway, time to dig all of those things out and slap them on with a moon phase t-shirt, ripped jeans, and maybe some bullet earrings or a silver bullet belt for irony and you have a completed werewolf look.


Skeletal Amelia

Skeleton attire is dead easy to come across as a Goth these days, if you'll pardon the pun. Leggings, jeans, socks, skirts, dresses, jackets, gloves, and more can come with skeletal bone prints. Generally I'd recommend only adding one or two skeleton themed items to avoid looking overly skeletal, but it's Halloween so why not go all-out? If you want to add an extra skeletal touch, check out Youtube for some amazing skeleton face makeup tutorials.


Zombies Tho

I couldn't tell you why I associate zombies with the 50's and rockabilly inspired designs but I did try to stay away from that and do a more practical zombie-inspired look. If you wanted to more specifically look like a zombie then Special Effects makeup would help this look out a bunch, I'm sure, but that's not my area of expertise so I would direct you to some Youtube videos for help in that arena.

What are you wearing for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Evil Supply Co. Mr. Ghost Parcel - October

Happy Halloween! If I keep saying it it'll be true, right? Well, anyway, I'm celebrating Halloween all month long with little things and I'm thrilled to be interviewing the latest Mister Ghost mystery box from Evil Supply Co.! If you're new to this blog and you haven't seen these reviews before, essentially Evil Supply Co. is a stationary and paper goods company who does a mystery box every month with a spooky theme. In the past we've had Mad Science & Withcraft, Netherworld Post Office, and Graveyard Secrets, but this month it's a Halloween Trick and Treat box! So, let's see what I got.

First things first, the screen-printed folder. I love these to pieces, they're so practical for every day use and make even mundane things like carrying papers to and from work spooky. This one is black with an orange skeleton who is lighting a candle for his jack-o-lantern with his fire breath. I'm not sure how a skeleton breathes fire or why he needs an eye patch when he has no eyes but, you know, I'm cool with it.

And what's inside?

The first thing I pulled out were my other favorite things in the Mister Ghost packages: pocket notebooks! I use these all the time, I generally keep one on me with my daily to-do task list and another just for assorted notes on the go. These are a great theme that go super well together and I really love them. 
 Next up are stickers! There's tons of stickers in this one which thrills me to spooky pieces. There are decorative coffins, spider webs, and little candies with bats, witches, and ghosts in them. I'm not sure where they're going to go yet but I love how bright, clear, and sturdy ESC's stickers are.
Then I pulled out this art print and, gosh, I love this thing. It's so bright and beautifully detailed, it really needs to be framed. ESC's prints are made on gorgeous semigloss paper and are such a great option for when you want a spooky piece of art but want something bright and fun. It's quite a big print, maybe I'll put it on my desk at work.

Lastly, note cards! These came in "Happy Halloween", "Happy Bat-Day" and a more simple white one with black spider webs. They also came with orange, black, and cream envelopes, which are wonderful for Halloween and everyday notes. I'm definitely going to be sending out the candelabra Halloween one in a week or so. I also included in this shot the pinback button that says Trick & Treat on it which is going right on my jacket.

I encourage anyone who is interested in Evil Supply Co. to check out this subscription service, It's a great value and you can try it out for one month or subscribe, which gives you a discount. Next month's theme is Friends, Fiends, and Family and you can get it on their website here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Alternatives to Real Pumpkins

Sadly, not everyone can have a real pumpkin for the Halloween season, carved or otherwise. Some places simply don't have them for sale, or they're marked up at ridiculous prices. Still other people might not be allowed by their landlords to have one, or don't want to deal with disposal at the end of the season. So, what other options do you have if you want pumpkin decor for Halloween and the autumn without all the fuss of a real pumpkin? Here are some ideas:

Plastic Pumpkins

Fake foam or plastic pumpkins are abound in craft stores and now is a good time to pick one up. They come in orange, white, black, and chalkboard at Michaels.  You can leave it plain or give it a makeover with dripped crayons (rainbow on a white pumpkin is great, but black/silver/gray or Halloween colors would be great too), adding craft ribbons or bows, adding a glow-in-the-dark treatmentcovering it in fake gems, or painting it to match your decor.

Velvet Pumpkins

I re-pinned this idea onto my Halloweentown Ideas Pinterest board a few months back and I still absolutely adore it. A stuffed pumpkin made out of a rich, fall-like fabric is a great option and a good way to spend a rainy afternoon. Here's a tutorial from HGTV for easy sewn pumpkins which can be done in velvet, burlap, cotton, or any other fabric you can think of.


Making an origami pumpkin is actually super simple and you can do it with any kind of paper. Patterned scrapbook paper is a wonderful way to add a Gothy touch or to match your own home decor. For a simple tutorial, check here on Origami Instructions.

Mercury Glass

Mercury glass is a very pretty material that works especially well for Halloween decor. Something about the reflective but distorted surface is a really refreshing take on the traditional orange pumpkin and great if you're not crazy about incorporating tons of orange into your Halloween look. This one above is from Pottery Barn, or you can look here for a tutorial on adding a Mercury-Glass look to any glass.

Carved Turnips

If you want an alternative to a large pumpkin but you want something organic still, consider buying a turnip to carve! Turnips are more traditional in certain places and are much more space efficient. For a turnip carving tutorial, check here on Makezine!

Do you prefer real pumpkins for your Halloween decor, or do you add in fake ones as well?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reader Question: Goth Date Outfits

Hello Mary Rose a while back I messaged you about being gothic while also being religious. I was so excited and flattered to check in later and realize that my question and words were put as an article on your blog! Well I am back again and again would like to request your help with the subject being fashion this time. I have recently began dating and have came into an exclusive relationship with a guy and was wondering if you could give me some help on extremely casual date outfits.
Thank you so much
Extremely excitedly awaiting your response
Date Outfit 1

Hi again Lilvamp, thanks for writing in and congratulations on your relationship!

There are a lot of options for what to wear on dates depending on your personal style, what you have on hand, what you're doing, and all that kind of stuff, so forgive me for not giving a completely comprehensive list of outfits.
Date Outfits #4

To me, the most important thing about a date outfit is that it makes *you* feel good. A feel-good outfit for a date can include your favorite pair of comfortable jeans, the battle jacket that makes you feel confident, a good luck necklace, or whatever else springs to mind. Still, if you want a little extra boost, pay a bit more attention to making sure your nail polish is touched up, your eyeliner is even, or whatever else makes you feel more put together.

Date Outfits #3
Full disclosure: my understanding of men's fashion is severely limited.
I've had other similar questions posed before so I want to underline that you shouldn't feel pressured to dress like someone you aren't just for a date. Why would you want to date someone who didn't embrace the spooky creature you really are? Start the relationship off right by being honest and true to yourself.
Date Outfit #2

It's autumn so for cute outfits this time of year I drift towards skater dresses with boots, jeans with leather jackets, and that kind of thing. If you want a more romantic flair to your outfit, this is the perfect season to add velvet to your outfit and lots of pretty layers.

Date Outfit #5

I hope this has given you some ideas for outfits! Readers, what do you typically wear on dates?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I've been tagged! 13 Halloween Questions Tag

It's been a while since I've done a good old-fashioned tag post but there are pretty fun so why not? I was tagged to answer some Halloween questions by the delightful Sylvie of Little Corp Goth Girl (who you all should definitely check out!)

My nominees are:

1. Cafe LaStrange
2. Goth It Yourself
3. Goth Gardening
4. Domesticated Goth
5. The Mutant Stomp Friends

1. Favorite Halloween song?

Have you heard Spooky Scary Skeletons by The Living Tombstone? Well, you should listen to it. I've been enjoying it a lot lately.

2. Witch or Vampire?

Any other year I probably would have said Vampire but I think this year it's gotta be Witch! I'm loving witchy fashion this time of year, I've been connecting with some of my friends over witchcraft, I'm still reeling from my recent trip to Salem, I've been falling back in love with tarot, and I've been basing a lot of my historical independent research on witchcraft in early modern Europe... so definitely witches.

3. Favorite thing about Halloween?

The build up to Halloween is definitely my favorite part. Hearing everyone get excited about it, watching Halloween stuff crop up in storms, watching people start to decorate, hearing my little siblings jabber excitedly about what they're going to wear. Just soaking up the season is great.

4. Halloween party or scary movie marathon?

Movie marathon! I'm not much of a hardcore party person, I'd rather just enjoy the spook with some close friends and watch movies (Scary or just Halloween themed.)

5. Skeletons or Zombies?

Skeletons! Although I've re-fallen in love with The Walking Dead I think that's about the only Zombie-related thing I've been into for years. Skeletons, on the other hand, are always fun.

6. Favorite Halloween candy?

Mmmmmmm... Butterfingers probably!

7. Favorite Halloween movie?

Tough one! A lot of movies that people think of as specifically Halloween movies I watch year round, though... I think The Craft, while not specifically one about Halloween, would probably be my favorite these days.

8. Favorite Halloween costume?

I love putting together Vampire costumes, it's usually just an excuse to look extra spooky and wear my fangs and it always gets a good reaction!

9. Favorite Halloween store?

Michaels! I find the best of my Halloween stuff at Michaels every year and I usually make multiple trips (which I need to do soon...)

10. Jack-o-lanterns, yes or no?

I absolutely love jack-o-lanterns as a decorative piece and seeing them around but I don't get a lot of joy out of carving my own pumpkins (I'm clumsy with a knife and prone to accidental injury.) I'd rather just have a small decorative gourd and enjoy everyone else's masterpieces. Speaking of, have you seen this guy? Wild.

11. Bats or Black Cats?

Black cats! Really just because I can't cuddle a bat under normal circumstances and because I'm slightly nostalgic for my cat Zoot back home in Maryland. Bats still hold a special place in my heart, though.

12. Is Halloween your favorite holiday?

Unquestionably yes! It's been since I was a little kid. Everything about it thrills me.

13. Pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate?

Pumpkin spice latte! I'm not much of a fan of hot chocolate these days. When I can I add a little bit of pumpkin spice mix (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) to my regular coffee grounds to make pumpkin spiced coffee on my own.

Again, thanks so much Sylvie for tagging me! Be sure to let me know if you're posting this tag, even if I wasn't the one to tag you! I'd love to read your responses.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Corset Deal 'Paityn' Corset

I've been experiencing a bit of a resurgence in my love of corsets lately, especially wearing them as (surprise!) undergarments. I love the silhouette corsets give me and the security, like a nice steel and brocade hug. I now own six corsets of various designs, the latest of which is from the lovely folks over at Corset Deal. I had purchased two corsets from them in the past (a beautiful blue and pretty silver brocade corsets) and I've been pretty impressed with the quality for the price. Not too many places have great corsets for under $40 and two-for-one sales on so many designs, which is great for budget-conscious goths. So when they reached out and asked if I wanted to review a corset from them, I was thrilled to say yes. The corset I chose was their Paityn Gothic Corset, which is a gorgeous black and red brocade corset with buckled front, steel bones, and beautiful side lacing.

Now, this isn't a corset that can really be worn under your clothing so scratch that idea from the start. The buckles at the front would create very strangle lumps and the side detailing isn't exactly subtle, but I've been loving this design since I got it. The silhouette it gives is beautiful and it's unlike all the other corsets that I own. If you can ignore my t-shirt peaking through the front busk there (totally my fault, not the corset's, by the way) you can see it gives a really nice concave swoop to my figure which looks utterly fantastic. It'll probably be making an appearance during Red and Black week, that's for sure.

The sizing is exactly where I expected it to be, I generally order a 34" waist and this corset sits in line with others of that range. For a steel boned corset, the regular retail price of $65 on the website is very reasonable, not to mention all of the sales and deals that Corset Deal offers on a regular basis.

The most interesting detail to most people is probably the front clasps. Now, yes, they're gorgeous, sturdy, and unique, but I do have to warn you all that they make the corset approximately ten times more difficult to get on than any other standard busk corset I own. Could this just be my own incompetence? Maybe, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'll show you what I mean when I say it's difficult:

This is the buckle closed.

And this is it open. Now, to close it you pass the bottom circle over the stud in the other side of the busk (which has another hole in it.) Once you pass the large circle over it, you push the top clasp down to close it. Perfectly simple when the corset is lying flat on my windowsill for pictures, less so when on a human body which has lots of curves that make getting the busks exactly parallel to work the clasp difficult, especially if you're trying to see what you're doing over your chest (ahem.)

I don't want that to put you off, though, this corset really is positively beautiful and I'm so glad to add it to my collection. Taking an extra minute or two to put it on doesn't stop it from looking fantastic. Expect to see it in a lot of outfits in the future. 

If you want to buy your own Paityn corset, you can find it on Corset Deal here. Be sure to also check out their 2 for 1 deals and their Halloween sale! I think the next time I order from Corset Deal I'm going to look into the Granville, the Tristain, the Bemelle, or the Bannan.

Do you own a corset? What is your favorite design?