Pia shares Her Dark Half - Issue #18

Ho ho ho and Jingle Jingle this!

How are your holidays going? Relaxed? Good.

Or frantic and stressed? Aww, then pull yourself up by the bootstraps…you’re almost there!

Santa taking the remains of my bank account

Bah Humbug!

I was going to make a big production out of this newsletter, but then my trusty computer died, forcing me to scramble to save all my data and trying not to panic. It would have been too costly to repair a really old machine, so, under (not so much) protest, I resigned myself to ordering a new computer. Now I gotta wait, because, well, it’s the holidays…great timing!

So, I’m writing this on my tiny little iPad and I’m happy to report that my backup drive did its job and I still have access to my art/photos/writings/films and other creations. It’s just a little pain to dig through, until I can transfer it all back into some kind of organized system, once I have my new machine. Three guesses how I will spend my days off!

Ho Ho Ho and jingle jingle this!

It’s no secret I’m more of a Halloween type of person. All this jolly holiday stuff just isn’t my bag; and the season usually brings out all the sticky sweet and gooey romance/family holiday movies. Aaaarrghh! And that’s on top of the repetitive holiday music everywhere. No wonder people go insane this time of year!

To counter this icky and diabetes inducing sweet stuff, here are my alternative holiday movie picks to get you in that festive mood while you decorate your home, (maybe) begrudgingly, like me.

I could list traditional movies like ‘Die Hard’ (it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Tower) or cult horror flicks like ‘Black Christmas’ etc, but I’m going with my (current) faves.

It goes without saying that some of these movies are truly messed up and not for the squeamish. If you’re a fan of dark or very dark humor, you’ll dig these! A few of them are considered cult by now. But, fear not, I’ll start with my favorite non-horror exceptions for you more horror-adverse folks!

Here’s my TOP TEN ‘Cheer me up, it’s the holidays’ movie list:

Trading Places (1983) - watch trailer here. With comedy legends Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy. This is a comedy that probably would not be produced these days, even though it really holds up well and is still quite relevant. I still know most lines by heart, as I learned a lot of American slang from this movie as a teenager.

Synopsis from IMDb: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

The Nightmare before Christmas (1993) - watch trailer here. Some say it’s a Halloween movie, some insist it’s a Christmas movie. I say, why not play it both times! How can you not get in the spirit for either holiday with that amazing soundtrack! A Tim Burton classic.

Synopsis from IMDb: Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) - watch trailer here. Badass Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson - do I need to say more? Watch this one if you’re tired of ‘Die Hard’ - lots of action and not a horror movie!

Synopsis from IMDb: Samantha Caine lives in a small town with her daughter. Eight years ago she emerged, two months pregnant, from a nearby river with no memory of her past or who she is. However, she’s getting closer to finding out about her past .

Bad Santa (2003) - watch the trailer- I’m amazed they found enough footage without any cussing! Man…where do I start? With Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham and John Ritter. It’s hard to find a scene in this movie that is not offensive to someone. But hey, it’s got heart, as dark as it can be! I can’t count the times I’ve re-watched the scenes between Bernie Mac and Tony Cox. Not a horror movie, but do not watch this with kids or your grandma due to lots of breathtakingly foul language….so much cursing and adult stuff, lol. I love it.

Synopsis from IMdb: A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.

Gremlins (1984) - watch trailer here.Who wouldn’t want to cuddle and feed these cute little furballs? It’s wholesome horror with a lot of laughs! I mean…Stephen Spielberg was one of the producers…Another classic.

Synopsis from IMDb: A young man inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

The Day of the Beast (1995) - watch trailer here. I mean, how much more anti-holiday can it get? It’s basically about the looming birth of the antichrist! Lots of biting humor, way more laughs than you’d expect. A smart horror comedy with no gore, just a little blood here and there. Lots of rosary-clutching for the easily offended, I’d assume. The synopsis below really says it all…

Synopsis from IMDb: Bent on committing as many sins as possible to avert the birth of the beast, a Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult. Now, he must become an unrelenting sinner. Is there still hope?

Krampus (2015) - watch trailer here. I didn’t like the movie that much when it first came out because it didn’t quite represent the baddie called ‘Krampus’ the way I remembered from my childhood. But it grew on me and the cast includes several actors I really love, especially Toni Collette and Conchata Ferrell. It’s a solid horror movie with some truly creepy moments; it’s beautifully shot and the FX is great too.

Synopsis from IMDb: A boy who has a bad Christmas accidentally summons a festive demon to his family home.

The Advent Calendar - watch trailer here. You know things can’t be good if you wind up with a stolen antique advent calendar from a Christmas market in Munich, Germany. I really like this movie and it poses the question: What would you do? You really feel for the protagonist and her situation. Straight up horror flick for sure!

Synopsis from IMDb: Eva is a paraplegic. On her birthday, her friend Sophie gives her a strange Advent calendar. It’s not the traditional treats you find when you open each drawer, but quirky gifts that are scary and get bloodier.

Better Watch Out (2017) - watch trailer here. This one is the most mean spirited of the list. So sinister! You’ll never trust teenagers again. Not that you ever did. Without spoiling anything, I can only say that the trailer was very cleverly cut…You’re in for a trip! Great performances all around. A perfect balance of gory horror and the right amount of dark humor.

Synopsis from IMDb: On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015) - watch trailer here. It’s an anthology of four separate stories with some editing and other issues, but it’s fine since it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. You don’t need a lot of brain cells to watch it and it does have some messed up humor that made me chuckle. William Shatner plays a DJ that ties all the segments together in the end and in a way, he is all (or most) of us. This is one for horror aficionados. It’s super gory and gross, has sex and violence; and it’s perfect to play in the background while you wrap presents or write your greeting cards ;)

Synopsis from IMDb: Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

Santa taking the remains of my bank account

Alright, that’s enough for now…I could go on and on about movies, but there’s another pressing matter to focus on in this newsletter!

Wrapping it up…(sort of)

You didn’t think I’d let you get away without some kind of creative ‘homework’ assignment, did you?

This one’s super easy: Make your own gift bags!

Some of my ‘non-dark creations…it happens, sometimes!

I love gift bags because I don’t have the patience or skills to wrap presents nicely. Grab a multi pack at Michaels and get to decorating! It saves you a bit of money and helps you let out those holiday frustrations…and it adds your personal touch. Win!

And if you’re still looking for last minute gift ideas….well, may I suggest my little Etsy store?

Ok, that’s finally it for today! Thank you for reading to the bitter end. My next newsletter will be the last of the year. Just in time for Christmas Eve…

Until then, enjoy the hustle and bustle out there and stay frosty!

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Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart!

Dark Greetings,


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