The Doc Speaks: It’s not uncommon to feel “Grinchy”

It’s been that time of the year for a while and it’s safe to say that many of us are sick of it.  We see Mall Santas chugging whiskey outside the local shopping center, spoiled brats screaming about how getting the newest toy is a sign of love, the same holiday pop covered by a flavor of the year music group, sickeningly cheery decorations mass produced by Hallmark-esque megacorporations, you get the general idea.  For many a bitter cynic, the yuletide season simply sucks.  In a sense, rewatching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there’s a lot to relate to.  Perhaps something about the plot makes us all the more bitter.  But, why is that?

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Album Review: Christmas – A Ghostly Gathering

Tired of the saccharine crap that floods radio waves from early November to early January?  It’s the same old derivative playlists only lightly spiced up by flavor of the year bubblegum pop.  After a while, it’s grating to the mind and soul.  Now, for gloomy souls like myself, there’s a genre of music that appeals as a proper alternative.  I speak of dark ambient/atmospheric music.  Combining this with the motifs and inspirations of the early winter holidays and you have the recipe for a fantastically freaky but festive experience.  Groups such as Nox Arcana have created their own contributions to yuletide terror, with their own excellent releases.

This time around, it’s Midnight Syndicate’s turn to show their musical mastery for a truly magical christmas time.  When I speak of “christmas magic”, I’m not talking about holly jolly merriment, I’m speaking of the twisted and bizarre folklore that extends several centuries at the very least; strange shadowy beings, seemingly alive winter winds, strange monstrosities, wandering ghostly spirits and tons more.  These are the myths crafted in small villages and written by just as crafty poets.  Whether it be St. Nick’s demonic helper from the Alps or the ghosts that haunt Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the weird and supernatural is just as much a part of Christmas as it is Halloween.  With that, there’s plenty of reason behind a horror-oriented Christmas album.  I’m referring to the latest release by atmospheric gothic music group, Midnight Syndicate.  Their newest release, “Christmas A Ghostly Gathering” has a mix of original pieces and dark takes on traditional hymns and holiday essentials.  In a sense, it’s like Midnight Syndicate heard the soundtrack to “A Nightmare before Christmas” and wanted to make their own take on Horror for the Holidays.  Read on for more.

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Film Review: Krampus

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For those who have been following me long enough, you can tell I’m quite the fan of Santa’s Satanic Helper!  Of course, I’m referring to the Krampus.  For those out of the loop, Krampus is a creature originating from Germanic folklore.  He trails Santa around the world to punish naughty children, while Santa takes care of the good.  Specifically, Krampus hits you with his bundle of sticks before sweeping you into a bag full of little hell raisers!  This holiday horror looks like a diabolic monster with coarse black hair all over him, usually with horns and cloven hooves.  For centuries, the image of this creature has haunted and fascinated countless people.

Needless to say, Krampus has slowly been catching on in the United States.  Whether it’s pop songs or animated parodies, the Christmas Devil himself has been popping up in public consciousness.  A couple of years ago, the creators of “Trick R’ Treat” had announced they were bringing this being to life in a new movie.  As of December 2015, that movie is out and the Krampus will punish all of those who dare act naughty during this season.  So, how does the movie itself hold up?  Read onward to find out. (Warning: Some spoilers ahead!)

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The Doc Speaks/Reviews: A Look at my favorite Christmas (Hanukkah, and other Holiday) movies!

Our ever surreal holly jolly season has returned and is soon also coming to close once more. As such, it’s always good time to check out the many pieces of popular culture that make us think about the holidays. They can encourage what we love about them, hate about them, or other something else entirely. These seasonal bits of popular culture can help to enhance our many opinions in many ways; each with their own styles and flavors. Since I tend to enjoy the more absurd, heavily imaginative or cynical among them, let’s dive deep into some movies and specials that I enjoyed the most.
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The Doc Speaks: The Christmas Invasion

Dr Who Evil Santas
They’re invading, are you ready?

There’s no doubt that here in the United States, the heavily commercialized “holiday season” has gotten out of control. For many families, Thanksgiving was set aside as a time to drop the consumerism and just spend time together. But last year, our bloated capitalistic parody of the December holiday season had proved its power. With sales expanding further than before, it toppled a great defense against a frenzy of spontaneous spending and so-called savings. With this bastion against greed and habitual desires crumbled, what is there to do?
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From the Vaults: We Love The Krampus

This was a blast to write!  The Krampus is awesome and deserves much more attention here in the States!  Anyway, here’s my look back at The Krampus from last Christmas.

Here in the United States, the celebration of Christmas is a joyous time of spending time with family, giving gifts to one another, and gross over commercialism.  When it comes to Christmas, we use the icon of Santa Claus as the master of ceremonies (and sometimes that other dude too, depending on your religious beliefs.)  However, in eastern European folklore, Father Christmas was accompanied by more friends than just plucky elves and flying reindeer.  On the contrary, he recruited the efforts of a demonic bodyguard to punish all the naughty children.  Look at this way, our yuletide saint can dedicate more time to blessing all the good children of the world!  However, Ol’ Saint Nick ain’t the focus today, for his cohort Krampus deserves much attention!
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