By Jerry Chandler
It’s December. We’re only a few short days away from Christmas. Maybe you’ve discovered you need a few more things to round out your Christmas gift lists. But, let’s face it, even the Suicide Squad would balk at being told they have to go out to a mall or major shopping center this weekend. The zombie hordes that once populated the darkest Romero nightmare about consumerism run amuck have nothing on the terror that’s about to be unleashed upon the already weary sales clerks of this country. Alternately, maybe you need something nice for yourself to help unwind a bit after the Olympic level event that is Christmas prep in the modern age or to look forward to for unwinding with after all the family has gone home and you need a little downtime.
Plus, well, with the suggestions on this list you’ll be helping out independent creators.
Looking for a little reading material? Looking for something a little hardboiled noir? Looking for maybe some science fiction or fantasy? Looking for some down and dirty Old West action? Look no further than here.
Bobby Nash is a longtime friend of the Needless Things podcast and the Earth Station One family of podcasts, but, more importantly for this, he’s also an award winning writer. His style and subject matter ranges from old pulp to noir to gritty adventure and more. Between his own books and the various books he’s contributed to, his Amazon author’s page is packed with books to choose from as last minute gifts for both friends and your own reading pleasure.
Van Allen Plexico is a familiar voice on the convention scene as well as to fans of quality podcasts via The White Rocket Podcast. He’s also a familiar name on bookshelves with a range of stories that’s every bit as broad in subject matter as his own interests. A trip through his Amazon page will find his take on Sherlock Holmes stories, science fiction stories that may remind you more than a little bit of Thundarr the Barbarian, and every possible thing in between. Well, maybe there aren’t any kaiju stories in there, but then again I may have just missed them. Either way, there’s a lot there and what’s there is more than enough to find something for a friend or for yourself that might become a new favorite.
John Neal is a familiar voice to fans of podcasts covering a number of topics, but he’s also a fan of the classic American Western. A trip over to Amazon will find you John’s book (co-written with Chuck Dixon) Snakehand. Snakehand is the first book in a potential series following the exploits of Joe Wiley as he tames towns in the face of vice, violence, corruption, and murder.
John Dimes is a creative madman whose works are too varied and sometimes too unique to properly explain in less than a thousand words. He is also a member of the Horror Host Hall of Fame under the name Dr. Sarcofiguy. Swing by his Weebly page or check out his Amazon page for some interestingly unique finds.
Here’s an offering for the holidays that will cost you nothing up front and only anything down the road should you choose to purchase the various offerings for yourself or a friend on a physical medium. Swing over to the still fairly new YouTube page of Sick Chick Flicks and take a look at a number of independent short film and feature film offerings out of the North Carolina indie film crews Sick Chick Flicks and Adrenalin Productions. Give the gift of enjoying some off the beaten path creators and, if you’re so inclined, track them down and support them by purchasing some of their merch online or at a convention.
You can find everything you need at the YouTube channel, the Sick Chick Flicks film festival and Facebook pages, and the Adrenalin Productions website and Facebook pages.
While you’re at it, check out for free another indie short from creative madman Christopher G. Moore by swinging on over to YouTube for Foodie.
While you’re playing around over on Amazon, check out North Carolina’s Brett Mullen’s absolutely amazing indie film effort Bombshell Bloodbath. Brett is an amazingly gifted filmmaker whose follow up effort to Bombshell Bloodbath, Fantasma, saw him getting to work with genre names like Caroline Williams, Debbie Rochon, and Brett Wagner. Bombshell Bloodbath (available on DVD as well as streaming on Amazon Prime) is a great introduction to a future big name in horror filmmaking that you will want to get to know as soon as possible.
Okay, the odds are that if you’re reading this you’ve listened to the Needless Things Podcast. The odds are that if you’ve listened to the Needless Things Podcast, you’re probably also aware of the Earth Station One network of podcasts. If you’re not familiar with them, you need to be. You should also recommend them to friends for their own listening enjoyment.
But on top of improving your weekly listening pleasure, why not get your friends or yourself some comfy shirts as well? You can do this by checking out the Earth Station One TEEPUBLIC store. If you’re already a fan of an ESO show, you’ll find a shirt for it there. If you and your friends have yet to discover the ESO Network, start out with the mothership show, The Earth Station One podcast, and then explore the rest of the shows. When you find the ones you like, you can always support the network by purchasing a tee.
Jason Gilbert is a writer and film critic, but a film critic with a sense of humor. I covered his entry into that world some time ago when I reviewed his book, Bad Movie Beware!. But Jason is also a serious author with other works to his name. His most recent book is Gaslit Insurrection (Clockworks of War). The book is now available on Amazon for the reading pleasure of anyone you may know.
Another family of podcasts out there fall under the banner of Gruesome Magazine. From that name alone you should be able to figure out that they specialize in all things horror. Their main podcast for contemporary reviews is the now long running Horror News Radio, and it’s a damned entertaining way to keep up with what may be coming down the pike on the big and small screens in the world of horror. But the really fun ones to listen to fall under the Decades of Horror brand. What started as Decades of Horror the 1970s with one tight crew of lovers of films from that groovy, gory, and influential decade of horror filmmaking has blossomed into several shows with (mostly) different crews looking at the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s and beyond, and of course the classic eras that came along before the 1970s.
While Horror News Radio is an absolute blast, you can give a horror fan the great gift of listening pleasure by recommending to them the Decades of Horror podcasts. These are all hugely enjoyable looks at films that- especially with the 1970s and Classic Era shows -don’t get a lot of discussion; let alone discussion this fun. And once you’re there, you can take a look at their TEEPUBLIC page for some nice gruesome wear.
But, given this is Christmas time, you can give the horror fan you know a great gift in the form of a unique magazine. Not long ago, the people behind Gruesome Magazine the website decided to become the people behind an actual magazine called Gruesome Magazine. If you or someone you know loves horror and misses magazines in the mold of the classic era Fangoria, either one or both of the issues of Gruesome Magazine available would make a great gift.
Now I’m going to go and self-promote a bit. A short while back, a discussion about old horror films I was in with John Neal and Richard Ewell turned into the genesis of what became the very new TheAssignment: Horror Podcast. Adding Becca Wells Upson into the mix to perfectly round out the regular crew, the three of us assign Richard a horror movie- and, typically with this lot it’s a classic or crusty old horror movie -he’s never seen before. What follows is discussion about the film, some trivia around it, and the differing takes of someone who grew up with the films versus the take of someone who has only just seen these films for the first time. If it’s only half as much fun to listen to as it is to do, you and your horror loving friends will enjoy it.
It’s Christmas time. At this stage in the game, as close as it is to Christmas, I realize that budgets may be getting tight. Even if right now you can’t give someone you know some of these things or buy yourself one of the books, pieces of art, shirts, movies, or magazines I’ve discussed here; give the creators I’ve brought up here one of the best Christmas gifts you can. It’s one that will cost you nothing.
Tell people about them. Spread the word about them. It’s so simple and so easy to click your mouse a few times and share something about them on social media. Share some of the podcasts. Share some of the movies that are now being put up for free on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
SPREAD THE WORD
Help to raise their profile a bit with people who may not know about them yet. Almost every single creator I listed above makes the rounds at conventions and film festivals as attending professionals and guests. You can even find some of them at Dragon Con, and I know the odds are good that if you’re reading Needless Things you’re familiar with that ever so not so tiny, annual Atlanta area event. When you see that they’re going to be at a convention you and/or your friends are attending, let people know that they’ll be there and whether or not they’re doing panels or running events. Plus, well, swing by their tables and booths and spend a little of that con spending money on their merchandise.
But if all you can do is spread the word of their works to new ears that have never heard of them before? Well, I think it’s a Christmas gift to them that most of them would appreciate.
Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek who, while enjoying most everything fandom has to offer, finds himself most at home in the horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction genres. When not wasting too much time on social media, he can be found writing regularly here at Needless Things, but has also written for websites like Gruesome Magazine as well as remembering to put up the occasional musings on his on blog. He’s been a guest on several podcasts from the ESO Network, Decades of Horror, and the Subject Matter. He has also recently become a regular cohost of The Assignment: Horror Podcast.