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Showing posts tagged: holidays click to see more stuff tagged with holidays
Thu
Jul 3 2014 5:00pm

Happy Fourth of July from Tor.com!

Your friends at Tor.com are taking a small break to celebrate Independence Day here in the U.S., (as are our regular features) and in what has become a tradition for us, we like giving our readers a dose of Muppet patriotism courtesy of Sam the Eagle: keeping the world safe from weirdos since 1976.

Enjoy and have a great 4th of July!

Mon
Dec 23 2013 5:00pm

Tor.com Wishes You a Merry Cthulhumas!

Illustration by Scott Brundage. Merry Christmas! May your holidays be free of overwhelming terror.

A quick note: We’ll be posting at a reduced rate over the next week, but we’ll still be offering up great original material. Fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock in particular should keep an eye on us!

Mon
Dec 23 2013 10:00am

Christopher Lee Reads “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sometimes we need a little scare in our Christmas. Enjoy this terrifying reading from the terrifying Christopher Lee of the terrifying poem “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” from the terrifyingly charming movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Pleasant dreams. Santa’s on his way.

[We hope.]

Sun
Dec 22 2013 11:00am

Supreme Holiday Weirdness: Rankin, Bass, and L. Frank Baum Ask, Should We Just Let Santa Die Already?

Supreme Holiday Weirdness: Rankin, Bass, and L. Frank Baum ask, Should We Just Let Santa Die Already?

Hearken unto me, little children. I grew up during the 1980s, when something called the Video Cassette Recorder was still the red hot, razor sharp, cutting-edge of technology. While it seems hard to believe nowadays, the bulky black rectangle, perched like a crude, mass-market facsimile of the Monolith from 2001 glowered ominously from the heights of our family entertainment center and was worshiped as a household god, which might be why my brother kept trying to feed it his Cheerios all the time (that did not end well). For me, the VCR was just a magical purveyor of Fraggle Rock and Cyndi Lauper videos; for my father, I now realize, it became a means of ruthlessly hunting down and capturing every single televised holiday special aired in the tri-state area between the late 70s and the mid-90s.

The amazing thing is that most of these tapes still survive to this day, having somehow escaped both the trauma of having soggy cereal dumped into the VCR and my manic Mystery Science Theater taping-sprees of yore (Hey! Joel said to keep circulating the tapes—if that meant recording a Gamera movie over some lesser sibling’s first baby steps, so be it. I have no regrets). The upshot of all this is that my siblings and I have had access to A LOT of really strange, Christmas-themed entertainment, and yet every year we return to one of our collective favorites: the 1985 Rankin/Bass adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, also known as The World’s Most Bizarre Animated Christmas Special...EVER.

[Below the fold: L. Frank Baum is crazy. So are puppets. Also? Dragons hate Santa.]

Sat
Dec 21 2013 10:00am

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Christmas Edition

R. O. Blechman CBS spot: Christmas with all the charm you would expect from Mr. Blechman. (1:03 minutes)

The Legend of the Turning Stone: A creepy Christmas tale. (6:38 minutes)

Frosty the Snowman: Oddly manic and sweet. From UPA, as so many good animated shorts are. (2:41 minutes)

[Watch Them All!]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 6:00pm

The Krampus is Coming to Town

Krampus the Yule Lord  Brom

He sees you when you’re sleeping. The Krampus that is. You all know who the Krampus is, right? That diabolical figure covered in black fur, with horns like a goat, cloven hooves and a long red tongue? You better watch out. The Krampus is the legendary Christmas counterpart to Saint Nicholas, who punishes the naughty children while Nick gives the good ones gifts. Sure, he didn’t really make the trip across the pond, but over in Europe he was and still is a popular part of the holiday season. You better not cry, you better not pout. The spooky figure dragging rusty chains who snatches up bad children, swatting the naughty with birch switches, stuffing the worst in his sack to carry off.

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 11:30am

God Bless Pastiche! The 7 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Carols of Film and TV

If I had a pet reindeer, or any kind of creature that resembled a fawn or Bambi-style animal, I’d name it Dickens. Come on. How adorable would it be to have a little pet deer named Dickens? Here Dickens! Come have a sugar cube! That’s a good little Dickens. What’s your favorite story? What’s that you say, “A Christmas Carol?” Well, I don’t feel like reading to you, because you’re a little deer, so let’s watch a movie or a TV special instead. Whatyda say?

And then, as a gift to Dickens, I would have to compile a list of movie and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens’s awesome book—A Christmas Carol—and I’d want those adaptations to be somehow a little bit different from their source material, because deers like stuff that’s new.

What are the best non-traditional versions of A Christmas Carol? These.

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 10:00am

I Hear Santa’s Sleigh: On The Polar Express and What It Means to Believe

The Polar Express

It’s sappy holiday story time! Are you ready? I’m ready….

So, Christmas at my house has always been a decidedly secular affair. In that way, I’m no different from a good portion of North America. My parents and I always loved decorating our tree, drinking cocoa, putting out the cookies and such, but the only time we ever arrived at a Christmas mass it was to hear my piano teacher play the service. I went to see one live nativity display as a teen because a friend’s cousin was playing one of the Wise Men. The only Jesus Christ I was listening to was probably the Superstar kind.

Santa Claus, however, was another matter entirely.

[A single bell…]

Thu
Dec 19 2013 3:00pm

A Very Zombie Christmas: The Stupidest Angel

Christopher Moore The Stupidest Angel

Tuck looked at the red-and-white pile on the ground at his feet and realized for the first time what it really was: a dead Santa.

The Stupidest Angel

Ok, I’m cheating just the tiniest bit here on the annual children’s Christmas book post. The Stupidest Angel is most definitely not a children’s story (warnings for adult situations, language, zombies who want to eat brains and then go to IKEA, and rather mean things said about Santa, squirrel porn and perfectly innocent elephant seals). It also can’t exactly be called a classic yet given that it was only published back in 2004. But, it is a Christmas book, and frankly I needed something that took a slightly more cynical take on the holiday season this year even if that meant zombies, so, Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel it is.

[When Santa dies RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and also zombies show up.]

Thu
Dec 19 2013 11:00am

Candy Caine: The Sweetness of A Muppet Christmas Carol

A Muppet Christmas Carol

When I say A Muppet Christmas Carol is sweet, I don’t only mean the movie is heartwarming and saccharine. It’s those things, too, but it’s also a film that delivers a uniquely badass adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ridiculously famous novella.

Darker and less goofy than other Muppet flicks, A Muppet Christmas Carol manages to capture the phantasmagorical texture of the source material while at the same time turning out a bonafide family film, though not necessarily a kid’s movie. While you might read a child A Christmas Carol aloud, you probably wouldn’t give them the original novella for them to read on their own. And it’s the same with this movie. Despite its Hallmark Card exterior, A Muppet Christmas Carol might be the most adult of the Muppet films.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 18 2013 1:00pm

Haunted Holidays: The Terrible Occult Detectives

Winter is a time for ghost stories, so last week I started at ground zero for the Christmas ghost story (Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Haunted House). This week I’m going pro. In the wake of Sherlock Holmes’s massive success the world was so overrun by lady detectives, French detectives, Canadian lumberjack detectives, sexy gypsy detectives, priest detectives, and doctor detectives that there was a shortage of things to detect. Why not ghosts?

And thus was spawned the occult detective who detected ghost pigs, ghost monkeys, ghost ponies, ghost dogs, ghost cats and, for some strange reason, mummies. Lots and lots of mummies. Besides sporting ostentatiously grown-up names that sound like they were randomly generated by small boys wearing thick glasses (Dr. Silence, Mr. Perseus, Moris Klaw, Simon Iff, Xavier Wycherly) these occult detectives all had one thing in common: they were completely terrible at detecting.

[Read More]

Wed
Dec 18 2013 12:27pm

Christopher Lee Wants You to Have a Heavy Metal Christmas

Christopher Lee, Jingle Hell, heavy metal

Did you know that in addition to fighting Nazis, knowing everything about Lord of the Rings, and changing his own Dracula dialogue because he didn't like it, Christopher Lee has also released heavy metal music about the Holy Roman Emperor Charlmagne? (Note: Everything listed above is entirely true. We're not being cute because no one is allowed to be cute about Christopher Lee.)

Well, Saruman is back this year to wish us a very merry holiday with his new metal track, “Jingle Hell.” (Note: We are still entirely serious.)

[Also Frank Sinatra's “My Way” gets covered.]

Tue
Dec 17 2013 1:05pm

All the Facts You’ve Been Dying to Know About Martian Santa!

Martian Santa tweets from Sarcastic Rover

The Twitter account SarcasticRover took some time today to give us facts about the ever-elusive Martian Santa! And they are glorious. We honestly wish Santa was exactly like this.

[A rover named “Jeff.”]

Tue
Dec 17 2013 12:00pm

11 Odd, Campy, and Surreal Holiday Specials that Should be Classics

Pee Wee Christmas

Several years ago around this time, I wrote a post about some of my favorite bizarro holiday specials to help ring in our very first Tor.com Cthulhumas/Life Day/Krampusnacht/Solstice celebration. While a lot has changed since 2008, my abiding love of strange and unusual holiday-inspired lunacy is as strong as ever, so please enjoy this updated guide to some classic (or should-be classic) yuletide entertainment….

[From recent to retro, 11 shows to make the holidays a little bit more surreal...]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 11:00am

Patrick Stewart’s Monologues on the Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack Make Perfect Bookends to the Tale

The Nightmare Before Christmas poem illustration

All fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas know that the film begins with a few words of rhyme: “’Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems/in a place that perhaps you have seen in your dreams…” This is fitting because Burton’s inspiration for the entire project was a full parody he wrote of The Night Before Christmas.

But did you know that opening rhyme was longer at first? Those who have the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack get a special treat: Patrick Stewart reading the opening monologue, and then another to close out the tale. And they sort of make the movie perfect.

[“And he smiled like the old Pumpkin King that I knew…”]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 10:00am

All the Whos Down in Whoville are Aliens

If you’re going to watch a heart-string tugging Christmas special with children on or around the holidays, why you’re not watching the 1966 animated adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is beyond me. Hell, I used to babysit for twins who liked watching it in the middle of August, and why not? The original 1957 picture book and the ‘66 cartoon version are genius and showcase Theodore Geisel at possibly the tippy-top of his powers. Not only does The Grinch story make Christmas vaguely secular with a snap of its fingers, it does so without offending anyone and with silly amounts of originality.

But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 13 2013 10:00am

The Nutcracker Suite: Because Toys Are People, Too

Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, e.h. shepard

It’s that time of year when lots of people take their families and loved ones to the ballet and celebrate that relevatory Tchaikovsky work (that he actually didn’t think was all that great), The Nutcracker. Which got me thinking about toys, and how toys are often made into people, or at least people-like beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. And how heartbreaking that can often be.

So I thought I’d count down some of the best. The ones that stayed with us and played with us and made certain that, although we packed them up tight in cardboard boxes, we would never truly leave them behind.

[“He’ll never give up on you… ever.”]

Wed
Dec 11 2013 2:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Blade Itself: A Holiday Interlude

The Blade Itself First Law Trilogy Joe Abercrombie Happy Holidays! My Tor Editorial Overlords have granted me a special request this December. Instead of the next batch of reread chapters from The Blade Itself, I’ve decided to get into the holiday spirit. Joe Abercrombie is brutally mean to his characters, who are actually a bunch of mean gits themselves. There’s little sunshine in their lives, living as they do in the Liz-Bourke-copyrighted “Crapsack World.”

So, I’m playing Santa. And no, not because the red suit hides the blood when someone guts me in Angland for my gold buttons. We’ll call that an extra bonus. I’m playing Santa in the Circle of the World to bring some much needed holiday cheer to the otherwise depressing landscape that is the personal lives of the men and women in the First Law Trilogy.

Pour yourself a hot toddy, frost a cookie or two, and join me.

[’Tis the season...]

Wed
Dec 11 2013 1:50pm

Twin Peaks Wins the Creepiest Christmas Carol Award, 23 Years Running

Twin Peaks

Okay, everybody—time to don some flannel, strap on your discman, and time travel back to the strange and magical world of 1990. For a brief, shining moment, Americans’ favorite pastime involved huddling around their giant TVs and bulky recording devices to find out what bizarre happenings would unfold each week in the town of Twin Peaks, Washington, and David Lynch was the reigning king of network television.

Sound crazy? It was. Also crazy? This bizarro version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as performed by Twin Peaks cast members, including Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), recorded by KROQ radio DJs at the height of the show’s popularity.

[Never forget: The owls are not what they seem...]

Wed
Nov 27 2013 4:00pm

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

The Tor.com staff is about to pile into Stubby and take off for the Planet of Food and Not Being On The Internet For Once, but we’ll have some posts for you tomorrow and Friday, and be back in full force next week.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

(If you find yourself bored, we suggest wandering through the On Our Radar tag for a delirious good time.)