We all have a mental list of our favorite holiday movies. Yours might include IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, or MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. I love those, too; however, sometimes I’m in the mood for something less traditional. If you find yourself looking for alternatives to watch this time of year, here’s a list to lead you down a darker—yet, still festive!—holiday path.
1) THE THIN MAN (1934). A witty, dark murder mystery, starring my all-time favorite screen couple, Nick and Nora Charles. He’s a former detective and full-time alcoholic who gets pulled back into a case during Christmas time; she’s his rich and delightfully funny wife. Nora: “How many drinks have you had?” Nick: “This will make six Martinis.” Nora (to the waiter): “Will you bring me five more Martinis, Leo? Line them up right here.”
2) BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974). A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger over Christmas break. Crazy people! Murder! 1970s sorority girls! I mention this movie in Arcadia #3, BINDING THE SHADOWS. Ignore the recent remake and go for the classic, directed by the same guy who made A CHRISTMAS STORY.
3) GREMLINS (1984). Young Billy gets a cute Mogwai for Christmas named Gizmo, only things go bad when the little cutie is fed after midnight. Tiny, crazed devils running around after everyone: what’s not to like? Maybe this influenced the Imps in the Arcadia series.
4) BRAZIL (1985). Terry Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece is retro-futuristic, sci-fi noir, and just plain charming. Sometimes people forget it takes place at Christmas. If you like steampunk, this film has been cited as an influence by several writers.
5) TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972). A British horror anthology film, based on stories from EC Comics. The first story, “And All Through the House,” stars Joan Collins, who kills her husband on Christmas Eve while a homicidal man dressed as Santa Claus stalks the neighborhood. Suspenseful, bloody fun!
Jenn Bennett is an award-winning artist and author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series from Pocket Books. Born in Germany, she’s lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Far East. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two very bad pugs.
Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .
Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.
But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.
MAGICAL TRICKS. DEMONIC TREATS. After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no.
Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.
Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son…
Arcadia “Cady” Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks. To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady’s magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?
In the third book in this beloved and “riveting” (Romantic Times) urban fantasy series, demon-friendly tiki bar owner Arcadia Bell discovers more about her own evolving, and possibly destructive, magical abilities when her bar is the target of a demonic crime wave.
Renegade mage and bartender Cady Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is coming completely unhinged. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her. But the criminals aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses—Cady’s own Moon Child abilities are evolving beyond her control. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside destroys everything—and everyone—she loves?
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada