As leaves flush crimson and fade proving, once and for all that Robert Frost was correct in his assertion “nothing gold can stay,” it's time to look inward for entertainment. Whatever the season, regardless of temperature, pop culture never fails to supply something worth watching, reading, playing, eating or wearing. Whether it's something entirely and deliciously new or a new season of an old favorite, the October edition of Shut Up and Take My Money is here to act as your guide through the season of pumpkins and ghouls.
Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat
The undisputed queen of vampires has released the eleventh novel in her series, The Vampire Chronicles just in time for Halloween. In 1976 Rice introduced the world to Lestat de Lioncourt the vampire now known to the world as the Brat Prince. Since then the character has appeared in two movies, one Broadway show and nearly one dozen books. What is the 260-year-old vampire doing with his immortality? There's only one way to find out.
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
How have we gone this long without a goth baking show? Thank the Halloween gods for Netflix, because their latest television series, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, is full of haunting confections, creepy crafts and wildly inappropriate creatures—all of them edible. The Nerdist described this new series as “basically what you'd expect if Morticia Addams or Lily Munster decided to host a cooking show.” For anyone wondering about this goth baking goddess, Christine McConnell is the author of Deceptive Desserts: A Lady's Guide to Baking Bad! and you can follow her deliciously spooky adventures on Instagram with @christinehmcconnell.
Comic book fans looking for a highly-praised series to dive into should consider Image Comics' God Country. The six-issue series was just picked up by Legendary Entertainment and AfterShock Media for a film adaptation, so it's the perfect opportunity to jump in before it gets wicked popular. In addition to boasting an elderly protagonist suffering from dementia—a hero you're not likely to see often in pop culture—God Country's quality has been consistently and highly praised. The Tracking Board said it “might be the best example of the comics medium in decades.”
Netflix's psychological comedy-drama television series based on a Norwegian show with the same name premiered on September 21 to a great deal of speculation and fanfare. Variety called Maniac “a big bet by Netflix,” observing that “it is the sort of risk-taking show that seems perched on the knife's edge of fiasco.” Ultimately, however, the review concludes, “As a trial of something new, Maniac passes every test and ascends instantly to take its place among the very best TV of the year. Its eagerness to expose unexpected angles is a great gift.” Vulture called Maniac “a hell of a drug,” going on to gush: “Maniac is an experimental show about an experiment in curing mental illness. It is wild, audacious, addictive, and teeters so precariously between reality and fantasy that the audience will immediately question what's real and what isn't.”
The death of a beloved friend and music icon might sound like grim fare for an album but music is as much a companion in grief as it is in joyful times and following the death of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, vocalist and friend Mike Shinoda needed time and space to grieve. Ultimately, Post Traumatic became an album about grieving and Linkin Park fans and reviewers appreciate that opportunity to mourn. Reviewer Neil Z. Yeung of AllMusic said, “While Post Traumatic takes an emotional toll, it ultimately instills feelings of hope and the idea that things can get better. For Shinoda, Link Park, and their devoted followers, it's an effective group therapy session.” Kerrang! called Post Traumatic “an important, thoughtful album that will serve to unite the grief-stricken with a new-found sense of purpose to find some form of healing.”
Marvel's Spider-Man for the PS4 has been out for more than a month now, offering plenty of time for fans and critics to weigh in and they've been doing exactly that. In early September, the Nerdist wrote, “Marvel's Spider-Man isn't just a great superhero game, it might be one of the best games on the PS4. Period.” Reviewer Dan Casey cites the character's “winning combination of haplessness, earnest conviction, and a biological imperative to crack jokes at the most inopportune times” as justification for the fact that Spider-Man is his favorite superhero. And yes, the game lived up to his extremely high expectations. Fans have been raving about the game's numerous Easter eggs from a Lockjaw statue that replaces the Wall Street bull to a Wakanda embassy to rainbow flags. In fact, there are so many Easter eggs that several articles have been devoted to that subject alone.
The Witch Elm
In the 11 years since her debut novel, In the Woods, Tana French has developed a reputation as the First Lady of Irish Crime. With seven books now under her belt, including the recently released The Witch Elm which is her first standalone novel independent from her Dublin Murder Squad series, there's no denying the page-turning power of a Tana French mystery. The Irish Independent praised the “elegance and insight” of her writing style. Salon.com had this to say about her second book: “The hypnotic prose and eerie atmosphere conspire to make this ostensible mystery novel much, much more than it appears to be.” Despite the quality of her previous mysteries, The New York Times calls The Witch Elm “Tana French's best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” Read it and be dazzled.