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Clarification

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Henry Selick was recently asked whether The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the greatest holiday films ever made, was a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. After some consideration, he went with Halloween.

I think it's important to note that, as the visionary director of this phenomenal movie, Selick is uniquely positioned to be able to definitively answer this question.

That's what makes it so surprising that he got it wrong. While the movie's leads are original Halloween characters, the plot is a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum's story, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, as well as his novel, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. These were major influences on the Rankin Bass specials, as well, which in turn served as prototypes for Selick's movie.

But we'll forgive the director for this oversight. If he keeps making movies half as good as The Nightmare Before Christmas, he can claim they're about Arbor Day for all we care.

Rocky IV (1985)

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After Rocky's friend, Apollo Creed, is killed in the ring fighting a Russian boxer, Rocky flies to the Soviet Union, where he trains then defeats the Russian on Christmas Day. And... that's pretty much everything that happens. Huh. Usually the synopsis takes longer to write.

If you're confused how the above could fill 90 minutes, you are seriously underestimating just how many rock montages can be fit in a single movie. To be perfectly honest, I lost count. There's an argument to be made that this might qualify as a musical. James Brown shows up at one point.

Beyond the plot and montages, Sylvester Stallone (who wrote and directed the film) managed to find time to work in a robot helper which looks a little like a stereo system on top of a coffee maker. Also, it might be sentient. And Paulie may or may not be sleeping with it - the movie was somewhat ambiguous on this point.

Likewise, it is unclear whether Rocky and Apollo were lovers. 1980's sexual conservatism w…

Children of Men (2006)

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I've seen Children of Men twice now, and I'm still not sure whether or not it qualifies as a Christmas movie. It's essentially a post-apocalyptic version of the nativity, complete with numerous references, some in world, but there's none of the usual connections - no decorations, no mention of the holiday, nothing. Still, there's more than enough thematic resonance to tie it back (plus it shows on several lists of Christmas movies). Oh, and it was also released on Christmas in the US, not that that means anything.

Children of Men is often considered one of the best science fiction movies of the past decade. It was nominated for several awards, and it's currently at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's not hard to see why: the movie was brilliantly shot and edited, and it's quite engrossing. It's just... it's also kind of boring and pretentious. And the premise doesn't make a damn bit of sense. I'm not talking about the "no humans have been …

Self-Promotion: A Count of Five Now Available

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Let me just get this out of the way up front: this doesn't have a damned thing to do with Christmas. The wreath was just a cheap attempt to obfuscate that fact: sorry for the deception.

A Count of Five is my new novel, which is now available on Amazon. You can pick up the Kindle version here for just $2.99, or you can buy a paperback version for $9.99.

This is the first book in The Citadel of the Last Gathering, a new series blending fantasy-adventure, science fiction, and quite a few other surprises. We're planning on releasing the second novel in the series this November.

This represents a lot of work from both me and Lindsay, who edited and laid out the novel. We're extremely proud of the finished product, and hope you'll pick up a copy and give it a read.

Bat-Santa Photos

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Better late than never, right? Here are some action shots from Bat-Santa wandering around Emerald City Comic-Con. Also, read about how the suit was built here!






Bat-Santa prefers the cold, too.


Kryptonite from his utility belt, tied with a bow.

Just a couple of dark anti-heroes hanging out.



Bat-Santa remains on patrol, and we at Mainlining Christmas  are relieved to have him on the job.

Bat-Santa Returns

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The Mainlining crew is headed out to Emerald City Comic-Con today!

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2014 Draws to a Close

It's that time again. Time to cut down the Christmas lights, knock over the tree, and throw out whatever mistletoe didn't get eaten before it goes bad. It's Christmas again, and you know what that means: it's time to say good-bye to Mainlining Christmas for another year.

Granted, the next year starts in a week, and we typically post reviews whenever the hell we feel like it, so it's not like we'll be out of your lives entirely. But we'll be out of holiday-mode, so the 3 to 10 posts a day pace is over and done with for the foreseeable future.

I'm relieved to get the holidays behind me, but - as is always the case - it makes me a little sad, as well. Sure, the near-constant barrage of Christmas specials and movies gets a bit much, but it's also tradition.

On top of all that, this has been a pretty good Christmas. We've excavated a whole other level of holiday movies and found a number of unexpected gems. We saw old, forgotten films: Beyond Tomorro…