Once again, the holidays are upon us. And let me guess. You haven’t bought a single present yet, have you? Well fear not! The good folks here at Adventures in Poor Taste have put together a comprehensive list of our personal gift ideas for you to bestow upon your loved ones.
We’ll be bringing you gift recommendations of various prices throughout the week, one new price point every day. First up is the Cheapskate Edition: $20 and under.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One, A Game of Thrones: $10.76
This gift is actually a bit of a dick move. No, it’s not because there is already a film version thanks to the popular HBO series of the same name, but because giving the first installment of this book to the bookworm on your list is essentially giving them literary cocaine.
George R.R. Martin basically spends however many hundreds of pages crafting a beautiful sandcastle of characters and intrigue, then he forces you to watch as he kicks it apart, grinning maniacally the whole time. But you can’t stop watching. There are currently five of these books (The series is slated for a total of seven, I believe). And each one is better than the last. But that’s not your problem. You can grab the first book on Amazon for only $10.76 and walk away knowing your loved one will not only tear through the 900+ pages of medieval intrigue, but they’ll then be forced to shell out their own pocket money for the subsequent volumes! Better yet, you can keep the theme gift going for up to seven different celebrations, assuming they have no actual interest in the series and are using your gifts as paperweights.
A word of caution: If you know your friend will be into this book because he or she devoured the first season of the television show I would suggest just skipping ahead and giving them A Storm of Swords (only $10.36) instead. The HBO show replicated the book almost page for page and if they’re only interested in finding out what happens next the first book can tend to be a chore.
Community: Season 1 on DVD: $16.99
This gift suggestion comes with a bit of an agenda behind it. While I wholeheartedly feel that anyone can appreciate the laugh out loud humor that takes place in this television show,
it has somehow been put on hiatus during it’s current third season. The show has a ravenous fan base that are trying their best to get the show back and keep it on the air for as long as possible. If you are part of that fan base then you need to help.
The best way to do so? Give the gift that is this amazing show to someone whom you know will appreciate it. Despite it being just as easy to share Community using… other… means, if you really want to have an impact on the fight to save the show you need to spend your hard earned dollars on the DVD (Currently only $16.99 on Amazon).
Even if you don’t care if this show gets Firefly‘d the first season of Community will make a perfect gift for anyone with a slightly odd sense of humor.
World of Warcraft Battle Chest: $14.96
Want to give the gift that keeps on giving (and also taking, and taking, and taking until there’s nothing left)? Look no further than the World of Warcraft Battle Chest, which includes the original (“Vanilla”) version of the game, the first expansion The Burning Crusade, and strategy guides for both. I know no one really needs strategy guides anymore, especially for a game like WoW, but they make good bathroom books, and since you’re getting two games for 20 bucks, you can consider them freebies. Regift them to your little cousin for all I care.
Sure, WoW is now free to play up until level 20, but once you start using this digital heroin, you’re not gonna be able to stop, and you gotta pay after level 20. So get your buddy started on his new lifelong habit the frugal way, only $14.96 on Amazon!
WWE’s Greatest Rivalries: Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels DVD: $19.19
Being the resident wrestling nerd here at AiPT, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this fantastic DVD that WWE put out in October. Their DVDs are usually sufficient for any wrestling fan, but this one gives a fresh perspective on the whole “Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart wanted to legitimately murder each other for years” story that is one of the most infamous in all the annals of professional wrestling. Cover art that looks like a 1996 .GIF banner ad aside, this DVD is the real deal.
Largely covering the events leading up to the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997, this DVD comes with the standard retrospective and two-disc collection of matches (although the DVD is curiously—and frustratingly—missing the actual match at Survivor Series 1997; you’re gonna have to upgrade to the Blu-Ray if you want that), but the real meat and potatoes of this collection is the nearly two hour sit-down interview with both Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, conducted by Jim Ross. It’s the first time these guys have sat down and talked about the real-life events that make up the Montreal Screwjob in a public forum together, and it’s facilitated by the legendary Hall of Famer and everyone’s favorite wrestling announcer of all time. And, it’s only $19.19 on Amazon. What more could you possibly want?
A Very She & Him Christmas: $9.99
This isn’t explicity nerdy, per se, but honestly, who in the world doesn’t like Zooey Deschanel? She & Him is an awesome indie/pop/folk/hipster heaven two-piece who never disappoints, and if you’re into Christmas music (okay, even if you’re not), A Very She & Him Christmas is no exception.
Plus, this kind of gift is just seasonal and kitschy enough to get you some serious ass if you give it to that special someone. Seasonal because it’s Christmas (duh), and kitschy because honestly, who gives physical music anymore? $9.99 on Amazon for the CD or five bucks if you wanna be lame and Dropbox them some MP3s.
Dystopia by Iced Earth: $11.08
For all of my fellow metallophiles, imagine Metallica back when they were thrash metal and combine them with the galloping guitars of Iron Maiden and you have a good idea of what Iced Earth brings to the table. Their 10th studio album, which goes for only $7.99 as an MP3 download and $11.08 as an audio CDfeatures dystopian (obviously) themes and songs based on such movies as Equilibrium and V For Vendetta. If you’re new to Iced Earth and love comic books, check out their 1996 release The Dark Saga as well, which is a concept album based entirely on Spawn. For Civil War buffs, there’s 2004’s The Glorious Burden, with an trilogy of songs dedicated to chronicling the Battle of Gettysburg. There’s even an album called Horror Story. There’s an Iced Earth album for everyone in the family!
Batman: Year One: $8.75
Although the Batman: Year One animated movie was recently released by DC, as I previously mentioned in my comparison of both entities, the graphic novel is the far better bang for your buck. (only $8.75 in paperback)
Written by Frank Miller in his prime and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, show a loved one or yourself why Year One is considered by many to be one of the greatest comic books ever made.
All My Friends Are Dead: $9.95
Birthed a precocious little phenom? Good for you, give yourself a nice pat on the back. Then nicely satiate your child’s premature intelligence by showing them life isn’t all lollipops and unicorn farts with this heartwarming, yet candid tale:
After this, telling them Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real should be a piece of cake. ($9.95 on Amazon)
Destroy All Monsters (Tokyo Shock 2011 DVD): $14.99
Nothing says “Christmas” like a guy in a rubber dinosaur costume tearing down model buildings and terrifying scores of screaming Asians. And the only thing that says “Christmas” more than that? A half-dozen guys in rubber dinosaur costumes tearing down model buildings and terrifying scores of screaming Asians.
Destroy All Monsters is the Godzilla movie for people who don’t necessarily have a deep-seeded love for Toho’s fire-breathing lizard but sometimes feel an unexplainable urge to watch giant monsters fighting each other for no discernible reason. And until Godzilla: Final Wars came along, this flick held the record for most Toho monsters in a single movie. You’ve got The Big G and his whole crew: the spike-backed Rocky of the Toho Universe Anguirus, silly-string-spewing spider Kumonga, chicken-headed kinda sorta pterodactyl Rodan, subterranean thingamabob Baragon, not-actually-a-moth-yet Mothra, mutant flying squirrel I kid you not Varan, rubber snake pretending to be a sea serpent Manda, a kangaroo-kicking T-Rex with the inexplicable power to burrow underground Gorosaurus and that purple smoke-ring-puffing tummy-rubbing pile of crap Minilla. And they all team up to kick the shit out of the space dragon King Ghidorah, which really isn’t very fair when you stop to think about it.
Tokyo Shock’s brand new DVD (modestly priced at $14.99 over at Amazon) features the first ever official Region 1 release of the film with it’s original Japanese audio track for purists, as well as two different English dubs of the film for those who prefer their Godzilla movies to be badly dubbed (and you really ought to). There’s also a trivia-packed commentary track and several vintage trailers. It’s a remarkably thorough release. If you prefer the Blu-Ray, you can go that route (though it’s 25 bucks), but I’d caution against it. If there’s one type of movie that does NOT benefit from 1080p high definition, it’s “guys in rubber monster suits dangling from piano wire and knocking over gingerbread houses”. Stick with the DVD.
Also, did you know that the official onomatopoeia rendering for Godzilla’s trademark roar is “gronk-skreonk”? No? Well, now you do.
Creature Feature: The Greatest Show Unearthed: $9.99
Music is a hard thing to recommend to people, because there’s a 99% chance they don’t like the same stuff as you and holy SHIT do they feel passionate about what they like and dislike. The majority of music recommendations are likely to be returned with “That sounded like GARBAGE. Garbage made for KWEERS! I’m gonna fucking KILL YOOOOOUUUU!”
Music is dangerous territory, indeed.
BUT, if you’re a fan of horror movies and rock music reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s band Oingo Bongo, then you may just want to check out a band called Creature Feature and their debut album “The Greatest Show Unearthed” (going for $9.99 over at Amazon).
Their music definitely has a highly processed studio feel, but it’s not supposed to sound like raw live-on-stage stuff. Rather, it’s the production, the lyrics and the atmosphere of the tunes that make it so innovative, catchy and fun to listen to.
Each track is an homage to either a specific horror film, book or general horror-themed situation. You’ve got songs covering Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead, a brilliant piece about being buried alive that’s packed with Edgar Allan Poe-isms and even a song inspired by the Ghastlycrumb Tinies; a 1963 picture book about children getting killed in alphabetical order. Other songs cover topics such as cannibalism, a weird carnival of terror invading a small town, the anti-Christ reminiscing about the horrible things he’s done, a necrophelia love song and even one about holding a guy’s daughter hostage and threatening to set her one fire and mail her body parts to the dad if he doesn’t make the ransom drop according to plan.
There’s a unique personality and story to each song, ranging from a chorus of ghouls going over the obituaries to an Ed Sullivan Show parody. If you dig horror literature and movies then I think you’ll be able to appreciate this album, particularly the creative lyrics that tell actual tales instead of repeating dull hooks over and over again.
Zombie Door Stop: $19.95
How better to share the holiday spirit than with this charming severed zombie door stop, complete with trailing eviscerated intestines and grotesque decaying jaw? Warms my heart, it does, and now you can share in the joy of the coming Zombiepocalypse, too! Buy one, buy five! Get one for Grandma! $19.95.
Doesn’t this just SCREAM comfort and joy?
The Han Solo in Carbonite Ice Cube Tray: $9.95
Are you shitting me? This might be the coolest thing ever. (Pun intended). Fancy up any party with the Universe’s most dashing badass, for only $9.95! Contemplate the age old quandary of who shot first while sipping libations, and dreaming of Mos Eisley.
Actually, I hope Mr. Anti-Stepford isn’t reading this blog. I’m SO getting this.