The Phantom’s Curious and Unusual Local Louisville Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Need a unique, last minute Christmas gift and/or party gag gift? The Phantom of the Ville haunts some of the quirkiest locally owned shops to find the strangest and most magical curios in town!

Happy Holidays from the crypt! It’s less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, and I’m sure that those of you that read the Phantom Gazette with any regularity probably know a couple of people with unconventional tastes. What do you get those folks for Christmas that haven’t even taken down all their Halloween decorations yet? Or maybe you need a white elephant gift for a company Christmas party?

This week I stopped by a few of my favorite locally owned curio shops and discovered a few interesting items that just might fit the bill. I encourage all of you to shop locally this Christmas, which both keeps more money in our local economy and also keeps Louisville weird.

ALCHEMY: The Marvelous, Magical Olde World Emporium on Market

415 East Market Street

Alchemy is a magical place filled with tonics, candles and fantastical items of all shapes and sizes. They also have a wonderful selection of books sure to please the black sheep of the family and the oddball at the company Christmas party.

Check out Lemony Snicket’sThe Lump of Coal,” or if you know someone worthy of a lump of coal in their stocking, you can get them a big lump of Coal Soap.

Other books worth considering are “Walking Your Octopus” by Brian Kesinger, “Santa Claws: A Scary Christmas to All” by Laura Leuck with illustrations by Gris Grimly and, especially, “Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man.” Davis, one of Walt Disney’s top artists, animators and graphic designers, did most of the art design work on the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, and this wonderful art book dedicates a chapter to each of those haunting attractions.

For the spooky kook in your life, check out Alchemy’s Bone Head Bottle Openers and museum quality replica skulls. There are also some beautiful and evocative Christmas ornaments for sale. Check out the golden dragons wrapped around the candy cane sticks.


1021 Bardstown Road

Louisville’s best video store for going on 18 years, Wild and Woolly is really the only game in town for serious film lovers and for those that crave more than just the Top 20 Hollywood blockbusters. It’s also a horror movie fan’s best friend.

While it’s mostly a rental store, there are some great titles for sale in stock on Blu-ray and DVD for the film lover on your Christmas list.

A perennial holiday bestseller at Wild and Woolly Video, “Evil Roy Slade,” starring JohnGomez AddamsAstin is available in a tin boxed set with the Astin starring Western comedy “Brothers O’Toole.”

If you’re looking for a cheap and mind melting Christmas movie, you can pick the K. Gordon Murray version of “Santa Claus” for $4.98. This re-edited and dubbed Mexican holiday kid’s film features an ongoing ‘Spy VS Spy’ battle between Santa Claus and Satan himself. In one scene, Santa shoots the devil right in the derriere with a bow and arrow. You won’t see that in “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Highly recommended to our readers is “Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America,” a documentary that explores the reasons why we love Oct. 31st and which tours some of the best haunted attractions in the country. You can also pick up the Blu-ray boxed set of “Halloween: The Complete Collection” for the Michael Myers fanatic on your list.

Other interesting choices include “WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series,” which has been restored with all the original music, correcting the sin committed when it was initially released with all the rock music replaced due to unresolved music rights issues. You’ll also find “Freaks,” directed by Louisville born director, Tod Browning.


960 Barret Avenue

Ultra Pop is a little corner of Louisville heaven that serves as a home for imported vinyl toys, art design books, designer t-shirts and local art prints. The owner is a serious lover of Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman and other Japanese giant monster flicks, and you might both find these movies for sale and playing on the shop’s big screen TV.

A recent stop into Ultra Pop turned up a couple of gems that you may want to add to your Christmas shopping list. First, Ultra Pop is carrying a tin box of Krampus greeting cards! This might be all you need to complete your holiday shopping. Just send one Krampus card out to everyone you know and spread the devilish Christmas joy.

I also spotted a series of Universal Monsters Pop! Vinyl figures, bound collections of Bernie Wrightson trading cards and a whole wall of framed monster related art prints by local artists at very affordable prices. Also, check out the owner’s amazing display of Rankin-Bass Christmas Special action figures and play sets.

WHY Louisville

1583 Bardstown Road and 806 East Market Street

WHY Louisville is a tastefully tacky curio shop that sells Ville memorabilia, locally made t-shirts and oddball trinkets that will make your Grinchy heart grow three sizes this season. The original Highlands location proved so successful that they’ve recently opened a second store in NULU.

My favorite “must own” item in the store pays tribute to Louisville’s cryptozoological legend, the Pope Lick Monster, also known as the Goat Man of the Pope Lick railroad trestle in Eastern Jefferson County. Get your loved one a “Goat Man Lives” t-shirt this holiday season!

While you’re there, you can pick up an inflatable, remote control great white shark to have swimming around your tree on Christmas morning. Don’t forget to properly decorate your tree with WHY Louisville’s golden Bigfoot Christmas tree ornaments.

Next to a creepy un-lifelike figure of Walt Disney wearing mouse ears and over-sized Mickey Mouse gloves, I also spotted some Beetlejuice Bobbleheads which strike me as the perfect Christmas gift for anyone.

There are plenty of other locally owned shops out there. Caufield’s Novelty at 1006 West Main Street, for example, is a great place to buy latex monster masks, magic tricks and vintage style Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to shop locally and Keep Louisville Weird!

The Phantom of The Ville

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