Instagram June Gloom Horror Challenge

As a new writer, I was told by people in the know that I had to build a social media platform for my books. It’s a challenging endeavor because I am an introvert at heart, but I have “met” some interesting and cool folks on this journey. Many of the interactions have been positive and fun. I’m having a good time!

For instance, during the entire month of June on Instagram I played along with the June Gloom Horror Challenge (#junegloomhorrorchallenge) started by @zachattack_thedesigner. The challenge was to post a horror movie for a specific category every day for the entire month of June. I rediscovered some enjoyable flicks and found some new ones to check out. It was so much fun that I thought I would share my posts from that challenge with you. Follow me on Instagram @joyyehle to share in the insta-fun!

Day 1. Fav Cabin Based Horror Movie: Evil Dead
Day 2. Fav Road Trip Based Horror Movie: Penny Dreadful
Day 3. Fav College Based Horror Movie: The Quiet Ones
Day 4. Fav Hotel Based Horror Movie: The Shining (of course!)
Day 5. Fav Space Based Horror Movie: Event Horizon
Day 6. Fav Devil Based Horror Movie: The Ninth Gate
Day 7. Fav Haunting Based Horror Movie: The Haunting (1966)
Day 8. Fav Boat/Ship Based Horror Movie: Below
Day 9. Fav Sea Based Horror Movie: Open Water
Day 10. Fav Jungle Based Horror Movie: Predator (get to the chopper!)
Day 11. Fav Forrest Based Horror Movie: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Day 12. Fav Island Based Horror Movie: Shutter Island
Day 13. Fav Swamp Based Horror Movie: The Skeleton Key
Day 14. Fav Natural Disaster Based Horror Movie: Knowing (cheesy, but it was the best I could come up with)
Day 15. Fav Found Footage Based Horror Movie: The Blair Witch Project
Day 16. Fav Airplane Based Horror Movie: Twilight Zone: Nightmare at 20,000 feet (not technically a movie, but it’s my feed, so my rules)
Day 17. Fav Religion Based Horror Movie: The Remaining
Day 18. Fav School Based Horror Movie: The Craft
Day 19. Fav Diner Based Horror Movie: Legion
Day 20. Fav Farm Based Horror Movie: Signs 
Day 21. Fav Lake Based Horror Movie: Neverlake
Day 22. Fav Based on a True Story Horror Movie: The Conjuring
Day 23. Fav Spring Break Based Horror Movie: Turistas
Day 24. Fav Crazy Girl Based Horror Movie: Excision
Day 25. Fav Hospital Based Horror Movie: Gothika
Day 26. Fav Alien Based Horror Movie: Alien
Day 27. Fav Family Based Horror Movie: Insidious
Day 28. Fav Camping Based Horror Movie: The Frozen
Day 29. Fav 1 Stupid Mistake Horror Movie: An American Werewolf in London (stay off the moors at night, you fools)
Day 30. What’s your favorite scary movie: Halloween

Halloween1978Poster

I hope I helped you discover something new or reminded you of a good flick to rewatch. Do you agree with my choices or do you have a better one? What would you choose?

Horrifying Mother’s Day!

The day we set aside to celebrate moms is here. Motherhood is usually portrayed as a noble and saintly pursuit, which it is, most of the time. But anyone who has done it for more than two minutes knows it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. It can be a thankless and overwhelming job. But society expects moms to persevere through the tough times, their unconditional love for their offspring propelling them onward.

But there is another side to mothering we rarely see portrayed. A darker side that no one talks about and rarely admits to. Like many uncomfortable aspects of society, horror and thrillers are the perfect vehicle for dragging these facets of being a mom out into the open. So in the spirit of Norma Bates, here are some equally horrifying mommies you may want to check out.

Coraline.svgThe Other Mother, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, book and movie. So, she wanted to pluck out Coraline’s eyes and sew on buttons instead, probably how she planned on stealing her soul. So, she wanted to keep Coraline a prisoner. So, she kept the souls of other children imprisoned, is that so bad? A beldam from a parallel universe has to find love somewhere.

voorheesPamela Voorhees, Victor Miller; Sean S. Cunningham; Ron Kurz; Friday the 13th. Some mothers live out one of motherhood’s worst fear, the death of a child. For Pamela, the pain of losing her son, Jason, was compounded by the fact the death was, in part, due to the negligence of others. A little revenge, of course, is better than a long-drawn-out lawsuit, right? So what if all the people she killed had nothing to do with it. Perhaps it was her evil blood sacrifices that led to the resurrection of Jason so he could carry on the family business of murder for many, many more films.

mommyMommy, Wes Craven, The People Under the Stairs. The acting credits simply call this character, Woman. Wes Craven was inspired to write this after seeing a news story where a reported break-in uncovered children locked away in the house, prisoners of their own parents. In Craven’s version, a twisted incestuous couple kidnap several children in an attempt to raise a boy in addition to their daughter, Alice. Kids can be naughty and a disappointment but Mommy knows how to handle them. She had Daddy cut off their tongues, gouge out their eyes and force them to live in the cellar. Although, one boy escapes into the walls. A home invasion reveals their dirty little secrets. Poor Mommy, it’s stressful to have kids misbehaving in the basement and one in the wall doing his business God-knows-where!

babadookAmelia, Jennifer Kent, The Babadook. Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable mother/child relationships, the mother who feels resentment and enmity toward her own offspring. I saw this at The Stanley Film Festival last year and it was the best screening I attended. I thought the ending could have been better, but the way the story evolves is mesmerizing. Amelia’s son, Sam, is an annoying and troubled little guy for certain, but Amelia shows more affection towards the dog than Sam, poor dog. She blames Sam for his father’s death, he was killed in an accident driving Amelia to the hospital to have Sam.  Sam finds a spooky book about the Babadook, a boogie-man like monster that begins to torment them. However, it is soon apparent that Amelia is a bigger danger to Sam than the spook. I think this story works because it touches on a secret of motherhood. That’s right, mothers don’t always feel loving toward their little ones.

Stephen King.

Stephen King.

Margaret White, Stephen King,  Carrie, book and movie. Margaret is particularly scary for her use of religion as her vehicle for abuse. The way some abusers might wield a leather belt, she uses Bible verses to inflict damage to her daughter’s very soul. She thought she was raising Carrie to be a Godly woman, but she created a monster. Carrie never stood a chance. Unfortunately, neither did anyone who crossed her. Nice parenting, Margaret.

Mother, Stephen King, Revival. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to spend too much time with her. The little she is written about was more than enough. She doesn’t want to show motherly love. No, she wants to enslave you, for eternity. I’m not sure what or whom Mother is a mother of, but you don’t want any of that. It’s a good incentive to stay healthy and live a long life if she is all that is waiting in the afterlife.

Hopefully, you didn’t recognize your mother in any of the women (I’m not sure if Mother from Revival is a woman) described above. If you did, send her your therapy bill for Mother’s Day, otherwise tell your mom you love her.

To all of us who do our best every day to raise our kids and never ever act like any of the moms mentioned here (well, at least not all the time) Happy  Mother’s Day!

Stanley Film Festival or Bust!

The Stanley  Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

I have a house full of young kids, a sweet husband who is busy running his business, some needy pets including a big German Shepherd who is afraid of the dark (of all things). It’s rare that my husband and I get some time away together but this weekend we are going away, far away. Okay, not so far away, a couple three hours drive from our house but overnight! It’s pretty exciting. Not just because we will be away but because of where we are going. We are going to Estes Park, Colorado to attend the Stanley Film Festival. We didn’t get to go to the inaugural year last year because of all the things mentioned above and then some.

The well recognized Denver Film Society is behind this horror film fueled good time. It’s aimed at bringing together filmmakers, fans, indie film supporters, and any one else remotely interested in the horror genre. With the sophistication of the DFS involved it is definitely not some cheesy screening of cheesy movies. This year director Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Piranha) is going to be presented with the first Master of Horror Award. Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) will be there with his partners in SpectreVision to receive the Visionary Award and screen their sci-fi movie LFO.  The fest will screen shorts and feature length movies over the course of a long weekend as well as other activities and panels. I won’t be able to catch them all but am really looking forward to trying.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this whole film festival is the location. It’s being held at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. THE Stanley Hotel, the same Stanley Hotel the prompted Stephen King to write The Shining. I’ve been to Estes Park and the surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park many times but I have never been to the historic Stanley Hotel.

This elegant hotel was originally built in 1909 by the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, Freelan Oscar Stanley. It’s been called the most haunted place in America, some say it’s because of the quartz foundation acts like a magnet for energy, drawing spirits in. It’s said that every room has had some kind of strange activity reported and guests and staff have had experiences of all kinds all over the property.

  • The ghosts of Freelan and his wife Flora have been seen on the main staircase, the lobby, and the billiard room
  • Some have heard Flora playing the piano in the music room
  • Disembodied voices and footfalls can be heard in the corridors and rooms
  • Reports of phantom hands yanking on clothing
  • A ghost child on the second floor that calls out to his nanny
  • Lights turning off and on by themselves
  • Belongings being moved from place to place
  • Blankets being yanked off sleepers and thrown on the floor

Some of our family and friends think we’re nuts others wish they were going.  My brother is sending his digital recorder with me, in his words, just in case. In case of what, I’m not sure but its going to be awesome to find out. We aren’t going to stay for the whole four days of the festival because of the afore mentioned responsibilities, being a grown up can suck at times. I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming (is that word?) from the event beginning Friday April, 25, so you can follow along if you like. Of course I’ll post here after the event and hopefully I’ll have some pretty cool things to share.

It’s going to be my turn to Never Turn Off the Lights!