Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This Explains Everything

I talked to my father this morning - yes, to borrow money - and he told me that he was recently reminded, probably by all my aggressive facebook updating - of an incident that occurred when I was about ten years old. 

Some of you reading already know that Halloween is my birthday, but for those of you who didn't, yes, I am a witch/demon spawn/pumpkin-headed weirdo. As a kid, there's really nothing better than a Halloween birthday. You get to dress up and beg for candy, but you also get presents. And I think for the first couple of years, I probably thought, on some level, that everyone was dressing up and trick-or-treating in honor of my birthday. Which was probably a nice ego trip.

One year old. I am a fisherman!
All this is just to set up the fact that on my tenth (or so?) birthday, I got my father to take my brother and I to a haunted house. Now, this was probably the kind of thing that the Lexington, Illinois 4-H Club set up in a barn as a fundraiser for the annual middle school field trip, but my father says that it was actually pretty scary. I don't actually remember any of the details he told me about, like the strobe lights and what not. I just remember being so frightened that I FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT and they had to take my brother, my father, and I on a backstage tour to calm me down. 

I have a vague recollection of alarmed grown-ups taking off their masks and being like, "It's okay, it is pretend." And bending the plastic knives to show how fake they were. They were like, "Chill out, little girl, no one here is going to hurt you." Memory is a tricky thing, but I'm pretty sure I just kept bawling. Sometimes when someone wants to make a kid stop crying, that just makes it worse. (Someone trying, really hard, to convince you that they're not evil can seem like it's all part of their plan to chainsaw-massacre you. Especially when you are ten.) But eventually they got us outside, and I waited about 15 years before I set foot in another haunted house. And I made sure to be pretty drunk.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Plans for the Future

Chelsea and I - okay, mostly Chelsea - spent a lot of time crafting our Mission Statement. And it talks a little bit about the kinds of things that we want La Petite Morgue to produce. But since it was a Mission Statement, it's full of big words and vague promises, and not a lot of specifics. Since we're about to launch into hardcore fundraising mode, I thought it would be a good idea to share with everyone some more specific ideas that we have four our inaugural season.

Please keep in mind that these are just ideas. Some of them will be too expensive to do right away. Some of them may prove to be impossible, no matter how much money we raise. At this point, they're just Pipe Dreams - or pipe nightmares...? What I'm trying to say is: We are not making any promises.

Fresh Blood: The Reading Series

The idea: The Fresh Blood Fundraiser (on July 17!) is just the first step. We want Fresh Blood to be a monthly phenomenon!*  We've also thought about coming up with a theme for each month. One month could feature Adaptations of Classic Horror Stories, the next month could be shows that all have Creepy Children, and the month after that could have a theme like "Blood & Rage".*

Feasibility: We've already received enough quality horror & suspense scripts to fill 90 minutes at least six times. And we've got plenty of talented performers to read them. All we need is the money to rent the performance space. Which... fuck, space is expensive! The money we raise is going to determine whether we hold our Reading Series in a theatre, or under a bridge in Central Park.

I Love You To Death: A Valentine's Day Cabaret (of Murder Ballads)

The idea: Have you ever noticed how many great songs there are about murdering an unrequited love, a former lover, and/or his or her new flame? Because there are a lot. Voltaire's "Ex-Lover's Lover". At least two songs by the Beatles. "The Plans We Made". To celebrate Valentine's Day 2013, La Petite Morgue wants to gather a bunch of talented singers and musicians and toast your Bloody Valentine - or, help you drown your sorrows in blood and guts!

Feasibility: Have you ever tried to book a venue on Valentine's Day? We may end up celebrating at midnight the night before. But other than that small concern, this is the most feasible idea on the list, and the most likely to come to fruition.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kellie's Favorite Horror - Films

It was a lot harder than I expected to rank all the nightmare-inspiring movies I love.

The following list contains lots of spoilers, so read with caution. I decided it was silly to worry about ruining the end of movies like Friday the 13th. There has to be a statute of limitations on these things.

I should also note that it is INCREDIBLY EASY to scare me. The list of horror movies that didn't scare me is longer. But I digress. Here you go, kids: 

Kellie's Top 15 Favorite Horror Movies

15. Sleepy Hollow

I can't help but love this creepy re-telling of this classic ghost story, featuring Johnny Depp, who is adorable when he's a terrified geek, and Christopher Walken, who is terrifying even when he has no lines. Maybe moreso.

Scary-as-Hell Headless Horseman? Check. Tree of Blood? Check. Creepy crone witch-lady? Check. Plus more medieval and Victorian torture devices than you can shake a stick at!

14. Stir of Echoes

Kevin Bacon + ghost of a murdered girl + creepy child + hypnotism + "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones" = scary as hell.

My favorite part of the movie is probably the ending. The ghost has been helped and Kevin Bacon is back to his old self. But then you realize that by helping one ghost, that kid has become a magnet for every other pissed-off ghost in the Tri-State Area. Good luck, you poor creepy little bastard!

13. Valentine

This movie has all my favorite slasher elements: A picked-on child grows up and gets revenge on the Mean Girls. The killer sends his victims creepy cards - "The journey of love is an arduous trek, My love grows for you as you bleed from your neck" - and presents, such as chocolates with maggots inside. From the creepy art installation to the murder in the hot tub, this movie, despite some silliness, makes my hair stand on end, and what more could you ask from such a film?

February 14th is its own special kind of horrifying experience, and the movie makes full use of it. There's the creepy neighbor (see dialogue below), the date from Hell whose name is Jason (!!!), and finally, the scene in which the killer, wearing a cupid mask, shoots one of his victims with a bow and arrow. Delightful! Best of all, spoiler alert - the killer gets away with it!

GARY: "You look great, Kate. How about a date, Kate? You could be my mate, Kate."
KATE: "You're scary, Gary."

Plus, David Boreanaz! In sunlight!!

Hey there, Angel... I can't help but notice that you're not on fire...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seeking (Fearless) Directors

Let me just start by saying that reading all of the submissions we've received has been a lengthy, rewarding, and absolutely terrifying experience. There are some twisted minds out there, writing some truly horrifying scripts. (Horrifying in a good way. Mostly.) I've been really impressed, not only with the quality of the writing, but with the variety of ideas. We've got vampires, we've got zombies, we've got ghosts, we've got psycho killers! Oh, my!

The problem is, of course, we've got a lot more scripts than we can reasonably cram into one evening. Miss Sardonicus and I have been consoling ourselves with the knowledge that even if we can't use a piece for our first event - which will be Tuesday, July 17 - we can hold onto the scripts for a future event. One goal is to have a monthly reading series for new works, and we've probably got enough scripts already to run one for six months.

Writers, you still have until May 31 to submit their scripts, but we are starting to narrow down the (very large) submission pool we already have, and we have a few scripts that have risen to the top of the list. Our next step is to pair our favorite pieces with qualified directors. If you are interested in directing, you can send your resume to: If you're not sold on the idea, here's some more information:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kellie's Favorite Horror - Fiction & Drama

Today, I'm going to share with you my favorite works of horror fiction and drama. The novels and plays on this list are the most suspenseful, eerie, disgusting, haunting, and just plain fucking scary things that I've ever read. Without further adieu... welcome to my nightmares.

10. The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade by Peter Weiss

My alma mater, Illinois State University, staged a fantastic and horrifying production of this "total theatre" extravaganza which I saw as a senior in college. The title spells it out for you: it features a play-within-a-play, performed by asylum inmates, and directed by the Marquis de Sade. So, you've got the man that sadism is named after, and a re-enactment of a brutal murder in a bathtub, staged by dangerous lunatics. Sounds like a recipe for awesome, any way you slice it.

 9. The Insanity of Mary Girard by Lanie Robertson

My Number Nine is another play set in an asylum - back in the days when a husband could have his wife committed, and didn't really even need much of a reason. Mary Girard makes the mistake of cheating on her husband (or, makes the mistake of marrying the douchebag in the first place?) and is committed to an asylum. And did I mention she's pregnant? She wasn't crazy when she went in, but, being imprisoned with a bunch of maniacs tends to damage one's mental stability. And, as Nurse Mandy says, "Babies make people crazy in the brain." The play walks a nice line between horror and drama - and the production I saw in high school scared the bejeesus out of me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dead Before the Opening Credits

"I don't really believe in motives, Sid.
I mean, did Norman Bates have a motive?
Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lector liked to eat people? DON'T THINK SO.
See, it's a lot scarier when there's no motive."


I admit it. I love slasher flicks. Scream, Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer... These are the movies I saw in my early teen years that made me afraid to be alone in my house. 

I can get scared by almost anything - from Arachnids to Zombies - but I think the scariest movies may be the ones with no supernatural elements, the "ripped from the headlines" movies about serial killers. The movie Zodiac is really a drama about  a man obsessed with the case, not a horror movie - but it has some moments that are truly fucking terrifying - and that's probably because the Zodiac Killer was a real person.

Scary movies about things like poltergeists and werewolves require you to suspend your disbelief - you have to not listen to the voice that says, "There's no such thing as ____." You cannot say there is no such thing as a psychopath. They exist. They're out there.

My mother once told me that the only movie that ever really scared her was The Silence of the Lambs. She said that it was the one movie that made her feel like no one was really safe - it left her feeling that anyone could be a target - anyone could be a potential victim - even her.