Monthly Archives: October 2011
Culture: the word on cheese, a magazine for cheese enthusiasts, retailers and the like, is running its second annual “Scary Dairy” Contest with a winner announced on November 4.
If you’re looking for something short (and cheesy) to read in between the trick or treaters, head on over there and enjoy the current entries. My short “Slow Grill,” written specifically for this contest, is over there, and so are stories by friends and New England Horror Writers members David Goudsward and Stacey Longo. The other entrants I don’t know, but all of the stories are fun to read.
Writer? I think there’s also still time to enter—entries must be 500 words or fewer. Take a shot at it! The cheese basket they’re offering as a prize sounds YUMMY.
Enjoy and Happy Cheesing!
CREEPY NEW ENGLAND: GOUDSWARD’S TOP 6 NEW ENGLAND HORROR FILMS, TOP 20 CONNECTICUT HAUNTED HOT SPOTS
If you’ve never been to New Englandor have moved away and are missing it, this post is for you.
The unusual October New England Nor’easter has given this Halloween a strange vibe. We lost power and had to hit survival mode—because even with a fireplace it’s cold and not much fun—but when this morning dawned, one look out the window at the out-of-the-ordinary fog that had rolled in, and how it had shrouded the downed trees and landscape, put me back in the spirit.
On that note, Shadows Over New England co-author David Goudsward has picked his Top 6 New England Horror Films here: http://goudsward.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/top-6-new-england-themed-halloween-films/. The (Danbury) News-Times’ Chris Garafola has posted his Top 20 Haunted Spots in Connecticut here: http://blog.ctnews.com/hottopics/2011/10/27/haunted-connecticut/#1547-3
With creepy in mind, I drove out into the fog to get these photos below. If you’ve never been to New England, I can tell you as someone who’s lived here her whole life that these shots have just the right atmosphere. If you’ve lived here, have moved to warmer climes and are missing it (I know some of you are), hopefully this reminds you of home—but hopefully it also inspires gratitude that you’re not dealing with the crazy weather, power outages, frozen pipes and unpredictability anymore.
A HALLOWEEN TREAT ESPECIALLY FOR DISNEY’S HAUNTED MANSION FANS: “GRAVE ERROR,” A GHOST STORY SET IN THE ATTRACTION
Way back in 2007, I wrote a ghost story set in Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction; it was originally intended to appear in Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World, but was cut because, despite the fact that it was a ghost story, it was a different type of ghost story than was in the collection and it just didn’t seem to fit.
In addition, it was so attraction-detailed that I didn’t feel that anyone who hadn’t ridden theHauntedMansion inDisneyland or Walt Disney World would appreciate it.
So, HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all you die-hard fans of theHauntedMansionattraction: I give you the story “Grave Error” as a treat! This story won’t be published anywhere else—it’s exclusively for you; feel free to download it and share it or pass it on to friends who are also fans.
And if you missed my four-part series on some imagery in Disneyland’sHauntedMansionattraction and the ghost stories that may have inspired them, here are the links:
Part 1: The Cemetery’s Caretaker & Dog http://wp.me/pIXRs-Y1
Part 2: The Attic’s Portrait http://wp.me/pIXRs-Y7
Part 3: The Skeleton in the Coffin http://wp.me/pIXRs-Yd
Part 4: The Changing Portrait Hallway’s Ghost Ship http://wp.me/pIXRs-Yk
Enjoy, and Happy Haunting!
The last time in my memory we had a storm like this here in the area where I grew up was in 1988. Although this storm has fouled not only my plans for the weekend but so many others’—my friend Stacey couldn’t go to a Duran Duran concert, my friend Lisa’s catered party is canceled, my friend Nanette’s party in the wilds of upstate New York will see fewer guests (she lives in a tiny town; those nearby can walk), we won’t be able to go cocktailing tonight, what would have been our last time after fifteen years, in our favorite cemetery—I’m no longer upset about it…in fact, the visual conflict between Poe Season and George Washington Season is magical and interesting.
I started chronicling the storm just for fun. Nathan was out trying to get last-minute supplies…and the storm hit early, leaving him stuck on the roads trying to get home (his harrowing tale on video below is definitely a don’t-miss). Our Mayor lost power (he put this on Twitter). I have to say something nice about our Mayor here: the man is ALWAYS on Twitter, and if you Tweet him, he answers. Very cool. Last I heard, he was sending trucks out to get people off the roads, as the roads are closing here to all but emergency personnel at 4 p.m.
So, where are we now? Nathan made it home. We’re stocked. We’re ready to lose power. And we’re enjoying the last of our Poe Season activities while there’s a GW Bday blizzard outside. Right now, we’re watching Halloween (the original), and we have The Haunting and a few others slated. Charles has a martini. Nathan has a glass ofTawnyPort. I have a bowl of wine. It feels like Halloween, and it feels like winter. It’s disorienting in a very Dali-esque way—and that’s something every horror/ghost story writer should keep in mind. It’s another unsettling current we can use to instill terror in our readers.
And I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s the contrast in things that makes life really interesting and takes the sting out of an otherwise huge disappointment.
Here’s some video and photos so far. Ah…New England in October. Time to write a ghost story…this one I’ll set in summer.
The first flakes of the storm begin falling, 12:04 p.m.
The first flakes begin to fall while the Cemetery of Dismembered Dolls huddles on the porch.
The snowfall increases while the bloody handprint keeps watch.
Nathan relates a harrowing tale of slipping, sliding, cars careening off the road, cars at dead stops, trees cracking—and transformers on fire.
Ghost stories have always been an oral tradition—shared around the Victorian hearth, intoned around the campfire, whispered while passing the haunted house.
For Halloween, Canada’s Paranormal Eh? honors that tradition with an audio treat—a reading of my out-of-print ghost story “House Sitter”…followed by the true story that inspired it.
Enjoy…and Happy Haunting! Listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormaleh/2011/10/25/kristi-petersen-schoonover
WHICH GHOST STORIES MAY HAVE INSPIRED SCENES IN DISNEY’S HAUNTED MANSION ATTRACTION? FIND OUT ON DAVE’S DISNEY VIEW!
Some of the tableaux in the Haunted Mansion may have been inspired by classic ghost stories. Find out which ones—well, some of which ones, anyway, we’ve barely scratched the surface—on Dave’s Disney View Podcast Episode 72. Dave and I had a great time talking all things spooky in the Haunted Mansion, just in time for Halloween!
If you’re a Disney Parks fan, then consider checking out his other episodes as well. Good stuff.
You can listen to the Haunted Mansion episode here:
…or, you can play it directly by clicking below:
Austin-based Reuters writer Karen Brooks contacted me recently to ask my thoughts about trends in haunted attractions and what, in this day and age, scares people. The article came out today, and I was thrilled to share space with Peter Block, producer of the Saw movies, Gary Handman, director of the University of Calfornia-Berkeley’s Media Resources Center, and Tim Deal of Shroud.
You can read the article here:
Halloween Horror Trend: Less Gore Is More
October may be a strange time to choose to put GhoStory Guru on hiatus, but this month, I decided to do a special five-part series on Disney’s Haunted Mansion and the real ghost stories that may have inspired some of its scenes. The series runs every Monday, and on Sunday, October 30, 2011, I’m releasing a never-before-published short story from the original Tales from Haunted Disney World collection called “Grave Error,” written just for Haunted Mansion fans.
Here are the links to episodes #1 – #4 of “A Lit Look at the Haunted Mansion.” Enjoy, and visit this blog on Sunday, October 30 for that Halloween Treat!
A “Lit” Look at Disney’s HauntedMansion: The Cemetery’s Caretaker & Dog http://wp.me/pIXRs-Y1
A “Lit” Look at Disney’s HauntedMansion: The Attic’s Portrait http://wp.me/pIXRs-Y7
A “Lit” Look at Disney’s Haunted Mansion: The Skeleton in the Coffin http://wp.me/pIXRs-Yd
A “Lit” Look at Disney’s HauntedMansion: The Changing Portrait Hallway’s Ghost Ship http://wp.me/pIXRs-Yk
HOW MANY WRITERS DOES IT TAKE TO TEAR DOWN A TENT? (or, Teamwork’s Key: what I learned at the Middletown Open Air Market and Festival)
Writing is a solitary business, and can be a lonely one at that—that’s why it’s so important to find people like ourselves with whom we can connect. What I’ve always found interesting, though, when we get together, is how we connect—depending on the reason for the gathering.
For example, I’ve been a member of six critique groups and four of them I founded and moderated for several years. The way we supported each other—regardless of which group it was, how many members there were, or the meeting’s format—was on sharing each other’s disappointments, improving work, and creating a safe social space. At both Burlington and Goddard Colleges, where I pursued my writing degrees, the focus was on survival and moral support. At the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony, the focus is on how we live a writer’s life. And when I am working on National Novel Writing Month (not this year, I’m just too busy!), the focus is always on the escapism and joy of writing, and sharing that joy behind this crazy thing we’ve chosen to do with ourselves.
New England Horror Writers, an organization I joined way back in 2008 but didn’t get even marginally involved with until earlier this year, showed me yet another plane on which to connect—teamwork. We’re here to help publicize each other and get our work out there, but we’re also here to help each other in this most-contrary-to-a-writer’s-nature endeavor: see me, I write. And sometimes, it’s not about publicizing, it’s about teaching each other how to be comfortable in our own skins so we can better work together. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the 9th Annual Open Air Market and Festival in Middletown, Connecticut—we spent the day matching customer’s preferences with each other’s books to getting the tent…down (somebody else had to put it up! Maybe teamwork doesn’t go smoothly ALL the time?).
So my parting thought is this: if you’re a writer who’s feeling a little isolated, consider what it is you’re missing—and then search for it.
Here’s a virtual trip through the weekend.
A tense moment from the film One-Eyed Monster. I was struck by the similarity of this little speech to Quint’s “I’ll catch him and kill him for ten” scene…hard to believe he’s talking about a penis; on the other hand, if you think of it in terms of metaphor for a burgeoning woman’s fear of sex, it gets even more entertaining.
Here, the Middletown Symphonic Band fills the air with a Frank Sinatra Medley. The portion I filmed was of one of my personal favorites of his “It Was a Very Good Year.”
…so, how many horror writers DOES it take to get the damn tent down?
…is that like ‘tripping the light fantastic?’
In Providence, Rhode Islandand looking for a spectacular way to kick off your Halloween festivities? The Brown Bookstore is holding its 1st Speculative Fiction Fest this Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 27-29), featuring readings by several popular speculative fiction authors, films, and panels.
The event kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday with a showing of Val Lewton’s film classic, Cat People (I am assuming this is the Lewton film and not the 1980s remake, but I could be wrong) followed by readings from authors Daniel Pearlman (probably from his newest collection, A Giant in the House and Other Excesses) and Paul DiFilippo (Harsh Oases).
On Friday, author Brian Evenson (Fugue State) will read; at 6 p.m., there will be showing of the 2007 film Peur(s) du Noir (Fears of the Dark).
Saturday’s offerings being at 2 p.m. with a talk on Graphic Fiction and the Comic Form; at 4 p.m., the writers will offer a panel discussion on the Speculative Fiction genre. At 5 p.m., authors Paul Tremblay (The Little Sleep, In the Mean Time), John Langan (Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters), and Laird Barron (The Imago Sequence and Occultation, both of which won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Collection) will read from their work.