Channel Zero: Candle Cove Is a Wonderful, Mysterious Nightmare

When I first saw the trailer for SyFy’s new series Channel Zero: Candle Cove, I was immediately in. Just the flashed of disturbing imagery and the premise of a creepy kids TV show were enough to pique my interest.

For those that are not familiar, the premise of Channel Zero is that it’s based on Creepypastas, short horror stories that often are played off as message board conversations or posts, making readers question whether or not they could actually be real. The first season of Channel Zero is based on a popular Creepypasta named “Candle Cove.” It’s a great premise, but as you can see from the original story, it’s just a premise.

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Now that I’m watching the show and we’re several episodes in, what’s actually kept my interest is the underlying mystery of Candle Cove, and not its shock value. Yes, there is a completely disturbing kids show that is enough to give you nightmares by itself. Yes, there are some wonderfully twisted creature designs that stay with you from the moment you see them. But the mystery is what drives this show.

From a creative standpoint, it’s fascinating to see how the showrunners took the premise of the original Candle Cove story and fleshed it out into the mystery we’re seeing played out. It’s a little bit Nightmare on Elm Street, a little bit Stephen King’s It and a little bit Village of the Damned. And I love it.

Do yourself a favor and pay a visit to Candle Cove.

Let’s Watch Horror Movies…Christmas Edition

I love horror movies! I love to live-tweet them too! Once a month, precious, I tweet all my thoughts and feelings as I watch a scary movie. I didn’t know how much fun it would be. To be able to watch it with others makes it more fun. Through Twitter, we can connect over our love of the creepy. Last month my horror friend Andrea and I had a BLAST live-tweeting the movie Lights Out. Neither one of us had seen it, so it was a lot of great first reactions. I haven’t been so scared watching a movie in a loooooong time. I held my breath through most of it, but you better believe I never looked away.  Never! Afterwards, I might have turned on all the lights and ran up the stairs, holding in a scream. IT WAS AWESOME!

I know you want to join me in the Twitter-sphere, to watch a scary movie with a friend, ME. I hope to see you at my next live tweet. Which leads me to my monthly announcement…

Since it’s December, the month of Christmas. Though I do watch A LOT of Hallmark movies this time of year, there must be space for all things weird and creepy. I went back and forth between two of my favorites before I decided to do both! It’s my show. I make the rules.

First…

Movie poster for 1984 film Gremlins

Movie poster for 1984 film Gremlins

How can it be Christmas without this Warner Bros 1984 classic comedy horror directed by Joe Dante, written by Chris Columbus, and produced by Steven Spielberg? IT CAN’T! A strange present of a furry little critter…lights, decorations, singing carols, a community coming together for the season, with a few killer monsters, eating gingerbread and jumping out of Christmas trees, thrown in for fun. Screaming, laughing…it all goes together with Gremlins.

So, get your DVD (or whatever media you choose) ready for Friday, December 16th. Press play at 9 EST and add your tweets to #Gremlins!

And for my second choice…

Last year I went to see my next pick in the theaters and left with a big ole smile on my face.

 

Poster for 2015 movie Krampus

Poster for 2015 movie Krampus

Krampus, written by Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields, produced by Michael Dougherty, this 2015 comedy horror movie tells the story of the evil side of the Christmas spirit. Are you ready for evil gingerbread men, some killer Christmas presents, creepy snowmen and elves, and to see what happens when you lose the Christmas spirit? I am!

Friday, December 23rd, press play at 9 EST and tweet along at #Krampus.

Let’s watch horror movies…together.

Forever.

Dracula, Freddy, Vader, and Jason...friends forever from Google images.

Dracula, Freddy, Vader, and Jason…friends forever from Google images.

A Very Macabre Christmas

I love Christmas. But I love the idea of a gothic Christmas more.

When Nightmare Before Christmas became a thing, it spurred a ton of fantastic, whimsical, dark Christmas celebrations that I adore.

Most of you know that I’m a huge Pinterest and page 20 Google digger so I wanted to share with you all, a few of my favorite macabre Christmas decorating ideas for the holidays. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I think most of these ideas can easily be tweaked to reflect what you are celebrating.

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Found here.

macabre-christmas-2

Found here.

macabre-christmas-3

Found here.

macabre-christmas-4

Found here.

macabre-christmas-5

Found here.

I think of silver, black, and white the most for my inspiration but I also love black and purples together.

I’ve also made a Pinterest board with more inspirations. You can check it out here. Or search on Pinterest or Google for “macabre Christmas” or “gothic Christmas”. I’m telling you. There’s some amazing inspiration out there!

 

What kind of style Christmas or holiday are you going for? What is your inspiration?

Jolene - Midnight Society Signatures

The Rugaru

Hello, darlings….

 

How are you all doing? I know the post-election craze has a lot of people in a funk (to say the least). I’m Canadian and even my small news stations are still covering the potential vote audit and other political stories from your neck of the woods. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must be. If you need gifs or someone to vent to, I’m here. Oh! And you’ve just had Thanksgiving – if you’re partaking, Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re NaNo-ing, your word count is probably getting up there. Great job! Keep on going! I know it’s tempting to turn back the pages and start revising, but don’t give in! I’m a chronic revise-as-I-goer, which explains why I’m only at 25k. Learn from me. If you’re feeling crappy about your words, here’s a little advise from one of the greats.

firt-draft

 

 

I had an exciting day yesterday. I went to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. They have low-high content wolfdogs that are have been rescued / surrendered. It was ammmmazing. So amazing that it inspired this little bit’o’post.

Every one and their dog has heard of a werewolf; of lowly English professors that shape-shift into giant, flesh-eating canines. My ancestors have a different take on the tale. One or two of you know that I’m 1/4 Native American (I’m Métis, if you want to get technical). We have what’s called a Rugaru.

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                   http://www.escalofrio.com/ (Photo Credit)

The Rugaru is actually the Michif pronunciation of French words “loup garou”, which translates into “wolf-man”.  Since the story of the Rugaru is passed down orally throughout the generations, the nature of the Rugaru varies greatly. Some believe it’s like the cannibalistic Wendigo while others believe it’s peaceful, like the Sasquatch. I mean, I don’t want to run into either of those but I’d take Big Foot over a Wendigo any day.

The thing that differentiates the Rugaru from your common (haha) werewolf is the way they’re turned. The victim doesn’t need to bitten by a Rugaru to trigger the transformation…all you need to do is look at one. That’s it. Imagine you’re out for a hike in the woods. The sun is setting, shading the forest around you in swatches of bruised purples and dusky greys. You’re heading back for the main trail but you’re getting a little turned around. Mostly because you’re distracted by all of the sounds; the sounds growing louder and louder with each passing shadow. The seemingly innocent snaps and cracks of branches are now more rhythmic. You swirl your pack around so it’s on your chest. You paw through it, searching for the can of bear spray you know you packed.

A branch breaks in front of you. You look up and a tall, sinewy monster gazes at you. It’s covered in coarse, brittle hair but it seems almost human-like. It has the mighty head of a wolf and amber eyes that stare into your soul. You scramble for the bear spray but by the time you find it, the creature is gone.

You breathe out a sigh of relief. You make it back down to your car and home in time recount the entire tale on social media before calling it a night. That night you wake up with a start. Your skin is on fire. You curse the holistic bug spray your Mom made you pack and head for the shower. You crank on the water, letting steam fill the bathroom before you climb in. You dump body wash into your hand and rub it over your burning skin. It froths instantly, coating the coarse black hair covering your shoulders.

You shriek, pawing at your skin, screaming in horror as your limbs stretch and thin. Your toenails tear free from their fleshy confines and curved, yellow claws spurt out amidst fountains of blood. Your neck rolls, your vertebrae clacking and popping as your spine curves into the all-too-familiar silhouette of the trail monster. You slash your way out from the behind the clinging shower curtain and leap through your bedroom window. You don’t care that you left the shower on or the window open. You don’t care about anything anymore.

You’re one of them now.

 

Anyhoo! I hope you have a wonderful Friday. I’m thinking about you all.

<3

In Dead Space, Everyone Can Hear You Scream

Every October I like to revisit some of my favorite horror games, and this year I went back to the 2008 masterpiece Dead Space. Equal parts Aliens and Event Horizon, Dead Space puts you in the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer for the Concordance Extraction Corporation in the year 2508. Isaac and a small crew are responding to a distress beacon sent out from the USG Ishimura, a “planet cracker”ship that is designed to harvest resources from planets and moons.

From the second the small group crash lands on the Ishimura, they realize something terrible has happened there. Almost everyone is dead, and there are horrific creatures called necromorphs that are rising from the reanimated tissue of the dead bodies. Isaac has to help his crew mates find a way off the Ishimura, and along the way he begins to discover what exactly occurred on the ship.

I won’t get into any more of the backstory, because through several games, a novel and a slew of comic books, the world of Dead Space is revealed to be pretty complex. It’s probably my favorite game series of the last decade plus for sure, and I spent a lot of time covering both for my ongoing podcasts and when I was a games journalist between 2008-2010.

You can watch the first episode of my playthrough (which is still going) in the player above, and you can see the rest of the series at the Co-Op Critics YouTube page right here.

Night Terrors…the Game

Months ago, Midnighter Kim posted on FB about a new game to play on your phone.

Night Terrors. Go read that article here.

Now…the game is up. You can buy it for $.99. So I did. WHY NOT IT SOUNDS SCARY AND FUN!

After the game was available, I grabbed my phone and went to the App Store…typed in Night Terrors and got this…

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The description says… And I am quoting!

Lights off. Headphones on. Survive.

Question reality. Face your fears. Explore the paranormal. Night Terrors will attack every one of your senses in an effort to deliver the most heart-thumping experience ever seen on mobile devices.

*DIRECTIONS*

-Night Terrors is played indoors, at night, with the lights off and headphones on.

-Part of the experience includes figuring out what to do.

*NOTES*

Night Terrors: The Beginning is just that- a beginning. This is a small glimpse of what is to come. We will be continually updating with new content and fright-filled, one-of-a-kind experiences.

 

I bought it, plugged in my headphones, and pressed the App. It begins with a disclaimer, of course…

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Then this…

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I did…

My house became super creepy. The sound of thunder crackled through the headphones. Weird blips and bloops as if the phone was having technical difficulties caused me a little unease. A bit of static crossed the screen. And this strange humming came and went, but I wasn’t sure if it was part of the game…or simply the sound my mic picked up as I whipped it around.

To be honest, I couldn’t stand the anticipation and turned on a couple of little lights. THE UNKNOWN IS SCARY AND MY IMAGINATION WAS RUNNING WILD.

I lasted about ten minutes.

*hangs head in shame*

The next day I got up and before it was truly light, tried again. Not quite as creepy as in the dark, I decided to ease my way in. Obviously I need to work on my bravery. I wandered around and the thunder boomed, the static static-ed. After about 20 minutes, I gave up to do adult chore-type things.

The next time I attempted it in the early morning hours, I sat to do writing stuff and let it run for an hour…the thunder sounded, then stopped. The static happened periodically…the strange humming came and went. I wanted to know if things would happen. I wanted to know what would happen…

Then at about 15-17 minutes in two bright flashes of light! And a loud zap zap!

WHAT. WAS. THAT.

Then nothing.

Ugh. I must be doing something wrong. (besides the not wandering in the dark of night) Then I read through the directions again and saw…

“-Part of the experience includes figuring out what to do.” Remember that from above? Yeah.

Oh.

It’s no big secret that:

1. I am not that great at video games.

And

2. I tend to jump in without having a clue and hope I can just do things. (which doesn’t work all the time or ever really)

I finally put on my big horror fan girl pants and walked around the house at night with the lights off, determined to wander and look and listen and FIGURE IT OUT!

I have a two story house, but stayed on the first floor…I just did, not sure if it matters or not.

Thunder. Static. That weird humming THAT HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING RIGHT? And at the 15-17 minute mark the two flashes of light and the loud zap! When I heard the humming change, grow, intensify, I stayed there, looking around, hoping ti would lead to something, but sadly, no.

Then my hubs walked in and I called it quits at 30 minutes. Because he looked at me funny and wanted to turn the lights on and watch TV in the dark room where I was wandering in and out of like a lost ghost hunter.

So my experience hasn’t been that spectacular. But I’m not giving up.

Here’s what I have learned so far.

It starts the same every time. The same sounds…thunder and static and humming. The same flashes at about the same time.

Wandering in your house in the dark with that not-so-bright phone light is creepy. The dark doorways transform into the entrances to hell.

That I have no idea what I’m doing. And figuring it out might take more time than I hope. This is not a wander around and see things kind of game.

I am not a quitter, so I will continue to play because the images and things they describe look cool.

Maybe I should go upstairs? I have no idea.

I am a big scaredy baby. Dude. They are going to warp MY HOUSE into a scary thing. I have a feeling that when I do start to experience the technical paranormal, I’ll never look at my house the same ever again. And I already find myself running up the stairs at night, so it’ll be fine.

I’d love to have a partner in crime for this. Two of us wandering around in the dark would be fun!

I will keep you updated, sharing what I learn as I go. Overall, it’s creepy. The atmosphere it creates is fabulous.

Anyone out there have this? Going to try it now? Let me know what you learn! We can do this, together!

And possibly scream like small children.

 

 

FYI- I am live-tweeting the new LIGHTS OUT movie (yes, the one that was in theaters a few months ago!) tonight!

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9 EST on #LightsOut! I will be watching it for the first time as I tweet. Should be fun!

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Hello, lovelies.

 

I wanted to write a post about NaNo, but I’m tired. So tired. My kid is in the throes of what’s called a sleep regression. It’s this brilliant stage in a child’s life where they decide, “Hey, fuck this sleep thing. I can survive on mere hours a day.” It’s a glorious time for all parties involved.

*Giant pause because a motherfluffing mouse just ran by. It may be time to reconsider the humane traps*

Anyhoo – I’m not getting a whole lot of Z’s these days. As you can imagine, I’m a total treat. I started researching signs of sleep deprivation, and stumbled upon a story that went viral a couple years ago. You may have heard about it. It’s called the Russian Sleep Experiment.

While I’m not quite at the stage in which I need to be restrained (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you read the link above), I feel like I’m getting close. I’m on edge. Grumpy as shit. I fall asleep just randomly in the middle of the day, but only for a few moments. Often it’s short enough that I don’t even realize it happened until I snap away.

If I were in a Freddy movie, I’d be seriously effed.

While doctors say it’s incredibly difficult to die of lack of sleep – your body most likely will pass out on it’s own – imagine what a terrible way to go that’d be.

You’d feel like crap. Right now, it’s just after 9pm. I’ve slept about 3 or so hours in the last twenty-four. My eyes feel like sandpaper. It’s getting harder and harder to concentrate. I’m going to go to bed soon, but if I didn’t, I’d most likely move onto stages of delirium. You know when you wake up after a crappy night and you just feel wonky until your first breath of fresh air or cup of coffee? Imagine that all the time. Non-stop.

You could hallucinate. I just got home, which means I was driving only a few minutes ago. What if the red light looked green? Or the stop sign twisted into a giant candy cane rather than a live-saving octagon of metal?

What if the subtle scraping of my dog’s nails against the hardwood sounded like Jason dragging his machete, and I had to protect myself? What if my husband softly snoring next to me,sounded like a demon humming in my ear..what if I just fucking snapped?

I’d like to think that the worst you’ll see of tired-Jenna is unending streams of swear words muttered under my breath, but I can’t make any promises.

Goodnight…I hope.

 

Own Your Own Graveyard – Seriously.

In October I visited my brother in Colorado. It’s a magical place for me, full of crunchy leaves, kind people, and awe-inspiring beauty. I also have a favorite place to go while I’m out…the graveyard. I absolutely love visiting cemeteries and when I’m in one, I find this unexplainable peace and comfort.

grandview-cemetery-fort-collins

 

There’s this one in particular that I love.  Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins, Co.

The first time I visited it was at midnight in the fall several years ago. The light shimmered through the trees as they swayed in the wind and dead leaves skittered over the lawn gathering at my feet. I took a few pictures that night, in the dark, and the next day there were so many interesting orbs floating around in my pictures. I can’t help but wonder if they really are just unexplainable moving orbs of light in my photos or the friendly ghost inhabitants of the graveyard saying hello.

There are several homes that line the street across from the cemetery on Grandview Avenue and I love them. I desperately want to live in one. I picture living there in one of the homes, with my writing office in a front room facing the cemetery. You can see them here, if you select street view. Aren’t they wonderful? And then I wondered, how many homes like this are for sale? Not just in Colorado, but anywhere.

Grandview-Cemetery-Fort-Collins-Aerial

 

This of course, led me down a magical internet worm hole where soon I was shown articles about buying and selling graveyards.

Now, my reasoning tells me that someone has to own and care for a graveyard but I didn’t realize how many cemeteries were for sale. There are a lot. Apparently, after they’re full of bodies and no longer a huge monetary opportunity, people like to get rid of them, which makes me sad. But I also saw a few cemeteries for sale, where the owner had owned and operated it their entire life because it was passed down through the family, but they were now too old to keep it up easily. Those made me happy. They wanted to pass the important job of protecting the dead and the history, to the next generation.

Here are just some of the cemeteries for sale I found.

I also found this interesting Inquisitr post about owning a graveyard, though it’s over a year old.

detached-chapel-with-graveyard-for-sale

I found an even weirder post from South Wales, specifically St Dials, Cwmbran, which had a home for sale with a graveyard for a backyard. Locals were calling it the “tomb with a view.” The best part, it was old £8,000! Here’s the post on it where the real estate agent described it as a “A detached chapel which is believed to date back to the 17th Century.” There’s a local legend as well that the graveyard, though small, is actually haunted by a black hound, specifically The Black Hound of the Underworld. According to the legend, the previous minister of the chapel heard the howls of a hound late one night. Soon, the minister saw a large black hound following him. Once he realized he was being persued by a hell hound, he struck the dog between the eyes with his Bible. According to the lore, the hound burst in to flames and vanished, leaving the minister shaken, but his soul intact. His only proof: a singed beard.

Would you ever own a graveyard? Do you have one you’d love to live by? Let me know in the comments below!

Jolene - Midnight Society Signatures

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pictures not by me. Hover over images for credit.

Whispers of Poe: The Cask of Amontillado

A little while back, I wrote about ASMR–Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (or ASMR), the tingly feeling some people experience when getting close personal attention like a haircut, eye exam, scalp massage, etc.

Anyway, there is a ton of ASMR content out there on YouTube now, and since a lot of ASMR content involves whispering and speaking softly, a lot of people also use the video to help them fall asleep, or cope with stress and anxiety.

A while back a friend and I started a YouTube channel that features gaming videos with soft spoken and whispered commentary, called Let’s Play Quietly. In addition to the regular gaming videos, I’ve recorded some horror stories that I read over gameplay. The stories featured so far have included short fiction from H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and of course, Edgar Allan Poe.

Recently, I made a video featuring my favorite Poe story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” and you can check it out right here.

If you liked this video, you can also listen to/watch the entire horror story playlist right here. And I’m always open to suggestions for stories to read in the future.

Happy Halloween! + an All Hallow’s Read Giveaway!

I love Halloween. More than every other holiday, including my birthday.

Halloween

Last year at this time, I was touching down in a plane in San Francisco to attend my good friend’s magical wedding. That was one of the best Halloweens of my life because I was watching two amazing people celebrate their love in a magical science center filled with dinosaur bones and artifacts. I had drinks in a bird sanctuary, appetizers under an aquarium staring up at giant fish, and dinner in a safari room, all while touches of skeleton bones and macabre music and décor filled my ears. It was seriously magical and it’s going to be tough to ever top that.

San Francisco is amazing in the fall. Here are two pictures I snapped while I was there.

San-Francisco-Fall

San-Francisco-Fall-2

Today I’m at work (dressed up as Barb from Stranger Things (which no one got) but I convinced my entire team to dress up as characters from the show too, which was great). Hopefully before it gets too late, I’ll be home, watching scary movies and hopefully eating the candy that was meant for my trick-or-treaters.

Barb-Stranger-Things

Nancy and Barb from Stranger Things

 

I don’t have a specific tradition for Halloween other than I love to watch scary movies and carve jack-o-lanterns with people I love. I love to hand out candy but I don’t get many in my neck of the woods, so I usually just end up eating most of it.

What do YOU like to do for Halloween?

Do you have any traditions?

What are you dressed up as?

 

All Hallow’s Read Giveaway

AHR13_WebBanner

Most of you know I’m a huge advocate of All Hallow’s Read. What that is, is a tradition started by author Neil Gaiman where you give someone a scary book to read on Halloween.

So reader, I want to send you a scary book. I will be picking one winner from the comments below, to send a spooky package to, including a scary book.

To enter to win, all you have to do to win is to leave a comment below answering one of my questions above. Please leave me a way to contact you, like an email or Twitter handle or blog URL (or something).

Shout out to Introverted Wife who always makes some sweet posters for the event. Here’s the one I liked the best!

bloodywall

 

Happy Halloween!

Jolene - Midnight Society Signatures