Happy Birthday Erica!!!!

Today is a very special day.

For.

One.

Very.

Special.

Person.

Editor.

Author.

Human.

Jokester.

Academic.

Enthusiast.

Empath.

Leader.

Lover of books.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERICA!

Here are just a few gifts from the troops.

Erica, you always know how to lift me up and somehow sense when I’m hurting. I’ve never met someone who has made me laugh harder, want to be better, and understood my empath side more than you. You are simply incredible, talented, and a force of nature made of beautiful words and a kind heart.

Thank you for being you.

To kick things off, here is a celebratory drink.

A Fanta Jack O’lantern float. You can find the recipe here.

I also want to give you a little groovy soundtrack to dance around with! Here’s a good one! In fact, it’s my favorite Dead Man’s Bones song.

Keep on keepin’ on you beautiful unicorn. Oh yeah, she offers editing services now too (and has prior experience) so you should check that out too, mmkay?

<3 Jolene

ERICAAAAAA! Happy birthday my little ray of creepy sunshine! Always there to listen. Always there to share a smile. You are a treasure.

Life has thrown you some curve balls, kid, but you are strong and fierce. Congrats on your new editing journey…YOU WILL BE FABULOUS!

So, let’s celebrate!

 

CAAAAAAKE! Ghosts are yummy.

TIME TO PAR-TAY! Of course all the ponies are coming!

LOVE YOU! Have a great day!

Kathy

Secor!!

 

Happy Birthday, E. I’ve never met someone who so tirelessly invests into their friends like you do. You are a ray of light on my darkest days.

I invited a couple friends to come wish you well.

I’m on a serial killer kick

Roses are Red

These people kill.

Being your friend

Is such a thrill.

I love you more than

Manson loved his girls.

More than Bill enjoyed

running his fingers through Precious’ curls.

You have more charm

than Bundy.

I wouldn’t trade you for

a hundy.

Poetry isn’t my strong suit.

Puppies.

 

Stay cool,

Jenna

ERICA – MY BELOVED!

There are no words to tell you how much I adore you. I can’t wait for the day we get to spend time together, but I have to warn you…I have a feeling I will want to squeeze you.

Winnie The Pooh Hug GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

You are just too funny and too kooky and too full of so much AWESOME that I won’t be able to contain myself!

I’m so thankful that you came into my life and I wish only the best for you!

TaylorAnneDraws GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIRLFRIEND! LOVE YOU TO PIECES!

~Mary~

Happy birthday, Erica!!!

Have an amazing unicorn filled day!!!!

xoxo,

Amy

SECOR!

You brighten every day I interact with you with your bouncy, brilliant ways.  I’ve been looking for the perfect celebration location, so you can do it up BIG.

Now that you live where it’s warm all the darn time, you can have a pool party!  I got you a floatie.

 

 

Or maybe you want to hit the beach.  There are lots of friends to play with there, too.

 

 

Make sure you wear your sunscreen or some sun-blocking clothing.  Safety first.

 

 

Or you can just chill in a hot tub.  You do you, girl!

 

 

Dance, unicorn girl, dance!

Victoria

Erica!

Your unbridled support and enthusiasm for all of us is a constant inspiration. You are the beacon of friendship for the Midnight Society, and so I’ve brought to the party some movies that celebrate friendship and have some cool ideas for activities we could all do together:

We could go camping like in Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil:

Or save the world from classic creatures like in Monster Squad:

Or, solve a mystery together like in I Know What You Did Last Summer:

And since it’s your birthday, you get to pick!

Happy birthday!–Brian

Love your creepy family,

 

Let’s Talk Horror Movies: Winchester

Greetings, horror movie lovers. There’s a new movie out. Just this month, Winchester arrived in theaters.

2018 movie poster for Winchester

Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and written by the Spierigs and Tom Vaughn, the story is inspired by  the legend of Sarah Winchester and the Winchester House.

Scene from the 2018 movie Winchester with Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester and Jason Clarke as Dr. Eric Price

Of course, I took myself to see it.

 

My fellow Midnighter The Davis Girl suggested I jot down my expectations or pre-viewing thoughts to compare with my thoughts post-viewing. I didn’t have a lot of expectations, going into a book or movie I am ready to accept what the writers want to give me, then react to what worked and didn’t work. As I sat in the theater waiting for Winchester to begin, I hoped for creepy, for a story that would draw me in, for some scary images that would stick in my head. Reasonable, right?

First question…I did like it! Well, I won’t be screaming at people to go to the theater right this second. But, if you have a moment, go. The movie is beautiful, and the house, haunting and spectacular, becomes a character in itself. The tone is creepy, but quiet. The main story unfolds nicely, the tale of a ghost, of pain turned to rage.

A ghost story, plain and simple. A tale of guilt, of righting wrongs. A story of letting go and of revenge. You know I love the emotions in horror!

Sarah Winchester owns part of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The board, who run the company, want her out, so they employ Dr. Eric Price, who has problems of his own *cough*laudanam*cough*, to evaluate her. Easy money to support those addictions…

Or maybe not.

The ghostly activity pops up pretty fast. The activity grows, and one spirit comes to the front to threaten Sarah’s life. Only who is it? What is their story?

The writers took the legend and put their own spin on it. Sarah’s shelves full of records of all the people killed by a Winchester rifle. The idea of a woman building, not only to keep spirits away, but to help them. Sarah Winchester is painted as a strong, respected, and smart woman. She knows what she is doing. She accepts it. She strives to heal. I enjoyed her character a lot. A woman everyone can look up to. And Helen Mirren…I love her.

Lost in his hurt, Dr. Price arrives at the house to do a job and has no idea the horrors he must face, is destined to face. Sarah brought him for a reason, the one revelation that made me all tingly, CAUSE DUDE THEY ARE CONNECTED. BUT SPOILERS! That storyline was marvelous, the character arc interesting, and the scene in the garden house…all the yes!

I liked the story lines, how they developed, how I always had a unanswered question in my head. I loved how, when I had answers, they linked. “Dude” reaction count was one. (for those who don’t know, I say “dude” out loud in a theater whenever something surprises, shocks, or sends my horror meter over the top)

Scary? Not for me. Creepy? YES! Intriguing? Yes. The jump scares were there, maybe the writers thought they needed to be. The ghosts in the house had a reason to be there, but didn’t serve much purpose beyond jump scares. The image of the hall of doors, ones nailed shut, holding possibly dangerous spirits that aren’t at rest, remains in my mind.

Though nothing terribly original and a bit predictable, people want to see Winchester because of the legends, of the lady who built a house for spirits, of the strange house that exists in San Jose, California. We are drawn to the weird, especially when it is based in reality. I would love to see the Winchester Mystery House in person. My dad went years ago and still calls it a “strange place”. (A man of few words, kids.)

You can learn about the house at its website.

I was happy to learn that some of the filming took place at the actual house, which is gorgeous! You get a feel for the place, a monstrous house that makes no sense, stairs to nowhere, doors and windows where they don’t belong.

The house is real. Someday I will go there.

Sarah Winchester was a real person. I know the story…the legend, but after seeing Winchester, I wondered about the person behind the legend. To be honest, it is difficult to separate the lore from reality, so many articles don’t go into anything more than a cursed woman and a haunted house.

What is true in the movie? Sarah married William Wirt Winchester in 1862. They had a little girl Annie, who was born and died in the summer of 1866 of a childhood disease. William’s father Oliver created the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, one that revolutionized the art of war, one that made a lot of money. Oliver died in 1880, leaving this company to William, who died in 1881, and the company passed to Sarah. She held 50% of the company, living off the profits (about $1,000 a day) for the rest of her life, which ended in 1922. She bought a little 8 room farmhouse on a large slice of land in what is now San Jose, California. Hiring builders to work 24/7 and 365 days of the year, Sarah Winchester designed room after room and the house grew to seven stories in some places and 500-600 rooms.

Why? There’s no solid answer. Her life isn’t documented in great detail. No one has found her answer to the question. Probably because she didn’t care to answer. She was a well-known woman, heir to a huge company, the rich/eccentric architect of a sprawling mansion. A maze. A place full of new ideas. A house where Sarah could experiment and create. And maybe ghosts, but I don’t think Sarah dwelled on them, if they were there with her at all.

I had a hard time finding articles that weren’t related to the legend, but here are a couple that focus more on reality.

The Truth About Sarah Winchester

Sarah Winchester-Wikipedia

So, the legend takes control. When people see something odd, when they don’t have information, they make up stories.

A woman who fears the retaliation of people killed by her family, who calls in a spiritualist, and who builds to keep the ghosts away. Stories without proof.

The movie plays with the stories. The idea of a widow, who suffers from the loss of her husband and child, who has inherited a company that makes weapons, instruments of death, who believes she is cursed, and who struggles to help those who hurt. Winchester adds a new bit to the legend, taking it a bit further. I liked that. They kept Sarah strong and smart, not some woman living in fear.

Many movies like to twist legends, give us great stories, and Winchester does that. It’s fun, but let’s not forget the real person behind the tales.

Blood on the Ground and the Devil’s Tooth

The Midnight Society likes their books a little bloody, but other bloody things are tantalizing, too. There’s something so enticing about the shiny, red liquid.

Which is why, in a field of torn apart trees, I was recently kneeling to take photos. Amidst all the destruction, I had spotted blood on the ground.

The ground was covered in fresh mulch and leaves. The forest had been shredded to bits. Stumps were pulled from the ground, black soil drying in clumps on their exposed roots.

Devil’s Tooth fungus (Hydnellum peckii) grows under forests, its mycelium threads wrapping around roots, sharing the damp soil. When conditions are right, the mycelium venture above ground and form masses called fruit bodies. This forest had been obliterated. And in this exposed landscape, the dusky pink bodies of the fungus had grown.

And these moist, fleshy bodies bleed.

Devil’s Tooth, also known as Bleeding Tooth Fungus, gets its name from the teeth on the underside of the fruit body. Rows of spiny protrusions cover where spores are produced.

Photograph by Ryane Snow at Mushroom Observer. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Devil’s Tooth isn’t known to be toxic, but it’s said to be much too bitter to eat. In a bit of irony, its dark red exudate contains atromentin, an anticoagulant.  So the blood from the Devil’s Tooth can keep actual blood flowing.

Moonlight TV Show

At home for a few days with sick kids, who then got me sick–so thankful they feel the need to share their germs–I got a little bored with what was available to stream. A while ago, I had downloaded the CW Seed app to my Apple TV so I could watch Constantine (see my Constantine TV post here and Brian’s Constantine comic post here). After this, I didn’t pay the rest of the shows any attention. So sick kids and mom rediscovers the app. Following?

It seems as though 2006/07 were the comercial comeback years for vampires. Stephanie Meyer brought us sparkly Edward Cullen, while in TV land Moonlight began it’s first (and seemingly last) season. Both paranormal romances have one thing in common–male vampire falls for human girl. But Moonlight is definitely the more adult version. And to be honest, it reminds me of the show Angel. THIS IS A TOTAL WIN BTW!

Mick is a Los Angeles private dective, who has been a vampire for about 50 years. He was turned on his wedding night by his wife, who he eventually killed for kidnapping a young girl. And it’s this girl who he follows/stalks until their paths cross during an investigation. Mick and Beth fight their feelings for each other until the end, until there’s nothing to do but give in.

Over the course of the season, Mick protects Beth (duh, because all stories have the male protecting the seemingly weaker sex), but also Beth protects Mick a few times. AND HE IS OKAY WITH IT!

Are there cheesy moments? Absolutely! But if you know anything about me, you know I luvs the cheese! And there are also times where I wanted to yell at the TV, because it falls into the tope pitfalls. If you look at the show in its entirety…for all vampire fans out there it is well worth the watch.

Video disclaimer: some of the characters in the trailer are portrayed by different actors in the show.

Faith’s Favorite Frights #6

 

Are you ready to tour the web with Faith’s Favorite Frights? It’s Wednesday, and I’m your undead host, Faith McKay. Let’s start with something Hocus Pocus themed, because I can never get enough, okay?

Boooook?

So many of the best things in life are found on etsy, and this is no exception. This Hocus Pocus Phone Case comes from DCVisualArts and is just… so perfect.

Next up is an item I think the Sanderson sisters would approve of. It’s so… whimsical and pretty and makes me want to ride a bat. Yeah, you read that right.

This pill box case is again from etsy, a seller called SweetHeartSinner who has all kinds of creepy goods. This one is standing out the most to be right now, mostly because it really makes me want to fly with a bat. I think it reminds me of The Neverending Story. Remember this?

Which actually brings me to my next find: this scultpure on Deviantart by yotaro-sculpts! Now you want to go fly with some bats, too, am I right?

Moving on…

No matter how many times I see something about this garden, I’m still amazed and entranced.

 


Hey, yeah, thanks for reading! I’m done talking now, though. It’s time for you to go. I mean it, scroll on down now! Creep in the comments. I’ll have more for you next week, you spooky weirdos.

Revisiting a Classic: Knight of the Black Rose (Ravenloft)

I am a D&D nerd, having grown up on the game. I’m also a huge fan of the Dragonlance novels and game setting, and have collected scores of books dedicated to that world.

So what does that have to do with horror? I’m getting to that!

The Dragonlance series had plenty of horrific moments in it, and one character in particular that is kind of the horror icon of that world. Lord Soth is a Darth Vader-esque character that is scarier than the dragons that populate Krynn. Soth was a once proud knight that who became an adulterer and a murderer. he was cursed and now roams the world as a Death Knight.

Soth is a scene-stealing character that was used sparingly in the original Dragonalnce trilogy because he would have overshadowed the main story by his mere presence. But in 1991, writer James Lowder penned a story that saw Soth transported to Ravenloft, the gothic horror setting of the D&D universe.

 

Not only did Soth get to star in his own novel, but he came face to face with Strahd von Zarovich, the iconic vampire from Ravenloft. I thought Lowder did a great job of creating an interesting dynamic between two powerful, evil beings that share some similarities.


I read this book when it came out in 1991, but have been rereading it because both Dragonlance and Ravenloft are big influences on my Parted Veil series. Revisiting this story has made me want to go back and read all my Dragonlance books again. Even if you have no interest in D&D or Dragonalnce, I think any horror fan would enjoy Knight of the Black Rose.

Let’s Watch a #Horror Movie: Silent Hill

February, time for hearts and flowers and chocolates and giant cuddly teddy bears…and strange, scary other dimensions with monsters and a town haunted by the past. I love watching horror movies with friends, so join me for this month’s live-tweet of Silent Hill.

DVD cover of the 2006 horror movie Silent Hill

As I searched through my movies, this one called to me. It’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed the descent into the madness of a town haunted by secrets. We all need creepy nurses, Pyramid Head, and the rage of a little girl. Based on the horror video game, Silent Hill was released in 2006 and directed by Christophe Gans and written by Roger Avary, Christophe Gans, and Nicolas Boukhrief.

Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher (Sean Bean) Da Silva’s adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) has been having nightmares about a town called Silent Hill. 30 years ago, a coal fire drove the people from the town, leaving it to the elements, to the smoldering heat.

Done with watching her daughter struggle, Rose decides to act and takes her daughter to the abandoned place, hoping for a cure.

SURE IT WILL.

Only there’s a car crash, and, when Rose gains consciousness, Sharon is missing, gone, poof. Like any good mother, Rose journeys into the foggy dimension of the ash-covered town of Silent Hill to find her. What she finds, or what finds her, threatens her life and sanity.

Secrets haunt the place, a terrible past that has to do with Rose’s daughter, and maybe not knowing would be better.

I love the tone of this film, the creepiness, the creatures. The story evolves as we travel through the town with Christopher in reality while Rose faces another dimension.

The tale of Alessa strikes with tears and terror.

Join me on Twitter on Friday, February 16th #SilentHill. Fill a bowl with chocolate or popcorn, turn out the lights, and press play at 9 EST.

 

College Advice from Horror Movies

It’s that special time for sharing sage advice with the teen in your household.  It’s College Tour Time!

You’ve spent the last few years being stalked by killers through your high school and neighborhood.

You’ve dealt with high school drama, maybe even gotten your heart broken.

But you survived!

Now you’re touring colleges.  This is a big decision, choosing that next step in life, but you’re going to nail it.

Find your people. College won’t always be easy, but people to study and hang out with will make it easier.  You’ll end up going through a lot with your college friends.

Avoid risky behavior.  Or, at least run faster than the demons that invariably show up.

You may  need to face drama from your past to move on to the future.  You’ll feel better after you do.

College is about finding what you want to be as you grow up, not just when you grow up.  Be open to a career path that suits you.

And don’t forget to visit your family now and then. They’re going to miss you.

Make good choices, kids.

Frankenlove! Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

There’s always a new book out about Frankenstein, and that’s fine by me. The newest to cross my screen is Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup and I could not be more interested. I don’t have an opinion yet, as the book doesn’t release until February 8th, but I’m excited to take a look. What a beautiful cover.

The year 1818 saw the publication of one of the most influential science-fiction stories of all time. Frankenstein: Or, Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley had a huge impact on gothic horror and science fiction genres. The name Frankenstein has become part of our everyday language, often used in derogatory terms to describe scientists who have overstepped a perceived moral line. But how did a 19-year-old woman with no formal education come up with the idea for an extraordinary novel such as Frankenstein? The period of 1790–1820 saw huge advances in our understanding of electricity and physiology. Sensational science demonstrations caught the imagination of the general public, and newspapers were full of tales of murderers and resurrectionists.

It is unlikely that Frankenstein would have been successful in his attempts to create life back in 1818. However, advances in medical science mean we have overcome many of the stumbling blocks that would have thwarted his ambition. We can resuscitate people using defibrillators, save lives using blood transfusions, and prolong life through organ transplants–these procedures are nowadays considered almost routine. Many of these modern achievements are a direct result of 19th century scientists conducting their gruesome experiments on the dead.

Making the Monster explores the science behind Shelley’s book. From tales of reanimated zombie kittens to electrical experiments on human cadavers, Kathryn Harkup examines the science and scientists that influenced Mary Shelley and inspired her most famous creation, Victor Frankenstein. While, thankfully, we are still far from being able to recreate Victor’s “creature,” scientists have tried to create the building blocks of life, and the dream of creating life-forms from scratch is now tantalizingly close.

Amazon // Goodreads 

 

Dogs of Horror

Hello, darlings,

 

Life has been so shitty lately, so I’ve kind of dropped off the face of the earth. We had to put our beloved dog, Indi, down on New Years Eve. So, without further adieu, I give you the Dogs of Horror. RIP Indi. I love you.

 

Cujo (1983)

 

Okay, so not only is this the kickoff to my favourite Friends ship (JoChel), but it stars one scary ass dog!

 

I never watched the movie Beethoven the same

The Lost Boys (1985)

Nanook, the husky, is one of the cutest horror dogs around. He makes a kill shot by knocking a vamp into a tub. Go, Nanook!

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Before Buffalo Bill was lowering lotion baskets, he was snuggling little Precious. Though she’s cute, her barking ruined little white poodle-typed dogs for me forever.

Resident Evil

The Zombie dobermans are the freakiest things EVER. No wonder Mila Jovovich can run so fast.

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Even though one of the sweet, sweet german shepherd perish very quickly, the other one kicks some serious mutant redneck ass.

I’m off to cry into my cheap Pinot Grigio now.

Happy Friday <3