My Biggest Fear

1 Nov

Every once in a while I find myself in that Twilight Zone time of night where the only thing I want to do is sit and scroll through Facebook for a couple of hours.  I’ll admit it, sometimes, if the subject matter is interesting enough, or I am just bored enough, I’ll click on my friend’s result from a Buzzfeed personality-type quiz and see where I stand on the topic…

Some of them are good time wasters, some of them are sloppily slapped together shallow questions that no more accurately predict your future than Zoltar.  Sometimes however you strike upon the ability to look at your own answers, and determine something else about yourself entirely, Buzzfeed results be damned.

The Buzzfeed quiz I chose to postpone doing chores/living my life was something along the lines of “What is your Greatest Fear?”.  I, being the horror fan that I am, thought it very fitting.  Would they discover that I am claustrophobic?  Would they somehow derive so much from this quiz that they can actual pinpoint my squeamish aversion to “fingernail stuff”?  Only time would tell.

Upon beginning my quest to identify what my greatest fear was, I realized that the questions were a little goofy, relying more on shock value than actual psychology (what the hell was I expecting?)  Which of these is the scariest image? Followed by a collage of photos; a scary faced ghost girl, a demon, a scary clown, a man holding a knife.  I clicked the man holding the knife.  The next question was more of the same, Which of these is the scariest image? A creature under a bed, another spooky clown (no accounting for originality here), a man peering in menacingly from a sliding glass door.  I clicked on the man.  After several of these questions I realized that in every circumstance, I was choosing the image most realistic.  Instead of clicking on the frightening creatures, ghosts, ghouls, demonic clowns, and all other manner of beastie, I continued to choose humanity as my weakness.

That is when I realized something.  I do have a “biggest fear” that has nothing to do with the need to wear gloves while washing dishes for fear of softening my fingernails to a bendable degree (although that struggle is REAL).  My greatest fear is my fellow man.  I can watch Jason Voorhees hack his way through a group of promiscuous campers but show me something like Sons of Anarchy and I sometimes look away from the screen.  It is easier for me to stomach something outlandish and ultra-violent as a supernatural horror film (even though I fiercely believe in ghosts) than it is for me to watch a man get beaten up.  The exception to this, or a blurring of the lines, is Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN(‘s).  His films always focus on the dirty side of society, blowing up the image of hard times and brutality to a point where I know the film is “over the top” but the violence is sometimes too much for me to bear.

Call it compassion for my fellow (wo)man, but I truly do believe that my biggest fear in life is other people.  I know that everyone is fighting their own battles, illnesses, mental illnesses, home struggles, and the combination of those things, mixed with outside influences, past experiences and expectations of the future make it impossible to predict how an individual will act in any given scenario.  It’s what makes us all beautiful and unique, but it is also what makes “other people” terrifying.

You see and hear all the time about people committing murders over absolutely nothing.  I watched an episode of Great Crimes and Trials about a doctor (married with adult children) who had killed at least 75 people in the course of his career just… because.  He had no motive to kill these people, some of them he actually liked, his family had no idea that he had done these things, but he would kill them with legal doses of morphine, but sign their “cause of death” as heart attacks or strokes.  He did it simply because he enjoyed it.  That was more terrifying to me than any horror film I had ever seen, because it was real life.  Some men and women are so unpredictable that a family doctor can go on killing 75 people and no one ever suspected him.

I settled after a moment and realized that all things considered, these people are few and far between.  For every person with murder or brutality at the edge of their mind, there is a handful of wonderfully kind people ready to prove that people are inherently good.

After completing the quiz, waiting for the results to finish “calculating” on my screen, I contemplated my mini journey of self-discovery through the cold and automatic hands of this pre-programmed internet quiz.  I marvelled at the fact that a fear can be something so big and complicated yet so simple as “other people” and truly how scary it is to realize that you never do know anyone as well as you think you do.

The “Calculating” screen suddenly stops, the screen refreshes.  The verdict?

“Your Greatest Fear is Commitment!”

No wait, yeah, that’s definitely worse.

Stay Scared, Kiddies
xoxo Jessie

An Open Letter to Depression

24 Oct

Dear Depression,

“Does it ever get any better?  Is this all there is?”

That is the slow mantra that ricochets around my head today.  I did some errands, I watched too much TV, ate too much junk food, and felt like I had wasted my day off, all with a growing sense of grief that this will be my life forever.  Errands, TV, bad choices, grief, on repeat.

The rain doesn’t help.  Usually I love the rain, the skies open up and come down like tears, but today it’s shit.  The sky is grey, all of the leaves on the trees (the ones that are left) are droopy and dripping with cold grey water.  It just reminds me that winter is soon to come, and that makes me cry.

It doesn’t matter what I did yesterday, what my plans for the day were, what my plans for tomorrow are because they tell you to live in the moment, and this moment is dreadful.  Everything I do today seems ten times more difficult than usual, and ten times more pointless.  Why the hell should I make the bed if I’m just going to get into it later on tonight?  Why do the dishes when I have ten other ones I can just pile on top?  Why should I tidy all of this clutter when I know I’m just going to put it right back?

This sounds like I’ve been defeated, or that I am going to let you win.  Even as I write it I know in my head that some of it is still fresh for me.  Today was not a good day in my ongoing battle with you, but it was a hell of a lot better than it has been in the past.  And do you know what, Depression?  You almost had me once.  Deep in my memory, a memory I clutch onto fiercely with both knuckle-white hands for fear of forgetting for a second what you can do, is a girl much worse off than I am.  A girl who has been dragged in the mud by her own mind, a constant cloud hovering sinisterly over her head.  A girl who sometimes didn’t want to go outside by herself.  The light hurt her eyes sometimes, she walked with her head down, loud noises like traffic or a crowd of people made her feel queasy.  And of course she thought that crowd was talking about her, her clothes, her makeup, her hair.

But you can’t hurt me like that anymore.  That girl eventually felt better every time.  Even though you always put up a good fight, left me for nothing, I have always managed to pick myself back up again.  This little “bout”?  Is fucking pathetic.  Do you know why?  Because I will always feel better.  Knowing that you will always be something I face is soothing to me.  Because when days like today come around, even though I feel like absolute shit, and that maybe the world means nothing, I know for a fact that this will pass.  That this is a symptom.  And that this doesn’t control me.

Depression, I take comfort in the notion that you think you have me where you want me.  And that you think I don’t have the power to fight back.  Well the gloves are off bitch, let’s do this…

Because suddenly, I have the urge to eat a healthy wrap and do my stupid dishes.

And I know just how much that will piss you off.

xoxo
Jessie

Man Crush Monday: Seth Gecko

28 Sep

Not George Clooney or DJ Cotrona specifically…  Just Seth Gecko.

It’s horrible.  Some women go for the lovely gentleman who buys flowers and chocolates, some women go for big strong men who can take care of them, but every woman, I don’t care who you are, EVERY WOMAN…  Goes for Seth Gecko.

Om nom.

Om nom.

And let’s not forget.

Om NOM nom. Photography: Robert Rodriguez Photo Courtesy El Rey Network (c) 2014 Dusk Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

Om NOM nom.
Photography: Robert Rodriguez
Photo Courtesy El Rey Network (c) 2014 Dusk Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

Who doesn’t secretly love a badass with tattoos who kills vampires and drives real fast?  WHO DOESN’T?  I DEMAND YOU TELL ME.

xoxo
Jessie

Man Crush Monday: Chris Sarandon

21 Sep

Tonight while recording episode 110 of Land of the Creeps we talked about the films we watch in the month of October, the films that remind of us the reason for THIS season, the ones that make us shiver and shake in our booties.  Among the thousands of films discussed (exaggerating) was FRIGHT NIGHT (1985), the film that made me ignore everything I saw in THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) and fall madly in love with Chris Sarandon.

Rawr.

Rawr.

Jerry Dandrige is one of the hottest vampires in the history of hot vampires.  He’s super charming, he’s got a sultry voice, he’s very easy on the eyes, and he’s a blood thirsty vampire with an infatuation for pretty girls.  He’s that guy that every girl wants to be with, but knows would absolutely ruin their life.

When the show was over, and I turned back to my television, I realized that NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS was still running and Jack was lamenting, I realized that Chris Sarandon had been in my life a hell of a lot longer than the first time I watched FRIGHT NIGHT as well.

That voice.

Hope you enjoyed the first Wendigogo Girl Man Crush Monday…  It won’t be the last.

xoxo
Jessie

Fangoria 343 Love

3 Sep

343

Check out this month’s issue of Fangoria Magazine!  I got to visit the set of NBCs Hannibal and interview the cast and crew to write two articles for this amazing issue, guest edited by showrunner Bryan Fuller.

This is an amazing issue, and the cover is freaking frame-worthy alone so pick this up ASAP!!!

xoxo

Jessie

Remembering Wes Craven

31 Aug

I was just a little girl when I was first introduced to the works of Wes Craven.  I had a friend for a sleepover when I was eleven and somewhere in between the chips and salsa, putting on dresses and pretending we were fortune tellers, we were in front of the TV, looking for something to watch.  My child’s mind was still new to the concept of horror but I already loved the smell of Halloween, I liked to scare my friends and at this point the only episodes of The Simpsons I would watch were Treehouse of Horror specials.  While skipping through the channels my older brother walked into the room and remarked at a certain movie title he saw in the satellite guide.

“Oh Jess, you HAVE to watch The People Under the Stairs!”

peopleunderthestairs

Wanting to show my big brother that I could be cool too, I agreed.  My friend, my brother and I watched this movie, and although it was not his scariest film, it definitely left a mark on my psyche.  The twisted mother and father figures (Wendy Robie and Everett McGill, who were just as watchable and intriguing on Twin Peaks), the image of the dog chewing on a severed hand and the way its skin looked so rubbery and wrong, the actual PEOPLE under those STAIRS…  And more importantly Roach, the most awkward and confusing crush of my young life…

*licks finger* Tssssss  (I can't believe I just wrote that...)

*licks finger* Tssssss
(I can’t believe I just wrote that…)

I wouldn’t be brought back into the mind of Wes Craven again until I was 13, and while hanging out with my cousin, my brother, again, decided that we would watch a Wes Craven film called A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, which at the time he stated was the best one.  Now that I have seen them all, I beg to differ, but I still enjoyed the flick, the bus ride at the end stuck with me more than the gore and questionable undertones.  That night I dreamed that I was in a fist fight with Freddy.  And pretty much from that point on, I was hooked.

In my collection now, at 26, is the entire collection of NIGHTMARE films, all four SCREAMs (1, 2, and 3 on VHS, 1, 2, 3, and 4 on blu-ray…  I really like SCREAM…), CURSED, MY SOUL TO TAKE, and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW.  To say that I was a little effected about the news of Wes Craven’s passing is a definite understatement.  I don’t think I have ever ugly cried like that over the death of someone I have never met.

I stand corrected.

I stand corrected.

Wes Craven directed my youthful and teenage explorations in the horror genre.  People who love horror grew into it in different ways.  I believe those who were teenagers watching HALLOWEEN, or FRIDAY THE 13th, HELLRAISER, all have different experiences with the genre and are formed in their tastes accordingly.  When I was a teen, SCREAM is what really drove home the concept of good horror for me.  Not since (in my opinion) has a slasher franchise even touched the success or standing power of those films.  And to come out with a fourth film over ten years later and have it WORK?  Boy.

Wes Craven’s films have a certain flair to them.  When I was younger, and still on my way to being a surefire film nerd , I was about halfway through CURSED when I thought, “I bet this was directed by the same guy who did Nightmare.”  Wes Craven’s films have a personality all their own.  And with them, his memory will live on.

I am moving apartments soon and today decided I would throw on the SCREAM movies again (I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen them) but only just in the background while I packed…  Something I had seen at least a dozen times wouldn’t distract me from my business…

I couldn’t help but to watch them all from beginning to end.

Even SCREAM 3…

So with that little ramble I say rest in peace to a legend, to a great filmmaker, and to one of my heroes.  Wes, you formed my tastes in the horror genre, and dare I say made me a horror fan to begin with.  Your films (even the ones other people “SAY” they didn’t like) will continue to grow with me until I die.  Your brand of meta, semi-humorous, gore-filled films have made me who I am today and for that I thank you.

You and Freddy will live on in my nightmares.

xo
Jessie

<3

“Horror films don’t create fear, they release it.”  ~  Wes Craven

Ashes and Rashes vs. Wendigogo Girl

25 Aug

The Death of Ashes and Rashes

Friends, its time for a change.  I have a habit of committing to writing on here, and then dropping off the face of the earth, and I think the reason for that is that I have lost my identity on this website.

When I first decided to make this blog, I was just a girl who wanted to write about horror, talk to some cool people and watch a lot of horror films.  While this is still the case, I have somewhat lost my way.  After receiving requests to review independent films, I started to question what I was really doing on Ashes and Rashes, where did my ranting and raving about the genre I love turn into a job?

I never really did any of the reviews I received, I think because from the beginning I wanted this website to be all mine, I didn’t want to do what other people wanted me to do.  I wanted to recommend a movie for your Saturday nights, I wanted to re-watch films I used to hate to see if my aged, more cultured(hah) mind could see the light in them, I wanted to talk about cute boys (all my future husbands) in the industry and delve into why on a psychological, albeit girly, level we love the films we do.

I typed

I typed “girly horror” into Google and this is one of the first things that came up… I’d say it’s accurate.

Doing freelance work the last little while has been absolutely revelatory in a way because now I see that I can still be assigned to write something AND love it at the same time.  But this page…  This page is still 100% me.

I’ve done some thinking the past little while about what the title “Ashes and Rashes” means to me.  And it means absolutely nothing.  A 20-year-old girl wanted to make a blog about horror, she sat with the WordPress application at her fingertips, and thought of gross words that would tell the reader “This is a horror blog,”, “This is not a blog for girly people”.  But here’s the thing, I AM girly.  I am so girly.  It’s evident in my posts, I spend way too much money on make up.  In the past few years, I have come around to dresses, and PINK which is still weird for me…  And while these things don’t necessarily a GIRL make, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little girly.

I also saw this when I googled

I also saw this when I googled “girly horror”… Accuracy on point.

And wasn’t this blog supposed to be a place where this girly girl could come and write about a few of her favourite things?

I need this space to come and talk and vent in my own way and feel good about it.  I don’t need to put on a professional persona, I don’t need to appeal to male readership by making the title sound unisex.

I am a girl, and I am here to talk about horror in a somewhat girly way.

The Birth of Wendigogo Girl

When I was a little girly girl, the library at Plainville Public School had a lot of interesting books…  There were a couple of books filled with horror stories who’s titles I have forgotten, and that saddens me to no end.  I remember the stories though… *shudders* I had nightmares for weeks.  One book I do remember, I think you have all read this series, was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz with those terrifying illustrations by Stephen Gammell.  I didn’t remember many of the stories until later when a sweet friend gave me the collection, but one of them stuck with me all these years.

Yes, when I was LITTLE I read a book with these illustrations in it... The hell, Plainville Public School?

Yes, when I was LITTLE I read a book with these illustrations in it… The hell, Plainville Public School?

The Wendigo is a very short story, but it packs a mean punch and I have been fascinated with the legend of the wendigo ever since.  The wendigo is a creature from the legends of the Algonquin people and has appeared in many tv shows, films, books (Stephen King’s Pet Sematary for one), and many of my nightmares.  This creeping image of an unseen force (or seen, based on later adaptations from series like Supernatural) that knows your name and calls you out into the cold is terrifying for a poor little Canadian girl, where half of the year is made up of snow, and you live in a village (actually considered a HAMLET) that is covered in farmer’s fields and it takes a half an hour to get to any “towns”…

wendigo

Also what the hell My Little Pony?

Anyway, I’ve always loved burlesque, and go-go dancing.  I think it’s fascinating.  Taking the female form and empowering it, making the art of seduction something classy and confident, glamorous.  And then I realized how easy it is to add an extra “go” onto “Wendigo”, and then add a “girl” on the end, you know what I’m getting at.

Long story short (too late for that), I have decided to take back my original website and use it for its intended purpose.  To be a girly girl who likes ranting and interviewing people about horror films and not feel weird about the title, the label, the feeling I get every time I read it.  Ashes and Rashes is no more.  The website will be pretty much the exact same.  Maybe with some more weekly posts, or regular “columns”.  But rather than make this it’s own being, it will now be an extension of myself.  Something I can take joy in writing in, instead of purposely making it feel like a job.

With that said, with ashes to ashes and dust to dust, I say farewell and rest in peace to the Ashes and Rashes era, and say happy birthday to Wendigogo Girl.

100% me.

xo
J