WBEZ | horror http://www.wbez.org/tags/horror Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cult film director John McNaughton returns with a 'shocker' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/cult-film-director-john-mcnaughton-returns-shocker-108964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Harvest-W.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em>Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer</em> is one of the great <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-04/movie-made-chicago-gritty-70s-and-80s-era-films-define-city-98124">Chicago films</a>. But it&rsquo;s also one of the great horror films.</p><p dir="ltr">Made in 1985 for a mere $100,000, <em>Henry</em> is both shocking and groundbreaking.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s spare, documentary-like aesthetic, terrifying soundscape, and nihilistic story has become a touchstone for depictions of serial killers. Along with a handful of other controversial films, it helped establish the NC-17 rating, which has proven both <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-23/why-hollywood-wants-nc-17-to-become-more-accepted">blessing and curse</a> for directors whose films blur the line between art and exploitation.</p><p dir="ltr">It also secured the reputation of its director, John McNaughton, a Chicago South Side native who went on to make equally compelling films, like <em>Normal Life, Mad Dog and Glory</em> and the deliciously disturbing <em>Wild Things</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s been over a decade since McNaughton&rsquo;s made a feature, but now he&rsquo;s back with <em>The Harvest</em>, which has its world premiere Saturday at the Chicago International Film Festival.</p><p dir="ltr">McNaughton, like other independents, has faced some hefty challenges getting his films not only made but released. <em>Henry</em> was shelved for a number of years - nobody wanted to distribute a film stamped with the scarlet X of pornography. <em>Normal Life</em> pretty much went straight to video. And McNaughton hasn&rsquo;t always helped his own cause. He sparred with Universal Pictures over a line of dialogue at the end of <em>Mad Dog and Glory</em> and says he hasn&rsquo;t worked with the studio since.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>The Harvest,</em> which McNaughton calls a &ldquo;shocker film,&rdquo; stars Michael Shannon, Samantha Morton and Peter Fonda. It too was a struggle to make, from securing money and squabbling producers, to the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York just as McNaughton was finalizing his crew and preparing to head upstate to shoot the film.</p><p dir="ltr">Along for the ride was his long-time producer, Steven A. Jones, the man McNaughton calls the &ldquo;good cop&rdquo; in their relationship.</p><p dir="ltr">When I sat down with McNaughton and Jones recently, they talked about how they started making movies together, the inspiration for Henry, and what they love/hate about the horror genre.</p><p><em>The Harvest</em> screens Saturday, Oct. 19 at the AMC River East 21.</p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author"> Alison Cuddy </a> is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook </a> and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram </a></em></p></p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/cult-film-director-john-mcnaughton-returns-shocker-108964 We are all haunted http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/we-are-all-haunted-103464 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Close to home: </strong><strong><a href="http://bachelors-grove.com/"><u>Bachelor&#39;s Grove Cemetery</u></a></strong>, Bremen, Ill.</p></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bachelors%20Grove.jpg" title="Bachelor's Grove Cemetery (Photo by Maureen Searcy) " /></div><p>Bachelor&#39;s Grove is a sparse, run-down cemetery located inside the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve. This disused little plot fell into the hands of vandals in the &lsquo;70s, and a nearby road became <em>the</em> place for drag racing. Ghost hunters claim the Grove is one of the most haunted spots in the Midwest, and believers have reported instances of glowing orbs and even a phantom farmhouse. Many of the lighter tombstones have been moved. But the heavier gravestones remain, including a beveled, checkered monument upon which a <a href="http://graveyards.com/IL/Cook/bachelors/ghost.html"><u>ghostly lady in white</u></a> once appeared on film, according to the Ghost Research Society, though she was never seen in person.<br /><br />My friend and I visited Bachelor&#39;s Grove a few years ago and saw that people still leave items on headstones, like plastic roses and tiny biker teddy bears. But mostly we saw empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, a pastel thong half-buried in the mud and the footprints of either a satyr or a deer. As much as you would love to visit Bachelor&#39;s Grove at night, the risk of getting attacked IRL rises exponentially when the sun sets.</p><p><strong>Body chutes and ladders: <a href="http://therealwaverlyhills.com/"><u>Waverly Hills Sanatorium</u></a></strong>, 4400 Paralee Lane, Louisville, Ky.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Waverlyhillssanatorium.jpg" title="The main entrance to Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Wikimedia Commons/Kris Arnold)" /></div><p>Waverly Hills Sanatorium is an abandoned hospital that once housed up to 400 tuberculosis patients. The sanatorium was a self-contained city that created most of what it needed on site, including clean water, produce and meat. At the time of construction, builders also dug a tunnel from the hilltop hospital down to the base with a cart mechanism for supply delivery.<br /><br />At the height of the TB epidemic, hospital staff decided the high number of deaths caused both low morale and logistical inconvenience, so they began using the tunnel as a <a href="http://www.thecabinet.com/darkdestinations/image.php?sub_id=dark_destinations&amp;letter=w&amp;location_id=waverly_hills_sanatorium&amp;image_id=183"><u>&ldquo;body chute&rdquo;</u></a> to transport corpses. Believers claim to have witnessed orbs, flashes and shadows of past patients in the hospital. The Syfy Channel reality show <a href="http://www.syfy.com/ghosthunters/"><em>Ghost Hunters</em></a> talked about the haunting of room 502 by a nurse who was said to have hanged herself there.<br /><br />This one takes deep pockets, but you can surely shell out the cash to spend the night in Waverly Hills. Not one instance of the building shifting layout and dropping inhabitants into a different dimension has been reported. But then again, who would make it back to report it?</p><p><strong>Message for the Devil: <u><a href="http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/Charleston/old.htm">Old&nbsp;</a></u></strong><strong><a href="http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/Charleston/old.htm">Charleston</a></strong><strong><a href="http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/Charleston/old.htm"><u>&nbsp;Jail</u></a></strong>, 21 Magazine Street, Charleston, S.C.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Charleston%20Jail.jpg" title="Charleston Old Jail (Library of Congress) " /></div><p>Charleston, S.C. is a glorious town for ghost tours. Most guides will take you by the Old Charleston Jail, where some serious meanies, like Lavinia Fisher, were housed until execution. Wikipedia calls Fisher the first American female <a href="http://www.mentalfloss.com/difference/serial-killer-vs-mass-murderer/"><u>mass murderer, but she wasn&rsquo;t</u></a> &mdash; she was a serial killer.<br /><br />Fisher and her husband, John, ran the Six Mile Wayfarer House in the early 1800s. According to one version of the story, the couple would poison wealthy male travelers with tea, just enough to cause them to collapse into bed in a stupor. Later in the night, the bed would collapse, dropping the unsuspecting man into a pit. Some say the pit had spikes.</p><p>But the Fishers were foiled by one thing: a guest who hated tea and only pretended to drink it.<br /><br />Long story short, officials dragged Fisher and her husband to jail and convicted them of highway robbery, a crime punishable by hanging. At the time, South Carolina couldn&rsquo;t execute a married woman &mdash; so the state hanged her husband first.<br /><br />Lavinia hoped to seduce a man into marriage at the last minute as a means of saving her life, so she asked to be hanged in her wedding gown. When no one said yes to the dress, she ruefully said, &ldquo;If anyone&rsquo;s got a message for the Devil, tell me now. I&rsquo;ll be seeing him soon.&rdquo; Believers claim Lavinia&rsquo;s ghost can be seen in the jail, appearing as a blue light in an upper window.</p><p><strong>Fire in the sky: <a href="http://www.brownmountainlights.com/"><u>Brown Mountain Lights</u></a></strong>, Burke County, N.C.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lost%20Cove%20Cliffs.jpg" title="Lost Cove Cliffs Overlook (Photo by Maureen Searcy)" /></div><p>Brown Mountain sits along the Blue Ridge in the Appalachians and is famous for its spectral lights. Usually in late summer and early fall, particularly on nights after it rains, glowing orbs and flashing lights can be seen along the mountainside. These lights have been reported as far back as the 1300s, according to Cherokee legend that tells of a battle between the Cherokee and Catawba. After the battle, torch-bearing maidens collected their fallen warriors. Believers claim the lights are the ghosts of those maidens, still mourning their dead.<br /><br />I grew up in North Carolina, and the story I heard attributed the lights to a terrible mine accident in the 1800s. The miners&rsquo; wives took lanterns to the mountain, searching for their husbands, who were buried alive. The lights are the souls of those forever unsatisfied women.</p><p>In 1922, however, the U.S. Geological Survey sent an agent to <a href="http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1971/0646/report.pdf"><u>investigate</u></a>. He concluded that the orbs were . . . SPOILER . . . train lights. However, in 1916, the Catawba River flooded and washed out train service for several weeks. Believers claim the lights were still visible then &mdash; a ghost train!</p><p>If you seek out the lights, the best places to view them are along Highway 181, which runs along the base of the mountain; at Wiseman&rsquo;s View on Old NC 105; or at Lost Cove Cliffs Overlook at mile 310 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The real danger of looking is hitting a wall of fog (like I did) and barreling off a cliff. When you enter the Parkway, there is an enormous sign warning you to turn back in times of fog. Do that (as I didn&rsquo;t).</p><p><strong>Tread lightly: </strong><u><a href="http://www.damninteresting.com/the-smoldering-ruins-of-centralia/">Centralia, Pa.</a></u></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Centralia.jpg" title="Route 61 through Centralia, Pa. (Wikimedia Commons /JohnDS) " /></div><p>The town of Centralia is burning &mdash; literally. In this case, the town itself is a ghost.<br /><br />For much of the 20<sup>th</sup> century workers in Centralia often burned trash in an abandoned mine they were using as a landfill. One unlucky day in 1962, a vein of coal caught fire. Workers put out the surface flames, but like a cigarette dropped drunkenly on a couch, the coal vein kept smoldering inside.<br /><br />Over the years, the indomitable furnace buckled streets and released toxic gases. The town was abandoned, save for a handful of holdouts &mdash; presumably armed with fire suits, gas masks, a bunch of wire hangers and a lifetime supply of hotdogs. Buildings were razed and nature slowly overtook the town. It&rsquo;s estimated that the area contains enough coal to burn for another 250 years.</p><p>Centralia has inspired a video game, a movie and a <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-26/entertainment/chi-silent-hill-revelation-movie-review-20121026_1_silent-hill-horror-story-cop">just-released 3D sequel, <em>Silent Hill</em></a>. Turns out folks <u><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2179622/The-Door-Hell-Giant-hole-Karakum-Desert-40-YEARS.html">love to throw matches</a></u> into endless supplies of flammable material.</p><p>Of all the places on this list, Centralia is the one I want to visit most &mdash; but won&rsquo;t. Don&rsquo;t go here, people. This is not reverse psychology. You&rsquo;ll fall into a pit of fire. And that will absolutely ruin your Halloween.</p><p><em>Maureen Searcy blogs and collects ghost stories at <u><a href="http://maureensearcy.com/we-are-all-haunted/">We Are All Haunted</a>.</u></em></p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-10/we-are-all-haunted-103464 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 4/25 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-24/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-425-85618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-25/WomanInBlackPress01.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-25/WomanInBlackPress01.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="Kevin McKillip and Joe Foust in Woman in Black (Photo by D. Rice)"></p><p>1. This is a little delayed, but last week <a href="http://reviewsyoucaniews.blogspot.com/2011/04/woman-in-black-first-folio.html">Eric &amp; Andy</a> reviewed <a href="http://www.firstfolio.org/#">First Folio</a>'s <a href="http://www.firstfolio.org/plays/womaninblack.html"><em>The Woman in Black</em></a> and actually liked it, even though it's a horror story. Quoth he: "I usually think [horror plays] are dumb, because they are never scary. I always go to a play and think, 'How...in this proscenium space, can you possibly scare me? I am a grown ass man!'"</p><p>2. Perhaps sitcoms and theater are not as different as we think; <a href="http://www.americanbluestheater.com/season-news/rantoul-die/"><em>Rantoul or Die</em></a> opened this weekend at the American Blues Theater, written by Mark Roberts. He's best known as the Creator/Executive Producer of <em>Mike &amp; Molly</em>, and for his work on <em>Two and a Half Men</em> and <em>The Big Bang Theory</em>. This production is directed by Erin Quigley, who did costume design for <em>Roseanne</em>, so be prepared for what Hollywood thinks life is like if you're blue collar.</p><p>3. In case <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-22/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-422-85549">you've forgotten</a>, the Chicago Improv Festival starts today, and TimeOut has <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/1182469/greetings-from-new-york-city">a list of groups from New York</a> that are winging their way to the (mid)west to remind us to "relax your second city angst."</p><p>4. Sean Graney of The Hypocrites (and just about everywhere else, it appears) directs <a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/seasons/eight/shows/star-witness"><em>Star Witness</em></a> at The Chopin Theater Thursday through Sundays, which is about at the end of it's run. And if you're interested in making a trip to St. Louis on the High Speed Rail that doesn't exist yet, he'll be doing <a href="http://www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org/"><em>The Taming of the Shrew</em></a> in May as part of their Shakespeare Festival.</p><p>5. The Kit Kat Lounge &amp; Supper Club is <a href="http://www.kitkatchicago.com/upcomingevents/">looking for</a> Chicago's best male or female Hollywood impersonator. The contest, hosted by Aurora Sexton, will begin at 10:30 pm tonight, following the normal viewing of <em>Ru Paul's Drag Race</em>, naturally.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org?subject=Morning%20Rehearsal%20Tip">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-24/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-425-85618