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Our fourth Deathscribe hails from Tarzana, California, a neighborhood in Los Angeles named after Tarzan. Think I'm kidding? You're wrong. The neighborhood is located on land that was formerly a ranch owned by this guy. But we're not here to talk about Tarzan. We're here to talk about Thomas Misuraca, whose radio play ENTITY is all the scarier for its spare simplicity. Directed by The Factory Theater's Manny Tamayo, this twisted interview between a reporter and an inmate at a mental institution will get under your skin. Plus it's set in Cincinnati...and if that's not scary I don't know what is.

ENTITY
Written by Thomas J. Misuraca
Directed by Manny Tamayo

WildClaw: Where Horror is concerned, what does radio give us that visual media cannot?

Thomas Misuraca: There is nothing scarier than our own imaginations. When you hear about something horrifying, you created your own image of it in your head. That is what radio allows you to do. In visual media, if you show a ghost or a monster or a frightening scene, it may not work for everybody because they don't find that image quite scary. Plus, with radio, the audience needs to listen, and some words can be creepier than any visions.

WC: "Entity" creeped us out. What is it about "Entity" that creeps you out?

TM: I creeped myself out with Sam telling Dillion what may (or may not be) happening to his daughter. Sam talks with such conviction, it becomes hard to doubt him. And then to think that this horrible scene is taking place while Dillion listens and is helpless to act... brrrrrrrrr... [Literary Daemon's note: uh-huh.]

WC: What's the sound cue in your piece that you're excited to hear in foley?

TM: The sound of Dillion banging his head against the metal door. That could be pretty creepy to hear.

WC: What difficulties does a 10-minute constraint present when writing, especially where horror and/or radio are concerned?

TM: It's difficult to create tension/fear in such a short amount of time. But on the other hand, you can't go on too long and lose your audience. In a regular ten minute play you have the difficulty of catching an audience's attention, having a believable story arc in a short time, and then giving an exclamation point at the end. Adding have to scare them on top of that, and it is a little more difficult. But a rewarding challenge.

COME HEAR 'ENTITY' PERFORMED LIVE AT DEATHSCRIBE 2011

Tom Misuraca has had one-act plays produced in New York City, Hollywood, Chicago, Boston, Madison, Long Island and England. He’s won audience favorites at YES’ Summer Shorts, Three Rose Players’ The Writer Speaks, PianoFight’s ShortLived 2.0, Bellarmine University’s Anything Galileo Festival and twice at the Tehachapi Community Theatre’s Ten-Minute Play Competition. www.tommiz.com


Manny Tamayo is thankful for the opportunity to work on DEATHSCRIBE. He is a 9 year Veteran of the Psychic Wars with the Factory Theater. Manny hails from Joliet.
Category:Manny Tamayo -- posted at: 2:39pm CST

You heard me right, boils & ghouls of the Chicagoland area! The folks at Dream Reapers in Melrose Park are doing Jack Skellington proud this December by opening their doors to spread some Holiday Fear width some holiday-themed frights & delights! Dream Reapers is doing their bloody-best not only to help distract you from shopping, but (sadly) they are doing so to help recover some funds that were stolen from their office on Halloween night.



Details can be found on their Facebook event page after you log in, but short and sweet info is 7pm-11pm on Dec. 9 & 10 and 16 & 17 located at 1945 Cornell, Melrose Park, IL 60160.

I say if Christmas can creep into Halloween & Thanksgiving, it's only fair that we creep into Christmas!!! Am I right?
Category:Nightmares -- posted at: 2:10pm CST

The time has come for us to get to know a little bit more about Jessica Wright Buha, our third Deathscribe. Jessica, who resides in the chilly grey moor that is Chicago, Illinois, submitted a radio play about the denizens of another grim, soggy world: Mermaids. But there's nothing Disney about Ms. Buha's southern mermaids. Turn your back and they'll snatch your baby. And that's just the beginning. Directed by multi-talented Carolyn Hoerdemann, "Alabama Mermaid" will be unlike any previous Deathscribe finalist, featuring original music, multiple vocalists, and an eerie underwater playground.

ALABAMA MERMAID
Written by Jessica Wright Buha
Inspired by a story from Darren Meyers' family history
Directed by Carolyn Hoerdemann

WildClaw: Where Horror is concerned, what does radio give us that visual media cannot?

Jessica Wright Buha: Radio lets the images take place in the mind's eye, which is always more horrifying than any visual media, because you're drawing from images and settings that you yourself have encountered. Then there's also the general spookiness (even in the best of times) of listening to disembodied voices telling a story.

WC: We found "Alabama Mermaid" haunting. What is it about "Alabama Mermaid" that haunts you?

JWB: I find most haunting the fact that there are instances in life, such as the death of a child, where we cannot reclaim what we have lost. The ultimate finality of such things, to me, is the most haunting thing there is.

WC: What's the sound cue in your piece that you're excited to hear in foley?

JWB: I'm most excited to hear how the underwater landscape sounds in foley! I wrote it as kinda an echoey, sad place, and I'm eager to hear how the director interprets that.

WC: What difficulties does a 10-minute constraint present when writing, especially where horror and/or radio are concerned?

JWB: With a 10-minute piece, you don't have time to waste on character development, so the actual plot is the crucial thing. I think that theatre today puts an emphasis on intense character development, and that's an aspect that kinda has to go by the wayside when writing a 10-minutue piece, which is quite exciting.

I think that both horror and radio actually lend themselves quite well to the 10-minute constraint, as the genre of horror is pretty ideal for these quick, intense vignettes. The general telling-stories-by-a-campfire feel of radio is likewise very compatible with a shorter piece, especially for modern audiences who may not be used to listening to a radio program for an extended period of time.



Jessica Wright Buha's writings have been performed by the Tempting Fates (Parrot Love, Abbiefest 2011), the Whiskey Rebellion (Sign of Rain, Rhinofest 2011), Tooth and Nail Ensemble (Under Ground, Rhinofest 2010), and Point of Contention Theatre (Acid Rain, Chaos Festival 2009). Locally, she has directed (Owl Theatre’s A New Nation: The American Civil War in Letters, Speeches, and Song), designed props (Lifeline Theatre’s Treasure Island), and worked as a dramaturg (Lookingglass Theatre's Our Future Metropolis). She has been the resident assistant stage manager at Lifeline since 2008, and is a founding member of the Lifeline Storytelling Project, a spoken word group performing weekly in Rogers Park. Upcoming writing projects include the Plagiarists' I Am Saying This Right Now (co-writer), and RhinoFest 2012's Tennyson Spade, both opening in January 2012.

Carolyn Hoerdemann recently appeared in the critically acclaimed OVERWEIGHT, unimportant: MISSHAPE at the Trapdoor Theatre, she just finished up VENUS at the Steppenwolf Garage and the Jeff Recommended SCORCHED at Silkroad Theatre Project. She can be seen at the Goodman this Spring in CAMINO REAL directed by Calixto Bieito. She is thrilled to be part of the best night of horror in Chicago, directing the beautiful ALABAMA MERMAID. Thanks to all the WildClaw folk for having her!
Category:Deathscribe 2011 -- posted at: 1:33pm CST

For the second installment in this series, we venture west. Colin Johnson made his submission one dark and stormy night from the steaming, undead-strewn marshes of Berkeley, California. THE DARK MUSE was that submission, a radio play that will have old school radio buffs salivating and shaking in their boots. This Poe-referencing chiller, which will be directed by Chicago star Kimberly Senior, dives into the psyche of its manic, tortured narrator.

THE DARK MUSE
Written by Colin Johnson
Directed by Kimberly Senior

WildClaw: Where Horror is concerned, what does radio give us that visual media cannot?

Colin Johnson: True terror comes from the unknown, the unseen. Radio is an ideal format for channeling raw, primal fear because it's not about what you see -- it's about what the imagination suggests.

WC: "The Dark Muse" creeped us out. What is it about "The Dark Muse" that creeps you out?

CJ: What creeped me out about the Dark Muse was the vulnerability of being at the whim of your shortcomings. With one who's obsessed with creation, as the writer is, the moment he's blocked is the moment his focus will latch onto whatever peaks his interest. It can be booze, women, drugs, etc. In this case, it just so happened to be horrible, mysterious sounds wafting from a nearby apartment. What really creeped me out, however, was the positive effect that the human monster Reynolds has on the main character's creativity. That was not originally intended, and once the story organically veered in that direction, I ran with it. Inspiration can come from some very dark places, and the implications of that is pretty scary.

WC: What's the sound cue in your piece that you're excited to hear in foley?

CJ: I'm excited to hear the bizarre mash-up of noises coming from the apartment. I wrote it to keep it relatively open for interpretation, but they should contradict nature, creating a bizarre, foreign symphony of madness. And the hand saw. Excited to hear that nasty bit.

WC: What difficulties does a 10-minute constraint present when writing, especially where horror and/or radio are concerned?

CJ: The difficulty of writing in super-short format is compressing the narrative. I've done a lot of sketch comedy as of late, which keeps you frugal as a storyteller. You learn to gauge how quickly an idea will run its course. What I did with The Dark Muse, though, was originally approach it as a short story, on account of the extensive monologues. Then I found myself reading some Poe and listening to Tom Waits (Mule Variations, "What's He Building in There") and decided to center the piece around the external stimuli of the character instead of his interior monologues. This streamlined the musings and, after some hefty chopping, it seemed like the mind unraveling proved fertile ground for radio.

As for horror, I've found that, unlike many genres, horror works best in it's rawest form. The simpler the better. The more ambiguous the better. There should never be certain answers, only lingering imagery, unanswerable questions and one or two new phobias.

Good horror knows to not overstay its welcome.


COME HEAR 'THE DARK MUSE' PERFORMED LIVE AT DEATHSCRIBE 2011

Raised in the gloom of the Pacific Northwest, Colin Johnson developed a knack for all things macabre early in life. After studying theatre and film production at Eastern Washington University, he migrated to the Bay Area in 2008 in relentless pursuit of the golden impulse. He's worked with a plethora of Bay Area theatre/film organizations, co-founded BattleStache Studios, works as a writer/producer on Daomu from Image comics and slings literature at Pegasus Books in Berkeley. And he's right behind you.



Kimberly Senior is a Chicago based freelance director. Chicago credits include: Want, The North Plan (Steppenwolf), Madagascar, The Overwhelming and The Busy World is Hushed (Next), Waiting for Lefty (American Blues), Old Times, The Conquest of the South Pole, Uncle Vanya, Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, Fuddy Meers, and Knives in Hens (Strawdog), Bad Dates and Mouse Cop (Fox Valley Repertory), Bug and The Pillowman (Redtwist Theatre), Thieves Like Us (The House Theatre), All My Sons and Dolly West's Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre) among others. Regional: A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players), Mauritius (Theatre Squared, Fayetteville, AR). Upcoming: Disgraced (ATC), The North Plan (Theater Wit), After the Revolution (Next) and Cripple of Inishmaan (Redtwist). Kimberly is an Artistic Associate at Next Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, and Chicago Dramatists. She is on the faculty of Columbia College Chicago (2010 Excellence in Teaching Award Winner). Kimberly lives in Evanston with scenic designer, Jack Magaw, and her children, Noah and Delaney, and is a proud member of SDC. www.kimberlysenior.net
Category:Colin Johnson -- posted at: 2:16pm CST

By Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Getting people to reflect on fear in a post-9/11 world is no easy business, according to Northwestern University Professors David and Debra Tolchinsky. But the two have worked hard to do just that in an exhibit of art opening with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11.

A husband and wife who teach courses in horror writing and horror film production in Northwestern's School of Communication and whose collaborative artwork leans toward the macabre, the Tolchinskys are curators of "The Horror Show" at Chicago City Arts Gallery, 410 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, running through Feb. 23. Among other works, it features art by Northwestern faculty and recent master's of fine arts graduates.

The exhibit of oil paintings, sound pieces, video installations, interactive sculpture, photography, new media and film is, like much work in the horror genre, about crossing boundaries and uncovering that which is amiss, deliberately hidden, obfuscated or unthinkable.

"Horror has been a staple in art and literature for centuries, and, as indicated by opening weekend box office receipts of zombie flick 'I Am Legend,' it remains a staple today," says Debra Tolchinsky. "Our exhibit - which is not meant for children -- is designed to raise questions about why the horror genre remains popular in a world in which media violence and public numbness are the norm."

"The Horror Show," say its curators, is less about eliciting a scream than about inducing anxiety "by presenting horror from the inside out." It has less in common with the blood and guts horror of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies than with the more psychological but still visceral horror of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense."

An elegant photograph by Northwestern University artist and professor Jeanne Dunning titled "In Bed," explores the fragmented body - a frequently repeated theme in the horror genre and "The Horror Show." A depiction of a disembodied hand in a pile of bed clothes, its horror is compounded when viewed with Jean Marie Casbarian's photograph of what looks like a headless spirit or with digital prints of a young girl who, according to artist Christopher Schneberger, developed the ability to levitate after losing her legs.

"As curators, we chose works that not only have their own disturbing power but that dialogue with one another," says Debra Tolchinsky. To chilling effect, "The Genius of Coolwhip," an installation by Northwestern media critic Jeffrey Sconce, embeds the words of a would-be sexual predator from NBC's popular "To Catch a Predator" in upbeat dance music. Not far away is Josh Faught's work in coffee, pen and ink, "The First Person I Ever Came Out to Was a Convicted Sexual Predator."

Perhaps it is Debra Tolchinsky's own work that best illustrates the ideas of perception, deception and the difficulty of self-truth that "The Horror Show" explores. In "Smoke and Mirrors," the curator/artist presents a mirror that provides a glimpse of a viewer's reflection before engulfing it in smoke and snuffing it out entirely.

A catalogue, also called "The Horror Show," accompanies the exhibit. In addition to writings by Northwestern Professors Dunning and Sconce are essays by cultural critic Laura Kipnis, Northwestern professor of radio/television film and author of "Against Love: A Polemic;" Pam Thurschwell, a British academic who explores the intersection of psychoanalysis, the supernatural and emerging technologies; and Timothy Murray, professor of English at Cornell University.

For exhibit information, call (847) 373-6198. For gallery hours or directions, call (773) 816-2336.

Wendy Leopold is the education editor. Contact her at w-leopold@northwestern.edu

Category: -- posted at: 7:07am CST

We're really effing excited about this year's DEATHSCRIBE Finalists. But just who are these literary geniuses of the sonically spooky, the musically macabre, the aurally atrocious? In this five part mini-interview series, you'll get to know a little bit about each twisted writer, and their equally demented director.

We're going to kick things off with two familiar faces: Chris Hainsworth and Carolyn Klein, who will be teaming up on Chris's play, Legacy. Chris is well-known to DEATHSCRIBE audiences, as he has been a finalist all four years. Damn sir. Carolyn directed last year's winning radio play, The Change in Buckett County by David Schmidt, and performed in the first DEATHSCRIBE in 2008.

LEGACY
Written by 2009 Bloody Axe Winner Christopher Hainsworth
Directed by Carolyn Klein

WildClaw: You've been included in every Deathscribe so far, clearly your radio plays are exceptional. What's your approach to writing for radio, any tips and tricks you care to share?

Chris Hainsworth: First - thank you.

You really have to take the medium into account. Both to take advantage of the perks and to accept the limitations. As opposed to prose novel or short stories which have the advantage of allowing you to know everything that is happening both physically and mentally in the moment, or film which opens up the story to editing and controlling where the audiences attention is focused, or even the stage which can give you the elements of visual shocks and physical spacial relationships of the participants - I know it sounds obvious - but with Audio - you just have the sounds and the words.

The challenge is conveying the same amount of information without the benefit of one of your five senses. And for human beings - one of the two main senses that alert us to danger.

The challenge comes in conveying this information in a seemingly organic way.

I always try to avoid having characters DESCRIBE actions to another character in the room because they are both there - they can both see what is happening - why on earth would they say it out loud? 'Dear God Frank! Why are you jamming that strange dagger with those Celtic runes on it repeatedly in and out of your eye! I must now run up these rickety stairs and grab the sacrificial bowl and pour this jar of Holy Water into it in order to break the Gypsy Curse that was placed on you before all of these events happened!"

If you find yourself having to go into a detailed description of what the sound/foley is - generally you need to scrap it and start over. For two reasons - 1. Either the sound should be instantly identifiable so as not to impede the story or 2. Suggestive enough to get the audience's imaginations to do the work for you. Having been to all of the Deathscribes, you would be amazed with what can be done with a several stalks of celery or a tub of gack.

In any medium - exposition is always the bear waiting to attack you. I always try to either find a way to convey as much possible through dialogue or come up with a convention that allows someone to talk directly to the audience. Think about what your characters know and why they would be talking about whatever you need to convey.

On the less technical side - start with character. What do these people want? And what are they doing to try and get it. Everyone - especially when you only have ten minutes - should have a clear goal and objectives. I try to make sure no one is just fodder.

WC: "Legacy" creeped us out. What is it about "Legacy" that creeps you out?

CH: You can tell a lot about what an author is afraid of by what they write. With the exception of Career Day - which was more of a lark on the hypocrisy of any adult/child relationship and how that can be perverted - the other pieces that have been selected for Deathscribe seem thematically linked with the idea of becoming trapped or being unable to move on. In Remembrance it was literally being trapped by your own memories. In D'arque House it was being trapped by grief. In Legacy - it is being trapped by your anger and the wrongs that you believe have been done to you. I know enough to not go into the spooky haunted house. I know not to go to the camp or town where people have been hacked to death for years running. I know that once crap starts moving freely around your house or voices start coming out of your TV - you get out. I guess what I am most afraid of is not exterior forces planning my demise - the other - but those things inside myself - the things that make me fixate on the negative - the inability to let go of things that even I know I would be better off without. I think that we are more dangerous to ourselves than the monster hiding under the bed is. So to me - what is creepy is getting so caught up in something - an emotion - an obsession - that it leads you places that you would be better off not going. And that your life could have been saved had you only been able to let it go.

WC: What's the sound cue in your piece that you're excited to hear in foley?

CH: Oooh. Not a whole lot of eerie sound cues in this one. But I am excited to see what a director might want to do with some. Oh - and not foley - but I am excited to hear "the switch."


COME HEAR 'LEGACY' PERFORMED LIVE AT DEATHSCRIBE 2011


Chris Hainsworth
hadn't really written anything until 2006 when Hank Boland created the Strawdog Writing Initiative henceforth to be known as the Strawdog Hit Factory, where he matriculated with WildClaw Artistic Director Aly Renee Amidei. The focus was writing 10 minute audio plays of any genre. He turned in a ten minute piece that was actually thirty minutes long called "Teeth." A horror story about a slacker who is given the ability to read minds and the sad end he comes to. Since then, ten minute audio plays have become a staple of his writing. The greatest challenge always being to keep it to TEN MINUTES. Now an ensemble member at Lifeline, he is currently adapting Hunger, the debut novel by Elise Blackwell for their 2011-2012 season. When not writing - Chris also spends his time acting, recently playing the titular role in Lifeline's The Count of Monte Cristo. Chris would like to thank his wife, Katie (also an award winning playwright) for her continual support and for her editorial input on all of his work.


Carolyn Klein is delighted to be back after directing last year's Bloody Axe Winner, "The Change in Buckett County" by David Schmidt. Carolyn has also directed That Was Then with Seanachai Theatre Company - where she is a proud Ensemble member and Mr. Spacky and Elephant with The Strange Tree Group where she is Artistic Associate. Additionally, she has directed The Artist Needs a Wife at the side project, for Strawdog’s Hit Factory and Dry Hump Sketch Comedy. While pursuing her MFA at Indiana University - Bloomington, Carolyn directed Fool for Love, Lysistrata and Art Whore. As an actor, Carolyn has worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Next Theatre, Seanachai, Strawdog Theatre, Profiles Theatre, The Hypocrites, Wildclaw Theatre, Theo Ubique, The Strange Tree Group and New Leaf.
Category:Legacy -- posted at: 4:49am CST

Horror Movies To Watch on Thanksgiving by MoviesOnline

Thankskilling: This one you can currently watch on Netflix video on demand and I have been meaning to check it out for awhile. The low budget indie horror film has the hilarious tag line of ‘gobble gobble mother f**ker’. It is about a homicidal turkey that starts killing college kids during Thanksgiving.





Blood freak: Released in 1972 it’s a film that is a good testimony to why you never want to give hitchhikers a ride. A biker gives a stranded girl a ride home and her mad scientist father turns him into a giant murderous turkey monster that goes after drug dealers. Does it get any more low rent or awesome then that? I think not.





Home sweet home: Think Black Christmas with this one, only with a Thanksgiving angle. In Home Sweet Home a 1981 horror movie a mental patient escapes from the mental institute on thanksgiving to join in the celebrations but unfortunately for the Bradley family his celebrations are less then thankful.

Eli Roths Thanksgiving Faux Movie Trailer: Ok so admittedly not a real movie but Eli Roth is working to spin this one into a feature film. The short film was featured on GRINDHOUSE and is the epitomy of grindhouse awesomeness. Check it out below.



Direct download: WOjSRoxc6mgamphlen_USampfeatureplayer_embeddedampversion3.
Category: -- posted at: 12:22am CST

Because Mother Nature is a (bigger) bad ass (than you). Visit the filmmakers' website to learn more about them.
Category:Mother Nature -- posted at: 9:52am CST

A new series called Prophets of Science Fiction on the Science Channel starts tonight. Filmmaker Ridley Scott brings together folks to discuss the use of science in science fiction and the first episode centers on Mary Shelley's creation, Frankenstein.

Category:frankenstein -- posted at: 6:32am CST


The Doll!

Introduced Lady Morlock to Argento's masterpiece Profundo Rosso last night. That film... so beautiful. So glorious. So endless.

And that Doll!



I believe she enjoyed it, although she cursed Argento's casual approach to animal suffering... and plot. But she recognized the power of the moments that have kept recurring in my nightmares in the twenty years since Charley Sherman first introduced me to this film.

Especially... THAT DAMNED DOLL! Everything about that thing screams wrongness! The giggle. The flailing arms. That horrible sneer.

Lord, I hate that doll.

What do you think? What's your favorite creepy doll? Chucky? The Saw thing in the tricycle? Anthony Hopkin's buddy in Magic? The Jonathan Coulton song?
Category:Dario Argento -- posted at: 5:37am CST