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Posted on October 15, 2023

It Came from Television: Spirit of Children Halloween Fundraising Event

Dawn Keetley

On October 20, 2023, Adam Beam – a student at Shippensburg University – will be hosting a 12-hour horror movie marathon, interspersed with interviews with icons of horror, indie film makers, and horror fans and critics. The goal: to raise money for Spirit of Children.

Haven’t heard of Spirit of Children? This is who they are: “Since 2007 Spirit of Children has raised over $110 million to provide funding for art, music, aquatic and pet therapy programs as well as supporting Child Life salaries. Funding has also helped partner hospitals purchase sensory and educational items, toys used for distraction during medical procedures, and much more. 100% of every dollar donated supports the Child Life department in our 154 partner hospitals across the United States and Canada and supports Child Life departments at hospitals in local communities.”

So, who is Adam Beam? I interviewed him to get some information about himself and this important Halloween charity event.

A Bit About Myself:

I am a senior at Shippensburg University with a major in Communications, Journalism, and Media with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. I am also studying for a minor in History. I’m heavily involved in student media here on campus and have been active in these organizations since my freshman year of college. I am currently the General Manager of Shippensburg University Television (SUTV), the Opinion Editor for The Slate and the Human Resources Director for WSYC 88.7FM. I also serve other leadership roles on campus such as president of the Residence Hall Association. After college I would like to be an on-air reporter and multimedia journalist for a broadcast news outlet somewhere here on the east coast.

The Event:

The event is called “It Came From the Television.” Thanks to the permission of Spirit of Children, we will be raising funds for the charity throughout a 12-hour livestream on Friday, October 20th from 8pm to 8am. The event will stream on Twitch and YouTube.

Here is the GoFundMe page, where you can donate. 

Donations collected through the GoFundMe page will officially be live on Monday, October 16th and will be open throughout the remainder of October until midnight on the 30th. We have set our goal for $10,000. However, we’re not only raising money for this great cause, but we also want to celebrate Halloween and horror as a whole. We have 31 guests ranging from directors (Mick Garris and Stephen Cognetti), influencers (Cory McCullough and Molly Henry), podcasters (We Hate Movies and Girl, That’s Scary), and scholars (Dr. Dawn Keetley and Tananarive Due). Just like “The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs” it will be a curated night of classic horror films and independent short films all hosted by myself.

As mentioned, once I have graduated from Shippensburg University I hope to have a career in broadcast journalism. While I may not be reporting the news for the event, this has been a massive learning tool in networking, video editing and content creation, as well as being comfortable on camera. After all, if I can conquer being on camera for 12 straight hours, surely I can handle the 6 o’clock news.

Am I a Fan?

Absolutely! Ever since I overcame my fears of it and finally watched Scream (1996) as a child, I fell in love with the genre. I was also heavily influenced by the YouTube channel Cinemassacre, and their annual Monster Madness series. James Rolfe was a massive inspiration to me in my younger years and it’s still crazy to me that I was able to interview him for this event. Horror is a comfort genre for me. I’ll always be a sucker for a slasher film or found footage flick here and there.

Horror at Shippensburg:

Shippensburg is a very unique place, with a film taste that’s hard to land a finger on. With that being said, of the students I have surrounded myself with over the past four years I have found some fellow genre fans. It seems found footage is always a favorite at social gatherings, as are some of the modern renaissance films like those of Jordan Peele or A24 (Talk to Me especially). I have heard a lot of buzz for newer releases like Saw X, The Exorcist: Believer and Five Nights at Freddys.

Favorite Scary Movie(s):

A tough question to say the least. For me, my favorite horror film rotates between three films: Scream (1996), Fright Night (1985) and Lake Mungo (2007). 

Scream is the horror film that made me love horror films and have been a loyal fan to the franchise since that initial viewing. Fright Night is just so much fun and it’s the movie that made me want to make movies. Lake Mungo is what I consider to be the scariest film ever made and one I find to be as near perfect a horror film, and film in general, can get.

Here is the information about this Halloween event again:

The 12-hour livestream will air on Friday, October 20th from 8pm to 8am. The event will stream on Twitch and YouTube.

And here is the GoFundMe page, where you can donate to this worthy cause. 

Posted on October 4, 2023

Feminine or Feminist? Abortion, Motherhood, and the Traditional Final Girl

Guest Post

It is generally accepted that the final girl in late-twentieth-century slashers evidences a “moral integrity mark[ing] [her] as special” (Gill 19). Less discussed, however, has been the final girl as a mother figure who, in contrast with her peers, shows traditional maternal values (Christensen 40). These maternal qualities include “female self-sacrifice and motherly love” (Nickerson 14). Traditionalists often emphasized motherhood as the most fulfilling outlet for women’s special qualities as “life-bearers” (Jepson 340). The final girl in slasher horror films exhibits many of the traditional womanly qualities of caretaker and comforter.

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Posted on September 28, 2023

“There Are Better Ways to Die”: Final Girls and Ecohorror

Guest Post

Named for their natural settings, The Handmaid’s Tale season four finale, “The Wilderness” (2021) and Land (2021) are both, importantly, women-directed stories that expand ecohorror elements and the feminist horror genre, flipping the Final Girl horror trope. Protagonists June (Elisabeth Moss) and Edee (Robin Wright) are not simply the stereotypical Final Girls walking out of the woods after violence – a too-common horror trope in which girls and women are victims of violence, at the hands of men, in natural spaces where only men “survive.” June and Edee’s stories start after their traumas – horror already experienced – as they walk into the woods for their own types of healing and then walk out as complicated protagonists rather than flat female-victims-as-porn.

Carol Clover (2015) writes that while the Final Girl is a survivor, her role is mostly based in being demeaned and abused, a ‘“victim-hero,” with an emphasis on “victim”’ (p. x). And that victimhood has historically been rape/ trauma porn made for a certain type of male viewer (there are too many examples to list here). But June and Edee’s survival and renewal, rather than trauma, is the focus in these texts as they find redemption in the classic horror natural spaces for a very different audience. In a reversal of typical Final Girl horror tropes, ‘The Wilderness’ and Land empower women in natural spaces rather than using such spaces as instruments of trauma. These texts utilize ecohorror elements but showcase such natural spaces as redemptive for women, extending the Final Girl horror trope past the immediate violence and past its emphasis on women as victims.

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A group of kids dressed in Halloween costumes talk to a girl dressed as a witch who is standing on her porch and is surrounded by many lit pumpkins.
Posted on September 22, 2023

Always Check Your Candy: Talking Trick ‘r Treat

Elizabeth Erwin/ Podcast

In today’s episode, we’re kicking off the spooky season with Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat (2007). Told in an anthology format with non-linear storytelling, the film is a virtual shoutout to Halloween lore making it a cult classic among horror fans. But does it deserve its reputation? We’re breaking it all down today with spoilers so stay tuned!

Mentioned in this episode:

Keetley, Dawn. “Trick or Treating in Halloween Movies.” Horror Homeroom, 7 October 2016. 

McIntosh, Matthew A. “Samhain: The Celtic Inspiration for Modern Halloween.” Brewminate: A Bold Blend of News and Ideas, 30 October 2020.

Vorel, Jim. “In Praise of Trick ‘r Treat, the Ultimate ‘Halloween Night’ Movie,” Paste, 29 October 2017.

Posted on September 15, 2023

Agatha Christie’s Incursion into Folk Horror in Hallowe’en Party (1969)

Dawn Keetley

Initial reviews suggest that Kenneth Branagh’s new Hercule Poirot adaptation, A Haunting in Venice (2023), has little in common with the Agatha Christie novel on which it is supposedly based. While Hallowe’en Party (1969) is set in a small English village, A Haunting in Venice is set in, well, Venice. The latter apparently centers a séance, completely absent from Christie’s novel. There’s an opera singer with a dead daughter – also not in the novel. Indeed, one wonders why this film is being marketed as an adaptation at all.

Perhaps the only thing the novel and film appear to have in common is that both represent an unusual crossing of horror conventions into Hercule Poirot’s world of clues and ratiocination – into the neat and orderly world of detection. That said, the particular horror conventions that infuse novel and film seem quite different. While A Haunting in Venice seems shrouded in the supernatural – harking back to perhaps the best-known of supernatural horror films set in Venice, Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973), Christie’s Hallowe’en Party manifests the influence of folk horror.

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