I have mentioned from time to time that my husband is a writer. He tends to like topics that lean toward the macabre, especially as they pertain to classic monsters such as vampires, zombies, werewolves, and ghosts. This love of the dark comes from his mother, by the way, who had a tradition of staying up late with then 12-year old Jamie watching old monster movies on a Friday night. Funny how something like that can turn creepy into strangely comforting.
Anyhoo, Jamie’s spine-tingling creativity really comes to life (or rises up from the grave) every October. He’s normally quite booked for the month, giving talks on the vampire tradition, reading original ghost stories, performing songs about dead men, etc. It’s all rather charming. On Friday night, the fam went over to the Bismarck Downtown Artist Coop for a screening of two collaborative short films called “Cornerboys” and “House of the Yaga.” He wrote and read the pieces, family friend Ali LaRock created the amazing artwork, and Jamie’s childhood friend Kevin Smith wrote and recorded the atmospheric music. These films are the first two of a planned trilogy of sorts (though the stories are unconnected).
I’m sharing them here as a gift to my readers and friends, offered in the Halloween spirit of good fun and creativity. Perhaps you will enjoy them simply as films with exciting thrills and chills. Or maybe you could use them with your kids/students to explore folklore traditions, storytelling, narrative, and/or poetic form. Or discuss the possibilities and strengths of creative collaboration. If you have a music lover, really turn it up and discuss how the sounds reflect and/or foreshadow the films’ events (if you really want to hear all the layers and whispers, try hooking up your computer to your stereo speakers). Want other ideas? Let me know in the comments section of this post; last year, “Cornerboys” was used as a focus of study in a high school in France, and Jamie can talk to you about how you can use films like this as a part of your curriculum.
However you enjoy them, don’t forget the popcorn. Happy Halloween!
If that wasn’t enough for you, Jamie also had a short ghost story called “Singing By the Fire” released on Pseudopod on October 5th. You can listen to it here. And if you want even more, go on over to his website.