When you’re a genre writer, horror or otherwise it is difficult not to become cynical, jaded, a little desensitized and discouraged for the future of your passion. Then every now and again a visionary appears that not only shifts the rules but changes the game all together.
The Spinsters of Horror website co-created with Jess and Kelly, embodies all that is pure, exciting and adrenaline fuelled in everything celebrating horror. Not only does it cover in a comprehensive, intelligent view point the history of horror films, SOH boldly delves deep into the fray of the paranormal and esoteric.
Sin and Tonic is a video blog that discusses obscure horror films with a twist. Co-hosts Kelly and Ali concoct custom cocktails and proceed to get their spin on while chatting about blood curdling films and the makers that conceived each.
I could ramble on and on about the innovation, enchantment and rejuvenated belief in the future of horror at the hands of Spinsters of Horror and Sin and Tonic. Celebrating the tail end of Women in Horror Month and without further adieu I give you a most hair-raising interview unleashed when I recently caught up with Ms. Kelly Gredner.
DAVE GAMMON: I want to welcome my very special guest at this time, one half of the Sin and Tonic duo and Spinster #2 in the Spinsters of Horror faction, Kelly Gredner. Kelly, as a cinematic vlogger and decorated advocate for all thing’s horror, let’s first discuss the Spinsters of Horror. Along with Spinster #1, Jess, how did the idea of this unholy union come to light?
KELLY GREDNER: I have known Jess for almost 20 years actually! Over that time, I have slowly been integrating her into the horror genre and two years ago she started a podcast with a friend of hers. Once that fell apart due to creative differences, she asked me if I wanted to start a horror project with her, one that fell more in line with what she wanted to create. I needed a hobby and the Spinsters of Horror was (un)born.
DG: One of the many noteworthy aspects of the Spinsters of Horror website is the podcasts portion titled I Spit On Your Podcast. Often centering on paranormal or esoteric aspects, reflect on how your intrigue in these areas helped shape the format.
KG: After much podcast research, we decided to bring a little something different to the table. We wanted to blend research, analysis and our passion for the genre into something of our own creation. Our podcast emphasizes our feminist views while being inclusive and accessible to everyone. It’s lightly academic and fun! The horror genre is rich and diverse in narrative and themes, so we wanted our project to showcase that which is why each month we choose a different theme and run wild with it.
DG: As a celebrated fan of horror, especially film, often analyzing or dissecting the works of varying films, do you ever feel desensitized towards the product or have the passion tarnished as a result?
KG: Honestly, after six months into the project, I felt a little burnt out. It’s a lot of homework outside of a full-time job. It also sometimes leaves little time for non-project related movie watching. However, after a short break in December, I am back into research and review mode! The passion is always there, and Spinsters of Horror has made me watch a lot more films that perhaps I never would have watched so I am hugely thankful for that.
DG: In 2019 it is evident the horror genre is very much alive. Where do you see future trends of terror developing, especially in the film industry?
KG: I believe we are in the decade of the highly thoughtful horror film. With films like Lights Out, Get Out, The Babadook, It Follows, The Witch, Train to Busan, and Hereditary, we are seeing horror blended with incredibly moving, and interesting, human experiences. I was spooked by Lights Out but also bawled like a baby at the end. I couldn’t believe it! I am excited to see what the future brings for this amazing and versatile genre, one I have been a fan of for 25 years.
DG: We’re well into the Women in Horror month. Who have been some of your main influences? What works do you find yourself gravitating towards the most?
KG: What has been inspiring recently to me as a horror fan, especially a female identifying horror fan, is Rue Morgue’s Women with Guts by Alison Lang and fellow podcaster, and horror fan, Alexandra West. She continues to create awe in me with how down to earth, intelligent, and insightful she is. I adore her passion for horror and the two books she has written: The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle: Final Girls and a New Hollywood Formula and The New Wave of French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity. I enjoy her work on the Faculty of Horror podcast as well. I love academic horror books and a newly discovered writer/editor is Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. Her work on the controversial rape-revenge genre is outstanding.
Also, for Women in Horror Month, Jess and I have created our Top 5 Sisters in Horror, please see our Bio section on the website for those.
DG: By extension, who do you feel is arguably the most underrated, whether actress, director, screen writer, etc. in the horror business today?
KG: For without a doubt I would say writer and director Jim Mickle. He has written and directed three wonderful films that I adore in many ways – We Are What We Are, Mulberry Street and Stake Land. He weaves social allegory into some dire human and emotional experiences while producing dark, gritty and compelling entertainment. He also co-wrote the aforementioned films with the incredible actor, Nick Damici, who starred in Stake Land and Mulberry Street. From anticapitalistic undertones in urban New York to religious zealots in a post apocalyptic, vampire waste land, Jim Mickle is a favorite of mine that no one seems to talk about.
DG: At the risk of unsettling the equilibrium, I’d like to come full circle and discuss Sin and Tonic. A most unique twist of combining the love of horror and custom cocktails. Describe how this conception was first conceived and then developed?
KG: Ali, my Co-Host, and I were drunk one night watching Full Moon’s Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-O-Rama when we thought we should do just this….but on camera! Ali and I are both huge Full Moon and Empire fans, along with being totally into Charles Band and all that he represents. We wanted to do something niche, unique and fun. Ali gathered some of her film friends and Sin & Tonic came to fruition. Our crew has since changed and is now Ali, myself and our Editor/Director/Cinematographer Brandon Mercer. We shoot our episodes in Brandon’s apartment using some fancy equipment. It’s a total blast!
DG: The backdrop while filming is often draped with varying applicable memorabilia. What is your single most cherished item acquired and your most memorable encounter?
KG: My single greatest horror item is the limited run copy of the pop-up book from The Babadook. Right after the highly successful release of that movie (that I personally absolutely loved), Director Jennifer Kent produced only 2000 of these incredible replicas. Mine is #403. It is stunning.
I got Dee Wallace some hot tea at Horror-Rama in Toronto last November. She was lovely.
DG: What’s on the dawn of horizons for Kelly Gredner for the balance of 2019?
KG: Spinsters of Horror continues to grow, and we have exciting plans for 2019! You will see us showcase John Carpenter, Space Horror, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Part 2 of our Horror Icon Series with the Friday the 13th franchise, among others. July is also our ONE YEAR anniversary so that will be a special month for us. Sin & Tonic is getting on a set schedule with this solidified crew with plans to continue making fun and original content. You might even see us live streaming at some conventions this year!
DG: I want to thank you for this most enlightening, entertaining interview and may the nightmares continue to come in the most progressive and prosperous ways.
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