Inuit Spirit of Death: The Keelut

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Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

What is the Keelut?

Aggressive Keelut, Inuit Spirit of Death
Photography by Nick Bolton

This creature is an Inuit legend, one who hunts people during the winter, but it’s not actually a predator in the strictest sense–it’s a spirit of the Netherworld. The Keelut (key-loot), also known as the Qiqirn (key-kern) is sometimes referenced as a spirit of death or an evil earth spirit. While it is actually a spirit, it takes the form of what some believe to be a true cryptid. To be honest, it’s hard to say which is a more frightening aspect of this creature, that it’s an immense, malevolent, black, hairless dog with the sole purpose of preying upon humans, or that it’s also a spirit so it doesn’t necessarily abide by the laws of physics. The Keelut’s mythological cousin is the Church Grim or Barguest of Great Britain, who stalks those traveling in the night which results in an untimely death.

The major difference between the Church Grim and the Keelut is the fact that the Keelut doesn’t have any hair, except for on its feet. They say that this makes their tracks in the snow disappear easily, which gives the advantage of stalking prey without being noticed. Aside from their predatory nature, these creatures have other similarities that transcend the separation of culture—both are known to act as a harbinger of death, and otherwise feast upon the dead. In Inuit folklore, the Keelut is known to attack lone travelers, the sight of one would cause disorientation, then eventually hypothermia and death.

Hold the Dark (2018): Bringing Alaskan Horror Legends to Life in a New Way

Hold the Dark Horror book featuring Keelut

This Alaskan creature of terror was made to take the sidelines in William Giraldi’s book Hold the Dark: A Novel (2014) and now a Netflix original film Hold the Dark (2018) when the residents of Keelut, a remote (fictional) Alaskan village, have been the unfortunate targets for a dangerous pack of wolves. These wolves have successfully taken three children before the main story takes place.  It’s certainly a spin to the original tale of the Keelut, but it pays special homage to the Inuit folklore wherein it was born.

While it certainly didn’t get rave reviews from this critic, I have a personal bias when it comes to films that include Alaska and the surrounding culture, even if it’s not terribly accurate.

Investigating the Origins of the Necronomicon

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Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

You’ve come across an ancient book, not just some dust-covered antique that you found at your local bookstore; no, this was gifted to you with the confidence that you would heed the warning on the attached note and stash the book in a lock-box far away from prying eyes that may fall upon the archaic and mysterious pages of this increasingly enticing tome. Its pages call out to you, begging you to gaze upon them and to unleash the horrors that reside within. What would you do? Well, if you’ve seen any horror movie ever, you’d know that the ancient and creepy compendium of nightmares you’re holding is, in fact, what you can single-handedly bring about the apocalypse with–however, just like every horror movie you’ve ever seen, you’re probably going to open that damn book.

Stop it, Pandora. Don’t you dare open that goddamn book.

Necronomicon Prop
Photography by Staffan Vilcans

You opened the book, didn’t you? This is why we can’t have nice things.

Don’t worry, you’re not the first one. That’s part of what makes movies like Evil Dead (1981) so much fun, the horny group of teenagers fall victim to curiosity and another one–or three, or four–bite the collective dust. The curiosity may be unbearable but when it comes to the Necronomicon, a mythical book of demonic power, you should probably leave well enough alone.

What exactly is the Necronomicon?

Depending on where you know the Necronomicon from there may be different lore attached, but legend tells us that the original Necronomicon was written by the mad Arabian poet Abdul Alhazred. After spending a decade roaming the ruined cities of Babylon and Memphis he completed his tome before he descended further into madness and by A.D. 738 was devoured by an invisible monster according to Lovecraft. The actual name Necronomicon is, according to Lovecraft translated to, “the book of the customs (or laws) of the dead,” but other translations include, “the book of dead names.”

It is said that his manuscript was translated into Greek by scholars in the 10th century then burned in the middle ages, which only a few copies were said to survive; which of course allows us all to enjoy the delightfully awful antics that follow the contents being read aloud. Despite being a product of H.P. Lovecraft’s strange and mystifying imagination, it was inspired by real historic texts such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It has been said in certain sources that Lovecraft confessed the original idea for the Necronomicon came to him in a dream and he first showcased his idea in the short story The Hound (1924).

What’s Actually in the Book?

In the first appearance of the Necronomicon, it is referred to in passing as two grave robbers steal a jade amulet, which was, “the thing hinted of in the forbidden Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.” While Lovecraft may not have been happy with The Hound, it along with The Nameless City (1921) began the universe that would become the center of the Cthulhu mythos.

What else is really in the book though? From what Lovecraft divulges within his stories, Alhazred spoke mostly of the Old Ones and it makes sense that a book like the Necronomicon could only exist in a universe where ancient, god-like beings would bring their wrath by those who sought to wake them. In fact, the book was even said to contain the very passages that would wake the Old Ones and inspire madness just from viewing its pages. In Dunwich Horror, Lovecraft gives us a quite lengthy excerpt from the Necronomicon, speaking specifically about Yog-Sothoth. A much more popular creature, Cthulhu, is also mentioned as a monster who lies at the bottom of the ocean.

In fact, many fans tend to think about the Necronomicon as a sort of bible for Lovecraft’s pantheon of the immensely powerful extraterrestrial beings. The book appears within eighteen of his own stories, more often than any other real or fictional ancient tome that he was known to reference. Later on, with the adaptations of other authors, the book gained more of a reputation as a book of spells and rituals, but Lovecraft’s original intention for the book lay mostly in mythology and origin stories for the creatures that were the foundation of his universe.

Within the context of horror Lovecraft’s portrayal of the history of our world, in the times before man, as a universe controlled by beings so terrifying that just reading about them had to potential to drive a person completely insane. This was the birth of cosmic horror, as many of the stories Lovecraft developed ended with at least one of the characters descending into the depths of madness after flipping through the Necronomicon because these creatures were so beyond human comprehension that even thinking about them could be mentally devastating. It would be interesting to see how Lovecraft might feel to know that eighty-two years later there would actually be people convinced that his Necronomicon was an authentic and evil book of spells.

Is the Necronomicon Real?

The short answer is no, the Necronomicon is a purely fictional book that was brought to life through the creative genius of H.P. Lovecraft. To be fair though, Lovecraft did a pretty great job creating a comprehensive universe with its own history, deities, and forbidden lore, which added the element of cosmic horror to his tales. While in reality, the Necronomicon doesn’t exist, there are more than half a dozen books with the same title that you can find at bookstores–these books are all works inspired by, or containing Lovecraft’s book.

The practice of developing such a rich background in fictional literature would inspire other writers to do the same; renowned author J.R.R. Tolkien would follow suit when he brought Middle Earth to life. Lovecraft’s immersive method caught fire with other writers, such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith, who regularly had exchanges with him and even expanded upon the universe by using the Necronomicon and all of the related Chtulhu mythos in their own work. Lovecraft also included his peer’s creations in his own tales as well, as an example, Smith came up with the idea of The Book of Eibon, which was mentioned within his own body of work. Lovecraft even included Robert Bloch’s De Vermis Mysteriis, a book which was said to have the power to summon demons from alternate dimensions, in his stories The Haunter of the Dark and The Shadow Out of Time.

As an avid letter-writer, Lovecraft quite frequently mentioned the Necronomicon in his correspondences to his colleagues where he suggested that his inspiration was also derived from Gothic writing; Gothic writing often made use of the idea of ancient texts and forbidden literature. There was a tendency among authors of the time to do their best to blur the lines between fiction and reality. An author that Lovecraft quite openly admired, Edgard Allan Poe, would go to extremes in an attempt to convince his audience that his stories were true–he even published his 1844 story The Balloon-Hoax as a legitimate article in the New York’s The Sun. As can be seen, by radio performances likeWar of the Worlds by H.G. Wells in 1938, as well as found-footage movies like The Blair Witch Project (1999), the V/H/S series, and the [REC], it is something that modern horror culture still strives to do.

Is Jeepers Creepers Based on a True Story?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is Jeepers Creepers all fiction, or could it be that there was some true story inspiration for such a terrifying opening, not to mention the bloody events that follow?

Victor Salva’s millennial cult classic Jeepers Creepers (2001) was an important film in the lives of many budding horror fans. Its story of a brother and sister’s road trip crossing paths with the twisted and deadly Creeper captivated audiences in its day. Though packed with genre clichés and predictable cheese, the film features one of the more imaginative and effectively chilling openings of the 2000s; a long and sparse shot of a rural stretch of road where an increasingly menacing-looking van approaches our protagonists’ car. While the rest of the flick doesn’t quite retain the nail-biting tension offered here, Jeepers Creepers still remains a fun and gory horror outing for nostalgic or less-demanding viewers.

The Horrific Story of Dennis DePue

Dennis and Marilynn DePue


Here we introduce Dennis DePue, a disturbed murderer and a direct influence on the character of the Creeper himself. Dennis’ story, and that of his wife Marilynn and their three children, follows unsettlingly similar beats to that of Salva’s 2001 pseudo-slasher, though the reality is far more horrifying than any fictional, bat-winged killer scarecrow could hope to be.

Marilynn had many, many opportunities to treat me fairly during this divorce, but she chose to string it out, trick me, lie to me. And when you lose your wife, children, and home, there’s not much left. I was too old to start over.

Dennis DuPue

Following building tensions on an already tense marriage, forty-six-year-old Dennis DePue had murdered his forty-eight-year-old wife Marilynn earlier that day, beating and pushing her down a flight of stairs, as reports go. He carried her body to the car, telling their children that he was taking her to the hospital. They never saw her again. her body found by an eerie old school bus also ties back to Jeepers Creepers as it is similar how the creeper stores his bodies.

DePue was found only when his story aired on Unsolved Mysteries. Having changed his name and attracting a new girlfriend, Mary, DePue was living happily as Hank when his story was made public. After he disappeared and Mary discovered who he really was, she contacted the police immediately and DePue was located within just four hours. After firing a couple of warning shots at approaching officers, DePue then turned the gun on himself, thus ending the grim saga.

Comparing the intro to DePue’s Story

AndersYdna on youtube got creative and spliced together the intro from Jeepers Creepers and the Unsolved Mysteries story about Dennis DePue to show the similarities. It’s a quick 10 min watch.

The Thornton’s True Story Inspiration

April 15th, 1990. A couple, Ray and Marie Thornton, set off on their weekly routine of a peaceful country drive outside of Coldwater, Michigan. Little did they know that their usual Sunday tradition would this week land them in the centre of a horrific and bloody mystery. As they drove south on Snow Prairie Road a strange van revved loudly from behind as it sped past them. Marie noticed that the van’s license plate began with “GZ”, exclaiming, “jeez, he’s really in a hurry”.

Some miles down the road, the Thorntons passed an old schoolhouse where they saw the mystery van a second time. The van was parked between the school and a huge tank, and its driver was carrying a blood-soaked blanket across the grounds. Not long after this, the now-clearly-dangerous stranger was behind them once more, this time tailgating them within inches for at least two miles. As Ray pulled off the highway, the van parked itself at the side of the road and the bold Thorntons decided to swing back in an attempt to see the rest of its license plate. When the mystery driver was seen changing his license plate, the Thorntons decided to head back to the schoolhouse where they found the bloodied blanket partly stuffed into a rabbit hole. They immediately went to the police.

Jeepers Creepers Film poster featuring a scary eye peeking through a sack

Is Jeepers Creepers Based on a True Story?

While many Jeepers Creeper fans will see a lot of similarities between what the brave Thorntons did (and saw) that day and the establishing minutes of Jeepers Creepers, the reality is no less harrowing than Salva’s reimagining. Although DuPue seems to have a direct influence on the Creeper it does not appear to be based purely on him.

https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Dennis_DePue
https://www.truecrimeedition.com/post/dennis-depue
https://reallifevillains.miraheze.org/wiki/Dennis_DePue

Is Michael Myers Real?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is Michael Myers Based On a True Story?

Halloween in Haddonfield is one of the scariest horror movie settings of all time.  With a lot of parties and ‘trick or treaters,’ there are people wearing masks everywhere, making evil harder to detect.  Speaking of evil, everyone knows the iconic, mute, white-masked terror that is Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise. But where did Halloween creators come up with the story, plot and Michael Myers himself? What inspired one of the most popular (and deadly) horror movie slashers of all time, Michael Myers?  Is Halloween Michael Myers Real or based on a true story?

The Real Story Behind Michael Myers and Halloween

Like any successful horror movie franchise, Halloween has grown throughout time.  A horror franchise grows with its sequels according to the demand of the audience and appropriate plot advances. But a lot of what Michael Myers is today, is owed to his original creators…the writers and staff responsible for putting together the original Halloween film. Here are some of the most influential contributions to making Halloween and Michael a scary slasher genre leader that it is today!

Dark History of Evil

Halloween story real
Michael Myers

The idea of Michael Myers can be traced back to Samhain, and true evil itself.  Debra Hill, who co-wrote Halloween (1978) got into detail in one interview mentioning Samhain itself and that evil was unable to be killed or destroyed. In a traditional Samhain belief, the souls from the other side can come back for one night. This spawned the concept of Michael Myers, a Halloween (Samhain by another name) killer who would keep coming back. Originally, Michael Myers was referred to as “The Shape” by direct John Carpenter. This was allegedly due to Michael always lurking in the shadows in the scenes. The term “the shape” also has some interesting roots in witchcraft meaning that the devil or evil can take the shape of others or walk in the shadows near them. Coincidence maybe, but interesting none the less.

College Studies to Horror Slasher

John Carpenter attributes some of his inspiration for writing Michael’s evil nature from a trip to a mental institution he took with one of his college classes.  Supposedly (according to Carpenter), the patients housed at this Kentucky mental institution were the most seriously ill of all mental patients.  Many of the patients exhibited creepy characteristics. One patient in particular, a young boy, provided Carpenter with a truly evil and deadly stare.  This experience ultimately led to the creation of the hacking and slashing villain and Halloween horror star, Michael Myers.

In the documentary “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest” Carpenter describes the boy in detail.

“This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized what was living behind that boys’ eyes was purely and simply evil.”

John Carpenter in “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest”

Stanley Stiers

Another potential influence is Stanley Stiers. Stiers is a tragic story of babies switched at birth by a cruel nurse. When the parents found our Stanley was not their real son they abused and neglected him. The final straw was Halloween night when he was denied trick or treating while his sister was able to go. The young boy murdered his family and his sister with a knife. Some horror fan sites believe this is the true backstory of Halloween and Michael Myers, but we have yet to hear that confirmation from Carpenter himself.

Creating Haddonfield

The two writers, Hill and Carpenter, had to come up with a fictional town that Michael could return to haunt. Haddonfield is a real place, only it is located in New Jersey. Hill grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and picked the name in honor of her hometown.  The street names throughout the movie were pulled from Carpenter’s hometown, Bowling Green. In fact, much of the script details were pulled together by combining the two writers’ childhood and hometown experiences together.

Character Creation

The writers decided it would be easiest to each be responsible for drafting the characters of their respective genders.  Thus, Debra Hill would write most of the female character dialogue and behavior; and Carpenter focused on Dr Loomis and Michael Myers. 

Additionally, some of the character names came from the Carpenter’s personal live. Laurie Strode was an ex-girlfriend of Carpenter’s. Michael Myers was the name of a producer Carpenter had previously known from another film.

A Terrifying Musical Score

John Carpenters Halloween Slasher Horror movie vinyl record cover with a pumpkin and a knife

A lot of the horror that takes place in a Halloween film, especially the original film, take place during super eerie sound tracks.  The suspense that builds during a Halloween film can almost directly relate to the background soundtrack, as the scarier the scenes: the scarier the music.  Carpenter played a huge part in the musical composition of the Halloween soundtrack and has suggested the soundtrack is one of the movies greatest assets.

Other Inspirations

Homage to Alfred Hitchcock is paid by way of two character names. Firstly, Tommy Doyle’s character was named after a policeman from Hitchcock’s 1954 “Rear Window.” And secondly, Dr. Loomis was a nod to character Sam Loomis (played by John Gavin) from Hitchcocks’ 1960 “Psycho.”

Final Words About Halloween’s Favorite Slasher

Michael Meyers Halloween Character portrait in black and white with white mask

In short, Halloween is not based upon a true story although Michael Myers is based on real people from the writers lives. However, it does not require it be based on a real story to be truly terrifying. And there WAS real inspiration for the making of Michael Myers. And there were several other real-life inspirations in the making of the Halloween franchise. Regardless of how the original concept was derived, John Carpenter capitalized on a timeless fear, as the audience still turns up strong for a good Halloween sequel!

Are you a TRUE Halloween franchise enthusiast? Check out Surprising Facts About the Halloween Movies for some real Halloween Movie Trivia!

Is Rose Red Based On a True Story?

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Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is the Movie Rose Red a Real Story?

How Real is the Rose Red Movie?

The very interesting road to filming the haunted house horror movie Rose Red is a special one.  The idea started out as a way to combine Stephen King and Steven Spielberg to make “the scariest haunted house movie ever made,” however, the two simply could not see eye-to-eye, and parted ways with King purchasing the full rights to the movie from Spielberg. It is a good thing he did (no offense to Spielberg), as King is better suited for the cerebral type of horror…which is exactly what Rose Red turned out to be: a psychological horror masterpiece.  So how real is Rose Red? Is it truly based upon a real story, as its $200,000 promotional marketing campaign implied? And if so, where is the “real Rose Red”? Let’s break it down a little, as the mansion is pretty big after all!

Is Rose Red based upon a real story?

The short answer is: YES, Rose Red is based upon a true story, however, there are plenty of embellishments and Stephen King combined multiple inspirations to achieve the end product that is the Rose Red movie we all know and love.

Where is the Real Rose Red?

Rose Red was filmed in a house known as the Thornewood Castle in Tacoma, Washington. However, the film was inspired by the story of the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California.

The Winchester Mystery House [aka Winchester Mansion]

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While there are many horror movies about haunted houses, and many movies about ghosts, Rose Red still strikes a uniquely creepy vibe. This is probably because Stephen King’s primary inspiration for the film came from the Winchester Mystery House story.  King first heard the story in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not  comic book as a kid. The story goes a little something like this…

Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, one of the most important originals of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Winchester company was responsible for developing the weapon that revolutionized weaponry. The Winchester rifles would kill so many people, that lore would ultimately spawn the tale behind the mansion itself. Sarah Wichester was a huge believer of the paranormal and life beyond living, thus naturally succumbing to a number of psychics and paranormal investigators in her area.  The most notable of all spiritualists who would be hired by Sarah was Adam Coons…who supposedly explained to her that her family was cursed by the spirits of those killed by the family’s prominent invention.  Furthermore, Coons suggested she should move west and construct a home for the spirits and herself to reside.

Located in San Jose California, the Winchester Mystery House started out a smaller mansion in 1884, being built up with the massive inheritance Sarah Winchester was left after her husbands death.  In fact, it was only an eight room farm house at the time she purchased it. After she purchased the property, construction began nearly immediately, first starting with renovations and then the additions of rooms.  It has been said that construction continued in the property from the time she purchased it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…for more than 38 years! By the time of her death, the Winchester House had grown to a massive 160 rooms making up 24,000 square feet. Much of her staff required a map in order to navigate the home, despite working there every single day.  The sheer size of the mansion created a natural uneasiness which fostered the development of the best ghost stories!

Fun Fact: There are 47 fireplaces, 40 stairways, 6 kitchens and 3 elevators in the Winchester Mystery House.  It is obvious as to why the Winchester Mansion was the perfect inspiration for Rose Red!

Is the Winchester Mansion Really Haunted Like Rose Red?

In real life, the Winchester Mansion does not expand indefinitely like the haunted mansion portrayed in Rose Red.  The idea of an ever expanding house that was bigger on the inside than the outside did come from the Winchester Mansion story.  And the house itself was believed to be haunted by Sarah Winchester, and many others (even still to this day). Additionally, the sound of hammers and construction being heard from within Rose Red does come from tales reported from within the Winchester Mansion…as many guests have reported such audible anomalies.  The house currently serves as a historic tourist attraction at 525 South Winchester Blvd (and yes, it’s still located in San Jose, California!).  Unfortunately there have been some exploits of the Winchester house, such as modifications to the home to include the number “13” more prominently to back up a suspected-false rumor that Sarah was obsessed with the number 13. There are scattered reports of several construction workers and laborers (carpenters, electricians, engineers, etc), who claim to have been paid to modify the property after her death (chandeliers, bathrooms, windows, etc) to increase the frequency of the number 13 throughout the house.

Stephen King and his crew did explore the Winchester Mystery House prior to selecting a filming location with the intention of possibly using the Winchester Mansion itself.  Ultimately, however, the rooms proved to be too small for filming high quality footage, and Thornewood Castle was selected.

Additional Inspirations

Winchester Mystery House Painting

The rest of the inspirations for Rose Red either came from Stephen King’s impressively twisted mind, or from the 1959 book “The Haunting.”  The Haunting would be turned into a movie in itself in 1963 and showcased a professor with an interest in the supernatural recruiting a group of psychics specifically to investigate a haunted house for proof of paranormal activity.  Stephen King wanted a hands-on type of professor, and portrayed Joyce Reardon as a more aggressive character, rather than simply an inquisitive one.  Stephen King also turns to a variety of other horror tactics to put the character of the house, Rose Red itself, into physical terms.  King gives Rose Red the ability to grow more powerful and manifest real, “in the flesh” types of anomalies…even summoning back its victims as zombies to haunt the rest of the living!

It turns out, additionally, that Thornewood Castle (the place Rose Red was filmed within, not based upon), also has its own sets of scares and ghost tales! While none of the crew or cast have reported any strange occurrences while filming, many guests and tourists most certainly have. Many staff members have reported seeing apparitions and other spiritual inhabitants…and guests report seeing the figure of a woman in a mirror throughout the castle. Thornewood Castle is an English Tudor in a gothic style built for Chester Thorne in 1911.  Although no where near the size of the Winchester Mansion, it possesses a respectable 54 rooms, including 22 bedrooms and 22 bathrooms.  And the castle itself was a most obvious choice for the film Rose Red, given the intense level of detail paid within the architecture.  Even the famous red brick facing seen in the movie was imported straight from Wales! 

Final Words About Rose Red

Rose Red is one of the most creative horror movies of all time, despite being about a cliché haunted house.  There are psychological thrills to be found in nearly every scene, riddled among just the right amount of paranormal action and phenomena. Probably one of the most critical parts of the suspense buildup is the heavy peppering of the house’s creepy history.  Unfortunately, most of the history of the actual house itself was made up, though we have to give Stephen King props where deserved…as its one hell of a story!

Huge Rose Red Fan? Check out some Rose Red Trivia, Behind the Scenes and Fun Facts!

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