#31HorrorFilms31Days: the recap

IMG_7244 My family and I attempted this challenge last year and were only able to watch 16 films. I’m not sure why it was so hard, but I will blame it on my dissertation, which I was working on at the time. It was the cause of much distraction: both mental and physical.

Well, this year, we planned ahead (somewhat) and were finally successful at meeting the challenge. (It also inspired this year’s Halloween costumes, as evidenced in some of the photos below.) I really loved horror films when I was a kid, and it’s been a joy exposing my own children to films I loved back then, regardless of quality. Their perspective is fresh and interesting, and it’s been fascinating to be able to contrast some of the classics with newer work. There were, of course, a lot of turkeys along the way, but that’s part of the fun.

Anyway, here’s what I watched in the month of October, along with the brief thoughts I tweeted under the #31HorrorFilms31Days hashtag (my kids kept their own list as there was some variation):

1. ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID You know, it’s not any more ridiculous than the first one.

2. THE OMEN Reminders to self: For God’s sake, don’t lie about where the baby came from; check the nanny’s references.

3. DAMIEN: THE OMEN II the scene where the kid is trapped under the ice HAUNTS me. (elevator bisection, not so much).

4. OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT Time to send a woman to do the job three movies-worth of men have failed at…

5. THE RING Will my children sleep tonight???

6. SCREAM 2 Well, now I’m convinced Cotton Weary is somehow responsible for everything.

7. SNOWBEAST “This wasn’t an animal! And it wasn’t human, either!” “Well, that certainly narrows it down.”

8. THE RELIC Margo and D’Agosta take on the Museum Beast…in Chicago? Also, no Pendergast. Read the book instead.

9. MR. JONES The Shining meets Blair Witch meets Orpheus meets Wilfred Bion’s O plus a lot of bad decisions…IMG_7188

10. THE VILLAGE Hmm, it seems money can buy illusion, but lying to your children doesn’t make life any less tragic.

11. DEVIL’S PASS I now know a lot about time traveling mutants but not what happened to the real Dyatlov Pass hikers.

12. TWIXT “There was no fog on the lake.” I don’t even know what to say about this one. I do like Val Kilmer, though.

13. THE AWAKENING Ghosthunting skeptic visits haunted boarding school and learns she was not eaten by lions as a child.

14. GREMLINS Why’s Gizmo so cute? What happened to Barney? How old is Corey Feldman? Gremlin = Pokemon? Who was phone?

15. DEAD SILENCE Imagine if instead of fingerknives, Freddy had ventriloquist dummies…

16. MAGIC Proving nothing’s scarier than humanity. Not even dummies. Also, I have the book.

17. DEVIL DOG: THE HOUND OF HELL The Omen/Rosemary’s Baby but with PUPPIES. Also Kim Richards.

18. DEVIL The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was making a decent movie about 5 people trapped in an elevator.

19. WILLARD Norman Bates’ creeIMG_7218py cousin meets the rats of NIMH. Then Crispin Glover sings.

20. SAW A perverse variant of the trolley problem or is Jigsaw just the douchey guy you reclined your airline seat on?

21. PHANTOMS based on Koontz novel about an unseen killer. Except you see it. Some things are best left on the page…

22. ANACONDA VS LAKE PLACID (UNRATED) Thrilling showdown between a crocodile and a—OH WHO AM I KIDDING THIS WAS AWFUL

23. THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2007) Breaking down in the desert is always bad. Always. Maybe we should stay home next time

24. DEADLY REVISIONS A writer, his revisions, his amnesia, a bad marriage, the hallucinations & the baby doll.

25. SAW II That Jigsaw! Full of surprises!

26. IT FOLLOWS sex and death and the existentialist abyss. it’s coming for you.

27. AMERICAN PSYCHO Patrick’s losing his mind in a culture that’s sicker than he is. More scary now than ever.

IMG_722628. YOU’RE NEXT Girls Rule, Boys Drool, and Animal Masks Are Always Creepy.

29. CREEP Aaron really should have left after “tubby” time….

30. WE ARE WHAT WE ARE Some family secrets are grosser than others..

31. PSYCHO When Norman says Mother isn’t feeling well enough to talk, it’s wise to believe him.

32. UNFRIENDED With friends like these….

33. HALLOWEEN “I hate a guy with a car and no sense of humor.”

If you’re a fan of horror films, make sure to participate in the challenge next year!

-sk

The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship

Naylor winner_KuehnYesterday I woke up to the wonderful news that I’ve been awarded the 2015 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for my forthcoming novel, The Pragmatist! It is such an honor, and I so appreciate the kind words from the judges about the manuscript. It’s really a special moment for me, and I am beyond excited to be working on this book. Many thanks to PEN, the judges, and Phyllis Naylor for this recognition and opportunity, and congratulations to all the authors and books honored this year.

the stars, the moon, news, and where i’ll be

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It’s less than two months until the release of Delicate Monsters, and I’ve been so overwhelmed of late with other life obligations and impending events (graduation! a wedding! rabbit shows! the lunar eclipse! oh, so many Little League games!) that I haven’t had time to focus on what putting this book into the world means to me. In some ways, that’s a good thing, but I do hope to take the time to reflect before June 9th arrives.

 

But a few nice updates:

Delicate Monsters received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist, for which I’m both grateful and proud. Here are brief quotes from each:

“Award-winning Kuehn is firing on all cylinders in her latest taut psychological thriller. Like her previous YA novels, Kuehn’s latest benefits from tight construction, expert pacing, and voices that ring especially true for contemporary teenagers, particularly Sadie’s entrancing, gleefully acerbic tone. Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist.” —Booklist, starred review

“Kuehn (Complicit) once again proves herself a talented writer in a tough, punishing novel about the damages we inflict on others and the shaky defenses we build to mask trauma and guilt.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 

Switching gears (books), Complicit was nominated for the 2016 Kentucky Bluegrass Award, which is a very cool thing.

I also have a few events coming up. I’ll be updating my Events page, but here’s a bit of what’s planned:

If you’re near any of these bookstores, I hope to see you!

 

-sk

bookish things

I am beyond thrilled to get to share the news that I am writing more books. From yesterday’s Publishers Weekly:

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The Pragmatist is a story that’s been brewing inside me for some time. Among other things, it explores what it means to live in a culture dependent on the myth of independence, which is something I think about often. I am grateful for the chance to tell Arman’s story and excited to be working with the brilliant Andrew Karre at Dutton. Many, many thanks to Michael Bourret for making it all happen.