The Gray Fox Blog: “The Nightmare Shift, Parlor Tricks, and the Slasher Club”

A lot to talk about. A lot to talk about. A lot. A lot. A lot. And so, where should I begin then?

Building the Brand.

Readers Digested is now the Nightmare Shift, as you’ve no doubt been able to infer. This is a decision I had racked my brains on week-in and week-out for months, and it is now that I’ve, at last, went through with it. I love the Readers Digested name. In fact, the name itself came first. Before we had something to stand for, I made a throwaway joke about a magazine for zombies, and with that, birthed the website many of you have frequented. All the same, for marketing purposes, and to better represent our website’s mission statement, I feel the change was necessary. However, Readers Digested will remain the name for our original publishing branch. That means stories like my One-Two PunchlineScott’s story The Color House, and other stories will stay under the Readers Digested umbrella.

Speaking of, on the previous Gray Fox blog, I talked about the development for my next novelette called Parlor Tricks, which will be included in our gestating Anthology series, aptly named Dreamers Hallow. Well, lo and behold, I am happy to say that Parlor Tricks is now available to buy on Amazon as an eBook. I enjoyed the experience writing Parlor Tricks, and I enjoyed the foray into short-form storytelling that started with The One Two Punchline. Both are very much the yin-and-yang to one another, I think. Whereas The One Two Punchline was very personal and character-driven, Parlor Tricks was more high-concept and genre-centered.

I originally meant to write a third novelette called Moonlight, and, for about a week or so, I even did. However, one day, I took a good, hard look at it, and decided I hated it and no good would come out of it. I felt confident I could write it and that it might even be halfway decent, but that the amount of effort it would’ve taken out of me to accomplish that would be counterintuitive and ultimately more trouble than what it was worth. For the foreseeable future, I’m off the novelette writing trend and back to business as usual.

As for Dreamers Hallow, with both my novelettes, and Scott’s, plus the stories from Bradley Walker, we are about roughly halfway where I’d like for Dreamers Hallows’ debut anthology. A lot of work to be done, but, at the same time, we’re not limiting our scope to merely the Anthology anymore (which is something we will have to talk about at length someday soon).

I have two projects in mind, at the moment, respectively. Currently, I am developing The Black Sands Saga, and stitching together whatever that’ll look like in the end. But I’m polishing what I’ve written for that and having beta readers offer their input. In the mean time, I recently started The Red Flux & the King’s Crown, a project I’ve had gestating for a while now. Nothing to report on that yet, maybe next Blog.

Viewership in May for the Nightmare Shift was solid. Obviously, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The Nightmare Shift was open in the middle of the month, and thereby, we can’t really compare it to a regular month for Readers Digested. That said, the Nightmare Shift nearly matched Readers Digested’s viewership for April and, combined with the viewership for RD this month, had the fourth best viewership in the website’s history.

The Nightmare Shift is a very different beast than Readers Digested was, of course. If you have stayed up-to-date in our Newsfeed (or the “Breakroom”), you’ll have seen me refer to May and June as our “Beta” months, so to speak. There is a lot of work to be done. A lot of kinks to iron out and a lot of experimenting to do as we continue to find ourselves.

Movies.

   As you can see if you follow our socials / look around, for the month of June, we will be focusing a lot of our time and resources on the Slasher Club. As of this writing, we’re at 32 reviews written, which means we have a lot of work to do. In-order for a film to be “indoctrinated” into the Hall of Fame, we need to hit the quota of 50 reviews written, and I can’t do that by myself. So, if you want to become involved, here’s how: – click for more information about the Slasher Club.

A couple weeks ago, I went to see the new Spiral: From the Book of Saw film. Whether the film was necessarily good or not isn’t the major takeaway, per se (read my review). Rather, it’s that Spiral is the first film I’ve seen in theaters since It Chapter Two back in late-2019. A lot of that is because of Covid-19, but it is also because I’ve been busy and generally preoccupied. Although it has been an important last three or so years (moved out of family home, moved out of that trailer to another trailer, and have now bought an actual house-house for the missus and I to stay at), it has also been stressful and difficult. I am hoping we’ve all but turned the corner and our foundations will settle at last. I think we’re close. Honestly, I do. That said, it was nice to be in the theater and I hope to have more of that in the near future.

I have written reviews for films I, otherwise, likely wouldn’t of, had it not been for our commitment to the Slasher subgenre this month – like Tourist Trap and House of Wax. Neither of them is a contender, but I did find something to enjoy about each film. I also reviewed Rob Zombie’s Halloween film, which is only the second Halloween film I’ve reviewed on Nightmare Shift (counting the 2018 reboot), a fact I’ll shortly remedy. His film was rough-around-the-edges, but a lot closer to what I’d consider Hall of Fame worthy.

The List.

   Last edition, I added Sinister to the list as a way to bring some actual horror into the mix, and, for this installment, I will do that as well. In commemoration of the Slasher Club subgenre, I have decided to look through all my reviews and have found a film I feel is deserving of inclusion. Although it is not the apex of the series in my opinion, Child’s Play is a classic slasher film I have revisited many times over the years.

Directed by Tom Holland (who wants retweeting me when I was actually talking about Spider-Man’s Tom Holland), Child’s Play introduces the world to Brad Dourif‘s portrayal of Chucky, a Good Guy doll gone to hell. Child’s Play may not be the most layered film nor does it have the social-commentary or abstract inferences attached to some arthouse horror, it does perfectly embody what I love about the slasher subgenre. It is light-heart and energetic, and doesn’t compromise in execution to achieve that. The film is well made and well acted, with a fun storyline and an enjoyable cat-and-mouse. Pound for pound, I consider it one of the best slasher films ever made.

1.) The Departed(added on The Gray Fox #2)

2.) Parasite(added on The Gray Fox #1)

3.) Sinister (added on The Gray Fox #3)

4.) Child’s Play

The End.

   I tried to keep myself shorter and more concise with this edition of The Gray Fox. There is a lot to say in recent times and that can make it a little tasking, thus I broke it off before I went on too many tangents. I am thinking my next Gray Fox Blog might be a little different, and, in-general, I might try to segment them, making them shorter, but more frequent.

Expect updates on the Slasher Club standings, on The Red Flux & the King’s Crown, more entries into The List., and whatever else I’ve been up to.

   Peace, love and chicken grease,

McConnaughay

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