Monday, 3 April 2017

RAW REVIEWS: GETTING SCHOOLED

There has been a real resurgence in nostalgia-tinted, Eighties throwback horror movies as of late.
And when you're talking Eighties Horror, was there any sub-genre more indicative of the time than the slasher movie?
One of the latest movies to join the swelling ranks of retro-slashers is Chuck Norfolk’s Getting Schooled. I was alerted to the film by Circus of the Dead director ‘Bloody’ Bill Pon (did I mention that you can catch CotD on iTunes now and that the DVD/Blu-ray is available for pre-order? Just checking…) and after doing a little research, was pretty hyped to see it.
After voicing my interest, the very cool guys over at Lucky Chucky Productions were kind enough to send a screener my way.
So is this a slasher that's too cool for school?
Or would I have to mark this one an ‘F’?
Read on…


GETTING SCHOOLED (2017)



Dir: Chuck Norfolk
Stars: Mayra Leal, Tom Long, Roland Ruiz, Jake Byrd, Susan Ly, Morgal Tyler, Ron Jeremy, Nick W. Nicholson


SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but continue at your own risk.


The year is 1983 and a ragtag group of High School students are put into Saturday morning detention, including spoiled princess Hillary (Tyler), knife-packing delinquent Rusty (Ruiz), smart nerd Shelly (Ly), strapping jock Mike (Byrd) and social misfit Julie (Leal). When new substitute teacher Mr Roker (Long) enters the classroom, the wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet makes it clear that he’ll take no shit from any of them.
As the group uneasily settle in with each other an accident occurs, rendering the teacher unconscious. The students panic and try to revive the man, however, when Roker comes to he experiences violent flashbacks to his war days and proceeds to attack the teens with ruthless and ferocious abandon.
Barely able to subdue him, they lock Roker in a supply closet and try to work out what to do next.
However, little do they know that Roker is former Black Ops and now, in a state of paranoid delusion, he has mistaken them for Viet Cong adversaries and he is prepared to use every last trick he learned in combat to take each and every one of them down…



THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): When creating a throwback horror movie, one of the most important aspects is nailing the feel of the era. This is something that Getting Schooled manages admirably.
It’s not just in the fashions and soundtrack, the characterisation and dialogue is straight out of some long-lost John Hughes Bratpack movie. This is only fitting for a film that plays out like some kind of bastard offspring of The Breakfast Club and Friday the 13th — with a little Full Metal Jacket thrown in for good measure.
This might sound like a bizarre mix, but it really runs with the premise, delivering a fun and at times frightening product.
The writing by director Norfolk, as well as Steven Scott Norfolk and Tim Norfolk is sharp, clever and, most importantly, feels like a real love-letter to the multitude of slasher flicks that packed the shelves of video stores back in the Eighties.
The dialogue sounds authentic, while the characterisation manages to conjure recognisable genre stereotypes (jocks, badboys and brainiacs among their number), but still make them individuals that you actually care about by the time the blood starts flowing.  
Of course, it helps that the film has collected a fine cast of very good actors, including adult film star Ron Jeremy in a very humorous turn as the school's cynical janitor.
At its core the movie is anchored by a trinity of sterling performances.
First, the very pretty Leal is a perfect fit for her character. She’s likeable and manages to give Julie a fine mix of toughness and vulnerability. She has a number of horror credits to her name already and I’m going to be sure to look up more of this talented actress’ genre work.
Second, Ruiz is clearly having a ball as badboy Rusty, which makes his performance all the more enjoyable for us, the audience. He nails the bravado and swagger of iconic slasher tough guys like A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Rod. It's hard work balancing the dickishness of such a character without just making him utterly unlikeable. To his credit, Ruiz pulls it off.
The final part of this successful and important triumvirate is Long’s barking mad Roker. This is a very tough role as Long is faced with the unenviable task of making a character who is unable to walk seem a legitimate threat to a cast of young characters depicted as being in their physical prime. However, much like the immense Stephen Lang in Don’t Breathe, Long delivers such a ferocious, no-nonsense performance that soon any and all doubts about the danger he might lose are soon dismissed.
He plays the role pre-breakdown like a tough teacher who is clearly not one to take any shit. Post-breakdown he becomes utterly unhinged, a savage, violent monster without mercy or morals.
In short, Long is utterly brilliant.
Of course, the cast are only as good as the material with which they work, and the plot of Getting Schooled, while very simple, delivers a solid, no-frills thriller, with a surprising amount of heart. The set-pieces are pretty nail-biting, while the gory kills are shockingly violent and often particularly gruesome, for those of you who like a horror to boast some splatter (and who doesn’t appreciate a little bloodshed in their slashers?).
It is in each of these scenes that we are also treated to a demonstration of cinematographer John Hale’s skills, as he and Norfolk show some real flair in bringing the horrific to life in a visually striking manner. The colour palette accurately reflects the films of the era to which Getting Schooled so clearly pays homage, but it also creates a captivating look for the movie in its own right, especially during the climactic moments.  
Yet as good as the film looks, I keep returning to its heart. The closing moments of the movie are surprisingly poignant, and may even elicit the odd tear.
I know, genuine emotion in a throwback slasher! Who’d’ve thunk it!?



THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): As great as Getting Schooled looks, it is worth reiterating that this is a lower budget indie movie. If you’re used to slick, polished, Blumhouse-style wide-release horror movies, you may need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
These budgetary constraints, on very rare occasions, affect the production values of the film, hampering some effects shots for example, but they also have a knock-on effect throughout the movie. 
For example, some of the cast are relatively inexperienced, which means that some line delivery can be a little rough around the edges. Take into account that budget restrictions often also come with time constraints and you can see how how some scenes may not hit as hard as others. It’s clear that the cast are all very much invested in their parts, it’s just that sometimes one or two of them slightly misjudge moments. Luckily these moments are few and far between and only add to the throwback Eighties Slasher feel.
However, I do want to add that the team behind Getting Schooled have clearly worked very hard to get this movie as slick as it can possibly be and they have done a pretty damn good job with the movie.
It is that throwback feel that works as both a blessing and a curse to the movie. In short, if you never enjoyed Slasher movies during their heyday, I very much doubt Getting Schooled is going to convert you to the cause. However, if (like me) you are a child of the Eighties (and in particular, a fan of Eighties horror movies) I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.


THE VERDICT: What a pleasant surprise Getting Schooled turned out to be! It manages to be a familiar homage to the slasher classics of yesteryear, while still displaying some imagination of its own. But perhaps more importantly, it’s fun and frightening, with some tremendous performances and real emotional weight and pathos.
Pardon the pun, but Getting Schooled is a real ‘class’ act!

If you want to check the movie out, it’s currently on Amazon Prime here; Vimeo hereVudu here or on Googleplay or iTunes. So what are you waiting for?

You can read more about Getting Schooled over at its official Facebook page here. Give it a like while you're there too, these guys deserve it!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

DARK WEB: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA PART 32: 1999 – THE TERRIFYING TRUTH

THIS FEATURE FIRST APPEARED AT UK HORROR SCENE HERE. ALL SUBSEQUENT CHAPTERS WILL APPEAR THERE FIRST


Creepypasta exists to horrify and disturb. All horror serves this simple purpose — to provoke a visceral response in its audience.
As such it regularly visits more taboo subject matter, including the physical harm of children.
One of the most famous stories that so perfectly encapsulates this trope, is Giant Engineer’s infamous 1999, a pasta I’ve already covered in this series of features.
As Giant Engineer’s story has unfolded it has been subject to lengthy delays between updates. It was during one of these lengthy breaks that another writer took up the story, penning a spin-off series. That writer was Sabian Lockheart AKA DeviantArt user Sabian002 and his story is 1999 – The Terrifying Truth.




Sabian’s first post was published on 12 August 2014, which you can read here.
It details a series of events that befell Sabian when, after reading the original 1999, he decided to investigate Caledon Local 21 and the sinister Mr Bear.
Sabian’s research uncovers the actual location at which the story is based and, more importantly, the email address from which Elliot (the protagonist of 1999) received communications from Mr Bear. Upon sending a message himself to this address, Sabian receives a reply, purportedly from the deranged antagonist of Giant Engineer’s story.
As the two exchange messages, Sabian unwittingly draws himself – and his own family – to the attention of a potentially dangerous predator.


On 8 April the following year, Sabian followed this post up with another, this time titled 1999 – The Caledon Local 21 Profile. In this post Sabian reveals that he has continued his research into the events of 1999 and the man behind behind the programmes broadcast on Caledon Local 21 and with the help of a fellow researcher, John Mytych, worked out that Mr Bear’s communications may well be emanating from a town VERY close to Sabian’s own home. This story also alludes to the fact that Mr Bear may not be working alone.


Later that same day Sabian published 1999 – I’m Responsible. In this update Sabian and Mytych’s research takes an even darker twist as a Sabian reveals the truth behind a seemingly innocuous image and text file he had received via email from Mr Bear the previous November. It shows a young girl, in make-up. Little does Sabian realise that a follow-up image would be sent, months later… and so, according to Mr Bear, would a mysterious package.


Sabian followed this entry up on 7 September of last year with 1999: A Part of Me. In this blog post Sabian sheds further light on his ongoing investigation, including references to Elliot’s own story about a fake Caledon 21 YouTUbe account. However, when the Channel’s owner posts a rebuttal along with a video that seems to depict the poisoning of two young boys, Sabian is not so sure. The plot thickens when a fellow DeviantArt user, Gavin, based in Canada, reveals that he received a visit from a mysterious man who asked about Sabian by name. However, more shocking still is the reveal that Mr Bear has known Sabian since his own childhood, when he had a friend named Courtney who disappeared under mysterious circumstances…




In 1999: The Hidden Truth, also published on 7 September 2015. Sabian continues his examination of the childhood events at St Lawrence Seaway. In it he tells of an incident during which Sabian’s family, while on holiday, had to be rescued from a burning boat. He also explores Elliot’s latest description of one of Mr Bear’s videos and comes to the chilling realisation that it may well pertain to satanic rituals, and Elliot himself may play a far larger role in the furry antagonist’s plans than even he realises…


The next update to Sabian’s story, Caledon 21: Emergent Dismay was published last year on 20 June. In it Sabian reveals the truth behind an invitation to  a children’s party that he received at his family home, plus the shocking discovery he made at the address the invitation provided.


Fabian’s followed this update with one published in September 2016 and was titled 1999: High Definition. In it Sabian explains a little more about himself, including his nom de plume. However, he also reveals that he may have discovered footage of one of the original episodes of Booby aired on Caledon Local 21, the nightmarish Playing With Scissors, plus another chilling hint that Mr Bear is drawing ever closer.

The story continued on 5 December with 1999: Black Sabbath. This chapter expands on Mr Bear's work linking to that of satanic rituals, including the dates on which they are often committed, while also recounting the events of the time in which Lockhart reported Mr Bear's perceived harassment, not least towards his young daughter, to the police.

The latest update is titled 1999: Local Television and was posted on 18 February. In it we hear about another horrifying video by the sinister Mr Bear, one which comes with a shocking revelation for Sabian...




The expanded 1999 series penned by Lockheart is an excellent accompaniment to Giant Engineer’s original story. Referencing not just Elliot’s story but the assorted web phenomenon surrounding the original story, including the assorted YouTube channels and other ‘spin-off’ stories, it’s very thorough and written to a higher standard than a lot of similar stories. Unfolding as a proper investigation, complete with dead-ends, red herrings and even clues that are yet to play a part, it’s a fascinating read and one that takes all the strengths of the source material and just runs with them.
With the story yet to conclude, Lockheart’s blog remains a must-read in the pasta community.


I was lucky enough to talk to Sabian Lockheart about his story via email, our conversation follows below.


HICKEY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: Hi Sabian, thank you for agreeing to answer my questions.
A quick query to start – I have seen some theories online that you are Giant Engineer, the original author of 1999. It seems pretty obvious to me that you aren't but can you confirm either way?
SABIAN LOCKHEART: Yes, I can certainly affirm that I am not the original author of 1999. But the notion is flattering, as the writing style and immersive nature of that story’s content so wonderful.
HHoH: Thank you! Now, in your own words, tell us a little about 1999: The Terrifying Truth and your subsequent chapters of the story.
SL: Surely. The original story of 1999 The Terrifying Truth is about what happened when I started to investigate the original story for myself, and what subsequently happened. It ended with more ambiguity than of any certain impending doom, but more or less emphasized utilizing caution when investigating stories of this kind, because so quickly ambiguity can become certainty.
The following story revolved more or less around an email a viewer sent me. He had apparently run an IP tracker on the email address from which I was receiving messages. He honestly had no idea what it meant, because he didn’t live anywhere near this small town the tracker had indicated. But it really scared me, because that little nowhere town is literally only a five-minute drive from my house. This all really happened. It could be a prank or whatever, but I also underscored how the antagonist in 1999 could easily have had help, and likely did. Even if it is just a story, it is certainly written that way, which I also point out and discuss.
All the sequel chapters revolve around real instances regarding interactions on the internet, and more recently, more tangible interactions as well.


HHoH: What served as your inspiration for the story? Why did you choose to tackle 1999, one of the most popular Creepypastas?
SL: My inspiration for writing The Terrifying Truth was obviously the story of 1999 itself. In a way, because my story is a report of real events, I guess didn’t really choose to tackle 1999. In a way, it chose me, if that makes sense.


HHoH: Were you at all nervous adapting such a well-loved story?
SL: Oh yes, I was certainly nervous. I still am. I don’t want to mess with the masterpiece written by the original author, or offend anyone. I always have, and would like to state I do not believe it is the actual protagonist from the original story harassing me.
Rather I believe it to be some form of obsessed fan of that story. I guess, I am sort of supplying a side story that is a result of the original story, which I believe the author has already confirmed as fiction.


HHoH: Would you say you're a fan of Creepypasta? If so, what is your favorite Creepypasta by a creator other than yourself?
SL: I’m a huge fan of everything horror, especially Creepypasta, because it’s taken on a life of its own, and what it represents. Creepypasta has become something more than the sum of its parts, its evolved into a sub-genre of horror, and is revitalizing radio theater.
But the greatest and more admirable thing about the “Creepypasta” genre’, is that it is fueled by creative collaboration. Anyone who has a story to tell literally adds to it as a whole. It supports young artists, authors, film-makers. the list goes on.
As a Creepypasta narrator, I think its narrating submitted stories that I enjoy the most. To an author, a story is a being that they created, a literal work of art, and being able to assist in cutting through the red tape and posting it right to my channel where it gets them that instant recognition, I think really helps to give them motivation to keep writing. And during this process, I’ve been given the privilege to watch some authors really grow in the past few years.
As for my favorite Creepypasta creators, I’d have to say that Mr. Creepypasta and TheSeekerAlexis are my favorite narrators, and Vincent Cava is my favorite Creepypasta author.


HHoH: Why do you think Creepypasta resonates so well with the fandom?
SL: Creepypasta resonates with the fandom because it is a result of the fandom. Its created by the fans, and reflection of their creations.


HHoH: What do you think the appeal of 1999 is to fans?
SL: This one’s easy – the realism. 1999 is so realistic, people still question whether or not it’s a true story. As an author, real or not, I admire that. That’s like catching lightning in a bottle. Even after an hour of listening to a narration of it, or reading it yourself, it leaves you questioning that. It’s a story the mind has trouble getting away from.


HHoH: Which writers, horror or otherwise, do you consider yourself a fan of?
SL: I really like Vincent Cava’s work, Michael Whitehouse, H.P. Lovecraft, and Natasha Preston. R.L. Stein and Bachman have some great stuff out there as well.


HHoH: What work of your own are you most proud of?
SL: Now this is a tough question. I really like Soft Flesh, because from the Title on through its total ambiguity. It takes a somewhat controversial topic and totally flips it on its head.
Be My Valentine is another favorite of my own work too, just because of the totality of its implications combined with the ending delivered in literally the final sentence. Also, a new work of mine that will be published by the time this is received is What Twisted Branches Weave. I was listening to a lot of Lovecraft when I wrote this and am just very happy with how it came out. (Listen to it here.)


HHoH: The fans are very passionate about these stories. Are than any examples of fan art that really impresses you?
SL: I love fan-art that gets sent to me. It’s another one of those favorite things about writing and narrating. Most of the fan-art I receive I post as my profile pics or banners for my various social media pages. I can’t draw very well, so all the pictures I use are literally made by others.


HHoH: Will you ever return to the story in the future? And what else can your fans look forward to from you in the days ahead? Would you consider adapting any other popular pastas?
SL: I most certainly will continue with my 1999 stories as long as my investigative efforts keep revealing more to tell.
As for adapting other Creepypasta stories, I’ve written a few Slenderman stories, a Rake story, a Smile Dog story, an Eyeless Jack story, a Seedeater story, and a Bunnyman story. Also, my co-writer, Doughboy420, has written me Laughing Jack and Jeff the Killer stories. Darkside Nemo has written one as well.
But yes, I plan on continuing to write more stories around popular Creepypasta, as well as some other stories as well.


UKHS: Finally, are there any links to which you'd like me to send my readers to see more of your work?
SL: Absolutely, I’ll provide a few here:
What Twisted Branches Weave: https://youtu.be/sGTIIsFeZGg
With Sabian’s story one of the thousands of accomplished creepy tales unfolding over at DeviantArt, it is a shining example of how this upstart site is fast becoming one of the premier sources for well-written, original creepypastas.
Come back next time when I’ll be writing about another story born over at DeviantArt.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Monday, 20 February 2017

DARK WEB: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA — PART 30: JEFF THE KILLER 2015




Some Pasta icons are just too big to cover with one feature… or even two!
This week, I’m returning to everybody’s favourite, hoodie-wearing, scarred, grinning Creepypasta psychopath — Jeff the Killer.
Sure, I’ve written about the character here in the past, both as an exploration of the myth and my recent exclusive interview with Jeff’s creator, Sesseur/KillerJeff. What more could I write about the character and his pretty threadbare story. In truth, not a lot… unless somebody else were to write more about the character first.
Hmmmm…

Of course, it is these musings that lead me to a source of Creepypasta that will be very familiar to long-time readers of this series (and Pasta fans) — the creepypasta wikia.
As a place known for its extremely strict quality standards (some have argued overly so, but I do appreciate that the admins of the site are doing their best to ensure that no Crappypasta slips in), it should come as no surprise to learn that the most well-known and widespread version of the JtK story was not well liked at the site.
As a story chock full of grammatical errors, clunky phrasing, awful plot holes and some pretty laughable cliches, even with its cult-like popularity and significance to the spread of Creepypasta, the decision was made to delete the story from the Wiki.
However, shortly thereafter user BanningK1979 posted a proposal to the site’s forum on 26 September 2015 — that Jeff be reincluded on the site BUT only after the story was rewritten, reworked and polished by the Creepypasta Wikia users to match the quality standards expected.
The idea was a hit, and soon a number of rival Jeff stories were submitted to the judges who were tasked with crowning one of these THE definitive Jeff the Killer post for the site.
You can find a full list of entries at the contest’s page on the wiki here.
Finally, on 6 December of last year, the judges reached their decision.
In third place was the The Testimony of James Lamb by JZoidberg. The Pasta focused on the story as told by a retired Police detective (the titular Lamb). In JZoidberg’s version of the story, Jeff (here with the surname Keaton) is insinuated in a series of break-ins that escalate to murder. Desperate for a lead, Lamb interviews Keaton’s younger brother, Liu, an inmate at a juvenile detention facility. Through a series of interviews, Lamb gets to know the man he is hunting from the one person who knows Jeff best.
The second placed story was My Liu by Sirius Nightshade. It makes quite a few changes to the traditional tale, and although it features Jeff and Liu once again, this time Jeff is the youngest brother, while the two siblings live apart following their parents’ divorce. Liu is stuck with their abusive father, while Jeff is racked with guilt over his inability to intervene.
When Jeff sees local bully Randy displaying similar tendencies towards a girl as his violent father, Jeff steps in. This leads to Randy taking a vile revenge against Jeff, starting a domino effect that will lead to madness and murder.


The winner of the competition was Jeff the Killer 2015 by author K. Banning Kellum, the very same individual who suggested the rewrite contest. You can read the story in full here.  
I do recommend that you check it out, but to summarise, it covers the story of Jeff and Liu Woods when they move to a new home and struggle to fit in, while their neglectful parents focus on how to be accepted by the local community.
Shortly after moving into their new home, the two brothers cross paths with local bullies Randy, Keith and Troy. The other kids give them a hard time but Jeff decides to walk away… right up until one of the boys assaults Liu.
Suddenly overcome with rage, Jeff administers a violent beating on their assailants before Liu is able to drag him away and the pair flee.
However, when local police arrive at the boys’ home, Jeff comes to realise that Randy’s family is well connected and Jeff is warned that the local authorities will be keeping a close eye on him.
To compound matters, Liu is subsequently sent away to spend the summer with their aunt. When it emerges that Randy’s father is actually Mr Woods’ boss, Jeff’s mother suggests that her son try to make amends with Randy. She drives Jeff to Randy’s home and at first, it seems as if the two boys may be able to bury the hatchet.
However, it isn’t long before Randy’s true colours shine through, and the boy and his cronies try to threaten Jeff with a flare gun… with terrifying consequences.
This ‘remake’ addresses a lot of the problems in the original story, more firmly grounding Jeff’s origin in reality while still maintaining a number of the key elements from the popular ‘bully’ origin. It is a far more polished piece of prose (Banning is a talented writer who has a number of quality pastas up at the Creepypasta wiki), and the story manages to combine this realism with a far more tragic horror than that of the original story.
Thematically, it is a perfect fit with the familiar tale that has enchanted Jeff fans for years, without the vast majority of the tales flaws.
In short, it does EXACTLY what it set out to do!
I was able to speak with K. Banning Kellum about his take on this most infamous of pastas, in which he was kind enough to talk me through his creative process.
You can read this conversation below:



HICKEY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: Hi, thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me.
K BANNING KELLUM: Hi, Great to hear from you and I am glad that you took an interest in Jeff the Killer 2015. I certainly hope your week is off to a great start. So, let's get down to these questions:


HHoH: OK, the most obvious first — in your own words, tell us a little about your version of Jeff the Killer?
KBK: Well, the big goal of the re-write contest was to try and fix all the issues with the original story. There were a lot of logical errors in the first Jeff story that couldn't even be justified in the strictest of fictional sense. Issues like Jeff's super powers that seemed to come from nowhere, the fact that the police officers not only drew their guns on a kid but apparently were able to decide his punishment and length of jail time, and most of all, the bleach and liquor turning his face white. So, I set out to draw Jeff as a real person. A young man that was going through some tough times, such as moving to a new town and trying to fit in with the local kids. I also focused on his parent's lack of attention and their obsession with their professional lives over the emotional welfare of their children. I wasn't trying to make Jeff an anti-hero or a tragic-hero. The goal wasn't to to have the reader feel sorry for him at the end, but rather to paint a realistic map that could take a fairly well adjusted kid and turn him into a killer.
To create this, I decided to trigger Jeff with a series of small events leading into the catalyst at the end in order to push him over the edge in a believable manner. The parent's neglectful attitudes provided that constant background agitation. The bully's instigating Jeff and Liu and essentially getting away with it because of their status in the town was another. Liu being sent away for the rest of the summer and of course the big one, Jeff being disfigured and overhearing that his mother's chief concern was how his appearance would affect their standing in the community.
So, I guess to summarize, my version of Jeff was a rather honest kid who was constantly placed in situations that he couldn't control, even when he was in the right. It was about him losing control first over his life and then over his own mind. Jeff didn't want to fight the bullies at the start of the story, but they forced him to. Jeff didn't want to try and befriend Randy but his mother forced him to. Jeff surely didn't want to become disfigured, but fate as it was forced him to. My version of Jeff is a nice guy that is simply robbed of the most basic mechanics of control over and over again, until he can no longer control himself.


HHoH: What served as your inspiration for this story?
KBK: Two things really. First of all, let's go back to 2012 or so. I was still in the US Army at the time, stationed at Fort Hood, TX. I'd just recently discovered Creepypastas while deployed in Iraq and then Kuwait. So, after returning to the States after the year-long deployment, I wanted to make as much time with my family as possible.
Now, my son, Tristan, is from my first marriage. My first wife still lives in New Orleans, and since I was stationed out in Texas, I couldn't exactly go and pick up my son every single weekend. Due to the demands of the military, and the distance from Fort Hood to New Orleans, I generally could only go and get Tristan on long weekends or when my unit took some form of leave. This of course meant that my time with Tristan was that much more precious, since it could be up to a month before I'd be able to drive down and get him again.
So, during one of the block leave times, I want to say this was in the fall of 2012 or maybe early 2013, Tristan starts telling me all about the Creepypastas that he and his school friends have read. It was the normal ultra popular ones, like Jeff and Slenderman. At that time I had just gotten into Creepypastas, and honestly wasn't too familiar with Jeff the Killer. So, Tristan convinces me to play the Mr. Creepypasta reading, and we sat there together and listened to it while Tristan continued to explain this and that. It was a special little bonding moment that sort of left me with a little bit of a soft spot for Jeff the Killer.
Anyway, a couple years later, I'm out of the Army, my wife and I are back living in New Orleans, and thankfully we can now pick up Tristan every weekend. During that time, I was still making a name for myself on Creepypasta Wikia. I'd written Secret Bar and The Demon in the Mirror Trick I believe, but that was it. Anyway, around this time, the big debate was about whether or not Jeff the Killer deserved to remain on Creepypasta Wikia. The site admins at the time had established some respectable quality standards, and the Jeff the Killer story on our site at the time didn't meet any of the criteria. However, it was considered a classic and was essentially grandfathered into the community. However, it started to become more difficult to justify allowing it to remain.
Admins were deleting stories that were clearly better than Jeff, yet Jeff was allowed to remain due to his popularity. In the end, it came down to a vote. I actually supported removing the original Jeff, as I agreed that it didn't meet the quality minimums to remain on the site. However, as I was helping in the story's deletion votes, I also began to wonder if I could do better. I became really curious as to how I could improve on the Jeff formula, without actually making an entirely new story. I was interested in doing a re-telling, not so much a re-make. And like I said above, I still had a soft spot for Jeff the Killer because my son and I spent some quality time listening to Mr. Creepypasta take us through the original Jeff story.
Fast forward another year and it became apparent that a lot of people out there wanted Jeff back. They argued that it was a classic, and honestly, I agree. Like it or not, the original Jeff the Killer was to Creepypasta as Hulk Hogan is to professional wrestling. That's when I got the idea for a contest. Give the people, myself included, a chance to retell the story and fix the original issues. The vote passed in a majority landslide of support to retell the story. Since I was participating, and was also an admin, I passed all the technical ends of the the contest over to the other admins. Voting was done off site and moderated by another member of staff, and in the end, my story was selected.
Now, as far as specific inspirations, I used a lot of settings that I enjoyed when I was Jeff's age. Obviously setting it in and around New Orleans. Mandeville, the town where Jeff's family moved, is a real place, although I never lived there. The Friendly Video store was also a real chain down here that only recently went out of business in 2015. Jeff's incident with the three bullies messing with his bike was based off of some of the neighborhood antics that bullies did to us when I was a kid. There used to be these three brothers that lived down the street, and if they saw you ride your bike past, they'd all mount on their own and chase you. They caught me once the oldest brother kept twisting the seat on my bike until it finally broke. So, I sort of had an understanding of how Jeff and Liu felt when they walked out of the video store and say Randy and his pals messing with their bikes.


HHoH: Seeing your activity over at the Creepypasta Wikia it's pretty obvious that you're a fan of Creepypasta. What is your favourite Creepypasta by a creator other than yourself?
KBK: Well, it's hard to actually cite a specific favorite, because I love quite a few of them. The Disappearance of Ashley Kansas was one of the first that I read and was blown away. Another short one called Piggyback was chilling. As far as specific writers on the site go, Blacknumber1 is a great long pasta writer. Humboldt Lycanthrope is a master of the NSFW stories. Empyrealinvective has a massive library of impressive stories. GreyOwl is one of my favorites, as she consistently brings high quality stories to the Wiki. The Tale of Robert Elm is a masterpiece in my opinion. There are simply so many great stories and great writers that it's difficult to ever just say one name.


HHoH: Why do you think Creepypasta resonates so well with the fandom?
KBK: I think the main reason for Creepypasta's popularity with the internet in general is because it is for the fans, by the fans. All you need to do to write a great pasta is to have an idea and some basic writing skills, and before you know it you can possibly be creating the next Jeff or Slenderman.
You don't need money, an editor or a book deal in order to pursue a love of writing.
And since Creepypastas are open-source for the most part, it appeals to all reaches of artists. Writers, sketch artists, poets and musicians alike can find something within the realm of Creepypasta to sink their teeth into. Plus, at least as far as Creepypasta Wikia is concerned, we are a very supportive community. If someone needs a critique or writing advice, there are always tons of people more than happy to do so.


HHoH: What do you think the appeal of Jeff the Killer is to fans?
KBK: That is a tough question in a lot of ways. Keep in mind I was one of the people that supported deleting the original. I would say with the original Jeff story, the popularity was all about timing.
Jeff came around when Creepypastas were a fairly new thing. It was also marketed well, since it started as a Youtube video and then evolved to a story.
The famous white faced Jeff picture that is associated with the original work no doubt played a huge role in the story's success as well. There was an undeniable unnerving quality to that picture. The aesthetics were so off that it was difficult to really look at. Couple that with the overall mood that horror stories can create, and you have a recipe for success.
Artists also did a lot to push Jeff forward. There are tons of Jeff the Killer drawings all over the internet. With indie games dedicated to him and lots of other Youtube videos and cos-players keeping the legacy of Jeff going, it's clear why he's so well received by his fans.



HHoH: Which writers, horror or otherwise, do you consider yourself a fan of?
KBK: Well, I am a huge Stephen King fanatic. I have been reading his work since I was a kid, and continue to buy all of his new books to this day. The Dark Tower was such a powerful story, it had me locked in for years, and I still dip into it from time to time.
H.P. Lovecraft has also inspired me on many occasions, as has Clive Barker. But in the end, Stephen King remains my all time favorite.


HHoH: What work of your own are you most proud of?
KBK: My Hyraaq Tobit series is my all time favorite product of my own making. I've been grinding away at that series for around 2 years now and I am thrilled to announce that I am nearing completion of the last story in the series.


HHoH: The fans are very passionate about Jeff. Are there any examples of fan art, such as images, films or readings, in particular that have impressed you?
KBK: Passion impresses me. So, anything that someone has taken the time to sit down and develop out of a love for the source material gets my respect. There are some outstanding images of Jeff as well as other Creepypasta icons all over Deviantart and the internet as a whole.
Anytime I see that someone has taken to time to sit down and create something drawn and fueled by their passion, that will impress me.


HHoH: Jeff the Killer 2015 was voted to be THE official Jeff the Killer entry by the users of Creepypasta Wiki. How did it feel to get that recognition from your peers? What does the support of the Creepypasta community mean to you?
KBK: The recognition from peers was incredible, and I've said it once and will continue to say that their support is everything. When I sat down and wrote Jeff the Killer 2015, I knew that I was throwing my name into a hat that would be filled with many other talented writers. Initially the story I wrote was a massive 20,000 work novella, and I loved it.
However, I later learned that the contest rules stated no entries over 10,000 words. So, I had to really cut my story up in order to make the cut off. Honestly the edited down version didn't feel as complete as my first draft, so I gave myself 50/50 odds that I'd win.
When I was informed that I won the contest, I was just filled with tons of gratitude and admiration towards this incredible community. Their support is paramount to my success, and I am beyond grateful each and every day that people out there are getting behind my work and helping me advance as a writer.


HHoH: Will you ever return to the story of Jeff in the future? And what else can your fans look forward to from you in the days ahead?
KBK: As for future Jeff stories, I doubt that will happen. I set out to create a better Jeff the Killer and I feel that I accomplished that. Jeff the Killer is a true Creepypasta icon, and for that reason he belongs to the entire community. I am confident that with the huge bank of talented writers out there, Jeff will have many more adventures to look forward to.
As far as the days ahead, as I mentioned above, my final entry into the Hyraaq Tobit series should be showing up this week. I'm almost there and cannot wait to finally complete that story.


HHoH: Finally, are there any links to which you'd like me to send my readers to see more of your work?
KBK: Most certainly. If anyone wants to get into the Hyraaq Tobit series, please start with the first story:  The Demon Tobit of Delphia (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Demon_Tobit_of_Delphia)
Just keep clicking the "next" button at the bottom of each story to read them all in order.
If you'd like to hear some amazing Creepypasta readings, including quite a few of mine, please check out Creeparoni's Youtube Channel. She is an incredible talent and is actually in the process of reading all of my Tobit stories in order, which is a massive undertaking. Check her out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK3i6JixKgwP6emDIX4tKB
You can also follow me on Twitter: @banningk1979
And if you'd like to check out all of my horror stories, here is the link to my Creepypasta Wikia user page, which contains like to all my stories, links to some awesome Youtube readings of my work, and lots of other fun stuff: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/User:Banningk1979


UKHS: Thanks for the interview.


The reason I’ve included Jeff the Killer 2015 in this series, aside from the fact that it’s an excellent story in its own right, is that it really showcases two major trends in the Creepypasta community as a whole.
First, it highlights the increased quality and standards expected as the genre evolves and expands. The slapdash, poorly told stories of yesterday are very much a thing of the past and simply won’t be tolerated by the more discerning audience of today. With writers such as K. Banning Kellum and the admins of the creepypasta wikia keeping a watchful eye over the latest efforts, the future of Creepypasta is in good hands.
Second, this story is an excellent example of the way in which the creepypasta community adopt and reshape different characters and stories. K. Banning Kellum is far from the first author to write about Jeff the Killer and, I can state with confidence, that he won’t be the last either. But he has crafted the tale, added his own unique take and, most importantly, contributed to mythos as a whole. It’s precisely this ‘open-source’ nature, as K. Banning Kellum describes it, that makes the community the lively, imaginative and innovative collective that it is.

Come back next time when I’ll look at another fresh continuation and reimagining of one of Creepypasta’s most disturbing tales.

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.