There are many ways one expresses themselves… The way they tell others how they see things in the world. For millions of years, many artists have chosen the written word as a way to convey feelings and opinions. Sometimes these feeling and opinions become so relatable that they become extremely known. In my next madame’s world, this happened by accident! What started off as a way to unleash the way horror made her feel, became extremely popular all around the world. From red carpet events to no budget indie flicks, this lady covers it all in a humble, selfless way. Please welcome my December Madame of the Month – Shannon McGrew!
Huntington Beach, CA!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hopkinton, MA about 30 minutes outside of Boston. Most people don’t know where Hopkinton is but it’s actually the start of the Boston Marathon.
How did you get into the horror?
I’ve always loved horror from a relatively young age. I don’t know what the trigger was for me becoming obsessed with it, it just always seemed to be a part of what I loved growing up. I remember watching KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE as a kid and it scaring me so much that I had a fear of clowns for years.
What made you want to start your site?
About three years ago some friends suggested I start a blog since I loved talking about horror so much. After I had finished reading Stephen King’s IT and having such a strong reaction to it I decided to make my own horror blog. I never thought it would go anywhere but clearly the Universe had a different plan for me.
Who or what inspires you?
My biggest inspiration is probably my boyfriend, James Carter. When I met him I had just started my blog and he had a pretty successful podcast under his belt called “Creepy Kingdom”. He really pushed me to make my site more than just a blog. He works so hard and I’m incredibly inspired by his perseverance, drive and passion.
What does horror mean to you?
Horror means everything to me. It’s my passion, it’s my love. No matter what mood I’m in (happy, sad, angry, etc), I’ll always watch a horror film because it takes me out of whatever I’m going through.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
Making sure to not back down. I found myself at the center of a situation in which I was trying to do the right thing and at the time it backfired. I had a lot of lies spread about me from people I thought I was friendly with in the horror/haunt community. I lost writing gigs and was called names and it was really hard to fight for myself. A lot of people wanted to bury me and have me never work in the horror genre again and it hurt like a motherfucker. However, the whole event really helped garner attention for my site and though it was a really low point for me emotionally and mentally, it’s made me a lot stronger. My boyfriend and I joke around about how this one “journalist” said I committed career suicide, a “director/editor” saying I was a “professional victim” and a woman who professes how she’s for women equality making fun of me publicly without knowing anything about what happened. If anything, I would love to tell them thank you – because of the lies and slander you caused, it made me work even harder to succeed. It’s been a tough 9 months or so, but I think I needed to go through that and I think speaking out about it is important, even though I was threatened that more lies would be spread if I spoke out about it by a “producer”. Hollywood is filled with people wanting to do whatever it takes to get ahead and have no remorse when it comes to fucking people over, especially if it means they will garner attention from others, but I learned that if you stick to your guns, if you don’t back down, and you continue to be honest you will succeed. It was a hard lesson to learn but I’m grateful for that. Also, shout out to my haters who are reading this, you helped in my success!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still doing the same thing haha. We just launched a side channel in which we specifically cover haunts and events throughout the country, titled Nightmarish Conjuring’s Guide to Haunts, so I want to continue working on that. In the end this is something that I’m extremely passionate about, I love the horror genre, I love haunts, so I just want to continue spreading the word about how great these two things are.
What’s one accomplishment you’ve conquered thus far?
Moderating a panel. Oh my God that was one of the most scariest and exciting moments I’ve ever had. The biggest Halloween convention here in LA/OC, Midsummer Scream, was having a panel for the makeup and designers of American Horror Story: Hotel and I was asked to moderate it. I was scared shitless, as it was something I had never done, but decided, what the hell lets do this. I sat in front of a crowd of a 1,000 people and interviewed the team responsible for the amazing makeup and FX for a show that I really love. It was super surreal and something I never even considered doing before. I’m glad I got over my fear of public speaking so I could do it because who knows when I’ll get another chance to do something like that!
What is your favorite female driven horror story or film?
Without a doubt, Mary Harron’s AMERICAN PSYCHO. I love that film so much and the fact that she was able to get into the head space of a male killer so well is just astounding to me. It’s also just such a chilling portrayal of high society boredom and what can pass as entertainment when you have enough money.
Favorite ‘memorable moment’ when interviewing someone?
When I interviewed Lance Henriksen at a convention. He was unlike anyone I’ve ever met. He had us interview him in line to get wine and than was checking out all the girls in cosplay. When I asked him what projects he had planned for the future, without skipping a beat he said he would be in porn. It was obviously a joke, but it took me completely by surprise. I still laugh about it to this day.
Favorite artist/actor/actress/director/producer that you’ve interviewed?
It’s a toss up between Michael Madsen and Ethan Embry. Both are such sweet guys and both made me laugh like none other. They are just so grateful to be doing what they are doing and have so many stories they want to share with people. They are just genuinely good people who love film and love the genre.
Favorite Horror Movie?
I have a holy trinity which includes THE EXORCIST, THE THING, and TRICK ‘R TREAT. But if someone put a gun to my head and told me to pick one it would have to be THE EXORCIST.
Would you rather: Pinhead or Jigsaw?
I’ve been ruminating over this one and I don’t know. They both have such amazing qualities for defeating thy enemies haha. I guess I would probably go with Jigsaw as I like the option of giving someone freedom.
If you could be any horror icon (dead, alive, vixen, or monster), who would it be and why?
Sam from Trick ‘r Treat without a doubt. Look, he only kills people who desecrate Halloween and I can get behind that. He’s also adorable with the burlap sack and if he needs to be creepy as fuck he just takes that bad boy off and POW he has a deformed pumpkin head!
If you could have a special skill or special power, what would it be and why?
Invisible. I would love to be invisible and I’m sure a lot of people would like me to be invisible haha. I just think that would be an amazing power to have. I could hang out with Harry Potter and we could chill with his invisibility cloak!
Favorite kill scene from a movie or book:
Oh man, there are so many. The first one that comes to mind is from the film BONE TOMAHAWK (2015). Everyone was raving about this film, and when I finally watched it, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about as it starts off so slow. However, once shit really starts happening, good lord. There is one scene in particular that is so graphic and surprising that I was left with my jaw on the floor. You’ll never want to snap a wish bone from a turkey ever again.
Favorite Horror Quote:
“Your mother sucks cocks in hell” – The Exorcist
How can people find you?
IMDb: Shannon McGrew
Facebook: Nightmarish Conjurings or Shannon McGrew
Twitter: Nightmar1sh and shannon_mcgrew
Instagram: Nightmarish Conjurings and HorrorDesignChick
If you could tell your 10-year-old self something, what would it be?
Always stick to your guns. You are going to face some hardships and people are going to say awful things about you and they are going to drag you through the dirt but ALWAYS stick to your integrity and stay true to you. Also, get ready for Hollywood because it won’t be ready for you.