The next entry in 2018’s Halloween Horrors series comes to us from debuting contributor Gayla Connolly. Gayla had only discovered us (at most) a week prior to throwing her hat into the ring and joining this year’s line-up of writers. So, while knowing presumably little about the site, the Halloween Horrors series, or the trained keyboard monkey that would be looking over her writing, she still made the choice to take a chance on herself. That alone is highly admirable. And her effort paid off as she delivers a commendable look at a Stephen King classic.

For her debut, Gayla will be tackling 1980’s The Shining. Part review, part travel brochure, and part confessional, her piece is highlighted by the omission of still images and screenshots from the film. Instead, in a very novel approach that I do not believe has been taken before in our Halloween Horrors series, her article features original artwork from her daughter, Krysta.

All that said, I think Gayla liked the idea of my just making shit up about her, so…..

“A one-time roadie for the band Nelson, Gayla holds the US Women’s World Record for Downhill Cheese Sculpting. In her spare time, she enjoys thumb-wrestling, interstellar macrame, and helping teaching poodles how to fly. She is currently working on a huge project transcribing the complete works of Marcel Marceau.”   (There you go, Gayla!)


For many of you horror junkies, The Shining is a common household name. Dick Halloran is a character in the story who has the Shining ability. The Shining was a title used by Dick to describe Jack Torrance’s 5-year-old son’s ability to read minds and mentally communicate with others who can also read minds. For those of you who have not experienced the film in full living color, you may want to check it out this Halloween, and I’ll tell you why!

Highly regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time, this mind and time bending tale of ghosts, madness, and redrum features an electrifying all-star cast, including Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. Martin Scorsese himself ranked it among the scariest horror films of all time! (Source:

Stunning and suspenseful,  it will keep you on the edge of your seat yelling “RUN!”, if not totally alter the way you think of life after death, and how horrible events in life affect the afterlife.

The Shining takes place in the Colorado wilderness at a secluded hotel, popularly known as “The Stanley Hotel”. That, in itself, is already scary, but then the family that comes to care for the hotel during the off-season (which in the movie ends the 30th of October) is plagued with otherworldly experiences. The father terrorizes, torments, and ultimately tries to kill his poor wife and son. The whole family is affected by the bizarre and gnarly supernatural activity in the hotel. Jack is no longer in control, his wife and son trapped in the mountain hotel. Something has taken over his body and mind and driven him mad.

You will not be disappointed with this movie. If you’re as sick and twisted as I am, and able to get over a few controversial scenes, you’ll actually find bits of it hilarious… in a dark kind of way. Dynamic acting. Set in a remote location. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. “Johnny is coming to get you”.

Over the years, many horror films have influenced popular culture. This is one such movie. All over the world wide web, you’ll find images of the twins with different captions. You will often find more than dozens of photos with different captions featuring Jack Nicholson’s face through a crack in the door, in the “Here’s Johnny!” image. And I’m more than certain you have all seen the images of the blood flooding out of the elevator. Many people have used these, and many more images from the film, to add their own captions to describe a feeling, or to poke fun at something happening in the world.

So, why do horror movies and the supernatural world fascinate us so much? Because we love having the “you know what” scared out of us! We love the intensity!

The paranormal world scares us, and believe it or not, we like being scared. We release adrenaline that catapults us into “fight or flight” mode, those butterflies you feel in your tummy. Our nervous system and brains get quite a workout from all this fear, not to mention our hearts. As a child, my adrenal glands were working overtime because of films like The Shining, Cujo, and Sleepwalkers. Let’s be honest, who didn’t love every single Stephen King novel and/or movie? He has always had a way of bringing us right to the edge and then letting our imagination run amok.

Being afraid helps us escape the boring day-to-day routines we are all stuck in; it is a sort of release. Evidence for the need for release from reality goes back to the Salem Witch Trials, and farther. Stories of werewolves and vampires, and even the whole reason we dress up for Halloween; it all leads back to our fascination and need to experience the supernatural and escape our world.

Most people have had one sort or another of an unexplainable event occur in their lifetime, if not experienced it. Perhaps you’ve heard stories passed down through the generations of unexplainable events or occurrences. Maybe you’ve seen something right in front of you that you could not explain. I remember stories told to me by my mother when I was a kid, of how she was chased by an apparition with scissors down the hallway in her home as a child. I grew up and one day had an unexpected encounter of my own.  I saw an apparition of a colleague right in front of me, and much like The Shining, communicated with me. Of course, I was afraid to relay the message to where he wanted me to. People would think I was crazy, but I reluctantly relayed it. In doing so, I felt over a period of days that he was gone and at peace.

I chose this film because of the many parallels between it and my own life, and the overwhelming suggestion throughout the movie that this may indeed truly be all about the fate of indigenous peoples. Though it has never been confirmed, it is a recurring theme throughout the movie. I was born and raised in this area of the country, on a reservation, and as a small child I remember being taught that “When you stumble upon relics of the ancestors, do not disturb them”. There was some sort of curse attached to those things, and those places are meant to be respected.

Beginning October 8th through November 11th each year, the veil between our worlds becomes thinner and thinner, allowing for free communication between worlds. But be careful, ghoulies, of the energy you wish to bring forth from that world. Go grab yourself a copy of The Shining and watch that instead. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you may want to book a room at the Stanley Hotel for the 2018 Halloween events beginning on October 19th.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, my fellow horror junkies! And remember… Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it can’t see you!