Dead Love: Horror in Central Valley!

DEAD LOVE will be in Fresno at Barnes & Noble tomorrow night (7pm, 10/26, B&N on Blackstone) so it’s time to take a look at Central Valley horror and that dead-finitely means Kaci Hansen, founder of the Central Valley Horror Club. Totally hoping some of her Horror Dolls show up for the event.

So how does a ghoul … er … I mean gal … get started on the road to horror? Let’s ask Kaci.

Q. What was your childhood like?

A. I am a lifelong resident of Visalia, CA. I had a very good childhood; I was extremely close (and remain close) to my family, had lots of pets, and was very involved in the arts (dancing, painting, drawing, etc).

Q. How did you become interested in horror?

A. I actually HATED horror movies as a small child. My parents were huge fans though, and were always watching them. I vividly remember covering my eyes, and peeking through my fingertips, and begging them to turn off the movie. I remember my mother telling me, “Oh stop! It’s not even real! Look how fake that looks!”  I guess this provoked my interests, because I just couldn’t understand how something so fake could create such fear within me.  That’s when the fascination began – how could one obscure that line between reality and fantasy, and make it so realistic? How could something on my television screen invoke such fear?  After that, I had to know EVERYTHING about the makeup, special effects, prop design, etc.  On a side note, I always was very excited about the Halloween season, and television shows that had a creepy or dark aesthetic, such as The Addams Family and The Munsters.

Q. What’s your involvement with horror today?

A. I try to find as many ways possible to integrate my love of the horror genre with my every day life. By founding Central Valley Horror Club in 2008, I’ve been able to host several horror-themed events in the Central Valley, and meet so many great like-minded individuals.  I’ve been involved in short horror films, a horror music video for hip-hop artist Instant Legend, have my own horror-comic that I am the hostess of, and have been a featured guest at several horror conventions throughout CA. I’m a fine artist, and my love of the horror genre is definitely reflected in my work. I also am a performing artist, and started The Horror Dolls horror-themed dance troupe in 2009. Aside from that, I love baking and decorating pastries, and have been known to make confections that resemble brains, zombies, bats, ghosts, pumpkins, etc.

Q. Where and how do you find like minds in the Central Valley?

A. It all started on Myspace and through word-of-mouth.  As the Central Valley Horror Club’s reputation grew, so did our turnouts.  More people started bringing their friends along to events, and with the advent of the Visalia Zombie Ball, Visalia Vampire Ball and Visalia Monster Mash, information spread fast due to articles in local publications. We expanded onto to Facebook, and that’s really where the ball starting rolling.

Q. What and/or who are your darkest influences?

A. Hmmm, this is a tough one, because it honestly depends on what sub-genre or aspect of the horror genre we’re referring to.  To name just a couple, I’m a huge fan of Alice Cooper, but not just his music; the whole theatrical aspects of his shows are honestly what provoked the idea of having a horror-themed dance troupe.  I loved how he could take so little, and turn it into something extraordinary (example: just watch him perform “Dead Babies”).  As for movies, I’m a huge William Castle fan, and when I discovered the movie “The Tingler” and read a little more into the history of it, I got really excited about the gimmicks that went into the entire big-screen experience, such as the buzzers under the seats, or the floating skeleton on a wire for “The House on Haunted Hill”.  I really liked that they took something that was obviously just a fun little gimmick, but still managed to scare the heck out of the viewers.  I’m extremely into 1980’s horror, where even though there are some intense moments, you’re having to hold your side from laughing so hard.

Q. Please tell us a little bit about your dead-lightful Zombie Ball and Crawl.

A. The second-annual Visalia Zombie Ball & Crawl was an even better success than I, or anyone else, anticipated. We had nearly 400 attendees at this event (while our first Zombie Ball brought in around 250 people).  The entire evening was amazing. We kicked off the night with a Zombie Crawl down Mooney Blvd., and the looks on the faces of passers-by was priceless. The rest of the evening included a zombie bellydance performance, a costume contest for kids, our annual Creepy Cadaver Costume Contest, the crowning of our first Creepshow Queen, and performances by GATJA and Catharsus.  It was pretty amazing to find out that we had attendees that traveled all the way from Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Monterey, specifically to attend our event.

Q. Where did you learn so much about zombies?

A. Just watching tons of different zombie movies! I think it’s really cool how the cause of the zombie infestation varies from movie to movie, and the hunger force varies (some are flesh-eaters, some are strictly hungry for brains!). I also really like seeing how each makeup and special effects teams put their own twist on developing their zombies, as well as the mannerisms of the zombies (some shamble about, while others are sprinters). It’s a plot that’s been done countless times before, but somehow, directors and writers have still developed a way to renew it over and over again.

Q. What’s next on your dark agenda?

A. We’re planning to do the Visalia Zombie Pub Crawl in December 2010 (What can I say? There’s a group that does a Christmas bar-hop every year. I want to see what happens when a horde of zombies begins following them…)  and we also have the (anti-Valentine’s Day) Visalia Vampire Ball approaching on February 12, 2011.  We will resume our free, public horror-movie nights sometime in November, so be sure to check our Facebook pages for all of the updates and details! ###

Indeed and undead. I’ll be there, Kaci. If you plan it, the zombies will come.

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice

  • boldlow

    What a great interview! Anyone who thinks that zombies (or zombie fans) are mindless, thought-less should look at Kaci's interview. Excellent questions & awesome answers. She is one thoughtful zombie…terrific interview Erin!