Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Unlikely Horror Icon: Vicky Viola

Next up we have Vicky Viola's take on the Unlikely Horror Icon challenge. It's safe to say she totally rocks it! Do check out her awesome new blog for her write up on last weeks #halloweengirlgang shenanigans, as well as a whole lot more. But first, keep reading for her horror Q&A, including a super spooky story for you all (you have been warned!).....

       image source
Top | Vivienne of Holloway
Cape | Jasmine Guiness for Oli Fusion
Trousers | Forever 21
Shoes | Topshop
Ring | Runaway Fox
Sunglasses | borrowed from the amazing Miss West End Girl

1.) Why did you choose your Unlikely horror icon?
Beetlejuice has got to be THE most rock n roll horror icon out there! He might be a total skeeze, but my gosh does that guy know how to rock a suit. Stripes NEVER go out of fashion - and that wine coloured 3 piece suit with the ruffled shirt and bow tie? Be still my heart! I think if I was a dude, this would be how I dressed. You can't put off an outfit like that and not bring an element of fun to it. Picking Beetlejuice meant I got to embody that insanity for the day, which was hugely fun. Who knew I could kick my leg up like a guitar? He did! In the words of the man himself, I wanted to 'Turn on the juice and see what shakes loose'!

2.) What's your favourite horror film?
BAH! This is a super hard question for me to answer, I've loved horror films since I've been little! I'd say my favourite would be between The Shining or Psycho. There is no way I could pick one of those over the other. I've been obsessed with The Shining since I first caught a glimpse of it when I was really young (we're talking tweens here!) and first got a TV in my bedroom. It TERRIFIED me! Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall are so incredible in it and Stanley Kubrick turned Stephen Kings book into the most tense and thrilling film ever. When I was about 12 years old, my mum told me the story about the film 'Psycho' when we were driving through Nevada and the fear of someone stabbing me in the shower was something that still crosses my mind when in hotels now. We stayed in a lot of roadside motels during that trip and (because the desert is hot and sticky and not taking a shower is not optional) I had to shower with the curtain open because I was so frightened someone would get me! Haha! When I finally saw Alfred Hitchcock's version I became obsessed, for a black and white film it's totally enthralling and so clever for it's time. I actually wrote a dissertation for it in art school! Rosemary's Baby is also phenomenal, I like the way it makes me question my neighbours. I love being frightened with scary films, I think it's good for you!

3.) What's your favourite costume you have worn?

Halloween is my favourite holiday and every year for as long as I can remember I've dressed up, even if I've just stayed in and watched films. I've been Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction, Attack of the 50ft Woman, a circus ringmaster, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS (not at the same time though!) One year I went as my own shadow... that's a lot of fun in a dark venue because all you could see were my eyes and my teeth! From childhood, my favourite costume would be the Ariel one my mum made me (it had a full on green sequined mermaid tail, which I wish I still had!) In adulthood, my go to for last minute fancy dress events is the Bride Of Frankenstein. I could wear that wig every day!!

4.) What is your dream costume?
My current dream is to dress up as Ursula from The Little Mermaid. She is so bad ass! I often sing 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' in the bath - I'm pretty sure I've nailed it enough to be able to sing it all night long and drive everyone over the edge. I think I need to put on some weight before I tackle that one though ;)

5.) How do you normally spend Halloween? And what was your best Halloween?
No matter what happens, Halloween involves pumpkin carving, Elvis Sandwiches (That's a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich which is amazing but totally deadly!) pumpkin soup and chocolate eyeballs. I'm a big fan of candy corn and eat an absurd amount when I can get my mitts on it. Halloween sweets are the greatest! The best Halloween I've had was held at The Usher Hall in Edinburgh where we all dressed up like it was the 1920s and we had a seance in the theatre. It was epic!

6.) Have you ever heard things go bump in the night?
YES, YES I HAVE!! A couple of years ago I visited New Orleans with a friend and we ended up staying in this amazing old building in the French Quarter, which was not only affordable, but in a really great location. Needless to say we didn't know much about it's history, but then again, how often do you search a hotel for anything but ratings? 

So we arrived, and were given the key to our room. The room had no windows, which we already knew about because it was a sectioned up old building, but upon entering it seemed really eerie. Have you ever stayed in a place with no windows? It's creepy. Anyhow, we went about our business and I noticed that the standing lamp at the end of my bed kept cutting out, but you know, it's an old hotel, so lets not get bothered about that. 

After having a lovely stroll around the city we went back to rest. I got to sleep really easily because I was knackered after all the traveling from Nashville to get there. But then, in the wee small ours of the night I woke up in the pitch black room and I felt like there was someone watching me at the end of the bed. He was wearing old fashioned clothes and he had a beard. I've always wondered about how freaked out I would be if I thought there was a ghost, and at that point of time I just thought 'there is a guy at the end of the bed. I don't think he's going to bother me, but he's looking. Best thing to do? Go back to sleep!!' 

...Maybe I was being delirious from the fatigue. The next morning I kept quiet about the incident (because I'm not ready to be classed as that level of weirdo) and we had a reasonably early start to go on a tour of the city and where Hurricane Katrina hit. Our tour guide pulled the bus up to our hotel to collect us and as I got on he said to me, 'You're staying at the Place d'Armes hotel?! Have you seen the Bearded Headmaster yet?' and I said '......uhhhhh....'scuse me?' And then he told us all about how this hotel was initially the first school in the city and in the Great Fire of 1788 it burned to the ground, killing all the children and headmaster as they slept through the night. And I was all like 'SHUT THE FRONT DOOR'!! I had seen the ghost! But my friend is totally terrified of pretty much everything, so I didn't really want to bring it up incase it scared her too much. Apparently I was more concerned about her freaking out than seeing the headmaster! 

That evening when we got back I was a little curious to see how the night would play out, but I tried not to dwell on it. Last night he was standing beside the lamp that kept turning off ... I wondered if he was doing it to wind us up! We eventually went to sleep and I awoke in the wee small hours again... this time to the sound of furniture being dragged about in the room above us. I figured it would be people leaving the hotel, but it continued for more than 2 hours. The more I listened the more I could hear - it sounded like old wooden school desks being pulled across a wooden floor. By this point the sound had woken up my friend and she was getting upset by it (even though she hadn't heard about the haunting!), so I called up reception around 9am to ask them about the people upstairs. I was told they had checked out hours ago - even though I could still hear the noise! I got them to send someone up there to see if their was a maid cleaning or something. 15 minutes later the noise had stopped. Then we got a phone call from reception. The room was empty, and had been since 7am. I have never been more certain of ghosts and the afterlife until then. And I can honestly tell you that not taking a shower in that place was the best decision I've ever made ;) 

I actually googled the hotel recently to find out a little bit more and I discovered that it's one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans! You can find out a little bit about the history here and if you're questioning my story, you can check out the excerpt of this book. Incredible!

Photography by Ross Bull.

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