October is truly one of the most magical times of year. As we creep closer to Halloween, people are setting up their jack-o-lanterns, creating costumes, and hosting parties. It’s the perfect time to brush up on creepy culinary skills, and there’s no better way to learn and be entertained by watching Netflix’s latest series, The Curious Creations Of Christine McConnell.
McConnell shot to internet fame with her variety of spooky recipes and crafts through Instagram. The series is a co-production with Wilshire Studios and Henson Alternative that feels right at home on an artistically open streaming service like Netflix, going darker than the usual Muppet Show. A combination of cooking/crafts show like any you’d find on The Food Network, but with twists, turns, and some darkness. Christine plays a fictionalized version of herself who lives on top of a mountain in a haunted mansion alongside her monster companions. There’s Rose, a rude and homicidal raccoon with a pink bow and a bended fork for a hand. Rankle, a snarky mummified cat who still longs to be worshipped. And Edgar, a well-meaning werewolf who’s a recent arrival to Christine’s abode. Together, they deal with everything from pesky neighbors to surprise parties with a combination of creativity and attempted murder.
I was fortunate enough to attend a press screening event at the former Chaplin Studios, now Henson Studios Lot in Hollywood. The series and muppets were made and produced on site with signature charm. We were given a tour of the premises, our guide recounting haunted experiences people on the studio have told over the years. Everything form a phantom gentlemen walking on rooftops to a security guard weighted down by a ghostly force. Then, we were treated to a screening of The Curious Creations Of Christine McConnell, followed by a banquet of spooky dishes with Christine herself, with a rather surprising appearance by Rose the Raccoon!
I had the good fortune of talking with Christine McConnell about the show:
iHorror: What was your experience making the series at Henson Studios?
Christine McConnell: Going here, and seeing the set built was super unreal. I want to say it was probably my favorite moment of this was I had been working with Darcy Prevost who was our set designer. Sending her pictures and inspiration and like, I’d design something, she’d design somethings and I didn’t get to see anything until I came in two days before filming started and I saw the set built out and it was super surreal. Amazingly pretty and fun. So, I want to say that was the best moment I had doing all of this.
iHorror: And you designed the creatures?
Christine: No. Well, I think I had- it was such a collaboration it’s hard to actually to even remember entirely because I think I had the idea for Rose at first and she was going to be a… mummy raccoon. Then everyone keeps interjecting ideas and thoughts and she sort of evolved into what she is and Rankle wasn’t my idea at all. I love him. His name was my idea. He was supposed to be a cousin of Rose’s, then somebody turned him into a cat. And I’m trying to think… Edgar, I really wanted a werewolf. I love The Howling. That’s the best werewolf movie there is. So, I wanted something that looked reminiscient of that. And so I submitted a bunch of pictures to Henson and they came up with that. It was sort of magical.
Rose: Okay, guys! I’m saying goodbye! It was so great to meet you all! See you in your dreams!
Christine: She’s amazing.
iHorror:(laughs) She’s ‘The Fonz’ of the show.
Christine: One hundred percent. She’s the comic relief and all of the fun.
iHorror: I was going to ask, off your earlier answer about The Howling, what would you say were your other influences with the show?
Christine: Geez… I love that movie The ‘Burbs. Have you seen that, with Tom Hanks?
iHorror: Oh yes!
Chrisitne: I watch that probably about twice a month. So, that was a big one. There’s the… I want to say there’s a military guy in The Burbs and it’s his wife, she’s like, way too young for him.
iHorror: Bruce Dern’s character’s wife?
Christine: Yeah! Exactly. She’s dressed pretty skimpy and so that was “I like that, I want to be like that when I grow up.” And Marylin Munster was a huge influence on me personally. I felt like that in my own family. Everyone was kind of very normal and I was the kind of odd one in my house. It was a bit of the reverse of that. I love Dark Shadows. I really wanted the intro to be like Dark shadows and I didn’t quite get my way, but I think I got enough of my way and I’m happy, so…
iHorror: What would you say were some of your favorite dishes to put on the show? Because I love how they look pretty daunting, almost anyone can do them.
Christine: Totally. I’m trying to think… the cookies with the eyeballs are something. That was one of my favorite things that I sort of stumbled upon making myself. And I was excited to share how simple that is. And you’re only making like a dozen it doesn’t take very long. I made one hundred and sixty yesterday. So, it was a little rough, but it was fun.
iHorror: Are there any future recipes or episodes you’d like to do?
Christine: Absolutely. I have a new idea every couple minutes and so I’m trying to think because I don’t want to give too much away. I have some really dark- I want to go a little bit darker if we get to keep going. Yes. The answer is one hundred percent yes. And I think I could get it a lot more exciting.
Christine: I like your [iHorror Logo] shirt by the way.
iHorror: Thank you! It’s for iHorror News.
Christine: I love the design. And everything.
iHorror: Thank you, that means an awful lot.
Christine: Oh, of course.
iHorror: Did you have any ideas for holiday themed episodes?
Christine: I really want to but I would say if we do get to branch out in that direction. There’s going to be a creepy element to all of it. I don’t know, it’s what I love about doing all this kind of art is sort of, death and all that kind fo sort of scary and depressing. And I think putting a fun spin on it, it’s like pleasant and humorous, it makes it feel okay. So, I like incorporating that element into everything. So, yes. Christmas. Hannukah. Easter. All of it.
iHorror: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the show? what do you think is the big hook to it?
Christine: For me, I feel like Rose. Everyones got a different team. People are so in love with Edgar and I love all of them. Rankle seems to be rivaling Rose in popularity. But for me, she’s sort of this beautiful little trash panda that I’ve always wanted. I feed raccoons outside my house every night. There’s like a family so, I don’t know why. She for me, is my favorite thing of this experience.
All six episodes of The curious Creations Of Christine McConnell dropped on Netflix on October 12th and are available to watch. With Halloween fast approaching, if you’re looking for some new recipes or crafts for some scary social gatherings or just some aesthetically fitting entertainment, check it out!