Mile-high chills

3 Jan


Zoey creeps into the bedroom.  TAP.  The room is pitch dark.  TAP.  She reaches for the


But, doesn’t find it.  Until –

– A PALE HAND hovers over hers.  Guides it to the light switch.

She flips the light on.  Jumps back.  There’s no one there.  She’s alone in the room.  She begins to tremble.

Horror is hot. And nobody embraces the genre more than Jeremy McCann (’01 liberal studies), a screenwriter and actor living in Denver, Colo.

Though he also writes television comedy, it’s Jeremy’s horror scripts (an excerpt of one is above) that have reaped awards. He recently won the Creative World Awards’ horror/thriller/fantasy screenwriting competition and the Mile High Horror Film Festival screenwriting competition. Other original television pilots and feature-length screenplays have made it into the finals.

Jeremy’s taste in horror films leans toward the classics – “The Exorcist,” “The Shining,” and “Scream” are his favorites – and toward “paranormal/haunting stuff.”

“Most horror movies don’t scare me,” he says. “I think that’s what makes me a good writer – I’m trying to scare myself.”

Jeremy’s year revolves around Halloween, his favorite holiday, and he says he loves to stay at the Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park, the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining. (“It’s got a great atmosphere,” he says. “I could just go there for weeks and do nothing but write.”)

As a student at Iowa State, Jeremy says, “I didn’t know what to do with myself.” He wanted to get into film but found himself taking theatre classes. The turning point came when the late ISU theatre professor Patrick “Doc” Gouran took a special interest in Jeremy and helped nurture his writing and acting talents. Everything took off from there.

“Doc’s the reason I’m doing this for sure,” Jeremy said. “He was the best part of Iowa State for me.”

Jeremy, a native of Wiota, Iowa, lives in Denver with his wife, Jennifer, because “it’s gorgeous and close to home,” but as his writing career takes off, a move to California seems inevitable.

Looking back, Jeremy says, “Iowa State isn’t known for its arts as much as its sciences…but I’d love to help change that.”

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