After Dark Horrorfest is a week of "8 Films To Die For" -- 8 new horror flicks released in theaters for one week only, November 9th through the 18th. Over the last month, contestants have performed at live auditions or submitted 90-second YouTube videos in the hopes of being crowned Miss Horrorfest 2007. The competition is now down to eight finalists. The chosen ones lived in a house together for days, Real World-style, and each competed in "chilling competitions" to win "$50,000, fame, glory, and a year of exotic travel as the reigning Miss Horrorfest!" The videos are on YouTube -- last year's contest proved to be the most successful in the site's history. The final three candidates should be announced tomorrow.

Of all the assignments I've had and interviews I've conducted, none have filled me with as much unease as my trip to the Miss Horrorfest House. I have a difficult time talking to girls as it is. It certainly doesn't make things any easier when they're covered in blood and holding chainsaws. These ladies are hardcore! I was concerned that I'd feel a bit out of place. 1) I'm not a big horror enthusiast. If I want to see people screaming and trying to stab each other, I'll go home for Thanksgiving. 2) Although I do own volumes one and two of The Cure's greatest hits, I am not at all comfortable in the Goth lifestyle. 3) My taste in erotica does not involve whips, chains, or ball gags.

Was I going to be able to find common ground with these people? Luckily, I was partnered for my interviews with the editor-in-chief -- excuse me, DEADitor-in-chief -- of a magazine called Girls and Corpses. Yes, girls and corpses -- together at last! As you can imagine, he was extremely familiar with the horror chick world, and he put me at ease very quickly. If you get a free second and don't mind getting fired from your job -- check out his site! The two of us spoke briefly with each of the eight finalists, discussed after the jump. It was a trip.
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  • First up, in the blue Prom dress, is "Countess Elizabeth Bathory" (Lorrisa Julianus). Her accent seemed to have a definite Count Chocula influence. She would simply not break character, and I became very concerned that all of the girls were going to act this way. (Did you ever see the Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry goes to see Tony and Tina's Wedding, and the actor won't stop playing his role, even in the bathroom? It was a lot like that.) I asked her what she'd do with the prize money, and I got a lecture on the history of currency. Luckily, her improvisations were pretty funny, and her commitment was impressive -- though I did get the "Countess" to slip once and admit she was from...Chicago. Spoooooky!
  • Next, in the long black dress and tattoos, Nixon Suicide (Erin Nixon Kerrigan). The California girl proudly claims that hers was the first video of the contest to be kicked off of YouTube. Why? Well, it included a scene of "George Bush getting head from a turkey." Gobble gobble! With the $50,000, she'd "pay off her credit cards, and buy shoes and dead things."
  • Sporting the hatchet, Sweet Dead Sara (Rainey Welch) is an actress from New York who would pay off her (insert bloodcurdling scream) student loans with the $50,000. See there? Even the dead have trouble covering the escalating costs of a quality college education.
  • In the short black dress is Chieko Grimoire (Jeanette Roberts). Chieko is an aspiring filmmaker from Hawaii. She'd devote the $50K to film production and buying a "creepy house." $50K in this day and age will definitely get you a house that is creepy. You can see her submission video here.
  • Dressed in red, Shannon Lark is a San Franciscan and member of the country's "first zombie dance troupe." I auditioned for the zombie dance troupe, but she said I was too stiff. HIYO! Shannon carries a chainsaw everywhere she goes, and it's a testament to how charming she is that I barely noticed. With the prize money, she'd start a Scream Queen Camp. You can watch her submission video here.
  • The Amazon woman in the black and white leather dress is Mistress Malice (Melissa Jones). Malice hails from Dallas and is a - dun dun dun - dental assistant! I found this to be a good career choice for a horror gal because she is surrounded by blood and extreme pain all day. Malice would use the $50,000 to pay off her boob job. Having met her, I can attest that this money will be going toward a worthy cause. Two worthy causes.
  • The Morbid Sisters (Molly and Bonnie Morgan) were unquestionably the most memorable of the finalists. They claimed to be twins, although all of the other contestants had their doubts. Roughly every 30 seconds, these two would look at each other and then finish their sentences in unison. This was cute once, and then increasingly, wildly annoying. They were a lot of fun, though. The Morbids are also known as "The Flying Morgans" and they work as "corporate contortionists" at carnivals. You can see an example of their body contortions in the gallery, but know that some of their more exotic poses were simply unprintable, and made this farm boy blush.
Listening to my recordings of the interview process, I came off a lot more at ease than I expected to...except for one pathetic moment that I'd like to share now. While horror fave Sheri Moon Zombie was being discussed by the group, I found myself a little uninformed and left out of the conversation. To compensate, I leaned in and said, and I quote: "I thought she was great in Halloween. Like...actress-wise." Attaway, Patty Boy!

Here's the official YouTube Miss Horrorfest page, where you can cast your last minute vote and check for results. Good luck to all the contestants. I know I'm not supposed to play favorites, but my vote's going for Shannon Lark. And not just because she threatened to saw me in half.