Netflix recently debuted the brand new series The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, and after binging the first six episodes (I was hooked by the end of episode one), I knew not only had I found a show that featured something of a kindred spirit in the crafty McConnell (if you’ve seen the many years of my DIY Halloween-related posts here on Daily Dead, this isn’t really news), but I also really loved this wonderfully bizarre storyline that is carried throughout this first season, as well as her adorable puppet co-stars, including Rose, Edgar, and Rankle the mummified cat.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with McConnell about her new show, and she discussed how she was able to utilize her lifelong love of creativity for the Netflix series, getting used to an assortment of new experiences while making The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, her Halloween traditions, and more.

Your show has been a delightfully weird detraction for me this month, especially with everything going, but congratulations on creating such a charming but offbeat experience for viewers. I did a little digging around into your background and saw that creativity has long been a passion of yours. Can you talk a little bit about your creative inclinations and how you were able to turn them into this really weird, quirky show that I already want more of? 

Christine McConnell: Well, that's a good reaction [laughs]. Ever since I was a little kid, I used to squirrel myself away in a room and do projects all the time. I would bring them down to the living room and show everybody for the "oohs and ahhs." I loved the reaction that you get from people enjoying something that you've made and this is the same thing. I'm the same person as I was then; now I’m just creating on a very big scale that I never saw coming.

Some folks have called this a “cooking show,” but I don't feel like that does the show justice at all because you have storylines going through these different episodes, and you're also doing sewing and craft projects, helpful tips for around the house, and other things, too, which I thought was really cool. Had you always intended to merge all these different creative avenues into this one project from the beginning?

Christine McConnell: Well, I personally really love Martha Stewart. I wasn't that familiar with her growing up. I don't think I grew up in a Martha Stewart house. But then, probably a few years ago, I started watching some of her early videos and seeing how she is such an amazingly hard-working person. Seeing all of the different crafts that she tackled and how inventive a lot of them were, I think that inspired me. While we were working out the show, I realized that I wanted to tackle a lot of different things, not just food, because all of this, to me, is really about creating a higher world around yourself.

And for me personally, I spent a really good portion of my life waiting for things to happen for me and finally I hit a wall. I was like, "Oh!" And I realized that you have to be your own Santa Claus. You really have to figure out, especially if you're on a budget, which I've always been, how to decorate the world around you and make all of these things happen if you want that. Because nobody's just standing around, waiting to hand things out to you.

Did you know from the beginning when you started to put together the particulars of the series that you’d also be working with these beautiful, oddball creatures throughout the episodes, too?

Christine McConnell: I would say going into it initially, I didn't know. I did not know what the show was going to be. I'd been approached about doing a reality show, which wasn't really what I had wanted to do, because I do like magic and that doesn't really live in the world of reality. So, I had been fielding a lot of offers, and then I met with Jessica Grimshaw at Wilshire Studios, which is affiliated with NBC Universal, and I just really, really liked her and we started brainstorming different options together. And she's the one who mentioned Henson [Studios].

And very quickly, we were in a meeting with Brian Henson and it just all developed from there. It took a year for us to really hammer out the bible of the show, figuring out, "What are the rules of this world, and what works and what applies?" We shot something, and when we pitched it out there, I really, really wanted Netflix and Wilshire Studios made that happen. We went and met with them, and after our first meeting, they called Jessica right after we left and they said they wanted to do the show.

I’m guessing it's a much different experience, to have to do these things in front of a camera versus being able to just work through them on your own. Did it change your creative process at all as you learned to work with the camera?

Christine McConnell: For me, the first season was a big learning experience because obviously everything was new to me. I never, ever dreamed of being an actress growing up, so acting was just something completely alien to me. I think the first few episodes are a little rough in that department and I'm hoping that if there's more, I'll be able to find my footing through that. But that's probably my biggest thing I'm concerned about. With the puppets, working with them, I feel like it was easy because they have about three people per puppet, so while you're standing right next to it, it looks like it's a real thing and it’s so easy to react off that. I can remember being in my dressing room being made up, and I could easily picture Rose in her dressing room, putting top rollers in her hair and eating bonbons before work, or something [laughs]. They feel very real.

Because it is the Halloween season, which I’m guessing is something that you enjoy, just based on the show and everything that I've seen online, how do you prepare for the Halloween season yourself? Are there certain traditions that you do every year that help get you into the Halloween spirit?

Christine McConnell: Absolutely. Well, every year I decorate the exterior of my parent's house for Halloween, and I am right in the middle of getting just about finished with it. Everything's about to go up on the house and I've completely re-created the entire façade of their house into something very, very scary. I don't live with my parents, but I come here a lot, so we do a lot of stuff together. I usually come here to hand out candy, too, but I love the movie Trick ’r Treat, too. It is my favorite Halloween movie.

If you get to come back for future seasons, have you thought about where you would like to take the show? Are the gears already starting to roll a little bit, as to what you would like to do in the future?

Christine McConnell: Big time. If I'm being totally honest, I think we got to do about a quarter of what I wanted to do for this season, so I have an endless amount of ideas that I would love to do. Honestly, I feel like I have a new idea every two seconds because that's how my creativity works. I really believe that the more you are creative, it can build into this crazy thing, so I have so many places that I would like to go if we are lucky enough to come back.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.