Good Mourning, Nancy: The Beginning

Good Mourning, Nancy came to me like most creative adventures; it was born out of discouragement. The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 was rough on so many levels. I needed something new and positive. I had always wanted to learn how to record a podcast after listening to such successful personal favorites like Serial and The Last Podcast on the Left, but the problem was “What do I even talk about?” and “Who would want to hear me talk about anything in the first place?” The topic would have to be something I actually liked and was willing to spend some time on.

Abbey and I trying to look spooky in April 2017. Photo by Dalton Dobson.

I can place the birth of Good Mourning, Nancy sometime in February 2017 when I started asking various friends if they wanted to just “sit in front of a mic and talk about our favorite horror movies.” That was the only thing I could think of that I absolutely loved talking about all day, every day, with anyone who was interested enough. All of the friends I asked replied right away and were supportive and willing to be potential guests on the show! The fact that there were already so many people interested made me hopeful about the topic. However, I knew that it would be too much to have a different guest every week, especially since most of the friends I asked were out of town. I wanted to keep the podcast female, at least at first, so I approached my friend, Abbey Brown, about being my permanent co-host. I was so pleased when she enthusiastically accepted!


Abbey and I have known each other since we were very little. Our mothers were close friends in high school, we are both one of three girls, and at one point, Abbey dated a family member of mine. We’ve spent many a Christmas Eve party, birthday, and wedding together and I consider her and her family an extension of mine. Abbey is also reliable and cares just as much for this podcast as I do. During the course of recording season 1, Abbey always showed up on time to help set up the mics and blankets for the makeshift studio in my tiny one-bedroom apartment. She would bring coffee, food, and just all around good cheer to the project. She helped get in contact with Dave Love  and Steph Arnold the artists who designed our brilliant logo, and volunteered her awesome boyfriend, Dalton Dobson, to take our promo photos. Abbey has been a huge asset to Good Mourning, Nancy and I hope to keep her around for as long as humanly possible.

Of course, we both couldn’t have done it without my husband, Luke. Working in television and radio broadcasting for over 12 years, he is one of the most talented people I know. Not only does he edit the show, but he also does his best to set up the equipment to make us sound halfway decent. I know he cringes at the fact we are not recording in a studio, using high-tech mics, or even using the mics correctly, but that doesn’t stop him from supporting us 100% of the time. I can’t even believe I lucked out with such an amazing human.

Last but certainly not least, I absolutely cannot forget to thank my sister, Lily, who composed the theme song to Good Mourning, Nancy, Dani Benjamin, for helping me get this website up and running, and my parents for their endless support and encouragement.

What’s In A Name?

Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, is the final girl in Wes Craven’s 1984 film A Nightmare on Elm Street, and is the inspiration for the title of this podcast.

Heart of Summer
Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) beating up Freddy (Robert Englund) in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


What’s so interesting is that I was NEVER a huge fan of the NoES movies. I wasn’t allowed to watch them when I was younger and when I was old enough, I was too busy watching the Scream franchise (my favorite slasher flicks)! So, how in the world would I even consider adding the name of the final girl from a franchise I didn’t really care about? I remembered a quote from writer Diablo Cody, famous for writing the quirky indie film Juno and the horror flick Jennifer’s Body. In the New York Times article Taking Back the Knife: Girls Gone Gory, Cody said:


“When I watched movies like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘E.T.,’ it was boys having adventures,” she said. “When I watched ‘Nightmare on Elm Street,’ it was Nancy beating up Freddy. It was that simple.”


I LOVED that! I went back, re-watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, and finally realized just how much of an intelligent and capable badass Nancy is! Towards the end of the film, Nancy is able to wake-up and trick Freddy Krueger out of her dream and into the real world. Once in the real world, she lights him on fire and throws him into the basement. When the fire is put out, Freddy is gone, but Nancy knows he’ll be back for her. Moments later, Freddy attacks her once again but she realizes that fear is what keeps him ‘alive’ and so she calmly reduces him to nothing. At the end of the film, Nancy steps outside into the morning light and exclaims, “It’s bright!”  All of her friends are alive and well… or so she thinks. I think it is safe to say that Nancy won the battle but the war had obviously just begun. However, we now know how powerful Nancy can be; making us feel like we can be powerful in our own lives too!

Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol J. Clover (Princeton Classics).

I still have issues with the final girl trope, although it is slowly but surely starting to change now (yay!). Carol J. Clover created the term in her very informative book Men, Women, and Chainsaws. Normally the final girl is somewhat scrappy or shy, brown-haired, white, and/or a virgin. This is a problem for many reasons; not only does it show us that only certain kinds of women are allowed to survive a horror movie (real-life tragic event) but that everyone who dies does so because they are either sinful by birth (not white) or by their actions (sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll). Let’s all be honest: the virginal-white final girl is outdated.


Does this mean that some of the movies Abbey and I will be covering are full of these types of final girls? Yes. Yes it does. Horror films (especially slashers) from the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s are unfortunately all about this final girl. However, what we can positively take away from the final girl trope is that she is at the very least an intelligent and observant female fighter who will not give up. We could all use a survivor story occasionally and horror movies give us that opportunity.

In the wake of Good Mourning, Nancy’s official release, I hope you enjoy our ramblings about our favorites, old and new, and if you’re not already into horror films, maybe you’ll have a different perspective when we’re done.

  • Gracie Jarvis

Leave a Reply