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SYFY WIRE Courtney Cox

Courteney Cox's new series 'Shining Vale' has scares that rival her own chilling ghost story

By Tara Bennett
 First Look Shining Vale Season 1

Courteney Cox's next project is the perfect mix of what made her so popular in the first place: comedy and horror. Shining Vale is a new Starz series filming now at Warner Bros. Studio in Hollywood, right where Cox and company shot Friends. Billed as a “smiling horror comedy” by co-creator/executive producer Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) during today’s Netflix Television Critics Association virtual press day attended by SYFY WIRE, Shining Vale centers on Cox’s writer character, Pat Phelps, who moves her family into a rural house that was center stage for some horrible atrocities. And she definitely starts seeing things the rest of her family doesn’t.

During the panel, Cox said she jumped on the role of Peg because she loves to be “scared and laugh” while watching films or TV shows. “This series has such a unique combination,” she said. “It’s about real life issues about infidelity and mental illness. It’s so rich and funny and great.”

 First Look Shining Vale Season 1

Fellow co-creator Jeff Astrof (Friends) said the tone of the horror in the show is genuinely scary, but leans more to the psychological. “It’s not gory,” he qualified. “But there are a lot of jump scares. I’d say it’s more of a thriller.”

For his part, Astrof said he also researched the fine line between depression and possession; surprisingly, there's a lot of crossover. “Both curse a lot,” he said about both camps, which explains the copious f-bombs said by Pat throughout the series. “It’s often been a sign of mental illness.”

He also found that women are two times as likely to be diagnosed as depressed, and discovered the condition of menopausal schizophrenia, which can be diagnosed for women over 50 who hear voices. 

The conversation then turned back to the more metaphysical when the panel was asked about whether they've experienced their own strange, ghostly moments. Cox admitted that she once lived in a home on the top of Lookout Mountain near Laurel Canyon in California, which was previously owned by infamous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee. The Scream star shared that she did not personally believe in ghost stories, but was told by several friends that when they were in the home, they experienced odd drafts and strange dreams. But the capper was when she answered the doorbell for a FedEx delivery, and the driver asked her point blank, “Are you aware there is a spirit in this house?” She said, “No, why?” And they replied, “Because there’s one standing right behind you.” 

Cox said she sold the house not long after.

Shining Vail will premiere on Starz in 2022. 

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