Norman Prentiss on his stellar novel, ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER

About a year ago, my darling Hellions, I posted an article about Norman Prentiss’s latest work, a unique on-the-road kinda tale called ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER. Since then, the book has garnered high praise and is in contention for a coveted Bram Stoker award.

I described the book as An absolutely beautiful book that seamlessly combines love and monsters. One of the most truly unique and unforgettable reads I’ve ever come across.”

Well, I’ve dragged Norman back for an interview and I strongly encourage all of you to pick up a copy. It’s only $1.00 on Kindle now, so run, don’t walk!


Odd Adventures With Your Other Father is one of the most poignant novels, horror or otherwise, I’ve read in a long time. What was the inspiration behind this unique, touching story?

First, thanks for the nice words about the book’s emotional stuff. It’s been hard to pitch to my usual horror readers, since the supernatural elements/adventures are essentially wrapped around a coming-of-age tale, and the whole book essentially comprises an unconventional love story. But the quirky structure of the book, and its strange mixture of themes/genres, is a big part of what energized me as I was writing it.

I’d had the idea for the book for quite a while. Ten or so years ago, I made notes for a story called “Union,” that essentially played off of the only supernatural element in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, when Jane telepathically hears Rochester’s agonized cry for her help. Jane and Rochester have such a close connection, that they can read each others’ minds from a distance. I wanted to write about a similar telepathic connection, and came up with the idea that a gay couple, growing up in the 80s, might develop a mild supernatural ability to compensate for the isolation they might feel during a more repressed era. The idea was that one member of the couple gets kidnapped, but could project gruesome images that helped his partner locate him. The idea sat in the back of my mind for a while, and eventually developed into some other adventures I had for the couple. Then, as I was structuring the tales into the Odd Adventures novel, I realized I needed an origin story, of a sorts… so “Bread Crumbs,” the first adventure in the book, is a fully realized version of my earlier “Union” notes.

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As I was reading it, I was hoping it was a veiled autobiography. I know that sounds crazy, but I love the concept of hidden wonders on a cross country road trip. How much fact, if any, is there in the fiction?

That actually doesn’t sound crazy at all, and is exactly how I think about the novel! My first book, the novella Invisible Fences, is largely a fictionalized autobiography of my childhood. Odd Adventures with your Other Father, to me, is autobiographical with respect to my adult life — with a horror and fantasy overlay, of course. The main characters, Jack and Shawn, each contain characteristics borrowed from me and my partner of 30+ years, with Jack being a more adventurous, more confident version of myself. The best parts of Shawn reflect my real-life husband. As for the fantasy/horror elements…here’s the thing: growing up gay in the 70s and 80s was always a surreal experience, to some extent — reading in code, finding queer themes embedded in mainstream books; looking at ideas of marriage and family that you’re afraid would never apply to you. So, to represent that time with any truth, to show how it really felt, fantasy elements were essential. And monsters, too.

How would you categorize the book? Horror is by and large dominated by stories centering around straight white males. What is your hope for the future of horror?

I call it a Horror/Fantasy/LGBT road-trip adventure with a coming-of-age frame tale. That’s not much help to book marketers who want a single category, however. For me it’s mostly horror, since that’s my sensibility…and when I describe it that way, it allows the love/family elements to sneak up on readers, which I kinda don’t mind.

As for horror often centering around straight white males — I’ll admit I’ve written my share of those myself, ha! When I first conceived the Other Father stories, I think it would have been a harder sell with horror audiences. But from the response I’ve been getting, it seems like things are more open: very positive reactions from horror readers, and also encouraging comments from people who have said things like “This isn’t the kind of book I’d normally pick up, but I enjoyed it.” Maybe the LGBT content has actually helped the book, by making it stand out a bit.

What horror movie and book would you say is the Norman Prentiss spirit animal?

I’ll just say the 1931 King Kong in the movie category. As a kid, I was fascinated by the stop-motion animation of Kong and the dinosaurs…and I even allude to Kong and stop-motion in one of the adventures, “The Manikin’s Revenge.” As a writer, I like the slow build of the 1931 movie, which probably had a subconscious influence on how I construct stories: setting up the atmosphere, referring to an off-screen monster as the tension builds, then letting the monster or ghost or whatever break into the story at the right moment.

As for books as spirit animals… I’d say anything by Douglas Clegg or T.M. Wright; Straub’s Ghost Story for its complex structure and commentary on storytelling; and add in a collection of M. R. James stories.

I know you’re a teacher as well as a writer. If you could be in any other profession, what would it be?

My favorite job, actually, is part-time teacher. I love teaching, but I always over-prepare, so it’s better for me to have a reduced class load. That leaves time for my editing gig at Cemetery Dance (for their eBooks), and my writing.

What’s your dream city to visit and why?

I spent my junior year of college in England, and really fell in love with Oxford. I’ve planned out two more books in the Other Father series, but they all take place in the U.S. You’re making me think, now, that I need to write a fourth book that takes place in England…

If you could write in any other genre, what would it be?

Definitely comedy. I’m often wary of mixing horror and comedy, but have tried my hand at it in a couple stories, including “The Albright Sextuplets,” and “The Man Who Could Not Be Bothered to Die” (a kind of zombie story in Blood Lite 3).  When I was writing poetry, I tended to include a dark comic element. I’m currently writing a daily blog of flash fiction that frequently includes comic elements. It’s called “Excerpts from The Apocalypse-a-Day Desk Calendar,” with mini-stories triggered by holidays or “on this day” events. A lot of post-apocalyptic horror, obviously, but some is straight-up humor — check the inappropriate Jane Austen mash-up in the January 28th entry, for example. The blog’s available for free at: http://normanprentiss.com/category/apocalypse-a-day/

What are you currently working on and how can peeps follow your own odd adventures?

In addition to keeping up with the Apocalypse blog, I’m also revising a novel called Life in a Haunted House, which is about a young movie fan who gains access to the studio of his favorite low-budget director. When I officially announce the book, I’ll be releasing some fun tie-in novelizations of movies that get mentioned in the novel–my hope is to make these stories free-of-charge to folks who subscribe to my newsletter: visit www.normanprentiss.com, and click the Newsletter link. I’ve already given away two mini-collections of stories to my subscribers (In the Best Stories and Queer Panics), and my novella Invisible Fences has been free for a while at Barnes and Noble and Amazon US, so I’m really working hard to get my fiction into people’s ereaders! And by the way, since we’ve been talking about Odd Adventures with your Other Father…this is my most important and personal book, I definitely feel it’s my best work, and it’s discounted to only $1 for the whole month of February at Amazon US and Amazon Canada.

Creature Features, Cow Carcasses and Kindle Deals

I know, Hellions, that’s one strange ass title for a blog post, but that’s exactly what it’s all about.

Thanks goes out to an old friend, Brenda B., for sharing this photo and story with me. Somehow, during my research into the Jersey Devil, I missed this! Back in the 60’s in New Jersey, a cow and a deer carcass somehow made it to the top of a telephone pole. Locals attributed it to their friendly neighborhood monster.

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Cryptozoologists say the Jersey Devil has kept a very low profile since the early 1900s, but if you go out and talk to the people who live there, you’ll get a completely different opinion. And here’s another shocker – I can’t believe how many folks have first hand Bigfoot encounters in the Pine Barrens. I’ve spoken to quite a few, some of them still visibly upset, even if it happened years ago.

I wonder if this was the Jersey Devil’s idea of a pinata? Maybe she just wanted to throw a party for her horrid offspring.

And speaking of horrid offspring, Pinnacle has discounted all of my books for the month of February. You can snag an ebook of The Montauk Monster for $1.99, The Jersey Devil for 99 cents or Tortures of the Damned for 99 cents. Time to load up those e-readers on the cheap!

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Jersey Devil Cover

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What’s the strangest thing ever found on a telephone pole? For me, we threw a Batman figure that had a parachute attached to our phone line. It stayed there for about 10 years, poor Batsy’s color fading with each year.

Don’t Miss Out -Limited Edition Pre-Orders Selling Fast

I just wanted to share the wicked cool signature page art for my upcoming limited edition hardcover, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. Artist Zach McCain knocked it out of the park again. Now you’ll get to see what poor West Ridley had to look at every time he lay in his bed.

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Make sure you’re one of the lucky ones to own a very special copy of this beautifully designed book. The folks at Sinister Grin Press are simply amazing.

About the book…

They’ve watched over the house for generations…

The move from New York to the decrepit Pennsylvania farmhouse is as bad as West Ridley thought it would be. His father’s crippling vertigo only seems to get worse, and even with his mother working herself to the bone, they’re out of money and options.

Grandpa Abraham is a drunk bastard and the living embodiment of the long neglected farmhouse. He claims the place is haunted. Ghosts roam the hall at night and their muffled cries fill the silence of warm, summer nights.

On the ceiling above West’s bed are the words WE SEE YOU. In a house plagued by death and mysterious visitations, West realizes something beyond the fiction of his favorite horror books has to be faced.

Dark secrets are buried deep, and there are Guardians who want to keep it that way. No matter where they go or what they do, West and his family know one thing…they are always watching.

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Lake Monster Madness – NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END

Author Robert Stava and I met 5 years ago at a writer’s group I cobbled together. The group lasted about a year, but I’m glad he and I have become good friends. He’s a renaissance kind of guy – writer, artist, musician, historian, martial artist. I wouldn’t bat an eye if he told me he’d climbed Everest while balancing the US budget.

Amazingly, both of us ended up having books published by Severed Press – all this done without the other knowing we were submitted manuscripts there. Great minds, great minds…

Robert’s premier book with Severed, NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END, recently came out and it’s a doozy! Here’s my 10 cent review – Move over Nessie and Champ, there’s a new kick ass lake monster in town! Nightmare from World’s End is a sharp, intelligent, witty and wild ride across the turbid waters of the Hudson River. Set in author Robert Stava’s mysterious Wyvern Falls, this is one monster tale not to be missed because you get not one, but TWO underwater leviathans duking it out. And God help the puny humans who dare not just go in the water, but even near it. The last act blew my mind. Treat yourself and grab a copy.

So, let’s get to know Robert and this awesome book a little, shall we?


Please tell my Hellions what your latest book, Nightmare from World’s End, is all about and the sheer bat crap insanity that you somehow managed to tie together.

It’s a spin on the usual sea-monster tale, in this case not one but two that turn up in the Hudson River at an inopportune time – on the eve of a major Folk Festival at the local river town of Wyvern Falls. It mainly comes down to two people, an expat British detective named Easton and an American Indian Archeologist named Sarah Ramhorne to save the day. Along the way they get tangled up with a corrupt mayor, a failing Ancient Alien TV show host and some overzealous activists. For starters.

As far as how I tied it all together: truth is I pretty much winged it. Luckily it was one of those instances that just spun itself out in the right fashion without much thought or editing. I wish every story came out that easy!

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 I love the true history that you weave into your tales. This time, we got quite the education on American Indians in New York’s Westchester County. How did you go about researching everything?

It’s a MacGyver approach: a little this, some chewing gum there, a little masking tape here, etc. I grew up with books on the Wyandot & Iroquois (and knew several) but knew next to nothing about the Hudson River Indians outside some vague misinformation. Since moving up here to Ossining however, I took a keen interest and did everything from attending lectures at Croton Point given by the NY State Archeologist Association, going through artifacts in our Historical Society collection and reaching out to the descendants of the tribes that once lived here. They’re in Oklahoma now, btw. It’s a tragic story and they had a few choice things to say. Also, I put all the American Indian history books I used into the afterword of the novel. A lot of times it just about getting out and talking to people. That bizarre scene where Easton meets the American Indian vendor talking to him about Atlantis and lost technologies? That really happened to me at an Indian Pow-Wow I attended. You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s so awesome to have you as a publishing mate at Severed Press, the land of sea monsters! What made you decide to dip your toes in these brackish waters? And how did you come up with the monstrous Ossie? Any truth in the legend?

It is awesome – I had no idea when I submitted the manuscript! I was combing through stuff at my job one day and saw they were looking for submissions, and realized I already had a completed novel right up their alley. They accepted it pretty fast, which had me a little suspicious after so many rejections from other publishers. When I got the low-down from yourself I realized I had lucked out. Call it serendipity.

‘Ossie’ came from an off-hand remark my wife made one day while we were having lunch out by the river. I saw something out there – it might have been a cormorant – that reminded me of the classic 30s ‘Nessie” pic, so I snapped a zoom photo of it. When I showed it to my wife she replied, in that matter-of-fact way she has, “Oh, that’s ‘Ossie’!”. I’m sure an evil grin stole across my face as I then said “Yes, yes…of course it is…and I bet Ossie likes people – because they taste just like chicken!” That’s how my mind rolls.

I don’t know if there’s any truth to the legend, but who can rule anything out? There’s all kinds of species in the ocean we have no idea existed. Part of the inspiration behind ‘Typhon’ was this horrifying giant ‘sea bug’ – a 30” isopod -that was discovered a few years back that came up clinging to a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone thought it was a hoax. It wasn’t until 2013 that a giant squid was finally caught on film. I think there’s plenty of other things down there we know nothing about (shudder).

 

After this book, I don’t think you’re ever going to get a call to appear on Ancient Aliens. Which is not a bad thing. Do you watch the show? What do you think of the ancient astronaut theory?

Ha! Probably not. I loved that stuff as a kid, but it all falls apart under any kind of basic logical scrutiny. Most these guys are nuttier than a crate of pistachios. They only focus on what ‘evidence’ supports their conclusions and refuse to acknowledge any other possible explanations, which is hardly scientific. That said, I do believe alien life is out there and can testify to a UFO I witnessed as a kid. Also, while researching the non-fiction book I wrote on my uncle’s WWII experiences in the Southwest Pacific, I came across a folder of very unusual reports in the National Archives. It was a series of 5th Air Force eye-witness reports on UFO’s spotted from airplane observation posts in New Guinea in 1943-44, well before Roswell. Throughout my novel though, it’s all part of a running joke: the characters keep getting distracted by the hoaxes happening to one side while completely missing the very real phenomena occurring on the other. I suspect the truth about aliens is somewhat like that.

Stephen King has Castle Rock, you have Wyvern Falls. What the hell is up with that place? Why would anyone live there? It’s fascinating, but bad for your health.

It was originally inspired by ‘Twin Peaks’, actually! And obviously the many scenic towns up and down here along the Hudson. I was drawing up a helpful ‘50 things you should NEVER DO in Wyvern Falls’ user guide but haven’t completed to date. But there’s lots of reasons to live there – it’s a place where truly weird shit can happen, and isn’t there a part of all of us that longs for that affirmation? That there’s more to the world than 401k’s, vanishing retirement options and the dreariness of everything being logically explained by a bunch of people you dread hanging out with by the water cooler? Fear is the antidote to complacency. The supernatural is about faith in things beyond our comprehension. I’ve experienced both those things in varying amounts: Wyvern Falls is about a place where you can too.

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Okay, I’m going to pepper you with some quick hits :

  • Favorite band – The Who. Nobody attacks the drums like Keith Moon.
  • Dream spot to write – My library – what could be more inspirational?
  • Craziest celebrity encounter – I’ve had some pretty good ones over the years, especially living in NYC. One of the craziest though, was a conversation I got into with Lenny Kravitz at a party years back at the studio control room in the Edison Hotel (a famous midtown studio where Jazz greats like Charlie Parker recorded). He’d bought the place with an advertising partner. I was pretty blotto from the open bar when I ran into him and started running off about Cindy Blackman, whom I’d met a few times though my old drummer, Tedd. Kravitz was nothing at all what I’d imagined from his videos. He was like a shy, dysfunctional little kid. He stared at his toes the whole time we were talking, though he did tell me some interesting things I won’t repeat here. After about 15 minutes he awkwardly reached out, shook my hand and said “Hi. I’m Lenny!” I said, “Uh, hi, I’m Bob. Nice talking to you,” and left. I must have talked a good game though, as a few days later a marketing package showed up at my office from him and his partner, which included some of Kravitz’s demos. I still have it here somewhere.
  • Favorite horror movie – Tie between ‘American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Dead Alive’ – both had me simultaneously freaked out and laughing my ass off. But the scariest movies I’ve ever watched was ‘Session 9’ and “Jacob’s Ladder”. Do not watch either at 3 a.m. Very bad idea.
  • Beer of choice – Sapporo

Last but not least, what new delights do you have in store for your readers?

Well, the next two novels in the Wyvern Falls series are written so we’ll see where those get to. I’m currently writing a second novel for Severed Press which is due out his year – it’s a visit to classic Crichton territory titled “The Lost World of Kharamu”, there’s a new short “The Witchering”, coming out in Dark Chapter Press’s “Edge of Darkness” anthology and I’m waiting to hear on 3 novellas that were rewritten for Sinister Grin Press a few months back. At least one, “The Invasion” is slated for a 2017 release from them, last I heard. Fingers crossed, just in case!

The White Lady of Stow Lake

A new Catherine Cavendish book always shivers me timbers. She really knows how to hit my paranormal sweet spot. To celebrate the release of her latest and greatest, Saving Grace Devine, I invited Catherine to stop by and give my Hellions some world class goosebumps. So dim the light, settle into a comfy chair and read the tale of the White Lady of Stow Lake…


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In my novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.

From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls and young women, who are apparently bound to the shores of the lake where they died. They all appear to be searching for something, or someone -in dire need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.

And not all of them are benign.

One such wraith seems to constitute a deadly reason why I, for one, would think twice before venturing on a walk around Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Her appearances have been frequent and well documented.

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Golden Gate Park is landscaped on similar lines to New York’s Central Park. It hosts a museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, Sprekels Park and, of course, Stow Lake. It also houses a number of ghosts – and even an allegedly moving statue. But more of that later. We’re concerned now with “a thin, tall figure in white.” So said Arthur Pigeon, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle of January 6th 1908. Police had pulled him over for speeding and he told the newspaper that it had blocked his way as he drove out of the park, “…it seemed to shine. It had long, fair hair and was barefooted. I did not notice the face. I was too frightened and anxious to get away from the place.”

Of course, the temptation is to say the man was merely trying to avoid getting a speeding ticket. And if his had been the only report, then that could well have been the case. But it wasn’t. Over the hundred plus years since that Chronicle article, many other people have reported seeing precisely the same apparition.

So who is this mysterious ‘white lady’ of Stow Lake?

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There are, as always, a number of theories. One of the more compelling is that in the late 1800s, a young woman was out, walking her baby in its pram around the lake. She became tired and sat down on a bench. Presently another lady came to join her and the two struck up a conversation. So engrossed was the young mother that she failed to notice the pram rolling away. Suddenly she realized it had gone. There was no sign of either the pram or the baby. Panic stricken, she searched high and low, asking everyone, “Have you seen my baby?” No one had. For the rest of that day, and into the night, she searched.

Finally, she realized the baby and the pram must have fallen into the lake. She jumped in and was never seen alive again.

Witnesses who report seeing her speak of a woman in a dirty white dress, sometimes soaking wet and, contrary to Arthur Pigeon’s assertion that she had fair hair, the other reports consistently state she has long, dark hair. Sometimes she is also seen on Strawberry Hill – adjacent to the lake. Her face wears an anxious expression and she has been known to approach people walking around the lake at night. She asks, “Have you seen my baby?”

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As for the statue I mentioned earlier, this is called ‘Pioneer Woman and Children’. It has a reputation for moving around – and even changing shape. These phenomena always occur at night and seem directly linked to the white lady. Sometimes the statue’s face changes. Other times, it has no legs or head. Motorists have reported electrical problems. Different cars driving near the statue or lake at the same time have stalled simultaneously.

Finally, if you are brave – or foolhardy – enough, try going down to Stow Lake at night and say, “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times. It is said she will then manifest herself before you and ask you, “Have you seen my baby?” If you say, “yes”, she will haunt you ever after. But, if you say, “no”, she’ll kill you.

Now there’s no documented evidence of the white lady committing murder. But are you prepared to put her to the test?

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Can the living help the dead…and at what cost?       

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

You can find Saving Grace Devine here:

 Amazon

And other online retailers

Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:

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And are currently available – or soon will be – from:

Catherine Cavendish Amazon page

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Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

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It’s Time For Bloody Good Horror! An Interview with Casey Crisswell

Like so many people, I’m a podcast junkie. I have a handful of podcasts that I absolutely must listen to each and every week. One of them is Bloody Good Horror, a horror movie review podcast that is very much like hanging out with friends at a bar. They’re currently at 400 episodes and counting. That’s a crap ton of horror movies!

Today I present to you Casey Crisswell of the BGH OG crew. For once, he can talk without Eric, Joe, Jon or Mark interrupting him. 😉 Take it away Casey…


Casey, you’re one of the Fab 5 of the Bloody Good Horror Podcast. Congratulations on episode 400. That’s a monumental achievement. How did you get started with BGH, the best horror movie review podcast on the planet?

My involvement with BGH is completely the fault of Night of the Living Podcast!

Some years ago, I set out to be a writer and did the typical struggle of ‘what the hell am I going to write about?’.  After lots of digging around online and lots of forum posts stating ‘write what you know’, I started thinking about what I did in fact know.  The first thing that came to mind was I love cheesy horror flicks, so I started out with that on my old blog CinemaFromage.com.

After about a year of that, I was listening to a episode of NOTLP one day and they talked about a new sponsor they had at the time, Eric from Bloody Good Horror and talked about he was looking for writers.  BGH had existed with Eric and Mark years before, then went on hiatus and they were coming back.  I reached out, Eric called me and we shot the shit for an hour or two one night talking about horror flicks, and the rest is history I suppose!

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Podcasting is such a labor of love, especially for folks like you who were there in the pioneer days. Were there ever times when you questioned your sanity and just wanted to call it a day? I’m sure having a support system in the other guys (and now lasses) helped a lot.

It can be a hard road starting out, and it’s a lot like starting out with writing as well. In the beginning, it feels like you’re podcasting to the void.  It’s a long time before you’re going to get any meaningful feedback on what you’re doing and as a creative type, that can be really hard to deal with.

Lucky for us, when we started Eric, Mark, Jon and myself had hit off well and we kept pretty regular conversations going about the topic via email.  All of us had different parts of the web we liked to dig around in so we were able to spread some of that hard to find feedback around which helped.  Thankfully for us, in the way that we mostly strangers hit it off early on, we were able to keep each other pretty excited and down to earth when problems popped up.  I’d say it’s important to state that we concentrated on the site pretty exclusively before we decided to work on the podcast, so we already had some time together under our belts before we tackled the great audio beast.

 I find that your movie reviews are a lot like my own. We tend to go a little easy on some of the less than stellar flicks. What are some movies that are so bad, they’re good?

I love a lot of cheese in my flicks!  I am probably one of the most forgiving critics out there.  For me, especially in the low budget film arena, I can look past a lot of technical problems and judge a movie on how much fun I had watching it.  One that stands out for me is one I covered on the Cinema Fromage podcast called “The Majorettes”. At first glance, it’s a pretty generic ‘hooded psycho murders high school girls’ flick from the 80’s.  When they wind up going places you’d never imagine from the basic premise, it’s just fun to see how far the film makers imaginations went with it all!

 Okay, we need to talk about some assertiveness training. Eric and the gang sometimes barely let you get a word in. And you have some real insightful shit to say. What’s the haps?

 Ha, yes, some assertiveness training would do well for me!  I’m a team player and a ‘don’t rock the boat’ kind of guy.  Which is fine for the most part.  When you’re dealing with other more dominant personalities, it’s easier to get run over!

But that’s why I like running my spin-off shows.  I get to do whatever the hell I want!

Thankfully, with this crew when it gets a little over bearing and I don’t get more than five words in an episode, I can generally say, “Dudes, what the hell?” and it gets sorted out pretty quick.

What’s something about you and the BGH crew that the general public may not know about? It’s time to spill some beans!

Mark really is a beaver!  And Jon’s a Democrat!

Other than that, we’re pretty up front on who we are.  What you hear on the show is what you’re going to find if you hang with us at a horror convention.  Just a lot drunker!

 If you had to be trapped on an island for 10 years with one member of the BGH team, including the new class, who would it be and why? By the way, on this island, there’s a waterfall that flows with lager instead of water.

I’d probably go with CC.  The biggest problem with life on a deserted island is boredom, and CC knows lots of cool shit that I normally don’t know much about, so we could talk about some awesome stuff!

 You’re also a writer (often introduced by Eric as ‘a writer of horror fiction’). You’ve published two short stories, Jackboots for Jesus and Deep Lies the Murky Floor (great titles and fun reads). Any plans for future stories or better yet, a full novel?

 It’s funny; over the past fear years I’ve often kind of groaned whenever Eric introduced me as such.  I did definitely dabble for awhile there, but I hit a bad spot of depression and lack of confidence a few years ago and kind of gave up for a bit. Wasn’t proud of it, but wasn’t getting healthier as the rejection slips piled up and the love of it faded for me.

But, that’s all behind me now and I’m slowly working my way back to living up to the title.  I’ve got some more short stories in the works, and I’m diving into the writing world with a different attitude and a bit of a new angle this time around.

I can tell you there’s some bigfoot stories on the burner, maybe a necromancer story.  Maybe even some non-horror stuff as well!  There’s also some definitely plans and ideas for a novel or two out there as well, but that will be down the road as I start to knock the rust off and working back into the groove.  There’s even some ideas for non-fiction work as well, such as some old collections of Cinema Fromage articles from back in the day, maybe even a memoir on how one becomes a geeked out middle aged man obsessed with horror flicks!  We’ll see!

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What book do you think would make a great movie, and what movie that was a book should be erased from the collective conscious?

This is a pretty tough question to be honest!  I’m a big reader and there is a TON of stuff from a lot of genre’s I’d love to see get made.  I’m a big Sci-Fi reader and I’ve been dying to see a film version of Joe Haldeman’s “Forever War” for…forever.  (Yes, I went there.) There’s been lots of hints and almost’s but still haven’t seen it all come together.  On the fantasy side, I’ve long been a huge fan of Glenn Cook’s “Black Company” series, and I think that would be fun to see on the screen as well.  Plus, those guys were all pretty grimy and would fit in perfectly in today’s “Game of Thrones” world.  As for horror, there’s a few that come to mind.  I got really excited for the talk of Guillermo Del Torro’s “At the Mountains of Madness”, but at the same time I worry they’d never do it justice.  I think Joe Hill’s “Heart Shaped Box” would be great too.  That book gave me anxiety!

As for the opposite, I’ve already stated I’m pretty forgiving but man, we could do without “I Am Legend” from 2007.  It was such a disappointment.  Especially since we already knew the formula could be great with “The Omega Man” and “Last Man on Earth”!

bgh

 You’re also the host of another podcast, Cinema Fromage. Tell folks about the deeper exploration of less mainstream movies you cover on the show. Thanks to you, I watched Short Term 12 and was blown away. It’s also where I fell in love with Brie Larson.

I actually have two side podcasts, Cinema Fromage as well as The Instomatic, which is where you would have heard about Short Term 12!  Both shows are currently on hiatus, but they’re gearing back up for a new return, probably with a bit of a twist on their original format.

For me, I love digging around through the movie landscape to find the diamond in the rough.  I usually try to find at least one thing I like about any movie I happen to be watching. Be it acting, writing, camera work, whatever.  No matter how low budget or off kilter a flick is, these people put in a lot of work to get this vision out there. Their movie may have problems, but we don’t need to shit on them completely, right?

Regardless, one of my favorite things about being a horror nerd growing up was the hunt for something weird.  I grew up in a small Indiana town that had two video stores and not much else.  As I started to find other like minded friends that were into horror flicks, we started gathering and holding on to what we could find.  Fangoria magazines, HBO Bootlegs, the works.  Back then, (early 80’s), you had to work to find that weird cool thing that surprised you and knocked your socks off.  It just wasn’t always available to you.  Some times, it might take you two to three years to find some flick you read about in Fangoria one evening.
These days, that element is gone.  I won’t like; I love having millions of movies at my fingertips at a moments notice!  But, that feeling of ‘the hunt’ isn’t there anymore.  It’s so easy.  So some times, it’s fun to go fishing in the depths of the weird and obscure so you get that emotional payoff to find something awesome.

After all, these days we can pretty much guess how any Hollywood blockbuster is going to play out, right?  It’s fun to be surprised!

casey

 Time for some quick hits:

 Favorite BGH episode?

Tough choice.  Probably the My Soul to Take episode, that flick was just ponderously bad!

Least favorite BGH episode?

The infamous Prom Night episode where Eric and Jon almost came to blows.  It’s not fun to watch mom and dad fight.

Preferred beverage to imbibe while recording?

Depends on the mood. Generally beer, whichever’s in the beer fridge.

Finish this – Vape is…

Delicious.

First horror movie that scared the crap out of you.

Poltergeist!

Favorite horror con?

HorrorHound, easy.  I’ve met some of the greatest people at that show!

Your thoughts on nudity in horror movies. Should it be mandatory?

Mandatory? Nah. But, I’m not a prude either!  If it fits and everybody’s comfortable with it, go for it.

 

 What can we all expect from BGH in 2017 and where can everyone find you to listen to your podcast, catch up on reviews, order some killer swag or become a patron?

2017 should be a good year around the BGH parts.  We’ll be adding more writers, more content and beefing up the spin-off casts in the next year.  Thanks to the awesome support we get from our listeners through Patreon, we have a pretty great opportunity to do some great stuff coming up.

You can find us at http://www.bloodygoodhorror.com.  You’ll find daily reviews and all of our podcast content from the main show and the spin-offs!  Also, if you’re ever not sure what you want to watch, try our new web toy Mark the Web Beaver built, http://www.killer-flix.com!  You can find links to our t-shirts and Patreon info there as well, or head over to http://www.patreon.com/bloodygoodhorror to find out how you can get access to our 350 back episodes and more goodies!

As for me, keep an eye on http://www.cinemafromage.com.  It’s not much at the moment, but there’s some stuff in the works!

Best Horror Movies of 2016

2016 may not have been a year chock full of future classic horror flicks, but there were some real standouts. I had  a bigger list than usual to choose from, but once I got past my top 5, the rest were pretty interchangeable as far as jockeying for position. March was a banner month for quality horror releases. October never seems to be. Strange.

So, without further ado, here is my annual top 13 list for the year. Hopefully this will give you something to watch on these cold January nights.

13. THE BOY

The Boy.jpg

This was one of the first horror movies I watched in a theater last year. I was bored and figured it would kill some time. It makes my list because of the strong performance by Lauren Cohan and the overall creepiness of the doll, Brahms. Just look at that face. *shudders* With a very cool twist, The Boy is definitely worth a watch. Plus you’ll want to have a son and name him Brahms, just for the sake of saying his name over and over again.

12. THE CONJURING 2

the-conjuring-2

Look, I know that this movie has as much to do with the real Enfield haunting as I do with ending World War II. That being said, it was fun in a well made, house of horrors kind of way. There were some good jump scares and that nun haunts my dreams. Plus, I’ll watch anything with Vera Farmiga (and if you haven’t been watching her in Bates Motel, shame on you!).

11. THE PURGE – ELECTION YEAR

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I’ve come to realize that The Purge is one of the most solid horror franchises to come along in many years. For my money, it gets better with each movie. Election Year is just bat shit crazy with some of the wildest visuals of the series. I fell in love with the ‘car of lights’ and masked hotties out for a night of murder. Might be my next tattoo. It’s a wild ride and I demand a fourth flick!

10. THE WAILING

the-wailing

Don’t let the 2 1/2 hour running time scare you off. The Wailing is a disturbing, engrossing trip into witch doctory and possession. A product from Korea, it has the most stunning imagery of the year, with scenery to die for. Add to that several scenes that will make your blood run cold, and you have a winner.

9. HUSH

hush

The premise is deceptively simple – a deaf woman is trapped in her remote house, stalked by a masked (at least for a while) killer. I didn’t realize how tense I was until it ended and I felt stabbing pain in my jaw. Being deaf, she can’t hear her attacker as he prowls around the house, nor can she hear the noise she makes as she tries to get away. Good home invasion horror.

8. THE INVITATION

the-invitation

This is why you don’t accept a dinner invitation to your ex-wife’s house! You know right away that something is up with this gathering of old and new friends in the Hollywood hills, but it’s a blast watching it all unfold. The ending left my mouth hanging wide open. Best watched with sketchy friends.

7. DON’T BREATHE

dont-breathe

Now, I know a lot of folks were calling this the best horror movie to come along in years. It’s not, but it is a lot of twisted fun, especially thanks to Stephen Lang’s killer portrayal of a blind man trying to fend off a trio of burglars. This is the second movie of note to be set in the ruins of Detroit (the first being my favorite, It Follows). The abandoned neighborhood alone gave me the willies. There is one scene that will linger with you. I won’t spoil it, but don’t watch it after you’ve eaten turkey.

6. 13 CAMERAS

13-cameras

A young couple moves into a house owned by the strangest looking and sounding dude since the wackadoo from The Human Centipede 2. What could go wrong? Disturbing owner installs cameras all around the house and sees things he should not see. I LOVED the way this one ended. If you’re a fan of The Loved Ones, the vibe this flick gives off is just for you.

5. THE WITCH

the-witch

Hands down, the creepiest movie of the year. Colonists are thrown out of town and forced to struggle to survive in the wilderness. Right off the bat, a witch steals their baby and it’s all downhill from there. This movie has it all – creepy twins, bitter cold and darkness, the devil and Black Phillip the goat. Do not miss this one.

4. THE MONSTER

the-monster

No one should be surprised that a guy who calls himself a monster man would be over the moon about a movie called The Monster. The real horror here is the relationship between an alcoholic mother and her young daughter. Trapped on a dark, rainy road in the dead of night, they have to battle a terrifying creature that is the physical embodiment of mom’s karma. With two stellar performances, it’s sometimes hard to watch and pretty bleak. All the ingredients I look for!

3. BASKIN

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This is the first Turkish movie to ever make my list. It’s a true WTF flick. It makes Hellraiser look like a kid’s cartoon. It’s gross, disturbing and maybe doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s a freaking blast. If this is what hell is like, I’m going to church every day.

2. TRAIN TO BUSAN

train-to-busanLook, I’m sick to death of all things zombie, which just goes to show how great this movie is. It’s a Korean zombies on a train and easily the best zombie flick since the original Day of the Dead. I love the way the zombies reanimate here and pile up on one another. It’s the only movie I’ve watched in years that had me shouting out loud. Get your ticket for this train. You won’t regret it.

1.10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

1o-cloverfieldThe moment I saw this in the spring, I knew it would be my favorite movie of the year. John Goodman is menacing and simply awesome as a doomsday prepper who ‘saves’ a man and woman from a supposed alien invasion above. This is vastly different from Cloverfield, and for my taste, far better. I almost didn’t want to leave the bomb shelter. It’s the only movie that came out in 2016 that I bought so I can watch it over and over.

And now, for some honorable mentions…

Like I said, once I got past my top 5, quiet a few movies on my longer list could have cracked the top 13. Here are some others that tickled my horror bone : LIGHTS OUT, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, and I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE.

What were your favorite movies of 2016? What movie do you think I’m crazy for including or excluding? Lay it on me!

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