Aug. 29-The Dark Dozen:
Travis Heermann

Darkest Horror Movie Ever Watched:

Maybe “The Exorcist”. The first time I saw it, it terrified me. My beliefs have evolved since then, so it doesn’t have the impact on me that it once did, but it’s still a masterful work of dark art. The whole subversion of innocence theme is still creepy as hell. In a way, it’s kind of the ultimate Creepy Kid story.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

“The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum. There are few books I’ve read in a single day, but that is one of them. It is a perfect example of not looking away from the horrors all around us, made all the more horrifying by the fact it’s a toned-down version of a true story. The worst monsters in the world are human beings and what we’ll happily do to each other.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Being eaten alive, I think.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

The first movie that comes to mind for Dark Comedy film-wise is “Slither” with Nathan Fillion. It’s a great mix of horror and comedy. But there’s a ton of great stuff that’s TV format now, too, and I’ve been enjoying “Preacher” lately. That comedy is as black as it gets, and best of all, it’s sacrilegious as hell, even as it asks some really hard questions about the nature of the Judeo-Christian God and of Good and Evil.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

The 13th Floor here in Denver. It’s absolutely spectacular, like walking through all your favorite horror movie sets, complete with enormous animatronic monsters and insane clowns. Top notch stuff.


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

Chucky versus Critters. They’re both small, mean, and devious. It would be a total hoot seeing what they would come up with against each other.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

I turned off the original version of “Funny Games” about twenty minutes in. I just couldn’t do it. Too cringy, probably because it’s more plausible than monster flicks and demon possession. The monsters are two otherwise normal (and privileged) white males, and the way they prey upon a family’s social niceties and decency is just appalling. I could sit through “Human Centipede” and “Hostel”, but not this one.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

In this world? A bad cop on a bad day. That’s always been one of my chief fears, and it’s a fear that Stephen King played upon brilliantly in his novel “Desperation”. As a white male, I’ve had less danger from this than people of color, particularly African-American men, but the rise of fascism in the U.S. is being spearheaded by a militarized police force, so this fear gets stronger every time I see a video of unprovoked police brutality. The science fiction writer part of my brain is pretty good at extrapolation, and the endgame of this is coming over the horizon right now.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

One I still remember is being about three years old and sitting up in bed, covered with my blanket, because I was sure there were werewolves coming to get me. Where I might have seen or been exposed to werewolves at that age, I can’t even fathom, but I was absolutely sure there were werewolves outside my room trying to get in.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Horror people are cool, friendly, supportive, which might be a little counter-intuitive since we write the darkest stuff there is. But there’s a camaraderie about it, like they know they’re part of a small, rarefied and still somewhat outré genre. SF and fantasy geekery has gone culturally mainstream, but horror, not so much.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

When I was about twelve or thirteen, I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels, and that was what made me want to become a writer. I immediately sat down with my mom’s old manual typewriter and pounded out 250 pages of ERB pastiche. That was what set me on this path.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

If writing is what you want to do, do it. Don’t spend twenty years doing other things. Do the work, build the skills, the career will come. It’s all you’ve ever wanted to do anyway.


Bonus- in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you:

Later this year, I’ve got a new urban fantasy series debuting from Shadow Alley Press, called Shinjuku Shadows. I’m really enjoying writing that one, as it lets me play again in a country I loved living in. The first book is Tokyo Blood Magic. The best way to stay abreast of it are my social media, Patreon page, or weekly newsletter. So jump in! The water’s fine.


Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2335175340061310/

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Website: http://travisheermann.com

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/roninwriter

Subscribe to my newsletter: https://author.email/email/lists/sa704f73mrcc3/subscribe

 

Sept. 5-The Dark Dozen: Soren Narnia

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

The darkest one I’ve actually made it all the way through—if something gets too bleak or violent I tend to run for it—would probably be “Hereditary.” If it didn’t have such terrific stuff in it I’d try to wash it totally from my mind. But instead I’ll probably just watch it every year.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

“Pet Sematary.” Spooky enough as a horror tale, and then it had to go be a cold reminder of the role that death plays in our days.


​Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Whenever an exorcism movie has the scene where they show some long-ago case of possession from the newspaper, and there’s always a grim black-and-white photo of the end result… that’s what I don’t want happening to me!


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

“Dr. Strangelove.”


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

I liked going to one called Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Maryland because a good part of it is outdoors in the woods, which is always spookier. There was even a real glowing bog. Who doesn’t like a glowing bog?


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

The fog from “The Fog” versus the mist from “The Mist.” Because I’d like to just kick back and watch the Weather Channel for updates.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

I never made it through “Antichrist.” Lars von Trier just has a way of showing things that I pray I’ll somehow unsee.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Tornadoes. If I ever saw one in real life, I’m sure I’d utterly flip out. But I’d pay to watch one through binoculars.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

The Count from “Sesame Street” laughing at me and mocking me from the top of a flight of stairs as I lay at the bottom with two broken legs. Jerk!


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Almost all the people I get acquainted with in the horror realm have a good sense of humor, and I find it so easy to talk to people like that. Maybe the inherent absurdity of what we create lets us off the hook from taking it too seriously.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

Horror is quite the wacky playground for the imagination. It’s fun to bring plots right up to the edge of utter absurdity and then try to keep them from crossing that line. There’s a gamey element to that I like: Can I make you believe in a ghost, or telekinesis, or a floating skull?


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Forget a career. Get any kind of menial job where they let you listen to podcasts and audio books all day as you work and it won’t matter what you do for a living, you’ll be educated and happy.


Bonus- In 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.:


One thing I never thought would happen when I started putting horror stories out on audio was that so many people would use them as simple comfort food—especially for falling asleep at night. It turned out that even this dark genre, in which such sinister and violent things happen, puts people into a happy place.

It can feel cozy and familiar and soothing. And I think it’s great to be that familiar voice, that human presence, that companion who can offer a port in the storm. This to me has become the best reward, to know that the prose and delivery are working just well enough to create that sense of companionship. There’s the magic of podcasting: You get to be someone’s faraway invisible friend in their tough times.

 

Sept. 19 -The Dark Dozen: Dan Soule

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

“The Exorcist”. I'm a reluctant atheist, but the devil still gets me every time. Go figure!


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

“The Exorcist”. No, wait I already said that. Still, the novel is the only one to ever give me nightmares as a grown-up. Close second would be “Pet Sematary”. As a dad, the premise of that novel is close to home.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Quicksand, think about it; all that time to consider your own mortality. I heard a terrible story a few years ago of a family on the sand flats at Morecambe Bay. The child got stuck in the sand. The tide was coming in and there was nothing anyone could do in time.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

“Shaun of the Dead”. The Irish comedy horror “Grabbers” also has a special place in my heart.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

This one is from my childhood. At the time we lived in a tiny village in north Nottinghamshire called Normanton-on-Trent. We were six, maybe seven, and my friend Sam's parents owned a former farm, although they were doctors. Attached to the farm was another Victorian redbrick house, which sat apart in its own garden. It was boarded up and we weren't supposed to go in there, so of course we did. Three of us looked around, egging each other on. When we got to one of the empty upstairs bedrooms, a door downstairs slammed, and I have a memory of us screaming and climbing out of a window as fast as we could. It was probably just the wind, but I saw recently that the house has long since been renovated and is lived in. (But maybe not only with the living...).


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

The giant polar bear in Dan Simmons', “The Terror” and Pennywise from Stephen King's “IT”. My money is on the bear. Screw that clown.



Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

“Sinister” came pretty close. I think that's a good movie with a tight script and a really cool premise. It is shot really well and uses its false shocks to great effect. The found footage and the demon are all used to ramp up the tension. But the only horror I couldn't finish was the 1990 version of IT. I know technically it was a mini-series but I saw it originally as a teenager in the mid-90s on VHS as a movie. At the time, it scared me to the point of a few sleepless nights. Sadly, I re-watched it prior to the remake, and couldn't finish it because it now seemed so hokey. Tim Curry's role was the only one that stood the test of time.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Anything happening to my kids. I certainly found fatherhood transmuted my view of the world, and I was no longer at its center.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I had one where I was repeatedly chased around a mountain on a narrow path by a witch, a werewolf and a vampire. However, I loved all my nightmares as a kid. Writing novels sometimes takes my subconscious to places its not gone to before in my dreams. When I really get into a new project occasionally I have some rough night's sleep.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

I like to be able to write the stories I want to write. There are certain types of horror that see their role as challenging taboos. I don't think I write that kind of horror, at least not in that way of defining taboos. My first book “Neolithica” is actually about nationalism and the dangers of group identity. I did my PhD and latter research on that topic. But reading “Neolithica”,  it is perhaps not immediately obvious that the dangers of group identity is its controlling idea. This is what I like about horror. It lets us look at things we sometimes don't or can't look at directly through the use of metaphor, allegory and similitude.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

I think attributing some conscious desire to ending up where I am would be misleading. Like many things in life, I kind of found myself writing horror stories. I saw that I liked it. I did it some more and realized writing fiction was one of my life's true passions and that I would do it for myself, whether someone paid me for it or not. I'd had a few failed attempts at fiction writing during my twenties, but didn't really have a clue. At the time I was more focused on becoming an academic, getting a PhD and becoming a university lecturer. I did all those things, but then something dramatic made me reevaluate everything. I quit my academic post. Built up a side business I had and moved to Northern Ireland with my young family. It was then I found I had a little spare time and so started to write short stories, and from there I just kept going.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

I like these kind of questions, but I'm not sure I would say anything because I'm happy with where I am in life. If I interfered with the timeline, I'd end up somewhere else. But if I can rephrase the question to what would I tell a young writer who asks for advice that's different. Then again, the advice would depend on the individual. In general, I'd say try to be on the right side of the Pareto Distribution in all the things you care about. Apart from that I think I could only throw clichés at them without specific knowledge of their needs.


Bonus: In 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.


I've a free book of previously published short stories available from my website www.dansoule.com.


You can find my first three novels (Neolithica, Witchopper and The Ash) on Amazon.


Check out my Linktree for all my links to books, social media and websites: linktr.ee/DanSoule


And lastly, thanks for having me, Candace; I enjoyed the questions.

 

Sept. 26-The Dark Dozen: Jon Grilz and the Creepy Podcast

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

High Tension


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

300,000,000


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Drowning


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

The Royal Tenenbaums


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

Minnesota State Fair (I don’t attend many)


Cage Match between two horror villains: who do you pick and why?

Any two? I’ll say Ghostface (Scream) against Ben Willis (I Know What You Did Last Summer). Ghostface all the way. There are too many of them with too many reasons to keep track of. Ben doesn’t have a chance.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

I Spit on Your Grave…you watch it…


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Failing my family


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I used to have recurring nightmares about Freddy. He wasn’t the main part of the nightmare, but he was always lurking somewhere. I guess that’s what I get for watching Dream Warriors when I was 9.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The fans. Seriously. They are so great and supportive and just want to be entertained. It really helps motivate me when I don’t want to do anything.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

My “failure” as a self-published writer lead the way to podcasting and trying to find some way for my stories to be heard.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

It will be okay.


Bonus: in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you:

I love horror and people who love horror. Not gatekeepers. Not know-it-alls. People who have passion for horror and find joy in it, instead of another reason to get mad at people.


Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.

You can find Creepy three times a week on your favorite podcast app. If that’s not enough we post another 4 narrations every week on patreon.com/creepypod for certain donor levels with almost 500 stories in our back catalogue.

 

Oct. 3-The Dark Dozen: Horror Author Jeff Strand

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

I'm going to go with a more obscure title and say Found, about a kid who thinks his older brother is a serial killer. The final sequence, right up to the very last shot, are dark as hell. This probably isn't a completely accurate answer in a world where stuff like Last House on Dead End Street or Cannibal Holocaust exist (I've never seen A Serbian Film or Martyrs) but screw it, I loved Found.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. In terms of what actually happens in this book, it's kind of tame compared to a lot of extreme horror being published today. But the book is a triumph of characterization—we desperately want the characters to get out of this nightmarish situation, and as things get worse and worse, the book becomes infinitely more disturbing than books that are far more graphic.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Getting swallowed whole by a great white shark. I'm not saying that Jaws 3-D is the scariest movie ever, but I am saying that when the dude got swallowed whole and was still alive in the shark's mouth, it freaked me the hell out. What if nobody had blown up the shark? That guy would've had to just get digested! Gaaaaahhhhh!!!


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

Shaun of the Dead, which is also my all-time favorite movie. Honorable mention to Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil for gory slapstick belly laughs, and to May, which is more of a nervous giggle throughout.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

Hands down, Netherworld near Atlanta, Georgia. It's as good as all of the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights houses combined.


Cage Match between two horror villains: who do you pick and why?

Chucky vs. Freddy, but against all expectations they are able to work out their differences in a peaceful manner. They realize that uttering a snappy one-liner after the heinous act of taking a human life is in extremely poor taste—the murder itself was bad enough, but trying to make it amusing is wrong by any metrics—and vow to redeem themselves for their past crimes. They end up planting a lot of trees.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

Watching Halloween as a kid, alone in the house, once Laurie Strode started to find the dead bodies of her friends, I said, "Nope, nope, nope, I'm done!" Obviously, I would later finish watching it and then watch it another 437 times.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

It's all political stuff that's way too scary for a fun website like this.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I never really had scary dreams as a kid. My nightmares were all of the "Hey, why did I forget to bring clothes to school, and why can't I remember my locker combination?" variety. (Trivia: I still have the "Oh, crap, I didn't study for finals!" dreams despite being three decades removed from my last exam.)


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The people! My fellow horror authors and readers are awesome. Horror conventions where I get to hang out with these fine people are the highlight of my year.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

I started out wanting to be a comedy writer, not a horror writer, even though I loved horror fiction and movies. But the market for funny novels was very, very, very, very tiny, so after a few books I decided to focus on horror. I depart from the genre every once in a while, but never for more than one book in a row!


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Don't sign with that agent. Or that other one. Nope, not her, either.


Bonus: In 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.

Jeff Strand is the Bram Stoker-award nominated author of almost fifty books, including Pressure, Dweller, My Pretties, Sick House, Blister, Clowns Vs. Spiders, and Dead Clown Barbecue. His latest novel is the coming-of-age thriller Autumn Bleeds Into Winter, which may or may not be out by the time you read this. Several of his books are in development as movies, though he has yet to cash a big paycheck yet. His work has been translated into German, Japanese, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, and Polish.


He's on Twitter as @JeffStrand and Facebook as @JeffStrandAuthor, but not TikTok or any of that new-fangled stuff that kids today enjoy so much. Every issue of his newsletter has a brand-new demented short story, so you should definitely subscribe for free at http://eepurl.com/dewPc9.

You can visit his Gleefully Macabre website at www.jeffstrand.com.

 

Oct. 10-The Dark Dozen: Horror Author Iain Rob Wright

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

Serbian Film. Vile piece of trash.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

The Girl Next Door.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Being buried alive.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

Seed of Chucky


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

Never have.


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

Leslie Vernon vs Peachfuzz (Creep). Peachfuzz would win because Peachfuzz always wins.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

Mother, because it was a pretentious piece of garbage. Also, Jennifer Lawrence is pretty rotten.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Having to get a proper job!


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

Used to have a weird dream where I was a tiny flower and something massive kept crushing me. Was a surreal, unexplainable kind of thing.

   

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

It’s fun. We are the bad boys of writing.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

I love to read horror. I love to watch horror. I figured I would love to write it too.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Get your act together sooner. Good things only happen when you make them happen.


Bonus: Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  Be sure to include your website/Patreon/blog etc.:

People can check out my entire 30+ book collection on my official website: iainrobwright.com

They can even download 5 of my books for free!

(Iain’s current free books are “D is for Degenerate”, “Legion”,” Final Winter”,” The Gates”, and “Ravage”)

 

Oct. 24-The Dark Dozen: Pacific Obadiah

Producer of SCP Archives Podcast

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:


Easily, “The Lodge,” from the makers of “Goodnight Mommy” it’s a gripping, thrilling, and frankly, stressful experience! It mixes isolationist horror with religious undertones for a horrifying tale about two children coming to terms with their Dad’s new girlfriend.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

“A Scanner Darkly” by Phillip K. Dick. The story itself isn’t all that horrifying, but the telling of it is! Bob Arctor is an undercover narcotics agent, and he’s infiltrated a friend group that may be origin of a dangerous new drug called Substance D. The dystopia Bob lives in feels a little too close to home, and the POV of the story, in which Bob is both an observer, and a part of a friend group drowning in drugs, is personal, troubling, and very dark.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Solitude and entropy. Trapped in a dark well, watching time go by and decay seems pretty terrible.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

Oh boy, does Bojack Horseman count? That stupid horse made me bawl my goddamn eyes out.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

Honestly, I’m a huge wimp, and only recently started going to haunted houses- But one stands out. You drive about three hours of town, to where it’s just farms and silos, and there’s an old aircraft hangar. You park in an empty lot, and wait in the cold and dark for about an hour in a maze of fencing, and then you finally get into what is the most well done and terrifying haunted house ever – But there’s a bunch of arcade cabinets at the end to ease your nerves!


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?


Tough one! I think a matchup between Dead Space’s Necromorphs, and some cosmic deity like Shoggoth would be awesome, and the fallout from the fight between the two would be catastrophic! I *think* Necromorphs would win for sheer versatility.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?


“Goodnight Mommy,” by the creators of the aforementioned “The Lodge.” The movie is tense and stressful as you watch two young twins, convinced that their mother has been replaced, torture her in increasingly awful manners.

Equally, “Raw” hits all the right emotional notes for an incredibly disturbing tale. Unfortunately, as I reviewed both movies, I had to watch to completion. I’ve never watched either since.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

The Fermi Paradox, and The Great Filter.
Many possibilities exists, such as alien life likely exists, but first they must pass obstacles that we’ve already overcome, OR ahead of us lies a great challenge that so few overcome, its rendered the galaxy seemingly lifeless.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I play a lot of video games, when I was younger, perhaps a little too much. I remember one dream where I was in a cabin, defending from zombies, and they *kept breaking in*. Only each time, after I was torn apart, I’d respawn just before they broke down the door, and I had to try and try again to fight, hide, or get away somehow. Think I had that nightmare for a week straight before I finally found a trap door under the rug and hid there!


 What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Meeting other horror fans! It’s amazing to chat with people who love the genre as much as I do! Similarly, watching as the genre rapidly evolves and matures is pretty cool. I feel like it’s come from a niche to a full-fledged global favorite in the matter of years.

  

What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?


This answer is two-fold. First, I had a story to tell about my last summer with high school friends before we all left to colleges across the country. It was a scary change!

The second reason, is the podcast industry had yet to have a campy found footage show about kids at an abandoned campsite- So with the above premise, I set out to make just that!


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Keep going. You’ve had a project flop, fall apart and fail. You’ll have just as many more, but learn from each misstep and mistake. Learn, grow, keep trying. 


Bonus- in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

This October, I’m launching THREE new shows! Be on the lookout for “Out of Place,” the relaunch of “Theatre of Tomorrow” (Halloween Edition) and an all new show written by myself and Jonathan Goldberg (Fall of the House of Sunshine), “Margaret’s Garden,” a psychedelic thriller through another world.

For information on all of these shows as they become available, subscribe to my current show, “SCP Archives” or head to our website, MidnightDisease.net.

You can also find me on Twitter @PacificObadiah

 

Oct. 17-The Dark Dozen: Horror Author Paul Carro

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched: Original Evil Dead (the video clerk convinced my friend and I that it was based on a true story. We were young and gullible.)

  

Darkest Horror Novel Read: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (read it very young so terrifying)

  

Darkest/ Worst Way to Die: I cannot answer because it would be a spoiler for a very frightening book I have coming out in the future.

  

Best Dark Comedy ever watched: Harold and Maude (case closed)


 Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended: My elderly Mom visited LA for the first time. I took her to Universal Studios. It happened to be their Halloween haunt time. A sign warned if you have heart issues, diabetes, etc. do not enter. She said, “I have all those things, let’s go.” I tried to explain this was next level stuff but no she went for it.

A group of college kids hid behind my Mom the whole time and even when a six foot six Leatherface chased her out of the exhibit with a running chainsaw she never stopped laughing through it all. I lost her last September so I will always treasure that day.


 Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why? Jeepers Creepers versus Pinhead. They both have skillsets that could be troublesome for the other and it is hard to round these two up at the same time so it would be a match for the ages!


 Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why? The Shining. Stephen King of course, was my idol and from my neck of the woods, so his disdain for it kept me from ever finishing it (on TV, I never rented it for the same reason listed.) Do I lose my horror card for this one?


 What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world? How easily people have fallen into homelessness and the ability of others to pretend those people do not exist. (I have a project revolving around these themes coming up in the future also.)

  

What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember? No joke, I love nightmares a much as I love horror movies. I often can go lucid and interact and defeat any threats. I have a regularly recurring one which is highly lucid where I float above the bed. Once I reach a certain height I whoosh into and past a wall of the room into another realm that does not look too accommodating to the human condition! I usually wake right as I enter that place and I do my best to look around before I come back to the waking world.

  


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry? The people are the best. It’s a special club those that like horror. There is no cookie cutter version of a horror fan other than they have damn fine taste! 


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field? I was first published in a book of Maine authors anthology after a teacher in my 5th grade class submitted one of my stories for publication. Stephen King appeared in the volume (not sure which story, we could not afford the hardcover so only my school library purchased a copy of the book.) Tom Savini was a Rockstar to me, and I directed short horror films emulating him.

I went on to college for film and TV and pursued a career there but sadly it took me in directions away from horror. I worked in the thriller and comedy fields, even producing some reality TV! I am so glad to finally be writing books in the genre I have always loved. Mr. King, Joe R Lansdale, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Bentley Little, Ray Bradbury, Richard Mattheson, Shirley Jackson, Mary Shelley, and many others guided me to where I am today.


 What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self? Run toward the horror genre, not away from it. Sad that it took me this long to write the things I truly want to write. (I do love my thrillers too though.) I have many, many projects on the way of different levels of intensity. I hope some folks come along for this ride!

  

Bonus- In 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Shameless plugging and promoting encouraged here.  

For readers of The House (thank you!), my new novel previewed at the end will finally be released in September. It is titled Roots of All Evil and it will contain a preview for my next book after that coming early next year. I wrote this new novel with hopefulness in mind despite the body count. I feel even horror readers could use a lift about now and hope people enjoy the slight change in tone.


 

Oct. 19-Dark Dozen Presents...

Frazer Lee

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

Possession (1981), directed by Andrzej Zulawski and co-written with Frederic Tuten, is unrelentingly dark. Any horror story also has a love story (or buddy story) at its dark heart, and Possession takes the concept of a marital breakdown and buries it deep in the soil of despair with an icily cold gravedigger’s shovel. Isabelle Adjani’s and Sam Neill’s performances are off-the-scale intense, and Carlo Rambaldi’s special FX make for a truly visceral, soul destroying experience that will make your heart bleed and your eyes reject any hint of daylight in this terrible, terrible world. Perfect date movie.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

I read William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist way too young (aged 11/12) and way too fast. Even the cover scared me. I used to flip it over, face down on my bedside table so the evil wouldn’t seep into my dreams and turn them into nightmares. It didn’t work. I think because I was so young, and was surrounded by female relatives in my household, I developed a real affinity with Regan and didn’t want her to become subsumed by the demon living rent-free inside of her. The religious guilt and fear, the coming of age story, the death of an elderly relative – it’s all there in Blatty’s book. I waited until I was much older (fourteen!) until I watched the movie, of course. I do love a good scare.


Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Knowing you sold out your principles and passions for a quick buck is not a great way live your life, or to begin your voyage into the infinite mystery of death.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks) is the greatest horror comedy ever. It works as a love letter to the Universal monster films, and as a piece of great comic art in its own right. “Put ze candle back!” still gets me in the funny-bone every single time. I shall watch it again tonight, thanks for reminding me.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

A house in Staffordshire, where I lived briefly as a teenager and which was brutally haunted by the unquiet spirits of the altogether unpleasant Brownsword family. I might write about those horrid, ghostly entities one day. But for now, I’d rather forget all about them.


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

I’d like to see my creation The Skin Mechanic go up against everyone’s favourite Old One, Big Daddy Cthulhu. I think it’d be one heck of a bout. Fleshcombs and fisticuffs! With added tentacles! The front row wouldn’t know what hit ’em!


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

You know, I’ve never, ever not finished watching a horror movie. The good ones are like warm, cozy blankets. The bad ones are either so bad they’re good – or are opportunities to learn what to potentially avoid in your own work.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Men. It’s always men.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I had a nightmare that there was a severed head hanging on my door. It kept looking at me and trying to speak. Then, I heard its body climbing the stairs in search of its decapitated noggin. When I later learned that Robert Smith of The Cure named their album The Head on the Door after a similar dream he’d had, I felt much better about the whole ordeal.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The people. Readers, writers, audiences, creators alike are, by and large, the most well-adjusted, kindest folk you could ever hope to meet. That, and the fact that you can go grave robbing and call it “research”.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

A fascination, and a calling to the dark. An obsession with, and an undying passion for, the ‘other’. The need to ensure that they will never find the bodies. If I didn’t, I dread to think what I might have done.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Don’t smash that bottle of out-of-date cider vinegar.


Bonus- in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Frazer Lee is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose debut novel The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist. His film credits include the acclaimed social networking horror/thriller Panic Button, and folk horror film The Stay for which he was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Gothic Filmmaker Award. Frazer resides with his family in Buckinghamshire, just across the cemetery from the real-life Hammer House of Horror. Frazer’s latest novel Greyfriars Reformatory is published by Flame Tree Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Drop by, say hi, never say die at Frazer Lee.com. Use Link Below. 

 

Oct. 31-The Dark Dozen: Scott Nicholson

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

Tough one. Probably Session 9, or maybe The Mist.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan


 Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

A plane crash. I don’t fear death, really. I would just fear a couple of terrible minutes as you knew you were about to die.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

Shaun of the Dead


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

If you mean real haunted houses, probably the Green Park Inn on the eastern continental divide in the North Carolina mountains. As far as attractions, I remember a creepy Michael Myers impersonator who stalked us at the Tweetsie Railroad theme park. This guy (?) had it down cold, just lurking in the shadows and staying very still, and then popping up out of nowhere.


Cage Match between two horror villains: who do you pick and why?

Randall Flagg versus Chucky. I’ll go with Randall Flagg because you know he’s not coming back for a sequel.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

Hmm, I can’t think of one. If I did, it would be because it was very badly done. I hate when horror is stupid. Probably the stupidest horror movie I can think of is “You’re Next.” But I still watched it all.


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Harm to family members, especially children.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

I vividly remember my first nightmare. It wasn’t a boogieman or a serial killer, it was this big looming, oppressive, gray texture. I was probably being suffocated in my blanket by my brothers.

  

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Horror gives you unlimited boundaries of the imagination. Although fear is real, a lot of the horror tropes are kind of silly. But if you use the tropes to explore human nature and the monster within, then it’s quite a thrill to out your demons on paper and share them.


What made you want to become a writer in this field?

I was raised on Appalachian front-porch ghost stories, and that feeling of mystery and the unknown made a profound impression on me. I still get that same feeling when I write today.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Stop drinking and get laid. And stop thinking you’re the next Hemingway, because you’re just a hack.


Bonus- in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

Horror is often misunderstood. The genre gets labeled and pigeonholed and criticized endlessly, and its practitioners are considered evil by many people, unless they happen to get rich through their work. The truth is, horror doesn’t give a shit what anybody thinks about it.

It just is. It’s here, it’s enduring, and it pretty much touches every life and every act of art. Because we’re all going to die. Next to that knowledge, what’s a little cheap scare or two?


Check out my work at www.authorscottnicholson.com

 

Nov. 7 -The Dark Dozen: Keystone Horror Podcast & Donavan Allen

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:     

The Babadook. Because as you watch the mother's sanity begin to break, you almost find yourself reliving that point in your life as well. The helplessness and frustration as the world goes on around you like normal. Plus it’s gritty and terrifying.

Darkest Horror Novel Read:        

            Coraline, hands down. The movie, while great, doesn't compare to the way the book describes the world around Coraline. I enjoy both, but the book is a much better version, by far.

Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:        

            Being stabbed has always been a fear of mine. The way a blade can so easily cut through you without force has always scared me.  My runner up is electrocution, becoming paralyzed but remaining conscious throughout the whole thing wouldn't be pleasant.

Best Dark Comedy ever watched:         

            Housebound (2014).  It’s a great movie that starts off like a typical horror movie, but quickly turns into a comedy.

Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

            I actually run one for my friends.  Think, "Escape room, but an entire abandoned farmhouse and barn with multiple staircases to the upper floors and basement, while being pursued by a masked figure." 

            I write a story that describes the theme for the year (The Butcher was last years). There is a scavenger hunt around the surrounding towns to find props and clues that I've hidden to give players the answer to enter into the farmhouse.  Once inside there are puzzles, invisible ink, black lights, noise traps, and hiding places throughout the house that you have to navigate without being caught.  I've been doing it for 4 years and love every minute of it.


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?  

            I would like to see The Thing and The Xenomorph from Alien go head to head.

Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?            

            Any of the Saw series. I just cannot do over the top gore and body mutilation. I don't think it is scary necessarily, but there's an audience for that stuff, and I'm not it.

What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?     

            Water that I cannot see the bottom of.  There's always a bigger fish.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?  

            I think it was after visiting Gettysburg for the first time. I had a dream I was being chased by soldiers on horseback, I jumped off a large hill landing on my back and waking myself up, my body hurting like I had just landed for real.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

            The freedom you have to tell a story. Even the most mundane object, building, road, or person, can be made scary in some way, as long as it's described correctly.

What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

            I've always been interested in the supernatural since I was a kid. I watched all of the ghost hunter shows on TV and reenactment shows, but nothing compares to a ghost story being told around a campfire.  I have had unexplainable things happen to me in my life, and wanted some sort of medium to tell it in. The podcast allows me to do so how I want to.



What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

            Don't freak out about not having plans for the future like everyone else, do what makes you happy. Oh, and invest in Bitcoin, sell at $18,000.


Bonus- in 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you:

            I have a lot of great stories coming out in the near future that I have enjoyed writing, and you should check them out. My website is www.KeystoneHorror.com, there are links to different social media accounts and podcast feeds there! If you enjoy the free stories and want more, there are longer, more intense stories released each month at the same time as the free ones at www.Patreon.com/KHP. You can gain access for as little as $1.

 

Nov. 14-The Dark Dozen: Vaughn Ashby

 Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

I’m going to cheat and use two recent TV shows instead of movies. Haunting of Hill House, was an amazing story about a family who moved into a Haunted house. It was so well made, everyone needs to watch it, even if you’re not into horror. The other is The Leftovers, which is dark more in its concept.


Darkest Horror Novel Read:

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut A short stay in Hell by Steven Peck


 Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

I had to think about for one of my short stories I recently wrote. “Insertion of a tiny ticking clock somewhere in your body that gets louder and louder until you dig it out”, sounds pretty terrible way to go. Also, in the same story “I had his tattoo turn to spiders, crawl inside him, and eat his organs.” I’m not sure which is worse actually.


Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

I’m a big David Wong/Jason Pargin fan. I loved the ‘John Dies at the End’ movie. Then of course there is ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ which are both dark comedy classics.


Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

I loved The Walking Dead haunted house at Universal Studios in California. It was so well done.

But the one that scared me the most as a kid was the Calaway Park haunted house. I’m pretty sure I sprinted through it the first time I went through.


Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

The Xenomorph from Alien vs The Thing. Two alien creatures that are painful difficult to exterminate.

Pennywise vs The Monster from It Follows (does it have a name???). Both these monsters seem pretty unstoppable. Though I like the idea of the It Follows monster chasing Pennywise.


Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

Color Out of Space, for two reasons. First, I just didn’t enjoy it. Second, there is a scene where two characters are in agony, and it goes on way to long, it was so uncomfortable I had to turn it off


What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

How fast times seems to be going. The older I get the faster it seems to be going. Also, whatever is in the deepest parts of the ocean.


What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember? I wish I could remember; I’d happily turn it into a story.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry? The fans are amazing.


What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

For as long I as I can remember I’ve been daydreaming up stories. I figured i might as well write them down.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? Don’t worry about spelling and grammar, just start writing.


Bonus


Vaughn Ashby is the bestselling horror author of Tethered, Brightness Falls, The Axe, Welcome to the Aurora Wasteland, & Entanglement. He’s also a multi-viewed YouTube creator, & nightmare inducing Podcaster.


Ash, or Uncle Ashby to you, holds degrees in Body Head Separation, Spatial Realignment, & Family Member seducing, Time Travel from the schools of Netflix, Blockbuster, & The Local Cinema.  Vaughn also recently completed his Masters in Sci-fi Horror writing from the school of YM, better known as Your Mom.


Before being dragged into the world of writing kicking and screaming, he was a simple bearded human male with poor spelling skills. He was, and this is just true, not a robot, definitely not a human killing robot, with plans of wiping out the human race through writing complex plots that involve adult humor and sexiness.


Vaughn has watched multiple Masterclasses by Aaron Sorkin, Neil Gaimen, Margaret Atwood, & Gordon Ramsey, though not all the way through. He’s also the Winner of the Aurora Wasteland award, for being the only writer to write in that Literary Universe, that he created.  His passions include Whiskey, Tattoos, Movies, Writing, & Horror. Find out more about Vaughn at VaughnAshby.com

 

Nov. 21-The Dark Dozen: Jeff Chisholm

Darkest Horror Movie ever watched:

I always loved to watch the icons of horror growing up, like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, etc. They’re the reason I loved horror and got into the genre. So I don’t have one darkest horror movie, but many. Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, and the list goes on. I also love the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises.

Darkest Horror Novel Read:

I don’t know to be honest. I always loved to read comic books when I was a kid. That was the only reading I think I did. My memory doesn’t serve me well in remembering if I ever read a horror novel.

Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:

Decapitation. Without a doubt. Period.

Best Dark Comedy ever watched:

The Cabin in the Woods, Happy Death Day, and if it applies, the Scary Movie franchise ha-ha

Best Haunted House you’ve ever attended:

I haven’t really visited haunted houses before. But I have watched the Ghost Adventures TV show and they went to haunted houses and locations ha-ha.

Cage Match between two horror villains': who do you pick and why?

Chucky vs. Jigsaw’s puppet. Jigsaw’s puppet because I don’t know how Chucky would ever escape a Jigsaw trap.

Name a horror movie you personally could not finish and explain why?

Never seen a horror movie I couldn’t finish. I’m glad to say my heart handled every horror thrown at me.

What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world?

Not being there for my loved ones when they need me. Failing my loved ones in anything. I always visualize a scene in which my loved ones and I are in a dangerous place. They’re screaming my name out multiple times for me to save them. They’re reaching their hands out for me to save them and I would reach my hand out to try and catch them. But I wouldn’t be able to catch them and save them from the imminent danger. This scene is a metaphor for when I’m not there for my loved ones when they need me the most. This is always a nightmare scenario for me and I hope it never happens.

What was the worst childhood nightmare that you remember?

The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers coming to eat me.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The unpredictability, the action, the scares. Everything about horror is so exciting and it makes my blood pump.

What made you want to become a writer/podcaster/artist in this field?

I wanted to create my own worlds, characters, stories, etc. from my dark imagination. I wanted something to do to unleash and let my dark imagination out and I found writing to be the most artistic way I can do that. Because so many dark things happened to me (bullied, harassed in school, also disciplined very harshly by my dad when I was growing up), writing horror was always a way of reaching catharsis for me.

What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Don’t believe the bullshit in the world. Don’t let anybody tell you what’s right or wrong or tell you what to do. Follow your own path and do what you want to do.

Bonus- In 200 words or less-tell my readers anything you want them to know about you.

I’m Jeff Chisholm, author of the Horror Fuel franchise that was released in September. I’m from Florida and I was inspired to be involved with horror by watching the classic franchises like Scream, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc.


I don’t eat food that’s healthy, I love bearded dragons as much as cats and dogs, and I’m a nice person until you ask what my favorite way to kill a person is….just kidding ha-ha. I’m a good guy overall.

 

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