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/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TravisHeermann

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. 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.


 

©2020 by Uncomfortably Dark Horror. Proudly created with Wix.com