Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Monica J. O'Rourke

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of bizarro and horror fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions...but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Monica J. O’Rourke...

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

MJO: I’m finally going to jump in and try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) this year. (It happens to be every November. Google for details.) I have a week to decide on the plot, but I have three novels I want to write … and this one will likely be a thriller (with lots of horror elements).

My latest novel (What Happens in the Darkness, published about two years ago) is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel that takes place mainly in NYC. My vampires don’t sparkle. And while this book is much tamer (less gory) than my usual books, there are still some really nasty scenes.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

MJO: I sing … used to want to sing professionally. I love singing anything Broadway, and torch songs/ballads/standards, and old rock ’n’ roll (’50s mostly). I used to play the bass … badly. LOL.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

MJO: When I was a teenager just discovering horror writers, I wanted to call myself Stephanie King. Around the same time, I decided on the pseudonym Erica Criss-Carr (a combo of KISS drummers Eric Carr and Peter Criss). Luckily I outgrew both ideas.

Thank God my father didn’t get his way. He wanted to name me Xaviera (the real name of prostitute/“Happy Hooker” author).

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

MJO: When I was around eleven, my two cousins, brother, and I dressed up as KISS (this was around 1977, so it was the original lineup). I was Peter Criss. We made our own costumes, and my cousin Mark did an amazing job with our makeup. And then my aunt Jean made us wear our winter coats because this was waaaay upstate NY (Adirondack Mountains) and it was cold! But as soon as we were down the road we ditched our coats. I think we walked twenty miles trick-or-treating that night.

If you could be reincarnated as a sentient but inanimate object, what would you like to be?

MJO: I can’t imagine being sentient but unable to move … what torture. Reminds of that French man who “dictated” a book after suffering a debilitating illness … he blinked the entire book to write it, and an assistant typed it. Mind-numbingly amazing.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

MJO: I work from home as an editor, and though I’m not writing much lately, I also write from home. There’s always coffee. And cats. Sometimes the cats (well, Mac anyway) plants his big butt on my keyboard and tries to take over. I tend to write longhand … I find I’m more creative that way. But then the transcribing is a nightmare! Half the time I can’t read my own serial-killer handwriting.

What happens when you die?

MJO: We don’t “die.” We move from one incarnation to another. We’re all spiritual beings sharing an earthly experience. We’re here to learn, and then we return home to study what we learned. We choose our own paths on this planet, those experiences—good and bad—that help us grow. This is why I no longer fear death.

Don’t get me started on time (a manmade construct) or synchronicity! :)

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Monica J. O’Rourke has published more than one hundred short stories in magazines such as Postscripts, Nasty Piece of Work, Fangoria, Flesh & Blood, Nemonymous, and Brutarian and anthologies such as Horror for Good (for charity), The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra, and Eulogies II. She is the author of Poisoning Eros I and II, written with Wrath James White, Suffer the Flesh, and the collection In the End, Only Darkness. Her latest novel, What Happens in the Darkness, is available from Sinister Grin Press. She works as a freelance editor, writer, and book coach. Find her on www.facebook.com/MonicaJORourke.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Tom Lucas

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of bizarro and horror fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions...but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Tom Lucas...


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If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

TL: According to my mom, there was a time when I wanted to be called Lance Crockett. It’s a combo of my favorite baseball player at the time (Lance Parrish) and Davy Crockett. Lance Crockett. What a name. That’s a guy who will rip your arms right out of your socket ‘cause you looked at him sideways. I should have stuck with it.

If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

TL: I would like to go around town dressed like an old school Rollerball player. The 1970s version, not that bullshit remake nonsense. I would have to re-learn how to roller skate. It’s been a long time.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

TL: Splice. I bet no one ever picks that one. Why? Did you see it? The ending? HOLY SHIT.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

This question seems like a good one to answer considering…my favorite and best Halloween costume was a Tusken Raider from Star Wars. This costume was the real deal. My grandfather was a handy guy and he took an old football helmet and covered it with burlap and built in the breather and the whole shebang. That costume was so badass that I wore it three years in a row.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

TL: Pizza. It is the greatest of all foods and there’s plenty of variety with all the crazy toppings available to today’s discerning pizza customer.

Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

TL: Back in college (the olden days 'cause I am olden), I spent the summer semester in Krakow, Poland. It was 1990 and the Berlin Wall had just gone down. It was a wild, wild time. I toured a good chuck of Eastern Europe that summer as well, so that was cool.

I would love to make it down to Australia. Everything I see looks cool as hell and I really want to hang out with Adrian Shotbolt.

What happens when you die?

TL: George Carlin used to say that you get back everything you ever lost. I hope that’s not true. I have no use for 1257 ball point pens. But, on the flip side…I did lose a comic book collection when a tornado hit my house in 1997. Thousands of books right up in the air, gone forever. Sigh. Yeah, I hope I get those back.

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Tom Lucas was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse.

He is the author of the bizarro books Leather to the Corinthians and Pax Titanus.


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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Universal Monster Rally

Last night, the fine folks at Exhumed Films and PhilaMOCA presented the Universal Monster Rally. The evening started off with a costume contest (two contests, actually - one for 12 & unders, another for 13 & ups), then moved into a more-than-two-hour marathon of Castle Films digests of Universal monster movies from 1931-1956, with a handful of trailers mixed in, before culminating in a 16mm print of Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. What a fun night.





Friday, October 16, 2015

Fabio Frizzi: Frizzi 2 Fulci

Last week I was lucky enough to catch Fabio Frizzi in concert, performing with his Frizzi 2 Fulci Orchestra. Seeing and hearing the scores to films like Zombie/Zombi 2, The Beyond, and City of the Living Dead performed live is something I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to experience. I'm lucky I live in the only east coast city they hit on this short, 5-city North American tour.







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Stephen Kozeniewski

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of bizarro and horror fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions...but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Stephen Kozeniewski…


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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

SK: BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS, while still immensely dark, is not really comedic horror like my debut or straight horror like my sophomore novel. It's closer to dystopian science fiction, though I think it's twisted enough that horror fans will still love it. 

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

SK: Redgrin Grumboldt

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

SK: Well, the zombie obviously. Unless you mean a particular individual, in which case I guess Bub. I could really write reams and reams on this subject (I have, in fact, and have given presentations, too) but it boils down to how universal the fear they inspire is. Everyone dies, everyone desires not to die, everyone secretly fears what would happen if they couldn't die. It's such a primal urge and such a primal fear, merged and given a face. 

If you could invent a new sport, what would it be like?

SK: Like jousting, only on dinosaurback. 

If you could be reincarnated as a sentient but inanimate object, what would you like to be?

SK: A computer. I don't know if that's "cheating," but I'd rather be something capable of communicating. The idea of being a sentient beer can or teddy bear or something is sort of terrifying. Like, you could be aware but unable to do anything or even interact with your environment? That sounds like Hell.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

SK: Is it sad that I can remember three Twilight Zones and two Outer Limits? I could probably rank all five, too, and the '90s remake of the Outer Limits would be at the top of the list. But, in the spirit of this question, I'm sure you're referring to the originals, in which case, Twilight Zone, obvs. 

What's your secret?

SK: The secret? I don't know. I guess you've just got to find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore.

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Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

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Friday, October 09, 2015

Upcoming Horror Happenings

October in Philadelphia is always fun, and always busy, for horror-loving folks like me. As Halloween approaches, things take a turn for the dark. Here are some upcoming events I’m excited about:


Saturday, October 10: Frizzi2Fulci
Fabio Frizzi brings his tribute to Italian director Lucio Fulci to town, one of only 5 North American dates, and the only one on the east coast. I’m kind of shocked there are still tickets available - but I guess that’s good news if you’re near Philly and reading this now.


Sunday, October 11: Vivisections
Curator Matt Garrett always assembles a fine collection of short films from around the world for his Vivisections series. Sunday’s installment features Teeth, Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, Violets, Disco Inferno, Lake Mahar, The Shutterbug Man, Polaroid, and Ink.


Saturday, October 17: Exhumed Films’ Universal Monster Rally
I can’t wait for this one. A 16mm print of Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, followed by a marathon of Castle Films Universal Monster Digests, plus a costume contest, and more.


Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, November 1: Philadelphia Film Festival
I always have a good time at the Philadelphia Film Festival - even during the films I don’t actually enjoy. There’s just something about the festival atmosphere. And even though there seem to be fewer genre offerings this year than in the past, I’m looking forward to catching at least a few things in the Graveyard Shift program - particularly Baskin, The Hallow, and The Invitation.


Thursday, October 22: Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim Vanbebber


Friday, October 23: Frankenhooker & Alpha Girls double feature


Saturday, October 24: Nightmare Before Halloween
Raw Dog Screaming Press visits Philadelphia this year for their annual Dog Con, a literary convention celebrating their own special brand of horror and bizarro. This year’s convention has a handful of events spread over 3 days and various locations, but the Main Event happens Saturday the 24th at PhilaMOCA. The Nightmare Before Halloween features live readings from authors Michael Arnzen, Matt Betts, B.E. Burkhead, Drew Conry-Murray, Andy Deane, J.L. Gribble, Donna Lynch, John Edward Lawson, Leland Pitts-Gonzalez, Albert Wendland, D. Harlan Wilson, K. Ceres Wright & Stephanie Wytovich, live music by Stoneburner, and more.


Saturday, October 24 into Sunday, October 25: Exhumed Films' 24 Hour Horrorthon Part IX
One of the highlights of the Halloween season each year is the Exhumed Films Horrorthon. 24 hours of horror movies, mostly from the 70s and 80s, always shown on film (usually 35mm, sometimes 16mm). The films are kept secret until they hit the screen. Vague clues are given at the beginning of the day, but I’ve probably only guessed 3 or 4 correctly in the 5 Horrorthons I’ve attended. This year is the 9th annual event. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?


Saturday, October 31 into Sunday, November 1: A Very Scary Sleepover: Wes Craven’s Halloween Nightmare
And, as if one horror movie marathon wasn’t enough for this city, the Awesome Fest and the Philadelphia Film Society have teamed up for an 11-film tribute to Wes Craven to close out the aforementioned Philadelphia Film Festival. Featuring The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under The Stairs, Scream, and 7 Nightmare On Elm Street movies back to back, this should make for a fun day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Garrett Cook

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of bizarro and horror fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions...but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Garrett Cook…


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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

GC: My latest book is A God of Hungry Walls from Deadite Press. It differs from my previous work because my Bizarro input was various flavors of balls to the wall experimental pulp but this is more literary extreme horror. That’s not to say it’s not strange, that’s not to say it doesn’t have pulp roots but it’s very different. It’s a haunted house story told from the perspective of the haunting as it takes apart and corrupts the inhabitants of the house.

If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

GC: Like Gary Oldman does in that scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula when he’s walking through Piccadilly Circus with Mina. Top hat, tiny Victorian sunglasses, blood red vest.  Such a great outfit.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

GC: My favorite will always be Godzilla. Godzilla in a weird way represents not just destruction but a certain amount of sense in the world. Godzilla is a natural moral order. He punishes and protects mankind. There’s something comforting about that.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

GC: I would have to say buffalo chicken calzones.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

GC: Clowns. I used to be terrified of clowns. But then I saw one of the most beautiful women I know in clown makeup and I realized I’m also attracted to clowns, which is even scarier. I’m as afraid of falling in love as I am of dying.

What happens when you die?

GC: In a perfect world, a 22 year old masochist would get filthy rich.

What’s your secret?

GC: The kind of fear that makes you fight for shit.

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Garrett Cook is an author, editor and singer/songwriter residing in Portland, OR. His latest book is A God of Hungry Walls from Deadite Press. If you would like to know about writing workshops he teaches or contacting him for editorial services go to http://www.garrettcookeditor.wordpress.com

Purchase A God of Hungry Walls at Amazon

Monday, October 05, 2015

Locke & Key Audio Drama

LOCKE & KEY by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez is now an audio drama (not just an audiobook - a fully-dramatized production)! And you can download it for free from Audible.


Friday, October 02, 2015

The Simpsons + Junji Ito

Too good not to share: The Simpsons + Junji Ito mashups by artist Alex Cooper deVillers...



(And if you like horror but don't know Junji Ito, it's time to fix that! Uzumaki will change your life.)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

October is here!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

(And I really wish that didn't rhyme.)

Anyway, first and foremost, BIG THANKS to everyone who helped make SuperGhost September a big success. I’ll be making my donation to Limbs For Life as soon as I get the official royalty statement from my publisher. In the meantime, those of you waiting patiently to see if you’ve won a prize: Stay tuned for an email over the course of the next few days. I’ll be drawing names from the hat one at a time, starting in just a few minutes, and contacting each winner to see which of the remaining prizes they would like. So don’t despair if you haven't heard from me just yet! You may still have won a prize.


Second, after a few years off, I’ve decided to once again take part in the COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN. So keep an eye on this space throughout the month. My plan is to post something Halloween or Horror-related every single day. Or at least as often as possible (October gets busier and busier each year—part of why I haven't done the Countdown since 2011—so we'll see what happens).

Each Wednesday will feature a horror author as part of the ongoing 20 QUESTIONS, 7 ANSWERS interview series, while the rest of the days of the week will feature a variety of words and images. There will be movie stuff. There will be book stuff. There will be toy stuff. There will be art stuff. There may be other stuff too. Even I’m not entirely sure what to expect, so this should be fun for all of us. Or fun for you and stressful for me. Because Halloween is serious business, lads and ladies. SERIOUS BUSINESS.

For now, here's an orange pumpkin-headed Babekub figure:


30 more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween...