AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Armand Rosamilia

Meghan: Hey, Armand! It’s always a pleasure to have THE Armand Rosamilia on the blog. Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Armand: The kids coming to the house each year, especially since I moved to Jacksonville in 2013. We live in a big neighborhood and get over 200 trick or treaters each year, so we set up a table in the driveway with stacks of comic books, stacks of Halloween themed books for kids and adults, and small bags of candy. They’re allowed to take one from each pile, which is confusing for some kids, who think they have to choose.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Armand: Since we added our Little Free Libraries beginning of 2020, we added the books to our Halloween giving. We also have extra books put into both Little Free Libraries (we have an adult one and a bench one for children) that get lit up and decorated, and it’s great to have so many people thank us for it as well as new people who didn’t know it was up or what it was at first.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Armand: Honestly… this is going to shock some people, but I love Christmas Eve more than anything, because I’m half-Italian and we do a lot of seafood. Then it would be Thanksgiving because my wife’s family makes a ton of food and we have it at our house. Third would be Halloween, maybe because we don’t have enough food, although I do eat a metric ton of candy all day and the few days after, until it’s all gone, so… maybe Halloween is my favorite, after all.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Armand: Every time my palm itches I shove it in my pocket. Then I get money. It’s worked a lot of the time. I wish it itched more.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Armand: Cthulhu. Gotta be. I am a huge cosmic horror fan, and Lovecraft was one of the first truly horrific authors I read everything I could get my hands on. Most of it was over my head as a kid, but Cthulhu hooked me from the beginning.

Cthulhu Rises – bramsels – CGSociety

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Armand: All of them. We watch the Investigation Discovery channel every night, and I love seeing a case I haven’t seen before. I wish they’d stop focusing on only Dahmer, Bundy and Gacy and do shows on the many other serial killers out there. Zodiac was always a big one I followed. I’m still wondering where DB Cooper and all that cash went, too.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Armand: None of them scare me. They’re all fascinating. One I wrote about (in my novella The Beast) is the urban legend about a Bigfoot in New Jersey in the town I grew up in. I read Weird NJ for years, with tons of fascinating sightings. Still pick up copies when I’m back in NJ, too.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Armand: Ed Gein. He might not be the most prolific, he might not be the smartest, but he’s the one I always read about. He inspired so many stories and movies, too. He even inspired songs, like Dead Skin Mask by Slayer. How cool is that?

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Armand: I was 9 in 1979 when I saw When A Stranger Calls. Scared the crap out of me. That opening twenty minutes is still scary. My parents took the family to the drive-in and me and my brother were supposed to be sleeping in the backseat but I stayed awake and watched and then couldn’t sleep that night.

As for books… I know Phantoms by Dean Koontz was the first horror book that got to me, but I read two or three a week when I was 12 thanks to my mother’s massive paperback horror book collection.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Armand: I accidentally read an Edward Lee novel once. Don’t remember which one, but it was gut-wrenching. I was able to tell him that years later at a convention, and Ed just chuckled.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Armand: By the time Hostel came out, I was already pretty much done with horror movies. I don’t remember why I watched it, but that was it for me. I grew up on the classics (Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc.) that had intense moments, plot, character, but then it turned into just a lot of gore and blood and over the top shocks in horror, which I wasn’t a fan of. Now get off my lawn, you damn kids!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Armand: As a child, I went as Ronald McDonald. I don’t really remember it too well, I was about five. I’ve seen the pictures, though. I look like a creepier young John Wayne Gacy. My mother made it for me since we were poor.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Armand: It’s a tie between “Halloween” by The Misfits or “Halloween” by King Diamond. I play them both every year because they’re awesome.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Armand: Anything chocolate. I make sure we buy a giant bag or three of Kit Kats, Twix, Milky Way, etc. and then slowly pocket as many as I can before my wife catches me. In my office I’ll go and dump handfuls into my file cabinet, and then eat them over the next few days. I hated getting pennies as a kid. Just don’t open your damn door, lady. No one wants your loose change.

Meghan: Thanks again, Armand. You’re definitely one of my favorite people to have on. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies and books?

Armand:
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Classic. Simple as that.

Halloween. Still a great movie. The original, not the awful remake.

Every horror book ever written or to be written. Halloween is the perfect time to read a scary book. Yes, my answer is a cop-out but I felt so much pressure to answer this in a timely manner. Stop looking at me like that. And get off my damn lawn, you kids!


Boo-graphy:
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too! Project Entertainment Network

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him at his website for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal.

The Beast
The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.

And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.

Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?

Trapped
Forget the conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport… this just got real.

When a massive snowstorm shuts down the airport and forces a plane carrying exotic and deadly cargo, those trapped inside the terminal have no idea what’s in store for them.

Can a group of passengers and airport workers band together to face the onslaught, or will they be ripped apart?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kristopher Rufty

Meghan: What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kristopher: I’m in love with all of it. Have been since I was a kid. Now, I get to enjoy it with my own children, which makes the holiday even more fun. We’ll bake Halloween cookies, using spooky cookie cutters and carve jack-o-lanterns and all. It’s always a fun time in the Rufty house.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kristopher: All of it. It’s hard for me to narrow it down. I do like a good Halloween party, though.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Kristopher: I guess because Halloween sparks that childlike fun and excitement in me. Usually, every day is a form of spooky season for me, but during the Halloween season, it’s all over the place, everywhere I look. Just makes my heart pump as it did all those years ago.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kristopher: Not too much of anything anymore. As a kid, I was superstitious about everything because my mother sometimes leaned that way herself. It’s just something I don’t put too much faith into anymore—superstition. I feel like if the day is going to be bad, it’s just going to be bad.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Kristopher: Jason Voorhees. I love all the iconic and not-so iconic slashers. Jason is my favorite, though.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kristopher: I don’t know how many fascinate me over the other. My daughter reads and watches a bunch of true crime, so she tells me a lot about it. I’m curious about Jack the Ripper, of course. And the Black Dahlia, how her case exposed a side of Hollywood that nobody really knew about at the time.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kristopher: I’m really not sure. There’s a few that are kind of terrifying. One that probably gets to me a bit, because I see it out here where I live, is the legend about the headlights. I’ve passed many cars with no headlights on. Not once have I felt obligated to flash them with my lights out of fear of being chased down and killed.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kristopher: Ed Gein. Though he wasn’t technically a serial killer. I guess what sparked my interest in him was the fact so many of my favorite stories were based on his crimes. My own imagination began to run wild with Gein ideas and that was how The Vampire of Plainfield was born. To me, he seemed to be a very lonely, bored man who became consumed by his sick fantasies.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

Kristopher: I was five and watched Friday the 13th on a summer Saturday while my mom was busy canning. I loved it. Friday the 13th part 2 aired that night and the following weekend, Friday the 13th part 3 was shown. It was all over for me after that. I was hooked on horror. Luckily, I had parents that were very vocal about explaining how its make-believe and the people in the movies were just pretending. I started drawing pictures of what I saw in the movies, using crayons and construction paper. My mom would hang them on the fridge. From then on, I spent a lot of time trying to turn my friends into horror fans. Most of the time, I succeeded.

Meghan: How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Kristopher: I read a lot of children’s horror books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, books like that. I read my first adult novel around the time I was twelve. It was King’s Gerald’s Game. From there, I read Night Shift. Then my father introduced me to John Saul. I read Nathaniel and Sleep Walk. Then my dad led me to Graham Masterton. I loved them all.

Years later, a friend introduced me to authors Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and Edward Lee. I read Off Season and it changed my life. I’m serious when I say that. That book completely changed everything on how I viewed my own writing, and it let me know it was okay to have a good bit of gore and sex stuff in the story.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kristopher: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. It’s truly terrifying because of how real it is. It’s based on a true story that Ketchum took liberties with. Yet, he somehow manages to capture all the intensity and brutality while writing it in such a way you can’t stop reading it no matter how awful it makes you feel doing so. He was truly a master.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kristopher: The Changeling with George C. Scott. That movie is just constant grim darkness for its entirety. Some of those scenes have stayed with me through the years. I’ve only watched it twice in all my life.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kristopher: In the third grade, I dressed up as Jason Voorhees. My uncle had a shirt that looked a lot like Jason’s shirt. I had a bald cap and a hockey mask. This was when you could still wear masks at school for Halloween. I showed up with fake blood splattered on my clothes, carrying a plastic sword that was supposed to be my machete, dressed in total Voorhees Cosplay. I was very popular that day.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Kristopher: Monster Mash! I love it!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Kristopher: I know this candy isn’t the best candy in the world, but to me it’s not Halloween without Smarties. As a kid, I also enjoyed getting little paper treat bags filled with different goodies. Whenever somebody opened the door and held a large bowl with these small paper bags adorned with ghosts and witches, I knew I was in for something special. Sometimes there would be Halloween erasers or little plastic spider rings, fake eyeballs. All kinds of good stuff.

The most disappointing treat is that honey candy. I can’t remember what’s it called, but it’s basically like a small ruler made of sticky, honey-flavored puddy. Yuck.


Boo-graphy:
Kristopher Rufty is the writer and director of the movies Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood, and also the author of Angel Board, PillowFace, and The Lurkers. He has a new book, The Devoured & the Dead, coming soon from Death’s Head Press, part of their Splatter Western line.

He used to host Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film for five years and developed quite an archive list and following.

He is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of two insane children that he loves dearly, and together they reside in North Carolina with their 120 pound dog, Thor, and a horde of cats. He is currently working on his next novel, script, or movie.

Angel Board
Not all angels are sane.

Someone saved David Barker’s life, but he doesn’t know who—or what—she is. Now he’s haunted by the image of that beautiful, nebulous vision with the features of a woman and determined to find out why she appeared when he almost died. David uses an angel board in hopes of contacting her, and unfortunately for him, he succeeds. This angel has loved him all his life, guarded him and protected him. And she’ll hurt anyone who interferes with that love. David’s guardian angel is obsessive, possessive…and homicidal. Her unyielding love for him will leave a trail of grisly “accidents” and murders as she eliminates all those who want to hurt David. Or love him.

Pillowface
Twelve year old Joel Olsen loves all things devoted to horror.

Movies, comics, books, and of course his true passion, special effects. Being raised by his older sister Haley after the sudden death of their parents Joel is in a world truly of his own. But at the launch of summer vacation Joel finds lying bloodied and near death in his backyard, a masked man that is the epitome of what he adores. A flesh and blood slasher maniac! When he invites the masked man into his home to recover from his wounds an unexpected friendship is born, but Joel quickly realizes he’s actually become involved in a true to life horror tale that he’ll be lucky to survive. This maniac known as Pillowface is not only an uncontrollable killing machine, but he also has others searching for him, and they will go to great and bloody lengths to find him.

The Lurkers
They’re waiting for you in the woods.

They’ve lived in the woods and cornfields for as long as anyone can remember. Small, humanoid creatures with sharp teeth and grasping hands. The people in what’s left of the nearby town live in fear. They’ve learned that if they let the creatures take what they want, they won’t be attacked. An uneasy peace has reigned. But no more. The leader of the creatures has decided his kind will be dormant no longer. To survive, they must kill. They will satisfy their unholy hunger with their favorite prey—humans. But some humans—females—will be kept alive in captivity…to breed.

The Vampire of Plainfield
Plainfield, Wisconsin. 1954.

Robbing graves to appease his malevolent desires, Ed Gein inadvertently sets loose an ancient vampire on the unsuspecting town of Plainfield. As the number of missing persons rises, Ed realizes the vampire’s ultimate plan has been put into motion, and to prevent his dastardly practices from being exposed, he decides to slay the vampire himself. But he soon understands that he’s all the hope Plainfield has. As the few people closest to Ed are sucked into the vampire’s realm, he’ll be forced to reach deep inside himself to bring the incredible nightmare to an end.

On this night, the Ghoul of Plainfield must battle the Vampire of Plainfield…to the death!

GUEST POST: Christine Morgan

Your Move, Martha

After my appearance on an episode of his Bizzong! podcast, the esteemed Mr. Frank described me as “the Martha Stewart of extreme horror.” Now, there’s a moniker I never would have expected, but, nonetheless, gleefully embraced.

(The invariable immediate follow-up question is usually “so then who’s your Snoop?”, the answer to which is equally invariable and immediate: Jeff Burk, forever one of my favorite people in the world!)

Anyway, this came about because of my propensity to bake creepy cookies and cupcakes, and make creepy crafts, many of which I like to bring to events or present to my fellow creepy creatives. They’re great for book launches, readings, conventions, surprise gifts.

Many of these demented experiments spring from my own imagination, or are inspired by the works of others; I’ve done doll-mods, crafts, and baked goods inspired by book covers, characters, concepts, etc. I made death’s head moths for the fine folks at Death’s Head Press, sent the publisher at Bloodshot Books a giant painted ceramic bloodshot eyeball, and gave Brian Keene a batch of handmade “clickers.”

But, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus solely on weird shit I’ve made based on some famous horror films. Doll-mods, mostly, with a few other odds and ends (mainly odds) thrown in.

The earliest of these, chronologically speaking, was this nut-people version of Carrie at the prom, which I made for my daughter:

Also from the nut-people line, a nice little nightmare I like to call the Pecan Centipede:

Which, by the way, had a much larger cousin one year for Halloween:

Now, at some point along the line, I’d ordered a bunch of craft supply ‘book boxes,’ which aren’t boxes to store books but boxes shaped like books. A DIY Necronomicon was, of course, a must!

The doll-mods, though, always provide the biggest challenge, and tend to be the most fun. I’ve included pics from the movies I used as my reference in most cases, to see how close I was able to get with little more than a hot glue gun and paint.

Whenever I’m asked my favorite horror monster, the answer has got to be the classic Gill-Man. He was my daughter’s fave, too; while other kids were checking out cartoon movies from the library, she would beeline right for Creature From The Black Lagoon every time. So, naturally, I had to make a doll of him for her!

And who doesn’t love that lunkhead, Jordy Verrill? Portrayed in Creepshow by none other than Stephen King himself?

Now, sometimes there are moments in movies maybe meant to be horrific, but turn out more hilarious instead. For me, one such moment is in the original Fright Night; hello, Amy!

If some of your friends are so obsessed with a franchise they even have a Friday the 13th themed wedding, well …

Speaking of things providing challenges, by the way, the hardest part of this build was having to make the damn tricycle!

One challenge, however, I did not undertake was my roommate-at-the-time’s suggestion to make this one spew green goop:

Occasionally, I will make something that creeps even me out, so I am very glad the awesome Mary SanGiovanni agreed to give this one a good home:

As terrific and fun as was Cabin in the Woods, I think we all agree the by-far best bits came when we got to see all the other options, and dream of the alternate versions of the movie that could have been. Like, say, either of these two:

Hail to the king, baby. ‘nuff said.

And, to finish with a drastic departure from crafts into cooking, who’s hungry for some SHARKTATO MEATNADO?

Yes, that is a bacon-wrapped meatloaf tornado with potatoes carved into sharks. Life is too short to make plain old boring loaf-shaped meatloaf. I could do a whole other post about those culinary experiments too.

Do I deserve the title Mr. Frank so graciously bestowed upon me? I am far from an expert, far from having my own entire multi-million-dollar brand name and empire. But, for now, I can just say — and after seeing her as a judge on Chopped, I know she’s one of the scariest people alive — your move, Martha!

Christine’s Crazy Cat-Lady Stuff


Boo-graphy:
Christine Morgan recently quit her night-shift job and moved from rainy Portland to sunny Southern California to help out her mom and hopefully make a plunge as a full-time writer. Several months later, she’s still reeling from the culture shock of adjusting to daytime life, but finally has a real office/library full of bookshelves and critter skeletons, as well as a dinosaur-themed bedroom. Because she is a) a grown up and b) a professional.

Christine Morgan’s World of Words
Amazon

GUEST POST: Zach Jenkins

TCK Drive In

After a crazy year and a half, the film industry has taken many turns. From distribution delays and same day streaming, the horror genre is no different with films like Candyman and Halloween Kills/Ends being pushed back over a year. Drive-Ins have been a beacon for genre films with having film festivals and showing classic films. The industry has struggled from an in-theater aspect but with the reemergence of drive-ins, horror fans alike have piled into their cars to watch their favorite films from the comfort of their cars.

Drive-Ins were slowly dying out and disappearing all together, but with the resurgence they have packed in fields with different generations of movie lovers. In October of 2020, my local drive in was showing anything from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The 13th, Halloween 4, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even first showings for local films. The importance of these institutions are vital because of the nostalgia and the environment that shapes our childhood.

If you have a local drive-in, please support it even after the pandemic because there is nothing like watching movies in or out of your car under the stars. What is everyone’s favorite drive-in memory? Also feel free to shout-out your local drive-in or chat about your favorite movies in Thrills, Chills, and Kills on Facebook with us!


Boo-graphy:
Hello everyone, my name is Zach and I am a co-founder of Thrills, Chills, and Kills. I am the goofiest one of the bunch yet least likely to get injured from inanimate objects. I may have the least experience in writing (as you can probably tell) I make up for it in creative vision (most of the time). Horror has been in my veins for as long as I have been alive.  Having watched Halloween around a million times by now, I could probably quote every scene. 

I am also an aspiring filmmaker. I have completed 2 short films already and have ideas for several more films in this warped brain of mine. My first film The Mind’s Window is a 13 minute short about being locked in a space not knowing what is lurking on the outside. You can watch it on YouTube for the time being. I have always wanted to make a film that I’m proud of and I told myself this is the time to start. I have another film that is fully shot but is in editing purgatory at the moment. 

I love this community and our group so much. My wonderful girlfriend and team captain, Paige, is the reason I have this opportunity to have this horror fun filled life.

Twitter
Clubhouse
Thrills, Chills & Kills