Meghan: Hey, Jon. Welcome back! It’s always an… interesting pleasure… to have you on. To be honest, I think your day is one of the ones I look most forward to during this thing. What is your favorite part of Halloween?
Jon: A long time ago, it was the first Nightmare on Elm Street. At the time I had two rooms in my parents house (I was maybe 15 or 16). My main bedroom was in the basement. The horrors of my parents basement scare me more than anything I have ever read or seen on a screen.
It was late at night and I was in the living room by myself. The scene where a body bag was being drug through the school halls was the last bit for me. I turned it off and couldn’t go near the basement that night.
The problem of course, to get to my other room, I needed to pass the stairs to the basement. It took a bit of convincing myself I could do it.
Meghan: Do you get scared easily?
Jon: Monkey Shines. I can still see the damn wind up monkey smacking its cymbals.
Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?
Jon: The older version of vampires. I don’t really care as much now because of how they are seen in modern culture. The thoughts of them have been romanticized so much that they are more a misunderstood creature than something from the bowels of hell.
Mind you, this could be part of the issue we face in many aspects of our lives. We spend so much time trying to take the power away from things outside of ourselves that we relegate things that should scare us to banal tropes.
Our efforts to explain away evil hurts us more than the evils itself.
Meghan: What horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?
Jon: Halloween means haunted houses and weird trips through demented imaginations. My girls and I spend time in the month of October going through the haunted attractions. We go for the possibility of being scared but mostly just marvel at the work that goes into each room. And of course we spend time interacting with the actors.
I’m pretty sure for most normals we are a nightmare to go through the attraction with. Our last jaunt we lost the groups that had been attached to us. Mostly because they shifted away from us in the waiting areas.
I think they maybe go because they are searching for the scare. We go because these are our people.
Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?
Jon: Freddy is the protagonist right? He’s the star of every one of his movies.
Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?
Jon: Depends on what it is and the atmosphere of where I am. Most movies don’t really do a thing for me, not like they might have in the past. I maybe a bit more jaded than I used to be. Or maybe it’s the landscape of my mind that frightens me more than any fantasy a director tries to frighten me with.
Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?
Jon: Pumpkin spice lattes and murder. (Only one of these is true)
Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?
Jon: See the above answer. Mind you I don’t find them disturbing now. Mostly they just make me laugh. The efforts they go to now to try and affect a jaded audience means they are pushing the limits of what might be disturbing. The sad part is, the harder they push, the less horror they are able to achieve. I have seen non-horror movies and stories now with murders and deaths that are so much more disturbing. It’s the shock value of not expecting it to happen.
With that, there is a scene in the series version of Spartacus that made me stop and stare. I don’t remember the characters but it was one of the Roman women killing another one. She slammed the woman’s head against the stone floor repeatedly. They added the sounds of the skull fracturing. Amazing work.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
Jon: Do you believe in ghost stories? Because you are in one…
I have seen ghosts or visions I could not explain on several occasions. There are things out there we still can not explain with the science we currently have available.
Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?
Jon: Nightmare on Elm street. Mainly because I would be a dream beast like Freddy. I can see myself haunting people’s nightmares to feed on their fear and pain…
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
Jon: Depends on the day. So much of our world and the universe is still hidden from us. New discoveries and interactions with this crazy thing called life is always something I want to know more about.
Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?
Jon: La Gripe from Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?
Jon: Depends on the day…
Do I succumb to ennui or do I fight on and take as many of the bastards with me before they turn me into one of them?
Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?
Jon: Actually wasn’t a horror novel at all. Neil Gaiman’s book Trigger Warning, has a story that continues the tail of Shadow (American Gods). There is a moment in that story that I was drawn so deep into the horror that it gave me chills.
I have a few in some horror books as well.
One being a Lovecraft story. I don’t remember the name of it but the story was more a description of a house. I was doing third shift gate guard duty for the Welch’s plant in Lawton Michigan. Yeah, time alone in the middle of the night and darkness all around. I ended up seeing these rabbits toward the road with blood on their fangs. At that point I knew it was time to stop reading.
And one more… I don’t remember the name of the story or the book I read it in. But the gist of it was the bombing run of World War II. One of the planes had gone of course, and dropped the bomb on a target of opportunity. It’s only as the plane is flying away that we realize they just dropped an atomic bomb on Oz, the Emerald City. Chills I tell you…
Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?
Jon: My father once told me the ghost story of the man who had a premonition of his own death (though he didn’t know it was his death). In the end of it the man ends up getting hit by a train.
I grew up near the train tracks. Our house was essentially at the halfway point between Chicago and Detroit. And I grew up at a time when Shipments of cars and car parts were transported mostly by train. So there were a large number of trains going by our house on a daily basis.
On some nights if I was outside and the vibes were right I would be transported to that story where the man died trying to stop the train. I have chills every time, even now.
Meghan: Okay… let’s have some… fun??……….. Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Jon: Vampire. Vlad is one sexy beast and retains his sex appeal even as a monster. Yeah, its gotta be his type instead of the nasty things in other myths.
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Jon: Zombies, you can’t turn into an alien. Best you can hope for is the probing to be fun.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Jon: Depends on how you define zombie juice. I mean if its like Powerade, no biggie.
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Jon: Poltergeist. Just avoid the pool.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Jon: Since both are actually a thing, I want to say both. I have to wonder if the wormy cheese still wiggles as you chew.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Jon: Quit trying to say Gramma can’t cook. That’s just mean.
Boo-graphy: Jon M. Jefferson writes Speculative fiction with forays into Noir and Bizarro. His stories have appeared in the 2013 Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Anthology, and the Foil and Phazer Divide and Conquer Anthology. He is a longtime fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy stories in all their forms. He has spent most of his life looking for magic in the everyday moments of life. He hails from the tundra of Southwest Michigan. The monsters in his life include his wife, two daughters and two granddaughters.