GUEST POST: Glenn Rolfe

When Fall Comes Around…

What’s not to love about Halloween season? If you’re a beer lover you probably have a favorite pumpkin flavored adult beverage (Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead), coffee and latte lovers are in pumpkin spice Heaven, and we horror fiends get to binge our movies and shows with slightly less crooked stares from everyone else. With the annual arrival of the Spirit of Halloween stores, we can shop among our brethren and those that maybe want to join the congregation but aren’t normally as comfy with the idea of standing out. All are welcome as the horror community infects the sweetest and the most innocent.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a summer guy. I freaking love and cherish the heat and sun and the waves of our short summer season here in Maine. That said, no one can deny the magic of a Maine fall. The cooler nights, the leaves beginning to change color, the sun setting earlier giving us more time with the darkness before winter arrives to kill any reminders of warmth. It is truly the best time for horror movie watching and in my case and the case of a bunch of my friends, the best atmosphere for writing our cold, dark tales.

We see devils and ghouls, witches and werewolves, vampires and demons decorating houses and storefronts, and we writers go to work. I mean, yeah, we still write horror in the summer, but I like to immerse myself in the chilly nights and use them to add that tangible spine-clenching frigidness into my works. Cold November rain anyone?

Whether I’m caring the bejesus out of me by watching The Exorcist or reliving the coming of age glory of The Monster Squad or It, Halloween always evokes the best vibes for creating and really connecting with horror stories.

Personally, I’ve written some of my best short stories and books around the holiday:

“Halloween Worm” from my collection SLUSH
“The Land of Bones” from my collection LAND OF BONES
My novella Chasing Ghosts
My novels The Haunted Halls and August’s Eyes

August’s Eyes is my latest and though it takes place in the summer, the vibe is not so sunny. The story carries a lot of darkness. It follows a man who has suppressed a horrible memory from his youth, but his dreams are coming for him. And so is a monster called The Ghoul of Wisconsin. While there are some warmer moments in the story, the majority of it will make your flesh crawl. As the dreams begin to bleed into reality, I ended up leaning on the Wes Craven films A Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker to sort of plan out the supernatural aspects of the book. By the way, if you haven’t seen Shocker in a while, that’s another great 80s horror flick to add to your Halloween watching. In the end, I think I brought desired effects I had hoped for to life in August’s Eyes. Despite the horror, I think it also succeeds in dishing a couple sides of heart. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your TBR pile soon.

I hope you all had a safe and wonderfully macabre fall and Halloween. Be good to one another and stay positive!


Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Glenn Rolfe

Meghan: Hey Glenn! Welcome back to our annual Halloween Extravaganza! Let’s jump right into this: What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Glenn: Having NO excuse not to watch horror movies every freaking day!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Glenn: Trick-or-treating with my kiddos.

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

Glenn: For one day a year being a weirdo is completely normal! What’s not to love about that?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Glenn: When things are going really well, I always think “this has to end soon”. That’s really my only superstition.

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

Glenn: In general, werewolves, but in movie/books: Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot. Another villain I love to loathe because he is the most evil one ever created was Dale from The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. So damn evil.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Glenn: The Zodiac Killer. It was/is such a fascinating case and if they almost had him, that makes it that much more frustrating.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Glenn: Feels too weird to say I have a favorite. None of them are favorites. But I find the cases of Bundy, Gacy, Ramirez, and the Zodiac as my top “can’t shut this off” in regards to any doc or podcast.

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

Glenn:
Movie: The Exorcist (scared the shit out of me and I couldn’t stop watching it until my mom made me). I was five or six, we had HBO and my parents were always busy doing other things.

First horror book (kids book): The Howling Inn. First horror book (adult): The Dark Half by King. I was 17 when a friend gave me a copy of the King book. I remember not being able to stop reading it. It was amazing to experience something so involved. It blew away watching horror movies, I remember thinking that.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Glenn: The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. Dale has the power to bring people back from the dead after he kills them. And when they come back, they don’t remember anything about how they died. Dale does a lot of terrible things to them. It made me SOOOO angry I tore up my original copy. Now, years removed from that experience, the book and Dale have stuck with me. I bought a new copy a couple years ago and reread it. Now, it’s one of my favorite horror novels of all-time.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Glenn: The Exorcist. It just feels too real for me. It gives me the creeps every time and I don’t even dare to own a copy.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Glenn: From being a kid, the old Superman ones that were like cheap vinyl with that plastic masks. As for one I’d like to be… Spirit of Halloween has these really creepy ass old people masks. I want to dress up as that one year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Glenn: Halloween I and II by The Misfits. Also love the cover of Halloween I by Alkaline Trio.

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

Glenn: Snickers or Reese’s are always great, but I’m not a fan of candy corn.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, Glenn. Always a pleasure to have you. Before you go, what are your five go-to Halloween movies?

Glenn:

  1. Goosebumps: Start things off light and easy.
  2. The Monster Squad: A Classic that ramps things up a notch.
  3. Evil Dead (original or remake): I love them both, so viewer’s choice.
  4. Trick ‘r Treat (2007): Who doesn’t love Sam? Plus, there are tons of creepy scenes and sexy werewolves!
  5. Halloween (1978): This should forever be tops on this list. A classic that stands the test of time. Also, feel free to follow it up with Halloween II right after.

Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kevin J. Kennedy

Meghan: Hey, Kevin! Welcome back to Meghan’s House of Books AND our annual Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kevin: Throughout the years it’s changed. When I was young I loved making costumes and going tricker treating and then I hit a stage where I was a bit older and I would line up lots of horror movies to watch. A few years later I was going clubbing on Halloween and it’s probably the most fun night of the year to do it. For the last few years it’s became more of a month long event where I pick a few Halloween themed books to read, watch a few horror movies with my wife and pick up Halloween themed stuff that I don’t really need. Whatever stage I have been at in my life, Halloween has always been a fun time. I can’t imagine many horror lovers not loving October.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kevin: Watching horror movies with my wife.

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

Kevin: Probably favourite now. Christmas was always a fave too, but my dad absolutely loved Christmas and he died a year and a half ago. This will be our second Christmas without him and it’s just not the same. I think Halloween has taken the lead.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kevin: Nothing

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

Kevin: Jason Vorhees. I always loved the Friday the 13th movies but they seem to be doing more with Michael Myers these days.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kevin: None that I can think of but for unsolved mysteries, it’s the Mary Celeste.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kevin: We don’t really have urban legends in the UK. I think it’s more of an American thing. I’ve seen a few movies about them but can only think of the one where there is the scrape on the rook of the car and it’s the dead persons ring as they swing back and forth.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kevin: Favourite is a strong word lol. I’ve been enjoying all the programmes about Dennis Nilsen recently so I’ll go with him.

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

Kevin: I was 6 or 7 I think and I snuck into the living room when my mum was in bed and my dad was out and watched the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street. I was terrified to go to sleep after it. Think it’s the only movie that ever scared me. I read a lot of Point Horror books when I was in primary school (ages 5 to 11 for the Americans) but the first adult horror novel I read was Darkness Tell Us by Richard Laymon. It blew me away and I devoured his entire back catalogue before finding other authors I enjoyed.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kevin: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I think because it was based on true events, it took it up a notch. It was really well written and it’s a book that never leaves you after you’ve read it.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kevin: Nightmare on Elm Street

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kevin: I went as the devil once. I shave my head but left two little tufts of hair at the front that I gelled into horns. I used red body pain over my entire head and torso. I wore a cape, black trousers and boots. I won first prize at work for it then I won a prize in a club I went to that night

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Kevin: The Monster Mash

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

Kevin: I don’t really eat candy.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. Before you go, what is your go-to Halloween watches and reads?

Kevin: Once Upon a Halloween by Richard Laymon and I like Rob Zombie‘s Halloween but not the sequel.


Boo-graphy:
Kevin J. Kennedy is the author of Halloween Land and the co-author of You Only Get One Shot, Screechers & Stitches. He has released three solo collections of short horror stories and he is one of the UK’s most prominent horror anthologists. He lives in the heart of Scotland with his wife and three small fur babies, Carlito, Ariel and Luna. You can find him hovering around Facebook most days if you want to chat.

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!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Eric Butler

Meghan: Hi, Eric. Welcome to Meghan’s (Haunted) House of Books AND our annual Halloween Extravaganza. It’s a pleasure to have you join us here today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Eric: Years ago I started to decorate my yard with recreations of famous horror movie characters. While the project has grown to an almost annoying level of work, the reaction of the trick ‘r treaters is worth it. Added to that, is the reaction of the neighborhood and people who have seen previous years as they begin to drive by the house to see if I’ve started to set up.

When my son was in school, the way his friends or classmates would let their parents know where he lived was to tell them he was at the “scary house”. Everyone in Elementary and Middle School called our house this.

One time when I was getting my wife’s sewing machine fixed in a little shop about 30 minutes away from my house, and one town over, the guy taking my information stopped and looked at me when I gave my street address. He said, “You know that house that does the Halloween stuff … that place is so cool. My kids make me start driving by there the first week of October to see if it’s up.” I offered a smile and said, “Yeah, that’s my house.”

It’s great to see all the parents, teenagers, and kids stop and take pictures and discuss their favorite scary movies.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Eric: My favorite tradition when my son was younger was taking him trick ‘r treating. Now though I think my favorite tradition is one I hated just 10 years ago – carving pumpkins. My family and friends get together the night before and everyone carves a pumpkin to display at my son’s Godparents’ house. I hated doing it in the beginning but I’ve embraced it as I look for unique and obscure stuff to carve now. Everyone always did cute and popular characters but I wanted to make sure horror movies were represented and started doing 2 or 3 every year to get more stuff out there. I enjoy seeing which ones get the biggest reaction.

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

Eric: Halloween was always special to me. It’s one of the few times my dad and I could come together over the horror genre. He hates anything scary but he loved coming up with awesome and terrifying costumes when I was younger. Plus there’s something magical about Halloween: the costumes, the sense of adventure when you head out to trick or treat, and the sense of the unknown that comes with it.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Eric: Just about everything. I’m a “knock on wood” kind of guy. I like to think I’ve mellowed out on superstitions as I’ve grown older, but I’m sure my wife would say I’ve gotten worse.

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

Eric: This is a tough question and one I’m not sure I have a clear answer for. I love the old classics from Universal and redone at Hammer – The Wolfman, The Mummy, & The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

I think Vincent Price’s performance of Nicholas Medina in The Pit and the Pendulum is one of my favorite singular villain performances; although if we were being fair to the characters, he was much more the victim than the true villain. Yet in the end, Price is diabolical as he embraces his madness and takes actions into his own hands.

In more modern films, I find choosing a favorite monster like picking a favorite child, just impossible. If I had to rate the big 4 it would be Jason, Freddy, Michael, Leatherface, but that doesn’t mean I love any of them more or less than the other. I’d throw in the Thing and the Jeepers Creepers monster as favorites, but I’m not sure I’d have the same top monster if you asked me tomorrow.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Eric: 6 & 8 are connected. When I was younger I had a fascination with serial killers. I read as much as I could and watched all the specials as I tried to understand what made these people tick. Now, I’m not sure I care but one killer has always intrigued me. Jack the Ripper.

I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid. I worked through the clues, and enthusiastically tried to solve the case – when I was 10. Now I am still interested, watching movies and documentaries on the subject whenever I have the time. But I stopped really researching it. I may have to go back and see if, with some distance and more life experience, I can piece it together.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Eric: I was always terrified of the people living in the sewers. When I was a kid, like 6 or so, I saw a TV ad for a Hill Street Blues episode when a group of homeless come from the sewers and take a police officer. They hold him underground and then cue the ominous music and fade to black. Since I wasn’t old enough to watch or really care about the show, I never found out what happened to the guy. So in my imagination, they tortured, cooked, and ate this guy. So that’s the one that haunted me for a very long time.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Eric: So as I mentioned in 6, I’m not sure I have a list of favorite serial killers, but I do find the whole idea of Jack the Ripper to be fascinating. The setting, the conditions, the back story, and the brutality all add up to an amazing story.

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

Eric: I remember seeing the last 5 minutes or so of Friday the 13th Part 2 on TMC. I was watching it while I was supposed to be watching cartoons or something. I think I was 7 or 8. It was both terrifying and thrilling to experience.

The first full-length horror movie I watched by myself was A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was home alone; my parents were at a party nearby. I think it was a premiere and I was 9ish. In my blog, I went over a list of movies that weren’t horror but were scary that my father showed me at a young age. I believe these may be the movies that helped me develop a love for the horror genre. So I wasn’t all that bothered by violence or nudity at this point… or so I thought. Freddy and the idea of someone coming for you in your sleep really rocked my world. The scene where Tina is killed was the kicker, and I had all the lights on in the house and every stuffed animal I could find piled around me. I made sure our Doberman was sitting with me for the rest of the night until my parents got home. Funny thing, I finished the movie and had no trouble going to sleep. Most importantly, I was hooked.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Eric: The Exorcist is the one that freaked me out the most, but I was 10 or 11 when I read it. My mother played a part in this particular book freaking me out. I was up late reading, into the good parts and I decided I needed some water. My mom and I were the only ones home as my father was off on a business trip. My bedroom was at the end of an L-shaped hall. I left my room, walked the turn (where my parents’ room was), and turned to walk to the end of the hall where there was a door that opened to the rest of the house. Because it was so late, I was trying to be quiet. As I turned the knob to open the door, my mom put her hand on my shoulder, totally unaware of what I was doing or what I had just read.

It always surprised me that no one called the Base Police that night as I’m sure I screamed louder than I ever had before or ever would again. If the door wasn’t in front of me, I may have just run and kept going until I couldn’t run anymore. Of course, my mother is the kind of person who screams at anything that shocks her or startles her, so I’m sure she yelled as well. I’m just happy I didn’t piss myself, lol.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Eric: I’m not sure any scarred me for life. Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 that left an impression on me in the theater. I saw Event Horizon in a newly constructed super theater. Now when you go to the theater you expect a totally immersed experience. That wasn’t always the case, in fact, I’ve been to theaters where there 1 working speaker – and we liked it fine. But in the 90s big movie houses started popping up with huge screens and so many speakers, Marshmello would be jealous.

The reason Event Horizon left an impression, other than it’s awesome, was the use of sound throughout the speakers. It added a new level of unexpected pleasure to the horror experience.

The second movie that comes to mind is The Strangers. It stood out because of the way the director and editor were able to add to the tension and build a tangible sense of dread throughout the theater. I mean, it tells you at the beginning how it’s going to end, and yet they still do an amazing job of putting you on the edge of your seat.

The last movie is the Blair Witch Project. I saw this one opening night with 3 friends in a packed theater. I’m not sure there was one open seat by the time it started. Sometimes with a full house, you’ll get a couple of people who throughout the film pull your attention away, not this night. It was one of those unique experiences where the entire theater bought into the experience. It was amazing. Everyone laughed, gasped, jumped, and lost their minds at the exact time; most important, they did it at the correct times. And the ending… so perfect for that environment; it ended, the room exploded in loud voices and screams of horror and everyone ran to leave the theater. It was like someone had announced a bomb threat, that’s how fast the place emptied.

You don’t get that at home. Hell, you rarely get it at the theater, but when you do it is such a sweet memory.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Eric: I hate dressing up now. I’m a fuddy-duddy as the kids like to say. I loved costumes as a kid and I even won for scariest costume when I was 10. It was a pain, literally, to get in and out of, but it was pretty cool. I was wrapped like a mummy, but my face looked like all the skin had been burned off and it was just red muscle and flesh. I also dressed up as a werewolf once, and that was a cool costume.

That said, my favorite costume was my son’s first Halloween. He was a big kid and already walking when the time came. In fact, he was so big he’d outgrown the 18-month old costume I got him the year before thinking he’d be a cute gorilla. So we went to the store and got him an alligator costume. It had a long tail, I think it helped with balance, but with my son, it just added to the memory of how cute he was as it swished back and forth as he ran down the hall all dressed up to trick ‘r treat.

The next year he was a dragon and I was a skeleton knight and his mom was a witch. I think that was the last time we dressed up… at least themed.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Eric: It’s probably Time Warp from Rocky Horror or This is Halloween from Nightmare Before Christmas. That said, I’m a big music fan and like most of the themed or monster stuff.

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

Eric: Favorite is Snickers or Twizzlers. I’m a big guy so I’m not really disappointed with any candy choice, but my least favorite would be Mounds or Almond Joy.

Meghan: Thanks again, Eric, for stopping by. Before we go, what movies and books should we stay awake on Halloween enjoying?

Eric: There are so many to choose from… movie I’d say Trick ‘r Treat as #1, then I’d go with Halloween 3 or 2. Just depends if I’m in the mood for a slasher movie or supernatural.

Books that take place at Halloween or in October that I like or think people should check out – Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge / A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny / Allhallow’s Eve by Richard Laymon.

Lastly, when I was a kid we didn’t have all these ways to watch things. Most people didn’t own a lot of VHS tapes, and there were no streaming services so when holidays approached you would know that one of the big 3 networks would play some of the old (and create new) classics. Usually, it would be a few days before the big day and many times they would be on back to back depending on who had the rights and what else was being shown. 2 that I enjoyed when I was a kid and make a point to still watch today are It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown & Garfield In Disguise Halloween Special. And so with that, I’ll leave you with words of wisdom from everyone’s favorite fat cat: Candy, Candy, Candy, Candy…


Boo-graphy:
Eric Butler is an Army brat who now calls Texas home. A lifelong fan of horror and pop culture, he finally decided to sit in front of a computer to share all the stories rattling around his head. He lives with his incredibly patient wife and teenage son in a house overrun with Huskies and cats.

Donn, TX
There’s a place in Texas the locals avoid at all cost, where the lost go missing and the damned reside. You won’t find it on any map, there are no road signs to guide you, and once there, may God have mercy on your soul. For when the scarecrow awakens, the harvest of the living begins.

Welcome to Donn, TX
Gateway to Hell

1952
On the back roads of Texas, Debbie grows ill and her husband, Jerry, stops at the only motel they’ve seen for miles. He hopes a little rest will help calm her stomach, but in Donn, TX, there can be no rest once the harvest begins.

1969
Frank is back from Vietnam but struggling to reconnect with the world he once knew. Jane is convinced a road trip to Houston will help them both find the connection they are missing. First, they need to drop off her younger sister and her best friend at the university, and then the honeymoon the war put on hold can finally begin.

Except now they are lost on the back roads, and each mile brings them closer to Donn. If only they hadn’t exited the highway …

But now it’s too late; for the harvest is nearing its end, and the scarecrow requires its due.