Meghan: Hi, Paul. Welcome back to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books and thank you for being a part of this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. Interesting fact for you: I was looking at post views for all of my Halloween celebrations over the years and I found that YOUR Clive Barker Retrospective in 2019 (Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5, Pt 6) has the most views of all GUEST BLOG POSTS in the history of me being a book blogger. Which I find super awesome. I should add that to the trivia next year!! What is your favorite part of Halloween?
Paul: I love getting together with the kids and getting dressed up. For my family and friends, Halloween is a big event. We have friends who have an annual, themed party, so the costumes and themes are planned for months in advance. We’ve done everything from Historic Villains, to Rocky Horror, to Scary Fairytales. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. I absolutely love it. The chance to just get together with my family and friends, have fun and revel in the darkness is amazing. It’s also the one night of the year where I’m not the weirdo, so that’s cool too.
Meghan: Do you get scared easily?
Paul: Not really. Real life scares me far more than anything in books or in movies. For me, horror and Halloween is an escape from all of that crap we see in the news and, largely, have very little control over.
Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?
Paul: Not so much scary, but one I vowed never to watch again was Salo. That movie works on several different levels. It’s disgusting for one thing, but is also very loosely based on true events. There were portions of that movie which made me feel physically sick. It’s certainly one you only ever need to watch once. If you watch horror movies for fun, that one certainly isn’t a good time.
Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?
Paul: Again, none really. Personally, I find the deaths in movies like American History X or The Shawshank Redemption to be far more disturbing because they’re there with a point and hit close to home. In horror, they’re mostly set pieces to get from one place to another. They’re like the finishing move in a wrestling match. From that standpoint, I appreciate how well they’re done than actually become disturbed by them.
That said, I think the way they rendered the second death of Georgie Denbrough in the first new It movie was really well done. That was pretty heartbreaking actually, and both the young actors really dug deep for that one.
Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?
Paul: Nah, the only movies I really refused to watch are ones which just look too silly to even be funny. I’m talking about stuff like the Sharknado films, which I just can’t even approach. They have their audience, I’m sure, but I’m not among them.
I will admit though, I had to stop watching The Handmaid’s Tale after a while. That series just cut closer and closer to the bone after a while, and it started making me inordinately angry as I saw governments seemingly taking it as an instruction manual. I really enjoyed the series, but I just had to walk away from it for a while. And really, that has to be a compliment to the writers and actors.
Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?
Paul: Would I want that? Really? I mean, if I had to choose one then it’d probably be the Scream franchise, because the antagonist is crap at his job and I’d have half a chance at survival.
Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?
Paul: Again, why would I want that? Writers tend to enjoy torturing their protagonists, so why would you want to be in that position? Nah, this is one time I will advocate for being the protagonist in some sort of comedy.
Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?
Paul: Everyone who knows me (you included) knows the answer to this one. It’s Pinhead, from the Hellraiser movies. There’s a grace and elegance about that character, especially in the first two or three films. I appreciate that his appearances are used sparingly, and that his speeches are few and far between. He doesn’t say much, but when he does speak there’s usually a profundity in his statements which are breathtaking. That’s something I feel they got wrong as the franchise moved on and away from Barker’s original vision, and he quickly became a cheesy parody of what he was meant to be. Still, we have those first two or three movies.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
Paul: Well, maybe not an official tradition, but the costume parties at my friends’ house is always the highlight. And, if they don’t happen for whatever reason, then it’s sitting down for a classic movie marathon with the kids, or just reading a good horror story.
Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?
Paul: I’m a big lover of horror movie soundtracks, so the first Hellraiser score is on pretty heavy rotation in my house. That, and the Phillip Glass piano music from Candyman. That’s something that Barker always got in his movies – a great score.
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
Paul: A very little-loved Barker novel called Mister B. Gone. As I’ve already said, I don’t really get scared or disturbed by books and movies, but that one I had to put down for a while. There are parts of the book where it’s like it’s talking directly to you. Now, I read it when my daughter was first born, so I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep at the time. So, reading it at the dead of night, with your wife snoring softly beside you, and the book starts threatening your family and describing their deaths. Yeah, that got to me at that point.
Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?
Paul: My wife says I’m a psychic black hole, so creepy things don’t really happen around me. I’ve walked into supposedly haunted places with people who are attuned to that kind of thing, and they say pretty much the same. So, I’ve never experienced anything which couldn’t be explained. It’s quite the disappointment really.
Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?
Paul: There are a few, and many of them offer inspiration for stories. Particularly though, Jack the Ripper is probably the main one. I do love anything to do with ghost ships, which I find absolutely fascinating.
Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?
Paul: A lot of the stories by MR James, which I’ve just re-read. He really was a master of dark atmosphere, and reading his stuff on a dark night is truly creepy.
Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?
Paul: Anyone with a dodgy leg… and my wife. Seriously, hear me out a moment.
So, if you’re being chased by a zombie horde, you’re going to want someone slower than you are, right? It buys you time to get away, so why not keep a person with a dodgy leg around?
And my wife because we recently went to an axe throwing centre and found that she has something of a natural talent for throwing pointy objects at things. So, she is definitely a weapon of choice in any situation.
Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Paul: A vampire. That would be erotic as hell.
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Paul: Tough one. Are we talking traditional, slow zombies, or new style fast ones? If its traditional ones, then I’m taking them bastards all day long.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Paul: Erm… neither sound particularly appetizing. Can I just stick with a JD, or a nice glass of red wine please?
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Paul: Oooh, neither of those, because we have our own version of that here in the UK. I’d stay there in a heartbeat, and take my pad and pen with me.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Paul: Well, there’s a lot of protein in them maggots, you know?
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Paul: Did you say cotton candy? I do like me some cotton candy …
Boo-graphy: Paul Flewitt is a horror and dark fantasy writer from Sheffield, UK, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Paul began publishing in 2012, beginning with the flash fiction story, Smoke, for OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes anthology. He went on to pen further short stories, including Paradise Park, Climbing Out, Apartment 16c and Always Beneath.
In 2012, he also published his first novel, Poor Jeffrey, which was received to much critical acclaim.
His novelette, Defeating the Black Worm, was released in 2021, through Demain Publishing.
Paul cites writers such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert, and JRR Tolkien as inspirations on his own writing.
Paul continues to write, contributing to Matt Shaw’s The Many Deaths of Edgar Allan Poe anthology in 2020 with The Last Horror of Dear Eddie. He also began releasing free short stories and fanfiction on his Wattpad account for fun.