AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Edward M. Erdelac

Meghan: Hey, Ed. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Edward: Taking my three kids trick ‘r treating.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Edward: At the end of the night we head to our favorite pizza joint (Joe Peeps on Magnolia in Valley Village, CA), order a couple of pies, and then head home. The kids swap candy on the floor and I close the night with a rewatch of Halloween III.

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

Edward: It’s been my second favorite since as long as I can remember but as I grow older it’s beginning to bump Christmas out of the top spot, I think because I’m much more the father than I am the kid these days. Christmas is really for kids. Halloween is an equalizer in that I think my kids and I both enjoy it on the same level. We all love horror movies and spooky stuff, costuming and decorations. I love the enthusiasm my kids put into it, love getting them ready, getting their costumes put together, love spending the time walking the neighborhood at night with them, checking out costumes. I like renewing my Shudder subscription for the month and just delving into old and obscure horror movies. I try to get in as many first time watches as I can and as horror movies are pretty much a neverending crop, there’s always something new to see. It all starts the weekend after Thanksgiving when I crack open the decorations box, which has smelled of paper and old fog machine juice since a jug of the stuff spilled in there years ago. We put up the paper witches and cats, dig out the Bela Lugosi figures and the electric props and we’re off to the races.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Edward: I grew up Catholic and have a very mystical mindset, but I don’t think I subscribe to any of the classic supersitions about ladders and black cats and umbrellas indoors, etc. I do have a thing about doing whatever fridge business I’m doing before the door open warning chime comes on, but it’s probably just because I find the sound annoying.

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

Edward: Of the classics I dig The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, and The Invisible Man in that order. Modern, I’m a big Jason Voorhees fan.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Edward: John ‘Wheat’ Carr, who in 70’s Yonkers was a suspect in the Son of Sam case and mentioned by name (John Wheaties) in one of the letters from the killer to the press. He was the literal son of Sam (Carr) and David Berkowitz’s neighbor, owner of the infamous dog that supposedly told him to kill. Berkowitz admitted to having been at the scene of the Son of Sam killings but said he wasn’t necessarily the trigger man every time. There were wildly different suspect descriptions throughout that summer, and a lot of people suspected multiple shooters. John Carr fit the tall eyewitness description of the tall blonde that was seen more than a few times. In later years in North Dakota, John bragged about being in a cult and having had trouble with the police in New York. He used to draw the Son of Sam symbol idly in the margins of books. He was murdered in 1978 and his brother Michael died suspiciously in a car accident a year later. I don’t necessarily believe all of the Maury Terry conspiracy stuff, but I do believe there were multiple shooters and that John Carr probably was one. If Berkowitz was in prison, then somebody else connected to the shootings probably did Carr in.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Edward: There was a book I had as a kid, Reader’s Digest Mysteries of The Unexplained which had an illustration of The Jersey Devil that used to really unsettle me. Tall, gaunt body and unwieldy head, like Yak-Face from Star Wars. The burning hoof prints found going up walls and over rooves was a creepy signature.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Edward: Difficult to say ‘favorite’ in respect to his victims, but the ingenuity and diabolism of druggist H.H. Holmes fascinates me. During the Chicago World’s Fair he rented out the rooms of what was later dubbed his murder castle to tourists. They would find themselves gassed in locked, soundproof rooms and dropped through floors into acid vats. Holmes would disassemble his victims in a surgical room in the basement and sell the organs and bones, then cremate the rest. He hired a bunch of contractors to build each of these contraptions and install them, firing and hiring them liberally so that nobody ever got a clear picture of what he was building. He confessed to 27 murders.

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

Edward: I have no idea how old I was, but as a kid in the Chicago suburbs I used to tune into Son of Svengoolie every weekend, and devoured the Universal classics, Godzilla/Gamera and Hammer horror movies he showed. The earliest I can remember seeing and being really entranced by was either Black Lagoon or Hammer’s Brides of Dracula. Both stuck with me in a big way. Brides, probably for that ‘midwife’ scene where the crazed servant coaxes the fledgling vampire out of her grave as if she’s being born, and for Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing. The various anti-vampire tricks he employed. The shadow of the windmill and flushing his cauterized bite wound with holy water. Then there was the singular look of the Creature From The Black Lagoon, the way he stalked and breathed…and probably Julie Adams in that bathing suit.

The first horror novel I read….probably Simon Hawke’s adaptation of Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives. It was also probably the second no-illustrations, non comic book I ever read. I wasn’t allowed to see rated R movies as a kid, so I’d get the novelizations. I read a lot of Alan Dean Foster. But F13 Pt. 6 I read in one sitting, absolutely flabberbasted by the graphic descriptions of violence and the horrific backstory Hawke gave Jason. He also delved into Jason’s POV a couple times, and it blew my mind that a book could be so revolting and blood-soaked. It threw open the window of my imagination and I went blowing out on the wind. It was kind of instrumental in me becoming a writer myself.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Edward: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I read it trying to overcome my unreasonable fear of the movie (see below) and it wound up keeping me up at night, as did the sequel, Legion. I would sit up till 3AM thinking about it and trying to bring myself down bingeing Three Stooges shorts as a sort of buffer.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Edward: When I was way too young I was at my great aunt’s and my dad was sitting in the living room in the dark watching TV. I crept in to see what he was watching and it was The Exorcist. I entered the room just as Regan’s neck crackled and her head turned around. I looked from the screen to my dad, and, his face only illuminated in the blue glow of the TV screen, he grinned at me and waggled his eyebrows. I shrieked in abject terror and had to be coaxed out from under the kitchen table. I was in high school before I was ever convinced to watch another modern day horror movie (The movie that brought me back in the fold turned out to be the criminally underseen Exorcist III).

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Edward: I was the Michael Landon Teenage Werewolf one Halloween. That was one of my favorites. My mom sewed me these werewolf hands with hair and long fingernails and I wore a rubber mask and one of those letterman jackets. I won a costume contest in my town Halloween parade going as a Tusken Raider from Star Wars. My mom and my cousin made the mask out of papier mache and my dad welded me a gaffi stick out of parts in the garage….those were my two favorites.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Edward: Josh Ritter’s The Curse. It’s about The Mummy. Go on Youtube and watch the video. It’s all done with marionettes and it’s amazing.

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

Edward: I love peanut butter cups and hate candy corns, which my Uncle Jim told me tasted like McDonald’s cheeseburgers as a kid to induce me to try them. I was severely disappointed. They sorta look like McDonald’s cheeseburgers too.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, Ed. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Edward: OK so Christmas has its old seasonal standbys. For me, the absolute essentials of the Halloween season, the five movies and shows that best incorporate the holiday somehow are It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, The Halloween Tree, Garfield’s Halloween Special, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, and Dark Night of The Scarecrow. I watch them every year without fail. They’re A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol Halloween equivalents for me.


Boo-graphy:
Edward M. Erdelac is the author of thirteen novels including the acclaimed Judeocentric/Lovecraftian weird western series Merkabah Rider, Rainbringer: Zora Neale Hurston Against The Lovecraftian Mythos, Conquer, Monstrumfuhrer from Comet Press, Terovolas from JournalStone Publishing, and Andersonville from Random House/Hydra.

Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of kids and cats.

Conquer
In 1976 Harlem, JOHN CONQUER, P.I. is the cat you call when your hair stands up…the supernatural brother like no other. From the pages of Occult Detective Quarterly, he’s calm, he’s cool, and now he’s collected in CONQUER.

From Hoodoo doctors and Voodoo Queens,
The cat they call Conquer’s down on the scene!
With a dime on his shin and a pocket of tricks,
A gun in his coat and an eye for the chicks.
Uptown and Downton, Harlem to Brooklyn,
Wherever the brothers find trouble is brewin,’
If you’re swept with a broom, or your tracks have been crossed,
If your mojo is failin’ and all hope is lost,
Call the dude on St. Marks with the shelf fulla books,
‘Cause ain’t no haint or spirit, or evil-eye looks,
Conjured by devils, JAMF’s, or The Man,
Can stop the black magic Big John’s got on hand!

Collects Conquer Comes Calling, Conquer Gets Crowned, Conquer Comes Correct and four previously unpublished stories – Keep Cool, Conquer, Conquer Cracks His Whip, Conquer And The Queen of Crown Heights, and Who The Hell Is John Conquer?

Rainbringer: Zora Neale Hurston Against the Lovecraftian Mythos
“The oaths of secrecy she [Zora Neale Hurston] swore, and the terrifying physical and emotional ordeals she endured…left their mark on her, and there were certain parts of her material which she never dared to reveal, even in scientific publications.” – Alan Lomax

ZORA! She traveled the 1930’s south alone with a loaded forty four and an unmatched desire to see and to know. She was at home in the supper clubs of New York City, back road juke joints, under ropes of Spanish moss, and dancing around the Vodoun peristyle. Her experiences brought us Their Eyes Were Watching God, Mules And Men, Tell My Horse, and Jonah’s Gourd Vine. But between the lines she wrote lie the words unwritten, truths too fantastic to divulge….until now.

LEAVES FLOATING IN A DREAM’S WAKE, BEYOND THE BLACK ARCADE. EKWENSU’S LULLABY. KING YELLER. GODS OF THE GRIM NATION. THE SHADOW IN THE CHAPEL OF EASE. BLACK WOMAN, WHITE CITY. THE DEATHLESS SNAKE. Eight weird and fantastic stories spanning the breadth of her amazing life. Eight times when she faced the nameless alien denizens of the outer darkness and didn’t blink.

ZORA! Celebrated writer, groundbreaking anthropologist, Hoodoo initiate, footloose queen of the Harlem Renaissance, Mythos detective.

GUEST MOVIE REVIEWS by Mike Duke

Something Creepy This Way Comes:
Halloween Movie Reviews by Mike Duke

Candy Corn (2019)
Director: Josh Hasty

Synopsis: “It’s the eve of Halloween in Grove Hill, Ohio. A traveling carnival is in town for the weekend and local outcast, Jacob Atkins, has been hired as one of the freaks in the event’s main attraction, ‘Dr. Death’s Side Show Spook House Spectacular.’ When a group of bullies target Jacob for their annual hazing, things go too far, and he winds up dead. Now, Dr. Death has resurrected Jacob as an unstoppable killer to seek revenge on those who wronged him.”

This movie definitely has the Halloween/Autumn vibe and looks like its set back in the 70’s. It’s a slow burn atmospheric film that definitely pays homage to 80’s slasher movies in ways. It has a straightforward story and there’s some decent gore in places, but it just seemed to be missing that spark of life. Not sure what exactly about the story didn’t do it for me. Maybe because most of the characters just aren’t likable people so I didn’t really feel invested in them. Maybe because, unlike other similar revenge movies (for example Pumpkinhead), there’s no real penalty for meddling with dark forces. Tony Todd’s character warns Dr. Death against it but nothing comes of it. By the end, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, “I guess Dr. Death is good buddies with the supernatural dark forces of the Underworld he used to resurrect Jacob to take vengeance against his attackers and anyone else remotely associated with them.” Ultimately, it’s a decent film. It’s enjoyable. If you’re not looking for great but will settle for good, then give it a go for sure. Or if you just want to see a bunch of folks get what’s coming to them, then you’ll certainly like this one too. Just depends. Mileage may vary.

You find Candy Corn on Amazon Streaming. Rent $3.99 / Purchase $6.99. Free with Showtime.

They Live Inside Us (2020)
Director: Michael Ballif

Synopsis: “Seeking inspiration for a new writing project, a man spends Halloween night in a notoriously haunted house. He soon realizes he is living in his own horror story.”

Can’t say a lot about this one without revealing too much. There are some definite twists. Whether you guess what’s coming by the end or not may vary on the viewer, but you won’t know for sure until nearly the end. There are some good clues hidden in the background in places. Look away and you might miss something at certain points. In some ways, this feels a little like an anthology for a while into it, but it’s not and everything works its way back into the story by the end, which I liked. I did wonder in the beginning, “What the hell kind of dad takes his daughter to stay in a haunted house on Halloween night?” It seemed odd but became more acceptable afterwards. I guess. That part was strange to me. Anyway, I did like the main character’s acting for the most part and the writing was pretty good. It may warrant a second viewing at some point to see if there were other clues I missed from the beginning. Give it a shot and see what you think.

You can find it on Amazon Streaming. Rent $4.99 / Purchase $12.99.

Hell House LLC
Director: Stephen Cognetti

Synopsis: “Five years after 15 people were killed during a haunted house tour, a documentary crew visits the scene to investigate what really happened.”

This movie has kind of turned into a cult classic it seems. Now, I know some people are turned off by Found Footage films in general, but I can see why this film has attained a very popular following from both critics and fans alike. It has 1,993 reviews on Amazon with a 4.1/5 average rating. That includes 1,112 Five Star ratings / reviews. That’s pretty impressive. And I was impressed with this movie as well. It sets a dark tone while providing just enough information to hook your interest and start reeling you in. There are some genuinely CREEPY moments in this movie and the atmosphere becomes taut and pervaded with a creeping dread by the last part of the movie when all is finally revealed and then some. The acting is pretty good overall and some of the characters reactions are spot on. No stoic bullshit from some of these people. They wig out and blame each other, wanting to think it’s a prank and not something supernatural but it gets kind of hard to deny what’s really going on the longer they are there. I really enjoyed this movie. The mixture of interview documentary with watching the tapes they are given from Hell House leading up to the night of the murders and the night itself really worked for me. Will probably watch again and definitely want to check out the other two.

You can watch it free with Prime Video or if you hop on VUDU (no membership needed) you can watch it free with ads.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Synopsis: “Hospital emergency room Dr. Daniel “Dan” Challis and Ellie Grimbridge, the daughter of a murder victim, uncover a terrible plot by small-town mask maker Conal Cochran, a madman who’s planning a Halloween mass murder utilizing an ancient Celtic ritual. The ritual involves a boulder stolen from Stonehenge, the use of Silver Shamrock masks and a triggering device contained in a television commercial — all designed to kill millions of children.”

I just watched this again the night before writing this. Personally, I’ve never been a Michael Meyers fan (the blasphemy, I know) and while for years many people have slammed this movie because it had nothing to do with the other Halloween movies (amongst other things), for me, it’s the only one of them I’ve really liked, and watching it again just reinforces that feeling.

This story is creepy, strange, wild and over the top at times, and all while delivering some ideas and moments that are truly horrifying. When Mr. Cochran explains to Dan why he’s doing this and why it’s happening, and he talks about older Celtic times, that whole section is one of the best parts of this movie. Just fantastic writing. This movie won’t be for everyone, but I love their Go Big or Go Home approach to the story and the over-the-top Halloween Doomsday plot. It’s solid fun with a truly creepy evil villain in Cochran and the wicked plans for humanity he has in store for the world.

It’s on sale right now on VUDU (no membership needed) for only $4.99


Boo-graphy:
Mike was a cop for almost 12 years, but for the last 14 years, he’s been teaching Military, Law Enforcement, and Bodyguards high speed, tactical, and off-road driving as well as hand-to-hand Combatives and Blade tactics. He enjoys martial arts and has been a practitioner since 1989 of various styles. Filipino blade arts are his favorite. Since he was a teenager, he’s loved reading, writing, and watching movies, particularly in the horror and sci-fi genre. He’s also been a prolific reader of theology and has dabbled in philosophy as well. He has a beautiful, smart wife who is amazingly supportive and a son and daughter who are both graduated. His babies now are a German Shepherd named Ziva, a Daddy’s girl who loves to play… even when he’s writing, and a Border Collie mix named Joey “The Bandit” who will steal anything and everything he can, even the toys right out of Ziva’s mouth. Mike is a lover of music, as well, and it is an integral part of his writing ritual.

Ashley’s Tale
Ashley, a young college student with a horrific past, is immediately thrust into a living hell when she is kidnapped. In the lair of her captor, she will be forced to choose between submission and defiance, between folding under his punishment or finding the strength to endure and escape.

But Ashley will also have to face the horrors of her past in this twisted game. Can she prevail against the demons that made her weak, as well as the tortures the sadist set before her? If so, what could she become in the process?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mark Cassell

Meghan: Hi, Mark! Welcome back and thank you for stopping by today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Mark: Seeing how imaginative people are with costumes. I’m not talking about the shop bought ones. It’s those that’ve been homemade always catch my eye. You know, those that have been stitched together with love and attention.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Mark: It will always be carving pumpkins. It’s fun getting messy!

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

Mark: For me, it’s a good excuse to watch crappy horror movies. Sure, no matter the time of year we can do that, but Halloween comes along and all the streaming channels show many I’ve never seen before. So that’s always great.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Mark: Haha! Superstitions are an absolute waste of brainpower. I am in no way superstitious. Even as a kid, while my friend avoided stepping on cracks or walking under ladders, or even shriek when spotting a black cat, I’d happily run under the ladder and stroke the cat while standing on all the cracks.

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

Mark: Pinhead from Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart was always a favourite of mine, especially once the Hellraiser movies reinforced the mythos. Such a great premise too, and don’t get me started on Lemarchand’s puzzle box and the wonderful lament configuration.

Having said that, there is a close second and he’s from the movie, Sinister. The soundtrack composer, Christopher Young, did a fine job in hammering home how sinister the antagonist was. Bughuul is so damned menacing.

Those two villains, a hell priest and a pagan deity, would make an awesome duo. I’d pay to see, or read, that.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Mark: Well, you have me here. I have no idea. The horror that I write leans towards the supernatural rather than humankind’s real-life horrors.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Mark: Nothing scares me. Only heights, but that has nothing to do with Halloween. How about cats, though? Can I talk about cats?

I live in Hastings, East Sussex, England, that’s famous for its roots in history: the 1066 Battle of Hastings is the big one. Research for my novella, Hell Cat of the Holt, led me to learn that in the 19th century, two mummified cats were discovered in the chimney of the Stag Inn while under restoration.

These cats were apparently the familiars of a local 17th century witch. Friendlier than most witches of that time, Hannah Clarke was seen to help prevent the Spanish Armada reaching Hastings, often using her powers for the town’s protection. For whatever reasons, she moved on yet her familiars remained. Until the Great Plague hit.

Cats, rather than rats, were commonly assumed to be plague carriers and having been owned by a witch, this pair of animals were the first to succumb to accusations. For fear of any bad omen to befall the people by killing the cats, a decision was made to wall them in at the pub which led to their mummification.

This all was supposed to have happened. I swear the owners of the Stag Inn have always played on that story, and it’s just good marketing so they can sell more beer.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Mark: Again, because my horror doesn’t fall under the human hand category, I don’t believe I can name any serial killer and their kill numbers. Real life horror doesn’t fascinate me. I’m in it for the demons, devils, and spirits… The stuff that Halloween is truly made off!

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

Mark: I remember watching Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist at an early age and was absolutely mesmerised. The children, the parents, the haunting itself. Everything from that movie held me in awe.

As for a book? Just into my teens, I nabbed a novel from my dad’s horror shelf. It was undoubtedly the book that kicked my love for horror into overdrive: James Herbert’s fantastic The Magic Cottage.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Mark: I once read a book by Mark Morris. I think it was Toady, though I may be wrong. There was a scene of child abuse. That kind of shit unsettles me. It disgusts me. This is the horror I detest, in the knowledge that it actually happens in this world. Humans and their actions are the real horror, and it’s because of that I side-step it to delve into the darkness beyond our four walls of reality. Give me ghouls and ghosts any day.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Mark: I’m still waiting…

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume? (This could be from when you were a child or after you became an adult. Or maybe something you never dressed as but wish you had.)

Mark: I once made a Hellboy costume. I trawled charity shops for the perfect trench coat, and made the massive hand from foam out of our old sofa. I fashioned stubby horns and glued them onto a bald cap, and laboriously attached sections of a long black wig to it. All this took many, many hours on my days off work on approach to the big day. I even grew the appropriate facial hair and dyed it. Lots of spray paint and face paint later, I did it. I received a lot of attention that night.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Mark: Oh, it will always be Danny Elfman’s “This is Halloween” from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas.

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

Mark: Wow. That’s a question. I haven’t touched candy in years… Decades in fact! I used to love Drumsticks though, and absolutely hated anything liquorish.

Meghan: This has been great, Mark. As always. Before you go, what is your one go-to Halloween movie?

Mark: I will always rank Halloween 3: Season of the Witch as my favourite. I mean, seriously, that haunting theme tune and those masks! Love it.


Boo-graphy:
Mark Cassell lives on the south-east coast of the United Kingdom with his wife and plenty of animals. His jobs have included baker, lab technician, driving instructor, actor, and was once a spotlight operator for an Elvis impersonator. As the author of the best-selling Shadow Fabric mythos, he not only writes dark fantasy horror but also explores steampunk and sci-fi.

He has seen over fifty stories published in anthologies and zines, and remains humbled in the knowledge that his work shares pages with many of his literary heroes. The 2021 release of the short story collection SIX! from Red Cape Publishing shines a light on just how weird Mark can get. More can be found at his website.

Six
From Mark Cassell, author of the Shadow Fabric mythos, comes SIX! Featuring a variety of dark tales, from the sinister to the outright terrifying, this unique collection is a must for horror readers everywhere. Includes the stories Skin, All in the Eyes, In Loving Memory, The Space Between Spaces, On Set With North, and Don’t Swear in Mum’s House.

Monster Double Feature: River of Nine Tails & Reanimation Channel
From the author of the Shadow Fabric mythos comes Monster Double Feature, a 78-page chapbook featuring two stories – a duo of abominations.

A British traveller desperate to escape his past finds himself at the heart of a Vietnamese legend, and learns why the Mekong Delta is known as ‘River of Nine Tails’ (originally published in In Darkness, Delight: Creatures of the Night anthology by Corpus Press, 2019).

And a regular parcel collection from a neighbour becomes a descent into terror through the online game, ‘Reanimation Channel’, (originally published in The Black Room Manuscripts, Vol. 4 anthology by The Sinister Horror Company, 2018).

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Brian Asman

Meghan: Hi, Brian! Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Thanks for agreeing to be a part of this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Brian: Watching a spooky veneer slowly creep over my neighborhood, transforming a sun-drenched beach community into a real-life Halloweentown. I like to imagine it’s emanating from my house, where it’s Halloween 24/7.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Brian: Making pumpkin spice everything and mainlining scary movies until my skin turns orange.

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

Brian: There are other holidays?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Brian: Not sure if it’s superstitious per se, but super OCD about stepping on cracks. I don’t THINK anything bad is going to happen, it just bothers me.

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

Brian: Just one? Umm, as far as the big, iconic villains go it’s Michael Myers. The idea of someone who’s just a shell, no concept of empathy, walking around in the world? It’s scary because it’s true.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Brian: The Black Dahlia, by far. When I was a kid, I remember visiting my grandparents and finding this little digest-sized Unsolved Mysteries magazine in the grocery aisle. I even wrote a 300K word novel trying to puzzle out what ACTUALLY* happened.

*A ghost did it

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Brian: That one about the escaped mental patient in the backseat. Graveyard hitchhiker, too. Basically anything with cars I guess!

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

Brian: I think I was five when I saw Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Scared the pants off me, and I didn’t sleep for days! Probably just a little older when I read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and same. I was a big ‘ole fraidy cat when I was a kid.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Brian: Oh boy, tough question—I’ve got to go with an old standby, Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. The sheer callousness of everyone involved was incredibly disturbing, and knowing it was based on a true story just made the horror even more visceral. Fantastic book, not sure I’d want to read it again though.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Brian: I mean, none? Killer Klowns was the first one and definitely shaped my trajectory!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Brian: I’ve had a bunch of fun ones, but the most unique one? One year I stapled a bunch of party hats, noisemakers, condoms, balloons, and a bunch of other shit to my jeans and went as a “Party In My Paints.” Even made up invitations and passed them out at the party.

No one RVSP’ed, womp womp.

Wish I could find pics of that one, here’s some favorites:

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Brian: Easy—“Halloween” by the Misfits. Although most of the music I listen to is Halloween-themed, I really dig psychobilly and horrorpunk!

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

Brian: Candy corn or mallowcreme pumpkins. Can’t say there’s one that’s really disappointing for me, I love it all!

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by today! It was a total pleasure!! Before for you go, what are your top five Halloween movies?

Brian:
5. Tales of Halloween – so many fun segments! I’m especially enamored of “This Means War,” where two neighbors get into a Halloween scuffle, and “Grim Grinning Ghost,” where a young woman learns the truth behind an urban legend.

4. WNUF Halloween Special – Must be seen to be believed. Shot like a lost ’80s network TV special, complete with fake period poster. The amount of care and love that went into this thing is great, with some genuinely creepy moments.

3. Trick ‘R Treat – As you can tell, I really dig anthologies for my spooky season watching. Every piece here is super strong, cohesive, and Sam has become an absolute icon.

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Tom Atkins! Celtic magic! Robots! What else do you want? The film that boldly diverged from the Michael Myers plotline, it’s definitely gained an appreciation over the years. Deservedly – Tom Atkins’ performance as Dr. Challis is fun, and the ending is gut-wrenching!

1. Halloween 1978 – The original. The grandaddy of them all. What else can I say? It’s amazing.


Boo-graphy:
Brian Asman is the author of I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today from Eraserhead Press, Jailbroke from Mutated Media, and Nunchuck City. He’s recently published short stories in the anthologies Breaking Bizarro, Welcome to the Splatter Club, and Lost Films, and edited the parody anthology Boinking Bizarro. He also writes comics for the anthology series Tales of Horrorgasm.

Based in San Diego, he has an MFA from UCR-Palm Desert and a Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers tattoo. He’s represented by Dunham Literary, Inc. Max Booth III is his hype man.

I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today
A Bizarro fiction tribute to the Kevin Smith cult classic CLERKS.

After a killer surf session, Scot Kring stops into his local Fasmart for a delicious, icy Slushpuppy. But before he can leave, a homeless guy outside has a stroke and accidentally recites an ancient Latin phrase that summons a very hungry demon, who just so happens to look like filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Now Scot’s stuck in a time loop along with the other occupants of the convenience store who may or may not be demonically possessed and he’s fighting back with nothing but a fistful of greasy hot dogs and a souvenir Slushpuppy cup as the giant menacing kaiju Kevin Smith threatens to kill them all.

I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today is a demon apocalypse comedy for the slacker generation.

Jailbroke
Future slacker Kelso’s got the easiest gig in the galaxy, working the Gordita Especial! pod on board an interstellar cruiser, although that doesn’t stop him from complaining about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Cyborg Security Officer Londa James spends her days wrangling idiot tourists and keeping an artificial eye out for any passengers or crew who might be on the verge of snapping from space sicknesses.

But after a colleague is brutally murdered, Kelso and James are going to have to work together if they want to survive! Man-eating machines, cybernetically-enhanced badasses, septuagenarian toddlers, an opioid algorithm-addicted bucket of bolts, a cult that worships the reincarnation of a 400-year-old God Genius, and one very unusual sex robot come together in JAILBROKE, a heartwarming/ripping tale about what it means to be human in a galaxy run by artificial intelligence.

Nunchuck City
You better nun-check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Disgraced ex-ninja Nunchuck “Nick” Nikolopoulis just wants to open a drive-thru fondue restaurant with his best friend Rondell. But when an old enemy kidnaps the mayor, and a former flame arrives in hot pursuit, Nick’s going to have to dust off his fighting skills and face his past. Plus an army of heavily-armed ninjas, a very well-dressed street gang, an Australian sumo wrestler with a gnarly skin condition, giant robots, municipal paperwork, and much, much more! From the rooftops to the sewers, Nick and his ex-girlfriend Kanna Kikuchi are in for the fight of their lives!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Adam Howe

Meghan: Hey Adam!! Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books and this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Adam: It’s gotta be trick or treating as a kid, right? Except I missed out on that. My fault entirely. The one (and only) time my mum let me go trick or treating around the block of flats where we then lived, I objected when one of our neighbors refused to cough up the candy, saying they “didn’t believe in Halloween.” (This was in Australia.) Well, I wrote the lousy bastards the proverbial “sternly worded letter,” replete with an offensive caricature of my neighbors, and a monster defecating on their heads – my idea of a Halloween ‘trick,’ I guess. They of course forwarded this poison pen letter to my mum, and from that day on I was never allowed to go trick or treating. So I kind of missed out on my Halloween glory years… Wish I still had that picture. Wonder if my mum kept it in the scrapbook?

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Adam: We don’t celebrate Halloween in the UK like you guys, at least not in my neck of the woods, I’m sure it differs from place to place. I remember driving through a small village down south a few years ago around Halloween-time, and seeing that every house had a “corn dolly” – a kind of scarecrow figure – posted outside. None of the other villages had ‘em, just this one little place, and I always wondered exactly what that little tradition/ritual was about… kind of spooky thinking back on it.

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

Adam: Oh, I’m far too grouchy to have anything like a “favorite” holiday. I tolerate these things for the sake of the kids. I do enjoy seeing Halloween through my daughter’s eyes, seeing her pluck up the courage to knock on the door of an especially spooky house. Kids really will do about anything for confectionery.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Adam: My superstitions tend to be writing rituals – writing at the same time of the day (crack of dawn) in the same place (for fear of upsetting my writer’s feng shui). I don’t really consider myself superstitious, but I’d probably give serious thought before boarding a #13 plane, so I guess I am susceptible to the ‘classics.’

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

Adam: Always been partial to ole Leatherface and the Sawyer Clan.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Adam: I’m currently researching an unsolved British murder for what I think may be my next horror novel, the Charles Walton witchcraft murder. It occurred in a sleepy village of a couple hundred people in 1945 (around the time the Allies were firebombing Dresden). An elderly farm laborer named Charles Walton, believed by his neighbors to be involved in witchcraft/folk medicine, was discovered dead in a field, impaled to the ground with a pitchfork, and with crucifixes slashed in his face and chest with a sickle (an ancient way of dispatching “witches”). When the local law couldn’t solve the crime, Scotland Yard sent their best man, the Sherlock Holmes of his day, Robert Fabian, to investigate… and that’s when things got seriously witchy… The case is like a real-like “Sleepy Hollow” or “Wicker Man.” I don’t want to say too much more about it, because like I say I’m currently researching for my next project, but I’d encourage people to check out the Wiki entry for Charles Walton – it’s a fascinating case.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Adam: The insect laying eggs in a sleeping person’s ear.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Adam: I’m leery of using the word “favorite” here, and the guy I’m going to choose didn’t kill anyone as far as I know… but check out the serial sex offender named Ed Paisnel aka The Beast of Jersey. Not Jersey, USA, but the British Channel Isle. For thirteen years (60s-70s) the Beast of Jersey terrorized the tiny island, breaking into homes while people slept, abducting children from their beds, taking them to locations with historical occult significance, and performing satanic rituals as he raped them. Paisnel was a practitioner of black magic, and claimed to be descended from Gilles de Rais; he was said to have used “magic” to elude the police for so many years. What’s most disturbing about him – well, there are many disturbing things about this freak – is the nightmarish costume he would wear when he performed his nighttime raids. Words don’t do it justice; I would urge people to Google “The Beast of Jersey,” and imagine being woken in the dead of night by that horror.

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

Adam: Not sure for certain how old I was, but let’s say around seven or eight, an irresponsible adult (my mum) rented me a double-bill of An American Werewolf in London and Carpenter’s The Thing. I watched “Werewolf” first. My mum watched five minutes with me to make sure it was suitable for a child (it isn’t), before she went off to bed. And of course in the sixth minute, the werewolf appeared, savaging the kids on the Moors – terrifying! And if anything The Thing was even more traumatizing. Making it from the TV room to my bedroom that night, alone, in the shadowy dark, and with all those images rattling round the ole noodle – that was the longest walk (or eyes-closed scurry) I can remember… And I guess an experience like that either makes or breaks you as a horror fan for life. After surviving that double-bill, I realized I quite enjoyed that scared-shitless experience.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Adam: I was most susceptible to book scares as a “latchkey” teen, reading Stephen King late at night in an empty house – Pet Sematary, The Shining, Salem’s Lot. Before that, when I was maybe eight or nine, I bought from the school book fair the paperback of Carrie with the illustration of a blood-spattered Sissy Spacek on the cover. (I knew the name Stephen King from my mum’s bookshelf.) In my nightmares, Carrie in her telekinetic rage became the girl who lived across the street from me. Again, that’s the kind of experience that either makes or breaks you as a horror fan… When I met Stephen King (part of the prize for winning a King-judged writing contest) he was delighted to hear that his books gave me nightmares.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Adam: Jaws. After seeing that movie at an impressionable age, not only was I terrified of swimming in the ocean, but the pool too. Wouldn’t be surprised if most people answer Jaws to this question. That goddamn movie!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Adam: As I’ve already said, I blew my Halloween glory years thanks to that poison pen letter I sent. So now I have to live vicariously through my daughter’s costumes. I think we’ll get a little more adventurous this year than the witch/princess she went as last Halloween – I’d like to see her as Snake Plissken.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Adam: Purple People Eater. And did I imagine it, or did someone make a movie from that song? I swear I rented that back in the VHS days.

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

Adam: I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I’m not even much of a snack guy. (Come to think of it, jeez, I really suck at Halloween.)

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by, Adam. Before you go, what are your top 3 go-to Halloween movies?

Adam:
Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Not the best of the series, I’ll grant you – that’s clearly JC’s original, and the sequel ain’t too shabby either – but this is easily my favorite, and the one that bears repeated viewings. Not only is the story batshit insane, but the anti-heroic character Tom Fuckin’ Atkins plays, deadbeat dad and functional alcoholic, Dr. Daniel Challis, has to be the most offbeat protagonist in all of horror cinema.

Ghostwatch. The pseudo-documentary/reality-TV hook for this show seems old hat now, but at the time it aired, must’ve been early/mid-90s, this “live” investigation of a haunted house, anchored by a host of respectable British broadcasters, was revelatory… and scared the living piss out of me.

Whistle and I’ll Come to You. This adaptation of the M.R. James classic was first billed in the 60s as a ghost story for Christmas. (Apparently, Christmas was the traditional season for ghost stories in the UK.) This one remains chillingly effective, and in actor Michael Hordern’s depiction of repressed scholar Professor Parkin, features one of the ATG oddball performances.

Boo-graphy:
ADAM HOWE writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. He lives in Greater London with his partner, their daughter, and a hellhound named Gino. His short fiction has been widely published in places like Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the international On Writing contest, and published in the digital/PB editions of King’s Memoir of the Craft. He is the author of such wholesome titles as Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Tijuana Donkey Showdown, and Scapegoat (with James Newman). His most recent novel is the “buddy cop” action/comedy One Tough Bastard, in which a washed-up 80s action star partners with a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee to smash an organized crime syndicate headed by a Schwarzenegger-style supervillain. Coming soon: grit-lit 30s pulp The Polack, co-written with Joseph Hirsch, and “starring” Charles Bronson. And a new Reggie Levine yarn entitled Of Moose and Men. You can stalk Adam Howe on FB, Goodreads, and Twitter.

One Tough Bastard
Shane Moxie: a washed-up 80s action star who refuses to believe his best days are behind him… Duke: a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee and arguably the greatest animal actor of his generation…

Reunited for an anniversary movie screening, when Moxie and Duke are targeted by assassins, the feuding co-stars reluctantly join forces to smash an organized crime syndicate headed by an iconic German action star dealing death from his movie-themed fast food franchise.

One’s a big dumb animal. The other’s a chimpanzee. Shit just got real.