Meghan: Hey, Marc! Welcome BACK to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. It is ALWAYS a pleasure to have you join in our festivities. Let’s jump right in – Do you get scared easily?

SC: Yes, but only if I’m thinking of the future of our current civilization.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

SC: Two come to mind. The Descent is the first and only movie I ever watched in a theater alone. That mixed with the claustrophobia of being underground made it one of the scariest. The second is The Exorcist. I was young and Regan’s eyes haunted me for a long time after my first viewing. More than the movie itself, it was her eyes.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

SC: The Strangers. I can’t remember an exact kill from it, but the premise of the murders disturbed me. “Because you were home.” Nothing else. Not revenge. Not an obsessive love interest. Just because you’re here. To think that murder could be completely random disturbs me.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

SC: No. But when I was a kid, the commercials for Cronenberg’s The Fly gave me nightmares. “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” My mom had me draw a picture of a scary image from the commercial and then we tore it up and burned it. The ritual helped. However, when I got older, I really enjoyed the remake.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

SC: Something like Zombie Strippers or Strippers vs. Werewolves. Look, if I’m gonna get killed, I want to have a good time before I go out.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

SC: Ash in Army of Darkness

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

SC: It used to be going to haunted house attractions. I would try to go to as many as possible throughout October. Now, I enjoy sitting in my driveway and passing out candy.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

SC: Uh, man, this is difficult. “Halloween” by the Misfits is great. “Hellraiser” by Motorhead also gets me in the mood. I think “Hellraiser” was originally on the March or Die album, but I heard it on the soundtrack for Hellraiser III and I’ve associated it with horror movies ever since.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

SC: We Need to Talk About Kevin. The concept of being a parent was psychologically horrifying to me as a younger man.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

SC: The Mary Celeste.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

SC: Rifle, pistol, and shotgun. That should cover all the bases.

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?

SC: Vampire

Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?

SC: Probably easier to survive a zombie apocalypse, but I’m so damn curious about aliens, I’ll go with the ETs.

Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?

SC: I just vomited in my mouth

Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?

SC: Amityville

Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?

SC: Bitter watermelon chilies

Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?

SC: I’m slightly arachnophobic so abracadabra give me that witch’s brew.

SC Mendes is the co-host of Horror Business – a podcast dedicated to helping authors make a career of their writing. He produces the Don’t Fall Asleep Podcast with Spencer Dillehay and is also the co-owner of Blood Bound Books – an independent publisher whose mission is spreading hope through dark fiction. Mendes has been publishing dark fiction under various names since 2009. The Order of Eternal Sleep, his sequel to The City, released in January 2022, and he is hard at work on the series finale. SC attempts to keep up with readers on Facebook, his website, and welcomes fan/hate mail in his mailbox.

There is a civilization buried deep beneath our own. A place spoken of only in whispers. If you are desperate enough, you will find it. But remember, all knowledge comes at a price.

The bodies were discovered six months after Max Elliot turned in his badge. All that remained of the victims were piles of flayed skin and organs. The bones of each body had been stolen. This torturous method of execution had only been seen once before, and that case remained unsolved. Confident of a connection between the grizzly murders, the police turn to the one man they believe can help. With the allure of closure to his own personal tragedy, Max Elliot agrees to reinstatement for one last case. But the clues lead the unstable detective down a path he never could have imagined. A mysterious drug, a world beneath our own, sex and violence on an unprecedented level, and creatures as ancient as sin itself.

Three years after Max Elliot goes missing, an anonymous tip brings Detectives McCloud and O’Neil to a residential arson on the outskirts of Chinatown.

The majority of the house survived, but the six bodies inside were reduced to gnarled heaps of blackened limbs.

A hidden door to the basement reveals a strange ritual space. Sealing the room, is the image of a serpent and obelisk, reminiscent of Ming’s scarred palm. On the black altar, they find an unidentifiable language and symbols that lead to more questions. Dark magick. Suppressed news reports. Dirty cops.

Besides the nightmares inspired by the crime, something else from the hidden basement is following them. Infecting them. Providing a glimpse to the mental anguish coming to consume us all.

Meanwhile, a secret order is poised to complete their greatest ritual yet. The Rites of Eternal Sleep will usher in the long night. And when the Black Sun rises, the surface will never be the same.

Under the influence of dark forces, McCloud will need all the help he can get to unravel the many veils of The Order before time runs out.

Discover the true plans of the Mara today!


I’m Just Fucking with You
(Can be found on Hulu)

Director: Adam Mason
Year: 2019
Rating: TVMA
Genre: Thriller, Horror

Keir O’Donnell
Hayes MacArthur
Jessica McNamee

A young man and his sister endure a night of increasingly frightening practical jokes while spending the night at a secluded motel.

S.C. Mendes’ Review

a)     a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore inhabiting caves or hills
b)      to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content

Larry is a Troll of the internet variety. A small, weak man in the real world, but a smack-talker online. As the movie unfolds, we learn more about his sad backstory… But he’s also a jerk, so it’s hard to feel bad for him.

On his way to break up a wedding—wait until you find out who is marrying Larry’s ex—he stops at the Pink Motel to spend the night and gets a taste of his own medicine when he meets the late-night manager.

Chester has a juvenile and twisted sense of humor. From the minute Larry walks in, Chester starts fucking with him. Annoying, but relatively harmless and all in good fun of course. Like making Larry pay for the room in cash for a cheaper deal, then ten minutes later saying Larry never paid. An awkward pause ensues before the punchline. That type of tension starts off strong and Chester creates a genuinely disturbing atmosphere for Larry and the viewer. Image if Heath Ledger’s Joker owned a motel.

Blumhouse has a great set up here. I was expecting this to have a brilliant twist and secure a spot as one of my new favorites in the hotel genre. Psycho. Identity. No Vacancy. I’m Just fucking With You.

But no. The punchline of this joke lost me. I can admit that I don’t have a better resolution—in fact, I loved the final scene which I won’t spoil here—but the twist of the film felt very generic. Maybe I went in expecting something the movie wasn’t intended to be. But I felt it didn’t add anything new to the genre and that’s what I was looking for.That said, it was an updated version that most horror fans will enjoy.

Overall, it’s definitely worth a viewing for Hayes MacArthur’s portrayal of Chester. Oh, and the polaroid of a large phallus. Or maybe there is no polaroid. Only one way to find out if I’m fucking with you….

Learn to appreciate the darkest moments of your life. It is those moments that make our time in the light even more beautiful. S.C. Mendes is the author of numerous short stories and a fan of pen names. The anonymity helps maintain his day job as an indoctrinator of children for the state. THE CITY is the beginning of the Max Elliot saga.


Meghan: Hey!! Welcome back. Thanks for agreeing to help us see how long we can celebrate Halloween this year. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

S.C.: Dressing up! I love costumes, and the time spent finding the perfect one is just as fun as sharing it with others at a party. This is also the reason why Halloween is my favorite holiday. As a child, it was my favorite for the spooky movies and decorations and of course what kid doesn’t live getting free candy, but as I got older the joy transferred almost entirely to the aspect of costumes. They don’t even have to be scary anymore. I just like seeing the creativity of myself and others in the art of the costume.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

S.C.: Haunted Houses and carving pumpkins. From my teenage years until late in my 20s, I was a huge scaredy cat at haunted houses. That was part of the fun though. I enjoyed those jump scares and cowering behind friends as we walked through the dark corridors; it helped me get into the spirit of the season. I never understood the guys (or girls) who went in and talked back at the characters in the house or were proud that nothing scared them. I didn’t understand the point of going if you weren’t going to let yourself be vulnerable to the fear. It’s like watching a horror movie and expecting it to be unscary.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween memory?

S.C.: There is a gray area during high school, when you still want candy, but society starts saying you’re too old to be trick or treating. It’s also just before you start getting into trouble at “drinking” parties. My solution to this limbo stage was to turn my home into a haunted house for younger trick or treaters.

My brother and I had a great set up for this. He would sit on a chair at the front door in a costume that made him look like a stuffed scarecrow. Newspaper coming out sleeves and shirt buttons. Kids would be hesitant to approach the door for candy, rightly assuming the scarecrow would jump at them. But my brother never moved a muscle. Parents would assure the kids the figure was just a dummy or older kids would even poke him to prove it. Still my brother waited patiently. After the doorbell was rung and my mom gave out candy, only then would he jump from the chair and scare them. Kids and families would retreat and get to the driveway to laugh and catch their breathe at the good scare…. Then, I would come from the backyard and get them a second time with a fake chainsaw that made noise. We did that two or three years in a row. Good memories!

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

S.C.: In a way, I’m superstitious about everything. Not in a fearful way though. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and the universe/unseen world is always communicating with us through signs and events. So if something strange happens to me, I tend to analyze what the deeper meaning may be.

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

S.C.: Very hard to pick. But I would probably say Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. At the very least, I quote him more than any other horror villain.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

S.C.: Cliché, but I’ll go with Jack the Ripper because the various theories on his identity fascinate me.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

S.C.: Bloody Mary. Mirrors have always been mysterious objects to me. I remember a high school birthday, maybe sixteen; I had friends over and they pulled that nonsense of summoning her in my bathroom mirror. Well, it’s all well and good until everyone goes home and I’m alone wondering if someone of something is going to appear later in the night and kill me.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

S.C.: I am no longer fascinated by serial killers in the way I was as a youth. As a teen though, I really enjoyed Silence of the Lambs—I dressed as Hannibal Lecter for junior year—and so cannibals became my obsession in serial killers.

Being the rebellious teen I was, not only did I want to be unique in my fashion and music, I wanted my serial killers to be obscure as well. Since everyone knew Dahmer as a cannibal, I researched people like Albert Fish, Peter Stumpp, and the Vampire of Dusseldorf.

If you enjoy serial killers and heavy metal, I cannot recommend this band enough: Macabre.

Macabre has been around for thirty something years, I think, and there songs contain so much info on what these monsters did. Hard to pick a favorite album but Murder Metal is probably my favorite.

As an adult, I feel very different about these monsters. I’m glad I learned about the serial killers at the time, but I no longer want to buy merchandise or dress up like them even for Halloween.

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

S.C.: Not sure what the first was, but I will tell you that I distinctly remember the endings of Friday the 13th and Prince of Darkness. Around when I was 12 or 13, I think. Just when I thought the movie was over—Bam! Jason pulling her into the lake and the melted face of the girl in bed had me off the couch and running from my room before the credits.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

S.C.: We Need to Talk About Kevin. I was always nervous about having kids. Being responsible for the creation of life and ensuring that this human grows up to be…. Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Are you responsible for what your child becomes? We Need to Talk About Kevin put the final nail in the coffin when it came to me wanting to have children. Terrifying though not a novel all will consider horror.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

S.C.: Again, I may have a response that isn’t quote horror, although it was violent. As a kid, my Grandma was watching Wisdom with Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore. I was maybe six years old at the time and walked in during the ending scene when the Bonnie & Clyde duo is riddled with bullets. I had never seen people killed in movie before except for Disney and it’s not the same when Bambi’s mom dies or Ursula turns someone into a seaweed person. Watching their real human bodies tear open and bleed scarred me. Maybe it subconsciously spurred my fascination with blood, death, and horror. Who knows. I always remembered Emilio and Demi’s face though and when I was much older I found out what the movie was called. At the time, I had no idea what the movie was. To this day though, after learning what it was, I still have never watched it from start to finish. Just that ending as a six-year-old…

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

S.C.: Too hard to pick a favorite, but some of my standouts over the years were The Dude from The Big Lebowski, Heath Ledger’s Joker, and Johnny Depp from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Honorable mention to Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

S.C.: Anything by John Carpenter. His music set the stage for so many classic horror films, including Halloween that he is synonymous with the holiday for me. I love his Lost Themes album. Perfect background music if you’re handing out Halloween candy. Or writing scary stories 😉

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

S.C.: Reese Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfinger when I was a kid. Disappointed by Candy Corn.

Learn to appreciate the darkest moments of your life. It is those moments that make our time in the light even more beautiful. S.C. Mendes is the author of numerous short stories and a fan of pen names. The anonymity helps maintain his day job as an indoctrinator of children for the state. THE CITY is the beginning of the Max Elliot saga.