AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Matthew R. Davis

Meghan: Hey, Matthew! Welcome to Meghan’s (Haunted) House of Books… or (Holiday) House of Books because, technically, it’s December… but I’m just not ready to finish with Halloween, as you can tell. Thanks for joining in our annual frivolities. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Matthew: The fact that we celebrate all that is spooky and dark! While the day has come a long way from its roots, it’s broadened to include all kinds of horrors, and so naturally I love the aesthetics and the focus on peering into the shadows.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Matthew: Ah, I don’t really have one. In Australia, we don’t get out on the streets as much as other countries – I’ve never been trick or treating, though at one of my previous homes (Ghastly Manor) we did put out some props and hand lollies over to groups of roving children. I do like to get out and celebrate the Spooky Season – there are usually a few goth events on, my partner and I attended a double bill of Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead a few years back, and last year a dearly departed friend had his final, posthumous exhibition opening on Halloween night.

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

Matthew: Again, it’s all about the celebrations of horror and the macabre. The trappings of Christmas are an annoyance to me – carols and tinsel, chintzy decorations indulged in just because It’s What We Do, the religious angle – so Halloween provides a much-needed balance.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Matthew: Pretty much nothing. I’m an entirely irreligious person, and while I keep an open mind, I don’t believe in the paranormal – which is perhaps an odd attitude from a horror writer whose work is so often supernatural! I guess I’d like some of the stories to be true, for these hints of further worlds to be genuine, because then there’s so much more to explore and it might also mean there’s something else to come after we shuffle off this mortal coil – and while I don’t think there is, I have to admit that the idea of an afterlife beyond the codified legends of religion, freely entered without having to follow some deity’s laws of conduct and devotion, is an appealing one. I believe we get one life and we need to make the most of it, but I won’t feel too bad if I’m ultimately proved wrong… so long as I don’t end up consigned to excruciating and unjust torture for all eternity!

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

Matthew: I tend to wince when I see yet another meme or image that wheels out the pop culture horror big guns like Freddy, Jason, Michael, Pinhead, Ghostface, Regan McNeil, Pennywise, Leatherface, etc. There’s so much more beyond these figureheads! That said, I am a fan of most of those characters, or at least some of the movies in which they feature. (My hot take: The Exorcist is overrated Catholic propaganda.) But I prefer standalone films with one-off monsters or villains, and having said that, now I have to think of some in order to actually answer this question! Here are some notables: the witches and their associates from Suspiria (original and remake), the titular woman from The Autopsy of Jane Doe, the ghosts of The Haunting of Hill House series, the creepy doubles from The Broken, the grotesqueries that appear throughout In the Mouth of Madness, the demons from, well, Demons, the haunting at the heart of Mungo Lake… and so, so many more!

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Matthew: I don’t know if I could pick just one! Some cases are so intriguing that a solution is craved if only to satisfy the onlooker’s curiosity, but then, so much of their interest is predicated on them remaining unsolved. I hope they are unraveled so those close to the victims can gain closure, but the mystery is always more satisfying than the solution. It may be a little ghoulish to find titillation in the unsolved disappearances and deaths of strangers, but why shouldn’t we be curious? Nothing is ever learned without someone applying thought to the situation.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Matthew: I’m not credulous and I don’t scare easy, and most legends are fairly humdrum and ridiculous anyway, so I guess… none. I do find them interesting, though, and I occasionally include one in my work. A pair of 1960s teenage spree killers inspire a schoolyard ditty in my novel Midnight in the Chapel of Love, and rumours of their visit to the titular Chapel lead others to try and find the place.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Matthew: None. Fuck those people. I don’t have a favourite rapist or a favourite thug, so why should I have a favourite murderer? While I am intensely curious about serial killers and love to read about them, I don’t ever glorify what they do – my interest lies largely in my inability to understand how people could do such atrocious things to others, and in the processes by which they can be profiled, identified, and captured. I want to know what causes some people to kill and I want to know how we can stop them. Accordingly, I find great interest in books by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, who set out their stall with Mindhunter.

Meghan: I guess I should have worded that question differently. I did not mean “favorite” as in one you idolize, but “favorite” as in the one that intrigues you the most. But I digress… How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Matthew: Okay… I don’t know for sure, but I remember seeing bits of a movie I now know is Cruise into Terror (1978), including an Egyptian sarcophagus that started breathing, and that was quite creepy when I was so young. The only movie I ever turned off was The Masterson Curse (aka Scared Stiff, 1987) when I was ten, because I couldn’t stand the tension building up to a well-telegraphed jump scare – something tells me I’d find that movie very mild going these days!

As for books… I read one of Guy N. Smith’s Crabs books before I should have, and that was pretty heavy going. The Choose Your Own Adventure books got quite grim sometimes, and then there were darker variants like the Plot Your Own Horror Story series. The only one I own is Grand Hotel of Horror (Hilary Milton, 1984), which snaked under my skin with its anything-goes terrors and eerie illustrations, and other entries saw you trapped overnight in a mall, a haunted house, and even a space museum. In fact, Space Age Terrors has one of the best back cover taglines I have ever seen.

It is programmed to destroy.
It can walk through locked doors.
It is looking for you.

Brrr!

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Matthew: At the risk of sounding repetitive and dull, it’s rare for a book to actually scare me. Sometimes it’s individual pieces that get to me: some of the seabase scenes in Nick Cutter’s The Deep, the exploration of an abandoned flat and subsequent entry of Black Maggie in Adam Nevill’s No One Gets Out Alive, the increasing religious mania of the father in Ramsey Campbell’s The House on Nazareth Hill and the concomitant persecution of his daughter that leads to a truly shocking climax. Sometimes it’s the creeping mood and atmosphere that lingers after the covers have been closed, like in Laird Barron’s The Croning, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, or Stephen King‘s Pet Sematary.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Matthew: See above, but to avoid repeating myself: Jaws (1975), which I saw far too young and instilled in me an instinctive fear of water deeper than I am tall, not to mention a lifelong phobia of great white sharks! My brother, who watched those films with me (and was two years younger to boot!), recently went cage-diving amongst the great whites of Port Lincoln, and man, let me tell you – it is exceedingly unlikely I would ever even contemplate doing the same!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Matthew: Nothing I’ve ever worn, as I’ve never dressed up in full costume for Halloween. I’ve seen some great ones, though! (Not Great Ones, thankfully.) Let me give a shout out to my partner, who did this great little goth vampire thing a few years back complete with fangs and creepy contacts. As for me, I was wearing a skirt and steel-capped boots – perhaps scary, but not in the same way.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Matthew: John Carpenter’s Halloween theme, naturally; “Halloween” and “Halloween II” by Misfits; “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare All)” and “All Hallows Eve” by Type O Negative. I can’t think of much else that is explicitly about the season, but I’m a big fan of dark, creepy music in general – I could put together a playlist for Halloween that would kill.

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

Matthew: Chocolate. Not chocolate.


Boo-graphy:
Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia, whose novelette “Heritage Hill” (found in Outback Horrors Down Under: An Anthology of Antipodean Terrors, edited by Steve Dillon, published by Things in the Well Publications) was shortlisted for a 2020 Shirley Jackson Award and the WSFA Small Press Award. His books are the horror collection If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (Things in the Well, 2020) and the novel Midnight in the Chapel of Love (JournalStone, 2021). Find out more at his website.

Midnight in the Chapel of Love
THE MAN: Jonny Trotter has spent the last fifteen years running from tragic memories of the country town where he grew up—but the black envelopes pushed under his door won’t let him forget, and now that his father has died, he can run no more.

THE TOWN: Returning to Waterwich for the funeral and wake with his partner Sloane, Jonny must confront old resentments, his estranged best friends Brendan and Coralie, a strange, veiled woman the locals call the White Widow…and the mystery surrounding the fate of his first lover, Jessica Grzelak.

THE GIRL: A morbid and reckless city girl banished to the country to live with her aunt, Jessica loved to push the limits and explore the shadows—and no one has seen her since the night of her high school formal, the night she and Jonny went looking for the Chapel.

THE CHAPEL: Rumored to be found in the woods outside Waterwich, mentioned in playground rhymes about local lovebirds Billy and Poppy and their killing spree in 1964, the Chapel is said to be an ancient, sacred place that can only be entered by lovers—a test that can only be passed if their bond is pure and true.

THE TRUTH: Before he can move on to a future with Sloane, Jonny must first face the terrible truth of his past—and if he can’t bring it out into the light at last, it might just pull him and everything he loves down into the dark forever.

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: Steven L. Shrewsbury

Meghan: Hi, Steven!! It’s great to have you here today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Steven: These days, there are a lot of classic horror films on TV leading up to that time. It also brings out the ghoul in everyone.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Steven: When the boys were younger, they’d get made up in their costumes and go trick or treating in town (I live way out in the country). Also, they would go through a local nursing home that had the residents all outside their rooms in costume.

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

Steven: I’d say Christmas is my fave, but Halloween was always fun growing up and then with the kids. My buddies & I used to dress up and go running around in town or wherever back in the day.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Steven: Oh, silly things like not going under a ladder and all that. I respect graveyards as some goofs will go out to them on Halloween or at night. Not me. I show some respect.

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

Steven: Prolly the Wolfman ala Lon Chaney Jr. I felt for the guy, plus, he was named after my ancestors, the Talbots. Wolfman/werewolf tales are cool. I need to write a book about them.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Steven: The Zodiac murders. I thought I read where they cracked his code at last recently. Jack the Ripper, of course. I’ve read a great deal about that over the years.  

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most? 

Steven: The stealing of kidneys is a good one. Slender Man creeps me out because a few years back I was working at harvest overnights in a Corn Dryer facility and thought I saw him. Not much scares me like that, and I told the guy I worked with I’d have hit him if approached. Dunno what that image was, tho. My dad told me of one he heard in WW2 about an undying pilot that waged war on the Japanese. In the late 80s (or early 90s) we happened to see the Philadelphia Experiment film and dad popped out, “Near the end of the war, we met some guys (sailors) who told us they can make a ship disappear now.” He wasn’t one for freaky tales, either.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Steven: Doubt I have a ‘fave’ but was amazed John Wayne Gacy got away with it for so long. Ed Gein is more likely, not because of his actions, but just that he was more rural and easier to hide his actions. Gacy was in town, for Chrissake.

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

Steven: I used to watch NIGHT GALLERY with my brother, Mark, when I was 3 or 4. I have vivid memories of this show. Film, prolly DIARY OF A MADMAN with Vincent Price as a kid, really scared me. I recall watching HALLOWEEN with my dad when I was 11 and checking every room upstairs when I went to bed. Book, THE OMEN by David Seltzer. I knew it was Bushwah by my own Biblical teachings (even as a kid), but it still creeped me out. It made me want to tell more of a story like that.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Steven: EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty. It’s a small book, but what stuck with me more weren’t the movie crazy parts everyone thinks of, but the description of the Black mass and other pagan things mentioned in the book. The stuff with the statues, ugh.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Steven: The original INVISIBLE MAN made me love horror. Claude Rains voice still rocks in that. I probably liked the original DAWN OF THE DEAD most, but no scars. Although not really a horror flick, I never wanna see CLOCKWORK ORANGE again. There was a screwy flick called BURNT OFFERINGS that scared me as a kid.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Steven: I dressed as Elvis in 1978. Alice Cooper when I was 19. Always wanted to be Gene Simmons. There are pics of me as a priest in the early 90s online somewhere.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Steven: MONSTER MASH, or Nick Cave’s RED RIGHT HAND. Several tunes by Alice Cooper.

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

Steven: Liked mini SNICKERS as a kid or candy corn. I used to put those in as fangs, but I digress. I don’t care for apples or fruit as treats from strangers, although I used to enjoy Carmel apples.

Meghan: It’s been great talking to you again, Steven. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Steven: Loved the original HALLOWEEN film. TRICK OR TREAT was cool. I kinda liked the HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH film as it dealt with a more mystic side of things. That’s the sorta thing I like, not just killers killing to kill. The mating of magicks and technology was a good idea. Plenty of great horror flicks not related to Halloween theme. I suggest ANGEL HEART with Mickey Rourke, as the punchline is pure horror. THE THING, THEATER OF BLOOD…I’m not so big on all the SAW gory modern stuff. Seems redundant, which is odd considering how violent the stuff is I write. I enjoy newer stuff that is more complex. It is rare. I also have a tough time seeing a new flick that I can’t figure out a mile away.


Boo-graphy:
Steven L. Shrewsbury lives, works, and writes in rural Illinois. Over 360 of his short stories have appeared in print or electronic media along with over 100 poems. 9 of his novels have been released, with more on the way. His books run from sword and sorcery (Overkill, Thrall, Bedlam Unleashed) to historical fantasy (Godforsaken), extreme horror (Hawg, Tormentor, Stronger Than Death) to horror-westerns (Hell Billy, Bad Magick, Last Man Screaming).

He loves books, British TV, guns, movies, politics, sports, and hanging out with his sons. He’s frequently outdoors, looking for brightness wherever it may hide.

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.