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.
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.