Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.
“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?
When I think of the term “literary horror,” Nick Antosca is the first name to come to mind. Before I read his book Midnight Picnic, I still thought of horror in a very stereotypically lurid, cut-and-dry, genre sense. Just like everyone, I was a product of the Stephen King school of horror.
Midnight Picnic changed my perception of what horror could be. It didn’t have to be flashy. It could be gentle. Subtle. It could be ethereal and sad. Yes, there are some terrifying parts in that book, but most of the horror is cumulative, one that stays reader when the book is done. It reminded me of reading a deeply-personal journal that you’ve forgotten you’ve written and realize that you’ve been haunted at one point in your life.
Last year, he put out a story collection called The Girlfriend Game, which is fantastic and includes his story “Predator Bait,” about a decoy used in a To Catch a Predator-like show. It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve read by him.
And if that’s not inspirational enough, he also has written for bunch of rad shows shows like Last Resort, Teen Wolf and Hannibal. Plus, he just sold a script for The Disappearance, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Damn.
What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?
1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
You used to have adventures. You remember a time when you weren’t in front of a computer for 10 hours a day. You used to make out in public. You used to go on road trips without seatbelts. You didn’t care about the housing market. You did drugs. You lived in squalor. People didn’t know what you were doing, where you were going 24 hours a day. Your life was more secret. You lived your own quiet jubilations. It felt like you had nothing to lose.
2. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Love the sense of place in this album, like a contemporary/anxious/paranoid take on The Chronic (a comparison I can’t separate because of Dr. Dre’s involvement). Lamar has created a masterpiece, rendering the fear and heartbreak of being young in Compton, which makes the solace he finds in his family especially moving.
3. Metz – S/T
Haven’t felt this dirty listening to rock since the Murder City Devils.
4. Beach House – Bloom
Lovely. A refinement of their Teen Dream sound, but with more tension. The video for “Wild”, I think, captures the intensity of the entire album.
5. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Chromatics – Kill for Love
Tropical Popsicle – Ghost Beacons
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
Soft Riot — No Longer Stranger
1. Jonah Man – Christopher Narozny
“What elevates Jonah Man beyond pulp-fare, is the bulldozing sense of history that motivates the characters. Every character is laced with sadness, and even when they resort to abuse, murder and cutting off their own arms, it suggests a fight against modernity and a struggle to keep their acts relevant” Read the review.
The best time I had with a book this year.
2. Cataclysm Baby – Matt Bell
“The children in Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby are disgusting. They are disfigured, hairy, segmented. They break apart when they exit the womb. They are the harbingers of the apocalypse. The 26 stories in here culminate in a bleak, frightening vision of what happens when the parental structure falls apart.” Read the review.
3. Fast Machine – Elizabeth Ellen
“It’s been a long time since I’ve read a story so honest to adolescence–the alienation, the self-consciousness, the hurt and the fun–as Ellen’s story of a boarding school. It gave me context for everything else to follow. What I thought was meandering prose became intense confessionals–the kind that connects readers with the mistakes they made in their own youth. It’s such an unflinching account of family history and tragedy that you can’t help but feel a kinship.” Read the review.
4. My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
“Read this whole thing, front to back, in one sitting.” Read the review.
5. The Obese – Nick Antosca
“Just finished this book and feel slightly weird for enjoying it. It’s an ugly, ugly book–the cover’s (amazingly) grotesque and every character in The Obese is a piece of shit.” Read the review.
I had the most fun at: Looper.
The movie I’ve thought about the most since watching it: The Innkeepers
Biggest disappointment: Dark Knight Rises
Movie I wish I’d seen when I was 10 and could obsess over (AKA “The Jurassic Park” award): The Avengers
Metabest: Cabin in the Woods (for being inclusive)
Metaworst: Holy Motors (for being snobby, “clever” and too in love with itself)
Over the last two months, my friends and I have been at work putting together two books, and this morning, we can finally put the nail in both of them. It’s quite an accomplishment, really, and I want to tell you about them.
Black Candies has been a passion project of mine to get some of my favorite literary writers to indulge their most horrific writing. This year, I got five great writers to write on the theme of “Post Apocalypse” (a concept I’ve been obsessed with over the last year); with some really great variations on said theme. The line-up for these authors goes:
- Nick Antosca (author of Fires, Midnight Picnic, The Obese)
- Jim Ruland (author of Big Lonesome, creator of Vermin on the Mount reading series)
- Natanya Ann Pulley (editor of Quarterly West, publications in Western Humanities Review, The Florida Review, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s)
- Justin Hudnall (Executive Director of San Diego’s best literary-education advocate So Say We All)
- Jay Wertzler (co-author of Clydestown Society of Mystery and Intrigue Presents)
Oh and the thing has art too. Some really great art, in fact. I really don’t want to show it to you cuz that would give it all away. Here are the artists:
- Julia Gualtieri
- Walker Mettling
- Adam Vieyra (who also did the layout/book design and I can’t thank him enough. Go to his blog Hustlemania).
So yeah, the stories in here are scary. Perfect time to get your spooks on!
Next book is Last Night on Earth.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve talked about this book here before, and there are really too many authors to call out, but it’s so, so great. My constant collaborator/friend/partner in crime (also Black Candies contributor) Jay Wertzler did the book design on this one. When I woke up to find his finished pdf in my inbox, I had to stand up and walk away from my computer. It’s just so breathtaking to see something you’ve been working on for so long finally be real. It has a face now – a glorious, immaculate face. Again, I can’t thank him enough for his hard work.
And of course, none of these would’ve been possible without Justin Hudnall, a true frontiersman. His constant encouragement and belief has made both these projects not only possible, but bigger and greater than anything I could’ve accomplished on my own.
I’ll keep you posted on when/where to get them.