Horror Business: Nick Antosca

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 Gamewhich is fantastic and includes his story “Predator Bait,” about a decoy used in a To Catch a Predator-like showIt’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?

nickantoscaNA: This is a well-timed question, because one of my answers is that scene in Twin Peaks when Bob climbs over the couch. That is fucking terrifying.  The way it changes the landscape of a familiar place – a living room – and shows Bob as this otherworldly sort of entity that doesn’t treat living rooms like they’re supposed to be treated (you’re not supposed to climb over the couch! normal people – human beings – in safe, familiar living rooms don’t do that!) gives you this disorienting feeling.  That’s a scene I’ve actually had a nightmare about.

One of my favorite horror movie scenes is also the scene in The Orphanage where the main character has to play the knock-knock game she played as a little girl with her friends… but all those little friends are now dead, and they’re somewhere in the house, still children, waiting for her.  She is terrified but she needs to call them to find out what happened to her missing son, so she faces the wall and knocks, knowing that when she turns around, the empty doorway behind her might not be empty anymore… It’s so scary, and it’s also elegant screenwriting, a beautifully set up scene.

Another great, scary scene is the last scene in Enemy, the Jake Gyllenhaal doppelgänger movie.  I won’t spoil it.  It’s a real “what the fuck” moment. Some people I know whose opinions I respect felt totally cheated by it. It freaked me out.

Also the scenes of the house just being watched in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

Oh wait, no – I know what the scariest scene in any movie is for me.  It’s the “borrowing some eggs” scene in Haneke’s original Funny Games.  The excruciating social awkwardness and the growing sense of dread – we KNOW these kids are eventually going to do something awful to this poor woman and her family – make the scene feel so real.  Makes me queasy every time.


Best of 2012: a year of things I consumed


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)

Two books with one stone: Black Candies and Last Night on Earth

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.

First off: Black Candies – a journal of literary horror.

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:

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:

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.