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"It's time to Go Indie Now..."

Before we were all incredibly talented Indie Artists, we were, and still are, fans. We gravitate to certain genres because they give us all emcompassing feeling of sense of self and sense of who we want to be. Well when it comes to the the Horror genre, that might be the exact opposite. As fans it tests our fears and helps us fight them. As writers it teaches us how to invoke the most auditory of responses with the most subtle of effects. It allows us a chance to understand our deeper, darker selves and gives us a moral compass: good horror does anyway. So I gathered some of my favorite Indies, who are masters of craft, and fanatics of this genre and asked them to do a little Q & A. I hope if you are a fan you decide to play along and give us what your answers might be in the comments below. If you are a fan I also hope you take the time to check out each and every one of these awesome artists and their own work. It may keep you up at night but let's face it, you weren't going to sleep much anyway, right? 
  1. Executive Director
    MICHAEL J ELLIOTT
    AUTHOR/YOUTUBER
    Michael is an author of several Horror Collections and he does a YouTube Show called Dark Realm Diaries which features all kinds of awesome videos about Horror including reviews of some very interesting and obscure books and films.
  2. Executive Director
    KRISTINA RIENZI
    AUTHOR
    Kristina is a brilliant and prolific author who tackles multiple genres and sometimes even does so within one book. She is a frequent contributing panelist to both The Writer's Edge and GoIndieNow Live panels.
  3. Executive Director
    MYK PILGRIM
    AUTHOR/YOUTUBER
    Myk is a budding horror writer who has one of the more unique and brilliant vlogs on YouTube. Myk is a lover of all things horror and has extensive, expert level knowledge on the genre.
  4. Executive Director
    JASON GREENSIDES
    AUTHOR/GIN MOVIE REVIEWER
    Jason is an author and a cinephile who studied and worked in film. He produces a segment on GoIndieNow's Flagship Show It's Time to Go Indie Now that reviews Indie Films.
  5. Executive Director
    J. B. TAYLOR
    AUTHOR/YOUTUBER/GIN REVIEWER
    J. B. is a multi genre writer who has several collections and full ength novels out there. A cinephile who contributes to GoIndieNow each and every on our Facebook show This week In Indies with his Netflix pick of the week.
  1. What is it about Horror that you read and see that you really love?
    (MICHAEL J ELLIOTT) It's the imagination of filmmakers and authors to present works that can put the viewer/reader in the victim's place (KRISTINA RIENZI) Being scared in a safe environment thrills me. Triumph over fear wins every time. (MYK PILGRIM) It’s the fun of it. I think it’s really that simple. When I’m watching horror, I’m laughing, I’m mortified, I’m cringing but most importantly: I’m feeling. It’s a rollercoaster that allows me to examine myself through the filter of life or death situations and reaffirm my personal values through hypothetical acid tests. Also, I like boobs. (J. B. TAYLOR) A genuine story with the scares built seamlessly into it. It’s hard to accomplish, but it always pays off in the end. Guaranteed home run. (JASON GREENSIDES) I like the psychological aspects. The way the best stories are just as much about the interior states – traumas and previous psychological damage – of the main characters as much as the supernatural elements the film explores. Films like The Exorcist and The Shining do this brilliantly.
  2. What’s one cliche that you love when it comes to Horror?
    (MICHAEL) The one publishers HATE! A dark and stormy night lol (KRISTINA) Going into the dark unknown, even though you should run for the hills. The darkness is where all the fun is, duh! (MYK) “I’ll be right back.” No, you won’t, not ever. And I’m not at all sorry. Makes me smile every time. (JB) The unnecessary nudity. But I’m a guy, and what guy doesn’t. (JASON) Evil always lives on. I don’t ever recall seeing a horror that doesn’t include the notion that the supernatural being or part of its essence hasn’t died.
  3. What was the book or movie that solidified your fandom?
    (MICHAEL) Psycho, the movie. Brilliant (KRISTINA) Definitely Friday the 13th – the original. I walked into the living room where my mom was watching it (yes, I got it {my love of horror} from my momma!), and saw Jason burst through a window. We had a bay window behind the television at the time, and it totally freaked me out. I was only five then (I’m aging myself, now!), and I’ve been hooked on horror ever since! (MYK) If I’m being honest, I think it was probably R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps books that captured my attention. The first one I read was “It came from beneath the sink” a story about an evil sponge that causes bad luck and then feeds on the resulting negative vibes. It terrified me more than I’d like to admit. I was a delicate child. After that I ingested as many of Mr Stine’s books as I could get my sticky little fingers on. “Welcome to dead house” also really got under my skin, I distinctly recall how the ending squirmed around inside my prepubescent melon for weeks after. The imagery was dark, everything felt bleak, hopeless and I loved it. Also, the book cover was embossed with a human skull floating in a sea of bubbling blue frogspawn, an image which only served to amplify my enjoyment of it. I watched the show with the unadulterated fervor of a crack addict when it became available on South African TV, for some reason they screened it on weekday afternoons straight after Teletubbies. A scheduling choice which perplexed me at the time. The third episode “The girl who cried monster” scared the Shatner out of me. The part where the spider eating librarian transformed into this terrible inhuman creature made my skin crawl. The images of its bulbous black eyes on reptilian scaled stalks and misshapen head kept me awake for months. Again, I repeat, I was a soft and impressionable child. (JB) JASON. No doubt. (JASON) Growing up in the late eighties, it was Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser that made deep, lasting impressions on me.
  4. What’s one Horror film you think everyone should see that maybe hardly anyone has?
    (MICHAEL) Twisted Nerve with Hywell Bennett and Hayley Mills. A brilliant movie about a sociopath who becomes enamoured with Hayley Mills and pretends to be mentally retarded to get close to her. (KRISTINA) Sinister (2012) starring Ethan Hawke. It’s terrifying for horror fans, readers, and writers. You don’t see that ending coming. (MYK) The Stuff. It’s a 1985 movie about consumerism culture, where the world becomes obsessed with eating this pseudo-yogurt-ice-cream thing known only as the Stuff. The creature effects are fun, the characters outrageous and the social commentary, hilarious. It’s a popcorn munching, beer guzzling, horror flick. If you’re in the mood for something a little more Halloweeny though, check out either Trick ‘r Treat (2007) or Tales of Halloween (2015), both are great anthologies. (JB) Insidious. It’s a pure story without obvious jump scares. You’re on the edge of your seat, nervous, don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a really good film. (JASON) Monkey Shines
  5. What’s one Horror book you think everyone should read that hardly anyone has?
    (MICHAEL) Well, that's difficult because even beast sellers can go unnoticed amongst family and friends and readers. For me, it's Dean Koontz' Frankenstien series. (KRISTINA) It’s actually a short story by Shirley Jackson: The Lottery. It’s a brilliantly spun classic horror tale. (MYK) H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. Howard Lovecraft was a racist, even measured against the xenophobic mindset of the 1920’s he was pretty bad. But when I discovered his work, it totally changed the way I saw horror. This story has this cloud of creeping dread hovering over it and the bittersweet ending doesn’t disappoint. The scene in the hotel room was harrowing. (JB) THE STAND by Stephen King. It’s horror in its truest form. It’s a work of art as far as I’m concerned. (JASON) Portraits of Dread and Choice Cuts: A Bite from the Dark Realm by Michael J Elliot are both excellent collections of horror short stories.
  6. What’s one Horror film and book you think is underrated and why?
    (MICHAEL) Clive Barker's Book of Blood. Both the book and the movie are very original but more people seem to know Hellraiser. (KRISTINA) The Conjuring. It’s based on a true case from Ed and Lorraine Warren, demonologist spouses. When it’s not full-fiction, the horror becoms reality. It’s worth watching, after you sage your house for good measure! (MYK) My Best Friends Exorcism by Grady Hendrix absolutely blew me away. It’s mean girls with a little possession thrown in for good measure. The friendship between Abbey and Gretchen serves as the backbone of a story which is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. And hell did I cry. Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of time before this one gets adapted into a Netflix original. For something a lot less touchy feely though, Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke is a graphic, gory and visceral story about a hillbilly family that has a thing for maiming, raping and killing and not necessarily in that order. So in short, it’s the feel good summer romp of the season. Film-wise I think not enough folks have seen Black Christmas. (JB) Film- IT FOLLOWS. It doesn’t get a lot of love, not as much as it should anyways. BOOK – THE SHINING. All anyone ever wants to talk about is the damn movie. The movie sucked, it turned the mom into a whining no one, took away the cook, made the dad a drunk from the start—it was a shell of a story. The book is a million times better. (JASON) Horror movie: Cannibal Holocaust – its real animal killings and other gross elements have overshadowed how well it maintains a sense of dread throughout. It’s a huge influence on The Blair Witch Project (which is massively overrated). Horror novel: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It has one of the best houses in horror ever created.
  7. Conversely what’s one you think Horror can do without?
    (MICHAEL) The college friends off to somewhere deserted with no cell phone coverage. (KRISTINA) Gore for the sake of gore. I like my gory scenes, don’t get me wrong, but they need to be done well. If they move the story forward or have a purpose – to thrill, terrify, or shock – I’m in. Overdoing it makes the story weak. (MYK) “Art films” Despite my philistine countenance and my affinity for vile language; I’m not adverse to culture. But please don’t lure me into the cinema with sweet promises only to force me to sit through a two-hour visual metaphor, overpopulated with obtuse self-indulgent references. Tell me a story, creep me out, shower me with blood, educate me if you have to, but please, for the love of the gods get to the point and most importantly: entertain me while you do it. (JB) Jump scares like sudden loud noises. It’s lazy writing. (JASON) Jump scares in movies. I’m not saying you can’t do them, but you should earn the right to do them. And there should be a maximum of two per movie.
  8. Favorite beginning to a horror book or movie?
    (MICHAEL) Halloween when we see everything through the mask of a young Michael Myers and that music! (KRISTINA) Hands down, Halloween (1978). The camera angle moving through the eyes of young, murderous Michael Myers was brilliant. John Carpenter’s music score amplified the terror. (MYK) The first scream film. I know the phone call sequence was cliché, even then, but it was such a great build up to the first kill in a franchise that was so wonderfully self-aware of the slasher genre. I remember my cousin telling me about it long before I got around to seeing the film myself, and even just her telling of it unsettled me. (JB) The original HELLRAISER. I didn’t particularly care for the film as a whole, but the beginning was so messed up. (JASON) I love the opening sequence of The Exorcist with the unearthing of the demonic artefact. It puts the rest of the movie on an epic, timeless scale.
  9. The Horror movie and/or book that has the best ending(s)?
    (MICHAEL) The Wicker Man both the book and the movie. Not that awful remake with Nicholas Cage, the one with Edward Woodward. When he's being led to the wicker man and realises he's about to become a human sacrifice (KRISTINA) Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Simple, yet effective in scaring the $*&% out of you! (MYK) Although I’m not that enamored with the rest of the films in the Saw series (they became too torture porny for my taste) the end of the first film was particularly good. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I still remember the “WHAT THE HELL? NO FREAKING WAY!” feeling I got the first time I saw it. Other honorable mentions: The borderlands (the ending had me reeling for days), Orphan, The Mist, Cabin in the woods, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Clive Barker’s short story “Midnight Meat Train” had an incredibly twisted ending. The film with Bradley Cooper was good too, but it didn’t dig nearly as deep and as much as I enjoyed the watch, it was much poorer for the omission. (JB) The Stand by Stephen King. It’s the best ending to a horror story I’ve ever read. As for a film, the scene in the first JASON, when the hand comes out of the water. That was freaking awesome. (JASON) The Wicker Man (1973)
  10. Have you ever scared yourself writing something?
    (MICHAEL) I was doing research about Demons. I ended up having a nightmare about one that was clinging to my back and raking its talons down my skin and shredding it. (KRISTINA) Is there any other way to write? (MYK) A couple of years ago, I was writing a story about the black thing that stands at the end of my bed, silently watching as it waits for me to sleep so it can take me. I managed to freak myself out so badly that I had to take my headphones off for fear of something sneaking up on me from behind. Covered in goose bumps, I had to get up, turn all the lights on and stop writing. Three years on, I still have to go back and finish it. (JB) No. I’ve creeped myself out. Lol (JASON) No, I don’t write horror.
  11. What was the best Decade for Horror?
    (MICHAEL) They all have their pros and cons but the 80's was the decade that gave us the horror icons that have become part of pop culture. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers etc (KRISTINA) The cheesy eighties! Love me some Jason, Freddy, and Chucky. (MYK) I’m going to say eighties, just because of the overall vibe of the films that it spawned. The exclusive use of practical creature effects adds gives them a timelessness which has become less common these days than I’d like. We got great creature features like The Thing, Fright night, Return of the living dead, from Beyond, Re-animator and Night of the Demons. (JB) The 80’s. The 70’s had some good ones, but things didn’t get good until Chucky showed up. (JASON) The eighties are closest to my heart – yes, I’m biased - but it was also the last time for twenty years that mainstream horror took itself seriously. But in terms of quality and depth, the seventies is the best.
  12. What was the best kill you ever read or seen?
    (MICHAEL) The Haunting Of Julia with Mia Farrow. A ghost child has a toy monkey that clashes symbols together. The next shot we see Mia with her throat cut. (KRISTINA) The disembowelment scene in Hannibal Rising. Wow. (MYK) In James Herbert’s book “The Fog” (no relation to the John Carpenter film) the bloodthirsty beating and maiming of the P.E. teacher at the hands of a bunch of schoolboys was particularly cringeworthy. Herbert really doesn’t hold back anything. There were a lot of insane kills in that one. For some reason the first film death that came to mind at the time of this writing is the diner lady in Jason Goes to Hell. Large Marge comes at Jason from behind whilst he’s busy dispatching someone else with a deep fryer. Jason elbows her, almost offhandedly, and her mouth crumples in like a coke can. It’s so fast, you almost miss it, it had me scrambling for the remote. She looks as if she’s sucking on a baseball. (JB) Though the movie sucked, I’d have to go with a scene from the film JASON X. In the scene he bashes two women inside sleeping bags together until they’re both dead. It’s epic for a plethora of reasons. (JASON) A man slits his own throat in Michael Haneke’s Cache (Hidden in English). The film is a French psychological thriller, but this moment is truly horrific and has stayed with me ever since.
  13. If you were to pick a franchise to write a story for and continue it, which would you choose?
    (MICHAEL) Hellraiser. I would love to write dialogue for Pinhead. (KRISTINA) SAW! I love the premise of the story, especially the creative reasons he chooses his victims, and how he seals their fate. There’s meaning behind the murder, and the gore, and that’s at the core of good horror…the fear is palpable, and justified. (MYK) Judge me as you will, but I think it would be great fun to play in the Nightmare on Elm Street sandbox. Freddy got to be all kinds of kooky in the sequels, but I think with some reframing, there’s still buttloads of unmined gold to be had. (JB) Chucky. I would do a much better job with the last few films to come out in that franchise that’s for sure. (JASON) Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddie became this stupid pantomime clown at the forth film then stayed that way. He needs to be reborn.