Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy…or Not

When you’re an author of fantasy and horror, and you live in a small town like Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, it’s inevitable that you get requests like the one I recently received from our library director, Jessica: “I have a spooky question for you.” She presented me with a badly-faded microfiche printout (see above) of a news story from 1909, about … Read More

The Vampires Want to Wear My Mud Shoes

One of my personal traditions is that, every October, I re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s such a rich novel that I usually find at least one detail I’d never noticed before. This year, though, in addition to reading the actual novel, I’ve been reading a children’s version to my daughter (after all, what else can follow Frankenstein?). It’s easy to … Read More

“I am fearless, and therefore powerful”: the Monster and the Siren

We sometimes forget, because familiarity negates it, that Frankenstein’s monster is supposed to be scary. I’m talking specifically about the Boris Karloff monster from the first three Universal films, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and (my favorite) Son of Frankenstein. I suppose the later films with other performers as the monster (Lon Chaney, Glenn Strange, Bela Lugosi, etc.) could also be … Read More

Tobe Hooper: the Kids and the Chainsaw

The recent death of director Tobe Hooper has me, and millions of others, thinking about his landmark third film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 1974, Massacre presented three major innovations. One, it was both set and made in Texas, and wore its non-Hollywood pedigree on its bloody, tattered sleeve. Two, it was (or seemed to be, which I’ll get to) gratuitously … Read More

Found! The Scariest Sound of My Childhood

I love the idea of Bigfoot. Who doesn’t wish that a huge, mostly-human monster lived at the edges of our civilization, only occasionally glimpsed and even less often photographed? I’ve read tons of books on the subject, and even wrote a draft of a novel about them back in the 90s. But my interest in them goes back even further, … Read More

Some Halloween thoughts on NotLD

We had a breakthrough this past weekend: I finally convinced someone in my family to watch a zombie movie with me. My elder son, age twelve, joined me for the original Night of the Living Dead. It’s hard to imagine, in 2016, seeing it with no preconceptions, and since I’m his father, the boy certainly didn’t. I’ve sung its praises … Read More

Guest blog: Mehitobel Wilson on the Blue Alice

Way back in the last century, when the Internet was still shiny, Mehitobel Wilson became one of my earliest online friends. She’s a great writer (the first story of hers that I read began, “Someone was fucking with the pigeons.”), and she’s just finished a new novella, Last Night at the Blue Alice. I asked her to write a little bit about her … Read More

Why I Haven’t Blogged Lately

I haven’t blogged in a while, so I thought I’d blog on why that is. Enjoy the brisk taste of meta. Primary among my reasons for not blogging is the continuing work on Long Black Curl, the third Tufa novel that comes out in May. You’d think it would be done by now, wouldn’t you?  Alas, ’tis not the case. … Read More

Some thoughts on the Ghost Brothers

Recently I caught up with the cast recording of the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. As a longtime fan of Mellencamp’s, and an admirer of King’s (there’s a difference, and I’ll explain it shortly), I was curious to see what they’d come up with working together, and in a form neither had tried before. The results, … Read More

Interview: the writers of Carmilla

  Carmilla, J. Sheridan LeFanu’s 1871 novella that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is a seminal work of genre fiction.  It introduces the idea of the lesbian vampire, something that later writers would expand into its own genre (check out Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers for a fairly faithful, if overtly sexed-up, version).  It’s also surprisingly contemporary in its writing style.  So … Read More