INTERVIEWER: When did you realize that you were a true horror writer?
ME: Aw hell… A what?
INTERVIEWER: A true… horror… writer.
ME: When did I realize I was a true horror writer? Who says I write horror?
INTERVIEWER: True… Horror.
ME: Oh, TRUE horror. Okay. When I killed and ate my fifteenth neighborhood pet. That pretty much nailed it.
ME: No, that’s not true, I’m lying. Can’t you tell I’m lying? Jesus, do you think I would hurt a pet? Do you mind if I smoke? Thanks, you’re swell! OK, actually, I remember exactly when the dark side spoke: when my toy robot ran out of batteries and I screamed bloody murder, man, I wanted to kill everybody.
INTERVIEWER: True… Horror…
ME: All right, seriously, no more screwing around: I had this really scary dream when I was like four or five…
INTERVIEWER: A dream…
ME: Yeah. A dream. A Lugosi-style vampire was outside my bedroom window, glowing eyes and big fangs, the works. He was scratching, scratching, scratching at the damn window, he wanted to get inside and rip out my throat, and I woke up and back-flipped out of bed, you know, “Waaagh!” I hit the floor like a mini-commando, slid across the room and slammed into the wall under the window, held my breath and waited, waited. I was too afraid to peek over the window ledge, but I waited. I waited all damn night for his pale sharp talons to come smashing through the glass. The attack never came, but you couldn’t convince me the next day that it had only been a dream. He had been there, and he would come back.
INTERVIEWER: A dream. About a vampire. And he looked like Bela Lugosi.
INTERVIEWER: I ask for… TRUE horror, and you give me… this. You… you’re… pathetic.
ME: Wait, it gets better. This vampire dream scarred me for life. I started assembling weapons to kill vampires, splitting pieces of wood into crude stakes, building this weird gizmo of a gun with a rubber band that, you know, in theory would catapult my crucifix across the room and jab the creep in the eye or something. I was FIVE, you know? I kept this crap at my bedside for like, years…
INTERVIEWER: And… your point?
ME: My point? That at a very early age I was convinced that the shapes and sounds of horror were real and very much a part of the natural world. Ghosts and vampires and monsters and witches… everything. To me the paranormal was, well, normal. To a certain extent every kid goes through this baptism of fear; who’s not afraid of the dark? But this conviction stayed with me for a long time, well into my teens. I searched and searched for the doorway to the other side, I wandered cemeteries with tape recorders hoping to capture dead voices, I took pictures of empty corners to catch ghost images. This shit was real, man.
INTERVIEWER: Dead voices. Ghost images. You’re… pathetic.
ME: I know, it’s so tragic. Are we done?
INTERVIEWER: I asked for True… Horror…
ME: Yeah well, you’re reading this blog for free. That’s the true horror, buddy.
Thanks (and apologies) to Joe Ramano