After a crazy few months, I’m finally settling back into my old writing routine, working on getting my horror novel finished and sent out for trad pub later this year. With everything that’s been going on, I did slip into one of those distracted, disinterested phases where I was into pretty much everything but working on my novel.
For example, I completed a Cryptozoology diploma – if you were wondering just how much of a massive geek I really am, that should give you all the information you need, am I right?! While I knew I should have been working on The Suffering, it was kind of fun to step away and shake it off for a few weeks. The only problem with doing that, as most of you writers will know, is dragging yourself back to your original project and hitting the ground running where you veered off course in the first place.
The last few days I’ve returned to one of my all time horror loves – Found Footage movies. Now, hear me out. I know it’s a divisive subject. I know the prospect of watching a shaking, grainy Go-Pro and listening to the person behind the camera panting and screaming while they thrash through forests isn’t everyone’s idea of a great time. But FF movies immerse me in the moment like no Hollywood production ever could. Not even when Patrick Wilson’s on screen (and boy, do I love it when Patrick Wilson’s on screen….but, I digress). I never fall in love with the characters the way I do with FF movies. I never root for them and think of them as buddies I’m tagging along with the way I do with FF.
An example from this week – my all time favourite horror movie, hands down, is Hell House LLC. I just get fireworks of horror-induced joy whenever I watch it and its sequels. I NEED the Hell House sweatshirt that Sara wears in the movie. Clowns don’t usually freak me out, but the clowns in Hell House? Fuck, yeah!! That’s true horror, and I love it so much. It reminds me of why horror has always given me something that no other genre can. A decent horror gives me that crazy, life-affirming confirmation that I’m alive, that life is exciting, and that if I can use that passion in a writing project then that’s exactly what I need to be doing with my life. The director and cast of the first movie posted a Zoom chat on their Facebook page this week and hearing their behind the scenes recollections and discussions about how the movie unfolded through improv and B-roll resonated with me. It made me want to run straight to my laptop and pick up The Suffering again. Because my characters are my cast, and when they run off with their own little camera in my mind and do their own thing, I watch it happen and hope I can type fast enough to keep up. When I’m passionate about the story I’m writing, it feels just like I’m watching a Found Footage movie. And that’s when I get that little horror-induced, chest firework, life-affirming buzz that I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing with my life.
If you haven’t got a clue what I mean by Found Footage, dive right in to Amazon Prime and run it through the search. Hell House LLC is on there, as is Survive the Hollow Shoals, which has jump-scares for days and literally made me throw my phone across the room when I was watching it while wearing headphones. Getting me to jump is no mean feat, I can tell you, so props to Jonathon Klimek for that one.
In other news, we were supposed to be at the Hella Mega Tour this week, watching Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer performing in the sunshine. I was pretty disappointed that it has obviously been cancelled because of the pandemic, even though drinking in the garden listening to their most recent live performances wasn’t the worst way to spend a day. Plus, I found out that Dark Peninsula Press had released Negative Space, featuring my survival horror short Six Weeks, which definitely cheered me up. Working on that project has been a joy from start to finish, and I really hope the publication is a huge success. You can check out the link in my publications list here.
Anyway, my characters are calling from the shaky, grainy recesses of my brain. I’d better go see what they’re up to…