Faithful Frighteners: Leeman Kessler

Faithful Frighteners is a series of interviews with persons of faith in the horror and weird fiction scenes.

Leeman Kessler is a Nigerian-born American actor who, since 2010, has been depicting H.P. Lovecraft on stage and online as part of his popular web-series, Ask Lovecraft. He is a co-host on the horror podcast Miskatonic Musings as well as the Christian/Pop-Culture podcast Geekually Yoked. He is a missionary kid married to an Episcopal priest and spends most of his day chasing after his daughter Amanda. His short fiction has appeared in Resonator, Cthulhu Lies Dreaming, and Weirdbook #32.


JR: How, when, and why did you get into horror culture (film, literature, video games, etc)?

jm1.18.15-5LK: I was a Blockbuster junkie in high school and even wound up working there over many summer and winter breaks during undergrad. The horror section was one I returned to again and again. I loved the cheese and the ridiculousness and the sense that those movies were getting away with something. I was more a fan of the comic supernatural series like Leprechaun or Child’s Play or Night of the Demons than slashers or suspense horror.

Faithful Frighteners: Daniel Mills

Faithful Frighteners is a series of interviews with persons of faith in the horror and weird fiction scenes.

Daniel Mills (http://www.daniel-mills.net) is the author of Revenants (Chomu Press, 2011), The Lord Came at Twilight (Dark Renaissance Books, 2014), The Account of David Stonehouse, Exile (Dim Shores, 2016), and the forthcoming Moriah (ChiZine Publications, 2017).

 

JR: How, when, and why did you get into horror culture (film, literature, video games, etc)?

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Daniel Mills

DM: It’s difficult to pinpoint a “when” or a “how” since as far as I can remember I have always had an interest in horror. I can recall being four years old and watching Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People then repeatedly rewinding/re-watching the climactic scenes with the banshee and phantom coach. I was also deeply affected by Schwartz and Gammel’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology series and remember reading myself into a frenzy of terror night after night long after I was old enough to know better.

Faithful Frighteners: Tom Breen

Faithful Frighteners is a series of interviews with persons of faith in the horror and weird fiction scenes. You can read the first interview with Scott R. Jones here.

Tom Breen is the author of Orford Parish Murder Houses: A Visitor’s Guide and co-author of Old Gory: Two Tales of Flag Horror. He also co-manages Orford Parish Books, which “specializes in the unsettling, the weird, the subtly troubling. Short fiction, illustrated books for strange children, themed chapbooks, [and] fake newspapers[.]”

JR: How, when, and why did you get into horror culture (film, literature, video games, etc)?

Tom BreenTB: When I was a kid, I was fascinated by collections of ghost stories, books about “real life” hauntings, and horror movies. This lasted until 6th grade, when I was 11 or 12, and my teacher decided all of these things, plus Dungeons & Dragons, were making me a danger to myself and others. Well, it was a different time (the 1980s, to be specific).

So I had to make weekly visits to the school psychologist, and any interest in the macabre was pretty much therapy’d out of me by the helping professions. This lasted until I was in college. For reasons that are now obscure to me, I started reading H.P. Lovecraft, an author my father liked. That was really it, though; I still had an aversion, bred by that early adolescent experience, to anything horror-related. I remember being 23 years old and driving to Chicago with friends, and being legitimately worried about reading a Ramsey Campbell book I had brought with me. I don’t know what I was worried about, I just had some deep, weird anxiety about plunging into this (literally, when I was younger) forbidden world.

Faithful Frighteners: Scott R. Jones

Faithful Frighteners is a series of interviews with persons of faith in the horror and weird fiction scenes.

Scott R. Jones is owner and project editor of Martian Migraine Press, a  transgressive weird small press out of Canada. His latest anthology, Cthulhusattva: Tales of the Black Gnosis is available now.

 

JR: How, when, and why did you get into horror culture (film, literature, video games, etc)?

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Scott R. Jones

SRJ: If we’re going to go all the way back to the moment I became aware of horror, I would have to relate the moment in grade school when a classmate brought in the comics adaptation of the Creepshow anthology film. Something about the artwork (I think it was a predominantly Bernie Wrightson effort, wasn’t it?); I still vividly recall the revulsion I felt at the depiction of strands of saliva stretching between the teeth and lips of screaming victims. “Father’s Day,” and that one where the murderer buries his victims up to their necks at the shore before the tide comes in. The effect on me was deep; so troubling that when I heard Stephen King’s name mentioned on the radio weeks later, I burst into tears. But, y’know, I was ten.

I’m guessing it wasn’t until my early twenties that I got into horror fiction. I consider myself fortunate that my first adult exposure was to Ramsey Campbell (his Cold Print was a revelation), and from him I moved on into the other weird authors (Lovecraft et al.), many of which fared badly in comparison to Campbell.

The politics of horror (and the horror of politics): An interview with Jason V Brock

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Jason and his wife Sunni.

It was a pleasure to meet you at World Horror Con. The convention was a bit… Sparsely attended, so I enjoyed our conversations. What was your experience?

Jason V Brock: It was awesome meeting you and your wife as well! I was on about eight panels, so it’s all a bit of a blur now. In addition, we attended StokerCon in Las Vegas two weeks later, which was fun. But I must observe that the attendance to both cons was a little on the low side, likely due to the two of them being so closely scheduled.

I’d say that World Horror was better organized, whereas StokerCon was more of a party. Both have their advantages and drawbacks.

What were some other positives about this year’s convention, despite its lack of attendees?

Brock: The best part is hanging out with people, of course. It was great to talk more with old friends such as Jack Ketchum, Michael Bailey, the Collings family, Bailey Hunter, Kevin J. Anderson, Linda Addison, Jeff Strand, and so on. It also affords a chance to make new friends—such as you guys, Darren Shan, and the fine folks working the convention—especially when there are not so many things going on at once, as there was in Vegas, which was a bit jammed with activity. All the panels that I saw at WHC were very good, too.

Another thing I didn’t appreciate until Vegas was how clean the air was in Utah! HAHAHAH! Vegas was just dreadful with the smoking in the casino.

Horror as the world in crisis we live in now: An interview with Timothy J. Jarvis

Timothy J. Jarvis is a scholar and self-described (if somewhat reluctant) “antic-fiction” writer, whose work has appeared in Caledonia Dreamin’: Strange Fiction of Scottish Descent, Pandemonium: Ash, 3:AM Magazine, New Writing 13, Prospect Magazine, and Leviathan 4: Cities. His writes criticism for WeirdFictionReview.com and Civilian Global. His novel The Wanderer was released by Perfect Edge Books in 2014.

What’s “Antic Fiction”? Why did you choose that term to describe your work?

I’m fairly ambivalent about genre designations. Part of me is suspicious, both of the taxonomical impulse that lies behind their creation and of their use as marketing labels. I think the best writing will always be hybrid, difficult to categorize, and display an irreverence towards established tropes. But on the other hand, in my main job as an academic and university lecturer, I think genre is an important tool for understanding and teaching how literature works, and why it takes the forms it does. I’ve also always liked those scenes in contemporary music that define their own, abstruse, sometimes ridiculous, genres as a way of expressing their difference from other forms, and as a kind of game. Further, I reckon that thinking in terms of genre can help when attempting to transgress certain ways of writing.

I believe horror is a mode that particularly enables transgression, of all kinds (not just the obvious transgressions of the body or of tastes seen in certain subgenres like splatterpunk and bizarro). Horror occurs in an instant, at a frontier, a border, a limit, and lives in interstices. It is sudden, violent, unsettling. It is the disruption of a situation we thought stable or safe, the shifting of the ground beneath our feet. Therefore I think of it as a genre as a way of crossing borders, rather than as a static thing.