Author Stephen Graham Jones wants you, fiends and friends, to last the eventide onslaught of a serial killer. I mean, the dead don’t cipher stories – usually – and Jones has a gorgeously grisly stack of terror texts for your reading regard. They’re dark books by a writer who has typed his keyboard bloody before. Jones’ll set your guts quaking and fingers shaking as you fast-flip pages, because he’s the type of inkslinger who used to line his workspace with knives so he wouldn’t ever use hard-won writing time for much-needed sleep.
DGO likes to think we’d endure zombies and critters and creatures and killers, but honestly, we’d be a shitshow in a survival horror situation. We’ve also realized our bookshelves are a hell-dash empty. As such, we pecked Jones’ brain on murdering art fears, how to survive a horror movie moment, and what books to read the morning you’re safe, but everyone you know is probably dead.
What killer do you hope comes to your door because you might actually beat them? Probably Ghostface. Ghostface is always a person in a mask. What they have is surprise, but they can be taken out by refrigerator doors and weapons.
I don’t think I’d have a chance against too many other types. A Jason or a Freddy? I don’t think I’d stand a chance.
What song would soundtrack the gorefest? Probably Meatloaf, “Bat Out of Hell.” I think that’d help me survive. It’s got the long tracks, you know? It’s very hopeful, I think.
A buncha crazy co-eds go celebrate Halloween in the woods. What unusual survival tip do you give them? I mean, there’s all the rules, like – don’t split up, don’t do drugs, don’t have sex, or you get killed. But, I don’t know if that’s helpful.
I think my tip would be to hide. Nobody ever just crawls into a cabinet in the kitchen and stays there for the duration. I don’t think most killers think after coming into a kitchen with their chainsaw or machete, ‘I better look in that cabinet over there.’ I think if you hide in the itty-bitty place that you shouldn’t really fit, you’d have a better chance of surviving the night.
Definitely not the closet or pantry though. No. Definitely not. Not under the bed either.
Devil’s advocate: what about a tip for the monster? (Beside look in the tiny cabinet.)I would tell the monster trying to dispatch these people to wait until it’s about three in the morning. When you come in at eleven at night, they’re all awake and having a good time, but things are starting to wind down at two or three. People are pairing off, they have too much alcohol in them, they’re getting tired – I think it would be easier.
Is there a fear you haven’t dealt with on the page yet? If there is, I can’t think of it. Every time I identify something I haven’t done, I try to make myself do it.
I am afraid that if I stay in the safe area then I’m going to write safe horror. The horror writers I admire go into the dark places. Every time I sense one of those, I go that direction.
Is there a horror read you visit every autumn?I actually try to read “The Long Halloween” every October. The comic book. Twelve issues.
What book of yours should someone read in October?Probably “After the People Lights Have Gone Off.” It’s got a Halloween story or two in it.
What about for-sure fab horror reads you’d rec?I think everybody should read Sara Gran’s “Come Closer.” It’s a demonic possession novel from about the mid-2000s. That book came before “Paranormal Activity,” and when I saw “Paranormal Activity,” I thought it was an adaptation of Sara’s book, but turns out it wasn’t.
I would also recommend Gemma Files’ “Experimental Film.” That’s a really, really good novel. And, probably one of my favorite horror novels to come out in years, was Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.”
Back to that murder-party...when the killer arrives, what should someone do to immediately maximize personal survival?Running never helps, it just gets you isolated. Continuing together with others is probably the best short-term save, as the weapons these slashers use usually are a one-at-a-time kind of thing.
What weapon(s) should folks hope to find in the house?Fireplace pokers, baseball bats, the old hairspray-plus-lighter trick. Even coat hangers work, right?
What weapon(s) should someone avoid because it/they never actually kill the killer?Avoid guns. They never work against slashers or vampires or werewolves. All they do, really, is establish that it’s going to take something different and smarter to survive this night.
And, finally, any tips for the final survivor when talking to the cops who only show up when everyone’s dead?None of the forensic evidence is really going to clear you. Best bet? Convince the police you had no motivation. Don’t try to use your injuries as proof, though. That just tells them you’re Billy and Stu.