Simon J. Ballard
Hi, I’m Simon. I seem to have spent most of my life surrounded by horror, of the fictional kind I am glad to say. From early childhood memories scared at the sight of Worzel Gummidge changing his heads to being terrified of the Wheelers in Return to Oz. In 1991, aged 12, I saw Taste the Blood of Dracula and thirty years later here I am writing for We Belong Dead on various forms of horror including a piece on that very film amongst fifteen others in ‘A Pictorial History of Hammer Horror’!
Even at school I couldn’t get away from the genre when, during an English class, we got to watch Psycho before writing an essay on its various themes. As a natural hoarder, I kept hold of my notes, which proved handy twenty-eight years later when writing about the Psycho films for the magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to read the scribbles of my 14-year-old self and think, “Hmm, not bad, I’ll use that!”
That was pretty much all the formal training I had other than a love of short story writing before joining the WBD team proper in 2020. I’d had a short ‘Fan Memory’ published in the Peter Cushing Special back in 2017, but ‘Spotlight on Horror’ proved to be my debut proper with pieces on The Brides of Dracula and Twins of Evil. Since then, I have contributed just over sixty pieces for the magazine and various book releases both published and yet to come.
I am lucky in that the job I have allows for quiet periods wherein I am able to make copious notes from my Mind Palace – although Jumbled Loft-Space would be more accurate – before assembling them into a form that is hopefully coherent and enjoyable. I am a huge geek at heart with a love of the genre, and I hope that is reflected in my writing.
As to what that job is, I am Custodian of the Saxon Tower in Oxford, which is a pretentious way of saying I allow visitors to climb the Tower which is situated next to the City Church. The Vicar thinks its hilarious I often go to work dressed in a Christopher Lee t-shirt, and read Stephen King, James Herbert and Guy N. Smith when I think no one is looking.
I have also had stories published in The Fourth and Fifth BHF Books of Horror Stories, which gave me the opportunity to provide prequels for both Lord Courtley and Johnny Alucard, as well as exposing just how psycho-sexual my mind was able to wonder into.
Although Hammer films will always be my first love, I have a keen interest in all things horror. Favourite horror movies include The Bride of Frankenstein, Night of the Demon, Les Yeux Sans Visage, Dracula (1958), The House That Dripped Blood, Death Line, The Satanic Rites of Dracula (oh yes!), The Wicker Man, Suspiria, and Midsommar. This list is constantly changing, however.
I am 42, and yet I have no idea what the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything (Oxford comma) is. I’m just having enormous fun!
Andrew M. Bark
Oh, the joys of youth; endless summers, dad playing monsters at birthday parties to the terrified delight of all the kids, bike rides, building dens, comics, trainspotting proper trains on the Woodhead line, grandma’s house for tea on Saturdays, John Pertwee as Dr Who (I was born 3 days before the Timelord began his adventures in ’63). The ELO and The Stranglers (still my favourite bands) providing the soundtrack and finding old copies of Club International in a local wood. Horror Double Bills on the BBC. Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, my first tentative toe dipped into terror. My first true love.
‘…tonight, on Yorkshire TV, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in Dracula AD1972‘ Colour and blood! Followed by Twins of Evil and Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde! Colour, blood, and naughty bits! How fast the rot set in. I discovered the sacred books of Gifford and Frank, House of Hammer magazine and the horror of Herbert, King and Campbell and making super 8 zombie epics. An all-night of horror in Sheffield with Ken Russell’s The Devils and Dario Argento’s Suspiria inspiring me to one day make my own film. The joy of catching Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari on the big screen. Struggling through deep moonlit snowdrifts to watch a Lucio Fulci double at my local cinema. I attended the legendary Hammer International Conventions, making lifelong friends. I even met Argento, photographing the director for an interview. But for years I harboured a dark secret. As a child, holidaying on the East Coast, at the fishing village of Staithes, just up the coast from where Dracula arrived at Whitby, one stormy night, creeping down the many twisting dark passageways and watching a boat out at sea, I began to tell myself a story. At film school and working at the BBC, whilst cutting the film Caruncula, the story became a script. Incredibly during my trip to Siberia that script became reality with talk of budgets, locations and even helicopters! Against all the odds, the following summer in the troubled land of Ukraine at the famous Odessa film studios, the gothic horror film Dark Waters was created.
Back in England and broke I found work as a care worker, continued writing stories and novels. I spent many a happy summer back in Ukraine before marrying my dear Iryna and playing monsters with my new nieces, nephews and village kids. A nomad no more I finally settled in Manchester. Many cats have come into my funny old life, tolerating me for a tin of Whiskers. After years away I finally returned to the bosom of the Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester, a place of strangely like-minded souls. I can now reveal that we were cloned by Eric (and probably Oliver Reed) in the sixties to become a brood of middle-aged fantasy film fanatics, tirelessly writing books and magazines.
And it sure is fun.
We Belong Dead and so say all of us!
I made my first appearance on 28th October 1968, just ahead of Halloween (a date which would have indubitably been more fitting for me to be born on), in Motherwell, Scotland, a place I’ve lived all my Life. I’ve always had my sights set on the States for working and living, but, for various reasons, that’s not happened. Not yet, anyway…
At school, I was well known for my love of Cinema (notorious for my passion for Horror films in particular) and I told my Guidance teacher that, once I had left school, I wanted to go into either Acting or Film Directing. That was poo-pooed as “no-one from Motherwell would ever make it in that despicable business.” So much for encouraging ambition in that era!
After leaving school, I “fell into” Pensions Administration, a job I actually managed to remain in for a staggering 18 years!! In 2005, I decided to call it a day and fulfil one lifelong ambition and study Acting & Performance at my local college. In 2007, I left college after qualifying as a professional actor. I have appeared in several local stage plays and worked in Television to some capacity, all in minor, but still wonderfully fun, roles. My main job these days is a Library Assistant in Motherwell and, although it isn’t really what I would desperately love to be doing, I’m grateful for the position in these cash-strapped, austere times.
I’m still a single guy at 52 years of age, and when I’m not at work, I’m either socialising, eBaying, writing reviews for the marvellous publications or watching and wowing to the gems of the greatest Film genre ever!
Darrell co-edits the popular series of ‘We Belong Dead’ books alongside Eric, and has also been a regular contributor to the magazine, both in its original 1990s stapled/cut-and-paste incarnation and in the glossy full-colour version you know and love.
He is a regular member of the ‘Cine-Lit’ podcast team at multi-arts venue QUAD in Derby, and has participated in podcast discussions on a wide variety of topics ranging from ‘crime films of the silent era’ to ‘the films of Kathleen Turner’. Darrell also lectures on a freelance basis at QUAD, and has taught classes and special day events on many subjects, from Alejandro Jodorowsky to Laurel & Hardy, from Euro horror to Punk movies. Between 2009 and 2019 Darrell was the familiar face fronting QUAD’s monthly ‘Fright Club’ presentations, delivering spoken introductions to selected classic, cult, or newly-released horror titles before cinema audiences.
Darrell is also an experienced interviewer at film festivals and special events, and has hosted onstage Q&A sessions with dozens of big names (Dario Argento, Toyah Willcox, Mike Figgis, Jack O’Connell, Edith Scob, Robin Askwith, Sid Haig, Lamberto Bava, Kane Hodder, Ruggero Deodato, Dee Wallace, and countless others).
From 2020 Darrell has been the editor of the revived ‘BHF Book of Horror Stories’ series, collecting together and publishing fiction by a variety of contributing authors, and setting himself up as a sort of ‘Herbert van Thal for the 21st century’.
Darrell has been nominated several times for Rondo awards, and was a nominee in the ‘best non-fiction’ category at the controversial British Fantasy Society awards ceremony of 2011. He was presented with the SOFFIA (Society of Fantastic Films International Award) in Manchester in 2017, in acknowledgement of his lifetime contribution to the world of horror and fantasy.
Darrell has been described as “a great presenter” by Corey Feldman (Gremlins, Stand by Me) and as a “genre genius” by Allan Bryce (editor of ‘The Dark Side’ magazine). Writer and critic M.J. Simpson said of Darrell: “a better authority on British horror film you’ll be hard-pressed to find”.
A keen filmgoer for over fifty years, Darrell saw the likes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, On the Buses (his first encounter with Hammer!), Jaws, and the 1976 King Kong, on their original cinema releases, and continues to this day to visit cinemas several times per week.
He has been writing about horror, fantasy, and science fiction movies since the 1980s, and published six issues of ‘The Imagination Explosion’ during the UK fanzine boom of that era. Darrell temporarily abandoned plans to direct a documentary about British fanzines, when he caught coronavirus on the morning of the first day’s intended filming in March 2020.
Darrell has written for many publications including ‘Samhain’, ‘Shivers’, ‘The Dark Side’, ‘Infinity’, ‘Giallo Pages’, ‘Fantasynopsis’, ‘From Beyond’, ‘Shindig’, ‘Creeping Flesh vol. 1’, and ‘Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems’. His own books have included ‘The Shrieking Sixties: British Horror Films 1960-1969’, ‘Chopped Meat: British Horror of the 1970s’, ‘Dead or Alive: British Horror Films 1980-1989’, and ‘Short Sharp Shocks’, the first print study on the subject of ‘supporting short’ British horror and fantasy movies.
Alongside writing partner Steve Hardy, Darrell penned the screenplay for the 2018 horror movie Ouijageist, and also contributed to the script for the notorious 5G Zombies (2020).
A committed trade unionist during his working life and beyond, Darrell has stood on freezing cold picket lines more often than you have watched The Brides of Dracula.
R Bruce Crelin
R. Bruce Crelin was born in Paterson, New Jersey, birthplace of Lou Costello, on August 26th, 1959, twenty-three days before Veronica Carlson’s fifteenth birthday. After his family made several moves, he ended up, at age 4, in a town in northeastern New Jersey called Wayne, where he grew up and lived until he went to college.
As a young child he was too afraid to watch horror movies, although he did dress up as devils and ghosts for Halloween. His cousin Bobby, however, was a true monster kid, who initiated him into the world of Universal horror. The first horror movie he remembers having seen was the Castle Films digest of The Creature Walks Among Us, projected and narrated by his Uncle Ed, Bobby’s father. He saw Beneath the Planet of the Apes at age 10 at a drive-in theater in northern New Jersey, with his parents and his little sister, Kim.
He teamed up with his then best friend, Tim, reading Denis Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies. In those pre-home video days (not even Beta or VHS existed yet!), he and Tim scanned the T.V. listings each week, watching Kaiju films on “The 4:30 Movie” and staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights to watch Universals and Hammers. Inspired by Gifford, he and Tim checked out Blackhawk Films Super 8 prints of Nosferatu, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and other silent classics from the town library. As a seventh grade English project, along with Tim and several other buddies, he helped make an 8mm version of Joseph Payne Brennan’s short story, “Slime” – Bruce played Henry Hossing, a hobo who gets eaten by the Slime. He and Tim then each obtained Super 8 cameras and embarked on a career making science fiction, horror, and comedy films. He remembers seeing Tales From the Crypt in the cinema at around age 13.
Still a monster fan, if no longer a Monster Kid, he lives in northwestern New Jersey with his wife, Allison, their Boston Terrier, Brie, their Border Terrier, Chubby, their cat, Lewis, and his extensive collection of Blu-Rays, DVDs, and books, while pretending to be a responsible member of society. His lifelong ambition is to play Elisha Cook, Jr.’s role as Sam, the morgue attendant, if anyone ever decides to do a remake of Blacula.
I was born in 1982 which makes me one of the babies of the team, being too young to have experienced such delights as the BBC horror double bills, etc. However, thanks to growing up in a household where a movie was always playing in the background (and sometimes the foreground), I came to develop a love for films old and new, in any language or genre, which is still with me to this day.
I hail from Leeds and grew up in the Bramley area of the city. One of my earliest jobs was working in a cinema (which I absolutely adored) which further fuelled my love of all things cinematic. After that, I enjoyed a stint at the Yorkshire Post followed by an admin position at a West Yorkshire high school. For the past nine years, I have run my own clothing business in the pretty rural market town of Hebden Bridge.
I have three children: Ellie, Anya and Felix and am married to Jonathon Dabell who is also part of the WBD team. I live in Todmorden on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, surrounded by lovely scenery, hills, woods and more than a few eccentric people!
I am the co-author of More Than a Psycho: The Complete Films of Anthony Perkins and Ultimate Warrior: The Complete Films of Yul Brynner (buy them now on your local Amazon!) I have also contributed to various fanzines and publications, such as Cinema Retro, Space Monsters, Monster! , Weng’s Chop and We Belong Dead. I am the joint editor and designer of my own magazine Cinema of the ’70s, which, as the title indicates, concentrates on films from the 1970s. More books are in the pipeline and a magazine focusing on ’80s movies is imminent.
I am a huge fan of classic horror. Picking a favourite is hard, but I think Blood and Roses (1960) and The Devils (1971) vie for the top spot of the ones I’ve seen.
After absorbing radioactive ink through his fingers from reading a contaminated copy of Denis Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies, in the Christmas of 1973, young Martin Dallard found that he had developed an unquenchable taste for all things spooky. From that moment on, as soon as the sun sank in the west to be replaced by a bloated harvest moon, Martin became the Malevolent Monster-Kid!
As you can tell, I’m also a comic book nut too, but my primary passion is horror films, specifically from the Universal and Hammer stables. And I can actually pinpoint the exact moment I was bitten by the bug. During the Easter of 1971 I was involved in a bad road accident; the end result was me spending two months in plaster in Worcester Royal Infirmary. One Sunday afternoon after visiting time and all the parents had departed; the ward sister came in and asked if we wanted the telly on.
We had a choice of what to see, and had to vote on it. On one channel was The Dambusters; while on the other was King Kong. Being seven years of age, I’d never heard of Kong, so I voted for the classic war film. Dambusters won, so the nurse clicked on the clunky black and white monstrosity, and lo and behold, the channel showing Kong was on, for all of about ten seconds before being switched over to the other channel.
But I’d seen enough to hook me. King Kong was breaking down the gates of a huge wall, and all were fleeing before him!
Many of us bedridden kids begged for Kong to be left on, but the sister said no and swept out of the ward. My folks visited me that evening, and Dad told me all about King Kong. Not long after I left hospital but still couldn’t walk huge distances, so I had to be pushed in a wheelchair everywhere. Mum took me shopping and we went into Woolworths for something, and that was the second time I encountered King Kong! On the shelves in the toy section were the glow-in-the-dark Aurora monster model kits!
On that day, not only did I meet Kong, but also Dracula and The Wolf Man and The Mummy, and from that moment I never looked back. I was a huge fan of Marvel comics, especially The Amazing Spider-Man, and when the British black and white reprints brought out the weekly Dracula Lives, they were combining my two favourite things, and I was in seventh heaven.
Right through to adulthood, I’ve always had a hankering for the unquiet coffin, and things came full circle for me when WBD editor Eric McNaughton invited me to write an article for his book 70’s Monster Memories. The article was to be about, of all things, Dracula Lives!
Funny how things like that work out isn’t it?
And thanks to Eric I’ve been writing about my passion ever since, primarily for the WBD crew, of which I’m proud to call myself a member.
I was born in Rome in July 1964, I have always been attracted to cinema since I was a child and my favorite movie genres have always been Crime, SF and Horror. My first crime film that I saw and of which I remember was a transposition made by the Italian television of Hound of Baskerville in 1968 and whose interpreter was the Italian actor Nando Gazzolo. The peculiarity of that series was that it was shot in England and this made me immediately fall in love with England itself and that detective …
Love that lasts for both things to this day!!!
Since then my passion for cinema has ranged through various fields: collecting international advertising film material, original movie poster paintings and related, books, etc.
I started about 25 years ago to dedicate myself to the professional painting of figure model kits both dedicated to movies characters, comics and fantasy in general, both for international companies and collectors. In the meantime I have written several articles on these topics on many international magazines and I had the luck and the opportunity to be able to start collaborating in a stable and continuous way with We Belong Dead.
What else to say: I love traveling, reading detective and horror classic books, comics, good food, good company, Arts in general (Mainly paintings and illustrations), Nature and meet new interesting people…If you wish you can see my Facebook page, to get a more precise idea of my interests…
A big hug,
Dean M Drinkel
Ambitious, Dean M Drinkel is a published author, editor, award winning script-writer and film director and was Associate Editor of FEAR Magazine. He has contributed several articles to various publications and in 2018 established the horror press Demain Publishing (over 100 books published to date!).
He has been invited / selected to attend The Script Factory’s Scene Insiders programme (2005), two BFI project labs (2019 – writing & producing), two Storyfutures (immersive technology) labs as well as in December 2020, a Sundance Institute programme in TV writing (ran early 2021).
Also in 2020, one of Dean’s spec TV scripts reached the top 4% of submissions for the BBC Writer’s Academy and he joined the board of a Scottish based TV & Film production company as well as becoming an active member of both the WGGB’s Film & TV committees. In February 2021 BBC Radio Kent broadcast his short story The Tale Eaters (with Michael Chance, Keith Drinkel and Carolyn Seymour) and his story Weird was broadcast as a Cyro Pod Tape (Episode 5) in May.
Dean has over fifty credits to his name in the field of genre writing (including short stories, collections, novellas, anthologies); has written and directed fifteen theatrical plays in London and the South East of England and during the years 2002 – 2008, he wrote and directed several short experimental films.
Dean moved to Cannes, France in 2016 to write a feature film script with Romain Collier – The Tragedy Of The Duke of Reichstadt (about the son of Napoleon). This subsequently won two screenplay awards (Best Historical Drama / Best Independent Spirit) at the Monaco International Film Festival and is now in active development with producers from Austria and France.
In 2017 Dean returned to directing with the short film 15 for Midas Light Films (screened at the Solaris Festival in Nice, the Med. Film Festival and the Malta International Film Festival amongst others) which in November 2018 was awarded Best European Film at Malta. In 2019 Dean was 1st AD on the horror / comedy Dracula On Holiday. In 2021 he directed the feature film The Good Wife for Fourstreete Productions (currently in post). He is also line producer on the upcoming feature film The Island Of Wonder And Despair (2022 – HOTS Productions).
Dean is slated to direct several feature films including Werewolf On A Plane (also writer) for Pink Flamingo Films. Currently Dean also has a number of film (Hamilton for Lionstar as an example) and TV projects (Season In Hell with the Rimbaud / Verlaine Foundation) in development.
Dean has won five awards for his script-writing, one for directing and was runner-up for the 2001 Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award (International Emmys) with his teleplay Ghosts.
Paul Goodhead has been in showbusiness for nearly 40 years. Some know him to be an all-round cabaret entertainer who has starred in his own shows all over the UK, hosted countless award evenings and after-dinner speeches, as well as occasionally popping up on television and radio shows. But there is also another side to Mr Goodhead. He is also a published author and historian of film and stage entertainment. His knowledge has given him another career as a writer and regular contributor with vintage film channel Talking Pictures TV and Eric McNaughton’s ‘We Belong Dead’ publications. He is also an accomplished filmmaker and editor, with over 25 short ‘Murder Mystery’ short films under his belt. Despite his talents and achievements, he always finds time for one thing however… his great love of vintage horror films.
Paul Roy Goodhead was born on 4 November 1964 to proud parents. His early childhood was spent with his grandmother, Doris Collins, as his parents lived with Doris until they could afford a home of their own. It was Nanny Collins who introduced him to entertainment of all kinds, helping to mould him into the man he has become today. She introduced him to the worlds of stage, film, music and radio, which Paul grasped with great interest.
By the time he was 16, Paul was already playing in social clubs and cabaret rooms, earning money to fund his growing interest in all things entertainment, but specifically horror films. Conventions were still in their infancy back then, so books, such as Alan G Franks’ Horror Movies and A Pictorial History of Horror Movies by Denis Gifford, were bought and read over and over until they eventually just fell apart. Television helped expand his interest with late-night classics, but what was the first film he saw?
“The first horror film I ever watched was The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr. I was both fascinated and scared at the same time. In fact, at the end of the film, I left the lights on and ran up to bed, much to my mother’s annoyance. After that I became hooked on the horror films of Universal and later Hammer. My uncle, John Dark was also responsible for some horror pictures with Amicus, which would help to feed my great interest in the genre. I count myself lucky to have seen some of these films at the cinema, which is a different experience altogether, but sadly those days of an audience reaction to films in a cinema seems to have passed us by.”
Over the years Paul has met and worked with some legends of entertainment – Dame Joan Collins, Petula Clark, Anthony Newley, Dorothy Squires and Danny La Rue – to name but a few. But who was he most delighted to meet?
“I would have to say, that meeting the great Peter Cushing on set at Pinewood Studios was just simply wonderful. It was in the days before phones, so the selfie photo was something of the future. It was the autograph that was king back then. I was like a cat who got the cream when Peter signed my book. In recent years I had it framed with a wonderful picture of him and is proudly displayed on my office wall.”
Brian GregoryI’m originally from North Harrow in North West London, but now reside in Hove. My love of horror cinema developed from two main sources: My mum taping Hammer films off late night television- for my sister and I to eagerly lap up- and a slightly older boy who lived in our street, named Jason (not Voorhees). He would happily terrify me with films such as: The Omen 3, Scanners and American Werewolf when I was at the very impressionable age of 11. Thanks, Jason!My passion for horror (and science fiction) cinema only grew in the subsequent years, eventually resulting in me writing for Richard Gladman’s Space Monsters Magazine, several movie websites and then various WBD publications. I also contribute to Dawn and Jonathon Dabell’s Cinema of the 70’s and the BHF series of horror short stories. I’ve a love for music and scored a couple of indie shorts, along with a BBC documentary, before moving behind the camera to direct the video for my old band’s vinyl only single- Guitars Kill Cowell (by The Now UK -2007 Serling Records). This experience (and the appearance of affordable digital cameras) led me to want to create my own films. So, in 2013, I began making my own horror/sci-fi short flicks for Gregory Films and am now in the process of editing my first horror feature film, filmed on the Isle of Wight between various lockdowns. Outside of horror projects, I work as an English tutor. Ten of my favourite horror movies would be something like: Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1956), Repulsion (1965), The Cremator (1968), The Omen (1976), The Medusa Touch (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), The Mist (2007), Lake Mungo (2008) and The Borderlands (2013) Website: www.gregoryfilms.co.uk
John Harrison is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia, who has written extensively for such film-related publications as Fatal Visions, Cult Movies, Is it Uncut?, Filmink, The Headpress Journal, Monster!, Weng’s Chop, Cinema of the 70s, and many others, including of course, We Belong Dead. As well as penning catalogue reviews and liner notes for a number of DVD and VHS releases from Something Weird Video, he has also composed the booklet essays for the Australian Blu-ray releases of Thirst, Dead Kids, and The Survivor, for Glass Doll Films, and contributed audio commentaries for several Kino Lorber Blu-ray releases, including Song of Norway, In Search of Dracula, and Zoltan – Hound of Dracula.
Harrison has also appeared regularly on film-related radio and television shows such as Film Buff’s Forecast and Video in Focus, and has provided live on-stage introductions for various screenings put on by the Cinemaniacs film society in Melbourne, including The Warriors, Flash Gordon, Bloodsucking Freaks, Bless the Beasts and Children, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 2011, his first full-length book, Hip Pocket Sleaze: The Lurid World of Vintage Adult Paperbacks, was published by Headpress. Harrison’s most recent book, Wildcat! The Films of Marjoe Gortner, an examination of the film and television career of the notorious one-time child evangelist, was published by Bear Manor in 2020. He has also self-published several books, including Blood on the Windscreen (which looked at the gory driver’s education films of the 1950s-70s), and Reel Wild Cinema!, a compendium of the fanzine which Harrison published in the nineties.
Apart from his keen interest in cult, horror, and exploitation cinema, which was instilled in him from an early age, Harrison also enjoys reading (mostly bios, pre-code horror comics, and true crime), exploring old amusement parks, music (everything from the Shangri-Las and The Monkees to KISS and The Cramps), adding to his various collections of pop culture ephemera, and anything vintage Vegas.
Harrison’s Rondo nominated blog can be found at: www. john-harrison.blogspot.com
Born in SE Texas during the height of the Monster Kid craze in the early 1960s, with a Mom devoted to visiting cemeteries for genealogy, I was destined for a love of monsters and horror. I was four when my family moved to Flint, Michigan, and Mom let me stay up all hours to watch Universal and Hammer horrors. Local TV horror hosts Sir Graves Ghastly and The Ghoul made sure there were plenty available on Saturday afternoons and late at night. Mom was kind enough (and likely amused) to stand outside the bathroom during commercial breaks and walk me from the TV to my bedroom after the movies were done so the monsters wouldn’t get me. Bullied in school but joyfully an introvert, I buried myself in Aurora model kits, Doc Savage paperbacks, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines, and H. P. Lovecraft stories. I kept scrapbooks of TV listings for monster movies, newspaper advertisements, trading cards, and pictures I cut from magazines. The mummy Kharis was my favorite: slow but inexorable in his duty to strangle unbelievers. I quickly learned that 791.435 was the Dewey Decimal section for movies, and started collecting books myself. The library continues to grow today, with horror and ghost stories predominant.
Hallowe’en season was (and still is) my favorite time of year; the house is decorated with bats, skeletons, Ben Cooper masks, zombies, and monsters of all sorts – these go up on the day I first see any color change in the leaves on the maple tree, usually late August. My wife and I decorate the garage for the trick or treaters and dress up by theme each year (the Addams Family was a big hit).
Growing up during the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot mania of the 1970s, I was fascinated by cryptozoology and remain a hopeful skeptic for all things undiscovered. Always a nature nut, especially for insects and freshwater ecology, I received a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Michigan State University, minoring in chemistry and physics. Nature walks are a passion, but if there’s a lot of critters about it might take a while to do a mile because I’ll have the camera out. I still do the occasional 5k, although the body protests more as the years pile up.
Happily married with three adult daughters, three grandsons, a dog and three cats, I live just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan, a liberal atheist in the most conservative part of the State. I’m minutes from Lake Michigan and several superb parks, so that’s a fair trade-off. I’ve worked for two county health departments and done restaurant inspections for 31 years (after 5 years of teaching science) and will be retiring for the second (and final) time in just over a year. Retirement plans include everything listed above but with five more days a week available – growing older is inevitable, but growing up is completely optional. There’s a thrill when I have an article in an issue of We Belong Dead magazine or book and place it on the bookshelf next to Denis Gifford’s ‘Pictorial History of Horror Movies’ or Alan G. Frank’s ‘Horror Movies.’ I like to think there’s also a copy on a library shelf for an introspective nine-year-old to borrow and become lost in a world of monsters and horror.
*Obsessed with film since 1982
Loving the Alien
Can you remember where your obsession with movies began? For me, it started when I was six years old. Two events in December 1982, a week apart, defined what was to come. The second was the immersion in the vivid world of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. It was a starkly different experience from the first, a story of extraterrestrial trauma, of childhood tears. So many tears. You see, this alien wasn’t phoning home. Oh no, this one had a head that turned into a spider and there wasn’t a single schoolkid in sight saving E.T., just a bunch of snowbound blokes in beards and… The Thing onscreen… just kept… changing.
I’m kidding, of course. While I loved Spielberg’s second close encounter, I grew to prefer Carpenter’s gruesome shapeshifter because I’ve always been more attracted to monsters. Further exploration of Henson’s fantasy worlds lead me to even more of them through Labyrinth (with a man who fell to Earth) – a less terrifying but magical experience – that was also the perfect introduction to the ‘changes’ of David Bowie. By the time the ’90s arrived I was hunky dory for VHS stickers and movie lists, where I developed a healthy taste and wider appreciation of film.
Some things never change.
As a D&AD Award Winner – with a background in graphic design and illustration – since 2004, I have lectured and delivered degree-level courses within the creative arts and media, including: graphic design, illustration, film studies and journalism. My first novel, The Enemy’s Son (as James Johnson), was released in 2008, followed by a number of independent comics for various anthologies and collections. With a current focus on film, my credits include: Little White Lies, The Digital Fix, We Belong Dead, Diabolique, Shots, Network, Rue Morgue and Fangoria along with film commentary and accompanying essays for boutique labels, 101 Films and Second Sight Films. My Devil’s Advocates book on S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk is due out soon and Studying the Superhero Movie in 2022, both from Auteur Publishing and Liverpool University Press. As well as numerous film courses delivered via Broadway Cinema, you can currently listen to me over at the FILM & PODCAST and Mondo Moviehouse.
Top 10? These go to 11
Night of the Hunter (1955)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Thing (1982)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Jim Henson and Frank Oz
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
S. Craig Zahler
The Red Turtle (2016)
Michaël Dudok de Wit
*A seminal year for film from cult classics to blockbusters: Blade Runner, The Thing, Tron, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Flight of Dragons, First Blood, The Grey Fox, Poltergeist, Tootsie, Gandhi, Conan the Barbarian, The Plague Dogs…
… and Grease 2.
Steve has been a designer longer than he cares to remember and a movie fan even longer… he is able to bring together his love of cinema – especially horror and science fiction – with his passion for design.
He is lucky enough to be the designer for all the We Belong Dead magazine and book projects. Alongside that he gets to work on lots of exciting enterprises like the books from Wayne Kinsey at Peveril Publishing and others including Zulu – With Some Guts Behind It, Boris Karloff – More Than A Monster, The Battle For Bond and many more. He has also been responsible for the design work on hundreds of DVD sleeves plus is involved in the pre-mastering of many DVD and Blu Ray titles. Just to keep things busy he is a partner in a collectable trading cards company – www.unstoppablecards.com which releases many titles including UFO, Space 1999, Thunderbirds and Hammer Horror. They also produce limited edition, large format books like The Man Who fell to Earth and their recent The Avengers: The Honor Blackman Years.
His design work is through his company Tree Frog Communication at www.treefrogcommunication.co.uk – you never know one day he may get time to update his own website!
He has been known to put pen to paper and has had movie reviews featured in We Belong Dead, Dark Side and Infinity magazines and also online at the We Belong Dead blog Review Corner. In his spare time he likes nothing more than… you guessed it… watching a film!
He has been a fan of all things movie since he was a teen (and quite likely before that) – of course it helped having an older brother to take him to X films from when he was 14 and also having a Mum who loved a good film on the tv. Earliest memory of visiting a picturehouse was to see The Wizard of Oz (presumably on a Sunday matinee) with an abiding vision of the wicked witch and her flying monkeys. Maybe that was the root of the love of horror?
He appreciates everything from Universal to Hammer through to modern productions and loves to attend FrightFest every year to catch the newest cinematic explorations into the darker side.
Born in 1962 in Jacksonville, Florida. I grew up there during the 60s and 70s.It was a great time to grow up as a monster kid and science fiction nut. My first memory of encountering anything in the world of Horror and Science Fiction cinema was I believe 1966 during an afternoon TV broadcast of the 50’s classic Invasion of the Saucermen. It absolutely terrified me and while giving me a bad case of Kindertrauma I was none the less fascinated by it. The scene of the horrible little alien being run over and then witnessing it’s severed hand (with an eyeball!) chasing teenagers around was beyond anything I could have imagined at the time. It would introduce me to the world of monsters and a lifelong love of the fantastic.
My love for the genre directly led to my other interests and would even eventually influence my career choices. I think most significantly was seeing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968. I developed an interest in computers and technology early on. I was an avid reader of Famous Monsters, Cinefantastique. Around the age of 12 , I even started making my own super 8 movies with the neighborhood kids. One I remember well was The Sleeping Bag Attacks! The story of piece of camping gear possessed by an evil spirit that goes on a rampage devouring people.
I have been working with Computers since about 1977 and have pretty much done it all in this field. It afforded me a chance to even work abroad and even live in Paris, France during the early 90’s. As luck would have it I would meet my wife Sophie there during a plane trip from Heathrow to De Gaulle! After getting married in Paris in 93. We moved to NYC living in Manhattan for over 15 years. We currently live in Ridgewood, NJ a suburb of NYC. I currently work for a private banking / investment firm as a Systems /Cybersecurity Risk Manager. I have 2 adult sons aged 23 and 21. My passions include model building, sculpting , electronics , video art /synthesis , Industrial /experimental/Post-Punk/ Electronic music. Huge fan of Kraftwerk, Front 242 and Sheffield based bands Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Heaven 17 and Clock DVA just to name a few. I have a decent collection of vintage synthesizers and other music hardware. Currently addicted to building up. my EuroRack based modular synthesizer. I am proud to say some modules I have even built myself.
My favorite films are Science Fiction and Horror films from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. My top film of all time is without question 2001: A Space Odyssey. I have a particular love for Godzilla and giant monsters in general, The Blind Dead series and George Pal films.
I was destined to be a horror fan from the beginning – my mother named me after a character in the Dan Curtis telefilm Ritual of Evil, with Louis Jourdan as a psychiatrist investigating the paranormal (“my” character was a spunky teenager played by Belinda Montgomery). Needless to say, I grew up enjoying plenty of classic (and not-so-classic) horror, in print and on the screen. We read “The Tell-Tale Heart” every year at Halloween, and the first time I stayed up past 2am was to watch The Invisible Man on Friday Fright Night, a popular late show in my hometown of Kansas City. I also fondly remember reading the intertitles of Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera to my little brother, which almost certainly made him the only kid in his kindergarten to have seen a silent film. My dad and I recently introduced my nephew to the Universal canon, followed by the obligatory viewing of Young Frankenstein.
Watching movies has always been a family pastime, with regular trips to the drive-in or multiplex to complement the oldies on TV. When cable and VHS came along, I took a deep dive into all things cinematic, developing a love for great filmmaking in any genre. I eventually got my degree in Film History and American Studies, writing a senior thesis on Hollywood films about soldiers returning to domestic life post-World War II.
After college, I returned to Kansas City and spent 20 years as a professional critic and historian, writing for local newspapers, speaking at film festivals, and joining radio, TV, and podcast programs. I also worked at my neighborhood library for 11 years, where I helped curate its massive DVD collection while serving as the “walking IMDB” for patrons.
Since leaving the critics’ life behind, I’ve rediscovered the joy of watching movies for fun, and I don’t even spend all my time on Shudder. Non-genre favorites are an eclectic mix, from It Happened One Night to Singin’ in the Rain to Star Trek II to Pulp Fiction.
All things considered, though, I’ll take a good ghost story or a zombie apocalypse over just about anything. I was more star-struck at meeting Ray Harryhausen than Kevin Costner (although they were both very nice), and seeing George Romero’s excitement when he signed my friend’s Zombies!!! board game was a true delight. I can reluctantly accept someone not liking Citizen Kane, but I will end friendships over The Haunting.
Mom and I still watch scary movies together. We lost our minds at Hereditary (but not our heads!) and spent a lovely evening listening to Victoria Price talk about her dad, then enjoyed Vincent’s favorite snacks while watching people die gruesomely in The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
I even bought a copy of Ritual of Evil when it came out on DVD. It’s not great, but it gives me a perfect horror kid origin story, and features a handsome Frenchman saying my name repeatedly. What more could anyone ask for?
A lifelong lover of movies and monsters, Stephen Mosley played the monster in the movie Kenneth. His other acting credits include the eponymous paranormal investigator of Kestrel Investigates; the shady farmer, James, in Contradiction; a zombie in Zomblogalypse; and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance opposite Sam Neill in Peaky Blinders.
As well as being the author of Klawseye: The Imagination Snatcher of Phantom Island; The Lives & Deaths of Morbius Mozella; The Boy Who Loved Simone Simon; and an upcoming biography of Christopher Lee, The Loneliness of Evil (from Midnight Marquee Press), Stephen is one half of the music duo Collinson Twin and has contributed to the books Masters of Terror; Dead or Alive: British Horror Films 1980-1989; 70s Monster Memories; Unsung Horrors; A Celebration of Peter Cushing; and Son of Unsung Horrors.
In addition to We Belong Dead, his film articles have appeared in The Dark Side, Midnight Marquee, and Multitude of Movies, while his short stories have been included in such anthologies as Dracula’s Midnight Snacks and Zombie Bites. As of today, his Top 5 creature features would include: Dracula (1958), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Mad Monster Party? (1966), The Return of the Vampire (1943) and The Creeping Flesh (1972). Please visit: www.stephenmosley.net
David M Nevarrez
Myrddin Wyllt – was a Welsh poet who went mad after being on the losing side of war. Many believed there was true prophecy in his poetry, which was a good sales point.
In this time loop he has the legal name David M. Nevarrez, and Cinema has been his religion since discovering it’s dreaminess, from great pioneers like Georges Melies and Alice Guy, to the latest blockbusters and amateur DIY. His bibles are the collected film essays of Jean Cocteau, and of Maya Deren. Not good at getting autographs, but did manage two favorite actors, Vincent Price, and Glenda Jackson.
In the 20th Century he studied theatre arts and psychology in Southern California; then studied film/video/photography in Northern California.
Moved to New York City, where he explored the punk scene, Underground Film, and Off-Off Broadway. He got involved with theatre as director, playwright, actor, and stage manager; also event photographer; poet (several awards); activist; collagist; essayist; semi-musician; traveller. After working in freelance film/video production for a few years, which interfered with theatre as his main focus, being more at home there, he got a “day job” at Christie’s Auction House, in their subscription dept., where he worked for 9 years Mon-Fri 9-5 with a good group of people, also participating in their staff art shows; which gave him the freedom to do theatre on evenings & weekends. Also continued to make experimental films, including several animations. At an Underground Film venue in 2000 he curated and introduced “A Myopic History of Animation”, being his influences.
Moved to Seattle in early 2001 for various reasons, joining in the coffee culture, going to Goth clubs, and Noise Music shows, while working in a sex shop, working on a novel, and still dabbling in film/video, photography, performance, collage, and poetry (winning another award, and being included on a cd) , and ordained as a (non-denominational) minister; eventually was so into coffee became a barista (still his favorite “day job”).
In 2006 moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil to teach English at a language school.
Returning to Seattle in 2007, as the decline of the cafe society ensued, and hearing about a job at the Seattle Art Museum, he joined up; being surrounded by art has been very inspirational.
In 2008 he went to his first Burning Man, where he ended up camping with one of the art collectives, Iron Monkeys, who work with metal and fire, as he knew about half of them; the following year, and for several years afterwards he learned and worked with them on various projects.
And still he travels as often as possible. In 2015 he wrote for a small British movie digest, and took a marionette carving workshop in Prague, Czech Republic, performing with other students for a short video, which he co-wrote as well; later that year wrote and performed a short skit with the marionette, and in mask.
Was working on several writing projects when tragedy struck, first on a very personal level, then moving out to into friends, followed by family drama; the oncoming political circus proved to be as nuts as expected; and why not go global, so on comes a world-wide pandemic, which helped fuel wide-spread civil unrest. Still working, listening to music (“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.”), binge-watching movies/TV, and writing for WBD has kept him afloat.
He is also the proud father of a wonderful daughter, who is a devoted mother to a son and two daughters; and in 2020 became a great-grandfather.
Maybe it was around the age of 6 that the seeds of film passion were implanted within me via the fervent interest of my own father. Dad worked incredibly physical hours daily for 28 years at a chemical production plant. On arriving home each work day he loved nothing more (well, other than seeing his family) sitting in his favorite recliner (a green vinyl monstrosity as comfortable in feel as it was an eyesore for many to behold) and watching either syndicated classic tv or some golden age feature on the local independent station. In what had to have been equal parts an attempt to divert his attention from my brother (some competition is healthy!) and just simple curiosity as to what pop was eye-balling, I would sit on the floor in front and gaze with him. Dad must’ve seen the fire in my eyes because he would take moments during our excursions into the celluloid realm to talk about the director, the actor on screen, the story or just a tidbit about the making of it that he’d read somewhere.
Amongst a host of examples of the varied genres we took in together the most frequently visited was from the arena of fake blood, latex-adorned monstrosities and acute cases of goosebump-it is, the horror thriller. That wondrous universe of grotesqueries, twisted fever nightmares and general ghastliness had my jaw agape continuously. My first experience with screaming like the tot I was in front of smiling daddy was a 1973 showing on the local Creature Features program of George Romero’s seminal 1968 zombie classic Night of the Living Dead.
Over the ensuing years I came to realize that I wasn’t just fascinated by visceral of a movie. As I took in with my eyes what was transpiring on camera, I found that my mind was keen on breaking down how the work was created (from motivation of character movement on to what ingredients made up the horrible makeup on the monster’s visage). The thinking, sweat and blood that went into the production had to become known to me. I began to read voraciously on the subjects of both cinema and, specifically, the horror picture.
Even as I took an interest in everything from school to sports to radio broadcasting to English Literature, books such as Alan Frank’s 1977 Horror Films, Hitchcock by François Truffaut, and William K. Everson’s Classics of the Horror Film remained true companions and ever by my side. At the turn of the new millennium, I began to dally infrequently with writing my own takes on dissection of cinema (a single piece for Scarlet Street early on and work for the sites beyondhollywood.com and classic-horror.com later in the decade).
Full focus on this writing venture came in 2016 when I submitted pieces and was invited by We Belong Dead empire publisher Eric McNaughton to join the writing and creative team. It has only grown from there. In addition to continuing with WBD, I also write for Don Smeraldi’s Scary Monsters magazine as well as the site horrornews.net.
My hands are also dabbling into podcasting these days, co-hosting The Grim and Bloody Show and Grim and Bloody Theater for deathsparadefilmfest.com. In between the craziness, I am working on my first solo book for Bear Manor Media, Keeping His Head: The Films of David Warner, due out in 2022. I currently reside in Sacramento, California with my husband of 12 years, Ronnie, and our orange tabby Jake. Both have the unenviable task of keeping me sane most days.
Hello! I’m Jeff Owens, writer and podcaster. I grew up during the perfect era to be a monster kid. I watched the Universal classics late at night (Sleepwalker’s Matinee) and on Sunday afternoons (Mystery Theater) from TV stations out of Oklahoma City, while seeing the latest Hammer films at the Enid Drive-In (which was sometimes problematic because it was across the road from the county fairgrounds where they held stock car races on weekend evenings.)
My writing career began at the age of seven when I drafted my own illustrated novelization of House of Dark Shadows after seeing it at the Chief Theater in Enid, Oklahoma, during its original release. It was probably short; I was so frightened when vampire Barnabas Collins turned old that I asked his aunt if we could leave. (I also hid around the corner when the werewolf appeared on daytime television’s Dark Shadows.)
Yes, I’m an original monster kid who literally ran home after school to watch Dark Shadows. As a child, I went to bed early and set my alarm for midnight so I could get up to watch Ghost of Frankenstein hosted by Count Gregore, who remains “my” TV horror host. I eagerly, perhaps carelessly, ran across the street to Enid News & Stationery whenever my family ate at Richill’s Cafeteria to see if there was a new issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland on the newsstand.
I was once so excited about Escape from the Planet of the Apes opening, nearly driving my parents to the brink of insanity asking to see it, that they abandoned me at the Esquire Theater to go alone. (Don’t fret; friends of the family saw me sitting by myself and asked me to join them.) I also experienced a lecture from my father that I shouldn’t want to see Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde because it was about operations that turned men into women.
My “professional” career blossomed as Senior Movie Critic for the websites Downright Creepy and Boom Howdy. Accumulating enough reviews and readers to qualify, I became a member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. When the websites went dark, I started my own, Classic Horrors club. It was then that I experienced the good fortune to stumble upon the We Belong Dead group and contribute to many of their outstanding publications.
I love movies of all kinds, although I prefer horror and sci-fi. My favorite film (if you asked me today) is Back to the Future. Rating movies on IMDb since it launched, I’ve given a perfect 10 stars to only 25, including titles ranging from King Kong (1933, of course) to The Manchurian Candidate (1962, of course) to Halloween (1978, or course.) However, just to keep you guessing about my perhaps eclectic taste, you’ll also find Xanadu (1980) on the list.
Being drawn to everything monstrous at an early age may have prepared me for the real-life horrors of adulthood: I just moved into a tower apartment in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m currently seeking opportunities to become involved in the local film and horror communities. A lifetime “dog person,” I recently adopted my first cat, London, who would be the love of my life if the title didn’t already belong to my beautiful daughter, Kate.
Born in West London within the sounds of Ealing Studios, I started my fascination with horror at age seven, Van Helsing had stabbed me with a school pencil, and I had to have a tetanus injection because I wasn’t really a vampire. I have collected supernatural stories and classic horror films since my teens and once astounded the music teacher at Secondary school when learning about Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, by explaining the plot of Amicus’s Asylum. My grandma was a huge classic horror film fan, and I was treated to late night horrors on the TV during the 1970s as a special treat. I was a precocious child who drew lay lines in my grandfather’s roadmap and devoured fairytales, always believing in the little people.
I studied Graphic Design at Ealing Art School, where I refused to draw, preferring to read Michael Moorcock novels under my drawing board. In 1986, I became a magazine designer in Fleet Street and started attending the Gothique Film Society two years later, where I made firm friends with other likeminded film fans. Films have always been a guilty obsession and I spent hours in the Scala and other small independent cinemas watching films that I would tick off in my Horror Film Encyclopaedia, pouring over images of films I thought I would never get to see.
After having my two children, I decided to retrain as a Primary Teacher and studied Folklore and Fairy Tales at Degree Level. I have been teaching for 20 years and now teach children excluded from mainstream education.
I started reviewing horror films online in 2013 for Spooky Isles and have written for a variety of blogs and websites. I have recently begun to write for We Belong Dead publications, and love researching classic horror locations, going out for trips and tours with good friends and fully immersing myself in the films that I love.
My prop making partner and I have recently bought a gothic style Victorian Villa overlooking the sea in Great Yarmouth, and in late 2021 we will be taking bookings for our themed rooms: Alice in Wonderland and Space, The Final Frontier. We are also planning on opening a shop, The Raven’s Retreat, (www.theravensretreat.com) dealing in oddities, props, and film memorabilia in Norwich.
I have recently started to write horror fiction of my own which has been published in the BHF Book of Horror Stories 4 and 5. I also illustrate stories and I am working on artwork for two books to be published in 2022.
From as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with sci-fi fantasy and horror, and along with childhood friends we immersed ourselves into created fantasy worlds and interpretations of comics of the time. I relished the opportunities to watch now classic shows like Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Space:1999 etc as well as being memorised by the Universal and Hammer movie classics (which led to the content of some school essays not going down particularly well with teachers). The Marvel comic of Planet of The Apes along with the House Of Hammer magazine led me to explore other aspects of Horror, as well as the writing of short stories.
With only three broadcast tv channels and limited cinema offerings, I was beguiled with the likes of the original Star Wars trilogy and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of The Third Kind, to which I would coerce my service engineer father to take me to see. It’s slightly ironic though, that my father had to give up his office junior position with a film services company based in Wardour Street, London when my grandfather took a new job in the Kent seaside town I grew up in (but he would not have then met my Mother, who at one time worked with then then unknown Rod Hull who was working as a shop electrician).
In the early 80s at an age where the horror genre became more accessible, I loved the Hammer House of Horror series, and David Cronenberg movies. Career wise I learned that my mindset is more analytical than dexterous, so I ended up working in a variety of planning and design roles for various telecom companies. I penned my first article for the We Belong Dead publications 70s Monster Memories book back in 2015, and have subsequently contributed to several more WBD publications, as well as the occasional online review.
Pedro de Queiroz
Hi, folks! I’m Brazilian and actually didn’t watch horror films as a child because my parents were somewhat strict, but I loved (and was scared by) the monsters of Lost in Space, the mummy of Jonny Quest and all this stuff. When I found out Scooby Doo at eight, I was marvelled that a cartoon series could be about a monster each episode. I started reading horror comics at 11. First of all was the second issue of Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula, followed by a Brazilian Dracula which was part of an amazingly savage series that owes more to Coffin Joe than to Hammer. The first horror movie I watched was Night Monster already at 12 in 1974, late at night on TV. Later that year, I went to the movies with a friend to watch Franco’s Count Dracula, which of course I then loved. The emotion was double because in Brazil all Draculas (and horror in general) were strictly forbidden for the underaged, accompanied or not. But Brazil being Brazil it was frequently possible to dribble the rules.
My first readings on horror films were the comments in the TV columns of newspapers, over a year before I watched my first genre movie. It led to longer articles, and at 14 I got hold of Robert F. Moss’s book Karloff and Company – The Horror Film, actually because of the photos (such material was scarce down here), but I soon caught myself reading it again and again because it stimulated my imagination, and fascinated by the criticisms, clearly aimed at grown-ups. A bit later I discovered Brazilian critic Rubem Biáfora and political and cultural commentator Paulo Francis, both of whom had a highly intellectual approach on film. Unlike Moss, however, who makes a rigid distinction between entertainment and high art (he actually praises Masque of the Red Death because “here… visual, rather than dramatic values, were preeminent…”!), these two giants accepted the “contamination” between both areas. I quickly adopted this latter approach. This may be partly a combination of my early love of comics and films with my father’s equally early influence, a very intelligent and much more learned man I can hope to be. Later, the essays of Raymond Durgnat and Aurum Film Encyclopaedia reinforced it.
This is why, in my articles, I try to focus on in-depth analyses rather than plot descriptions – which I keep to a minimum – or backstage stories, which, honestly, only interest me as they can help grab the meaning of a film or the universe of an author. And, let’s be honest, there are a lot of people around here who are much more qualified to write about these subjects. I know my limits, however, and stick to what the structure and, let’s call it so, the grammar of the films, besides that old-fashioned concept, recognizable human experience, can signal, leaving the verdict and deeper interpretation of whatever subjects involved, be them History, psychology etc to those who really know. Some colleagues have honoured me with their interest and encouragement, while others may believe I read too much into unpretentious fun.
I’ve also written some comics here in Brazil and given workshops that resulted in short subjects; my few practical experiences. So, here I am, starting on Facebook groups and arriving at this thanks to the incentive and opportunities allowed me by Eric and the other great and talented friends I’ve made. I hope my articles can be bring novel ideas, right or wrong, but which can be discussed and somehow contribute to further this endless discussion of cinema as entertainment and art.
Growing up in the 1970s, many of John’s formative moments were tinged with horror, from the cosy scares of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Pertwee’s Doctor Who and the spookiness contained in Usborne Books’ three volume The World Of The Unknown series, to the traumatic experience of being shown infamous farm safety PIF Apaches at school one morning (so traumatic in fact that he can’t actually bring himself to watch it again, even 43 years later.)
John’s late father was a big influence, as he would relate the plots of Universal, Hammer and Amicus movies to his transfixed young son. Somehow, the mental images formed by these descriptions were far more outrageously gory and lurid than the films themselves turned out to be when seen for the first time many years later. The first Hammer he experienced was Satanic Rites Of Dracula, which at the time seemed to confirm Denis Gifford’s “blood and bosoms” description in his Pictorial History, which was of course another key text.
Another great love of John’s is the Kaiju Eiga, or giant monster genre. This can be blamed on two TV viewings; one of the 1933 King Kong, and a mid-1970s Saturday morning ITV showing of King Kong vs Godzilla, which kick-started a long-running obsession with the big radioactive lizard. Other films shown on TV around the same time included Them!, Gorgo and The Beast From 20000 Fathoms, and though his Dad would often loudly decry the plots “all being the same” from his armchair, John found them compelling, primal viewing. One day he hopes to visit Japan, and will feel cheated if there isn’t at least one giant monster rampage whilst he’s there.
Many of the first times these films were seen coincided with the early 1980s home video boom, and many a Hammer and Universal was recorded on the family’s rented Granada VHS machine, to be watched at the nearest convenient time. Not kept for posterity though, as tapes were too pricey back then. Oddly enough, he wasn’t really impressed by the more recent slasher-type horrors available at the local seedy video shop. Watching some of the more notorious examples which ended up on the DPP list was treated at school as some sort of dare by the hard kids with half-mast jeans and Doc Martens, but John thought they were rather samey and boring, though he did find Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters impressive in a really gross sort of way.
Many years later, and John still loves horror, Doctor Who and Godzilla, and wishes he still believed in Bigfoot, Gef the talking mongoose and the Loch Ness Monster. He has a respectable collection of horror, fantasy and science fiction movies and TV on DVD and Blu-ray, and has belatedly developed a taste for the Giallo genre, something which had escaped him before. He is extremely pleased and lucky to be able to contribute to WBD, despite his initial lack of faith in his own writing ability. He is also the proud owner and occasional wearer of a full Batman outfit, but thanks to the girth gained in lockdown, can’t currently fit into it.
Born in Ottawa Ontario, Canada; Terry is a “Monster kid”, film fan and popular culture person.
Once worked professionally in television as a Commercial writer/ Director.
Writer of the Skeletons in the Closet site covering aspects of the edgy Horror Genre and Cult trash.
Other Writing interests include Thrillers and Noir.
Independent Horror film reviewer for Horrorscreams Video vault.
He has previously written for We Belong Dead, Monster mania, Horror Hound magazines, The Spooky Isle UK website, and Turner Classic Movies network.
Has attended TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles many times as a media guest.
Published Book of own writings titled Screen and Screen Again: Essays on the Horror Film on Amazon worldwide plus contributed to other genre books.
Chaired numerous well received convention panel discussions with engaging style on Horror and Comics.
Terry is member of The Horror Writers Association, Crime Writers of Canada and Dracula Society in U.K.
Terry is a gigging musician as a Drummer of old school metal and Rockabilly
Hello fellow classic horror fans, I’m Andy and one of the newer members of the We Belong Dead team.
My love of the genre came from the glory days of VHS. Growing up in the late ‘70s and through the ‘80s the local video shop was a regular haunt and I would spend far too long staring at explicit covers of movies I was still far too young to see. Having an older brother helped as he would borrow films that we would watch together. Particular highlights being Day of the Dead and Re-animator. It did not take long to figure out the timer on the video and soon I was recording classic Hammer, Amicus and Universal to satiate my growing appetite for all things terrifying. This soon branched out and I was buying books and magazines on the subject. The first book being Monster and Horror movies by Thomas G. Ayelsworth which has since been joined by a huge amount of other titles.
I then became that kid in school, the horror fan. One fateful English lesson talking about horror literature there were 4 pictures of classic characters from filmed versions and I was the only one who could name the film and the actor. After this I would take copies of Fangoria in to show off the gory pictures to classmates. I honestly did not imagine at that time that I would still be the fan I am today!
I have been lucky enough to play a zombie in a low budget feature film spinoff from a cult web series, been one of the organisers of a screening of Bride of Frankenstein in a medieval hospital undercroft and the following year, a screening of Arrow’s new restoration of An American Werewolf in London a week before it went on general sale. I took a chance and volunteered myself to write a piece on Deep Rising for the Giant Monsters tome and Eric was kind enough to accept it. I have only written 3 pieces so far with more on the way but as a horror fan it is fantastic to see my name in print.
Outside of horror I am the manager of the flagship library in my home city, have a wonderful partner who has long accepted my obsession and growing collection, and an equally wonderful daughter who is a huge film fan as well. Apart from films and books my other love is walking, preferably around the Yorkshire Coast.
A favourite film list is always good for debate so here are a few of mine: the original Star Wars trilogy (growing up at the time of their release this was always going to be the case), The Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Curse of the Werewolf, Halloween and The Fog, City of the Dead and my all-time number 1, Night of the Demon.
From a young age, Ian couldn’t decide what he liked most: film, television, football, music or theatre, so he indulged in it all. Just watching or listening wasn’t enough, though, so he opted to act, play, write and draw. He still couldn’t decide on a favourite, so he kept doing it all. Ian dabbled in horror fiction in the early 90s before writing for and editing music fanzines such as ‘Madzine’ and ‘Mad Not Mad’ (something that recently led to contributions to autobiographical work on artists such as Nick Welsh and The Lambrettas). He later adjudicated theatre productions for the Greater Manchester Drama Federation, something that he was well equipped for, following over 30 years of acting and directing to an award-winning level in amateur theatre. He made a documentary film with Captain Sensible of The Damned whilst at university, was an extra in the Doctor Who spin-off video Auton 2: Sentinel which starred Reece Shearsmith and eventually took the lead role in a micro-budget feature film called Echoes (still out there on YouTube), but in recent years has rediscovered his love of writing, both non-fiction stuff about film and television and fiction.
Over the last five years he has become a regular writer and editorial team member of the We Belong Dead magazine and has contributed to all of their book releases, including his first solo effort, the well-received ‘All Sorts of Things Might Happen: The Films of Jenny Agutter’. This will be followed by a book on Robert Shaw at some point in the hopefully not too distant future. His work for and friendship with WBD gaffer Eric McNaughton has led to writing for Dez Skinn’s ‘Halls of Horror’, Allan Bryce’s ‘Dark Side’, Hemlock’s ‘Fantastic Fifties’, husband and wife Dawn and Jonathon Dabell’s ‘Cinema of the 70s’ and ‘Scream’ magazine. He has also contributed to an unofficial 1965 Dr Who Annual, and the upcoming second edition of Darrell Buxton’s ‘Dead or Alive: British Horror Films 1980 – 1989’.
Now excited about getting back into horror fiction with stories featuring in Volumes 3, 4 and 5 of the Darrell Buxton compiled ‘BHF Book of Horror Stories’, Ian has entered into a collaborative effort with fellow scribe and music fan Andrew Llewellyn. Their short horror story collection ‘Spoken in Whispers’ is expected to be released in early 2022, illustrated throughout by Selene Paxton-Brooks. This collaboration is proving so pleasurable that Ian and Andrew are already looking to release further fiction in collaboration with other in the future.
To cap off a busy year, Ian has performed a filmed monologue for the Prestwich-based award-winning amateur theatre society PADOS who will also be filming a further monologue that Ian has written for them. The lad doesn’t know how to rest, but does like a tipple in between writing gigs, as well as spending time with his beloved wife and daughter, attending gigs and the Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester (where he might watch a film now and again, but much refers enjoying the warm and friendly company of so many great like-minded people. Say hello if you see him, he’ll be the knackered looking one with a beer in his hand.
Born in 1958, I am a certified baby-boomer, raised by a father who loved horror radio programs and the SF pulp “Astounding,” a Hungarian mother who watched “The Twilight Zone” and films with Bela Lugosi and Angelo Rossitto, and a crazy grandmother who enjoyed “Dark Shadows” while she was ironing. My early childhood was spent in Cleveland, Ohio, influenced by the famous TV horror host, Ghoulardi. The very first monster/horror films I can recall watching on the tube were Horror Hotel, From Hell It Came, and Attack of the Giant Leeches. When my family moved to St. Louis, Missouri (birthplace of Vincent Price), I became an acolyte to new TV mentors such as local hosts Baron Von Crypt and Moona Lisa, as well as syndicated fiends such as Sinister Seymour and Simon (and his Sanctorum). I carried the macabre torch unabashedly, cementing my reputation as a first-class weirdo; I lost an elementary school class election because of my irritating habit of biting his classmates in the neck while imitating Barnabas Collins.
Somehow, I managed to graduate from college with a degree in Mass Communications, and have been working steadily ever since as a technical writer and trainer. In the 1980s, I wrote the script for the ultra-ultra-low-budget, shot-on-video masterpiece, The Soul Eaters. I also portrayed the zombie priest, Father Lazarus, in a small-town adaptation of Night of the Living Dead, staged in a run-down theater, with the zombies attacking the audience at the end of the performance!
Pre-COVID, I spent a lot of time going to horror, pulp, and SF film and fiction conventions, and plan to once again after the plague abates. I once accidentally pissed off Stephen King by asking him if his story “Weeds” was a tribute to Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space.” While I have an appreciation for the classics, I definitely have a soft spot in my head for psychotronic, regional, and creaky old motion pictures. Favorites include ‘50s monster flicks, the astonishing cinema of Larry Buchanan, and Filipino and European supernatural thrillers.
Besides WBD publications, I’ve been fortunate enough to appear in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine, Filmfax, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I contributed to “Horror 101: The A-List of Horror Films and Monster Movies.” Since I am a devotee of all things Lovecraftian, I’ve done presentations and appeared on panels for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and NecronomiCon Providence. Like I suspect many of you, I’ve accumulated a basement full of horror DVDs, books, and original movie posters, and caution the occasional visitor “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Probably the most treasured item in my collection is the UK quad poster for the double feature of Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell and Matango, Fungus of Terror.
My long-suffering wife of over 30 years, Patty, is my accomplice in love and terror, along with our monstrously huge Boxer dog, Bella. A two-time cancer survivor, I definitely ain’t going “gentle into that good night.” I’m just a year or two away from retirement, and that’s when the fun REALLY begins! I’m planning on writing a book on the suppressed occult and monster heritage of St. Louis, and whatever short stories and novels my dark muse inspires me to inflict upon mankind. Blessed be, brothers and sisters of the shadow!
Horror? It’s at the heart of so many treasured memories. My late nan’s vivid account of seeing a tall, Victorian man in the full-length mirror that I would subsequently speed past whenever going upstairs in the big, creepy house she named “Wuthering Heights”. The sense of dread generated by two early 1980s BBC mini-series: Salem’s Lot and The Mad Death. Arguments with school friends as to why Jaws was a horror film despite family-friendly TV screenings opposite Coronation Street. Using the gruesome cover of James Herbert’s The Fog to scare away the unwanted attentions of persistent red head Laura Bowes in Year 4 (If you’re reading this, Laura, I’m sorry -you weren’t even that hideous). Creating an amateur movie guide (cleverly titled “Horror Book”) at the age of 9 using my Olivetti typewriter while cutting and pasting pictures from the various film / video magazines my mum generously bought me each month. (Among these was Allan Bryce’s horror-centric Video World, which had a “naughty” section at the back that -as per the promise- I never, ever peeked at).
My parents had no qualms about youthful horror viewing and key to my genre education were the three independent video stores in my hometown (Fakenham in Norfolk – “You’ll never leave!” is on the sign) before Blockbuster ruined everything. I treasured TV double bills of Hammer and Universal gems – memorably chastising myself for falling asleep during a very late night showing of The Curse of the Werewolf and never forgetting the huge anticipation evoked by the first half of the wonderful Dracula Prince of Darkness. The reviews I wrote in my still-surviving pre-teen “Horror Book” confirm a love for 80s slasher movies, with even Halloween 4 receiving the coveted “five @” rating (I had to use a “@” rating system” because “*” keys on typewriters hadn’t been invented).
I grew up celebrating (as I do to this day) those rare occasions when a horror film truly scared me: adolescent standouts being British TV’s The Woman in Black and Ghostwatch. Repeat viewings still make those little hairs on all twelve of my toes stand to attention. By the early 90s, the spectacular beauties of Hammer films held all new appeal to the horny-handed me, spending a lot of time in the dark with Valerie Leon and her peers – while realising I might also quite enjoy looking at the likes of shirtless Barry Andrews and Horst Janson. (Might this also explain that unanticipated erection during a rare bit of rough n tumble on the grass with Kevin Something in Year 6ish? If you’re reading this, Kevin Something, I didn’t even fancy you that much).
Adulthood: behold! There are other people out there who love horror too! Even girls who, for some astonishing reason, would agree to be seen in a public place with me to watch Jason X! I found long, horror-rich conversations at my first festivals, like “Eurofest” before becoming a regular Frightfest attendee. At the University of East Anglia, I befriended (and fell in love with) a girl (legitimately) named Wednesday and we formed the “Cult Film Society”, illegally screening banned films in lecture theatres alongside less contentious titles like Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Two decades later, in the great Elton John ‘Circle of Life’, Klowns would become one of my daughter’s favourite movies.
“Horror Book” led to skinny, awkward 14-year-old me discovering a fanzine produced by a chap named Eric – and We Belong Dead issue three contained my first published work. I’m thrilled to remain a part of this now-very handsome mag – and its various luscious spin-offs – all these years later. Also grateful to have been part of John Gullidge’s long-running Samhain magazine, my good friend Peter Hopkins’ popular “Horrorscreams” website and the online review crew of Frightfest UK. I think my parents are still proud of my ingenious “boobs-n-blood” ratings scale within three Slash Hits volumes for Midnight Media – and in 2019, my monograph about Wes Craven’s Scream was published by Auteur. Early on in plague-hit 2020, I began contributing to (coincidentally) the U.K.’s Scream magazine, alongside Hemlock’s Fantastic Fifties and Sensational Sixties mags – and co-created the site “Cinemacabre” for further self-indulgence with my chum Matt Black.
The genre still gives me untold pleasures. I still fancy Valerie Leon and Barry Andrews. Though Nan, if somehow you’re reading, your tale is still the one that chills me the most. But makes me smile so much with memories of the telling.
Like so many film fans of his generation, Tom Woodger discovered horror films through the writing of Denis Gifford and his A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (1973). This single book launched a still continuing quest through TV listings (along with the occasional underage cinema eviction….) to hunt down and view the films which Gifford wrote of with such infectious enthusiasm.
He does not live in the catacombs under The Paris Opera, and cannot turn into a bat at will… although he remains hopeful…