REVIEW: Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers By Michael McCarty


We all grew up eagerly absorbing the works of Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, John Carpenter and the likes, allowing their words and actions to shape our lives, and our character. They all taught us to appreciate literature, film and art in any other form. We witnessed the birth of the dark and the weird, and we realized that our nightmares can come to life and haunt us through novels, short stories, feature films and representations on the big screen. Modern Mythmakers is a thorough account of life’s works of some of the most famous and legendary writers, directors and actors presented in 35 interviews (with 5 additional interviews included in the eBook edition). It raises nostalgia in the minds of science fiction and horror fans and has the ability to create a generation of new fans and followers, in that way continuing to build a long lasting tradition and showing appreciation for some of the classics of science fiction and horror, that helped us form a new way of looking at the world in which we live in. Interesting interviews, masterfully compiled together, give us an almost historical overview of the development of horror and science fiction genres from their birth, through early years and puberty, and firmly growing up in one amazing creature, an antagonist in the arts. Author Michael McCarty successfully combines his love for the genre and documenting things as they are through a set of interesting and humorous questions, each set beginning with a quote that highlights the importance of an interview in question. This approach to interviewing his victims is particularly interesting, especially when following and comparing different answers given to a few of the same questions that McCarty poses to authors, directors, actors and scream queens throughout the collection. It gives us an insight into various and multi-layered relationships between filming, writing and acting that the readers can relate to as well. This collection also offers advice on different styles of writing, and gives an account of some of the important issues and differences when it comes to publishing one’s own work in the past and today, which is a recommendation enough to make it a part of the regular cast on your bookshelves and on your e-readers. A concise and rich overview like this one, full of information and shared experiences on how it is to be a film maker and a writer, should be a compulsory reading for fans and researchers, for future generations and genre enthusiasts, equally bearing in mind an important message communicated through this collection: always try and do your best, and never give up on your dreams.

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Monsters R Us

I just love this quote by Clive Barker from an interview I read as a part of an article that covers all the weirdest secrets connected to his film Hellraiser :

Generally [in monster movies] the monsters don’t talk about their condition – about being a monster. What I wanted Frank to be able to do was have dialogue scenes, even romantic scenes that play between him and Julia. I wanted Frank to be able to stand around and talk about his ambitions and desires because I think what the monsters in movies have to say for themselves is every bit as interesting as what the human beings have to say. That’s why in stalk and slash films I feel that half the story is missing. These creatures simply become, in a very boring way, abstractions of evil. Evil is never abstract. It is always concrete, always particular and always vested in individuals. To deny the creatures as individuals the right to speak, to actually state their case, is perverse…

He put it so simply and accurately, drawing from his own experience as a horror director. The man knows what he’s talking about. We are so scared of these monsters that we don’t really realize the fact that they live inside all of us, it is only up to the person to choose whether he or she is going to live life as a Jekyll or a Hyde. I like the idea that Barker gave his monsters that emotional,vulnerable side so that they can speak up, just like we do, when we are hurt, heartbroken or simply made a bad choice in life which marked us for good. If you switch the roles you end up with an interesting premise that these monsters see us as monsters from their own nightmares and that we are haunting their lives with our rejection of them, if you will. They don’t know how to hide from us, or how to stop us in doing anything to them, they are just trying to survive in this monster world, like we do. I like that emotional twist and vulnerability which shows the human side of them, and how they don’t know how to cope with us and vice versa. Hellraiser is one of those films that influenced my life and my pursuit of horror research now. I watched the first part when I was in my elementary school, at a birthday party of a childhood friend whose dad owned a video store in town and he had lots of VHS that we had access to, and we exploited that fact to the fullest. It was one of those films that makes you think whether nightmares are real, and the time when you believe absolutely everything anyone tells you about it. I didn’t get much of that whole hell story back then, I just knew that it was really scary in every possible way, especially the visual aspect of it. I re-watched it when I grew up, and I watched all other sequels, but that just couldn’t measure up to the first experience with that film I had in my early years. It still is one of my favourite classics of the horror genre, I am just looking at it differently now, with more of an research interest rather than just for the sake of being scared. Although films do stay the same over a course of years, it is our power to make them evolve in different ways when we watch them again in different stages of our lives.

If you’re interested, the link to the article is here: