In 1988, a college student named Richard Chizmar decided to start a horror magazine. Now, more than a quarter-of-a-century later, that magazine — Cemetery Dance — has become one of the horror genre’s longest-running print magazines, and Chizmar has become a respected publisher, editor, author, and screenwriter. Cemetery Dance Publications recently published its 300th book, and Chizmar’s Hollywood work (with co-writer Johnathon Schaech) includes an adaptation of Bentley Little’s “The Washingtonians” for Showtime’s Masters of Horror series.
There’s a kind of magic to short stories. I love them, I really, genuinely love them. They’re these beautiful, compact worlds that you can explode without consequences. You can just do things in short stories, you can make anything happen and you only have to convince the reader that it’s real for about thirty pages. That’s tremendously liberating.
My books do have a sort of romantic community at the end — people coming together. But on a more basic level, I always see them as being about power, in the same way that Harry Potter books are pitched to a population of young people who really have no power. Superheroes are also stories about power. My books are always about someone obtaining a power to replace the previous sort of power that they held.
David Cronenberg is a Canadian filmmaker whose career has spanned more than four decades. Cronenberg’s many films include STEREO, CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, FAST COMPANY, THE BROOD, THE DEAD ZONE, THE FLY, NAKED LUNCH, M. BUTTERFLY, CRASH, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, A DANGEROUS METHOD, and COSMOPOLIS. His most recent film is MAPS TO THE STARS. In 2006 he was awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award, the Carrosse d’Or. His debut novel, CONSUMED, was published by Scribner in 2014.
Robert Shearman has written five short story collections, and between them they have won the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Edge Hill Readers Prize, and three British Fantasy Awards. His background is in the theatre, and he is resident dramatist at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and regular writer for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; his plays have won the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, the Sophie Winter Memorial Trust Award, and the Guinness Award in association with the Royal National Theatre. He regularly writes plays and short stories for BBC Radio, and he has won two Sony Awards for his interactive radio series, “The Chain Gang.” But he’s probably best known for reintroducing the Daleks to the BAFTA winning first season of the revived DOCTOR WHO.
While most horror authors are content to create chills, a handful are more interested in studying exactly how those chills are manufactured. Leslie Klinger is one of the genre’s most significant nonfiction experts. Although he began his nonfiction career annotating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, Les has since become a major figure in the art of nonfiction horror, providing annotations for Dracula, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and (released in October) twenty-two stories by H. P. Lovecraft.
Joyce Carol Oates is not only one of the most acclaimed authors of our time—her more-than-forty novels, novellas, plays, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction works have earned her a National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination—but she’s also an acclaimed horror and suspense author who is a multiple winner of the Bram Stoker Award, a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, and the first female author to receive the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Actor Cecil Baldwin is the voice of the wildly popular podcast WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, written by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor. Cecil plays Cecil Palmer, a radio host who reports on the strange goings-on in Night Vale, a desert community where monsters and conspiracies are just daily occurrences.
For two seasons, Carnivàle followed a Depression-era carnival across a bleak American landscape, but was really about the eternal battle between light and darkness, as represented respectively by Ben, a farm boy with healing powers (played by Nick Stahl) and a preacher, Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), who is accessing far more sinister abilities. As unusual as Carnivàle was, the story behind the story was equally rare in Hollywood: the series was created and produced by a first-timer in his forties.
Imagine a horror-specialty retail store that has not only survived for two decades but has helped shape the very genre it markets, and you’ll get some idea of why Dark Delicacies is one of horror’s (not so) hidden treasures. Located in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank, California (where Dark Delicacies’ success seems to have spawned neighboring stores with names like Halloween Town and Creature Features), Dark Delicacies was founded by Del Howison and Sue Duncan.