Today’s second victim… ummm… I mean 31 Days of Halloween interviewee is author/editor/filmmaker John Skipp.
Yes, you could call this an indie film two-fer, but John’s here for much more than just his exploits in movie-making.
He’s one of the splatterpunk pioneers, co-authoring a number of gory horror novels with Craig Spector in the late ’80s and early ’90s. More recently, he’s released several books on his own (among them The Long Last Call and Conscience), co-written with Cody Goodfellow on Jake’s Wake, The Day Before and Spore, and edited the mammoth Demons, Psychos and Werewolves and Shapeshifters anthologies (available from Black Dog & Levanthal Publishers).
He’s been working in horror for so long, one has to wonder if anything still scares him. Well, read on to find out.
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31 Days of Halloween… with John Skipp
Describe a time when a scene in a horror novel really unnerved you.
There’s a scene in John Farris’ novel Son of the Endless Night – a demonic possession novel and courtroom drama rolled into one – where two characters are discussing the specifics of possession. And though I was sitting in my sunlit kitchen, in the middle of the nice summer afternoon, with the kids playing in the pool outside, all the little hairs on my arms stood up. And I went, “If this is even remotely true, WE ARE ALL SOOOOO FUCKING SCREWED!”
In your opinion, what is the all-time scariest horror novel or short story?
I think I may have to go with Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, for the hideous psychological acuity of its madness, the introduction of Hannibal Lector, and (worst of all) the helplessly immersive understanding of how evil truly works that poor Will Graham suffers through every time he’s handed a shot of the crime scene. As a back-to-back double-feature with Tim Cahill’s mind-blowing John Wayne Gacy biography Buried Dreams, I got more than enough psychosis to get me through the end of the 20th century.