Wednesday 29 May 2013

Interview with Michael Mulvihill

Michael Mulvihill is a long-time contributor to BLACK PETALS e-zine. This includes his issue #61 poems: A Love Story Beautiful, Capitalism’s Modern Architecture of Love, Red Brick, The Securocrats, and Toxic Addiction (+ the poems, Fatigued, O Mother, and Spike-Inverted Hearts for BP #58; “The Cleaner and the Collector” tale & all 6 BP #56 poems; BP #50’s story, “The Soul Scrubber”, and as featured vampire poet with A Vampire’s Dilemma: Love, Becoming a Vampire, Vampire Insomnia, and Vampiric War in The Kodori Valley; BP #49 poems, I, the Vampire, The Reluctant Vampire of Tbilisi, Vampire Observations, and Vampire Psychoanalysis).

The 30ish author published a short story, “Ethagoria Nebsonia,” in BP in 1998 and had a poem, “The Bombing,” in The Kingdom News about a domestic tragedy in Ireland.

"Siberian Hellhole" (2013) a horror novel, is his first novel to be published by The Wheelman Press. He is also a clinical psychotherapist and hypnotherapist and member of The I.C.H.P.


Interview with Michael Mulvihill

By David Kempf

Tell us how you became involved in writing fiction.

Oh goodness David.  I was just a kid and I much preferred watching ‘V’ and ‘The Lost Boys’, than writing anything.  It is like I still do love my TV to this day.  I totally loved ‘American Gothic’ the TV pilot that was put off air, loved ‘Millenium’, ‘X Files’ and ‘Brimstone’, magnificent stuff.
From the ages of four to twelve I did not relate to school what so ever.  Weird! I now have six higher level qualifications up to an M.A. I just got scholarly.

But I swear on The Bible, when I was a kid, me, school, books, Heck! I was more interested in reading about mans’ inhumanity to man but NOT what was expected of me to read back in Junior School.

Once when I was a kid I picked up a very bloody magazine that explained what was happening to people in Argentina under the Juntas Military Regime of the 1980s, I was never examined about this, nor about The Holocaust, or how Russia defended itself against Nazi invasion.  And believe me as a kid this is what I was into.  My teacher wanted me reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory which I thought was asinine and not for me.

Thus let us just put it mildly, my talents and intelligence went totally under the radar screen until I went to Stratford College on Zion Road. In this secondary college I learnt how to believe in myself.

I did an entry exam to Stratford College and the Principal actually told my dad that I would be an asset to the school.  I was never led to believe this in my junior school years like one single bit.

I was really lucky. I got to study intelligent poems that I really related to, by poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.  My teacher took note of all of this.  She told my dad at a parent teacher meeting that I was a very intelligent person, very aware of what was around me in my environment and that I had books in me.

I have never looked back since that time.  Just kept moving on and now I got my first book out and I am happy with that.

How many books have you written? 

Siberian Hellhole is my debut novel David.

Tell us about Siberian Hellhole. 

This novel is set post Glasnost at the time of Perestroika in Russia.  Tobias has to leave Moscow, there is no work he can hardly feed himself.  He finds work in Siberia.  But instead of finding peace from solitariness he finds a land that is ravaged with demons from Hell which are lurking under the ground that he is protecting and waiting to take over the entirety of Siberia and the world.

Do you enjoy creating horror fiction in particular? 

Yes I love writing horror fiction because I seem to be able to release some unconscious energy onto the page when I write.  I mean some people have said that horror fiction helps people to prepare for death and to acknowledge and become aware of the shadow or dark side of their own personality.  Which is an interesting concept if you think about it, I guess you could say at some level I find writing therapeutic. I love writing horror fiction because I find I can place variety of elements of life into it.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as an artist so far?

Getting Siberian Hellhole published was great.  The cover looked great.  Wheelman Press really did do a very good job. Plus I have gotten decent reviews from bloggers like Paranormal Romance Review (Maria Perry Mohan) Fifth Dimension Science Fiction Horror Blog (Stuart  Anderson) and Best Book (Janette Skinner) also gave this novel a good review, alongside speculative fiction author Charles Miller who positively rated my novel.

When Stuart Anderson of The Fifth Dimension wrote that Siberian Hellhole is an intelligent horror story I was so delighted.  He was the first to review my book.

Then I panicked and thought no one else would review my work until Maria Perry Mohan recently gave my book an excellent review.

Also more recently when Janette Skinner wrote about my novel Siberian Hellhole,

  “I made the mistake of starting to read this on my terrace in the moonlight by the light of my kindle. Bad mistake, I was so un-nerved by the narrative and the night birds that I had to stop and crawl into bed beside my slumbering husband. Not many books create an atmosphere like that for me”

What can I say?

I mean this is the best compliment that can be possibly written about a horror novel and I was delighted to read it.

Name some of your favorite horror books.

Dracula, Let The Right One In, The Metamorphosis, The Master And Margerita (which has a surrealist horror elements in it) Edgar Allan Poes Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Hannibal, The Butcher Boy (as far as I can see this is pure surrealist horror about the unhinging of the mind).
I loved and still do, Lorenzo Caracaterras Sleepers and A Safe Place, Diary of Anne Frank, Thomas Keneallys Shindlers Ark which to me had such morose scenes of true life horror.  I guess I define horror books in a broader way than most.

Name some of your favorite horror films. 

Francis Ford Cappolas version of Dracula, 1994, Shadow of The Vampire 2000, Pit and The Pendulam (1961), Them, Kidnapped, I am Legend, The Original Vampire Killer, The Addiction, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, The Crow, Funny Games, The Others.

Why do you think old school horror fiction remains popular?

Old school horror fiction for me is more literary, readable and intelligent. I mean I am going to re-read kafka and Poe when I have free time.  But I do promise to read The Others and Perfume when I have free time also.

I love intelligent fiction.  I just have not been seduced by the likes of King and Koontz, I love reading true old ghost stories, castles and atmospheric stuff about poltergeists and exorcisms, so there is just this part of me that likes things done old school anyway.

  I am not sure if I can give anything but an unbiased answer to this question.  For me old school horror films are way better than the stuff of now never mind  what was written down on paper when the likes of Poe and Stoker was around versus nowadays.  I like my vampires dangerous threatening and malevolent.  Not sex symbols that are waiting to come out of the closet.

What are your latest projects?

In the next edition of I will have a very disturbing horror story in it which will feature a vampire horde invading the house of a single female.  This is an example of intense short horror fiction.
My next novel will feature a Dublin Vampire Lucis Diaboli who believes he is externally showing signs of aging and feels he needs to get his fangs into the blood of an aristocrat in order to continue looking youthful.

Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.

I am a person who has really just begun to tap into my abilities as a writer.  Siberian Hellhole is the best novel I have written thus far because it is the only novel I have published so far.  I really feel there are a lot of dark fiction, horror and surrealism stories left in me.  I hope to have a long life so I can write as many books as I think are in me.  So longevity is something I wish to achieve.

Amazon link


Fantastic latest review of the novel

Friday 10 May 2013

The Walking Dead - Season 4 First Look photo

AMC released today a First Look photo from "The Walking Dead" Season 4, featuring Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes back to work on the set in Atlanta, GA.   Season four of “The Walking Dead” returns to AMC in October of this year. The cast and crew began production on May 6.

“The Walking Dead” is based on the comic book series created and written by Robert Kirkman and published by Skybound, Kirkman's imprint at Image Comics. "The Walking Dead" season three out-delivered everything on television including “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Voice,” “Game of Thrones,” “Modern Family,” and almost doubling “The Bible” for the broadcast season for adults 18-49.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Interview with Sean Hogan

On the eve of the UK TV premiere of THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS on Horror Channel, Sean Hogan talks about the future of the horror film industry, the importance of a good script and his forthcoming doc on the UK comic 2000AD.

THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS is broadcast on Sat May 11, 22:55,

Q:  How did The Devil’s Business come together?

SH: I’d been waiting a long time for another project to come together, and out of sheer frustration, I had a meeting with my producer Jen Handorf one night and proposed that we made something for very little money, just to get back in the saddle. I’d recently seen Down Terrace and really liked it, and my feeling was that you didn’t need a whole lot of money to make something, just a good script, talented actors and one location. So I sat down and wrote Devil’s Business to be done along those lines. What happened then was, the other project finally happened, but turned out to be a nightmare experience. So once the dust had settled, I really needed to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. So Jen proposed we went back to The Devil’s Business. It came together really quickly after that, we basically pulled it all together in a few months.

Q: Did the script take long to write?

SH: Not really. It was short, for one thing! And I was kind of on a roll when I wrote it; I’d written about five scripts already that year so the gears were well oiled. Besides, it really was one of those times where the characters took over and wrote themselves – it always sounds horribly pretentious when writers say that, but what can I tell you, it’s true! I normally outline much more than I did on Devil’s Business, but in this instance I just sat down and started writing with only a vague sense of what was going to happen. For instance, when I wrote Pinner’s monologue, I didn’t really know what he was going to say or how it would impact the rest of the film; all I knew was that he was going to tell a strange story. And it all just came flooding out. It certainly isn’t always that simple, so I have fond memories of writing it.

Q: Was it a hard movie to cast?

SH: No, we were fairly lucky in that department. We didn’t have a casting director, so it was largely a case of me and Jen scouring Spotlight and looking at showreels etc. That was how we found Billy Clarke, who played Pinner. He was the first person who read for the part and I just loved him immediately. Johnny Hansler was someone I’d auditioned for another film – he wasn’t right for that part but I made a note that if we ever did Devil’s he’d be great for Mr Kist, so we just made him an offer based on that. And Jack Gordon was a recommendation via his agency, who Jen had a working relationship with. Again, he just came in and rocked the audition. Easiest casting process I’ve ever had, despite the lack of resources.

Q: How did you go about funding for the film?

SH: It was private money. We wanted to control the production ourselves - because we’d had enough of meddling, crooked, incompetent executives – so Jen and I invested some money to get things going. And then we approached some other people we knew to kick in some cash as well. We knew that if we tried to get it made through official industry channels it would take forever and we’d have to put up with a ton of less-than-helpful script notes, so we made a decision we’d just do it our way – for less money, but with more control. It was hard work doing it on the budget, but the actual experience of doing it with no outside interference was sheer bliss.
Q: The film picked up some great reviews including one that stated “…smart British horror has a touch of the Roald Dahl to it” that’s quite a compliment.

SH: We were very happy with the response, without a doubt. From my perspective, I had no idea how the film would be received; it was just cathartic to make it. I figured that it was such a small production that it might easily disappear without a trace. And besides, it isn’t really a conventional horror film in many ways; it’s quite dialogue-driven and character-based, which always puts some people off. So I was definitely steeling myself for the worst. But then we premiered it at FrightFest and got wonderful reviews, and it went on from there. So I was delighted – I’ve had bad luck with UK distribution in the past, so to get that sort of a reaction was very rewarding. And it definitely made everyone’s hard work worth it.

Q: You must be pleased that the film is getting its UK TV premiere on the Horror Channel?

SH: Certainly am. Again, if you’d said to me when we were shooting it that the film would eventually play cinemas, come out on DVD and then show on TV, I’d have probably asked you what you were on and where could I get some. The Horror Channel has been very supportive of me and so I’m really pleased we’ve found a home here.

Q: What state do you think the British horror movie industry is in?

SH: It’s very tough, certainly at an independent level. DVD sales are down and whilst I think VOD will eventually take up the slack, it isn’t there yet. But horror is reliant on those sorts of areas to make it viable. So you get a lot of distributors asking you to make something along the lines of what was successful last year. Which I hate hearing, not least because that never works. I’ve certainly been asked to make something similar to Kill List, for instance. But Kill List was successful because it wasn’t like anything else at the time, and if you just try and copy that, the audience will smell it a mile off. And anyway, we kept getting compared to Kill List anyway, so why would I want to do that again? I honestly think a lot of it comes down to a lack of respect for the genre; a lot of industry people just see it as product and not worth any serious consideration. Therefore you get a lot of crap being made, just because it ticks certain commercial boxes. And so if you want to do something different, you run into difficulty. But there are definitely good UK filmmakers out there, so I just hope that everyone keeps plugging away and making films one way or another. Because if history shows us anything, it’s that good horror usually comes out of the independent sector anyway.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a director or work in the horror industry?

SH: It’s obvious, but my primary point is always to pay attention to your script. The writing really isn’t worth a damn in most horror films. And yet it costs no money to get your characters and dialogue written properly. So if you can’t write, find someone who can. Similarly, cast good actors – they may not be famous names, but you can certainly find people who can act. Trust me, it’s easy if the script is good – actors are desperate for quality material. Don’t make something that’s just by the numbers – we’ve all seen the classic horror films, doesn’t mean we want to see slavish copies/homages. Figure out what really scares you and put it onscreen – because if it scares you then odds are it will scare someone else. And for god’s sake yes, please try and be scary. Rape and torture are not scary, and I’m so incredibly bored with how much of that we’re seeing right now. It’s easy to be upsetting, but it’s not easy to be scary.

Q: So what are you working on at the moment?

SH: Jen and I are developing a script called No Man’s Land, which is a horror movie set in the trenches of WWI. We’ve had a lot of interest over that, so I’m hopeful we can get that going this year. I’m attached to a bunch of other projects as well, but that’s where I’m focusing right now. I’m also producing a documentary called Future Shock!, which tells the story of the legendary UK comic 2000AD. That’s proving to be a lot of fun, and the response to us making it has been great. That should be ready sometime next year.

Sean Hogan, thank you very much.

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 |