Saturday 11 May 2024

Interview with Dice Rollen - By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in horror films?

Oddly enough I didn’t truly get into horror until two years into doing YouTube, so about 2016. There were hints throughout my life that I would develop a tremendous love for the genre though. I’ve always adored Halloween, the season, and the classic Universal monsters. 

The first horror movie that I remember seeing, that burned itself into my brain, was Gremlins (1984) and before that, I had gone to Universal Studios in California when I was 4 years old. The Amity Island portion of the tram ride gave me both a phobia of great white sharks and animatronics as well as a fascination with scary things.

If you met me as a child it would be a stark contrast when it comes to horror. If anything looked even remotely scary in a movie I would cover my eyes. Now it’s pretty hard to scare me.

How did you get involved in reviewing fantasy/horror?

It was about the same time that I really started to pay attention to horror movies through my YouTube channel. I had asked on a YouTube advice forum for ways that I could improve my content and someone there pointed out that I seemed to like horror so I should focus on that. So reviewing horror and fantasy started with The Chronicles of Prydain and The Black Cauldron (1985). Since then I’ve crossed 100 horror movies that I’ve reviewed.

Tell us about your podcast.

Brain Mucus was a pretty basic idea initially. I had met a lot of creative and inspiring people at the point where I was considering starting the podcast. But I wanted to do something different from other horror-based podcasts. The idea for the series The Horror of Mental Health came about when I became more aware of the link between mental health and horror movies. Horror movies can be comforting, cathartic, and like coping mechanisms for many people. Exploring how different films could be seen through people’s eyes is fascinating to me.

I finally created Brain Mucus, and subsequently, The Horror of Mental Health, when a documentary that was supposed to cover the very same subject fell through. I figured that was the time to move ahead with my podcast.

The idea is to bring a guest or guests on each episode with a horror movie of their choosing to discuss it and how mental health is woven into the story and characters. The goal is to destigmatize mental illnesses and hopefully help listeners through the filter of these horror movies. It also gives my guests a chance to share their experiences and be vulnerable.
How would you classify the genre you review?

Horror is such a wide umbrella and I have a lot of fun reviewing the fringes of it and everything in between. I’m not terribly picky about what I’ll cover as long as it has elements of horror. The fun of it is that horror, much like comedy, is extremely subjective.

I classify horror as anything and everything from a deeply unsettling, thought-provoking A24 film to a cheesy, 80s, man-in-a-bad-monster-suit film.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

Just like with movies, books are a fantastic way to escape and explore. Through them, you’re able to experience things you may not otherwise. Or wouldn’t want to, but you have that filter of seeing through a character’s eyes. Many of the horror and fantasy movie fans that I know are also avid readers and that love of reading typically starts during childhood with books like Goosebumps or Stephen King.

There are also a plethora of options for consuming books now, like audiobooks and digital readers that make it accessible even if you’re busy.

What inspires the movies you to pick certain movies? (I was very impressed that you picked In the Company of Wolves and The Hunger).

Thank you! I’m happy to cover movies like that. I don’t have a strict set of requirements for a horror movie to be covered. I do like to shine a light on underappreciated or forgotten films. Anything that I can have fun with, dissect, and/or grabs my attention. All I really require from a movie is for it to allow me to put my creative and comedic spin on it.

The hardest movies to cover are the ones that I can’t do much with, I can’t make jokes about it or it’s just not interesting to me. The easiest, no matter how bad they are, are the ones that inspire so many jokes and creativity that I have to write quickly so I don’t forget anything. If I can write a script in one sitting that’s when I know it will make for great content.

What do you think the main differences between American horror and British horror are?

From what I’ve noticed thus far in my exploration, I need to delve more into British horror, is that it isn’t afraid to be dark and gothic. There are castles and curses and classic stories. In America, people love their masked killers and shock rather than the building of tension. There are exceptions, of course. More often than not American horror will provide a happier ending. British horror doesn’t shy away from a somber ending.

What are your favorite horror books?

I’m a sucker for books that cover the history and behind-the-scenes events of horror movies, like Shock Value by Jason Zinoman and The Horror of It All by Adam Rockoff. I’m endlessly intrigued by information like that.

I also collect Stephen King novels and Goosebumps books. My mom is a King fan and I missed out on R.L. Stine as a kid so I’m making up for it.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

My friends and viewers are probably sick of me talking about these movies, but my absolute favorites are Phantom of the Paradise (1974) and The Frighteners (1996). Followed by The Wolf Man (1941), Evil Dead II (1987), and Re-Animator (1985).

These are the movies that pushed me towards the genre and showed me how fun it can be.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a podcaster/movie reviewer?

There are a few that I’m rather proud of. Reaching 1K subscribers has been a dream of mine since I started my channel and to keep growing past that has been tremendously exciting. This has also allowed me to monetize my channel thus making reviewing movies a legitimate career for me. I’ve been present on YouTube for over 10 years and that’s not something I could even conceive when I decided to start being a content creator. Getting the chance to interview and collaborate with so many talented creators. Receiving messages from people telling me that I made them smile when they were having a bad day is something I can’t properly express in words.

Do you have any advice for new writers and podcasters?

Don’t be afraid to be bad at it when you start out. The important thing is to create something and keep learning as you move forward. Listen to constructive feedback, ask other writers or podcasters for advice, and ignore the haters. Building a supportive circle of friends that you can bounce ideas off of helps a lot.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

I think it’s a great opportunity for writers to be able to get their work out there when they otherwise wouldn’t have that chance. With self-publishing being so readily available it allows practically anyone to reach their dream of being an author without receiving dozens of rejections. There’s more creative freedom to be had from what I’ve heard.

Self-publishing is a method I’ve considered for when I’m ready to publish my own novels.

What are your current projects?

I’m always working on something. My primary projects are growing my Brain Mucus podcast with The Horror of Mental Health series and different review-based episodes sprinkled in, covering more horror movies on my channel, and a couple of ideas for documentaries that I’m hoping to make a reality in the near future. One would cover the history of a specific kind of horror category and the other would be covering a real asylum that I grew up not too far away from. These would definitely be a longer and more in-depth format of content than I’m used to, but I’m excited about them.

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

First and foremost, I’m a complete geek. The persona that you see in my videos or hear on my podcast is me. I’m just as sarcastic, off the wall, and goofy as I seem on the screen.

I’m an extremely passionate person who loves to share things that I enjoy or find interesting with others. I’ve been told that I have a unique way of viewing horror and presenting it in my content. I’ve said many times before that as long as I get to create something, I’m happy. And if I can make one person laugh per day then I’ve done my job as a content creator.

I love interacting with fellow creators and viewers and exploring this genre as much as I possibly can.