Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and thought “Now that was original! Who thinks this shit up?” Re-imaginings (as Hollyweird would prefer you to call them) are fun but an original idea is what gets people off. These days everything has been done before, heard before, remade before and an original thought is few and far between. It is a challenge to shock or scare someone.
Here is what I think goes on in the film industry. There are probably six or eight executives sitting around a table smoking cigarettes in a dark room, with a single uncovered light bulb hanging down in the center. Then one brainiac says “I got it! There’s this house right? And it’s haunted. Now these teens go into it because…uh…fuck….anyone want to help me out here?” Then a second guy pipes up “Because they are getting out of the rain?” Then the first guy says “Yes! There you go! It’s raining! Fact is, make it a storm! So there is this escaped teenager killer inside because it was his childhood home.” A third guy tries to intervene “Uh, sir. Hasn’t this been done before? I think you are thinking of Halloween and every other horror movie ever made.” Then the first one retaliates “Fuck you Phillips! I’ve been asking for ideas all day and the only thing you can add is ‘Hasn’t this been done before?’ I haven’t heard shit from you until now! Screw it. Let’s just remake some shit. The younger kids will never know.”
If and when I do that, please put a stake through my heart (remember to use either Ash or Hawthorne wood only kids) and close the casket on me.
When you are starting a story, start writing about a location you know. Anne Rice is great about that. I learned about detail from her. Her locations are so detailed in her stories that you can spot them when you walk down the street! It adds realism to your story. Stephen King has Maine, Anne Rice has New Orleans, Lovecraft had Massachusetts and I have Texas.
One thing is for certain, and that is Texas can be a very creepy place. With a history of cannibal Indians, Bigfoot, ghostly lights, UFOs, chain saw murderers, pirate ghosts, the chupacabra, grave robbers, the first and only recorded case of poisoned Halloween candy, the Kennedy assassination, the Branch Davidians, Bonnie and Clyde, the UT clock tower shootings, the only known funeral museum in existence, Mexican satanic kidnapping cults, (great place to raise a family, don’t you think?) there are plenty of weird things for a goth kid to have a field day. Did I forget to mention that King Diamond chose Dallas to call home? That alone should speak volumes.
Next, write about something that scares you. You want to know what scares me? The 5 o’clock news! There is nothing more frightening than listening to your local news report. If the one story about the home invasion doesn’t scare you, join it with the next couple of stories. I bet the story about how the police chase down the freeway where the suspect jumped out and invaded a home before going upstairs where he finds the family dog eating the remains of two corpses wrapped in plastic, will. (See how I did that right there kids?) If that doesn’t work you’re going to have to just watch reruns of Charles in Charge and wait till shit comes to mind.
Lastly, if nothing else is working, think about giving the Phantom a new opera house. What I mean by that is, don’t rewrite something, reinvent something! That is the reason that shitty stories like Twilight have done so well. Everyone has seen countless vampires sleeping in coffins and walking around at night, but we’ve never seen them walk around during the daytime, hold down relationships, and drive BMWs. (Don’t hate because you didn’t think of it and you’re not cashing in. Everyone can come up with a bad idea and sell it for the right amount. Remember, “You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter!”)
Join me next time when I preview my newest tale that CNN inspired; “Lesbian nazi biker zombies with unlimited calling plans rallying for tougher immigration laws and prefer eating pancreas to brains”. Chilling!
This week’s album I’m jamming to is the Cold Blue Rebels’ “Love of the Undead” , and movie is “The Conjuring” (not independent, not entirely original, but a decent flick). SUPPORT INDEPENDENT HORROR!
Until next week, rest in pieces.