Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Michael McCarty​ & Jody R. LaGreca​ Bloodless interview for Zero Signal Magazine

The Michael McCarty​ & Jody R. LaGreca​ Bloodless interview for Zero Signal Magazine .. thank you Jim Dodge


(The cover of Zero Signal Magazine )


(Bloodless and Bloodlust author Jody LaGreca)

Vampire Mike

(Bloodless and Bloodlust author Michael McCarty … beware, he bites!)


(Bloodless cover)


(Bloodless cover)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Interview with Dennis Etchison

This is a reprint of my interview with Dennis Etchison, I believe that appeared in “Horror Garage” magazine …

Interview With Dennis Etchison
By Michael McCarty

Peter Straub called Dennis Etchison “one of horror’s most exciting, most radical and innovative talents.” George Clayton Johnson called him, “One of the greatest living writer of psychological horror.” This greatest can be found in a number of his work including such classics as Darkside, The Dark Country, The Death Artist, California Gothic, Double Edge. He has several awards including the British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards.
The California writer started writing short horror fiction in the early 1960s hasn’t stopped since. Highly respected for being an editor as well he is an author, he has edited a numerous short story collections and anthologies.
Currently, Dennis Etchison is adapting the original “Twilight Zone” television series into one-hour radio dramas –for worldwide syndication His latest release is “Don’t Turn On The Lights! Volume 1: The Audio Library Of Modern Horror,” a CD limited to 100 signed and numbered copies which featured Dennis reading his stories “Dog Park” and “Inside The Cackle Factory.”

MICHAEL McCARTY: Why do you write horror?

DENNIS ETCHISON: It’s easy to give a glib answer to a question like that, “I can’t write it anything else.” But the truth of the matter is, I never set out to be a horror writer. I never thought of my stuff as horror — I was writing the kind of story I thought would be good, and then I went about to sell it. As the years went by, I was selling more in the horror field.

During the ‘70s I had been selling science fiction, but things started really get going for the in horror. I don’t mind it, but it was by no particular design. I’m writing the kind of story that reflects what I see, think and feel when I look out the window here. I don’t think, “What are the elements of a horror story? And how should I go about writing it?”

MM: When you started out writing, you were writing science fiction for such magazines as “The Magazine Of Science Fiction And Fantasy,” and “Orbit.” Was there any reason that you particularly wanted to get out of science fiction or were you more comfortable writing horror?

ETCHISON: I think it’s just the way that your mind develops over the years. I had been a lifelong science fiction fan, loved it, had some familiarity with horror. I was a fan of horror movies and certain frightening stories that I’d read like “An Occurrence On Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce.
I just found that after the so-called “new wave” movement in science fiction, which was in the late ‘60s – early ‘70s – there seemed to be a reaction against that. Science fiction seemed more conservative or right wing both in its politics and its literary techniques and at the same time there opened a renaissance in the horror field. It was started by the small press magazines like “Whispers” and eventually the success of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist.”
Then there was Stephen King and there came to be a renaissance in horror. More editors were interested in looking at horror than the science fiction editors. The remaining science fiction editors seemed to be fairly conservative and traditional in their standards so I found greater acceptance among horror so called dark fantasy editors.
You know when you finish a story you go down the list of places to send it and when it comes back you send it out to the next place on the list and it seemed that I was getting more acceptances in the horror field and then also as I said before, I think your personality, your view of the world changes, as time passes. I just began to see my point of view reflected in the horror field more than in the science fiction field.

MM: Early in your career, do you get your start in men’s magazines?

ETCHISON: Yes. My first short story sale was published in a men’s magazine called “Escapades” when I was still in high school. I’ll never forget going down to the little store near my folk’s house to buy a copy when it came out. They didn’t want to sell it to me it was a nudie magazine with naked women in it. I showed them that I was in the magazine and they finally sold me a copy.

I didn’t set out to be just a science fiction writer or any particular kind of writer. So I would purposely would try to sell a story to a slick magazine, a genre magazine and a mainstream magazine. I would attempt to alternate one after another; every third one would be one of those, so I wouldn’t get typecast. It turned out that I would get typecast, I’m only known as a horror writer now. That is partly because the other markets had dried up.

MM: Another early magazine you were published in was the men’s magazine “Cavalier.” That magazine also launched the careers of Stephen King, Mort Castle and Bentley Little. What kind of short stories did you write for them?


ETCHISON: It turned that one of the editors at “Cavalier” was Douglas Allen who had been the editor at “Escapades.” Writers sent to them because they paid better than the science fiction magazines did. I sold them a horror story and a science fiction story – after they rejected by the science fiction and horror magazines. Unfortunately no one saw them (laughs). I don’t know who was reading “Cavalier” at that time. It was one of the magazines that were following in the wake of “Playboy.” For a few years there was a whole bunch slick would-be sophisticated magazines in the mold of “Playboy.” “Cavalier” in the early’70s was the best of the lot.

They paid a little bit more, not as much as you think — about what one could get for a short story today. There has been no increase to account for inflation. Economy suicidal to continue to write short stories they pay essentially what they paid when I started.

I knew that Steve King had stories in “Cavalier,” I talked to him once about that, we compared prices of what we got for our stories. We were both aware of each others stories, but we weren’t in the same issues.

MM: Talking about short stories, one of my favorite stories you wrote is “The Late Shift,” in which a man discovers the local 7-Eleven is staffed by zombies. What was the inspiration for this terrific tale?

ETCHISON: I was riding in a car with a couple of friends. We saw someone walk in front of us at a stoplight that had that shambling walk that a half-dead person might have. I made some remark about “That is really a dead person and they just keep the person going through medical means.” Within thirty seconds of laughing and talking I had explained the whole story.

They take this people and they inject them with some kind of “Super Adrenaline” right in the heart muscle so they can get an extra couple of days work out of them after they die. Afterwards, after I thought about it – the theme seemed clear – it was anti-capitalist story. The idea was how the capitalist system can extract its pound of flesh from you in labor even after you died. There is that mysterious period of time, two or three days between the time you died and the time that you’re cremated or buried. In a true capitalist system, which is interested in utilizing its resources to the max, they might find a way to make money off of you during that time, before your body is planted in the ground.

MM: You did novelizations of such books as “The Fog,” “Halloween 2,” “Halloween 3,” and “Videodrome.” Did you get a chance to meet John Carpenter or David Cronenberg. And if so, what were they like?

ETCHISON: The main reason I took those assignments because I was a fan of theirs and I wanted to be able to meet them. For “The Fog,” I worked very closely with Carpenter and company. There were in post-production of the film and was near where I lived. I arranged to go there to meet with them and view the reels of film that they were cutting – I saw a lot of material that wasn’t in the finished film. There is material in “The Fog” novelization that is shot but not in the final film, there are words which were on the final soundtrack that were indecipherable and the release prints. I worked with the soundman on the film. Who played me back the words that were being spoken, separated from the other sound, so I could hear that was actually being said. I tried to duplicate the color scheme, the visual style, the camera movements, everything about “The Fog,” so the book would be a true reflection of Carpenter’s style and attitude. I had the benefit of ask him questions of what he was getting at in a particular scene. In a sense, the book is a sort of an expansion of the film, rather than just a rip off of it.
The same thing with David Cronenberg. I really didn’t want to do another novelization at that point, I absolutely adored Cronenberg work. I had a chance to film to Toronto, where he was editing “Videodrome” and I got four different drafts of the script. I saw a footage that had been shot and not used. I saw a reel that was edited in different order. I was able to talk to the director at some length at the studio and at his home about the film. I very much enjoyed that. I will always be grateful that it allowed me to meet Cronenberg – a wonderful artist and someone who I feel close to artistically.

MM: Last question, what is your favorite, most perfect Dennis Etchison book or short story? And why?

ETCHISON: The one that hasn’t been written yet. I have never written something that I felt hit the target 100%. Each time I try to get a little closer to the center of the target. I have yet to score anything that I would consider first rate. Some of them are closer to what I had in mind, than others.
When I look them over, I would say that The Dog Park isn’t bad, The Detailer isn’t bad, Red Dog Down isn’t bad, Inside The Cackle Factory And The Dead Cop isn’t bad. But that is because they are more recent and to where I am now. But probably ten years from now and be appalled. When I was putting together my 40 year retro collection for Stealth Press called Talking In The Dark, I had to look through all my stories and the ones I had tentatively listed to be in the book, were often a great disappointment when I re-read them. Sometimes I thought they were appallingly were poorly written. They are not as you remember them because you are more sophisticated now than you were then. Your standards keep on improving, your ability keeps improving.

If you liked the Dennis Etchison interview and want more interviews with Horror icons such as George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, William F. Nolan, Richard Matheson, John Saul, check out

35 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers




Filed under Uncategorized

Modern Mythmakers: My Mega Book Of Interviews

Modern Mythmakers

I am proud of MODERN MYTHMAKERS! Bursting with joy! Imagine the late, great John Hurt in ALIEN, but instead of a monster jumping from my chest, it is happiness…

MODERN MYTHMAKERS is my greatest hits of interviews: the best of the best I’ve done. Besides CONVERSATIONS WITH KRESKIN which I co-written with The Amazing Kreskin, it is one of best books of nonfiction to date.

Also the ebook is only .99 cents … less than a dollar folks 🙂

Here is a low down the book:

Modern Mythmakers is a collection of 35 interviews from horror and science fiction’s most influential writers and filmmakers, including Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Richard Matheson, John Carpenter, John Saul, Joe McKinney, the Night of the Living Dead crew (including John Russo, Kyra Schon and Russ Streiner), Elvira, Whitley Strieber, Christopher Moore, and many more.

Delve into the minds of civilization’s best horror and science fiction authors and filmmakers. The best interviews of my journalism career….

Line-up: Foreword by Alan Dean Foster; Forrest J. Ackerman; C. Dean Andersson; Adrienne Barbeau; Ray Bradbury; Ramsey Campbell; John Carpenter; Dan Curtis; Elvira; Rusty Fischer; Neil Gaiman; Mick Garris; Laurell K. Hamilton; George Clayton Johnson; Jack Ketchum; Dean Koontz; Herschell Gordon Lewis; Thomas Ligotti; Bentley Little; Graham Masterton; Richard Matheson; Joe McKinney; Christopher Moore; Night of the Living Dead Crew: John Russo, Kyra Schon, & Russ Streiner; William F. Nolan; Ingrid Pitt; Linnea Quigley; Fred Olen Ray; John Saul; David Snell; Darce Stoker; Peter Straub; Whitley Strieber; Timothy Zahn; Afterword by The Amazing Kreskin.

“Interesting interviews, masterfully compiled…” – Horror News


(Photo of Neil Gaiman by Michael McCarty)

“Modern Mythmakers is a horror-fiend’s dream – a bubbling cauldron of genre info straight from the mouths of the madmen and women we fans worship.” – Kristopher Triana, author of Growing Dark and head of Tavern of Terror

“I was struck by the skill with which Michael McCarty conducts himself. He should have his own nightly talk show or at least a radio program dedicated to his work.” – Zero Signal Magazine

“… beware the dark, and what lurks in the minds of those you read and watch in the wee hours. Highly recommended.” – Hellnotes

“Modern Mythmakers is a healthy-sized bowl of horror-themed Wheaties coated with inspiration that’ll fuel your writing and filmmaking passion. And for the straight up fan boys and girls, it’s full of spoonfuls of trivia regarding classic horror and science fiction film and literature.” – Horror Novel Book Reviews & Promotion

Reviews on Amazon:

“What a fun and enlightening read”
By Matthew S. Drinkwineon April 2, 2015

What a fun and enlightening read.. You’ll be searching for books, and movies you never knew existed.. I loved it.. I may just read it again.

From the Minds of Giants
By Holly A. Zaldivar on March 12, 2015

No matter where you open this book, a rainbow of information bursts from the pages. This is not your normal interview book of some of the greatest writers, actors, filmmakers and entertainers. Insightful, unusual and personal questions are poised in a conversational manner, prompting the most fascinating responses from those interviewed, all included in this one-of-a-kind book. In addition are pictures rarely seen by the public. Several of those interviewed have passed away since the initial publication of this book, so it’s an amazing collection that belongs on every horror lover’s bookshelf, whether you’re a connoisseur of the genre or a hard core aficionado.

Intriguing read!
By Book Loveron March 7, 2015

Why read nonfiction? Does it really matter where an author gets an idea? Does it matter what drove the inspiration for a novel, a story, or a film? After reading Crystal Lake Publishing’s Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers, the answer is a firm yes. It does matter. Why? These people are bizarre yet normal. They are just like us, but they are somehow different. These are the people that can see into that place, interpret it, and hand us back some of our most frightening nightmares.


(Author Michael McCarty and Modern Mythmakers)

The first interview features the science fiction/ fantasy master Forrest J Ackerman. His perspectives over the decades give the reader a strong sense of where we’ve been in genre, and where we might be headed. When he talks about scaling down his valuable memorabilia collection, it’s not with a sense of loss, but a sense of priorities. His enthusiasm has not dimmed a bit, and we could all use that reminder. This is fun, people! C. Dean Andersson’s interview opens with the same: “I find it fun.” Adrienne Barbeau’s contribution was one of my favorites. From her role in The Fog to Carnivàle, she’s never been afraid to tackle the bizarre and make it her own.


(Photo of Adrienne Barbeau and John Carpenter)

Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers works so well because it doesn’t confine itself to one side of the artistic fence. Writers and filmmakers bring their craft alive, and complement one another. We see the intersection of these two art forms, and how they bring stories to life in different, but equally powerful ways. John Carpenter, Dan Curtis, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jack Ketchum, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Bentley Little, Kyra Schon, and the many others interviewed for this collection tell us that this creature that we love, horror, is one and the same no matter its form. Celluloid or paper, beware the dark, and what lurks in the minds of those you read and watch in the wee hours. Highly recommended.

Modern Mythmakers – Rungs in the Ladder Leading to the Brass Ring
By Bruce J. Blanchard “Darkenwulf” on March 4, 2015

We all have dreams and ambitions and look to finding out secrets of success, the steps leading up the ladder, and the private inner thoughts in the psyches of those who have made it. Step inside the theater pictured on the cover and go back to their origins, the pains of fame, and what drives them onward from Forry Ackerman (Deceased, Rest His Soul) to the major writers we have come to love and know through their works of horror to those involved in the production business and the reality of being there. The questions posted by Michael McCarty are insightful and conversational. The stories told in the interviews both inform and surprise. No guarantee in the span of a short interview you will come to know the whole person (that would be ridiculous), but you come to understand the path leading to their success. They are the modern mythmakers, the names we’ve known, the books we’ve read, the acting we’ve seen, and the films we’ve come to adore. The interviews are windows of insight into their journey.
One thing must be mentioned and that is the effect of the interviews on those of us who read them. All 35 are on a kind of Red Carpet, posing for pictures and having their say. We who are trying to get out there, anywhere, in our ambitions will be learning what it takes to make it on the Red Carpet ourselves. Yes, we look for book and film lore, natch! Also, we are looking for a kind of advice helping us on our own journeys based on those who made it and grabbed the brass ring. Whether you are looking for that which you have never known and would love to discover – or – just finding what comes next for yourself, Modern Mythmakers is the book you are going to want to read and delve into when that brass ring of yours appears to bear illusive dimensions. Let the past teach you and your experience might yet teach others. Or, just enjoy it for itself and what it says, that too is enough.


(Photo of Elvira & Cassandra Peterson)

Pure Gold!
By Angelaon February 27, 2015

The interviews in Modern Mythmakers are fabulous. They are both informative and entertaining. While reading this book I saw a few questions that I want to add to the interviews I do for this blog. Any fan of the horror or sci-fi/fantasy genres will find something to love about these interviews. And the advice from the authors and filmmakers are pure gold for anyone who is trying to get started in these careers. A solid 4 star read.


(Bentley Little)

Horror-themed Wheaties!
By Chad Lutzkeon February 25, 2015

“Love is the answer to everything.” Not exactly something you may expect to hear coming from Ray Bradbury, but Michael McCarty manages to dig in and bring out such sides to otherwise seemingly dark individuals. As the subtitle suggests, Modern Mythmakers picks at the brains of thirty-five different contributors to the horror and science fiction genres: Writers, actors, producers, and directors. Many of whom you will undoubtedly be very familiar with, and others, not so much. Nevertheless, I found a great interest—and even encouragement—in most of the interviews within.

The interviews with those I wasn’t familiar with made the reads no less entertaining; Joe McKinney, for example—a name I was unfamiliar with—a well-read police sergeant turned author, with quite a story to tell, had me literally laughing out loud at one point in the interview when answering McCarty’s question: “If you could be a monster, what would you be?”

With those I was familiar with (which includes nearly every name on the roster), I found great satisfaction in hearing tidbits of little-known facts and trivia. There’s something about hearing this type of stuff straight from the horse’s mouth that tickles pink the fans of movies like Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, Blood Feast, and Return of the Living Dead and books like Ghost Story, Logan’s Run, Manitou, Intensity; the list goes on. You’ll hear stories like the filming of Trilogy of Terror’s Zuni fetish doll (if you’re anywhere near my age you know you’ve had a nightmare or two with those giant teeth chasing you) and read the extensive resume of Herschell Gordon Lewis, only to find out he’s got a lot more up his sleeve than just ridiculously bright red blood and bushy eyebrows.

Being not just a reader and a fan of film, but a writer, I found quite a bit of encouragement from the testimonies of so many who have paid their dues and earned their place. Jack Ketchum’s advice on what to do next after a writer has published their first novel I found quite inspirational, if not just plain humorous: “Don’t be afraid of writing the second one. Don’t get worried that you’re a one-hit wonder. That can really mess with your brain—I know it did for me. Chances are that if you gave birth to one decent novel, your hips are wide enough to give birth to another. “

And right when I’m feeling good and inspired about my future in writing, Peter Straub comes along and strikes my spine with some chills: “Ghosts accompany us everywhere, and the longer you live, the more of them are following you around.” Thanks, Mr. Straub.

It’s not so much the questions that are asked, as the responses. Some of the same inquiries are made to many of the interviewees but with obviously varying answers from the minds of those who have fed your nightmares and imaginations for decades. Yet even redundant questions—like asking William F. Nolan what the F in his name stands for—leads to an answer revealing a great bit of trivia concerning part of the creation of his own swan song, Logan’s Run. And, of course, Whitley Strieber. When given the floor, Mr. Strieber doesn’t hesitate in reminding us all that his alien abduction was indeed very real, he’s not lying, and he would appreciate some slack here.

Modern Mythmakers is a healthy-sized bowl of horror-themed Wheaties coated with inspiration that’ll fuel your writing and filmmaking passion. And for the straight up fan boys and girls, it’s full of spoonfuls of trivia regarding classic horror and science fiction film and literature. If I have anything negative to say about Modern Mythmakers, it’s that some of the interviews are dated. So here and there you’ll find things that have long since passed—books that have been out for years, movies that have long since left the theater, or even video store. By no means does this take away from the meat of the book, and by knowing that going in I think you’ll enjoy it all the more. But if you’re looking for interviews that reflect upcoming recent news on the interviewees, this is the wrong book. If, however, you’re looking for inspiration and trivia on your favorite contributors to the various fields concerning horror and Sci-Fi, then you’ll feel right at home with Modern Mythmakers.


(Photo of Kyra Schon from Night of the Living Dead)

By pvlimbaughon February 24, 2015

Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmaker, is a brilliant read, so informative, so entertaining!! Michael McCarty is a stellar interviewer, knowing all the right questions to ask and eliciting some real gems of information.

Within these pages you’ll find film stars, authors, TV personalities and even film crew members all with anecdotes regarding their field. Advice is given, secrets are spilled, it doesn’t get any better than this. A few of the “Mythmakers” are no longer with us but their words will live on forever.

There’s both an entertaining Forward written by Alan Dean Foster and Afterword written by The Amazing Kreskin, they should not be ignored. As an added bonus ebook readers will be treated to additional interviews by Jeffrey Thomas, Frederik Pohl, Kim Newman, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker from Dark Shadows, and lastly Surprise, Surprise, Charlee Jacob interviews Michael McCarty, how cool is that?!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ‘behind the scenes’ book and highly recommend it.

Reviews on Barnes & Noble:

1 richard matheson

(The late, great Richard Matheson)

5 Stars

Reviewed by Suzanne Cowles for Readers’ Favorite

Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers by Michael McCarty is an entertaining anthology of some of the most creative minds to conceive horror, science fiction and fantasy fiction. Follow this published freelance writer who has been nominated for the Bram Stoker awards into the minds of Ray Bradbury, John Carpenter and the like. For McCarty, the anticipation of asking a famous legend questions to delve into their psyche is exhilarating and scary. Yet his probe into the unknown is conversational and objective. Each great author, director and actor has a story to tell. They unabashedly deliver insight into a complicated industry and reveal the secrets that have led them down the path to success. In addition to the 35 interviews, there is an introduction by the sci-fi legend, Alan Dean Foster who has authored at least 20 books. Some of the insightful interviews are reprints from magazine articles that McCarty wrote. Learn what is success to people who envision monsters, UFOs, weird science and conspiracies. Is it a surprise that Ray Bradbury wants to live on Mars? Probably not, but I was amazed to find out that Elvira once dated Elvis.

If you are looking for something other than tabloid celebrity fodder, then grab a copy of Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers by Michael McCarty. Every interview will inspire and delight, even if you are unfamiliar with the books or movies cited. It is a great way to discover new material and explore what makes story creators tick. For me, John Carpenter is the greatest and I was thrilled to know that he is scared by the same things that scare the average person. Without McCarty’s interview, I would have never known that the creator of maniac killer Michael Meyers was cut from the same cloth.

Amazon Link:

Barnes & Noble Link:

Modern Mythmakers Cover

(photo of Modern Mythmakers)


Filed under Uncategorized