John Everson – Movies and the Masses

Friday, September 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

This week’s guest on Movies and the Masses is a Bram Stoker Award-winning author who specializes in tales of terror. I’m talking about John Everson, a guy whose well-crafted prose will have you hiding under the covers and sleeping with the lights on (assuming you can even get to sleep). His latest chiller is entitled Siren, and here’s the description straight from the back of the book:

Night after night, Evan walked along the desolate beach, grieving over the loss of his son, drowned in an accident more than a year before. 

Then one night he was drawn to the luminous sound of a beautiful, naked woman singing near the shore in the moonlight.  He watched mesmerized as the mysterious woman disappeared into the sea.  Driven by desire and temptation, Evan returned to the spot every night until he found her again.  Now he has begun a bizarre, otherworldly affair.  A deadly affair.  For Evan will soon realize that his seductive lover is a being far more evil…and more terrifying…than he ever imagined. 

He will learn the danger of falling into the clutches of the… SIREN.”

And if you like the sound of that, you’ll also want to check out the other novels and collected stories (as well as art and music) of John Everson. To buy the items listed below, just pop on over to John’s well-maintained official website:

But that’s not all, folks! John also shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations and a large stuffed Eeyore. There’s a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker courtesy of Charlee Jacob, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs and an acoustic guitar that he can’t really play but that his son Shaun likes to hear him beat on anyway. Sometimes his wife Geri is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it’s usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he holds down a regular job at a medical association, records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs photo collage art book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of ’70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.

John also loves to interact with his fans. To bask in his wisdom, be sure to visit either his Twitter or MySpace page.

Now onto the questions…

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie you remember seeing?
John Everson: I don’t remember which came first, but my earliest movie memories are of going to the local Drive-In to see those crazy Disney fantasy films like Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, Freaky Friday and Herbie the Love Bug. The films I remember “sneaking” as a kid (watching them late at night with my ear pressed against the speaker of the TV so my parents wouldn’t know) were the b/w horror movies that used to show in Chicago on a show called “Creature Features” — the old Universal films like Frankenstein and Dracula and Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein!

OGM: If you only had a few hours to live and could do nothing but watch five movies, which films would you select?
JE: Alien–the ultimate science fiction horror movie
Vampyres–the sexiest vampire movie
Beetlejuice–Tim Burton’s best movie, thanks to Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder.
Summer School–probably the funniest teen comedy ever – with horror movie effects!
Star Wars–the first movie I begged my parents to let me go see at the theatre.
I’d be inclined to add Caligula, just cuz I’ve never seen it. But what if it turned out to suck? I’d rather just count on Traci, I Love You.

OGM: What’s your favorite movie?
JE: I can’t pick a single one…I love too many movies in too many genres. from the “classic” period I’d pick Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane and Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train or Psycho. And I have watched Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. In the horror/sci-fi field, it would be a wrestling match between Blade Runner, Alien and The Terminator. But then there’s the horror-sci-fi comedy genre with movies like Dead Alive, Shaun of the Dead and The Fifth Element, which is so wacky and colorful I own it on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. In comedies, Summer School, Better Off Dead and Real Genius. I’m a huge Tim Burton fan–I love all his movies, especially Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. And I like a lot of French film, from ’70s Jean Rollin sex-horror pieces like Living Dead Girl, Fascination and Two Orphan Vampires to the work of modern French horror directors like the nail-biting crazy violence of Laugier’s Martyrs and Aja’s High Tension.

OGM: What’s your least favorite movie?
JE: My tolerance is pretty high, so I’ll sit through almost anything, but thanks to the cheap duplication / distribution of DVDs, there are a lot of really incredibly bad low budget movies out there… with ludicrous acting, cheap audio and a completely nonsensicle script featuring some of the most inane dialogue ever, Shower of Blood has to be one of the worst.

OGM: Do you subscribe to an online rental service like Netflix or Blockbuster Online? Why or why not?
JE: I don’t. I’m a horrible collector — a media hog. I like to own all the movies I watch. Heck, I still even own a copy of Shower of Blood (probably just to remind myself of the horror). I’m always looking for movie deals — I’ll buy used stuff on Amazon, or 4 and 5 DVDs for $20 offers at Blockbuster. I buy lots of movies and stack them up to watch later. That way, I always have a good variety of things sitting around that I haven’t seen and I can decide what I feel like on the spur of the moment at 11 o’clock at night, rather than being forced to make a decision on what to rent and being locked to that choice.

OGM: In 50 years, which modern movies do you think will be viewed as classics?
JE: Well… it depends on your definition of modern, but in the horror genre (which is my main focus, as a horror novelist), I think the modern classics of the past 20 years are Shaun of the Dead, High Tension, Scream, Ginger Snaps, Dead Alive, The Sixth Sense, Trauma, Cube, Saw, The Devil’s Rejects, and The Locals. As much fun as it was to have Jenna Jamison make a horror movie, I don’t think Zombie Strippers is going to make the cut.

OGM: If you see a movie based on a book, are you then more or less likely to read the book?
JE: Less, I suppose. I can’t think of a book I’ve ever read because of a movie. Usually if I know a movie is based on a book, I do try to read the book first, though.

OGM: Who’s your favorite celebrity?
JE: Milla, Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder top my list for women, though I have to give props to Angelina Jolie. Johnny Depp and Bruce Willis for the guys. Though you always know Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson are going to be fun to watch.

OGM: Is there any actor or actress whose movies you actively avoid?
JE: He keeps getting roles in movies I want to see because of their subject matter, but I wish Keanu Reaves would go away. Same with Nicholas Cage. They both remind me of wooden figures that someone forced to life. And if I never had to see a movie with Sarah Jessica Parker, I’d die happy.

OGM: How do you feel about all the remakes of older and classic films?
JE: I think it’s lame. The reason we loved the classic films was because they were done so well the first time. Despite whatever flaws they had, they achieved that “something” that made them really memorable and special. So it’s kind of an exercise in futility to remake them — you’re never going to equal the originality that we loved in the first film, even if you make the effects better, so why do it again? I wish Hollywood would spend more time adapting newer novels and short stories to film because there’s an amazing wealth of good fiction out there that has never been filmed. Instead, they just keep making the same movie, over and over and over again. It’s ridiculous.

OGM: Which actor or actress do you find most attractive?
JE: Milla, Christina Ricci and Bridget Fonda for me. I think Katie Morgan is pretty fun, too.

OGM: Do you read movie reviews? If so, what critics do you read most often, and why do you like them?
JE: I read them occasionally…and I’ve written them too, for newspapers and magazines. I’m a Chicagoan, and a University of Illinois grad, so I’ve always sworn allegiance to Roger Ebert. While he gained a reputation nationally as a critic thanks to the Siskel and Ebert: At The Movies TV show, he is both a graduate of my alma mater and a local guy, and I’ve always found his reviews thoughtful and insightful. I’ve been proud that he’s “one of ours” and I’ve enjoyed reading his reviews for half of my life now.

OGM: What type of people annoy you when going to a movie theater?
JE: People who talk during the film…especially the ones that do commentary on the movie: “Oh, she shouldn’t go down those stairs. C’mon, everybody knows you don’t go down the stairs when the lights are out…”

OGM: Do you consider movies to be works of art?
JE: Absolutely. The best films take us to both visual and mental places that no other medium can. They’re transcendent.

OGM: What type of candy or drink do you consider essential to your movie watching experience?
JE: A movie is not a movie if you don’t have freshly popped buttered popcorn. My friend Lon and I periodically spearhead “horror movie nights” with his brother and our significant others. The two of us pick out the selections to “torture” our family with, and then the group of us camp out in front of the big screen in the basement and show movies for the evening. And Lon always brings his five-foot-tall popcorn popper when it’s at my house–with coconut oil. Because…you just can’t watch a movie without real movie popcorn!!

Once again, I’d like to thank John Everson for taking part in this installment of Movies and the Masses. Be sure to visit his website, browse the content, and then buy one or more of his books. Next week, we’ll present yet another fascinating guest, but here are some links to previous interviews to help make the wait more tolerable:


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One Response to “John Everson – Movies and the Masses”

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April 9, 2012

Oddfilms Ike

I met John Everson at a book signing a couple of years ago and he’s one heck of a nice guy. If you like outrageous depictions of gore in your horror novels, look no further than John Everson’s The 13th. I won’t give any spoilers, but our horror book club was reviewing The 13th and I remember all of the most whacked out people in the room really loved the literary carnage. All in all, tremendous fun.

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