1) Where horror is concerned, what does radio give us that visual media cannot?
I don’t think it’s so much about what audio horror gives us as much as it is what it doesn’t. You can’t see anything happening in front of you, so your mind starts filling in the blanks. And nine times out of ten, whatever you’re imagining is worse than what they could have shown you. Plus, because you’re the one visually constructing these terrifying things, it’s like you’re a part of it- you are basically an accessory to whatever the author has concocted.
2) "Tape Deck" creeped us out. What is it about "Tape Deck" that creeps you out?
Ha... “Tape Deck” creeps me out because it’s based on something that actually happened to me! Not the whole thing, thankfully... At my last apartment a woman- a very drunk woman- somehow managed to get past my apartment’s front gate and ring my buzzer six or seven times, at four AM. Then she started screaming and yelling and pounding on the doors. I pressed the “Talk” button on my buzzer and told her to go away or I’d call the cops, and then I hit “Listen.” She said, “Is this your apartment, or mine?” like she was genuinely trying to work it out, and then she walked away. Now it’s funny, but at the time it really freaked me out. So I just thought, what if that situation had gone a bit differently?
3) What's the sound cue in your piece that you're excited to hear in foley?
Well, one of my characters actually doesn’t have any lines- he’s just a collection of sound effects, so I’m really looking forward to hearing his “dialogue” with the other characters: mostly the barely audible breathing sounds he makes. I hope everyone in the audience leans forward to try and hear it better!
4) What actor, from any time, has the best voice for horror?
You’ll think I’m weird for saying this (weirder anyway) but George S. Irving, the guy who did the voice of Heat Miser in The Year Without a Santa Claus is my pick. To be clear- I’m not scared of Heat Miser. I think he’s sorta cuddly-looking. But when I was a kid, George S. Irving read the audiobook of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, which was my favorite collection of scary folktales and urban legends. (I was a horror enthusiast from a young age.) For an eight-year-old, the books are unsettling enough, especially with Stephen Gammell’s illustrations that look like they’re reaching off the page at you, but Irving reading it out loud was actually sort of terrifying. He’s got this pretty friendly-sounding voice, but something about the way he reads these stories- like he’s really savoring them- is just really creepy.
5) What difficulties does a 10-minute constraint present when writing, especially where horror and/or radio are concerned?
With horror, you definitely want to give your story time to build up suspense and also to lull people into a false sense of security, but with only ten minutes, you have to pretty much cut to the chase. Also, there’s less time to establish characters for an audience to identify with, so the audience only has a few minutes to think “Oh, I like this guy, he’s an awful lot like me. I hope nothing bad happens to him,” before you do something really nasty to him.
The DEATHSCRIBE 2010 Jury will be dining at the Morseland.