My first novel, DARLING, will be released soon from Bad Moon Books. To celebrate, I got thoroughly drunk, thrown in jail, shived, married to a fellow inmate, and then released on good behavior.
I’ve also created a new page on this site devoted to DARLING. But my parole officer suggested that I place a preview of the novel up here as well and I thought that was a swell idea.
Below is the opening to DARLING. I hope you enjoy it.
I find politics absolutely absurd in this day and age. Part of it is the mouth-frothing vehemence that people exhibit when holding to their views (or, rather, the views their party tells them they should have). Another part of it is due to what we choose to get up in arms about. The fact that a discussion about gay rights, free speech, and the rights of corporations did not take place at a town hall meeting or on “Meet the Press” but rather revolved around a chicken sandwich tells me all I need to know about the modern state of American political discourse.
But I understand. With predator drones now allowed to spy on American citizens and the constant renewal of the Patriot Act, it’s much easier to purchase or not purchase fast food than to, I don’t know, write your Congressman.
If I thought our government was evil and intelligent (rather than just clueless and incompetent), I’d cry conspiracy theory and say this is all done on purpose, that it’s one elaborate misdirection while the Criss Angel of Washington pulls yet another trick on us. Of course, I’m too busy watching “Breaking Bad” to actually make that statement, but still…
It was a gray, damp morning at a pancake house overlooking a trash lined canal when I first read the news. The previous day had been Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, a giant city wide outdoor party to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, and the cobblestones were littered with beer cans and food wrappers. It was easy to see how the city might be beautiful, might twinkle and shine as the waters of the Amstel River rolled passed its gables and under its bridges but, even had the sky had not been clogged with rainclouds, the smell of stale beer and the rancid flowers of aluminum and paper blooming in the streets put to rest any concept of “quaint” or “charming.”
I was on my way to India, taking advantage of the flight’s path to eke a couple of days out in cities I had never visited. My phone didn’t work in Europe and I had struggled to find a Wi-Fi signal to check my email. As I sat hunched over a massive pancake watching flyers and banners and bottles drift by below me, I found a weak signal and connected.
And there it was, waiting, hiding in the lines of code that made up an unrelated email message. Just a singular mention, a phrase that meant nothing when I first read it.
“Michael Calvillo has passed.”
The past month has been insane. There are usually periods of time like this every so often for everyone but, for me, they always seem to crash down at the same time that I’m attempting to accomplish a few things. One of those things being my “Women In Horror Month” interviews. As such, I kept having to push things back and back. So I apologize to anyone who’s been reading these so far. But I especially apologize to my final guest, actress Lynn Lowry.
So, two weeks after the month was over, here’s my final Women In Horror interview.
If you’re a horror movie fan, you’re familiar with Lynn. Born in Illinois but raised in Atlanta, Lynn got eaten by the horror machine while performing in stageplays in New York. The list of directors that she’s worked with reads like a who’s-who of horror icons: George Romero, Lloyd Kaufman, Jonathan Demme, Paul Schrader, David Cronenberg. From SHIVERS to CAT PEOPLE, Lynn has been in some of the most iconic horror films of the twentieth century, something she didn’t even realize until a few years ago. Her love of the genre, and of independent filmmaking in general, has kept her in the limelight with films like GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION and the 2010 remake of Romero’s THE CRAZIES, a film that she also starred in the original version of.
The following is a transcription of a phone interview, so any mistakes or oddities are my fault.
I first met Michelle on the set of GEORGE’S INTERVENTION, a low-budget horror comedy I co-wrote and co-produced (renamed by the distributor GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION and available on ITunes and Amazon, wink wink). Skin pink, hair matted to her head by gallons of fake blood, eyes bloodshot from the sixteen hour shoot, and she still had a smile on her face. In fact, it’s rare to find Michelle not smiling.
Of course, she has a lot to smile about these days. She’s become a cult icon amongst a certain set, a Scream Queen drenched in low-budget gore. Attending conventions with her and seeing a growing fan base wade through the crowds to meet her, it’s easy to see how films like THE CELLAR DOOR or Kevin Tenney’s BRAINDEAD have permeated the lexicon of low-budget horror.
And, through it all, the New Mexico native keeps her positive energy high and attacks her career goals with tenacity.
So, I give you the next to last interview for Women In Horror Month.
(Note: Though Women In Horror Month ends today, I have a special interview that will be posted in the next few days to really close it out. Check back for that interview to learn the truth of what it’s like to work with Romero, Cronenburg, and Demme).
My goal with these Women In Horror Month interviews was to get them each up in a timely manner, spacing them out throughout the month. Unfortunately, life often has different plans.
So, I have to apologize, mainly to Martel Sardina. Martel was gracious enough to answer my questions and I haven’t yet posted her interview. Which is a shame, because Martel’s interview turned out to be very in-depth and, I have to admit, quite badass. From her work as an editor to delving into a ground-breaking comic book project, Martel has seen several sides of the industry. She also has a penchant for hopping on motorcycles and vanishing into the American Frontier. In other words, like I’ve been discovering with most women in the horror genre, Martel is difficult to label.
Let’s start with a pretentious question that the tweed jacket stick-up-their ass types would ask: Why horror?