Christopher M. Walsh was the winner of Deathscribe 2014 with his original radio play Fracture Zone. He’s returned to frighten us further with a piece for Motel 666. Read on to learn about some of his inspirations!
Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
I like reading horror fiction. I’ve been a Stephen King fan since I was 11. I do NOT enjoy watching scary movies, but I always want to know what happened in them. I love the back stories and mythologies. My favorite genre is Weird fiction – everything from H.P. Lovecraft to China Miéville. I can’t get enough of that stuff.
What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
When I was about eight years old my parents were watching the movie Ghost Story on TV and they told me I had to stay in my room until the movie was finished because it was too scary for me. Being curious, I fabricated some excuse to come into the living room. I happened to walk in right at the moment that Alice Krige transforms into a hideous corpse-monster and causes Melvyn Douglas to die of a heart attack. I think I may have started crying.
Two years later, I remember my dad telling me that we were going to watch a movie by “the same guy who made E.T.” That movie was Poltergeist. That clown doll freaked me right the fuck out, but not as much as the guy peeling his whole face off.
What is the main challenge to creating short form horror stories? Have you done any horror writing before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about writing a horror piece (no spoilers!)
I like elaborate back stories, and I like stories that take their time to immerse the audience in its setting. These are expensive luxuries in short fiction, and so the challenge is to come up with creative ways to convey the sense of depth and history without spending a lot of time indulging in it. Sometimes, though, this makes things even better, because if you give just a few hints, your audience will fill in the details themselves. What’s fun about a project like Motel 666 is that each piece is actually a part of the history of this weird-ass place.
How have motels played a role in your life?
They really haven’t. I have not spent much time in motels, beyond a handful of family trips.
Any real life paranormal experiences in your life or your family’s?
Nope. My dad claims that the house he grew up in was haunted, but the stories he told were not very convincing. We spent a couple nights there once when I was sixteen or seventeen. The place was old and a little creepy, but nothing happened that made me think my dad’s stories were legit. I’ve never seen anything that could convince me there’s such a thing as ghosts… but then again, maybe I just tell myself that so I can sleep at night, and convince myself that those red points of light in the mirror aren’t a pair of glowing eyes…
Motel 666 opens June 5 – get tickets here!