Scott is a WildClaw member and regularly contributes his skills both onstage and off. You may remember being terrified out of your seat (or running to wash the infected blood off your pants) during the run of his play, The Revenants, earlier this year at the Athenaem Theatre. Scott shared his twisted ideas again with us by penning Hanger On for Motel 666.
Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
Yes, a thousand times over. Horror is what made me want to be a writer, actually, ever since I was a little kid. To me, when it’s done well it’s the most imaginative genre. As an adult, my favorite genre is probably body horror, because the ways in which the body and mind affect each other terrifies me. I love a good ghost story, too.
What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
I’m sure I came across it in many other places beforehand, but my earliest memories of really getting into horror was the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Shit gave me nightmares, but I always wanted more. I was also that 7-year-old who was really into Beetlejuice.
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?
The main challenge with any short piece no matter the genre is developing character. You can create moments and action in plot in a short time, but character is trickier. I usually find I develop character mainly in how they treat/respond to other people; rather than telling us who they are, their interactions imply it more clearly. Writing a short horror piece means you have less opportunity for a slow burn, but hurling characters into an intense situation is pretty revealing of who they are. As a playwright, I primarily write plays that are genre horror is that somehow take inspiration from the genre; this is my fifth production with WildClaw. Thematically, they interest me but I also think horror is a uniquely theatrical genre; it invites bold design choices and offers different kinds of conflict than we usually get to see onstage.
How have motels played a role in your life?
I haven’t stayed in a lot of motels in my life, but HOTELS. Yes. Love old hotels and their histories, and I’ve stayed in multiple hotels that are supposedly haunted. In the town where I went to college, there’s a little family inn that’s apparently one of the most haunted inns in the US. My wife and I once stayed in the room that’s said to have the strongest energy. And…yeah, we got a story to tell our grandkids out of that night.
Why did you choose to make the characters sisters rather than friends? Do you think that it is inherently scarier to have a family member impacted over a friend?
Dealing with family rather than friends adds a different kind of stakes to a high stress situation. In a sense I do think it’s inherently scarier because your family is your blood, so especially if you are close with your family, the level of obligation you feel toward them is extremely high, coupled with history and love and complications and guilt, etc etc that you don’t necessarily have in the same way with a friend. If your family is threatened, it’s an existential threat to your DNA. That’s fucked up.
THREE SHOWS LEFT! Motel 666 runs through June 28 – get tickets here! Performances will be held at the DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph Street, with shows Thursday–Saturday at 7:30pm and closing Sunday at 2:00pm.