The Horrors in the Closet

Sirens Blog Tour

The Horrors in the Closet

Adam L. Bealby

I should be here to talk about The Fisherman’s Catch, my new black comedy featured in Rhonda Parrish’s rather lovely Sirens anthology. But I’d like to talk about movies instead. Also, my gran.

See, I write odd-ball horror and weird fiction. And I think my gran’s to blame. You know how children’s minds are fragile malleable things, easily influenced by external stimuli? Well I think my gran unknowingly did a number on me. She let me watch a ton of freaky horror films in the late eighties and early nineties. That’s a good thing, though. Really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It all started with a box in the closet.

Actually, it started with blood gushing out of a toilet. There I was at the tender age of 9 watching Psycho II, when my gran realizes this might not actually be suitable viewing and rushes over. She stands in front of the TV to blot out this traumatic childhood event, but the red from the screen is still showing through the white nightgown stretched between her legs, so how could that be any better? Least that’s how I remember it. I might have unconsciously embellished the memory for Carrie-esque effect.

But… it really starts with the closet. Fast-forward a couple of years and I find a big box of VHS video nasties in my gran’s closet. To this day I don’t know where they came from. For the next few months, every time I stay over with her to give my parents a bit of a break I wait until she’s gone to bed, then I slip one of those bad-boys in the cassette player and settle down to have my nerves fried. There were some really bad horror movies in that box. Also, some great ones, like John Carpenter’s The Thing, and to a lesser degree The Howling.

And when I’m through watching them, where do I go next? I ask my gran whether I can rent a couple of films when I’m next visiting. When I’m done choosing, she’ll pay for them at the counter. She’s at least going to glance at the covers, if not the certificate. It has to be something with either a cartoony or fantasy vibe, to take the heat off the monsters and ghouls and bloody mayhem lurking therein.

So I end up watching movies like Creepshow (with its EC Comics cover), Troll, Troll II, Ghoulies II, Fly IIPet Sematary, IT, Body Parts, Killer Party, Monkey Shines, Child’s Play II, The Lost Boys, Bad Taste, Critters I-IV– the list goes on. Later, I manage to track down those weird and wonderful Troma movies.

And y’know, I think all those bad to worse to downright wrong video-nasties (even nasty-lite, as many of them were) did something to my brain. I see elements of them in my work, but all mixed up in the creative grinder. The macabre sits alongside the fantastical. Arch satire goes hand-in-hand with gallows humour. And the occasional detour into magic realism is perhaps just me trying to exonerate a heap of nonsensical movie plotlines.

So, thanks gran. You might not know it but every time I put pen to paper, I’m thinking of you.

Oh, I also write rollicking adventure-stories for children. Those I pen for the little boy whose mind was prematurely corrupted by a blood-drenched nightie.

You can catch up with my latest raving @adamskilad or on my blog:



SIRENS -- cover by Jonathan C. Parrish

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One thought on “The Horrors in the Closet”

  1. Yes! I had a similar experience coming up. I miss the bad days of horror VHS tapes that promised so much, but were essentially mysteries as to their content and quality. Can’t wait to read your story!

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