I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
For the sake of Twitter characters and in looking for something a little more punchy, I’ve now decided to call this feature The Graveyard Shift. (#GraveyardShift)
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org
A new shift is about to begin and the warden is…
Dean M. Drinkel
Amadeus (Original Soundtrack Recording) By Neville Marriner
I would choose the soundtrack to one of my favourite plays/films – Amadeus. When we were researching our film/tv series about Napoleon II, my co-writer and I went to Vienna and we visited the place where Mozart lived before he died (they told us it was a house but it was actually part of an old monastery) and listened to a small orchestra perform some of his chamber music. It was a special night, good company, fine food and as much champagne we could drink – we travelled there by horse-drawn carriage as well! Mozart composed my favourite opera (The Magic Flute) and some of his stuff is very very dark indeed, especially his Requiem. I must add that I’m also a massive fan of that other famous Austrian musician – Falco – who is probably best known for his seminal international hit Rock Me Amadeus. If I’d had a bit to drink while I was packing for the graveyard then I’d probably choose something to boogie too such as Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Aha or even Abba!
The Lament Configuration
(With my tongue firmly lodged in my cheek) Originally I was going to answer: Justin Bieber. But I won’t as I’m a fan of his music (seriously! And if you didn’t know, I can bang out a mean Baby at karaoke) and you never know, we might get to duet on a track sometime in the future (Will.I.Am are you reading this?) – so for my luxury, after some serious thought, I’ve decided to bend the rules ever so slight and plump for the Lament Configuration from Hellraiser (1987). I do promise though not to open it until I can’t take the pain/pleasure anymore and the proverbial really hits the fan. Communication would only then take place with whatever came through from the other side…whether they be angels…or demons!
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
I was introduced to Clive’s work through Hellraiser but the first book I read of his was Weaveworld (1987). I have to say that it was like another world (pun intended) opened up to me. I’ve certainly never looked at a tapestry or carpet the same way since. The first time I read it I was literally gobsmacked, it felt so real even though some of it was as dark as hell and I loved all the stuff at the end with ‘Uriel’…there was so much I learnt that was so new, so fresh – the Fugue, the Scourge…and what great characters the Hag, Magdalene and Immacolata were…very sexy in fact (I’ve always thought the same of the Female Cenobite from Hellraiser or the Borg Queen from Star Trek – I met Alice Krige once and I literally couldn’t speak – a proper fanboy moment). I’ve made no secret of the fact that because of Clive I started to write…I’ve ordered myself another copy of the book recently and I can’t wait to get stuck in…there’s been rumours for years about a tv series but we’re still waiting…perhaps I should see who owns the rights…I so want to be drowned by that weave.
The Magus by John Fowles
This is a book that has meant so much to me that I read it every year without fail having been originally introduced to it at University. It may not appear to be a horror book at first glance but once you get lost in it, you realise it is. It is very dark and about mind games, tricks and illusions, brainwashing, false memories and the main character’s (Nicholas Urfe) descent into madness. Everything in The Magus (1965) is real but at the same time nothing really is. The ‘relationship’ between Urfe and his ‘tormentor’ Maurice Conchis is very very subtle and clever…as I get older I see more and more in the story and that’s why I can’t get enough of it. It’s set on a Greek island, a place I’d love to visit more (I’ve only ever been to Rhodes but fell in love with mainly due to the film, The Talented Mr Ripley – 1999) and once we’re allowed to safely travel again I’m going to go. I’d like to make a film (or series) of this book and then hopefully we can bury Woody Allen’s quip about the original 1968 version once and for all – Woody was asked if he had the chance to live his life again, would he – he answered: “…yes and I’d do everything exactly the same with the exception of watching The Magus.”
The Dark Half by Stephen King
I freely admit I’m not a massive fan of Stephen King’s written though fully admire what he’s achieved personally and for the genre as a whole but his books just never resonated enough with me like Barker or even James Herbert (sorry Jim you didn’t make this list, had we been able to bring a few more titles then you, Graham Masterton (who once wrote a foreword for one of my anthologies), Guy N. Smith (I love the Crab stories and would love to work in that universe one day), Bret Easton Ellis and Ramsey Campbell would be here – I salute you all) but when I came across The Dark Half (1989) on my mother’s bookshelf, I realised I was holding something special. This story of a parasitic twin really appealed to me and when I saw George A. Romero’s movie (released in 1993) starring Timothy Hutton, my jaw fell open as it was just so damn perfect (I will add the caveat that I haven’t seen the film in a few years so perhaps it hasn’t aged as well as my memories. It’s interesting that right now I’m working with a Scottish producer on a horror movie which centres around a writer and though I didn’t realise when I first read the script – and yes, I could just be projecting – I totally saw connections with The Dark Half. We haven’t got the cash to have Mr Hutton cameo unfortunately but we might see if we can drop in some easter-eggs or something…
Hecuba by Euripides
By the time I shuffle off this mortal coil (a good few years yet I hope!) I want to write/direct a Greek play. I can’t give a definitive answer as to why but I’ve started to really get into it as an art form. There’s something about it which is really ‘turning me on’. Talking to a theatre I was asked recently whether I had ever seen a Greek play and I said no but that this wasn’t true as I realised I’d actually seen Eddie Redmayne and Claire Higgins in Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse in London in 2004. What is also funny about this is that a couple of years later I was in a members-only club in Soho with an actor friend of mine and we ended up having a couple of drinks with Eddie and talked at length about several scenes in the play – I love him, he’s a great guy with a wicked sense of humour. A tremendous talent. Hecuba is an extremely dark play and includes one character being blinded and several children being murdered. There was a scene in the version I saw where the children’s body parts are stuck in a see-through sack and dragged across the stage – complete with bloody tracks being dragged behind. Gruesome yes but also sublime mastery. We had done something similar when I directed a version of Clive Barker’s play Frankenstein In Love in London a couple of years previously – we flayed a character and had his skin nailed to the wall. The way we managed to do it…wow, it was so damn realistic/scary and resulted in several walkouts during the run…happy days!
The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco
I’m going to sneak this in as technically it’s not exactly a horror novel BUT it is full of murder, mystery and mayhem so I’m sure it qualifies. The book was published in 1980 and is a medieval religious mystery crime thriller which went on to sell something bordering 50 million copies – it’s actually one of the most successful books ever published. Considering that some of the text is quite obscure / out there and many of the passages left in their original (and some quite archaic) languages makes that a very impressive feat. I’ve always been a massive admirer of the Italian author-philosopher Eco and have read most of his books (the English translations anyway) and if it was possible I’d love to get hold of the tv rights to his ‘follow up’ novel, Foucault’s Pendulum (1988) because that too is something special. The Name Of The Rose became a hit film in 1986 with Sean Connery and Christian Slater and then a tv series in 2018 which is quite good too with Rupert Everett playing a real mean sonofabitch inquisitor. Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus. Indeed.
Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
Why were we never taught this at school?!!! In 2006 a friend asked me to go with him to see this play at the Globe. As it had one of my favourite actors in it – Douglas Hodge – and the fact I’d never been to this theatre before, I said why not – even if the idea of standing up for a good couple of hours didn’t exactly appeal to me. Thank goodness I accepted his offer. This is what theatre…horror theatre can do. I was (and still am to this day) blown away – it has everything: murders, cannibalism, graphic violence, betrayal, war, sacrifice, beheadings, rapes and inter-racial relationships. It’s fu@@ing awesome! We stood close to the stage and got splattered with blood when Titus’ hand is lopped off but we didn’t’ care – we wore that blood as some kind of ‘war wound’. The play reminds me a lot of paintings by Caravaggio (my favourite artist) and if you haven’t then you should definitely check out Julie Taymor’s 1999 movie of the play called TITUS starring Anthony Hopkins which is also bloody brilliant – yes, her directing is quite stylised (there is a scene at the beginning when the armies return to the city and it’s all very choreographed / dance like) but it’s well worth a couple of hours of your time.
Charly9 by Jean Teulé
I’m a (minor) scholar of history and French history really fascinates me and at long last, I’m able to put my degree/education to good use with a couple of historical / period drama projects I’m working on but a couple of years back I was browsing in a Parisian bookshop and I saw on a table the cover of this amazing book – the young king, Charles IX, his face covered in blood (check out the cover too for the graphic novel which is even more bloody!) and I thought – what the hell is this. I bought it immediately and though my French wasn’t perfect (and I suppose it still isn’t haha) I read the book from cover to cover…it’s based on the true (and crazy story) of the French Wars of Religion and the 1572 St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre which resulted in many many deaths of the protestants in Paris by the Catholics led by Charles and his mother (and possible witch – no, I’m not making that up) Catherine de Medici. There’s a great quote on the graphic novel which sums both this book and Charles himself following the massacre: “…appalled by the enormity of his crime, he lapses into insanity. Bleeding profusely, reduced to mere skin and bones, by the end of his life he is hated by all of Europe…although, at one time he did have a good heart.” I don’t believe many of Teulé’s works are translated into English sadly but if your French is passable, you won’t do much worse.
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Burroughs has been a constant throughout my writing career and I’ve been fortunate enough to compile/edit two tribute anthologies to him and his writing (The Junk Merchants Volumes 1 and 2) through Alex S. Johnson’s Nocturnicorn Press. The first time I read Naked Lunch…it was like a sledgehammer smashing me right between the eyes. I branched out to some of the other Beat writers but they didn’t appeal to me as much as Burroughs…(scarily some would say) we seemed to be on the same wavelength. For me, he is the master. A lot of Burroughs work is very dark and that interested me, especially when I read that he believed when he wrote he was possessed by ‘the ugly spirit. I’m not a fan especially of the ‘cut-up’ technique but Naked Lunch resonated with me. One of the first stories I ever wrote at college was called The Red Haven (the title of which came about because I misread the name of a Throwing Muses album) and had a character called Jonathan Hodes who was totally based on Burroughs – he was a kind of junkie occult detective in a long coat and hat…from Burroughs I progressed to reading the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, the stories by Henry Miller and Albert Camus but also began watching a lot of David Cronenberg’s ‘body horror’ (including a filmed version of Naked Lunch (1991) coincidently) movies and the fact that David also appeared in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990) seems to make my Graveyard Shift come aptly full circle…
Dean M. Drinkel
“Dark, tortured, sinuous…the tales that Dean M. Drinkel has to tell you will freeze your soul!” – Barbie Wilde, horror author and actress.
Ambitious, Dean M Drinkel is a published author, editor, award-winning script-writer and film director and was Associate Editor of FEAR Magazine – he has also contributed several non-fiction pieces to various publications. In 2018 he established the horror press DEMAIN PUBLISHING and in 2019 was selected by the BFI to attend two project labs (writing and producing).
Dean has over thirty credits to his name in the field of genre writing (including short stories, collections, novellas, anthologies); has written and directed fifteen theatrical plays in London and the South East of England and during the years 2002 – 2008, he wrote and directed several short experimental films.
Dean moved to Cannes, France in 2016 to write a feature film script with Romain Collier – “The Tragedy Of The Duke of Reichstadt” about the son of Napoleon. This subsequently won two screenplay awards (Best Historical Drama / Best Independent Spirit) at the Monaco International Film Festival and is now in development as a major European tv series. An award-winning cast has signed up (including actors from Belgium, France, Germany, Austria and Denmark).
In 2017 Dean returned to directing with the short film “15” for Midas Light Films (screened at the Solaris Festival in Nice, the Med. Film Festival and the Malta International Film Festival amongst others) which in November 2018 was awarded “Best European Film” at Malta.
Dean will soon be making his feature film directing debut with the British comedy film (also for Midas Light) “Chocolate Potato” which will be followed up by the horror film “Werewolf On A Plane” (as writer/director) for Pink Flamingo Films and “Trapdoor To Murder” for Mystic & Mainstream Productions.
Currently Dean also has a number of feature film (‘Hamilton’ for Lionstar as an example) and tv projects (‘Season In Hell’ with the Rimbaud / Verlaine Foundation) in development.
Dean has won five awards (thus far) for his script-writing, one for his directing and was runner-up for the 2001 Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award (International Emmys) with his teleplay “Ghosts”.
You can follow Dean on Twitter @deanmdrinkel