Continuing my insight into the slasher genre in honour of my new novel Slasher, I threw some questions in the direction of Kevin Sommerfield and Austin Hinderliter, the creators of Don’t Go To The Reunion and the upcoming Dismembering Christmas.

WD: Anyone can see pretty quickly from your resumes that you’re horror lovers. What made you want to pursue a career in horror and how did you get started?

KEVIN: Honestly, I’ve never wanted to do anything else. I started with the horror genre at a very young age. I was 5 when I watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It scared the hell out of me and I wanted to go back for that feeling. As an adult my favourite sub-genre of horror, slashers, just weren’t being made much anymore and I wanted to see them have a return. I started working with director Steve Goltz on the slasher short Teddy and the love just grew from there.

AUSTIN: I started making movies really young. Mostly just messing around with a camera, acting things out and then discovering editing, and it just grew from there. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like movies, especially horror. I think The Evil Dead is the movie that most influenced me because it was just a bunch of kids in the woods making a horror movie to see where it took them and that’s really cool and inspiring to me.

WD: With Don’t Go To The Reunion and now Dismembering Christmas, it’s clear that you’re big slasher fans, so what is it about this sub-genre that is so enticing?

KEVIN: What I love most about the slasher genre is that the audience know exactly what to expect, it’s just filling in the blanks that make it exciting. Slashers were the biggest part of my childhood in the late 80’s and I just think they are a blast to watch (and make). Fun is something that I feel is sadly missing from the horror genre today.

AUSTIN: The first slasher movie I ever saw was probably A Nightmare on Elm Street and the scene with Tina’s bodybag in the hallway scared the hell out of me. I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with the suspense and violence that goes into a slasher flick. Couple that with a curiosity of who the killer could be and it usually makes for a pretty fun movie.

WD: So you know your slashers through and through, but how do you go about making one? What is key to creating a successful slasher movie?

KEVIN: Have a strong, likeable cast led by a tough-as-nails leading lady. Combine this with a terrifying villain and some gory deaths and you really can’t lose.

AUSTIN: Kevin is absolutely right. Combine all that with a decent amount of style and I think you’ve got yourself a pretty cool movie.

WD: The final girl is an integral part to the slasher movie - how do you go about selecting yours? What do you look for in the actress playing such an important role?

KEVIN: When it comes to final girl or leading lady, she must have a girl-next-door quality. She can’t be a supermodel and she can’t be someone the audience can’t relate to, she has to be “just like them.” It is harder than it sounds to find an actress that fits all of these qualities but I definitely think we found it with Kelli Anderson in this project (Dismembering Christmas)

AUSTIN: I think you need that sweet, girl-next-door type, but they have to be tough by the end and believably make the decisions that hopefully help them to survive. I like someone to root for. I think Kelli is going to be all that and more.

WD: And how about the villain? How do you make a villain truly scary?

KEVIN: The less you know about the killer, the scarier they are. Movies like Black Christmas and Halloween are truly scary because we know next to nothing about Billy and Michael, respectively. Bring out a chilling performance by an actor who isn’t afraid to go all the way and you’ve got yourself a memorable villain.

AUSTIN: I think like any good villain, we have to believe that this person or thing has their own, twisted view of the world and it has to, in some ways, make sense to us too, which is what disturbs us. It also helps for the villain to have a kick-ass, scary look to them that we can instantly recognise. That shape or outfit that we’re looking for when we look over our shoulder on the way out of the cinema.

WD: Fans of slashers know to look for brutal kills, but how do you go about filming a kill?

KEVIN: We do all of our effects in house and they are all practical. Some of it is trial and error. It is definitely a learning experience but seeing an awesome decapitation occur and knowing that we had something to do with the creation of that is an incredible feeling.

AUSTIN: I think the way to shoot a kill depends on the tone of the movie and how the scene plays out. Sometimes I want to see absolutely everything, but the suggestion of violence is often more effective. That being said, if you’re gonna show me blood, I want it by the gallons! But again, depends on the tone. I think there will be a good balance between suggestion and full-on gore in Dismembering Christmas. I don’t think Slasher Studios fans will be disappointed.

WD: Lastly, is the set of a slasher as fun as it looks?

KEVIN: Definitely! Especially the deaths. The cast is amped for fun and when you see these gory effects take place, it truly is movie magic.

AUSTIN: I’ve never been on a movie set that wasn’t fun, but how do you make it better? Cover everyone in blood and pull of crazy effects with no money. I love it. January (2015) can’t come soon enough.

A huge thanks to Kevin and Austin, be sure to check out Slasher Studios if you love a good slasher as much as me!

My novel Slasher is available from select retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Foyles on October 27th.


Watch the brand new trailer for my upcoming horror crime novel Slasher, released October 27th through Bad Day Books.

When a vicious killer mimics Hollywood slasher movies, Sergeant Joshua Matthews must overcome his painful past to end the brutal killings.



To coincide with the release of my new horror crime novel Slasher, I went behind the scenes with some of the awesome people that help make slasher movies such a joy to watch. Naturally, I went straight to Michele Mulkey, the talented special effects artist who has worked on some incredible films, including Constantine, Venom, Black Rock and Seed of Chucky, as well as TV shows such as Charmed and CSI Miami. I was lucky enough to have Michelle answer some questions for me on what it’s like to be behind the scenes of horror!


Okay first off, what drew you to the world of special effects makeup to begin with, and how did you start out?
MM: I first got into special effects makeup in college. I was studying Performing Arts/Theatre and I got to do all the SFX makeup for “Of Mice and Men” my first semester. I fell in LOVE with it! So after getting my degree, I moved to Los Angeles and went to a professional makeup school where I learned all the basics of makeup. After graduating, I jumped right in to my first film and it just snow balled from there.
You’re resume is impressive to say the least, and there’s a lot of horror in there - what about the horror industry appeals to you? And is it all blood and guts?
I think the aspect of horror that draws me to those films is the challenge of making all the “blood and guts” look as real as possible. I have always had a fascination with human anatomy and the fact that we are these complex living beings, yet we are very fragile as well. I live for the challenge of making my SFX makeup look as realistic as possible.  Adding in little details like fatty tissue into a huge cut or making sure that if a large artery is cut open, it bleeds the way it would in real life. Horror always gives me that challenge because you know that someone’s going to get thrashed in a horror film and I love the challenge of portraying injuries as “true to life” as I can.


You’ve worked on one of the most iconic horror slasher characters ever, Chucky. What was it like to find yourself working on such a legendary franchise?
I felt very honoured to be able to work on such an iconic horror character. I watched those movies growing up so it was kind of surrealistic to be sitting there actually working on one of the films.
You’re also currently working on a new slasher, Christmas Slay. Is there more to slasher special effects than just buckets of blood and chopped off limbs? And is the set always covered in red?
Yes, I made some of the special effects and prosthetics for that film and I was a blast working on them. And I think it depends on what kind of horror film it is. Sometimes the SFX are almost downplayed as to make the audiences minds freak out imagining what is going on. Other times, you actually do have a set pretty much covered in blood to the point that you have to wipe off your feet before leaving the main set so you’re not tracking blood all over the studio or location site.

It must be quite expensive to fabricate items. How much planning goes into making prosthetics and props to make sure they work and the director gets the shots they need? 

It is a very involved process. A lot of people really have no idea what goes into making something as simple as a small cut. It can be days of work just for that one prosthetic, so SFX do tend to be costly. And the materials needed to create SFX makeup and props are not cheap, so the material cost is a major factor in price as well. It takes so much planning when doing SFX, especially a movie. Usually the pre-production for SFX in a feature length film starts months before the first scene is shot. There are lots of meetings between myself and the production team to make sure that as the pre-production progresses and we get close to the filming date, everything is exactly as they want it to be. That way there are no surprises on set.
What do you think of the show Face/Off? It’s now on season 7 and so must have brought a lot more attention to the industry.
It is a “reality” TV show, so you have to keep that in mind but I do believe that it gives the audience a fairly reasonable idea of how complicated and involved SFX makeups can be. I know that since that show has come out, a lot of my friends and family would comment to me about how they had no idea how intense my job was.
Lastly, a two parter! First, what job have you been most proud of, and second, if you could work on a horror film/franchise of your choice, what would it be?
That first one is a tough question. I think that just about every film or TV show I’ve worked on has something that I loved doing or cast/crew I loved working with. I don’t know if I can truly pick a favourite…LOL! And as far as a horror film/franchise I would have to go with The Evil Dead series. I think that those films would have been so much fun to work on and they starred the man himself, Bruce Campbell! You just can’t top that!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Michele for giving me and you guys some insight into the world of sfx. I can’t wait to see her work in Christmas Slay!
Photo Set


Insane Horror Movie Themed Tattoo Art by Paul Acker

Paul Acker has been tattooing since 2000. Tattoo Artist/Owner of Deep Six Tattoo in Philadelphia, PA, his favorite style to tattoo is horror color realism.

Website - Facebook

I love tattoos and I love horror so I LOVE these!!

(via cultmasterflash)

Source: horroroftruant

The Return of the Slasher: Until Dawn brings the legendary genre to gaming

Did you see my blog on how Until Dawn is taking the slasher genre to video games? Go read it!


Slasher: A Joshua Matthews Thriller - Kindle edition by WD Jackson. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

You can now preorder Slasher, out just in time for Halloween ;)

I’m extremely excited to share with you all the official cover for my new horror crime novel Slasher, about a serial killer targeting hollywood slasher movie actresses and the sergeant who must overcome his painful past to end the brutal killings.
The book will be available from October 27th (just in time for Halloween) as ebook and paperbook. Stay tuned for preorder details and where you can buy your copy!

I’m extremely excited to share with you all the official cover for my new horror crime novel Slasher, about a serial killer targeting hollywood slasher movie actresses and the sergeant who must overcome his painful past to end the brutal killings.

The book will be available from October 27th (just in time for Halloween) as ebook and paperbook. Stay tuned for preorder details and where you can buy your copy!

Photo Set


The Four Horsemen Of Terror // artwork by David Murdoch (2011)

Featuring Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, Leatherface and Michael Myers.

Love these renditions of some classic slasher villains!

Source: dmurdoch.deviantart.com

In my upcoming novel Slasher, a serial killer is on the loose in Hollywood, and it’s up to the LAPD to find out who it is and stop the killings. 

The above image is the notorious Ted Bundy. Would you have known he was a killer if you had met him? Could you have seen the warning signs? Probably not, but here are a few key traits to look out for in serial killers. You know, just in case.

1. They tend to be very intelligent, well spoken, charming and often extremely polite.

2. They often have a strong dislike for their own parents, sometimes due to psychological or physical abuse when young, and may have had no father figure growing up.

3. They can be extremely manipulative. It might be hard to recognise if you are being manipulated, but you can still often pick up on this trait instinctively.

4. Psychopaths in particular can often show a lack of emotion, with little or no conscience, and see the world in terms of cause-and-effect.

5. They can be extremely voyeuristic, and show signs of obsession aimed at individuals.

6. It is thought that a love of starting fires or burning things can indicate someone with psychopathic tendencies.

7. Lastly, they are often single or divorced white men in their thirties.

This is of course just a simple and by no means exhaustive list, and there are of course exceptions to each rule. There are for example some very well known female serial killers. Gives you something to think about though. Have a look around you. Does anyone you know happen to fit the bill?


In recent months, there have been some big announcements from some big franchises that fans didn’t see coming. That’s right, Scream and Friday the 13th are coming to television! So in honour of these legendary slashers coming to the small screen and with my novel Slasher coming out soon, I thought I’d look into the history of television slashers.

When I think of the perfect tv slasher show, my mind automatically goes to Harper’s Island (2009).

I LOVED this show, and it was a one off that I will always remember. The premise was simple. A group of family and friends were clustered on an island for a wedding, but someone was out for revenge, and each episode a character was killed off in true slasher style. It looked great, played out well, had a great cast and truly lived up to its premise. However, it’s pretty much a standalone in the genre.

There was the Friday the 13th series in 1987, which managed to run for three years, and is still quite popular as a cult hit (and perhaps gives good reason for the franchise to return to tv’s) but it didn’t centre around Jason Vorhees. And what else is there? I did some research and came up empty handed.

Of course, there are countless murder mystery and crime shows, and these naturally sometimes share elements with the slasher genre. The Following has managed to embrace both genres, and for the most part works well (it’s a good show, worth a watch). It’s probably the closest thing we have to a tv slasher right now. But really, Harper’s Island was the only programme to really go for it, embracing the genre fully. It was a great success, and now is the perfect time for more!

Nobody knows what to expect from either the new Friday the 13th series or the Scream series (at MTV), but horror is big business on television right now. With American Horror Story, Salem, The Walking Dead, Hannibal, The Following and Hemlock Grove to name a few, viewers are really tuning into this new small screen wave of horror, so here’s hoping that the slasher genre is about to get a clever and well made series too. Keep your fingers crossed!

And tell me, will you watch Scream and Friday the 13th on tv when they arrive?

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