Our ongoing series of interviews with the Blumhouse crew continues, in which we share our collective passion for all things scary, discuss our personal and career histories in the genre we all know and love, reveal our favorite films, and maybe even share a few spooky stories.
Today we sit down for a Q&A with Gregory Burkart, Senior Staff Writer for Blumhouse.com!
BLUMHOUSE: How long have you been a horror fan, and what attracted you to the genre?
Gregory Burkart: Until I was about 7 years old, I was afraid to watch any horror movies at all, but I was still fascinated by them — I read books and magazines, cut out the ads in the newspapers, recorded the radio spots, etc. So one night I finally forced myself to watch THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON… it scared the hell out of me, but I suddenly realized how much I loved that feeling. I’d just faced a monster and survived! I’ve been chasing after that thrill ever since.
BH: What is your role at Blumhouse Productions? Can you tell us a little about your job?
GB: I’m a full-time content writer for Blumhouse.com. My specialty is creepy and disturbing stories from real life, urban myths (like creepypastas), hauntings, cryptid sightings and other alleged paranormal phenomena… I’ve always been attracted to those kinds of stories.
BH: What is your career background, training, school, etc?
GB: I’ve done a little bit of everything, but since I graduated from Journalism School I’ve been writing professionally for 20+ years. In that time I sold a couple of screenplays, had a couple of short stories published, and wrote/produced short-form content for TV Guide Network. After that, I worked as music reporter for FEARnet for 7 years. Along the way, I developed a side career as a music composer, and I’m still writing music for film today.
BH: What/who is your favorite monster and why?
GB: Definitely the Wolf Man… and this will sound kinda creepy: I had a near-death experience about 5 years ago, and during that time I had a lucid vision of myself running through my neighborhood on all fours like a wolf, attacking and eating my neighbor’s pets. When I regained consciousness, I had blood in my mouth. It was my own blood, of course, but still… freaky, right?
BH: What is your weapon of choice?
GB: Hmm… I normally would say a chainsaw, but I had a very nasty accident with one once (don’t ask), so I think I’d go with a double-edged axe or a hunting knife.
BH: List five of your favorite horror films.
GB: In no particular order: ALIEN, THE THING (’82), THE SHINING, DAWN OF THE DEAD (’78) and Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU.
BH: What was the first horror movie you ever saw, and what was your reaction?
GB: Since I already answered that with BLACK LAGOON, I’ll tell you the first thing I watched that truly horrified me: the TV spot for MAGIC in 1978. Fats, the dummy, chanting in his high, creepy voice: “Abracadabra, I sit on his knee… Presto, Change-o, and now he is me!... Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed… Magic is fun!… We’re dead.” Then his eyes roll up in his head. I had nightmares for months. I just knew Fats was hiding in my room each night.
BH: Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn.
GB: It was my first and only official Don Post mask, the Gill Man from BLACK LAGOON. I didn’t have any costume budget left, so I accessorized it with an old trenchcoat, scarf and hat. I also did myself up as a demon for a party last weekend, which looked pretty decent… I think.
BH: Name one horror celebrity, dead or alive, you would love to meet, and tell us why.
GB: Vincent Price. No question about it. I’d have given anything to come to his house for dinner (he was a master chef, as you probably know), help him prepare a huge multi-course meal, and talk about art (he was a top-notch art collector as well) over several bottles of wine.
BH: Please recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed?
GB: BONE TOMAHAWK. Hell yeah. It’s an epic, gritty old-school western that suddenly turns into the most extreme horror film I’ve seen in years. When it was over, I couldn’t believe what I’d just witnessed.