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 John Squires, Writer for Blumhouse.com!
How long have you been a horror fan, and what attracted you to the genre?
Like most horror fans who grew up in the ’80s/’90s, it was the video store that I’d have to credit with igniting my love for the genre. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of drooling over rows upon rows of horror VHS tapes at my local Blockbuster, and it was the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequels — particularly THE DREAM MASTER — that I’d have to credit for making me a fan at such a young age. Freddy Krueger was just so cool, and through him I realized how much fun watching horror movies could be. It’s hard to pin down a specific year, but really, I’ve been a fan my whole life.
What is your role at Blumhouse Productions? Can you tell us a little about your job?
I’m a freelance writer here in the horror community, and my role at Blumhouse is contributing a weekly post about horror toys. I may be 29 years old, but I’m still a big time toy collector, and it’s been a real treat getting to write about all the awesome action figures and collectibles that have come out over the years. I’ve thus far written about everything from My Pet Monster to horror movie toy cars, and I hope to continue being the Blumhouse “toy guy” for as long as you’ll have me!
What is your career background, training, school, etc?
I have no formal training as a writer, and in fact I never even went to college. School was just never for me; I always preferred to learn on my own. Somehow, I managed to turn a complete lack of training (and frankly, in the beginning, a complete lack of talent) into a full-time career as a writer, and though I rarely like to pat myself on the back, the truth is that I made it to where I am by practicing day in and day out, and never giving up.
I started a little blog called Freddy in Space back in 2008, and posted daily on there up until 2013. Writing almost nonstop for those five years, I really started to develop a passion for it, and when I lost my day job in 2013, I decided to take a few months and see if I could turn that passion into a career. Thankfully, I had built up enough of a name in the community thanks to my blog that I was able to get work with some of the biggest horror sites on the net — FEARnet and Dread Central, to name a couple — and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m truly fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living, and I still pinch myself on a daily basis.
What/who is your favorite monster and why?
For reasons mentioned up above, Freddy Krueger is my favorite monster. He’s the one who held my hand and escorted me into the horror world, so to speak, so he’ll always be the one for me.
What is your weapon of choice?
An axe. Specifically, the double-headed axe that Billy wields in SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. I’ve always loved that thing. So much so, in fact, that I bought my own replica. I’ve never used it. I swear.
List your five favorite horror films.
That’s always a tough one, because my favorites are always changing. But let’s see. Off the top of my head, at this present moment in time… THE SHINING, THE FINAL GIRLS, HALLOWEEN III, PSYCHO II, TRICK ‘R TREAT. Of course, if you asked me again tomorrow, I’d probably tell you a different five.
What was the first horror movie you ever saw, and what was your reaction?
My memory has never been all that great, and I’d be lying if I said that I specifically remember the first horror movie I ever watched. But one of the earliest memories that sticks out in my mind is watching JASON GOES TO HELL with my dad. During the scene where the coroner eats Jason’s heart, my dad decided it was a bit too much for my brother and me, so he ripped the tape out of the VCR and didn’t let us finish it. A wise parenting move on his part, looking back, though even at that age I wasn’t so much grossed out as I was impressed by the effects. And the fact that I technically wasn’t supposed to be watching it, well, that just made it that much cooler.
Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn.
On Halloween 2012, I went all out and transformed myself into Tommy Jarvis from FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. Shaved my beard, glued a bald cap to my head, rocked a pair of skin-tight jean shorts… the whole nine yards. One of my prouder moments, for sure.
Name one horror celebrity — dead or alive — you would love to meet, and tell us why.
Wes Craven, for sure. He’s always been a personal hero of mine, and I’m bummed that I never got the chance to meet him. Out of anyone who’s ever built a career on making horror movies, I think Craven had the best mind for it. He was such a smart guy, and to spend a few hours having some drinks with him and talking about the genre would’ve been a dream. If it weren’t for Wes Craven, I’m not even sure I’d be a horror fan today, so I wish I could’ve thanked him and picked his brain a bit. If there’s ever been any true master of horror, it was Wes.
Please recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed.
My whole mission here in the community is to bring exposure to films that others may have overlooked, so in the spirit of that, I’d like to recommend THE DIABOLICAL. Directed by the incredibly talented Alistair Legrand, it’s a haunted house movie that flips expectations and brings some genuine ingenuity to the genre, and though it’s certainly a flawed film that falls apart a bit towards the end, there’s so much ambition to it that it’s hard not to appreciate it. So if you’re looking for something different to watch, something specifically that nobody is really talking about, check out THE DIABOLICAL. While you’re at it, seek out some of Legrand’s music videos. Fantastic stuff.