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 Jerry Smith, Writer for Blumhouse.com!
I’ve been a lover of all things genre since the age of 5 or 6. It was a way to practice pure escapism, going to the theater and living vicariously through whatever survivor would defeat Jason, Freddy or any other form of evil. I was never a sport nut or into being popular at school, I was perfectly content writing sequels to my favorite movies and spending every free moment I had watching horror films. It’s a powerful thing, the horror genre and it’s always been a significant and profound part of who I am as a person.
What is your role at Blumhouse Productions? Can you tell us a little about your job?
I’m a freelance contributing writer for Blumhouse.com. What that means is that I pitch a dozen or so ideas at once and tackle the ones that the gang approves. I love doing it and it’s led me to everywhere from Austin, Texas for Fantastic Fest to sitting down to chat with Henry Rollins. I’d like to think that I’m an all across the board kind of guy, working on articles, interviews and event reports as well.
What is your career background, training, school, etc?
After graduating high school in 1999, I jumped into college for a bit, but it wasn’t until this last decade that I began my journalistic endeavors. Thanks to Blumhouse.com editor Rob Galluzzo, I joined the Icons of Fright team a few years back and was eventually given the Editor in Chief gig for that site, a role I still hold to this day. I can’t stand slowing down, so I can also be found writing for both Fangoria and Delirium magazines and having existential conversations with my six year old. He has a lot to say.
What/who is your favorite monster and why?
This question is a difficult one for me, for various reasons. If we’re talking about a single movie, I’m all about Michael Myers, but as a whole, I’m a Voorhees fan through and through. I figure that series has a good six or seven films that are continuously good and during my life’s most stressful periods, I’ve often asked myself, “Does it ever get better than Ted White in THE FINAL CHAPTER?”. No, Jerry. It does not. It does not.
For my weapon of choice, I’d have to go with the tried and true chefs knife, ala The Shape. It’s worked well with Michael Myers, so I’m also on board with that shiny instrument of death.
List five of your favorite horror films.
HALLOWEEN, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, FRIDAY THE 13th Part IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and this will sound weird but Mickey Keating’s DARLING. How can a film that hasn’t even been released yet be on my list, you ask? Answer: to this day, that movie was without a doubt, the best theatrical experience of my life. I cannot wait for you genre lovers to see that one, good lord is it good.
What was the first horror movie you ever saw, and what was your reaction?
JAWS, thanks to my grandmother. My older brother and I were visiting her while our dad was at work for the day and Spielberg’s classic just happened to be on. I had no idea what it was but laughed at how Quint kept picking on Hooper, and soon discovered that it wasn’t about three guys going fishing together. That movie scared the living hell out of me and to this day, I’m terrified of the ocean because of it. One day, around six or seven years later, a friend and I were walking to the swimming pool at the motel my dad worked at and it seemed like the water gods were after me again, because we found a man dead in the pool. So thanks to JAWS and some dude who died in our pool, I stay FAR AWAY from water. Showers are cool though, I’m not expecting a shark or a dead guy, so they’re all good.
Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn.
In sixth grade, I was Hannibal Lecter for Halloween and I thought I was so cool for thinking of that as a costume. I slicked my hair back, put some fake blood around my mouth and wore what I thought was the best costume that year. Nobody got my costume though and I was asked three times if I was Christian Slater.
Name one horror celebrity, dead or alive, you would love to meet, and tell us why.
Without a doubt, I’d have to go with Wes Craven. Growing up, the original A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was a big deal to me and it helped me understand that something can only take your power away if you let it. It helped me gain confidence in myself, and Craven’s passing affected me very much.
Can you recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed?
SUN CHOKE absolutely blew me away during its festival run, and is one that I would definitely recommend. Sarah Hagan and Barbara Crampton are both absolutely great in that film and like DARLING, it succeeds at showing a horrifying descent into madness.