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 Michael Gingold, contributor for Blumhouse.com!
How long have you been a horror fan, and what attracted you to the genre?
I’ve been a horror fan since as long as I can remember. Godzilla movies were my gateway drug; I was obsessed with the Big G as a kid, and as I approached my teens, I started getting into the scarier stuff. When I saw HALLOWEEN during one of its re-releases at age 12, that did it: I was terrified, but also loved every minute of it. Coming of age during the VHS boom gave me access to all kinds of odd films that broadened my horizons, and gave me a love of odd, foreign and independent horror that continues to this day.
What is your role at Blumhouse.com? Can you tell us a little about your job?
I’ve known Rebekah McKendry for years, and from the beginning was impressed by her passion and enthusiasm for all things horror. I’m also a fan of Blumhouse’s cinematic output, and the company’s commitment to serious horror fare at a time when commercial genre movies don’t always take it as seriously. When Bekah offered me the opportunity to contribute to Blumhouse.com, needless to say I jumped at it!
What is your career background, training, school, etc?
I’ve been writing about horror since high school, when I started the Xerox fanzine SCAREAPHANALIA, partially as a vehicle to express my opinions and partially as a way to connect with other fans in those pre-Internet days. I’m pretty much self-taught as a journalist, though I did go to film school, and learning about the process of making movies there and afterward has informed the way I look at them—knowing all the issues and obstacles that can affect the final product. And my own experience as a screenwriter has been an education as well, and opened my eyes to all the factors that can influence the way a movie turns out.
What/who is your favorite monster and why?
When I think of favorite monsters, I have to go back to Godzilla and his pals, and my favorite of that gang has to be King Ghidorah. Three heads that spit lightning, and a serious attitude—he was the only kaiju who never got softened or sillified for kids. He was too bad-ass for that shit!
What is your weapon of choice?
My weapon of choice? That would have to be my razor wit. 🙂
List five of your favorite horror films.
My five favorite horror films would probably change depending on what day you asked me, but obviously HALLOWEEN is way up there, and I can watch JAWS anytime, anywhere. THE INVISIBLE MAN is my favorite golden-age classic, and among overseas movies, [REC] scared the crap out of me. I’ll say RE-ANIMATOR for the fifth, for personal reasons.
What was the first horror movie you ever saw, and what was your reaction?
I saw PG-rated films like ORCA and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS when I was very young, but the first hardcore R-rated horror movie I saw in a theater was PHANTASM. I didn’t know much about it, just that it had some cool TV commercials, and the first time that silver sphere thwacked into the guy’s head and spit gallons of blood all over the floor, it freaked me the hell out. I had my hands raised to cover my eyes every time that sound came up on the soundtrack, and I loved that delicious anticipation. I still love that movie to this day.
Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn.
A couple of Halloweens ago, when THE BABADOOK was heading for release, I got a big file of images from the publicist, among them some of the illustrations from the book-within-the-film. I’d been puzzling over my costume that year, and suddenly inspiration had been delivered to me. I printed out copies of the Babadook face image and a couple of other elements, and put together a complete costume with black cloak, hat, etc. The movie hadn’t actually opened outside festivals yet, so fortunately the Halloween party I went to was full of die-hard genre/fest devotees, the only ones at the time who would recognize what I was. I did get a couple of “Skeletor!”s and “Jack Skellington!”s on the street on the way there and back, though.
Name one horror celebrity, dead or alive, you would love to meet, and tell us why.
The one horror celebrity I most regret not being able to meet before he passed away was Vincent Price. I watched his Edgar Allan Poe films repeatedly on TV when I was a kid, and delighted to a 3D rerelease of HOUSE OF WAX back then as well. Not only was he a consummate actor who made an indelible contribution to horror history, he also seemed like he’d be wonderful company and would make great conversation. He will always be missed.
Please recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed?
There have been a bunch of good horror films this year, most notably GREEN ROOM, THE WITCH and HUSH, but the one I really want to recommend is DON’T BREATHE. I got to see an early preview showing, and that movie turned a dozen or so people in an upscale screening room into a grindhouse crowd. It’s intense, scary and exhilarating—a real ride and a great audience movie. Check it out when it opens in August!