The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Dean M. Drinkel
Ruschelle: Thank you for hanging out with us in our little piece of ‘Horrific Hell’ and giving us the opportunity to know the man of many talents. You’re an author an editor a director, filmmaker and Pinhead aficionado! Is there anything you don’t do?
Dean: Hey – no problem at all! It’s a pleasure to chat with you, so hello to you Ruschelle and to all visitors to ‘The Horror Tree’. Wow – laying it all out there like that does suggest I do a lot doesn’t it, ha ha?! Don’t worry though, I’m humble – there is a lot I can’t do I will admit but wish I could (book covers, formatting ebooks etc etc, score the winning goal in the Champions League for the mighty Spurs, throw a touch-down for the Dallas Cowboys)…I’ve been thinking about taking up acting recently – that is something that hadn’t particularly interested me before and whilst sure, I’ve done some cameos in short films I’ve directed (and even once or twice had to suddenly step onto the stage last minute due to an actor’s lateness or illness) when I’ve been offered parts in friends’ work I’ve politely declined (though saying that I’ve just remembered I did do a mainly non-speaking part in a film – I played a soviet soldier / NKVD agent…I’ll have to check that out some more, I’m sure it’s on Youtube somewhere…I don’t remember much about it (ha – the title is ‘Applause’ it’s just come back to me) except we shot it in an old church in North London and someone from Hollyoaks was in it!). Anyway, in a few scripts I’ve been writing recently I’ve written parts that I could just about play…Lord help us!
Ruschelle: You and I definitely have some “body part” issues (See BoneSai on Amazon. You need to help make it a musical Dean! LOL) But back to YOU… I read that you prefer to devour Clive Barker’s work than that of Stephen King’s. What makes Barker so much more…delicious?
Dean: Yeap – for me, Stephen King was good, but Clive was GREAT! I’ve been lucky to meet him a couple of times and my opinion didn’t change, super guy – I directed his play ‘Frankenstein In Love” in London a few years ago and would love to revisit it but perhaps on a grander scale sometime in the future…doing a prequel to ‘Hellraiser’ would be a dream job – I’ve got a great idea if anyone can help with that and as I’m on ‘friendly’ terms with many of the cenobites – let’s make it happen. But to answer your question, I watched ‘Hellraiser’ and for some reason I was like yeah, suddenly everything now makes sense (and I definitely wanted to be one of the ‘monsters’ in ‘Nightbreed’). It was as if a switch in my head was suddenly turned on. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was about the film which turned me on so much but I believe it was the combination of the imagery, the twisted fairy-tale story…the desire…yeah, the desire in that film is quite interesting isn’t it and much of it (that whole Frank, Kirsty, Larry family triangle) taboo ha ha. And then when I saw ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ I knew I had died and gone to…hell. I perhaps haven’t drawn parallels in previous interviews I’ve done but I’m sure it wasn’t too long after seeing both films that I started writing myself. When I was a kid, my mother devoured Stephen King and sure, I have my favourites (I love both the book and the film of ‘The Dark Half’) but when I saw that ‘Hellraiser’ was based on a short story (well, a novella actually) I raced to the shop and bought up as many of Clive’s titles as I could carry. A lot of that ‘early’ stuff I really really got…’Weaveworld’, ‘The Great and Secret Show’, ‘Everville’, ‘The Books of Blood’…it was as if I had found my calling. My family and I went on holiday once to Rhodes and I took a couple of old ‘Clives’ to re-read…my father picked up ‘The Great and Secret Show’, read a few pages, gave me one of his looks, threw me it back and said: “Right, now I understand.” Makes me smile even now.
Ruschelle: Are any of your works a direct homage to Clive Barker?
Dean: Um, probably everything I write is a direct homage – so the reviewers keep telling me anyway. Well, definitely my horror output. In all seriousness, I love it when comparisons to Clive are made – the first story I had published after I decided to take a break for a while from the theatre and short films and return to short stories etc was in an anthology called ‘M is For Monster’ (John Prescott) and reviews of that favourably referenced Clive – particularly his ‘Books of Blood’. A review in 2017 of a novella I wrote for the ‘Darker Battlefields’ collection (The Exaggerated Press) said the same and that made me happy. Of course I have my own voice as a writer and importantly I am not ‘copying’ him but I believe there is a ‘link’ between the two of us (does that make me pretentious or ‘above myself’? No, I don’t think so, because there are a few of us working in the genre where you can see that link or his influence in our work – we’re in good company). If there’s time I’ll quickly tell you a story: when I first started out I was in discussions with a German publisher, they had read some of my published stories and asked whether I had a collection available as they wanted to translate it and publish it in German – I put one together, sent it off and waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually they came back saying that the stories were ‘written well’ but they weren’t looking for another Clive Barker! Sure, I was pissed at the time considering that they had already read my work, they knew what they were getting…but to then say it wasn’t what they were looking for…perhaps it was that famous German humour we’ve heard so much about – I don’t know. If I had a bucket list of things I want to achieve creatively, writing a story set in the Barker mythos (I’ve got a great idea for a ‘Cabal’ / ‘Nightbreed’ story set in Paris by the way) or, as I mentioned previously, writing / directing a ‘Hellraiser’ film would certainly be on it and undoubtedly near the top. Can I add though that I do have a lot of other influences…Umberto Eco, John Fowles, Brett Easton Ellis, William Burroughs, A.S. Byatt, A.L. Kennedy…just to name a few…
Ruschelle: On a side note, do you think Pinhead donned pins on other parts of his anatomy other than his head? His robes hide a lot…
Dean: Lordy, what kind of interview is this ha ha! Well, I haven’t given that much thought before…hang on let me make a cup of tea and come back to you…right, I’ve returned…I’m glad I had that Earl Grey and chocolate Hob-Nob…whilst I was waiting for the kettle to boil, I did an internet search about this subject and well…I wished I hadn’t…um, okay…I suppose IF I had ever contemplated this before I wouldn’t have necessarily thought that there were other parts of his anatomy which were pierced…IF we would be referring to his genitalia I’m not even sure they would still be intact (I mean he has lost his nipples hasn’t he)…as a human I’m sure everything was in working order and he got good use out of them, but as a cenobite, I suspect they would have been removed or have had some modification / mutilation done perhaps very much like the throat of the female cenobite…hang on, I’m going to stop because my imagination is beginning to run wild…thanks for that Ruschelle! Is there such a thing as cenobite porn? Perhaps if there isn’t then there should be…can we get an anthology or comic book going please?
Ruschelle: I know a talented comic book artist. Let’s do this! But first…another question. Most creatives regard their work as their “children.” And like the human children we nurture, raise and cast-out into the world, we have ones that make us most proud-as well as ones that make us want to tear out all of our teeth and glue them onto stray cats’ genitals. Not that we would do that, obviously. We also might wanna completely disown one or two. So… which of your ‘children’ fit into the above categories?
Dean: As far as I am aware I don’t have any physical children though that would certainly be interesting if someone knocked at my door and introduced themselves as my off-spring – I’d definitely invite them in for a cup of tea and a chat – whether they would leave again is another matter! Intriguing nonetheless. In terms of this question, look, I’m sure every artist creates what they believe is their best work at that time (otherwise what would be the point) and then at some point in the future looks back and cringes a little bit or wishes they’d taken their story etc in a different direction. It’s all part of the learning curve and growing process of being creative isn’t it? I admit I have a slightly different issue and that is the fact that for a two- or three-year period some of my work had become quite extreme. I’m not embarrassed about that by the way – it was just what was in me dying to get out – it was graphic, extreme, violent, sexual…if there was a ‘problem’ with that it was that my stories might not have fitted 100% the anthos/ collections they went into and perhaps looking at it now, that affected the book as a whole. Sometimes I could get away with it such as one of the anthologies I did for Nocturnicorn which was about William Burroughs (‘The Junk Merchants’) – now I absolutely love the story I wrote, it was a combination (so I pitch it anyway) between Burroughs and Easton Ellis; it captures a time for me in Cannes which was as much exciting as it was perplexing and those ideas of confusion / misunderstanding / love / desire are the spine of the story. The inspiration behind it came from meeting someone at a beach party one evening who didn’t want to be the centre of attention (so he said) yet did everything to ensure that he was. The odd thing was (and I swear I didn’t know this at the time) was once I’d been introduced to him I started thinking about a particular plot point for a story etc and I imagined what it would be like for someone like him to have a twin brother who was (allegedly) his complete opposite…anyway, we had a good chat, I had to leave though not long after meeting him as I had a two hour walk back to my apartment along the coast. As the days progressed and I began working on the story, I saw my new friend all the time walking the streets, in the pubs, the cafes etc etc – I thought this weird as I hadn’t ever seen him before our meeting and yet here he was popping up everywhere. As we’d become friends on Facebook, I messaged him about seeing him one particular day and I thought that he had ignored me when I’d said hello – guess what, he came back to me saying that it wasn’t him, he’d been at University in Nice in lectures and (the truth I swear!) he said it was probably his twin brother who had been in Cannes that day – talk about life imitating art! To get back to the point, that story (which was definitely graphic in its sex and violence) suited the book / subject so all was cool. The follow up book I did for Nocturnicorn was ‘The Thirteen Signs’ and that was about the zodiac. There were twelve great great stories by amazing authors that I invited and I decided to be clever (my mistake) and write the thirteenth – well, I love the story and it’s definitely a world I want to revisit – it was certainly inspired by a lot that was going on for me at that time BUT I guess it is a very very different story to the others in the book and would come as quite a shock to a ‘gentle reader’ when they stumbled across it – I suppose the great thing about nowadays is that it is possible to go back and revisit our work so (and I had wanted to do so long before now but I’ve just been so busy) early 2019 I want to do a second edition of the book with a brand new story from me more suited to everybody else’s. I must be clear, it’s not about censoring myself as I know that there is an ‘extreme’ part of me which now and again will creep out and I’m okay with that – it’s just about knowing / understanding the tone of the overall project etc. And whilst referencing this – I think I better offer an apology to Peter Mark May of Hersham Horror – he very kindly asked me to write a novella in his ‘CURSE’ series. My book was ‘Curse of The Vampire’ and boy did I enjoy that ride, BUT I know what I wrote was probably not at all what he was after when he first thought of me – in places my story went very very dark and some of the imagery whilst beautiful was also graphically pitch-black. I would absolutely love to write a sequel and continue the story of Lucien Moncrieff but this time it would be a lot less extreme. Peter – I’m sorry…but if you ever want that follow-up you know where I am. Please. Pretty please. I know there are other questions about theatre and film coming up, but I’ll say this briefly: in the theatre, my ‘issue’ was that some of the plays / pieces we did needed a bigger budget. Yes, I’m all up for being imaginative but sometimes you just need the money. A really good friend of mine, after seeing one of our shows one night, came up to me afterwards and said “Dean – if only you had more cash that would have been fucking amazing!” And he was right…oh well one day, I might go back to that medium and do something spectacular just to satisfy my own ego (I’ve always wanted to write / direct a fantastical opera and a play where Satan becomes Lucifer called Satan/Lucifer and the actual transformation scene will be incredible – there will be two actors who can alternate the roles as that’s all the rage nowadays isn’t it?). In terms of films – well, if you look for a lot of my earlier work you won’t be able to find it so that might say something in itself ha ha – I’ve got all the copies don’t worry – I do remember one particular short that I was ‘only’ directing and the lead actor was also the writer and producer, I had great fun and tried to put my stamp on it but that was certainly…challenging…
Ruschelle: You have written and directed theatrical plays as well as film. Which offers the bigger challenge?
Dean: One easy answer is that in theory if you make a mistake in film you can go back and reshoot it or edit it in a certain way to get what you originally intended – in the theatre, if someone makes a mistake then somehow you have to get past it and hope that the audience doesn’t notice. From a writing point of view I loved working in the theatre as I saw it very much as a collaborative process – if we were working from one of my plays then through the rehearsal process etc I didn’t have too much of an issue if an actor added more to my words (to a point obviously, I’m up for collaboration but not necessarily continual improvisation otherwise why agree to be in it in the first place?). When I directed Clive’s ‘Frankenstein’ we had to stick resolutely to the text and weren’t allowed to change anything so that brought a couple of challenges for sure…in the films I did at that period, bar one they were all my scripts so again I was happy for actors to ‘riff’…the film I directed last year ‘15’ (for Midas Light) was based on an idea I had with the writer / producer – we talked about the idea whilst in Cannes, he went away and wrote the script, I had a couple of suggestions, he revised and we were shooting 6 months later. We shot that in a pub over a weekend in Northampton. I really enjoyed it, I hadn’t directed for a while so thought I might be a bit rusty but it all came back to me quite quickly and I think we all had a blast (it’s called ‘15’, there were 15 actors and it lasted 15 mins). It’s been screening in some festivals recently and the response has been good and I must have done something right as I’m making my feature film directorial debut for the same producer next Easter with his project ‘Chocolate Potato’ – it’s a low-budget British farce but promises to be a hoot! I want to direct more now that I’ve got the bug again so hopefully I’ll be able to play in other people’s sandpits for a while. As I’ve mentioned previously, a lot of being successful (as far as I’m concerned) in both theatre and film is money – yes, please don’t misunderstand me, no money means you have to be imaginative and there’s no point in throwing loads of cash at something which was rubbish in the first place…perhaps it does come down to the story – if you have a two person story set in a room there’s no need for the budget to be millions BUT larger finances means (hopefully anyway!) the best actors, crew, sets, locations…in the theatre more money leads again to the best actors, best crew, the best sets, costumes and sometimes even staging the piece in the best theatre itself. I have to say though when I’m writing (whether it’s for the theatre or film) I don’t limit myself on ‘budget’ in the main (though that was slightly different for ‘The Tragedy Of The Duke Of Reichstadt’ which I’ll talk more about in a while but for that as I was supposed to be directing it we tried to write it with a particular budget in mind, one which a ‘first time’ director would be comfortable with) I get everything I can down on paper and then once the play / script is finished then start looking at the finances…
Ruschelle: If you could collaborate with anyone on your next film, who would it be? And as a bonus question (lucky you) who would choose to star in it? Let’s put those feelers out now. Hey, you never know who might be reading our little chat that wants to be a part of your next project!
Dean: Right now, as well as everything else I’m up to, I’m working on a French language sci-fi / horror script called “La machine”. It’s an idea that’s been gestating for a few years, slowly but surely I’m putting pen to paper and writing the script. I think I’ve come up with a couple of clever ideas that I’m trying to mesh together to create something hopefully amazing and writing in a second language is a challenge in itself. Anyway, I’m writing it for a French actor by the name of Vincent Rottiers who I have been wanting to work with for the last ten years (and if the gods keep smiling will be happening on at least one of my other projects as things stand) or so. Ever since I saw Vincent in a short film at Cannes (‘Narco’) I was blown away – he’s been in about thirty – thirty-five films now but seems nobody knows him. He’s been nominated for Cesars and has won acting awards at many festivals, but you mention his name to the average French person and they shrug their shoulders the way they do in that Gallic way of theirs – one of his recent films was the Palme d’Or winning ‘Dheepan’ (2015) from which he received his second Cesar nomination. In September / October his brand-new film “Ange” (Engel / Angel, 2018) will be released throughout Europe and already he’s getting great notices at the festivals where it’s been screened. The first time I laid eyes on him I was yeap, need to work with this guy. I’ve always wanted to write a modern day ‘Jesus’ story and he’d be so damn perfect…what he can do with his eyes alone…wow…I’m working hard that there will be many feature films for me to direct after ‘Chocolate Potato’ and I pray that Vincent will be in as many as possible. I’d better stop before it sounds like I’m a stalker ha ha – no, of course not, I just admire his talent and want the world to see how great he is. I want to work with Leonardo DiCaprio too. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him a few years back in Cannes – he was a great guy and also a great great actor. I’m glad he eventually won his Oscar. As I said in a previous question, I’d love to a do ‘Hellraiser’ and get the original cenobites in it – even if just as ‘cameos’ (and I’ve got a great idea for the opening which would allow that). I’ve always loved Diane Keaton and would jump at the chance to work with her and Isabella Rossellini, Annette Bening (and Warren Beatty!) and in Europe perhaps Diane Kruger, Cecile de France, Lea Seydoux, Sylvie Testud…recently I saw the second ‘Jack Reacher’ and was blown away by the young American actor Danika Yarosh, I wonder if she can speak French as she’d be perfect for ‘La machine’.
Ruschelle: You moved to Cannes France for a film and it just happens that film won two screenplay awards. That is amazing. Do you believe living in the iconic city fuel your inspiration and motivation?
Dean: So – what happened was this. In 2015 I was living in London but in May was in Cannes for the film festival. There was a pub I frequented quite a lot (The Station Tavern) when I wasn’t having meetings, attending screenings etc etc and one of the other reasons for always being in there was karaoke! Yeap, I admit, I love karaoke and from what I’ve been told I’m not half bad…anyway, I got friendly with the girl running it and her boyfriend. One night they said I had to speak to this younger French guy who had written some stuff (mainly political blog posts and film reviews) but wanted to write a film though he didn’t have anyone to help him. His name was Romain Collier. We chatted and within a couple of minutes (yeap it happened that quickly) I decided that I needed to leave London and move to Cannes to write a script with him. Which is exactly what I did. As it was a historical story we had to do some research so we spent a couple of months first meeting up either in Cannes or in Paris and then at the beginning of 2016 I moved to Cannes permanently. It took us nine months to write the script and many, many drafts but then later that year the work paid off and we won two screenplay awards at the Monaco Int. Film Fest – ‘Best Historical’ and then a special award ‘Best Independent Spirit’. We’ve now got a production company and the project looks like it’s going to become a major European tv series. With respect to that particular script (which is the aforementioned ‘Tragedy of The Duke Of Reichstadt’ by the way, I wouldn’t say there is a lot of ‘Cannes’ which went into it (it’s a French story set in Vienna) BUT there is definitely a lot of myself and Romain in it. Many people who have read it and then met us in the flesh have said that the two main characters of Francois (Franz – Napoleon’s son and titular Duke of Reichstadt) and his older mentor Major Anton Prokesch are Romain and I. I can see why they say that and for us it adds more potency / richness to the story / project. Cannes has certainly worked its way into my short stories / novellas. I do find it an inspiring town but other than the film festival (and tv festivals I suppose) there is no film industry per se there, so I’ve accepted that at some point in the future I will have to relocate to Paris even if for a few months of the year as that is where in the main the French film industry is.
Ruschelle: You wrote a screenplay surrounding the life and death of the little dictator Napoleon Bonaparte and his son. Did you trick it out with beheadings, torture and sniffs of Hell? I’m…err asking for a friend…
Dean: Okay, so, our script is about Napoleon’s son, Francois / Franz / Duke of Reichstadt / Napoleon II – Napoleon himself only appears as a ghost a couple of times (we pay homage to ‘Hamlet’ at several points in the story) so I’m sorry there is no beheadings etc BUT now that you’ve mentioned it – I am happy to tell you that one of my projects I’m working on RIGHT NOW is an out and out horror film with Napoleon as the main character (I’d love Vincent to play him – he’s about the right age) set at Waterloo. I won’t say too much obviously BUT I can promise you it is gore heaven…I’ve felt ‘liberated’ working on it as it’s a bit of a departure for me (ie mixing horror and history) but some of the scenes have even been scaring me and to have Napoleon as the main hero…I have to be clear though it’s not a comedy nor a pastiche or anything like that…it’s a down and dirty horror film which just happens to have a true figure of history as its centre. Wellington is in it for a couple of scenes also but remember Napoleon was a great soldier and it’s that I’m writing about – he certainly wasn’t worried about getting blood physically on his hands if it came to it. 2021 is the 200-year anniversary of Napoleon’s death so that gives us a couple of years to get the project up and running…I’m writing it in English though ideally I’d like it in French…I guess actually if it ends up the way I think it will then there won’t be much talking at all – it’s all to do with the atmospherics. Recently I attended a Napoleonic war re-enactment in Kent to do some hands-on research…I was totally inspired, so much so that I might be able to become a ‘soldier’ at the next one…now that will be amazing…if any producers reading this are interested in my film, please hit me up – budget about £5m okay!
Ruschelle: When you write a story do you craft it as though it could be a potential film?
Dean: I’m sure I do a little bit but with some of my short stories being ‘extreme’ I don’t think there is a market for those sort of films…thinking back to that ‘Hellraiser’ porn though mainly I’m wrong on that and some of Clive’s photographs / art is quite ‘out there’ so perhaps I’m missing a trick. The way I work is that when an idea first hits me I flesh it out a little and then mentally tell myself whether it could be a film, play or story…with the Napoleon horror I’ve mentioned last question that might also work as a novella and would be fun to write if anyone’s interested in publishing it but I’ve noticed as the years progress that I do write films / plays differently to the way I write stories. I’ve spent a little more time than planned in the UK this year and the reason for that is because I was working on two tv pilot scripts. I set myself a challenge which I gladly accepted (ha ha) and wrote from scratch two scripts – one is an American political and the second is a very dark police procedural…neither would work as stories (novels at a push I suppose) but are perfect for the medium which they were intended. I’ve been talking to some producers about them both recently so they may see the light of day (I must say the whole experience of creating them was fun and I know now that if I was approached to write a tv script on spec or as part of an established series then I’m more than capable of doing it). One series of stories of mine actually could be a great film – these are my ‘Dr Papper’ stories which have appeared in various anthologies / collections etc these last couple of days and were inspired by something Justin Bieber once said in an interview with David Letterman about ‘the sixteenth chapel’ (he was confused with the Sistine Chapel) – once I heard those words I came up with a whole horror conspiracy story spread across the last two centuries…I’m making notes on a new story which should see publication in 2019…yeah, perhaps that might be worth pursuing…
Ruschelle: Is there a film you saw in the theatres that was so damn awesome and so…YOU, that you wish you’d have written and directed it?
Dean: Not so much a film but I have just finished binge-watching ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ – have you seen it? It’s bloody brilliant – I was hooked from the start to the finish and thought it was very very clever, by far the best (and I really liked ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Hotel’.) – I’m not a fan normally of Evan Peters but he was excellent as was Sarah Paulson…I can’t wait for the new series ‘Apocalypse’. There is so much great genre stuff now on Netflix / Amazon etc – it’s a real beggars banquet. Europe is so rich with it too – particularly France and did you see ‘Dark’, the German series with Louis Hofmann – that was sublime. ‘Bates Motel’ wasn’t bad either, neither was ‘Gotham’…let me think of a film – okay, a few years old but have you seen ‘Bugsy’ directed by Barry Levinson, starring Warren Beatty – I have watched that film probably fifteen, twenty times…it never bores me – you actually observe Warren and Annette falling in love for real in front of your eyes …I’d even get on a plane (and I hate flying!) to the States if I had the chance of working with Warren…one of my favourite films is ‘Flash Gordon’ and whilst it certainly has its detractors, I’d love to remake it…there is one particular scene where Peter Wyngarde, as the masked Klytus, out-acts everybody with just his speech and actions…a brilliant, brilliant tour de force in acting…and Christopher Reeve in the dual Clark Kent / Superman role…I always wanted to do a Superman film with Colin (son of Tom) Hanks in the titular role …or Leonardo as Captain Atom…
Ruschelle: Collin Hanks? Hummm…interesting. I’d buy that casting. Could you share with us a little of your writing process when penning a screenplay? How does it differ from that of a short story?
Dean: I suppose the main difference is that for my screenplays, more often than not, I write them long-hand, with the stories yes I might make some handwritten notes but generally I’ll work on the computer directly – I’ve always found it easier to write the scripts physically on an A4 pad – it’s a habit I can’t seem to shake – I’ll write the main text on one side of the page and then any notes / revisions etc as I go, on the other. I do find it a lot easier that way – particularly if I alter character names half way through etc or think about different locations, different nationalities or sometimes even change a character’s sex. It’s good also if I think of actors to play the parts as I’ll make comments about them or note the films they’ve been in. Sometimes I’ll write parts for actors I personally know or locations I’m familiar with. When Romain and I wrote ‘The Tragedy’ we both spent several months separately making notes, writing scenes, plot points etc etc so when we got together to start work properly we already had a gamut of stuff to work from and that made the writing processes a lot more straight forward (not easy mind, just straight forward). I do like the idea that at the end of the day, if I’ve set myself a target I can easily see if I’ve hit it or not and once you’ve written for two weeks or so you can actually hold a completed 90 – 120 page (handwritten) screenplay in your hand – it’s an achievement for sure. I guess you can do the same with stories but it doesn’t have the same impact (as far as I’m concerned anyway).
Ruschelle: You are the Associate Editor of Fear magazine. How does that particular hat fit on your head with all the others?
Dean: Yes, I was and that was all thanks to someone I hold in high esteem, the venerable John Gilbert. FEAR had always been a massive influence in my life (as well as FANGORIA – when writer / actress Barbie Wilde interviewed me a couple of years back for Fango and I saw my face, my name in that magazine, boy – that was a buzz I still haven’t come down from I can tell you – especially as the day / night before I’d been out drinking in London with some friends I hadn’t seen for a long while, anyway, on the Sunday I met up with Barbie in the basement of Garlic & Shots bar in Soho…we did the interview and had a few more drinks…it got messy) so when he talked about re-launching FEAR after a few years away and as we’d been friends for a little while, he said could he interview me (yes, of course!) and from that interview we then talked about me becoming Associate Editor – that was a dream come true. Some real high-quality work was produced and I know people were totally buying into what John was trying to achieve but sadly I don’t believe (as far as I know so happy to be told differently) that the publishing people were completely understanding what FEAR was all about so it sadly folded again. John is a brilliant guy and has done so much for the genre – he’s written a couple of forewords for me and right now I know he’s working closely with Trevor Kennedy (check him out he’s a great writer / independent publisher too and is really trying to have a good crack at breaking into some bigger markets – he also acts and has his own radio show!) in Northern Ireland on one or two of his projects as well as writing some new poetry and stories. I don’t see John enough but hope to rectify that in the near future. I will forever be grateful.
Ruschelle: Fear collaborated with NOCTURNICORN PRESS on the Christmas anthology, “12 Dark Days: One Hell Of A Christmas”. I’ve been lucky enough to have met a few of your talented authors, albeit via social media. How did you choose the talent that oozed from the pages? I also just like saying the word OOZED…
Dean: Thank you so much for mentioning this anthology (available in both kindle and paperback – I’d love to do an audible version if I can too, some of the stories are really disturbing) – I really enjoyed compiling /editing this (what a great cover by artist Phil Stevens too don’t you think!) – it was released just before Christmas last year and now as we’re heading towards Christmas again (wow where did that year go, and so much has changed during that time) we can make this a real best-seller as it deserves it – so much time, effort and yeap, love went into creating it and I thank the other writers from the bottom of my heart for joining me on that journey. Like a lot of the actors I work with I try to take them from production to production where suitable…the same for the anthos – everybody I asked said yes and it’s full to brimming with top notch writing talent from across the UK and France. If okay, I’d like to mention the contributors here (in alphabetical order): Jason D. Brawn, Romain Collier, Raven Dane, Theresa Derwin, Tim Dry, Stephanie Ellis, James Everington, Paul M. Feeney, Heide Goody & Ian Grant, Dave Jeffery, Mark West and myself; John Gilbert wrote the foreword and publisher Alex S. Johnson wrote a nasty little extra story to complete the TOC. The subject is obviously the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ but with a horror slant – if you love your Christmas books with a nice and nasty twist then I definitely recommend this – forget my story if you want – but buy it for the others…
Ruschelle: You are a man of a few awards! Is there one award out there you are damned and determined to win?
Dean: I’ve been lucky enough to win some awards in Monaco at an International Film Festival there…I was also runner up for a Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award (which is given out at the International Emmy award ceremony)…I’d like to win a BAFTA or Oscar for sure but in all honesty I would love to get my hands on either the Palme d’or at Cannes or a Cesar award given out by the French Academy. Slowly but surely my French is improving (at long bleedin’ last many across La Manche would say) so if we can get somewhere with ‘La machine’ then you never know what the future holds…of course, any award that I’m long listed, short listed, nominated or even win well then I’m a lucky man, right?!
Ruschelle: It all counts! What is the most horrific story/film you’ve even written…or is the idea still attempting to burrow out from your meaty flesh like a baby alien?
Dean: Honestly, I don’t think I’ve written it yet. I’ve written some stories which are close perhaps but my ‘magnum opus’ is yet to reveal itself in its entirety to me. There is a dark (not extreme, just dark) fantasy piece which is very personal to me which is called ‘The Keeper Of The Bees’ – it’s a project I’ve made notes on these last couple of years and if I get to finish it might just become what I am known for once I’ve vacated the planet – I think I will have to go away somewhere secluded (perhaps Gothenburg as I love it there) for six or so months and just write it. As I say, it’s a very dark but also very personal and is definitely inspired by my time in France – though it is set in a fictional kingdom. Right now I try my hardest to make sure that every piece of work produced is better than the last – I do put a lot of time and effort (perhaps too much) into the stories or scripts to ensure they are the very best they can be. It’s fun for me working across the various mediums in different genres – I’m certainly having a blast but horror is my passion and I truly want to leave my mark…
Ruschelle: Most horror writers love Halloween. Are you a Hallo-wiener as well? LOL
Dean: Ha ha – nice one – I’m loving your sense of humour. Okay, I’ll be honest – for me, it’s not something that has ever particularly interested me. Yes, I can see its attraction (particularly as a genre writer) and sure, a couple of times I’ve had a good laugh at parties or whatever but generally, it’s a bit ‘take it or leave it’ for me. Perhaps this year will be different – maybe I’ll dress up or something and gate-crash a stranger’s party and see if I can enjoy myself – maybe that’s an idea for a story actually…yeah, a horror writer who hates Halloween…I’ll give that some serious thought. I must add though (so I can mention it somewhere) I’m a great fan of Rob Zombie’s two ‘Halloween’ films – that’s probably thrown the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons hasn’t it – but I like them a lot. I’ve been a fan of Rob’s music and I was lucky enough to see probably the original cut (extended, a lot more gory / scary) of ‘House Of A 1000 Corpses’. I’m looking forward to seeing his soon to be released ‘Three from Hell’ – I know it’s going to be amazing!
Ruschelle: Your newfound fans would love a glimpse into your next projects. What should we look for?
Dean: Um – first up is my novella in the collection (alongside Jan Edwards, Phil Sloman and Romain Collier) ‘Into The Night Eternal: Tales Of French Folk Horror’ (Lycopolis Press), this is coming out at the end of September. Then in November my own small press Demain (www.demainpublishing.com) will be releasing ‘The Darkest Battlefield’ which is the follow-up to ‘Darker Battlefields’ which I mentioned earlier – this collection has been collated and edited by Anthony Watson and includes stories by Anthony, Richard Farren Barber, Paul Edwards, Terry Grimwood and finally myself. As well as the screenplays I’ve previously noted I’m currently working on three others (two horror and one historical) which I’d better not talk about too much right now as I don’t want the producer’s chasing me ha ha but it’s a super busy time (when isn’t it?) because there will be some more stories, a novella…and maybe, just maybe…a novel. I’m also editing a couple of titles for the Lycopolis Press and will be releasing some top-notch short fiction through Demain (two series will soon be unleashed: short sharp shocks and murder mystery mayhem – I’m so humbled by the talent I’ve already been able to sign-up. I truly am blessed.). Of course if anybody wants to keep an eye on what I’m up to – please visit www.deanmdrinkel.com, it’ll all be on there…and of course I’m always available for more interviews, signings, events…and KARAOKE!!!!!!!
KARAOKE!!! Holy cenobite balls Batman, I’m there! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. We look forward to stalking you on the WWW and will be sending you disgusting body parts in your fan mail.
- About the Author
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Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres. Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, published through Black Bed Sheet Books as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”. She also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines such as Strangely Funny III, Story Shack, Siren’s Call, Weird Ales- Another Round and Women in Horror Anthology Vol. 2, Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Voices and Fear and Fables. Her collection of short stories, Arithmophobia published by Mystery and Horror LLC, is available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble. Summer 2020, Black Bed Sheet Publishing will release her dark Novella, The Stain.