Dean M Drinkel is a published writer and editor who compiled and edited the short story anthologies Phobophobia and Demonologica Biblica. He is also a poet, theatre writer and director and an award winning horror filmmaker. He lives in London and has recently published The Bestiarum Vocabulum, a follow-up to Demonologica Biblica, through Western Legends Press. More about him can be found at http://deanmdrinkelauthor.blogspot.co.uk
What first attracted you to horror writing?
That’s a difficult one to answer because if I’m honest I don’t really know the ‘whys’ and ‘ifs’, it just happened. Both my parents were big readers when I was growing up – my dad liked Westerns and Thrillers – normal types of books I guess; my mum was really into Stephen King and, whilst I’d tried to get into his work, it wasn’t happening. Then (and apologies if this is a stock answer for writers of my generation) I remember seeing an advertisement for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and suddenly the door to the macabre opened for me and I couldn’t get enough of Clive’s work. There was a small book shop where I lived in Kent and I was always in there trying to get them to order the Books of Blood that I was missing or The Great and Secret Show etc. Funny that, as I’m writing this I remember going on a family holiday to Rhodes, I had with me The Great and Secret Show and Peter James’s Possession. My dad had finished the book he was reading, picked up The Great and Secret Show, read a few pages then put it down. “That’s too bloody strange for me” he said – high praise indeed! Looking back, I’d say that James Herbert was also a big influence as were some of the Gothic Writers and a firm favourite of mine was Matthew Lewis’ The Monk. Oh, and William Burroughs – can’t forget him.
What is your most notable work?
I’ve been lucky to work in a number of mediums. In the theatre I guess I am known for directing a well received version of Clive Barker’s Frankenstein In Love as well as my own plays The Crumps and The Catskills.; I have had a number of short films screen at Cannes including The Imp Of the Perverse, Ruby and East of the Sun, West of the Moon; I was runner up for the Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award (part of the International Emmys) for a script I wrote called Ghosts; I also have compiled and edited a number of anthologies – the Phobias series for Dark Continents (Phobophobia 2011, Phobophobias 2014), The Demonologia Biblica and The Bestiarum Vocabulum for Western Legends. Dark Continents also published my own short collection Within A Forest Dark in 2013. Finally, in both 2012 and 2013 I won the Best Action Screenplay Award at the Monaco International Film Festival.
What are you working on now?
It’s busy. Just finishing final proofs for Phobophobias; editing Demonology for Static Movement; making final selection of stories for Kneeling In The Silver Light for Alchemy Press as well as a screenplay entitled Kaleidoscope. Once that’s all done, I’m selecting writers for a final anthology for Western Legends which should see the light of day at Fantasycon, if everything goes to plan naturally!
Who do you admire in the horror world?
So many – obviously Clive – without him, I wouldn’t be here now and also through him I’ve met the brilliantly talented Barbie Wilde and Nick Vince! People like DM Younquist at DCP, John Palisano at Western Legends, Joe Mynhardt at Crystal Lake, Simon Marshall Jones at Spectral – without these guys… well, I don’t think I need to finish that sentence. Also, as a complete Francophile, there are so many talented genre writers, editors, publishers and filmmakers in France that deserve such a bigger piece of the pie – I’m thinking particularly about Benoit Domis at Dreamscape but also those that are part of the New French Extremity movement.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
You know, it depends on the piece I’m working on at the time. I really am up for stuff that fucks with your brain – I love David Lynch’s work and also films such as Angel Heart, Jacob’s Ladder etc. – but then again, when I think of my collection Within A Forest Dark, that is pretty extreme – so much so, that when we did the original eBook, one of the stories was left out for being too “violent”! I do like to think that a lot of my stuff is tongue-in-cheek but I have to realise that some people take what they read seriously – hang on, I’ll stop there because otherwise I could open a whole debate on the responsibilities of writers to their readers.
Why should people read your work?
To allow me to keep doing what I’m doing! And let me take this opportunity to thank any reader that does read my stuff – whether they like it or not. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do – so cheers!
Recommend a book.
If I can, I’d like to recommend a novel outside of the horror genre – which would be Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. For me this is the “thinking man’s” Da Vinci Code. It is a cracking read right from the start, some of which is set in my beloved Paris. Last time I was there I spent some time in the Musée des Arts et Métiers where the book opens and as I walked around I imagined the main character of Casaubon hiding in the darkness from the secret society that he believed was hunting him and his colleagues down – I can’t praise this book enough. Another book I read every year without fail is John Fowles’ The Magus. If you haven’t read either then buy them immediately and then read my Within A Forest Dark – I’m not saying they’re connected… but you just never know!
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