TIH 453: Clay McLeod Chapman on Screenwriting, Whisper Down The Lane, and Satanic Panic

TIH 453: Clay McLeod Chapman on Screenwriting, Whisper Down The Lane, and Satanic Panic

In this podcast Clay McLeod Chapman talks about screenwriting, Whisper Down the Lane, Satanic panic, and much more.

About Clay McLeod Chapman

Clay McLeod Chapman is the author of the novels Whisper Down the Lane, The Remaking, and miss corpus, short story collections nothing untoward, commencement and rest area, as well as The Tribe middlegrade series: Homeroom Headhunters, Camp Cannibal and Academic Assassins. Ghost Eaters, a new supernatural horror novel, hits shelves September 20, 2022 from Quirk Books, and it will scare the pants off you.

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Michael David Wilson 0:07

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat with masters of horror, about writing a life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now, today's guest is claimer cloud Chapman. He's the author of the novels The Whisper down the lane, the remaking and Miss corpus. And he's also got a forthcoming novel coming out on September 28. It is called Ghost Eaters, and it is from quirk books. Now this is the third and final part of our epic three hour conversation. And in this one, we get into screenwriting. We talk about his previous novel whisper down the lane and Satanic Panic. And we also ask some of those questions that we like to put forth to our guests including what he hopes people say about him when he's not in the room, and some of the things that frighten him. Now before any of that, a little bit of an advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 3:03

Now if you're interested in advertising on This Is Horror we are going to be putting in the price that the advertising rates up on September the fourth so if you email me Michael at this is horror.co.uk before September the fourth you can buy advertising at the existing great and better yet you can buy as much advertising as you want. So if you want to lock in a number of months at the existing rate, this is our advertising then you can do that. But you have to do it before September the fourth So if that sounds good to you drop me a line Michael at this is horror.co.uk Okay with that said, let us jump in to the show to the final part of the conversation with clay McLeod Chapman on dessus Hara. I want to know, simply, how did you get your start in the world of film? How did you get your start in terms of screenwriting?

Clay McLeod Chapman 4:14

Um, I lucked out. I mean, I I feel like for me, there's always been this idea of like trying to be as as expansive in terms of medium chosen mediums. And, you know, spreading spreading the tentacles in as many different honey pots as humanly possible. You know, stories, there are a lot of different ways to tell stories and I think, you know, I grew up reading but I grew up watching movies, man, and I you know, I you know, if I close my eyes and say where do I want to live? Like I want to live on a bookshelf. But there's, there's a part of my heart that will always be, you know, a part of the movie theater in the movie theater. So I got my start. I segwayed from I did a little bit of playwriting, but I did pretty poorly. But the notion of kind of writing from multiple characters perspectives and the kind of the visual language that needs to take place from, you know, what stories we tell and how you kind of convert them into cinema. I might, my story begins with Craig McNeil, who I met in 2003, when I was doing a reading of a novel that I wrote called Miss corpus. And a friend of his who I went to college with, dragged him to this reading event that I did in the East Village. And he was like a young, he wanted to be a filmmaker, you want to be a director. And, you know, he came to this reading. He really liked what he heard. He came up to me afterwards. And he was like, Hey, I'm a director. I want to make that into a movie, what you read. And I was like, you know, my whole ethos is like, if anyone ever asks you to do something, you just say yes. Even if you don't know what the hell you're doing, like, you just you say yes. And you figure it out, you learn on your feet. And, of course, I always wanted to do movies and write movies and be a part of movies. And here's the director telling me that he wants to make something in mind into a movie. And I was like, Sure, yeah, whatever. Like, let's do it. And you know, it's funny, because I owe so much to Craig. And Craig is, like, done so well for himself. Now as a filmmaker, but back then, like 20 years ago, we were just kids. And we, we made a short film. Like I wrote a script, and he directed it he like, so the chapter that I read from this, this book, Miss corpus, it was just too expensive, and we couldn't do it. So he was like, Well, what else have you got? And I was like, well, like, you know, we did the whole kind of dance of like, what would be a good story to adapt. And I have this this goofball story called Late Bloomer. And it's just a total Lark. And it's all about what if you were to take a HP Lovecraft story, and route it in the most inappropriate place possible. And for me, that was a seventh grade sexual education class. And it's a total goof. It's a silly story. It reads, it's like four pages, maybe like read out loud 10 or 12 minutes. And Craig was like, let's, let's turn that into a short film. And shot it on 16 shot it over, like two days in a school. In New Jersey, he basically like got tabs on a public school, that as soon as school ended Friday afternoon, they got their equipment and filmed Friday, all of Saturday, all of Sunday, all of Sunday night, to then clean it up and get it back to like, the way it was when they found it. By Monday morning, when the students showed back up again. It was amazing cost like maybe $10,000 $12,000 all told.

And it was, it was such a like Goofy Movie. But it was ours. It was our first short film. And it got into Sundance. And it totally like did the thing that you always want your stuff to do, but never believe it's going to actually happen. We like we made it to Sundance which was the the kind of holy, the Holy Land of all movies. And it was a short so like it, you know, it's it was basically like going to the kids table at Thanksgiving dinner. Like it wasn't a feature. So we weren't like sitting with the adults like the big big, you know, projects. But it was still like the experience of going to Sundance and doing Sundance and like, it was amazing. And that led to us kind of forging not only a kind of personal, collaborative relationship but making contacts do In the whole kind of schmooze II, Hollywood II thing. And, you know, it led to, like years later, and I'm fast forwarding through this long meandering story, forgive me. But it did allow us the opportunity to finally raise the money and finally have the opportunity to make the short film adaptation of that chapter that I read from all those years ago, that Craig was in the audience for. And that went to Sundance again. And it was amazing, because like, it was, it got like, you know, you start doing this, this film festival circuit. And the two questions you always want people to ask you is, can this be turned into a feature film? Or what else have you got? And we didn't know that the first time we went to Sundance, but we learned really quickly. So the second time we went to Sundance, Craig and I were ready. And we had like the feature film adaptation of this our second short, and it did well enough, or got the attention of enough like, you know, a savvy people that we finally got the opportunity to make the feature film version like that short. Got into the hands of Elijah Wood and his production company, specter vision. Who do amazing movies. Oh, my God, their movies are phenomenal. Yeah. And make, they wanted to make ours. And it was just like such a like, Oh, my God, I cannot. Like it's, it's phenomenal. I can't tell you how amazing it was to like, like, we did Sundance. And then, like, after I like, did the like the requisite kind of trip to Hollywood, to LA to like, do the meetings. And like, I remember going to the coffee shop, where I met Elijah Wood and his producing partners, Josh Waller and Daniel Noah. And it was like, like, who am I? And I'm this kid sitting across from Elijah Wood. And it was just so like, you know how to rectify the feeling of like being a fan, first and foremost. But to like, play it cool and be the person who has to pretend like they know what they're doing. But they produce, they got us the financing to make this movie. We made the film and like that, that kind of set us on this path. Even further down the path. And you know, Craig now, he does a lot of TV work. He's just recently directed some of the recent episodes of Westworld. Craig and I have a we're we've got a development deal with Amazon, where we're developing a TV series with them, produced by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joyce company kilter films, the creators of Westworld. And it's like, I don't know, it's like, it's just amazing. Because like, if Craig, I mean, Craig would have had his own career. He was always destined to be a director for sure. But like, I just can't, I can't fathom what life would have been like, had this friend of his not invited him to come see me do this stupid reading in a bar in East Village. Like if he hadn't shown up? None of this would have happened for us. For me. Who knows what would have happened for him? But it's like, it just goes to show like you just never know where the hell where you're where you're gonna go.

Michael David Wilson 14:03

Yeah, it's so bizarre how like these seemingly small decisions have effects that can vastly changed our life and career. And I mean, it happens so often, you know, when we think about things, and we think about where we happen to be, and yeah, it's remarkable. And thank goodness it did happen.

Clay McLeod Chapman 14:30

Yeah. Yeah. Life changes, right. Every everything you do, it's a bit of a curveball. You just have to roll with it. Um, just say yes, say yes to everything.

Michael David Wilson 14:45

Right. And, I mean, one of your upcoming projects is unknown. That's the title. That might have some ambiguity. So that That's a psychological horror anthology, because you've co created it with Craig, it's been picked up by Amazon Studios. So what can you tell us about that one?

Clay McLeod Chapman 15:16

I mean, it's, it's you To be frank, not much just because, you know, it's, it's, there's always the kind of cloak and dagger reign of development. What was announced? So like, it's out there in the world, like, we're, we're working on it like, it's, it's so strange, like, we're we're still extremely early days and like every, every kind of step, you know, at any point, they can say no, it's a development deal. So it's like one of those things where like, they're, they're paying us to create the story, and what we want it to be, which is to say, we're not making it yet. We're not We're not there yet. But we really hope do we really want to, and we've got some great people behind it. I mean, God like Jonathan Nolan and Lisa, join me, you can't, you can't really beat that. Like, it's, it's, it's phenomenal how, like, you know, this is, I think this is the thing, like, it's, it's like you, you spend your whole life trying to, like, carve an existence for yourself. And really, it's just like, you have to convince somebody else to believe in you. And for whatever reason, Craig believed in me, and then Craig got someone to believe in Him. And then like it just like, you know, suddenly, not suddenly, like, very gradually, very incrementally. Like, if you can convince enough people to believe in you, you can do these things. And like, you know, it's like, if I convinced Craig to believe in me, and he somehow convinced Jonathan Nolan to believe in Him and Jonathan Nolan somehow convinced Amazon to believe in Him. Like, it's just, it's like this weird kind of like, avalanche of faith that hopefully will lead to wonderful and fruitful collaborations.

Michael David Wilson 17:24

Yeah. When you think about screenwriting, what do you think? For those who are perhaps at the start and that yeah, and he was some of the dos and don'ts of screenwriting.

Clay McLeod Chapman 17:39

I mean, it's, well, if I'm being totally honest, that do is to be like, be a director. Meaning screaming like film is a director's medium. And one of the things I feel like, for first time writers, that's hard to kind of rectify with is that, you know, your, unless it's a very fruitful collaboration in a very supportive environment, which there are, a lot of times writers can feel disregarded in the, the process of production of like making a movie. And that can be really tough, that can be really heartbreaking. You know, playwriting is a playwright, it's a writer's medium, writing books, writing novels, writing, you know, it's a solitary existence, like you were, you are, you're kind of the creator of this world. But with filmmaking, you know, the screenwriters is sometimes just not even invited on set, you know, their job is essentially done before the week, you know, before the film even begins filming, and I don't know, it's a, it's tough. So like, you either have to be at peace with that and accept that. Or you have to be a director and you, you fight for the story. Because it's the story you want to tell. I know personally, that I am not a director and can never be a director. Because that is that is a whole other kind of can of worms that's just like, Oh, my God, like I it just, it's, I'm my, my, I am in awe of any director who can who can do it because I certainly don't have the energy or the bandwidth to to do what they they must to kind of Shepherd a project along. But, you know, directors, a lot of the times like you know, even if they have ideas or stories they need they need someone to help kind of articulate that vision. And that's when it's great to you know, I think another do is to forge a working relationship, a healthy working relationship collaborative relationship with a director who, you know, who believes in you, because, you know, I've worked with a couple different directors, who I really admire and respect. And for whatever reason, they, they found value in me helping kind of articulate the stories that they either wanted to tell or that we wanted to tell together. So, yeah, do dues direct yourself, or find a director who really believes?

Michael David Wilson 20:42


Bob Pastorella 20:45

That kind of echoes something that went to killer con this weekend, and then got the to hang out list is Shane Mackenzie, and who did a Amazon film of bingo Hill? He's, that's one of the things and one of the things that he echoed that you're that you're kind of echoing is that? In screenwriting, you know, film is it is a director's rolled. And but with television, it is in especially a series. Especially a series where you have multiple directors, it is the writers world. And primarily, it's a writers room world. He said, Because they, they are, in a sense, controlling the direction of the story. And their endeavor. liance for the for the arc is a little bit more involved, which is why he's, you know, not that he's never going to work on another feature film again, but he's at the point to where he wants to have control. And, I mean, it's, I'm not going to tell the whole story. But his his, his experience with with Mingo Hill was was probably a little bit more typical than what you'd find, you know, in, in screenwriting, but it wasn't, it wasn't a good experience. It turned out good. But there was points in it, where he was kind of like, almost like unemployed. And it's like, that's, that's my film, you know, so, but that's why he's getting in television. You know, it's, it's, you have a little bit more control, but in what you're saying is also valid, is that if you have a director who that you have a working relationship with, and that's that's probably the the epitome whether you're working in film or working in television.

Clay McLeod Chapman 22:41

Yeah. Yes, it's funny. I mean, like I, I recently saw a caught the black telephone, which is a great film. And it I think it's a, it's a shining example of a kind of fruitful collaborative relationship between director, filmmaker and screenwriter Robert Cargill, am I? Yeah, yeah. And Scott Derrickson. Like, it's amazing how many projects they've worked on together. And like, you know, I think that is the kind of shining shining example of have two people who have a mutual respect and admiration for one another. But also, like, you know, like, this is totally crass. And, but like, you know, at any point, Scott could have probably said, you know, what, I'm Hollywood now. I'm gonna go do it myself. I don't need you, Robert. But there's like a friendship there. There's like, like, they, they help each other. They, they inform one another, they feed one another. And like, they're, they make each other's work better. And they're dependent on one another. And I feel like it's so beautiful to like, watch. You know, I was just fine. I'm always really I always admire those filmmakers, because it would just be so easy for a director to be like, Sia. But not in their case. And like, you know, I don't know, I just I really love that. And it gives it gives the rest of us hope, I guess I should say.

Bob Pastorella 24:22

It's a healthy symbiotic relationship.

Clay McLeod Chapman 24:25

Yes. Yes. Very much so. Because so much about filmmaking is not healthy. And it's nice when you do it with friends. Everyone you trust.

Michael David Wilson 24:39

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And see, and as you write in so many mediums, and so many modes of screenwriting, with comic books with novels or short stories, what do you think are some of the advantages of each medium in terms of storytelling? If, and when you get the initial idea for a story, how do you know which medium, it will be best told via?

Clay McLeod Chapman 25:11

I mean, I do always I, you know, I say to myself, like, I'm gonna allow the story to kind of dictate the medium that it wants to be told in. And I mean, you can kind of you can kind of vibe on. What? What's best for a story? Like, is this a visual story? Does this story need? Can it be kind of broken down into like, action to the gesture? So therefore, is it more visually inclined? And I think that that makes her great comics? Is there? You know, it's funny, like film, and TV, it's always the like, what is the core concept? And what is its mobility like that? Is their? Is their motive behind it? Like, does it have legs? Can it go far? And then novels and like, you know, like, it's just like, like, every story just has its own particular vibe, it needs something very specific. And the medium is there to kind of deliver that, that story. And I mean, like, a bit of it can be trial and error. Like, I've written plenty of things that I thought could be comics that were better suited being something else, and vice versa. Yeah, there's a certain kind of trial and error to it. For better, for worse, like, you just have to throw it against the wall and see what sticks.

Michael David Wilson 26:44

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. And how does it look like in terms of the way that you partition, and you balance your day, your working day? Because I imagine, you're most of the time you have multiple projects on the go?

Clay McLeod Chapman 27:03

Yeah, you know, it's funny, like I it's so it's such a weird process, because it's like, I have I have kind of bedrock projects like the the kind of foundational projects, like I'll, you know, I'm working on a book right now. I'm, you know, I feel like it's a tennis match almost, or a volley of some sort, where, like, I have to, I'm playing tennis with five other people. And as soon as I knock one ball towards one of those players, whether that's a novel, or a comic or a screenplay, I'm waiting for the next volley to come back to me. And then I hit that one back. And so it's like this weird kind of like, I'm going to focus on this for now. Get it to a place where it's ready. And then I'm going to press Send and get it to the person who needs it. And then that's going to clear the plate to take on the next thing that needs to, you know, be focused on the real time stock is in the kind of hustle and pitching and developing and trying to get, you know, get to the next project that has to be like, a year later, or a year down the road or two years down the road. Because it's always like, I don't know, when you're the eternal kind of freelancers conundrum is that you're there's the work you have. But then there's the work you need to get. Yeah, but you still have yet to kind of find. So it's just like laying down track for a train that's like already on its way. And you just have to lay it down fast enough so that the train doesn't run aground. And the train and this metaphor is my life in my career, my career and somehow raising a family.

Michael David Wilson 28:58

Yeah, well, I was gonna say you have to balance family life with everything else as well just add another layer to it.

Clay McLeod Chapman 29:08

Yeah, yeah, it's fun, though. I mean, like, these are amazing problems to have. Yeah, the you know, I wouldn't trade it for the world it's just a funny it's like it's it's like when you kind of reflect on it it's it's maddening you know, like, I did like a pitch today, but I like spent like, I'm waking up at 430 in the morning, just so I can right before anybody else needs me. And that's the kind of pure unfettered writing time Yeah, it's it's like, my day has mutated into this. Like, when, when can I? When can I do the thing? thing that I need to do and kind of do it in a way that doesn't impede upon the other things that I need to do.

Michael David Wilson 30:07

Yeah, yeah. And so you're getting up to work for 30 each day. What kind of time are you going to bed? I'm wondering, like, how much sleep is play get in here.

Clay McLeod Chapman 30:20

I mean, at the moment, not enough, it's, it's, it's certainly a stressful time. But that's, that's kind of the that's, that's, that's the good thing. I'm, uh, I'm not getting enough sleep at this moment. But that's okay. I'm, uh, I'm writing. God, it's amazing just to say, like I'm writing. And it could all go away so quickly. There's no, there's no stability, there's no longevity. It's really just like, if I can just keep people believing that these are stories worth telling. You know, I'll be so happy. But you know, I just have to keep it up.

Michael David Wilson 31:15

Yeah. Do you ever get blocked in terms of your writing? Because it would certainly appear that there's a never ending well of ideas.

Clay McLeod Chapman 31:26

I mean, writer's block, no, but I'm recently finding that like, I'm telling, like, I'm, I'm having writer's this, forgive me, this is crass. But I feel like I'm having writer's diarrhea, where it's like, there's no, there's no form to it. It's all just loose and kind of sloppy. And I think I need to kind of, you know, for my own kind of mental well being, I need to do a bit of a reset, where, like, I like I need to get back to a place of just like, focus and foundation. Which is easier said than done. But like, I think that like, you know, I like just even talking to you too. Like, it is funny how like, you know, I get to be like, Oh, I'm this is my processor, this is what I'm doing. And then I'm I'm mentally I'm thinking as I'm saying these things, and I'm just like, oh my god, I get to do this. Like I'm I'm writing and like that's, I don't know, like, it's it's a joy to kind of remind myself to remember that like, this is this is the value to life into the kind of art that I want to make or the stories I want to tell. Is don't want to lose sight of that.

Michael David Wilson 32:48

Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, I know that we're coming up on the time that we have today. But I mean, I'd be remissed to at least not touch on a little bit. Whisper down the lane, which occurs was set at the height of the Satanic Panic. So I'm remote. I'm wondering, do you remember the first time you heard about Satanic Panic? And what was that like for you?

Clay McLeod Chapman 33:20

Yeah, Oh, totally. I mean, like, I, I grew up in the 80s. I was a kid in the 80s. Like that was, you know, for me, the kind of panic was, you know, I grew up in a suburban neighborhood. It wasn't a gated community by any stretch, like we were kind of surrounded by train tracks. And all the kids love to kind of ride their bikes down the train tracks to this, this area called the pit. The pit had this like, it was like a kind of concave depression into the ground that was like, like, maybe, maybe a mile away from you know, Gen pop. But there was like a area like a concrete kind of mineshaft that you could climb down. And that's of course, where all the teams like, lit their bonfire and smoke their beer, like drank their beers and smoke their cigarettes or pot or whatever. And the walls of this this concrete shaft were just like covered with pentagrams and 666. And you know, heavy metal bands, and go in there had such a kind of charged atmosphere. Like there's such a charged atmosphere to it. Like it felt like we were entering into an area that was so dangerous and so fraught, and I loved it. Like I was so scared as a kid, but now I'm thinking back to it. I was like, oh my god, I would give anything to like walk into a charge space like that and just feel the danger of it. Because at that point, I didn't know and The thing about the devil or you know, like it was just like what is this? Like? This is like what the big kids with the jean jackets and the mullets talk about like, oh my god like 666 this is the same. But the way that Satanic Panic manifested itself in our neighborhood was our, we had kind of complete run of the neighborhood like we could ride our bikes anywhere, like basically like just spend our day kind of like pedaling through the streets. And it was a miracle none of us got killed or like, gotten a car accident because we were just rent like wild children riding their bikes in the road. But there was always this fear of the van with no windows like, like, like this, this kind of Stranger Danger mentality that was imbued upon us by our parents of like, don't get in a car with strangers don't get, you know, don't get in that van. That, you know, if someone stops and starts talking to you don't don't get it and like, like they created this boogeyman out of this idea of like a patrolling van with no windows, like wandering the streets of our neighborhood just waiting to snatch us kids into into the back and like shuttle us away to do terrible things to us. And this was the scariest straight this was like to scare us into the idea of like, not talking to strangers. And we all believed in this this boogeyman this like this van with no windows, it was amazing. Like, I don't know what he looked like, I don't know who he was. But he was this guy who drove a van that had no windows net, but it was like inside that van was like a torture chamber. And I don't know like yeah, that was a that was the kind of beginning of Satanic Panic for me. And of course, like you know, I do remember he man being considered satanic because of his this whole like, transforming into something else that he's not by like reciting some incantation. You know, I have the power is kind of like I worship Satan. d&d, of course, was off limits. Yeah, it was everywhere. Yeah, I Yeah. You know, it was such a kind of, like, naive time for us kids, because it all went over our heads. And like, none of it was real. But for our parents, our families there was like, how do you protect kids, when they kind of step out into the world? Well, you create boogeyman for them, you manifest monsters, in order to frighten them into going the straight and narrow.

And it was everywhere. It was in our neighbor, I live next door to a high schooler who was a musician, and he had long hair. And like, you know, I don't think my parents ever felt like he was the devil. But like, they definitely there was there was just this sense of like, otherness with like, teens. What music do they listen to? So funny.

Bob Pastorella 38:28

Yeah, I mean, I feel like me and you are about like, the same, same age or close to it. And it's, you know, the Satanic Panic was, it was like, we can write about it and we can turn it into stories and your, you know, whisper down the lane. There's, there's so many that touch on it. You know, but I mean, at the same time, there's this like this oral tradition type story, this urban legend, the man in the van, you know, and its genome, the stranger danger and all that and it's like we you know, it's like, where did all that shit come from? What came from, you know, 24 hour news cycles. You know, it came from Sally Jessy Raphael. You know, Jerry Springer. You know, the talk shows just, you know, getting getting the people getting the bands on the years coming full circle haven't GGL and on TV, bad idea. No, but I mean, and you can parallel that to today. And you got you know, Tucker Carlson or in grim it's the same shit. Except for now the stakes are even higher. Because now they're going after things that they don't understand. They're going after the other that they don't understand. And they they're twisting it and turning it and calling that satanic So you know what comes around goes around. But it to me, it's like the Satanic Panic was it was a day it was a dangerous time. You know, especially in Texas we had you know, I was I was a headbanger forced forced to wear a button, snap button shirts and cowboy boots, I wouldn't get my ass whipped you know, hated it. And tried to introduce you know, you know, it's I hate it. Hank Williams Jr. is pretty good. But have you have you heard of AC DC? You know, and it's in just trying to get get get away from that. That conservative let's all look the same. You know, mentality. It's, it was it was a sick time, as history has shown that. What they were protecting against the the very people screaming it the loudest were the ones you had to watch out for the most?

Clay McLeod Chapman 41:01

Yeah, yeah. Oh my god, it's so cyclical. It's amazing that it's like, I mean, like, it would be one thing if it was like, just one, resurgence, but it is this like, kind of mini MIDI resurgences. I think social media has just kind of agitated it even more where like, it just happens more frequently. And just, you know, it bubbles up in these kind of social media kind of geysers and then kind of dissipates, and then it bubbles up again, and then goes back down. But I just think it's just, you know, it's it. It's only gotten worse. I think I think you're right. Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 41:43

We can easily you think of some cases kind of happening now if people losing their jobs over, like horror or heavy metal, anything you've seen in the media and like a specific case that springs to mind to highlight this.

Clay McLeod Chapman 42:01

Well, I mean, it's a little going back now. But like I think of like, the meet the immediate kind of contemporary example, I always think of as a pizza gate, to guess is like, I mean, even that goes back a while and I think that might have been like 2016 or late. But like, you know, I don't know if anyone has lost their job. I mean, like, little NAS X. He had his Montero song video that came out last year, maybe it was the year before. And I mean, he's kind of cultivating controversy, but like,

Michael David Wilson 42:41

we've lil NAS x as well. I mean, I would say that happening actually worked to his benefit in the end. So it almost backfired. You know, whereas back in the day people would lose their jobs. So yeah, particularly if we look at what happened in whisper down the lane. But I think lil NAS X, like people were so taken aback by how kind of unfair to suppose that censorship or outcry against state was that, you know, he's far more well known. I mean, I didn't know who he was until Montero.

Clay McLeod Chapman 43:24

Yeah, you know, I think now we live in a time where we, you know, there's too many, there's too much, there's too much of stuff. So like, I think one of the reasons why the Satanic Panic of the 80s had such a currency and a staying power was because it couldn't be dispersed like the the flames of it were kind of slow growing. But they they did it in such a way that felt very, I don't know, like, very potent. We're now like, fires get put out within a couple hours. And then like, there's another fire that crops up and it's a totally different fire. And, you know, everything is just so wildly dispersed, and there's more there's more of it. And there's more satanic panics happening. It's not just one Satanic Panic. It's just like, a lot of like, smaller kind of fleeting satanic panics, which I feel like takes away a little bit of strength and potency.

Michael David Wilson 44:31

Yeah, yeah. What is something you should be kinder to yourself about?

Clay McLeod Chapman 44:41

Oh, man, that's the hardest question. I don't know. I don't know. How can I decide how to be what I can do to be kinder to myself when I'm all wrapped up in my rituals and my neuroses and my My belief systems, I believe that this is the way that I have to do my life, because I've lived this long, and I haven't died yet. And it's not even so much that it's not broke. So why fix it? It's more like, I don't want to risk breaking it even more by trying to fix it or adjust. Like I wrap myself up in my foibles and use them as a protective blanket.

Michael David Wilson 45:36

Right. Was there any advice that you would give to your 18 year old self?

Clay McLeod Chapman 45:44

Um, man, stop screwing around? No, like I would say, there was always the notion of like being honest, like, as long as I was being honest with everybody and myself. I was okay. I was going to do okay. I think I could have been a better friend. But I always think I can be a better friend. Advice, writing advice? No, I think I was like, you know, I was always just able to write what I wanted to write. I wanted, I told the stories that I wanted to tell, and that was great. I don't have any writing advice for myself. But I do feel like I need some more human advice. And I think that's got to be the like, you know, be kind, be less selfish. Be there for your friends. And hold on to your friends. I think just the I think like, the enrichment of being a better person makes you a better, whatever makes you a better writer. makes you a better musician makes you a better artist. I could have stand to have been a better person at 18.

Michael David Wilson 47:00

Yeah, wow. I think most of us stood right.

Clay McLeod Chapman 47:05

I mean, that's yeah, that's the thing. I mean, I think we're all I mean, I was certainly a dumb kid. But I could have been better. I could have been a better kid.

Michael David Wilson 47:14

Mm hmm. What is it that frightens you?

Clay McLeod Chapman 47:21

Everything man, everything is so frightening right now. It's such an like existential ly anxiety inducing thought but like the word like I am. This, this world is a friggin scary place. Raising kids in this world is a terrifying prospect. I'm terrified of politics. I'm terrified of belief systems. I'm terrified of the world changing on a cellular level. It's so funny because like we talked about being people of science and not superstition. Ghosts would be so lovely religion would be so lovely. Because it's like, it's like the willful denial of the real horrors of the world. Like I, I escaped to a ghost story because that keeps me from you know, worrying about the January 6 riots happening again, or climate change or you know, you name it. Pick your anxiety. This is like an anxiety Mad Libs. So what frightens me everything. But what frightens me to the core is that I'm raising my sons in a world that might not be here or as be as stable, as I would hope it to be.

Michael David Wilson 48:51

Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a very natural fear. And I mean, interestingly enough, what you're saying about escaping worlds where you know that there's ghosts and things. I think you just answered again, that question that was postulated. Why horror is a form of escapism. It's a form of, you know, entering other worlds where we can experience fear, but we can escape the real horrors of reality.

Clay McLeod Chapman 49:32

Yeah. Horror is the escape. How crazy is that?

Michael David Wilson 49:38

Yeah. Yeah, you're right. What do you hope that people say about you when you're not in the room?

Clay McLeod Chapman 49:52

Man it's, I find it an Amarin to think that People would be talking about me when I left the room in the first place. Okay, so the question is, what do I want them to say what I think they would say what I want them to say?

Michael David Wilson 50:14

What do you, I guess, is similar enough to want?

Clay McLeod Chapman 50:21

What do I need them to say?

Michael David Wilson 50:23

Who is that guy?

Clay McLeod Chapman 50:25

What was he doing in this room? Um, I think I don't know. Man. That's tough. That's the toughest because it's like, I, I want to be accepted and I want to be valued. So okay, I was in the room. Maybe I was in the room because I was doing something with some books. And I left the room and they're like, Hey, guy wrote a pretty good book. That's cool. That would be fun. That would be good. I hope they say that. Yeah. I don't know. Like, if I'm in the room, and I leave, and they're gonna say something about me, and that's gonna be something I hope they say. I mean, I guess I mean, the knee jerk is like, I hope they don't say like, Who is that jerk or Claisen? Dip? Yeah, I think that's more my answer. I hope they don't badmouth me.

Michael David Wilson 51:29

You know,

Clay McLeod Chapman 51:30

tickets. Anyone as long as they don't

Michael David Wilson 51:33

talk to me. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Okay. What do you think is some popular misconceptions about horror?

Clay McLeod Chapman 51:44

I think we addressed a lot of them. I think that like, you know, horror is healthy. Or the you know, purveyors of horror, whether they're heavy metal musicians or writers or filmmakers are they tend to be very well adjusted, perfectly normal, healthy, happy people. So I feel like a misconception of purveyors of horror are all maladjusted. You know, I mean, I think social media has kind of shown that there's like a wonderful community of horror authors, which is really nice to occasionally tap into and, and peek into. I don't know, what are some of the misconceptions of horror, that it's all violence, that it's all gore and gratuitousness I have a pretty kind of squeamish consternation. So like, I can't go for a lot of the real extreme stuff. Every so often, like, I can go there, but like, it's not, it's not my kind of default setting for horror. But I do think that like, horror gets an unfair shake with kind of lame and audiences who assume that it's all saw, or torture porn or you know, that it's, it's, it's the violence of it. There needs to be a certain particular type of violence or a kind of gesture of violence, but it doesn't have to be gross, like gratuitous. Those are my misconceptions of horror.

Michael David Wilson 53:27

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Well, thank you for spending so much of your evening here. And with us, this has been fantastic and we have covered so much and I mean, funnily enough, we could have kept going we could have really gone deeper we've whisper down the lane, we haven't spoken about the remaking I still kind of want to tap into your short story collection rest area, so we got to do this again sometime.

Clay McLeod Chapman 54:01

Yeah, let's do it again. Like honestly, like, it's a mean, it's an honor. I really, I really appreciate you guys, you know, sticking with me and asking such great questions, because yeah, I mean, how long? It's what is it been three and a half hours, my God. That's why

Michael David Wilson 54:24

you know, so people can decide even watch the Lord of the Rings. So, listen to this conversation. I think this is a better option. But you know, I'm not really a big fan of The Lord of the Rings. So there's my controversial take, perhaps for people on Reddit Reddit, if they've stuck with me this lung, they're probably not going to abandon me based on that comment, I don't know. Depends on Wednesday. Light hobbits.

Clay McLeod Chapman 54:59

I think That's the tagline better than better than the hobbit better than Lord of the Rings.

Michael David Wilson 55:04

Yeah, yeah, that's how we're gonna promote the interview.

Bob Pastorella 55:10

Epic that's better than Lord of the Rings

Michael David Wilson 55:16

Well, where can listeners connect with you?

Clay McLeod Chapman 55:21

Um, I definitely do the Twitter's and I definitely do the Instagrams and the Facebook's you know, it's claim a cloud or claim a cloud Chapman. Um, you know, I'm out there, I'm pretty Google Global, I would say, oh, man, just find me. You know, I'm not going anywhere. Hopefully not have to haunt you though.

Michael David Wilson 55:46

And now I'm a little worried about that. So I'm taking a keen interest in your health and well being because I know the moment you die guy. So we're gonna go fucking downhill for me

Clay McLeod Chapman 56:05

to be like, How's your health been this week? Are you doing okay? Yeah, fiber, you're just

Michael David Wilson 56:09

gonna start getting like unsolicited kind of dietary and exercise advice. I'm gonna start like paying for your blood work to be done and consultations based on it?

Clay McLeod Chapman 56:27

Yes, yes, I will. I'll keep my exercise going. I swear.

Michael David Wilson 56:32

Okay, good. I like to hear. Would you have any final thoughts to leave our listeners with?

Clay McLeod Chapman 56:41

If you're looking for a spooky story? I'd say pick up ghost eaters. Um, thank you. Gosh, it's astounding. Like I'm thinking of this point in the podcast. And if anyone is listening, if anyone is still with us, thank you. Let's do a test. Like I always love to do this. If you're listening to this, you should tweet out to us. All of us are on this what could we say? What is the thing? Pink mushrooms? I love to eat pink mushrooms. And if you tweet that we'll know that you endured all however many hours of this podcast and you win the gold star you will you will you get something I don't know what it is. I don't know how you'll get it but you will get something for your service. So I love to eat pink mushrooms.

Michael David Wilson 57:43

What do you think we can team up with your publisher? Can we then draw a name at random and give someone a copy a ghost status? We I paint mushrooms

Clay McLeod Chapman 57:55

if they if they tweet out I love pink mushrooms. I will personally give them I will. I will mail them a copy wherever they are in the world.

Bob Pastorella 58:06

They have to they have to tag you in This Is Horror. Most rooms that

Michael David Wilson 58:13

they tag at Clay MacLeod and at This Is Horror. I love pink mushrooms and if so it looks like a copy. Signed. Definitely because you said you personally do it. I'm just giving you fucking work to do now. signed copy of ghosty is so I love pink mushroom

Clay McLeod Chapman 58:36

is the first one who doesn't whoever this is, I can only do one. But uh, I I can't I can't fathom who the person is who's listening to this after. I know it's not going to be like a three hour magnum opus podcast maybe it will be who knows? But like I'm just I'm just I want to meet that person. I want to know that person. And I want to thank that person. Very good. Thank you in advance person.

Michael David Wilson 59:03

We got a lot of good content so there's probably going to be you know, free separate episode so I think someone's gonna be listening. So tweet. Oh, yeah. I love pink mushrooms that this is our app claim a cloud if you want copy in app Bob Pastorella. You don't have to but why not?

Bob Pastorella 59:28

Yeah, why not?

Clay McLeod Chapman 59:29

The more the merrier. We got to know we got to know who the big mushroom eaters are.

Michael David Wilson 59:37

Thank you so much for listening to This Is Horror Podcast with clay McLeod Chapman. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Michael J side linger. But if you would like to get that ahead of the crowd. If you'd like to get every episode ahead of the crowd, and become our Patreon page. eon.com forward slash, this is hora. Not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you can submit questions to each and every interviewee. And we have got a whole host of people coming on the show soon. We've got the likes of Jason Togian, Gemma or more, Cynthia Palacio, and Brian Asman, amongst others. And I said in the last episode, and, you know, I'm saying it again now, I'm going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. It's Lee, it's more than a bit of a tough time I'm being British. I'm underplaying it. So if you could join the Patreon, at the minimum level $3 That would help me out immeasurably. If everyone who listens to the show who is a regular listener, I should say, we could join us on Patreon could really help me out of a tough situation. But you know, I don't expect to get something for free. That is why I'm trying to offer you as much value as I can. And on top of those bonuses that I've spoken about. You also get other podcasts you get stories on Bob's a horror podcast on the craft of writing, you get the patrons only q&a sessions, get the video cast on camera off record. And you get the discord, right as forum. And if you join the writers forum, if you have any questions that you want to ask me that you want me to answer via that forum, then just tag me, just let me know I'll be happy to help you. And if there's anything you want as a patron, then let me know too. And please give any feedback microlab This Is Horror dot code at UK or at This Is Horror on Twitter. Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.

Bob Pastorella 1:02:06

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Michael David Wilson 1:03:19

As always, I would like to end with a quote. And today's quote is from Graham Joyce. And he really was one of the absolute best writers that has graced us I wish he was still here. But what a wonderful quote we have here. Why can't add job here on earth be simply to inspire each other. And that was a quote from Graham Joyce. And my goodness, if you haven't read his work before, please pick some up. I'd recommend picking up the silent land or the to ferry or some kind of fairy tale. Each are fantastic and you are in for a treat. If you read some graham Joyce misters a writer and a friend by so many Well, I will see you in the next episode with Michael gay side Linga but until then, take care yourselves be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.

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