Micro-interview: Orrin Grey

Candle in the Attic Window, an anthology of Gothic horror, is the latest release from Innsmouth Free Press. We are interviewing some of the book’s contributors. Today Orrin Grey talks about his story, “The Seventh Picture”.

What makes your story Gothic?

Gothic is probably my very favourite sub-genre, though it’s hard to really pin down what makes something Gothic. For a lot of people, it’s an aesthetic and that’s certainly a part of it. In the case of this story, I was aping the old Gothic films of Roger Corman and William Castle, which I’ll talk more about in answer to the next question, but I also tried to work in some of the tropes I associate with Gothic stories: an old, dark house with a past that won’t stay buried, secret rooms with secret doors, people delving into things that are better left alone, etc.

What was the source of inspiration for your story?

As I mentioned, I wrote this story as an homage to the Gothic films of Roger Corman and William Castle. I wanted to make up a director who emulated both of them, and who made these low-rent, B-movie versions of their films (many of which were already B-movies, themselves). And then I wanted to imagine what would happen if that director tried to make a movie version of a play that drove anyone who saw it mad. The specific films that influenced me can probably be derived from the ones I mention in the story itself, but definitely all of the Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe adaptations (including the ones, like The Haunted Palace, that aren’t actually adaptations of Poe, at all).

What are your favourite Gothic movies and books?

Man, this is an even harder question. Obviously the aforementioned Corman/Price Poe adaptations and pretty much any of the great Gothic films from Hammer or Universal, especially James Whale’s The Old, Dark House. More recently, I really liked The Orphanage, which is about as Gothic as a movie can get.

When it comes to books, the question is even tougher. I’ve shamefully not read a lot of the great Gothic novels of yesteryear, though I swear they’re in my queue. I’m a big fan of pretty much everything Mike Mignola does and he put out a particularly Gothic novel, in the form of Baltimore, a few years ago. Also, several years back, there was another anthology of Gothic fiction, this one creatively called ‘Gothic!’ and edited by Deborah Noyes. It’s a Young Adult book, but it’s also one of my favourite horror anthologies, for whatever that’s worth.

If you were the star of a Gothic TV show, what would your character be like? Would you be good or evil?

I’d probably be that creepy old guy who lives in the basement (or locked up in the attic), and reads a lot of books and talks to himself (or is it to himself?), and you only go down there because you need something. I’d be neutral, just a dispensary of cryptic and occult information. Or maybe that’s just who I’d like to be.

Bio: Orrin Grey was born on the night before Halloween, and he’s been in love with monsters and the macabre ever since. Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, his first collection of supernatural stories, is coming soon from Evileye Books. You can find him online at www.orringrey.com.