I (Ric Welington) had a brief break from my mundane Monday to Saturday box labelling job at a well known packaging company for HorrorScreams VideoVault, to have a intimate chit, chat with Bryn Curt James Hammond, Ex-model, Ex-GZ Magazine Editor and best-selling author of A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files to find out what is happening in his life, why GZ Magazine crumbled and when will The Complete History of The Howling be released!
During the chat I also spoke with Nick Stead (Hybrid series) about his involvement in the Franchise companion’s original story arc.
Here’s what Bryn and Nick had to say.
What happened to GoreZone (GZ Magazine) it was the best-selling horror magazine of its decade and you changed the way horror magazines were presented then it vanished overnight?
Straight in there with a difficult question! No easing me in gently, LOL! GoreZone, or GZ as it was later re-branded (to make it shop shelf friendly), vanished due to personal reasons. Sales still continued to see a healthy growth and we were getting some big-named cover stars lined up. Me and my ex-partner parted ways and it took its toll on me.
Some people are more equipped to deal with separation than others, and I am not one of them. I took the separation hard and it affected my private and working life, rendering me unable to function.
There was no rapid decline in sales, no drama regarding the magazine (at that point) – it was a personal issue that spiralled out of control and sadly brought the house of GZ Magazine down. It was later I found out various things that horrified me. Things began to come out of the woodwork and played out like Nick Cassavetes’s (Alpha Dog) The Other Woman, but in real time!
Sometimes you’re dealt a really bad hand, and 2011 wasn’t my year. It sucks but you just have to get up and dust yourself off and continue.
I have three questions for you, what do you think of The Dark Side, Scream Magazine and Fangoria? Do you have a favourite? Do you know the editors of these magazines, if so what do you think of them?
I don’t think of them. I don’t have a favourite and I don’t know them either!
Horror films have changed since the days of GoreZone. What do you think of the movie’s that are currently out and do you have any new favourites?
Have they changed?
I don’t really feel their concepts have, maybe in the way they are executed. I think each generation has a new style due to the progression in equipment and SFX. CGI has certainly come on leaps and bounds since 2010. I still prefer practical prosthetics and I still hate found footage movies, Cloverfield, REC and Never Hike Alone being exceptions.
My favourite horror films since 2010, now that is a hard one. It’s easier to list what I disliked, LOL!
I wasn’t a fan of the new IT movie and I hated Annabelle: Creation. Cult of Chucky was mildly amusing and had a few surprises. I admire Don Mancini and his work; he’s a real artist and the way he has created such an evolving, self-contained world is genius, but Cult wasn’t for me. I’m not a fan of the whole body hopping side plot that took centre stage by the closing credits.
I hated Jeepers Creepers III – that movie really sucked on so many levels, lacking in imagination and genuine scares. It falls tragically short on just about every front. Watching Jeepers Creepers you have to already go into the film and be able to separate the art from the artist, but when the artist can’t separate the art from himself it leaves a real bitter taste in your mouth. The subplot in Jeepers Creepers III is uncomfortable considering the director is a known predator; I just left feeling sick to the stomach.
It’s such a pity as the creeper is really an iconic character and the elusive Jonathan Breck is a superb character actor.
I loved The Babysitter, such a cult classic in the making! I enjoyed Leatherface (2017) and how it tried to diversify itself. Amityville: The Awakening really got off to a decent start but by the final act it had run out of steam. I enjoyed Rob Zombie’s 31 as well.
What are you favourite horror movies? And what horror films are you looking forward to?
I do love horror films that have the ability to leave you exhausted with your stomach in knots and force you to check the doors and windows long after the film has finished. So in terms of horror films I’m looking forward to seeing, I guess it will have to be The Strangers II, then the obvious Halloween (2018), Slender Man and Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built.
While I didn’t enjoy IT I certainly appreciate that due to its success the horror genre is now once again attracting big names back to its stable. You don’t get any bigger than Oscar winner Helen Mirren, so I’m excited for Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built.
My favourite horror films, well I have an awful lot of favourites but just off the top of my head I’d have to say Return of the Living Dead 3, Pet Sematary II, Night of the Demons and Vamp. But it’s all dependent on my mood.
You have faced a lot of online criticism from conspiracy theorists in concerns that you’re recent over night re-birth is down to the illuminati what are your thoughts on the YouTube video’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRmtoh8G_bQ&t=3s) that accuse you of being part of the Stepford wives syndrome?
I love the The Stepford Wives satirical novel by Ira Levin. I’m certainly not a submissive robot though, but I do enjoy cooking. In fact I cooked duck in garlic and red wine sauce with potatoes in truffle oil and sweetcorn at the weekend.
Tonight I’m going for squid with smoked paprika, tomato marinade and pasta.
At the end of the day I wouldn’t read much into what people post on the Internet. I read in one thread that I live with my mom and work in a diner. I haven’t lived with my mom since I was around fifteen and I have never worked in hospitality. It is what it is!
Your website is very mainstream and doesn’t feature much horror was that a conscious effort to move away from the horror genre?
No it was not a conscious effort to mainstream my career as the question suggests. I simply write about what I enjoy. I’ve plenty of horror on my website but there are so many genres that I enjoy so why box myself into just one genre.
For instance, I watched an amazing documentary on Amanda Knox on Netflix awhile back, I loved Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret and I’m addicted to Star Trek: Discovery. I even watched Mariah Carey All I Want for Christmas today and if I predominantly focused all my efforts into the horror genre I wouldn’t be able to share such gems, so I like to spread the love.
However, I love the horror genre through and through; it’s one of the most versatile genres there is! What other genre can blur the lines? The Neon Demon, Eat and Bad Milo are amazing examples of bending the rules and still coming out on top.
You have seemed to have changed lanes in the terms that your new work is aimed at the true crime demographic why is that?
I haven’t changed lanes, I just find it easier to write about true crime than to develop original stories from scratch.
I have sat down and worked on original horror stories and I have a book I’m currently working on (slowly) called Pyramid of Terror, which will be a compilation of short horror stories based around urban legends brought up to date. At present though I just don’t want the hassle of fleshing out characters and developing new worlds, I’ll leave that to Stephen King and Clive Barker.
I love investigative journalism, so doing my True Crime series happened very organically and it was not a conscious decision to go in a different direction. It just happened, and I’m extremely proud of my book A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files. Based on the critics’ responses they enjoyed it just as much.
What can you tell me about your best-selling book A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files?
Has her family read the book?
What did Julia Davis (National Security Whistleblower) say about you discrediting her story that Brittany was involved in her legal battle with the Department of Homeland Security?
What was your favourite Brittany Murphy Horror film and why?
A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files looks into Brittany Murphy’s final year and her obvious decline and death. I interviewed many of her co-stars and her father, all of whom said her health was shot in her final days. Her father truly believes his daughter was murdered. I also provide the reader with many revelations, such as the fact she was not married at the time of her death, not legally, anyway.
Brittany’s relationship with Simon Monjack was a strictly business arrangement that came about when he contacted her while she was filming The Ramen Girl. He asked her if she would be interested in starring in a film adaptation of D. M. Thomas’s novel about Sigmund Freud, The White Hotel. She agreed, but within months of signing up to the project Monjack was arrested and spent nine days in jail facing deportation because his visa to the United States had expired. Shortly afterwards the whole marriage idea came about.
Her mother is aware of the book, as Alex Ben Block tried to dissuade me from writing it. At the time the book was being written he was assisting Sharon Murphy as her spokesperson.
Julia Davis has a very colourful imagination. Based on all my research I can be confident in saying neither Brittany nor Simon co-operated with Julia Davis. Brittany never signed any statement in support of Julia’s case and certainly never met with her.
Davis’s grievances with the government agency she worked for were real, but she used Brittany’s name to promote her interests, her documentary and her career.
I contacted Davis on many occasions and printed my emails to her in my book, A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files. Davis read my emails but didn’t respond and later blocked me on Twitter before slandering me on various public platforms!
My favourite Brittany horror movie, I guess, would have to be Cherry Falls. What a thrill ride that was, such an underrated gem!
Another amazing movie which is borders on being a horror but fits more comfortably in the thriller category is Across the Hall. That movie is amazing; it’s beautifully shot, the performances all around are stellar and Murphy is really at her best. Brad Greenquist shared some wonderful stories with me for the book and it made me love the movie just that much more.
It really harks back to the days of Psycho and Don’t Bother to Knock. Did you know the exterior of the Riverview Hotel in Across the Hall was shot on Universal Studio’s New York City back lot before the massive fire in 2008 destroyed it along with the iconic courthouse square from Back to the Future and the famous clock tower that enabled Michael J. Fox’s character to travel through time?
The Complete History of The Howling is coming out in February next year what can you tell us about the Franchise book?
The Complete History of The Howling covers the entire franchise. It takes a look behind the scenes and speaks to cast and crew from each film. It has original cover art and stills never before seen by the public that were given to me by people involved in the series. It’s really an intriguing look at the franchise that’s seen so many varied directions.
I really have enjoyed the journey working on the book and it gave me the editor’s hat once again due to it being a glossy hardback, so I had to plan the content and how it was going to be delivered, its look etc. It’s been a blast working on it and speaking to people involved and I am really happy with how it’s turned out.
Philippe Mora of Howling II and III is writing the Foreword how did he get involved and who else is involved in the Book? And what was your favourite Howling movie and why?
I literally dropped Philippe an email and he obliged with my requests. He’s a great sport and he’s really passionate about the project. He certainly has his tongue firmly in his cheek and it really comes across in our interview and in his foreword.
I love Howling 1, II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf, The Original Nightmare, V: Rebirth, VI: The Freaks and Reborn.
Between 2016 and 2017 the project took a respite due to my other projects and gathering interviews for the book, but it’s now very much complete and ready to go, so I’m looking forward to finding out what the horror fans think of it. If they like it and want more of the same then I am happy to take on other franchises.
I won’t bother tackling movies that have already been done to death as I don’t see the point. That’s just lazy journalism and I see so many books on one franchise that are carbon copies of their predecessors just presented slightly differently – it’s very grey.
There are so many people that have contributed to the book. I won’t name-drop specific people as I don’t want to offend anyone by missing them off and I don’t want anyone to think I felt their role was less important. But horror fans will relish the amount of horror royalty involved that I interviewed.
It’s the Christmas season what festive horror films do you watch religiously? And how do you watch them. Do you have favourite movie snacks or and drinks?
Well, like most horror fans Gremlins is certainly a Christmas favourite of mine, along with Black Christmas.
I hate to admit it, but I also enjoy the Black Christmas remake. Had it been a standalone movie without any connection to the classic I think horror fans would have warmed to it. But sadly it’s been tarnished by association.
The Children is a decent horror set around the festive season and most recently I enjoyed Krampus Unleashed, it definitely has an eighties throwback vibe about it.
Snack and drink wise probably a tray of Ferrero Rocher and a glass of mulled wine or egg nog from M&S. I love egg nog and Ferreros!
If fan’s want to get in contact with you how will they go about it and what projects do you have coming up in 2018?
They can contact me by my social media or my website. My Twitter is @bryncjhammond and my Instagram is @officialbryncjhammond. My website is www.brynhammond.co.uk
I have a busy year ahead! I’ve three books (The Complete History of The Howling, A Case for Murder: Aaliyah Files, and A Case for Murder: Anna Nicole Smith Files) coming out and one ebook (A Case for Murder: Tour Guide Files). There will also be a TV adaptation of my book series A Case for Murder and I’m working with Ross Lee on a Horror TV show as well. We had our first meeting this year and I’m buzzing about it; it’s really going to be fun. Sadly, production on both shows came to a halt when my Nan was taken into hospital but things have settled down now and I’m raring to go!
Nick Stead hasn’t made an impact on the horror genre community yet, but after teaming up with Bryn Curt James Hammond (A Case for Murder: Brittany Murphy Files) on The Complete History of The Howling it looks like things are about to change. With his Hybrid series under his belt and his contribution to The Howling companion, 2018 sure looks like its going to be a busy year for the horror fiction author!
Hi Nick, can you tell me a little about yourself and why you are so passionate about werewolves?
I’ve always had a love of things with big teeth for as far back as I can remember, but werewolves quickly became my favourite. I think it was partly the idea of being able to shapeshift into a form I felt was way cooler than human, and probably down to being bullied in part as well – the fantasy of gaining the strength to deal with the kids who tormented me all the time really appealed to me. If I could have had the power of lycanthropy for real I’m sure they’d have soon found someone else to pick on! Or at least, those that I allowed to live…
You’re involved in The Complete History of The Howling book. What was your favourite Howling Movie?
It’s gotta be the first movie for me. The werewolves are the perfect mix of wolf and man and there are some awesome transformation scenes. The look of the werewolves in the later movies never seemed to be quite as good as the first (perhaps with the exception of The Howling Reborn, but I could have done without the love story in that one), and for me the look of the werewolves is everything.
What can you tell us, without giving too much away, about the new story arc you are writing for The Complete History of The Howling?
My love of werewolves is specifically from a horror angle – none of this Twilight rubbish! – and I tend to write dark and gory tales, so you can expect some blood and guts in the story arc. I’ve tried to give it the same atmospheric feel of the first movie and to come up with something the fans will really love.
Will the story arc link to any of the movies? If so, I am hoping we get some back story from Howling v: The Rebirth.
It’s linked to the first one, set just after where the movie ends with Karen White’s broadcast and the reactions of the public. There’s no link to five I’m afraid, sorry to disappoint! Though there certainly would be plenty of scope for some back story there in future.
Interviews by Ric Welington