Your new book A Psycho's Medley - now what can you tell us
about the overall tone and theme of this collection, and what are its
individual stories about?
A Psycho’s Medley is a collection of five short
stories and one novelette. The theme is that of the psychopath. It
explores the motivation and handiwork of those lost in their own dangerous
The lead story, A Psycho’s Medley, is about a serial killer
under observation at a facility who keeps a journal during this
The Night Out is about a guy who goes into a topless bar
looking for pieces of his fractured past. When he meets a girl he loved in
high school there, the present and past collide in a haunting and bloody
manner. This one was a finalist for the 1997 International Horror Guild
Award for a short story.
Morsel is a fairly new story, never published
before. It is about an unhappy business man in a hotel room with a
prostitute. We find out the unhappy man has a very strange and quite messy
Waiting for the Thunder is a fairly short glimpse into the mind of
a woman fed up with one night stands.
Traiteur is about a backwoods father
taking his son on a hunt for the first time. This one is actually the
first chapter of my novel Dreg that stands on its own as a short piece.
And the final entry is Hair and Blood Machine. It is a longer piece. It is
my romance from the heart of hell. It is about a young man trying to keep
his sanity together after a tremendous loss. He goes to a carnival where
he meets the girl of his dreams. Being a kindred spirit, she helps him
realize his dark potential.
A Psycho's Medley is
made up completely of realistic (as in non-supernatural) horror stories.
Originally, I was going to put the bulk of my stories
into one volume. But I realized that they didn’t all quite gel together.
I do have supernaturally themed short stories, but they were not getting
along with the realistic stories. So I separated them. A Psycho’s Medley
became the collection for the realistic horrors, and the upcoming What
Price Gory? will house the beasties and demons.
What can you tell us about your book's title
story A Psycho's Medley, which I understand you've written back in
the 1990's, about your inspirations for it, and of course the troubling
story to getting it released?
Psycho’s Medley was based on headlines. It just came to me. “Hey, what
if I were a serial killer at an institution and they gave me a pad of
paper and a pen. What would I say?” The story wrote itself after that.
It was accepted into an anthology and would have been in there with some
pretty heavy hitters. The anthology was called Bedlam: Memoirs from a
Padded Cell. But, sadly, the book never happened. I put the story aside
and forgot about it as I pursued other things. Recently, I had the hard
drive of an obsolete computer dragged for files, and there it was, like a
corpse discovered in someone’s garden. So I polished it up a bit, and it
became the lead story for my collection.
A few words about the
inspirations for your other stories, and your usual sources of inspiration
as a writer as such?
it’s hard to say where the inspiration comes from. It can come from
something as mundane as watching a hummingbird drink from the feeder in my
backyard to a news article that disturbs the hell out of me. I watched a
guy selling flowers on the side of the road once and a story was born. It
can come from the most innocent of places. It’s hard to say what will
light that creative fuse in your mind. As far as writers that inspire me,
I love King, Barker, Sturgeon, Ketchum, Serling and Matheson. I also love
Ed Levy, who wrote a book called The Beast Within which was stunning.
How did you get into writing to
begin with, and how would you describe your overall style?
grandmother Kitty, who passed recently, was an avid reader. I loved her
dearly, and I wrote for her attention, which I adored, and to impress her.
Of course, she wouldn’t like the horror stuff. My style changes from
story to story, but I think the common denominator would be trying to say
as much as I can in as little as I can. I try to keep things thin and
talk about your early days as a writer for a bit, and do you still go back
occasionally and read your early stuff?
I read the earlier stuff. Some of it, I may find some merit in and decide
to overhaul. But a lot of it is resigned to a box in the closet somewhere.
Or, in some cases, it doesn’t exist anymore; I have lost some over the
years to crashed computer drives or trash bags.
In one or two instances, that might be a crying shame. But for the
majority, it’s probably just as well. I was a freelancer for many years
and a lot of it is a blur. There were a lot of projects that were
paychecks. But there may not have been that much passion invested. You do
what you have to and if you’re lucky, you get to do what you are
passionate about eventually.
Any past or
future books you'd like to talk about?
have a ton of stuff coming out. I am currently revising my novel Dreg. I
also have What Price Gory? coming, and I am halfway through Fear
and Lesbians in New Jersey, a fiction novel based on the low budget horror and soft core film
made the transition from writer to filmmaker - how did that happen, and
what can you tell us about your debut feature Blood for the Muse,
and lessons learned from it?
for the Muse was based on my comic book of the same name. One day, I just
had the urge to make a movie, and the technology was there, so we could
make it on a very modest budget. I had been covering and reviewing low to
no budget films for magazines, so I guess that’s how I caught the bug.
Guys like Tim Ritter, Scooter McCrae and J.R. Bookwalter were huge
inspirations to me. When we set out to make Blood for the Muse, we were
trying to do something different, and I think we succeeded. I honestly
can’t tell you that there were many hardships on the set. It went very
smoothly. Probably more smoothly than I deserved. The cast and crew were
top notch and I honestly cannot recall any heavy dramas. And I think that
is saying something. I think Blood for the Muse taught me that people are
willing to contribute and invest their passion and time if you are
committed to the project and have a vision that you can communicate to
Any other films of yours
you'd like to talk about, and please talk about your evolution as a
filmmaker for a bit!
a filmmaker, I learned something new with every shoot. I gained confidence
with experience and did what I thought was my best at the time, with very
little to work with on most projects. It’s like anything else; you do it
enough times, you start gaining the reflexes for it. But I can’t really
say I evolved all that much. I tried to stretch creatively, when I could.
And some projects were, again, merely opportunities to feed myself. I
won’t say those paying gigs were devoid of passion. I honestly tried to
be as entertaining as I could no matter what genre the film would belong
to when I was done with it. Maybe I succeeded for 10 seconds, here or
there. Or maybe I failed miserably. That’s up to the viewer to decide.
Any further commentary I have on a certain period of my career will be
evident in my book, Fear and Lesbians in New Jersey,
which is loosely based on my own experiences. It’s not a tell-all. It
is a fiction book. But you’ll learn something about those late night
Now, switching gears here, another film I worked on was
the Beast from Media Blasters. I enjoyed making that one. I got to work
with Caroline Munro [Caroline
Munro bio - click here] and Aldo Sambrell. Critically speaking, there are
those who love it and those who despise it, and that’s the way
movie-making goes. But it was fun for me. Lots of blood and guts.
really no HUGE insight I can offer about being a director or making a
film. I can tell you about the pitfalls, but when you start making your
own film, you’ll still trip over them whether I warn you or not. The
most practical thing I can tell you I learned about directing was from
Terry Gilliam, who said “wear comfortable shoes and sit down as often
as possible.” My career as a professional filmmaker is over now, by my
choice. There is the off chance that I will crawl out of my house one day
and maybe shoot a short or something. But I really don’t have the energy
to do the crazy guerilla filmmaking stuff anymore. And I have a family
that it would take me away from. So it is an easy choice for me.
You have recently left your mark on
quite a few horror films as an actor, especially in Joseph M. Monks' The
Bunker [Joseph M. Monks interview - click
here], and The Blood
Shed and Gallery
of Fear by Alan Rowe Kelly [Alan
Rowe Kelly interview - click here] - so please talk about your
experiences on these movies for a bit? And what can you tell us about
Terry M. West the actor as such?
I can tell you that Terry M. West is not an actor. He’s a guy who can
play a pretty good caricature in a horror film and will work for a
director he is friends with or believes in. I mean, it was fun to be in
those movies. But I really don’t consider myself a great actor or
anything. It’s just that, some roles I was born to play and sometimes a
director will see that. Even if I don’t, at first.
stories and films seem to be almost invariably of the horror variety - a
genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?
can’t really say. I have just always been a fan of the dark. I just find
horror so fascinating. There are so many emotional levels to explore in
the genre. You can be led in limitless directions. There is always a new
dark awe waiting for me in every horror book I read or movie I watch.
I am a horror junkie. That much is evident.
filmmakers, whatever else who inspire you?
anybody with a strong vision and tenacity inspires me.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
of the Living Dead. Brilliant. My favorite, hands down. I also love
Repo Man, Re-Animator,
Chainsaw Massacre, The Big
Lebowski, Session 9, and the most horrifying
move ever made… Muriel’s Wedding. I am a big fan of that one.
... and of course, films you really
know, I don’t really hate movies. But if there is one that pisses me off
to no end, it’s Forrest Gump. I hated the message it conveyed. The film
basically says that if you are a moron, God will watch over you. But if
you are a normal human being just experimenting and enjoying life and
making the mistakes we all make in our youth… God don’t like that and
you will get AIDS and die. What a dangerous message.
Your/your book's website, Facebook, whatever
can visit me anytime at www.terrymwest.com
you can like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officialterrymwest
you can buy A Psycho’s Medley here:
Anything else you are dying to mention and I've
merely forgotten to ask?
think we have it covered. Thanks for your time!
Thanks for the interview!