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An Interview with Terry M. West, Writer of A Psycho's Medley

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2013

Terry M. West on (re)Search my Trash

 

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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 insanity.

The lead story, A Psycho’s Medley, is about a serial killer under observation at a facility who keeps a journal during this examination.

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 fetish.

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. How come?

 

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?

 

A 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?

 

God, 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?

 

My 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 flowing.

 

Do talk about your early days as a writer for a bit, and do you still go back occasionally and read your early stuff?

 

Sure, 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?

 

I 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 market.

 

Eventually, you 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?

 


Blood 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 them.

 

Any other films of yours you'd like to talk about, and please talk about your evolution as a filmmaker for a bit!

 


As 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 movies.

Now, switching gears here, another film I worked on was Flesh for 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. 

There is 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?

 


Well, 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.

 

Your stories and films seem to be almost invariably of the horror variety - a genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?

 

I 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.

 

Writers, filmmakers, whatever else who inspire you?

 

Really, anybody with a strong vision and tenacity inspires me.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

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Night of the Living Dead. Brilliant. My favorite, hands down. I also love Repo Man, Re-Animator, Texas 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 deplore?

 

You 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 else?

 

You can visit me anytime at www.terrymwest.com

Or you can like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officialterrymwest

And you can buy A Psycho’s Medley here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00E3FWOS4

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I've merely forgotten to ask?

 

I think we have it covered. Thanks for your time!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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