Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with Horror Critic Nicole Raymond

Nicole Raymond, better known as NMRaymond, is the horror enthusiast that runs the blog Gruesome Details. However, she was not always a horror fan. As a child, the chilling music from the horror films her father watched frightened her at night. Her fear also sprang from films like Child’s Play and her cousins’ preyed on her fear with their enthusiasm for horror.

Everything changed when she made the decision to watch the horror films of her childhood in middle school, delving into the gore and the thrills of 1980s slasher films. After that she left the frightened child behind and never turned back, embracing her enthusiasm for horror in all shapes and styles.

Fatally Yours: How did you fall in love with the horror genre? 

Nicole Raymond: The horror genre has always been in my life, but I certainly did not fall in love with the genre immediately. It frightened me, especially the music of the horror genre. The music haunted me as a child, terrifying me in the night when my mother tucked me in bed. I made the conscious decision to embrace the horror genre during my adolescent years in middle school; it was a slow burning love that has engulfed me ever since.

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you?

Nicole Raymond: Horror means shrill notes strung from a violin; it means ominous chanting accompanied by the horns of the brass section. Horror means scream queens; it means ghost stories and gory displays. Horror means being startled, frightened, and thrilled by the unknown in the darkness of your mind.

Fatally Yours: How and when did you start writing about the horror genre?

Nicole Raymond: Recently, I have been writing about the horror genre through entries for my horror blog. However, I first wrote in the style of the horror genre in the fourth grade, writing a short story and illustrating the tale for a class assignment. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be a writer and that writing was enjoyable to me. Earlier in my college career, I wrote a research paper on horror and the music of the genre. The music of the horror genre was my siren’s song.

Fatally Yours: What is one thing you’ve done within the horror genre that you are most proud of?

Nicole Raymond: I am most proud of my horror blog, Gruesome Details. It truly is a stepping stone into the publishing industry, writing and editing the horror blog to gain new experience and skills in some aspects of electronic publishing. I am getting my writing out there and people are reading it, gaining contacts and networking in the horror genre.

Fatally Yours: How would you convince people who aren’t horror fans to give the genre a try?

Nicole Raymond: Convincing people to give the horror genre a try is much more difficult than I imagined, especially considering that my family members are horror fans and they did not need convincing. Some people are completely against the genre because of the scare and of their fear, and others are open to any film as long as it has quality dialogue or a decent plotline.

My roommate has been quite tolerant of my horror devotion, which she calls obsession, and she has actually enjoyed some of the horror films I have made her watch. People just need to simply watch one horror film, and then they need to make the choice themselves on whether to become a horror fan. Horror fans are an interesting brood and some people are simply not fans of the genre, I proudly am.

Fatally Yours: Do you feel women in horror get the proper recognition when compared to their male counterparts?

Nicole Raymond: Women in horror have not always been recognized; however, I believe with each year that passes women are recognized more and more in the genre. We, as women, are much more vocal about our presences in everything, including the horror genre. If we speak then someone is listening to what is being said, women do not waste their words on a nonexistent audience.

Compared to their male counterparts, women in horror are not given the same amount of recognition because the horror genre was overtly male in the beginning. But women in horror are being recognized more frequently as horror films become women-centric, female horror directors increase in numbers, and horror actresses become more recognizable and mainstream. I feel that women in horror are getting more recognition, but there is always room for improvement.

Fatally Yours: As a woman who writes about horror, have you found it harder to be taken seriously in a genre that seems to be dominated by males? 

Nicole Raymond: As a woman who writes about horror, I feel that I bring a different perspective to the horror genre. Being newer in the horror blogosphere, I believe that is why I find it harder to be taken seriously, certainly not my gender. It is a male dominated blogosphere to be sure, but the female horror bloggers are gaining in numbers.

Fatally Yours: What women in horror do you admire?

Nicole Raymond: In horror literature, I admired Laurell K. Hamilton for two simple words: Anita Blake. Back when she was a vampire executioner and an animator that helped the local cops, Anita Blake was an amazing character. Sadly, the vampire executioner is not the interesting and passionate character she once was, which saddens me. But a less modern, more traditional female figure in horror literature that I admire is Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, which is a classic piece of literature and a horror story for the ages.

In horror films and television series, I admire the actors that bring the characters to life in the genre, including Linda Blair, Jamie Lee Curtis, Neve Campbell, [and] Adrienne Barbeau just to name a few. These women are only a few of the many who have brought amazing characters to life in the horror genre.

Fatally Yours: What inspires, influences and motivates you to keep writing about horror?

Nicole Raymond: Personally, creative expression and passion keep me writing about horror, whether it is a short story or another review for my horror blog. The horror genre is awe-inspiring to me; it is grotesque and viscerally disturbing at times but there is such meaning behind some of those actions. Nothing has haunted me as much as the horror genre, and nothing is as fascinating to me as horror.

Fatally Yours: What are your favorite horror films and books?

Nicole Raymond: Favorites are always so hard for me to decide on, whether it is a band, a film, a book, or a food; figuring out favorites always leaves me with a painful headache. My favorite horror book of all time would have to be The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is my favorite poet of all time, reading The Raven when I was merely ten years old I loved the darkness and insanity of it all. Poe was a favorite long before I embraced the horror genre.

Films are much harder, considering that I have been exposed to the more mainstream of the horror films in the earlier years. Currently, my favorite horror film would have to be Repo! The Genetic Opera because it combines my favorite genres: musical and horror. Also, I can watch this film over and over without getting bored.

Fatally Yours: Outside of horror what do you enjoy doing?

Nicole Raymond: Outside of horror, I have enjoyed films since my childhood, which resulted in my love for all genres of film. I enjoy the theatre arts immensely, including ballet, musicals, and Shakespearean plays. And I have been incorporating the horror genre in recent theatre trips, including a production of Sweeney Todd in Chicago and a ballet production of Jack the Ripper shown for the first time this past Halloween in Grand Rapids. Musicals are another passionate subject for me, and I cannot pinpoint why I love them so much.

Fatally Yours: What are your goals for yourself within the horror genre?

Nicole Raymond: Being such an avid horror fan and an aspiring author, my goals for myself within the horror genre deal mostly with writing a novel in the horror genre. Building suspense with words rather than action shots in film, I have several ideas for a few novels that would be considered horror and other novels that would have horror elements. Writing a novel has been a goal of mine since the fourth grade, but writing a novel in the horror genre would be thrilling to me and quite appropriate considering my devotion to the horror genre.

Fatally Yours: Where can people find your reviews/more info on you?

Nicole Raymond: Horror readers, fans, and fellow writers can find my reviews, greatest moments, and thoughts on the horror genre at Gruesome Details and Gruesome Details’ Facebook Fan page.

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