INTERVIEW : Chad Savage : Gothic.net 2011
> What was the first movie or book or television show which scared you?
[Chad Savage] I have a very specific memory of being horrified by the scene in the original Day of the Triffids, when the escaped convicts take over the women’s school for the blind, and then the Triffids attack them all. It was the fact that the scariest things in that part of the movie were the humans, not the monsters (something that has become a mainstay of my personal philosophy). Having said that, it was Romero’s Day of the Dead that really, truly screwed me up for a week – the sheer nihilism of that movie was something my 17-year-old Southern Baptist upbringing had simply not prepared me for.
> In literature, which do you find more scary, supernatural forces, like vengeful ghosts pulling you into the TV, or manmade dangers, like serial killers with specific tastes?
[Chad Savage] I’ve always found supernatural forces scarier, simply because they can’t be qualified. If a human being comes after you, you know his/her limitations, because you’re a human being, too. A little piece of metal in the right part of your adversary’s body ends the threat. But a supernatural entity? What are the rules? How do you protect yourself from it? I DON’T KNOW! And that’s scary.
> What are you afraid of in real life?
[Chad Savage] My parents were dead by my sophomore year of college; I’ve filed bankruptcy; I’ve been divorced. So: Not much. I truly believe that Fear is something that grows if you feed it, so I don’t feed it. What’s the point? Life is going to do what it’s going to do. You roll with it. Whoever said “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” was speaking the truth.
> In what ways do you feel a dark mindset goes hand-in-hand with horror tropes?
[Chad Savage] …I’m not sure what I was just asked.
> Does a storyline seem more or less frightening to you, when BDSM themes are included, such as those in Hellraiser or Ichi the Killer?
[Chad Savage] Neither. BDSM doesn’t scare me (and, frankly, shouldn’t scare anybody who takes the 5 minutes required to understand what it’s about).
> Do you find fear — in yourself or in others — erotic? If so, how would you describe or explain the connection?
[Chad Savage] No. I’m an old school romantic at heart. Feeling actual pleasure induced by somebody else’s genuine fear? No thanks. Fiction is one thing – inflicting terror on somebody in order to get yourself off? That’s too fucked up.
> What 2010 horror releases (film or book) did you find most notable?
[Chad Savage] Movies (some of these were made earlier, but only became available in the USA on DVD in 2010. Also, I still haven’t seen a lot of 2010 releases!): Daybreakers, The Last Exorcism, Suck, I Sell the Dead, Dead Snow, Let Me In, Predators, Frozen
Books: The Fall (Del Toro and Hogan), A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene… I think everything else I read this year wasn’t actually published in 2010.
> What genres do you most enjoy?
[Chad Savage] I’m a horror junkie, through and through. Beyond that, I lean towards comedy, sci fi, fantasy and action. I like my entertainment to be creative.
> Do you feel noir is more a subgenre of horror or mystery? Why?
[Chad Savage] Honestly, I’ve never felt the need to limit it in that fashion. Maybe it’s the influence of friends like David J. Schow and Christa Faust, but Noir Is Noir, not a subgenre.
> Do you prefer extreme gore or psychological horror?
[Chad Savage] I prefer “entertaining” and “intelligent”. I don’t care who gets me there.
> Do you enjoy novels or anthologies more? Why?
[Chad Savage] I prefer “entertaining” and “intelligent”. I don’t care who gets me there.
> What are some of your favorite horror movies or books of all time?
[Chad Savage] MOVIES: The Shining, The Thing, Phantasm, Hellraiser, Evil Dead, Reanimator, The Last Winter, 30 Days of Night, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Cemetery Man, Blade, Vamp, The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Burial Ground, Zombi, Dead Alive, The Frighteners, From Beyond, Dagon, Valentines Day (original), The Haunting (Original), House on Haunted Hill (Both), Haunting of Hell House, The Changeling, Burnt Offerings, The Entity, The Tenant, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen (original), The Exorcist, Trick ‘r’ Treat, Night of the Demons (Both), Return of the Living Dead, The Fearless Vampire Killers, I Sell the Dead, Wendigo, Dead Snow,…I could go on for paragraphs!
BOOKS: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite, The Rising by Brian Keene, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Silk by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Skin by Kathe Koje, ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, The Child Thief by Brom, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Hell House by Richard Matheson, Live Girls by Ray Garton, The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells… again, I could go on for paragraphs!
> What are your favorite monsters and what specifically appeals to you about them?
[Chad Savage] I’ve been partial to monsters, as a general concept, since I was old enough to understand the definition of the word. As an adult, I’ve been a particular fan of vampires for over 20 years, with zombies running a close second. In both cases, I think it’s their social/archetypal adaptability that draws me – they mean whatever we need them to mean at any given time. That’s awesome.
> What do you think about the zombie trend?
[Chad Savage] I love it. I can’t believe it’s lasted this long, and there’s no end in sight. For crying out loud, one of the most heralded new TV shows of 2010 was The Walking Dead. How do you top that?
> Do you feel Frankenstein monsters qualify as zombies?
[Chad Savage] Not in the least. A jigsaw puzzle corpse reanimated with electricity is its own creation – there’s a reason we call it Frankenstien’s Monster and not Frankenstein’s Zombie.
> What do you think about the vampire trend?
[Chad Savage] I call it spectacular, especially when put into perspective. I’ve been into vampires since the mid-80’s. What’s happening right now is simply unprecedented and, again, shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
> What do you think about paranormal romance being (a) tagged paranormal romance and (b) marketed to teens? Is this a problematic dilution or a boon to writers and readers of dark fiction, which expands the horror market?
[Chad Savage] I think ANYthing that gets teens hooked on a horror concept, trope or archetype is a future boon to the horror industry in general. Training teens to dig horrific or supernatural concepts in entertainment? HELL YEAH.
> What are your homes on the web (your sites, your profiles, your Twitter, etc.)?
[Chad Savage] Oh, good lord, that’s a whole website’s worth of information. Start here:
> What are your favorite places (online, in print, on television) to find out what is going on in your areas of interest?
[Chad Savage] I regularly frequent LifeHacker.com, Hulu.com, NetFlix.com online. I subscribe to Rue Morgue and Hi Fructose Magazines.
> Do you own an e-book reader such as a Kindle or Nook or iPad?
[Chad Savage] No. I like books too much. Actual, paper-based, hold-it-in-your-hands books.
> Do you like reading in e-book format, such as PDF, on your computer or e-book reader such as Kindle or Nook or iPad?
[Chad Savage] No. In fact, I HATE IT. Real books rule.
> How do you feel e-books compare to printed ones?
[Chad Savage] The same way genuine imitation butter flavored topping compares to butter. That is to say: No comparison.
> How do you feel web publications compare to printed magazines?
[Chad Savage] I prefer printed magazines. Others may feel differently.
> What do you think of Twitter, its current role, and its future?
[Chad Savage] I love Twitter, but it’s like any other tool, like a hammer or saw: If you use it correctly, it’s awesome. If you don’t, it just causes unnecessary damage.
> What do you think of Facebook, its current role, and its future?
[Chad Savage] I love Facebook, but it’s like any other tool, like a hammer or saw: If you use it correctly, it’s awesome. If you don’t, it just causes unnecessary damage.
> What do you think of MySpace, its current role, and its future?
[Chad Savage] MySpace is so over, it’s just sad.
> What conventions, if any, do you attend or speak or exhibit at, and which ones do you plan to go to this year?
[Chad Savage] TransWorld’s Halloween and Haunted Attractions Show, HAuNTcon, The Midwest Haunters Convention, The World Horror Convention, HorrorFind Weekend, Flashback Weekend
> What are your favorite soundtracks for horror? Specific bands, performers, genres, types of mood evoked?
[Chad Savage] Phantasm 1 & 2, Hellraiser, The Thing, The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 2, Unbreakable, Zombi, Evil Dead, Nosferatu 1979, Dagon, Invader Zim
> Why do you think it is the case that more subculture-identified people (gothic, punk, etc.) appear in horror literature than any other genre?
[Chad Savage]…because your average genre writer engages in poorly-researched stereotypes than actually taking the time to get to know/investigate real people in the subculture(s) they’re writing about?
> How would you describe what it means to be gothic or goth?
[Chad Savage] I’m 42 years old. I stopped trying to explain or justify “goth” a loooong time ago. Say what you want about Darren McKeeman, but he coined the term “Persons in Black”, and that’s what I’ve been for over 20 years. Or, as my wife’s mother put it when she was 20: “…It’s not a phase, is it?”
> Do you like going to gallery shows?
[Chad Savage] Absolutely.
> What do you do over the course of a typical average day?
[Chad Savage] Work 12-16 hours. Love and interact with my family. Then work some more.
> Do you tend to sleep easy without nightmares or are you often victim to insomnia?
[Chad Savage] I work until I’m exhausted, then I sleep like a dead man.
> What are your favorite drinks and how do you take your coffee?
[Chad Savage] I’m a big fan of Five Hour Energy, Rock Star Recovery, Vodka and coffee with cream and sugar.
> Does your mode of dress come across dark?
[Chad Savage] TOTALLY. I’m a spooky-looking motherfucker.
> Where do you live now and where are you originally from?
[Chad Savage] I live about 90 miles East of Chicago. I’m originally from Dallas, Texas.
> Dark Visual Art
> What are some of your published credits?
[Chad Savage] Numerous book covers, illustrations in a variety of publications over the last 20 years including Cemetery Dance Magazine.
> At what age did you know you wanted to create visual art?
[Chad Savage] 5
> What is your educational background and do you feel it informs your art?
[Chad Savage] I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and Graphic Design; but that’s just a label. I’d be doing what I’m doing regardless.
> What do you do to find inspiration (reading, education, travel, contemplation, etc.)?
[Chad Savage] I live my life. Inspiration is as natural as breathing or eating – the things you experience are the things that creatively inspire you.
> How often do you work on creating new work and how do you find the discipline and time to do so? Tips?
[Chad Savage] I work on new art whenever time permits, which isn’t often. Eventually, a particular concept requires expression at the cost of one’s sanity: Either draw/paint this image or go nuts. It’s an easy decision in light of that choice.
> Do you like having your work in gallery shows?
[Chad Savage] I love it.
> Do you think it is valuable for visual artists to blog or post their work on sites like dA or MM? Why?
[Chad Savage] Absolutely. Expressing one’s creative process (and results) can be a huge catalyst/inspiration for somebody else’s creative process.
> What awards, if any, could you win and find meaningful?
[Chad Savage] Honestly, that’s not AT ALL why I do what I do. As such, I have no answer to this question.
> If you had to label your work, what tags (genre/medium) would you put on the bulk of it?
[Chad Savage] Halloween, dark art, horror
> What visual artists have influenced your own art the most?
[Chad Savage] Clive Barker, Chet Zar, H. R. Giger, J. K. Potter, Alan M. Clark, Michael Parks, Brom, Joseph Larkin