Author Interview – Hunter Shea

Welcome to the fifth installment of my monthly Author Interviews! Over the past year, the works of Hunter Shea have pretty much dominated my reading list. It all began by answering a simple call to be part of a Blog Tour in which I’d receive a book, read it, and review it within a given time frame. I was sent Island of the Forbidden, a lovely romp on an isolated island with murderous ghosts! About two days ago, I started one of his cryptid tales, Loch Ness Revenge.  I’m never disappointed when it comes to a Hunter Shea novel. We’ve chatted and emailed on and off, me usually seeking advice, and he graciously giving it. So you can imagine my delight when he quickly accepted my request for an interview!

And so, without further delay … Here’s Hunter!

1. Every writer has a story on how it all began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for story telling? Was there someone that influenced\encouraged you down the path to being a writer?

HunterShea

Horror Author – Hunter Shea

I’ve always been a huge reader and fan of horror. At one time, I dreamt of being a horror director, back when Jason was terrorizing the silver screen. I wrote awful stories and worse poems and songs, then college came along and I discovered free kegs and ten cent wings and my creativity was funneled into creating party themes. It wasn’t until I got my first horrible, soul-deadening corporate job that I got the itch to write. My good friend Norm Hendricks was writing a horror novel in the cubicle next to me and I got curious. Norm is the one who got me sucked into this, and I thank him all the time. It became an addiction, and I have no desire to kick the habit. Of course, it took me years before I wrote anything worth a damn, but that’s part of the journey.

2. As kids we’re always being asked what we want to be when we grow up. Beyond writing, what other careers did you have in mind for yourself?

From about 9 until 14, if people asked me what I was going to be, I would tell them a Playboy photographer (much to my mother’s chagrin – I think dad was proud). Then I wanted to pitch in the major leagues for a while, until college where I studied to be on the radio, either as a DJ or engineer. I’d secretly always wanted to do that ever since WKRP in Cincinnati came on the air. Once I realized how little the job paid, I gave that up. Funny how everything in radio has changed. Everything I learned back then is now obsolete. I was a master at splicing tape.

3. Really looking forward to reading your latest release We Are Always Watching.  While writing it, you mentioned to me that some of it’s based on real events.  Can you give more details on that?

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Hunter’s Latest Release

Sure. The whole idea was inspired by what’s still happening to this house in New Jersey. A couple bought a million dollar home in a sweet little suburb, only to find out someone who calls themselves The Watcher claims the house and all who inhabit it are his. The Watcher leaves cryptic, terrifying notes all around the house. The family picked up and ran for the hills. They’ve been trying to have the house razed but have been turned down by the town zoning board. They rented it out to someone else, who recently started getting even more sinister notes from The Watcher. Crazy stuff. And it’s scary, because it’s really happening.

4. You and Jack Campisi have a podcast called Monster Men over on YouTube. How did you two meet and what made you decide to create the show together?

We worked together at a technology company. When we found out we both owned and loved the Spider-Man rock opera album as kids, we were bonded for life. We loooove horror, and talked about it all the time. Once podcasting became a thing, we decided to just go for it and let the world watch 2 horror fans, who’ve had a few drinks, talk about the genre. We’re 120 episodes in and counting, which isn’t easy considering it’s a video podcast.

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Hunter & Jack – The Monster Men

5. They say authors often put themselves into at least one of their characters in every book. Is this something you’ve experienced? If so, which of your characters do you feel most resembles yourself?

Oh, hell yeah. Bits of us are scattered like ashes across the pages of each and every single book. John Backman in Forest of Shadows was all me, complete with crippling anxiety (which I beat, unlike poor John). There’s a lot of me and one of my daughters in West Ridley in We Are Always Watching. Strangely enough, I’d go so far as to say you’ll find pieces of me in Jessica Backman in Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden. It’s impossible not to take from yourself and imbue it within your characters. It also helps give true notes of authenticity to the work. Readers know when you’re totally faking it and when you speak from experience.

6. What’s next for Hunter Shea? Can we look forward to more cryptid-based tales or are you going to go in a different direction for a while?

Oh, so much. This summer, my series of novelettes will come out through Lyrical Press. They’re based on the crap you could buy in comic books in the 70s and 80s. They’re called Just Add Water, Optical Delusion and Money Back Guarantee, and they’re pure campy fun. Megalodon in Paradise will be released through Severed Press this summer. Sure to be a pleasing beach read. I have a few other special releases up my sleeve. Folks need to stay tuned and see what’s in store. Hope you all hop on over to www.huntershea.com and join my Dark Hunter Newsletter to get the inside scoop. Oh, and I give lots of free stuff away to subscribers, too. 😉

Thanks so much, Hunter for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions! It was great learning just a bit more about the man behind the monster madness!

Next month I’ll be grilling author Jason J. Nugent – low and slow with just a touch of lemon pepper!

Until then … Write On!

 

 

Binging On Bigfoot

The 1970s was a, well, BIG decade for Bigfoot. It seemed like he was everywhere. On Saturday mornings we had ‘Bigfoot and Wild Boy”. Steve Austin took on a robotic version of the creature in The Six-Million Dollar Man, and of course, Leonard Nimoy went ‘In Search Of … Bigfoot.” There was even a Bigfoot board game where you got to track the elusive beast. But where Sasquatch really made his biggest imprint was at the movies!

When I learned about last month’s released of Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend the spiral into the depth of my childhood and my love and fascination with all things Bigfoot struck anew.  I selected five films from those fabulous 70’s to either watch for the first time or watch yet again to remind myself how good or bad they really were.

And so without further delay, let’s begin our Bigfoot Binge!

Bigfoot (1970) – Directed by Robert Slatzer. Starring John Carradine and Joi Lanning.

Two buxom and scantily clad babes are kidnapped by a small band of Bigfoots (or is that Bigfeet?)… Anyway … One of the ladies is part of a motorcycle ‘gang’ and her boyfriend isn’t too happy about his girl being taken hostage. Having been separated from his biker friends because these two just HAD to stop and have a romantic interlude down by the creek, and unable to catch up with them down the road, Rick returns to the general store where the group last stopped. With the locals and law enforcement unwilling to believe the biker’s story, he enlists the help of two traveling salesmen who just happen to have rifles and flashlights on hand.

Eventually it’s all-out war as Rick’s biker friends, who have returned to lend a hand, two traveling salesmen, three Indians, and Rick all chase down the leader of the Bigfoot band to try and save themselves and the kidnapped beauties!

Even John Carradine couldn’t save this one.

Watch It Here:  Bigfoot (1970)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – Directed by Charles B. Pierce. Narrated by Vern Stierman. Starring: The Fine Folks of Fouke, Arkansas as themselves.

In October 2014 on a return trip home from Texas, we decided to make a small detour to Fouke, Arkansas to realize a childhood dream, to see for ourselves where this movie was filmed.  As with many of our little trips, I wish we’d had more time to explore. As it was we were able to stop at Monster Mart and get a few souvenirs and pictures, but little else.

Told from the perspective of a young man growing up in the small town of Fouke, Arkansas, ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ always seems to stir up a lively conversation for people of a certain age who remember seeing it youngsters and being completely terrified by it. I am one of those people. The film is sort of a documentary, in that it stars mostly locals of the area telling and re-creating their lives during the time of the sightings.

I do have to wonder just how much of this is based on fact and how much has been over-dramatized or completely fictionalized to make it more interesting and profitable. Either way, it was realistic and creepy enough for an entire generation of people to never, ever forget it and to seek it out again for at least another couple of viewings as adults. This was without a doubt, the first Bigfoot movie I ever saw and I’m pretty sure it’s probably why to this day, I hate looking out my windows at night for fear of seeing someone, or something, standing out there looking back at me.

Additional movies, Return to Boggy Creek (1977), Boggy Creek 2: The Legend Continues (1985) and Bigfoot: Boggy Creek (2010) have all tried to capitalize on the story, but none were ever able to beat the popularity of the original. I am truly hoping the newest film mentioned earlier won’t disappoint.

Watch It Here:  The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot (1975) Documentary. Narrated by Peter Graves

Documentaries on Bigfoot (and a myriad of other cryptids) seem to have run rampant back in the good old 70s. In this case, the first fifteen minutes are devoted to the Loch Ness monster, before moving on to Bigfoot. Full of historic still photos, early captures on audio and video along with dramatized eyewitness accounts as well as statements given by the real witnesses, we are also told about other man-apes found throughout the world, Bigfoot as known by his many names worldwide, Yeti, Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, and Skunk Ape.

All in all, a seriously done documentary on what we knew and what was going on in the world of Bigfoot research in 1975. Though it’s a bit outdated, it’s still an interesting and informative watch.

Watch It Here: Mysterious Monster: Bigfoot (1975)

Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977) – Rated G – Directed by Ed Ragazonni. Starring George Lauris, Steve Boergadine, Ken Kenzle, Jim Bradford, Joe Morello

I saw this movie for the first time when it came out in theatres. My grandmother had wanted to treat me to a movie and being the odd child I was, this was my pick. She wasn’t so thrilled with my choice, but eleven-year-old me thought it was totally awesome at the time! It left me scared for many years. As an adult viewing it again, okay, maybe not quite so much, but it’s still a fun watch!

Seven men head out on horseback for a three-month-long expedition into the wilds of the American Northwest in search of Sasquatch. Among them we have the obligatory Mountain Man, a Native American guide, and the camp cook who also happens to be a crack shot with a rifle and, along with some pesky raccoons and a badger, provides us with comic relief along the way.

In between the long stretches of very Disney-esque scenes that felt more like a nature show than a movie about tracking Bigfoot, we are told some frightening tales in the form of flashbacks about previous encounters with the infamous creature in the area.

Our intrepid group doesn’t reach their destination, the heart of Sasquatch country, until the final fifteen-twenty minutes of the movie, but boy do they get what they’ve been asking for in those final minutes.

Watch It Here: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977)

The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) Directed by Bill Rebane. Starring Janus Raudkivi, Randolph Rebane and Stafford Morgan

Initially I was scared, very, very scared at what this movie might contain, being as it was brought to us by those same people who produced Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. But, I took a deep breath and braced myself for whatever I was about to commit myself to.

This time around we’re hunting Bigfoot in the American ‘North Country’, in this case that’s Wisconsin, where Bigfoot apparently prefers to wear white. Or maybe they’re like certain rabbits who change the color of their fur to suit the seasons.

Two trappers make the catch of the century when they snare a baby Bigfoot. Mama Bigfoot doesn’t take too kindly to this, leaving one trapper dead and the other seriously mauled. Word quickly spreads and soon others are out hunting down these elusive beasts and, as we all know, no good ever comes of a greedy business man who wants to cash in on capturing Bigfoot, some angry, gun-toting hunters, law enforcement, a vengeful Bigfoot Mama, and a nearby ski resort.

I was surprised at how good this movie actually turned out to be. I’m not saying it was good. I’m saying it wasn’t absolutely horrible. The acting was pretty good and the plot was interesting enough to keep me watching to the bitter end. And, they very skillfully included a couple of kids in one of the side plots. This would be a good one to watch while up in your winter lodge on a dark and snowy night.

Watch It Here: The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)

And there you have it, my lead up to viewing the newest film Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend which, hopefully will be happening this weekend. Maybe even tonight! To learn more about this one, check out an interview with one of its creators, Lyle Blackburn over at the Monster Men Podcast on YouTube Episode #114 along with this trailer Boggy Creek Monster Trailer.