Ginger Nuts of Horror
Oldrich Stibor is a creative professional working in film in Television in various capacities in addition to a career in copy writing. He lives in Toronto Canada with his soul mate Meeka: A speckled belly boston terrier.
His current project is The Black Chronicle, an exciting idea which combines a standard novel with loads of extra "transmedia" experiences, such as telephone calls from the novel's dastardly serial killer. Featuring performances from two of horror 's hardest working actors, Bill Oberst Jr and Melantha Blackthorne this looks as though this is going to be some rather special.
Hello Oldrich, how are things with you?
I’m doing great thanks. And yourself?
Just who is Oldrich Stibor, could you give the readers some background information on yourself?
Who is Oldrich Stibor. That’ a good question. I’m still trying to figure that out actually. My CV says that I’m a highly creative personality who is obsessed with the power words and imagery have in eliciting emotional response. But that’s just me trying to sound smart. I’m a horror writer from Toronto Canada.
Toronto you say, do you know my uncle Dr David Mcleod?
I can’t say I have but maybe I’m related to him. My mother’s maiden name is Mcleod.
In a previous interview you said that you always wrote, do you believe that writers are born rather than created?
Personally I think they’re born. You of course can teach someone to write well but there’s a lot more to being writer than just writing. A lot of it is about the need to do so. There is a lot of rejection and a lot hurdles and hoops every writer has navigate to get their work out there to the world. You may be a solid writer but if you don’t have the need, beyond all reason to sit down and write every day despite your success or lack of it, you’re probably not going to stick with it or even have the self confidence to bare yourself to that process in the first place.
Oldrich Stibor is a pseudonym, is there a reason as to why you are using one, and is there any significance to the name itself?
Oldrich is actually my middle name. My first name is Andrew. I just feel like Oldrich sounds cooler and is more memorable.
I’ve always been fascinated with names, and where they come from, where does the Oldrich come from?
Oldrich is Czech. I was named after my grandfather. I was always embarrassed of it for some reason growing up but I’ve come to really like it.
What does horror mean to you?
Wow. I’m not sure to be honest. Why do we like to be scared? Why is that fun? But it is. And the more a movie or book can disturb me the more I like it. When I was six years old I had a huge nightmare on elm street flag in my room and used to watch those movies, along with children of the corn and films like that over and over on repeat. So the attraction was there right from the start. Some people may consider that bad parenting on my folks part but I’m glad that let me watch or read whatever I wanted. I don’t know if I would be a creative person today if they tried to limit my experiences like that.
I’d imagine that like me access to horror films and books was at lot harder to come by when you were growing up, do you this day and age where everything is accessible lessens the impact of find great new horror?
I don’t know. I grew up in the 80’s which feels like the golden age of horror to me. There were so many great – well terrible but also great terrible horror movies that came out in that decade. I didn’t feel like they were hard to find. But I know what you mean. There is an over saturation thing going on but it also helps you find the gems you may have otherwise missed. For example I recently saw Kiss of the Damned by Alexandra Cassavetes which I loved. It only got a limited release and I probably wouldn’t have come across it if it wasn’t for the internet.
And would you let your kids watch what you watched as a kid?
That’s a good question. I was a really scared kid. Scared of everything. Scared of the corn field behind our house, scared of the dark. I was even scared of flushing the toilet because I had seen this movie called Ghoulies where these creepy little goblins came up out of someone’s toilet. So you know, that wasn’t fun. So I’m not sure to be honest. I guess it would depend on the kid. I think my parents knew I was mature enough to handle it.
What are your all-time favourite horror books and film
Well, exorcist to me is still the scariest movie ever made. That will always be number one. I think the saw franchise is brilliant, especially the first two as is the shining. The book and the movie.
Why is horror great?
Nothing can lock you into a narrative like truly have the shit scared out of you. Also I would say the fans. I love horror fans. They’re so passionate and loyal.
And why does horror suck?
Horror sucks really bad sometimes because it’s common knowledge that if you want to break into the film industry or churn out a series of low cost films that could potentially have a huge pay off, comparatively, horror is the way to go. And that has a lot to do with the fans being so passionate and loyal. But sometimes you get the feeling that the studios really aren’t even trying to make a good movie. They’re just hoping it’s adequate. Which sometimes works out for them but in that case it’s not real art and doesn’t work to build a fan base.
Tell us about Red Right Hand, why did you set it up? What are the main goals of the company?
Our goal is to publish a line of kick ass transmedia horror novels while also acting as a production company for other authors who are interested in exploring this new form of publishing with us.
Transmedia is something that has been bandied about for a number years, however it’s a format that really hasn’t been fully utilised. Why do you think those who came before have been reluctant to fully immerse the reader in a transmedia experience?
I think there’s a lot of factors there. One of the reason I think is that companies are scared to be the first to go. You know when you watch an amazing movie or your plane touches down after a bit of a sketchy landing and you want to clap but you don’t because what if you start clapping like an idiot and nobody else joins in then you’re just this awkward lone clapper? Well there’s a bit of that going on. Maybe some companies are hesitant to break ground on something they haven’t previously seen others have success with. Also the recent proliferation of mobile smart technology has made it easier now to execute these kinds of projects than it had been before.
For those interested in further transmedia experiences what other books would you recommend?
Un fortunately I can’t say there are any novels as of yet that are really taking advantage of the creative opportunities that come with transmedia. But the network AMC for instance are doing some very interesting things with their two screen experience for some of the shows like halt and catch fire and the walking dead.
Your debut production is The Black Chronicle, why did you choose the horror genre to debut in?
Well first off it’s just naturally what comes out when I sit down to write. If not horror than at least always something pretty dark. It wasn’t until after I started writing it that I came up with the idea of wrapping it in a transmedia experience.
What can the readers expect from the experience?
To be scared silly I hope. We’ve had a lot of feedback from beta readers and people who have gone through our free demo and the response has been just amazing. This is a truly creepy and disturbing experience that people have never seen before. I think thinks project is going to open a lot of eyes to the potential of this method of publishing.
During the writing and production process did you ever feel concerned that the transmedia elements would outshine the core story?
No. I never think about it that way. I mean, it’s all one thing. I’m not in this to convince anyone I’m a good writer. I just want to create a truly scary and exciting experience for people.
It must be harder these days to scare people, what with the world being even more scary with each passing day. How do you as a writer approach scaring a reader, how do go about builing the tension for the big scare?
Yeah that’s very true. I think anything that scares us is working on some sort of very deep primal level. Like the fear of being eaten for example which is probably the oldest fear that has been embedded into the psyche of our species. I’m not sure I have a formula or anything I just try to invoke the same intrinsic fears we all have. The monster or killer in monster movies are often times (if not at all times) a metaphor for something else. Something real.
How did you go about creating the whole experience? Did you write the whole story first then add the transmedia elements, or did you already have a map of where and how they would appear then write the story to fit around them?
I was about thirty pages in when I thought about the idea of making it a transmedia book. So that was definitely something that was engineered throughout the writing process but surprisingly I didn’t find it restraining or limiting. It actually helped me take the story in some interesting directions I may not have thought of otherwise.
Could you tell us what some of these interesting directions were?
Well for Example Mister’s love of engaging the public is something that came directly out of the decision to make this a transmedia project. The videos, the snuff films. None of that may have been in the book otherwise.
The Black Chronicles is based around a serial killer, why do you think that serial killers are still a much loved element of the horror genre?
Because they exist. They’re scary because they’re real and I think on some level we’re fascinated at how one of our own can be that way. It’s like they become an entirely different species.
Did you base the character of Mister on any real life serial killers?
Mister is Jack the Ripper with P.R. savvy. He uploads videos of his crimes to peer to peer sites and frequently taunts the police and public with these haunting kind of rants about the nature of reality. So in that way he has a bit of the Charles Manson and the Zodiac killer in him, I think.
Is it possible to read The Black Chronicles without the use of transmedia elements?
Yes the book was written to stand completely on its own. Many people have read it while opting out of the transmedia stuff. Which I think is cool. I like that we’re giving our fans options.
One of the many is the chance of getting a phone call from Mister, that sounds really awesome, and terrifying at the same time. Have you had any feedback on this feature?
The phone calls are awesome. That’s my favourite part of the experience. You can actually experience one in the free demo on our website. I did an interview for Return of the living podcast a couple months ago. Which by the way is an amazing podcast. If you’re a horror fan you should definitely check it out. Anyways, one of their fans had gone through the demo and written and told them that the phone call from Mister made them want to climb into a hole and hide. Which is like one of best compliments we’ve ever received.
Since the book utilises modern technology to delivery extra content, does the book tackle that new stumbling block that many horror books fails to address properly that the fact that nearly almost all of us have access to communication devices 24/7?
(laughter) Maybe that’s why so many horror movies take place in the woods. Bad cell phone reception.
You have managed to get a couple of horror’s hardest working actors on board, how did you approach Bill Oberst Jr and Melantha Blackthorne to work on your project?
I was aware of a Project Bill did called take this lollipop which is an amazing facebook horror app and it was something we talked about often when we were plotting out this project. And I’ve been a fan of Melantha Blackthorne for years. We approached her to play the female lead and she loved the book and agreed to work with us. It just so turns out that her and Bill are good friends and she passed it along to him.
How have they been to work with?
I’m not sure what people’s perceptions are of them are, being horror stars and all. But they are two of the sweetest and most generous people I’ve ever met. They’ve been team players and terrific right from the start and they really believe in the project which gives me a tremendous amount of confidence. And Melantha is of course just breath taking. She’s such a beauty.
What are Red Right Hand’s plans for the future?
Right now, we’re just focused on finding the right publisher for this project and then back to creating more horror projects and taking the genre in unexpected directions.
If there are any publishers out there what is the best way to contact you?
I can be reached out firstname.lastname@example.org or at our facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/theblackchronicle