It’s a Horror to Know You:: John Sullivan Screenwriter of Fear of The Dark!


1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

Tobe Hooper‘s ‘Salem’s Lot scared me terribly as a kid. My Mom had rented it for me, and she had gone outside to do some gardening. Normally, I wasn’t allowed to see super-scary horror movies at that age, but since the movie first aired on TV, she thought it was safe. She was wrong. I ran out of the house, and into the backyard frightened out of my wits. That movie is still tough for me to watch. I love it, and I don’t even own it on DVD.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

Being a horror film fan and a screenwriter of a few of them, it takes a lot to freak me out. I like a lot of what James Wan has done. Insidious surprisingly scared me quite a bit, and The Conjuring was a well-made haunted house movie with a real deliberate and ominous directing style. But – and I’m embarrassed to admit this – I didn’t see The Exorcist until a few nights ago. I know, I know. How could I have not EVER seen The Exorcist? Well, I hadn’t. I finally watched it and, man, that movie earned it’s reputation. Its an evil, dark, unrelenting horror film. And I watched it on TV! I just ordered the Blu-Ray to see it properly and give myself nightmares. There’s also a film titled Megan Is Missing which is a found-footage ‘missing young girl’ movie that was released a year or so ago. It’s a scary film, but it has a meanness and malevolent exploitation vibe that haunts you. I don’t recommend it, because it’s a film you can’t un-see.

3. Name three horror movies that you feel are underrated.

I love Chuck Russell‘s The Blob remake. That’s an 80’s creature-feature that is largely ignored and has some amazing gore effects. It has no real cult status, but it should. Kevin Dillon is awesome, and the melt-eat scenes are pretty graphic.

A flick called Spookies is bat-crap crazy insane and perfect for Kindertrauma. The movie makes no damn sense, but it’s fun as hell. It’s actually a haunted house/creature/horror/dead teenager flick that’s spliced together from TWO different movies. It has mummies, ghouls, wizards, cat-men, farting zombies, giant-spiders and some surprisingly decent special effects. Plus, it’s funny. You’ll have to find a copy on Amazon or eBay because it’s out of print.

I have a special place in my heart for Return of the Living Dead 2. I like how the second one was kinda kid-friendly and felt like ‘The Goonies meet Zombies’ with gore. The soundtrack is amazing, and it still manages to have a few chilling moments. (That kid chomping on his Mom is pretty disturbing).

I’d throw Phantasm 2 into that mix, but I think people have rediscovered a lot of its awesomeness.

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

Well, I mentioned Spookies above so that’s definitely a candidate. But…

Ghoulies 2 is stupid fun, and it’s the best Ghoulies movie to date. It’s a rare case of the first sequel being better than the initial film. More ghoulies. More puppets. And a better setting. Plus, it has W.A.S.P. on the soundtrack.

The Video Dead is a horrible film but I find myself popping it into the VCR (yeah, VCR) every so often and just enjoying the inanity of zombies emerging from a TV set to munch on horrible teen actors.

Chopping Mall. Chopping Mall is quite possibly the best movie ever made in the history of modern cinema. Crazed security robots hunting down horny teens at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I love, love, love this movie and I know it’s complete trash. As a kid, I wrote a sequel to it! I think it took place in a hotel or something. I wrote it on loose-leaf paper in a Trapper Keeper.

5. (optional) Send us to (1-5) places on the Internet!

My own personal site. There’s not a lot of content on it, so I apologize. But I’m working on it.

Horror Movie A Day. Brian Collins rules.

Love Happy Hour. Yeah, nothing to do with horror, but it’s my girlfriend’s site and she has made some spooky cocktails!

Direct-to-DVD Connoisseur. Matt loves his DVD movies.

Shock Till You Drop. Ryan still has one of the best horror sites on the internets.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Super-solid IAHTKY. Chopping Mall is truly an all-time great. The premise is amazing – what could possibly go wrong with setting some armed robots to guard your mall? The mall has a sporting goods store where the robo-bait go to get guns called “Peckinpah’s”, which I thought was pretty sly.

8 years ago

Great IAHTKY! I really like Fear of the Dark, BTW!
Barlow from Salem’s Lot still freaks me out too. Yikes!

8 years ago

Thanks Unk! I had a great time doing this. I love the site. I’m glad you guys felt I deserved a IAHTKY! Fear of the Dark is obviously an attempt to freak kids out. I wrote that film slightly based on the Iron Maiden song of the same name. It inspired the movie. I’m proud of Fear of the Dark, and I’m glad it got made. I’m happy you guys liked it.

8 years ago

The first time I saw Spookies I couldn’t decide if I was stoned or it was one crazy assed movie. Probably both. You can still watch it on Youtube, the copy isn’t great, but hey, if you gotta see Spookies any port in a storm!

Salems’ Lot still holds up today, good films always do. Between Barlowe and the kids with glowing eyesfloating outside windows, IIEEEEEEE!

Phantasm II is just as good as the original, that’s true.

Chopping Mall, boy that one takes me back….