As Women in Horror Month continues, we’re highlighting our favorite females of the genre. Today’s champion is Patti Pauley, one of the greatest horror journalists on the internet. Patti exudes a fierce dedication and love for the genre, spreading her musings across the web at 1428 Elm, Nightmarish Conjurings, Bloody Disgusting, and a brand new site that we’re excited to discuss.
Horror Geek Life: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview, Patti! I’m thrilled to be interviewing one of my favorite horror journalists. You’ve been ALL over the place lately, making a name for yourself at multiple websites. I can’t imagine juggling all of that and still being an otherwise functioning human. How do you manage it all? What’s your motivation?
Patti Pauley: (Laughs) I could lie and say it’s easy, but it does get tough to time-manage everything. I think the best answer for that, is that I just love to write, but most specifically something that I’m really passionate about. I try and set aside a little time every day for it, no matter if its 10 mins or 4 hours. It’s my form of therapy that DOES keep me sane. Whether people pay attention or not, it still makes me feel good because I’m doing this for me. So I think maintaining my sanity is a good motivation.
Horror Geek Life: For sure. Speaking of sanity- we’ve talked about some of our favorite movies, and it turns out that we’re both, along with our boy Landon Evanson, absolutely crazy about Silver Bullet. We’re in agreement that it’s the greatest werewolf film ever made, and this is your platform to explain to everyone why we’re right. (Laughs) Why is Silver Bullet the best?
Patti Pauley: Okay look, Gary Busey wrestles a goddamn werewolf. What more do I have to say here? (Laughs) But in all seriousness, it’s the story behind it. Unlike most werewolf films, with the exception of Universal’s The Wolf Man, it has so much raw emotion and passion. The struggling siblings, a town in fear, an uncle who we see grow and mature throughout the movie despite his shortcomings- there’s a lot going on there. But it never seems like it’s going overboard. I think that’s something special for sure.
Also, Kent Broadhurst’s monologue about “private justice” is one of the best speeches in horror history. It is so emotionally powerful, it makes me want to get in on that lynch mob, even knowing full well what awaits ahead. (Laughs) The werewolf in Silver Bullet is only part of the story. While sure, the most common complaint is the look of the monster. Like, he looks like a bear, right? Well get this, in the tattoo industry (and I know a little about this because my husband owns and runs his own tattoo shop in Vegas- I do all the crappy behind the scenes stuff no one cares about because I can’t draw to save my damn life), when a wolf is drawn for a tattoo, it is awfully similar to the same way a bear is sketched. The eyes, snout, and facial definition looking straight-on is remarkably similar. So dammit, it’s okay if he looks like Smokey a little bit. Let’s call it the “American-traditional style werewolf.”
Horror Geek Life: You heard it here, folks. The “American-traditional style werewolf.” I’m sure people can already tell from this conversation alone, but your love for horror runs much deeper than just writing about it. You’re a die-hard fan of the genre, and it’s an enormous part of your life, even outside of the websites you write for. How early did you fall in love with the genre, and when did you know that you wanted to be a part of the business someday?
Patti Pauley: Honestly, as early as I can remember, I’ve been in love with it. I have to credit my dad and grandfather for introducing me to the wonderful world of horror at a toddler age with the Universal and Vincent Price films. Also, JAWS which scared me off of Jones Beach for the better part of my youth. Seriously, I would NOT swim in the ocean up until age 9.
I don’t know, I guess I knew I always wanted to be a part of it. I always thought when I was young I would be an actress, particularly in horror films. I would always act out scenes from my favorite horror movies in my bedroom. But, and just sometimes how life goes, that opportunity never arose for me. But, I feel so lucky to be able to express that passion through my rambling. And I feel even luckier that people even give a crap enough to read it. (Laughs)
Horror Geek Life: You know, we’re living through a time in which the voices of women everywhere are starting to be heard at a more appropriate volume. There’s still so much work to be done, but the progress is inspiring. Things are changing. What does being a woman in horror mean to you personally, especially during a time in which the voices of women are finally getting the attention they deserve?
Patti Pauley: It really does mean the world to me. More and more, we’re seeing female voices dominating the industry, and it’s just the coolest thing. For a long time, I worked with only male writers, and at the beginning, I certainly don’t think I was taken seriously at all. I was new to the game, fresh meat so to speak, and knew nothing about nothing. I knew I just wanted to write. I was thrown in head first with no floaties. (Laughs) I taught myself and had to learn things the hard way. But, I think its made me a stronger writer and overall person because of it. So, after clawing my way through a lot of bullshit, to even be considered among my peers as a woman of interest in horror, means EVERYTHING to me. I’m so grateful to stand alongside some really fantastic voices in this business and consider it an honored privilege. I mean that, wholeheartedly.
Horror Geek Life: While I have you, I also want to talk about your anxiety article. As someone who suffers from anxiety, your piece on horror films being your security blanket really connected with me. I’m going to link the article for everyone to read, because they absolutely should, but I was hoping you could talk about that for our readers- many of who will likely connect to your story as well.
Patti Pauley: You know, I was so anxious (duh) while writing that, but I really felt like if I didn’t, I was going to explode. That was so therapeutic for me, and I guess I thought deep down I would be scrutinized for it, and possibly be seen as weak, and it’d fuck any future writing gigs that may come my way. But, the overall response was so positive and I got many emails from readers that were able to connect on a personal level. I’m so glad it opened up a line of communication for horror aficionados to talk about it.
I’ve dealt with an overwhelming, almost crippling form of anxiety over the past few years. While, I’m certain its been with me my whole life, just not to as a severe extent, certain situations came to a head a few years back and it just reared its ugly head like Jason getting his mask whipped off in The New Blood. The only thing that made me feel safe, was horror movies. They are like a comfort food for me. My favorites, like Silver Bullet, Child’s Play, Poltergeist, etc, have all been friends when I felt like the world is too overwhelming. I used the term “fantastical horror” for certain films, in particular, the great slasher franchises of Freddy and Jason, because we all know this stuff could never happen in reality. Reality, however, is far scarier than any horror film. I think we all get that. So in a way, it really helps to escape into that genre for me.
Horror Geek Life: I’ve been saving this particular question for last because it’s a main event of sorts and I’m ecstatic to bring it up. Nightmare Nostalgia! You recently started your own site, and it looks fucking incredible. The name is catchy, the logo is ace, and the content is the cherry on top of whatever dessert you prefer. What made you decide to start your own horror site, and what can people expect to find when they visit it?
Patti Pauley: Oh man, thank you so much! It’s been a long time coming for sure, but I’m happy to have a space to call my very own where all bets are off and I can be raw and unedited- God help you all! (Laughs) It’s still pretty new, as I only launched it in the middle of January 2018, but I have a ton of ideas that I want to incorporate into it.
The whole purpose of Nightmare Nostalgia is a place for people to read something and smile. There’s so much negative bullshit all over the internet, and we don’t need another “Here’s why this person sucks and yadda yadda” or “this movie blows diseased dicks, blah blah.” Nah. Everyone feels good when we’re talking nostalgia and things of our youth that made us feel all fuzzy inside, so why not start a site in honor of that?
Although horror is a big part of it, I also want to focus on another favorite subject of mine, old school wrestling. Which I’m SO excited about. The content is slowly getting up there. It’s mostly just me right now, so be patient with me. (Laughs) Other things you’ll see are a lot of retro reviews, old-school Saturday mornings, vintage toys, games, all kinds of fun posts. Hell, don’t be surprised if you see a 3000 word editorial on Rainbow Brite or Ivan Drago. It’s probably going to happen, guys. There will also be announcements as well as far as new and upcoming cool merch to buy that relates to the theme on the site. So, if you have an online store that specializes in that sort of thing, don’t be shy and send me an email. I love helping people get their products out there!
Stay tuned for our continued celebration of Women in Horror Month!
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