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Interview: John Squires of Freddy In Space

Eddie No Comments

Who would have thought that a blog with its name inspired by two terrible outer-space installments in the Hellraiser and Leprechaun series is considered “le creme de la creme” of Horror culture blogging?  Certainly not its creator and sole-writer John Squires; a native of east-cost New York, who at 26 years-old has become one of the biggest names in Horror web-content.

Since starting his site Freddy in Space back in 2008, he’s gained the attention of over 3500 readers off Facebook alone, including the youngest Spaghetti child named Eddie.  I jumped at the chance to talk to John about all things horror, his blog, beer, and donuts.

Eddie: Lets jump into it!  How did the culture that you and I both adore originally burrow its way into your brain?

As a kid, I was fed a steady diet of Madballs, Pro Wrestling and sun-faded VHS horror rentals.  That’s what shaped me into who I am today.  My wife would argue that I haven’t really changed much since then (I tend to agree with her), except now I pay rent, do the dishes and it’s legal us to be intimate.

The person I give the most credit to for ushering me into a life-long love of blood and boobies is the same burnt-up dude that my blog is named after: Freddy Krueger.  I have many fond memories of renting the Nightmare On Elm Street films from my local Blockbuster constantly, with Dream Master being the one that I could most often be found popping into the VCR, then feeding into my rewinder (remember those?!) and sliding back into my VCR again.  Those movies were, and still are, just so much fun to watch!  My young beard-less self just couldn’t get enough.

Eddie: The Spaghetti household briefly used a rewinder because the $900 VCR’s rewinding function eventually copped out and it would eat tapes if you attempted to use it.  That’s how I destroyed part of Mrs. Doubtfire.  Okay, let’s say I don’t know anything really about your blog: what can I expect to read about on Freddy In Space?

I’ve always had a hard time defining my blog because I really just fly by the seat of my pants and post about whatever I feel compelled to post about.  Expect everything from new-release movie reviews, retrospectives of old toys, convention recaps, or random rants about shit I love/hate about the genre.

I’m also big into sharing cool art and turning my readers onto new artists.  My main goal is to keep things fresh, and stay away from posting the generic stuff that everyone else is posting.  Unique content is key: above all else, that’s what I strive for.

Eddie: I agree to the fullest extent: fresh content is where it’s at.  I even find talking about subjects that are within the horror realm but not full-on as violent or scary is fun, such as Halloween specials or Ernest Scared Stupid.

I’m a big fan of Ernest Scared Stupid.  Oddly enough, I recently talked to Bart J. Mixon, who worked on the troll effects in that film.  Some masks from Killer Klowns From Outer Space were re-used as the evil troll minions, if you weren’t aware!

Eddie: I’ll move on before I start to talk about Miak and the weapons arsenal of a troll fighter; what sort of writing experience do you have besides the blog?  Any film scripts or whatnot?

 I honestly never considered myself a writer until I started my blog.  Actually, I still don’t quite consider myself a writer: I’m just a dude with a lot of opinions about the horror genre who needs an outlet to spew them all.  Thus, Freddy In Space was born.

The fact that five years later I’m still doing it and now being interviewed by someone from a respectable horror website, quite frankly, blows my mind.  With so many horror blogs out there, I figured no one would ever care to read mine, so I feel incredibly grateful that it’s managed to find an audience.

Eddie: Freddy In Space I take it is a direct nod to Hellraiser IV or Leprechaun IV, in which both main villains are in outer-space?

I’ve always said that if Freddy were ever sent to outer space in a Nightmare sequel, I’d totally give up on the horror genre. Considering I started the blog around a time when I was pretty fed up with a lot of stuff about the genre, that title just popped into my head and I ran with it.  Its essentially symbolic of how I felt regarding the direction horror movies were headed at the time.

A trip to the local Blockbuster back in the summer of 2008 was the initial spark that led to me starting my own blog.  I was so bummed about how small the horror section I once fawned over had become in recent times (to the point that it was combined with the action section). Gone were the days of hundreds of beautifully illustrated VHS tapes, and the idea for the blog was to basically talk about all my fond memories of the genre, and re-live those glory days.  I’ve managed to stick pretty true to that concept over the years, and the past has always been a large focus of Freddy In Space.

Eddie: That Voorhees kid was not so lucky.  What do you find so appealing about Freddy Krueger anyways?

Above all else, it’s his personality.  Looking totally badass helps a great deal but more than anything, I’ve always been drawn to his personality, which is largely thanks to Robert Englund’s acting abilities. While most horror villains like Jason, Michael and Leatherface, are the strong silent types, Freddy is a wise-cracking little guy that ya just can’t help but love.

I know a lot of Elm Street fans much prefer the darker Freddy as opposed to the more comical one from the later installments, but it’s always been the humor of Freddy that I’ve been drawn to. He’s incredibly entertaining to watch and that’s what it boils down to.

Eddie: I never thought about the difference of opinion on which is better: dark or funny Freddy.  I honesty just like Part 2 the most because he looked the creepiest.  You mentioned a few franchises there: what would you say is an untainted horror franchise?

Good question: pretty much every big horror franchise has at least one shit installment, so it’s hard to call any of them “untainted”.  Hate to make this interview all about Nightmare on Elm Street, but there’s not an installment in that franchise that I don’t enjoy.

That is, if we’re talking only the original franchise, and not including that bomb of a remake.  Though it never went on long enough to become crappy, I have a whole lot of love for Evil Dead too.  Certainly not perfect but I also enjoy all the installments in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream franchises.  Yes, I even have fun with TCM: Next Generation: in a “so bad, it’s kinda good” way.

Eddie: The Evil Dead series is a good candidate for an untainted franchise!  We just have to see how the remake/rumoured sequel does.  What do you think should be next on the horizon of being remade/rebooted?

I’d love to see a really brutal new take on The Burning or even Suspiria could be awesome in the right hands. I know that one’s been talked about for years now.  I’ve had enough of exorcism movies at this point and I kinda hate to say it but I’d love to see someone tackle a remake of The Exorcist: a remake to blow all these shitty exorcism movies out of the water!

Make it truly scary and controversial like the original was back in the day.  Is that even possible nowadays?  A super-dark and terrifying modern day Exorcist would be boss.  Go for the goddamn jugular and make a truly evil film out of it.

As for my stance on remakes, I welcome them with open arms. I’ve got nothing against them, and though I’d prefer it if original horror outnumbered the remakes, the fact remains that there are terrific remakes and shitty remakes, just as there are terrific original horror films and shitty ones.  I never understood why some people just hate all remakes, sight unseen, simply because they’re remakes.  Who cares?!  I just want good horror movies; what does it matter if they’re totally original or based on films of the past?  And shit, since we’ve got Freddy on the mind, why not try that one again while we’re at it?!

Eddie: I think Freddy has retired and started a career in pro-wrestling..

Being a life long fan of both pro-wrestling and horror movies, I’ve pretty much seen all there is to see when the two are combined.  Wrestlers with gimmicks ripped straight out of horror movies to the many horror films that have starred wrestlers: Santa’s Slay rocks and Papa Shango was the man.  Or how about when Kane was the Christmas Creature?  They totally should’ve made a horror movie out of that gimmick.

Eddie: WWE Films should produce The Dentist 3 and put Issac Yankem in the lead.

Now that would be awesome.  The Yankem gimmick predates The Dentist by about a year, so I like to believe that the movie was inspired by that gimmick.

Eddie: I have match or two of his on a tape in my collection somewhere.  Do you collect anything horror related?

Collecting will be my eventual financial downfall!  I’ve always been a big time collector: my main vices are DVDs, action figures, masks and vintage promotional items.  My latest purchase was a plastic ice cream scoop created to promote the VHS release of one of my favorite ‘bad’ horror movies; Ice Cream Man.  Spent a whole 35 bucks on that bad boy.  Yes, I’ve got a bit of a problem but I’m trying to curb my collectible spending a bit. But hey, it makes me happy: beats doing drugs, no?

Eddie: I saw that one on a shelf once at a Blockbuster!  I read that the director was famous prior for pornos?

Yep!  He made over 100 fuck-films, including the illustrious Edward Penishands trilogy. But come on, doesn’t that make the Ice Cream Man all the more awesome!?  The script written by David Dobkin, who went on to direct Wedding Crashers and a slew of other comedy hits!  You need to see this movie: it’s so much fun!  Clint Howard carrying around David Naughton’s severed head in a giant ice cream cone; what’s not to love?!

Eddie: Only for that amazing impersonation, I must see the other Ed Penishand films.  Besides the ice cream scoop, what else sits on your shelf that you consider valuable or obscure?

I was lucky enough to grab one of the Sideshow 15″ Trick ‘r Treat Sam dolls, which now sell for hundreds of dollars.  Definitely one of my most prized possessions.  As for obscure, I’ve got a life size Freddy Krueger statue that I wouldn’t part with for all the money in the world.

A friend was in New York City several years back and he saw someone throwing it out, so he snatched him up and drove him back home. Years later, he gave it to me as a birthday gift.  It’s a one of a kind piece but I still have no idea what its origin story is. Totally priceless, that thing!  I also have a Candyman II promotional board game.  Never seen another one like it and I must note that I totally wiped the floor with my wife, the one and only time we played it!

Eddie: Do you race around mardi-gras on the board with a VHS hosted by Dr. John?  I can only imagine cards that say “Candyman tells the tale of his love and suffering; you feel sorrow and sympathy for him: GO BACK 3 SPACES” or “WHO DAT?!  It’s Candyman!”.

The board is New Orleans and you lose when you obtain five Candyman cards. There’s even a ‘Bee Sting’ spot on the board, which sets you back to the beginning.  Pretty ridiculous!

Eddie: Let’s go way up north now: I know you have a bit of a thing for Canada.  Are you a fan of pure Canadian horror?  Some say that we sort of got the slasher ball rolling with Black Christmas.

I visited Canada once and I loved it; been meaning to get back up there!  A lot of great horror flicks have come out of Canada; no doubting that. Black Christmas is one of my favorites of all time and how about The Gate?  Huge childhood favorite right there!  A more recent fun one that comes to mind is Jack Brooks : Monster Slayer.  I’m really looking forward to checking out American Mary too, which was made by the Canadian born Soska Sisters; have heard nothing but good things.  I’m all for more Canadian horror!

Eddie: Tell me about your Beer Store/Tim Hortons experience up here.

The Beer Store we went to was incredible, but I prefer the American approach of every gas station and convenience store having beer readily available for purchase. What happens when ya want to grab a six pack at midnight, and The Beer Store is closed?!

I fell in love up there with Tim Hortons and have been happy to see more of them coming to New York in recent years.  There’s a bunch in the city, and it’s tradition that we stop at one on the way to Syracuse whenever we visit my brother. We always look forward to that stop!  I’m a huge fan of the pumpkin spice Timbits, as well as those sour cream ones.

Eddie:  It’s a little strange up here for booze buying.  You buy it from a few different sources, depending on which province you’re in.  I see what it’s like for the States when I buy beer at a grocery store in Quebec.

I think you’ll need to be my tour guide next time I make it up there.

Eddie: I’d gladly take you through a Tim Horton’s drive-thru in the Spaghetti Time Vehicle (aka my DeLorean).  Speaking of time, we’re about out so I will end our talk with this: what can we expect to see soon on Freddy In Space?

My goal for this year is to watch more movies and hopefully put up more new-release reviews.  Definitely a whole lot more awesome giveaways and probably some more collaborations with artists for art-prints that will be exclusively sold through my blog.  Basically just more of what I’ve been doing.  Whatever I’m doing seems to be working, so I’m just gonna keep on doing what I’ve been doing, and hope that people keep on reading!

Check out John’s blog FREDDY IN SPACE for some unique horror culture you won’t find elsewhere.

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