The 1980s is a decade you had to experience in order to fully appreciate.
Sure, you can listen to the music or watch TV shows or movies of the era and get a sense of what it was like, but unless you lived it — with the crazy fashion (much of which I eschewed) weird generational politics as the Baby Boomers made their mark while we young, developing Gen-Xers tried to figure out how best to sneak our Walkmans into school or infiltrate the theater and the R-rated raunchy comedy flicks after purchasing tickets to Explorers or The Goonies or whatever — you’re simply missing some key context and flavor. Attempts at recreating that aesthetic and vibe are all over the place so far as their levels of success, and I admit I enjoy shows like Stranger Things or comics like Paper Girls as examples of how to it right. I mean, it’s hard to explain to somebody why you thought you wanted to be Don Johnson or Max Headroom when you grew up.
(Okay, Max Headroom may not be the best example. You know what? Screw it. I’m leaving him in there.)
One thing I definitely remember about the 1980s was the movies. Specifically, the horror flicks. Sure, the 80s gave us Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger but it also slammed us with a shit ton of low-budget, B-level horror/SF sleaze that earned cult status despite being some of the weirdest sit ever committed to film. I don’t mean the better entries like Aliens, Predator, RoboCop, The Return of the Living Dead, The Hidden, or John Carpenter’s The Thing to name a just a few (all of which are among my favorite 80s flicks). Oh, no. I’m talking C.H.U.D. Zone Troopers. TerrorVision. House. Galaxy of Terror. Trancers. Breeders.
House and Trancers in particular I’ll defend, because Jack Deth fucking rulez. Likewise The Return of the Living Dead, as it was films like these Kevin and I were pondering as we set out to write a short story inspired by such movies. The result of our goofy trip down Nostalgia Lane is “Helluloid,” a tale penned for an upcoming anthology: It Came From the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers. From the keen folks at Hex Publishers, a Colorado-based independent publishing house, Multiplex promises a line-up of stories paying tribute to those dollar-house diversions we all love from a decade known for producing some pretty kick-ass movies. I know this because Hollywood has been busy remaking or rebooting a whole bunch of that shit while pretending they’ve discovered water or the wheel, or whatever. The 80s was a super groovy weird-ass movie decade, yo. I mean, I’m so in love with that ten-year block I still have an original issue Blockbuster Video card, and everything.
(Please be kind. Rewind.)
It Came From the Multiplex boasts a pretty impressive roster of writers, from names you know to names you should know or hopefully will know better soon. This includes some folks with an established association with Hex Publishers, but they still managed to find room for newcomers such as Kevin and myself. Check out the batting order:
“Alien Parasites from Outer Space” by Warren Hammond
“Return of the Alien Parasites from Outer Space” by Angie Hodapp
“Rise Ye Vermin!” by Betty Rocksteady
“Special Makeup” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Coming Attractions” by Stephen Graham Jones
“Creature Feature” by Gary Jonas
“Invisible” by Mario Acevedo
“On the Rocks” by K. Nicole Davis
“The Cronenberg Concerto” by Keith Ferrell
“Screen Haunt” by Orrin Grey
“Late Sleepers” by Steve Rasnic Tem
“Helluloid” by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
“Negative Creep” by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
“The Devil’s Reel” by Sean Eads & Joshua Viola
Edited by Joshua Viola. Foreword by Paul Campion. Introduction by Bret & Jeanni Smith. Illustrations by Xander Smith. Flipbook by Aaron Lovett. Cover by AJ Nazzaro.
What’s that? “Cover by AJ Nazzaro?” You probably want to see that, huh? Well, BOOM. Here you go:
If you’re a child of the 80s, you might get all the feels here.
It Came From the Multiplex is set to premiere on September 11 at CofHo: The Colorado Festival of Horror, and will be made available for general sale after that convention.
The really fun thing about this project is that when we weren’t making each other laugh, Kevin and I started talking about other things we could do with the basic setup created for this story. I don’t want to give anything away before the book is even on sale, but other tales seem obvious, along with a potential expansion of the idea we came up with for this go-around. The idea of setting something neck-deep in the 1980s is something we’ve batted around from time to time, but we were constantly thwarted by other priorities.
We’ll (hopefully) get to that a bit later. For now, though? It’s all about this here book. I’ll post links for ordering and other cool stuff as they become available, but for now? We had a ton of fun writing our story and we give many thanks to friend Bret Smith and editor Josh Viola for inviting us into the Hex Publishers sandbox to play for a bit.