Interview with John Squires of Freddy In Space!
I fell in love with an inanimate object last year. I fell in love with a blog. Yes, I know how silly that may seem, but it was love at first sight for me. The first post from Freddy In Space that really grabbed me was what could be considered an inane one. It was entitled “The Freddy Candy Bowl & Musical Jason Heads”…and that’s what it was about, a couple of Halloween decorations. I was impressed I was seeing a blog post about something so “trivial”. But that’s just it, it wasn’t trivial. For horror nerds, it’s an interesting subject, and I was interested! I found out about Freddy In Space sometime in early September. I had found myself more on Facebook at that time, and came across the profile of John Squires. I knew I recognized his bearded face from interactions I had with him at Monster Mania Con at the Fright Rags table. He’s got a face you don’t forget…I think the beard is what does it. When I added him, he remembered me too and we started an awesome cyber friendship that is still going strong. We have had many a random aim chat, and that’s really what inspired this interview.
Anyways from getting to know John he told me about his blog, that I had read before but didn’t connect that he was the one writing it. I started reading it on a weekly basis and saw what heart there was in it. It was in October of this past year where I found myself addicted really. I started reading older posts (he has every one of his posts from his June 2008 inception on the site). I read Horror History 101 (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2008/11/horror-history-101.html) and was jazzed that someone took the time out to dispel the popular rumor that George A Romero invented the Zombie film. I mean, he made it what it is, but it did exist before Night of The Living Dead. As I continued reading the back catalog I loved that John had a sincere passion for what he was writing about. Let’s be serious, in this day and age where almost all of us have our passion as a hobby or a side project it was awesome to see someone who put his heart into every single blog post. He wrote blogs about the things that spoke to me, and to most other horror fans I inferred. A blog about General Mills Monster Cereals (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2008/09/ode-to-greatest-cereal-on-earth.html), another that cleverly called attention to the premature creative deaths of some of our most celebrated Horror directors (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2008/09/what-happened-to-greats-of-horror.html) and another which let me know I was not the only person in the world with an affinity for the Tales From The Crypt episode “People Who Live In Brass Hearses”…I’ve always been a sucker for Brad Dourif (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2009/05/tales-from-crypt-my-favorite-episode.html) .
John has also been a Fright Rags fan for much longer than I have known him. And he has been huge in spreading the word on our shirts, for which we are all especially thankful. It means a lot to us that he has taken time out to call attention to a sale or a new shirt on his blog time and time again. It was especially flattering that we made his Top Ten Horror Shirts of All Time List, not once or twice but 4 times! In case you were wondering, our Ladies of The Evil Dead limited edition shirt was #1 (http://www.freddyinspace.com/2009/11/top-10-coolest-horror-shirts-of-all.html). It seemed natural that when Ben and I started talking about interviews we’d like to post on the Fright Rags blog that John was one of the first names that came up. He’s a dedicated customer but more than that he is a dedicated Horror fiend, and he makes all of us proud to be part of that level of Nerd-dom.
John and I joked that we would have a drunken Aim chat one night (John can be a bit shy or so he claims), and true to his word he did have a Milwaukee’s Best in preparation for the interview. I realized that in order to let you have the full John Squires experience I should just post the interview in it’s entirety, and not truncate him at all. So sit back, relax and enjoy an interview with John Squires, creator of Freddy In Space (www.FreddyInSpace.com)
*Kristy: Let’s start out simple. Give us a what and where on how Freddy In Space start out.
*John Squires: Well I’ve always been a huge horror fan, since arguably before I should’ve been exposed to horror movies, and for years I wanted to make a website where I could share my views on the movies I loved. I tried several times, over the course of several years, but realized I just didn’t have the skills to make a website. And then I discovered blogging. Once I realized I could pretty much just type what I wanted to say and not have to worry about all that HTML stuff, I knew I had met my match. So I came up with what I thought was a catchy name and started writing.
*Kristy: Where did you come up with the name Freddy In Space?
*John Squires: When I first started blogging, I was kinda bummed out about the current state of horror and I intended to reflect that in the blog. I’ve always said that if Freddy were ever sent to outer space, I’d know that the genre would officially be dead, so Freddy In Space seemed like a fitting name for a blog that was intended to talk about how horror just isn’t what it used to be anymore. And if Freddy is actually ever sent to space, mark my words, I will quit blogging! I might even quit life.
*Kristy: When it started did you worry about getting a fan base?
*John Squires: Honestly, I really didn’t. I never expected the blog to be read by too many people, if any at all. I’ve always been the kind of person to write things down and document stuff and it just felt like a good way to put down my thoughts on movies and the genre as a whole, so I could look back and read it. Whether or not others wanted to read it was something I wasn’t too concerned about. Obviously once people starting reading and liking it, I couldn’t have been happier.(The real answer is that I never worried because I knew people would flock to my amazing writing talents…but we won’t include that)
*Kristy: We Won’t? What year did Freddy In Space start?
*John Squires: June 2008.
*Kristy: What was your first article?
*John Squires: It was titled “The Death of Death” and I talked about my memories of renting horror movies as a youngster and how sad I was that those days are gone. I also bashed Blockbuster a bit. For the record I used to work at Blockbuster and I quit by placing a note stating that I quit in the drop box.
*Kristy: Did you ever think of taking on writers? Or has it always just been you and you never thought of having anyone else on?
*John Squires: I’ve had a few people e-mail me and ask if I was interested in having other writers, but no, I’ve never considered it and it’s not an idea that I think I will ever be into. If I was making some big horror site, like a news site for example, I’d want other writers. But for my little blog that people come to to read my opinions and thoughts, it seems stupid to have other writers on board. Start your own damn blog, this one’s mine!
*Kristy: Has anyone ever asked you to write for them?
*John Squires: Yes and I’ve briefly written for a couple other sites. One was Benevolent Street, which is run by my friend Tony Carroll, and the other was based in the UK and I can’t even remember the name of the site. With both those gigs I quickly realized that I wanted the stuff I wrote on my own blog, not on somebody elses. Unless one of the bigger sites comes a knocking, I think I’ll be keeping it that way from now on.
*Kristy: What are some of your favorite Horror blogs/sites out there right now?
*John Squires: Like everyone else out there, I always enjoy reading The Vault of Horror and Day of the Woman. Consistently great content from those two. There’s also a blog called Basement of Ghoulish Decadence that I really dig because the guy who writes it is a huge VHS nut like myself. Haunt Style, which is basically just an ever evolving collection of cool horror related stuff/products, is another favorite that comes to mind. I like and appreciate any horror blog that strays from the norm and doesn’t merely review movies.
Lets be honest, who the hell wants to read yet another persons thoughts on Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
*Kristy: Name your Top 5 favorite Horror movies!
*John Squires: Since you asked for my favorites, and not necessarily my picks for top 5 “best”, I’m gonna have to go with movies that I can watch over and over and never cease to be entertained by. Psycho may be a great movie, but I can’t lie, it kinda bores me.
Dream Warriors, Cabin Fever, Devil’s Rejects, The Shining, and Hatchet. Yes I just effectively said Dream Warriors is better than Psycho. Suck it, Hitchcock! It’s been a favorite since childhood, so I have a really strong connection to it. And quite frankly I’d take it over the original Elm Street any day of the week.
*Kristy: Who is the hottest Horror chick and who is your favorite Horror actor?
*John Squires: Hottest horror chick will always be Elvira. Favorite horror actor has gotta be Englund. He may not always be in the greatest movies, but being Freddy is enough for me.
*Kristy: What is your best memory of seeing a movie in theaters?
*John Squires: Without even thinking about it – Grindhouse. People can bash that movie all they want, but the experience of seeing it on the big screen with my brother and parents will probably never be topped. It was so much fun and I don’t envy anyone who didn’t get the chance to see it in the theatre.
*Kristy: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve done? Or one that was most well-received by your fans?
*John Squires: I think the most rewarding post I’ve done was a tribute to all of the actors from the Friday The 13th movies that are no longer with us. Not only did it get posted on several websites and get a huge response from readers, but it also got the attention of several friends of a few of the late actors. It’s times like that that make the endless hours of writing and researching completely worth it. In terms of favorite posts, getting the chance to interview Adam Green was pretty damn cool.
*Kristy: Where do you see Freddy In Space in the future?
*John Squires: I just hope to continue updating it on a somewhat regular basis for as long as possible. As long as I can keep it running ad not let my regular job get too much in the way of doing what I love to do, iIll be happy. So in the future, I see more of the same from the blog. As for my future, I hope to someday stop procrastinating and start writing my own horror movies, so bloggers of the future can rip them apart and tell me how much they suck.
*Kristy: And now for the important Fright Rags questions! Do you know when you first heard about Fright Rags?
*John Squires: Many years ago my brother got me a maroonish Nosferatu shirt for Christmas and if I’m not mistaken it had “Fright Rags” printed on the back.
That was my first introduction to the company but it wasn’t until years later that I saw them at a convention and really fell in love. Sadly the Nosferatu shirt no longer fits me too well, but I still have it!
*Kristy: Do you remember the first shirt you bought yourself?
*John Squires: I actually don’t remember the first one I bought…I’ve bought so damn many over the years! I honestly have only 1 or 2 shirts in my closet that aren’t Fright Rags.
*Kristy: which is your favorite?
*John Squires: Gotta go with Killer Klowns. One of my favorite horror comedies and such an amazing design. After that it’d be Zombie vs Shark.
*Kristy: Why do you think people dig Fright Rags so much?
*John Squires: Because the horror fan had been hungry for kickass horror shirts for years and for years they were never able to get them. Until Fright Rags came along, it was a simple square image of the poster art printed on a t-shirt. Once a company came along that actually delivered a horror shirt you could be proud to wear, rather than walking around like a billboard for a particular movie, it was only natural that they’d catch on and become a big success. I don’t want to walk around wearing a shirt that says “The Exorcist” on it. That’s lame and that’s all we had to pick from before Fright Rags came along. Thus, I bow before Ben’s feet as many a horror fan surely does/should!
*Kristy: Do you get a lot of reaction about the shirts when you wear them?
*John Squires: Yes, absolutely. Nearly every time I leave the house wearing a Fright Rags shirt, which is pretty much every time I leave the house, I get a comment on whatever shirt I’m wearing. It ranges from people complimenting the shirt to whole conversations starting up about the movie. I remember I was in an antique shop once wearing my Killer Klowns shirt and a guy came up to me and said “I love that movie!” and we had a whole conversation about it. Without that conversation starter, two Killer Klowns fans would’ve walked past each other without even knowing it! And that’s a damn shame, if ya ask me.
*Kristy: What shirt do you wish you own, or do you own pretty much all of them?
*John Squires: Near Dark. I intended on snagging it up when it was 10 bucks but my size was all sold out by the time I went to buy it. I’m shocked that that shirt has slipped through my hands for so long, being that I’m such a huge fan of the movie. I feel as if I should own any and every shirt that has Bill Paxton on it.
*Kristy: What do you think of Ben, even though you pretty much already said it.
*John Squires: I of course have incredible respect and appreciation for him. Without him I’d look a lot less cool, I can tell ya that much! But I’m also kinda jealous that I didn’t come up with such a cool company before he did, I gotta say! It may sound kinda corny to say being it’s only horror t-shirts and all, but he’s really a pioneer. In the last several years I’ve seen so many companies following the same kinda format Fright Rags does and even making shirts that look very similar in design. There’s a ton of shirt companies out there now making original design horror shirts, whereas there never were before.
*Kristy: What are your dream Fright Rags shirts?
*John Squires: Bubba Ho-Tep, I Spit On Your Grave, Silent Night Deadly Night, Intruder!
*Kristy: Well Thanks for taking the time out for this interview John.
*John Squires: No, Thank You Kristy! You are one of the coolest people I know and Ben was a genius to bring you on the old Fright Rags team.**
**In the effort for fair reporting, I should mention he didn’t say that last part at all, but I can tell he thinks it at least once every time we talk.
Don’t forget to check out Freddy In Space!