What is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is Sumiko Saulson, and I am a horror fiction author. I am a novelist, short story writer, horror poet, and screenwriter. As it happens, I am also a musician, with a band, Stagefright, and I am an artist and zinemaker. I have written many non-fiction essays on the subject of horror, such as “Elements of Horror in Toni Morrison’s Magical Realism,” which you can read an edited version of in Horror Addicts Guide to Life2.
What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I have a lot of different kinds of work in Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2. However, I would say that a bunch of the work that I have in here concerns. African American and African diaspora involvement in the horror genre. For example, there is the above-mentioned “Elements of Horror in Toni Morrison’s Magical Realism.” I was really proud to have been one of the people who was making a case for the fact that work such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, is clearly in the horror genre. That work is a very clear example of something belonging in the Southern Gothic horror fiction genre. Because people had associated horror writers with a narrow selection of white men for so many years, they overlooked the fact that a lot of things by women and people of color belonged in the genre. And they were not being recognized.
Some of the other things that I wrote about was an article about why we need to see LA Banks’ badass vampire huntress Damali Richards on the television screen, and that’s under the section about vampires. I also wrote in that one about how Blade saved the Marvel. Movie franchise. So as you can see, both of those articles are about Black representation in the horror genre. From Google to Akasha is another article that deals with black presence in horror fiction both in writing and in the motion picture and television industry. And this one is dealing with how black women are presented in the genre.
I have a piece about the revival of the psychological horror subgenre. I wrote about Tony Todd., absolutely adore him. And I wrote. A remembrance of my dear friend, the talented Serena Toxicat, who we sadly lost early in this pandemic. I remember one year when me and Serena both competed for the Battle of the Bands type thing that they have on the horror addicts. Blog to try to see if we could have the song for the season. Although we both lost, promoting it together was part of the fun things that we did in our relationship. We did a lot of promoting different types of book events together and I will miss her. For always.
What is your favorite horror subject and why?
My favorite horror subject is the hubris of mankind. Whether you’re talking about something like Doctor Victor von Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s book Frankestein, or Doctor Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the protagonist in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, or the US Government in Stephen King’s The Stand, so many great horror stories start out with one human being with a tremendous ego doing something that he shouldn’t be doing. As you can see, I am a huge fan of the psychological horror genre. I love all of these things about how the human mind works, and why we do the things we do, and why we maybe should question some of those things. I love the fact that so many marginalized people are now taking the POV and shifting it so that instead of being the monsters in the story, the way that we were in old stories like W.W Jacob’s “The Monkeys Paw,” where people are afraid of us and our otherness, we are actually in danger because we’re being othered. Of course, Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a spectacular example of that, and NIA Decosta’s take on Candyman also illustrates this point quite vividly, as does Chesya Burke’s short story, “We.”
What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I am super excited to be a part of the upcoming book of essays on queerness in horror film called It Came from The Closet: Queer Reflections on Film, edited by Joe Vallese. I am also waiting eagerly for the release of Dragon Age 4, and if you follow this video game series, you can understand why I feel that it is part of the horror genre and not just fantasy. There is a lot of involvement with demons and zombie type creatures called the darkspawn, and where they left off in Dragon Age Inquisition, this next one is going to be a real blast. However, there’s no release date as of this writing. I am hyped to go to Stoker con in Denver this may. That’s coming up fast and may be already over by the time this gets published. But, if not, if you’re going to be at StokerCon., I am going to be on a few panels there and I’m also teaching a workshop on how to write scripts and storyboards for your horror comic so that you can communicate with artists on your project more efficiently.
Where can readers/listeners find your work?
Check out our new book at: Amazon.com