Chilling Chat: Interview with Garth von Buchholz, July 2022

(reprinted from HorrorAddicts.net, Episode #210)

Garth von Buchholz

Garth von Buchholz is an author of dark poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and drama. His poetry books include Mad Shadows and his fiction has been published in various anthologies. Garth is also the founder of the International Edgar Allan Poe Society. He lives in Canada on Vancouver Island. 

NTK: Hello, Garth! Welcome back to Chilling Chat! What did you do during the pandemic?

GVB: During the pandemic, I was working from home instead of in my office, as many of my colleagues were as well. The pandemic was one of those shared social experiences of a disaster, similar to a flood or other natural disaster, where your immediate instincts are survival and you really don’t do a lot of reflection until you’re past that. I remember the first weeks of the pandemic when people were afraid to touch surfaces that might have Covid, and I was washing down my groceries after buying them from the store. The fear was palpable because no one knew how easily the virus could be spread or what it would do to you. It reminded me of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death. Another eerie experience was seeing wild animals walking in the streets when people were staying in their homes. Once I saw a stag trotting down the centre of a main road because there were no cars anywhere. It felt as though the human race could be nearing its end.

NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?

GVB: Probably about six years old. I had a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, some of which were pretty disturbing for a young mind. But they were so profound and compelling because they spoke the truth about good and evil and death and tragedy, so I loved them. Later I was enamored with some of the classic horror films I saw on TV as well as reruns of old horror shows such as The Twilight Zone.

NTK: What author has influenced you most?

GVB: Edgar Allan Poe is my muse. I’ve written scholarly articles about Poe’s work, was interviewed about Poe for the Washington Post and was the founder of the International Edgar All Poe Society in 2009, the 200th anniversary of his birthday. But back in college, I realized that I couldn’t just mimic him, I didn’t want to try to write like a 19th-century author—I needed to find my own 20th-century voice.

NTK: What is your favorite Edgar Allan Poe story?

That’s so difficult to choose because I am a Poe aficionado, so I feel as though I have to choose one of his more obscure stories that fewer people have read. However, I love the revenge themes in stories such as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Hop Frog,” which I think were cathartic for Poe to write because he probably fantasized revenge on the many enemies he had made in his lifetime. However, my favorite story may be “The Oval Portrait,” because it’s about an artist trying so hard to portray his beloved perfectly in his art that he neglects her, and she dies. I’ve been guilty of that, in a way, because writing is such a solitary craft, and it can isolate you from the people you love.

NTK: What inspired you to write your piece, “HAÜS?”

GVB: “HAÜS” is about the coldness and ruthlessness of technology. I’ve been working in digital media since the 1990s. A relative of mine owns a wireless security camera company, and after we talked about his work installing security systems in homes and businesses, I wondered if there would ever be a home security system so diabolically deadly that not even a group of skilled home invaders could penetrate it.

NTK: How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

GVB: I’m like God—my characters can do what they want while they’re still alive, but ultimately, I know when they will die and how.

NTK: Where do you find inspiration? 

GVB: Many times, my inspiration is from some news story I’ve read. Fact often converts into fiction very seamlessly.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

GVB: How can I decide on one? Legion by William Peter Blatty or The Stand by Stephen King.

NTK: Favorite horror movie?

GVB: The Exorcist III (based on the novel Legion)

NTK: What do you like most about The Exorcist III?

GVB: The 1990 film The Exorcist III, based on William Peter Blatty’s novel Legion (1983) is my fave horror film for several reasons. First, it’s written by Blatty, one of my favorite horror novelists. It stars SIX of my all-time favorite male actors, George C. Scott, Ed Flanders (who committed suicide years ago!), Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Brad Dourif and Nicol Williamson. And I love the weird, Blatty-ian blend of dark humor and supernatural horror with underlying religious themes. I can almost recite the dialogue between Scott and Flanders where they talk about the carp in Detective Kinderman’s bathtub. And the startling and grotesque image of the old lady creeping along the ceiling like a spider still haunts me.

NTK: Favorite horror television show?

GVB: The Stand (miniseries, 1994.)

NTK: What did you think of The Stand miniseries with Whoopi Goldberg?

GVB: Overall, I thought The Stand 2020 miniseries was quite an accomplishment because it did justice to most of the characters, expanded the pandemic world that we had only seen fully in Stephen King’s novel, and brought the story to a more satisfying finale. The casting was unusual for some characters but seemed to be successful. For example, a black Larry Underwood made more sense than a white one in many ways because of the kind of singer he was. But Amber Heard as Nadine? Omg, that was so jarring and disappointing. They didn’t even have her dye her hair black so we could watch her transition from black hair to gray and then white. Her acting was abysmal, and she was neither sympathetic nor mysterious. As for Whoopi Goldberg, I was glad to see that she took the role seriously rather than trying to re-interpret Mother Abagail. We forget that she’s actually a fine actress when she does dramatic roles.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

GVB: Well, I do hope to actually give HorrorAddicts.net something to look forward to because it has been supportive of my work over the years. I have a horror novel on the backburner and now that I’m apparently not going to die of Covid, I will start working on it again. Here’s a preview. It’s tentatively titled Thy Fearful Symmetry and it’s about a young girl who tries to commit suicide on a mountain, survives her attempt, then has an encounter with a two-headed mountain lion (or cougar as we usually call them in Canada). She takes this as a sign from the universe and starts blogging about it, which creates a huge sensation on the Internet about the two-headed beast. Is it real? Or was it something she imagined or fabricated? I have the entire outline of the novel written as well as the first few chapters.

Addicts, you can find Garth on his Blog.


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Dramatized version of HAÜS

Featured

You can now listen to a dramatized version of my short story, HAÜS, on the HorrorAddicts.net podcast.

HAÜS is about the ultimate smarthouse, more secure than a military base. When 5-year-old Matthias’s parents depart for an important trip to China, they leave little Matthias home alone, but in the care of the HAÜS. A team of sophisticated thieves presumes the HAÜS is empty when they see the parents leave, so they plan to invade it even though they know that a HAÜS is a highly protected domestic fortress.

Listen to HAÜS on the HorrorAddicts.net podcast.

Horror Addicts Episode #210 | SEASON 17
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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Exclusive interview with actor/director Corin Nemec about The Stand (1994)

Stephen King’s epic novel The Stand will be rebooted in 2020 with a new 10-episode series on CBS AllAccess. The series is currently in production in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The Stand was first adapted for network television in 1994 (now available in HD on Blu-ray edition) and is still beloved to fans because of its excellent and ambitious treatment of an expansive plotline and a vast number of characters and extras but limited to only four tightly woven episodes. In the 1994 version, Corin Nemec played the pivotal role of Harold Lauder, a brilliant but awkward outcast whose character arc leads him from lovestruck teen to mass murderer. Nemec is a seasoned television actor (Supernatural, Stargate SG-1, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), director, producer, author and screenwriter. We interviewed him this month about his memories of The Stand 1994.

Corin Nemec, 2019

Hey Corin, it’s so great to hear from you and be able to talk to you about The Stand and your part in the last miniseries version in 1994, a real TV classic. Are you excited to see the new version of The Stand in 2020? What are you hoping they can achieve with this new version?

I am excited to see the new version of The Stand, but at the same time the miniseries was so well executed, director Mick Garris did such a phenomenal job and with six hours to tell the story, the original mini-series version was exceptional and stands the test of time.

People loved your performance as the tragic Harold Lauder, but some fans of the books complained because your Harold wasn’t overweight in the beginning, as the book portrays him. But I think your performance captured his slow transformation from insecure nerd to a confident and angry young man. What were your challenges when you were playing Harold?

Stephen King and Mick Garris searched far and wide for an actor they believed could portray the role of Harold Lauder who also fit the physical description from the novel. They went to LA, Miami, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco, but were not satisfied with the performances. I had auditioned for Sleep Walkers, which Mick Garris directed and he wanted me for a role in that, but I did not fit the physical description in that either, and the studio passed on me. Mick had been in Stephen’s ear for weeks about me and was certain I could play the part of Harold even though I did not fit the description. Finally Stephen agreed to bring me in and after my audition decided that Mick was right and with Stephen’s support they were able to push me through, and with that incredible support I won the role of a lifetime. Playing Harold and working with such an amazing cast and crew was epic. One the best times of my life.

Corin Nemec as Harold Lauder in The Stand (1994)

How did you like working with some of the other famous or emerging actors in the cast, such as Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald? What was that like?

Working with an all-star cast like the one in The Stand was really humbling. To be included in that strong of a cast was a dream come true, especially with such a prominent and important role as playing Harold Lauder.

Tell us about what you liked and disliked about the 1994 version of The Stand.

In all honesty there is NOTHING I did not like from the mini-series The Stand. I think that it was perfectly executed for the time and still plays very well with age.

Do you ever have fans coming up to you who remember you as Harold? Harold had some great catchphrases such as “Every dog has his day” and “Don’t screw with my disco!”

Yes, when I go to conventions for appearances, there is not ONE that does not have fans of The Stand mini-series attending. I hope that the new film will draw attention back to the 1994 version so a younger generation can get a load of the beauty of the original.

Harold Lauder (Corin Nemec) and Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo) in The Stand (1994)

Have you ever thought that there are some scary similarities between Harold’s personality and so-called “incels” who become mass murderers?

This thought really never crossed my mind. In reality, Harold was grossly manipulated into becoming the traitorous malcontent he eventually became. Had Nadine never entered the picture, Harold would never have taken action.

Do you have any interesting stories or anecdotes you can share with us about the filming of The Stand 1994? What were your best memories from it?

My best memories were of the lunches we had on set, so many incredible personalities and talents from all walks of life representing many departments and each of them at the top of their game. The comradery on and off set was very memorable and not one person walked away from that production the same as when they started.

You’ve had many film and TV roles over the years since The Stand, such as Stargate SG-1, but you’re also a screenwriter. What new projects are you working on now?

Writing has always been a great passion and I am constantly working on something new, but it has proven very difficult to get any of my scripts produced. I have released many of my screenplays on Lulu.com and if you go to this website and search my name Corin Nemec you will find a bunch available for purchase with original cover-art design by me. All are hard-back prints as well. You may also find some photo books by me, some poetry books and if you search Lulu.com for “Venice High” you will find what I call a scripted-novel–this is just a very detailed and descriptive story that is written in a script format. Hope you like to read because there is a lot to choose from!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with fans of The Stand 1994 and the upcoming reboot of The Stand in 2020 on CBS AllAccess?

Nothing that I can think, just happy to see people talking about it again!

Follow on Twitter: Corin Nemec, TheStand2020

/GvB