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Fright-day welcomes Robert Block

Greetings and Salutations,

I took last Fright-day off to celebrate my birthday. The good news is we’re back and with a very special guest. He is an American writer of crime, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Including short stories, novels, and screenplays for radio, television, and film. He’s a prolific writer and a lover of puns. However he is best known as the Author of Psycho, please welcome, Robert Bloch.

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RB; Thank you so much for having me. Where are we if you don’t mind me asking?

This is the abandoned, unconcecrated, Catholic, cemetery. Pretty nice, huh?

RB; I see. Yes, quite comfortable.

I ‘d like to ask about your mentor H.P. Lovecraft. Is it true he was the inspiration for several of your characters? I’ve heard he gave you permission to kill off a character inspired by him in a written certificate.

RB; Let me begin with telling you what an honorable man Howard is. I was a teen when I first wrote him. A fan, waiting for the next issue of Weird Tales magazine. He responded by encouraging me to pick up my pen and write. I outright copied his style in my youth and he granted me permission to use his characters in tales of my own, most notably The Cthulhu Mythos. As far as killing him off, yes, he said it was fine. Of course he turned around and wrote me into a story of his own in which I died a horrible death. And I might add he did very little to conceal who the character represented. It became quite the joke in the Lovecraft circle.

I’ve not been able to get in touch with him. I would very much like to have him as a guest.

RB; I’ll mention it to him when I see him next.

The list of your books and awards would take us all day to get through. Is there any you are especially fond of we can focus on?

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RB; My very first publication, The Thing is close to my heart. It was published in my high school literary magazine The Quill, but it is far from my best work. Psycho brought me much fame even though I had little to do with the movie. It was my first full length novel in which I employed modern urban horror relying on the horrors of interior psychology rather than the supernatural. I realized, as a result of what went on during World War Two and of reading the more widely disseminated work in psychology, that the real horror is not in the shadows, but in that twisted little world inside our own skulls.

That certainly comes through in Psycho, the twist being that Norman Bates, was also his mother.  The psychology behind Normans actions and his references to the Oedipus complex are startling when you read the book.

RB; Norman did more than desire his mother, he became his mother.

Yes, and as his mother, he said and did things that made Norman mad and question his own manhood. What a paradox you created in the characters mind.

RB; Yes and the mind cannot operate under that kind of stress for very long. Norman’s mind snapped long before the opening scene in the novel.

The charade of a normal, if unhappy man soon falls away when he has to clean up the murder of the girl for his mother’s sake. Yet, you keep the dual personality of Norman away from the reader long past that event.

RB; The reader wants to see Norman take charge of his life and have his mother put away. They route for the underdog until they realize–

Let’s not spoil the ending for those who haven’t read this classic of horror, thriller. One of my personal  favorites is, Your’s Truly, Jack The Ripper, a marvelous story with another twist ending.

RB; Ever since my early childhood I enjoyed the short story format. I read all the pulp fiction magazines growing up. Writing short fiction was where I learned to write. I enjoyed the prospect of revisiting infamous characters from the past and fictionalizing a tale about them. The facts surrounding their atrocities becomes a starting point for the tale. Grounding the story in reality and focusing on the psychological aspects of the character’s mind are the things I liked best about creative writing. Jack the Ripper, the Marquis de Sade, and Lizzy Borden all provided fertile soil in which tales grow. Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.

Very nice Mr. Bloch, I know that revisited Jack the Ripper in several short stories. He must have really caught your imagination.

RB; The fact he was never caught is the attraction. The story of Jack the Ripper begs for a suitable conclusion, and the beauty is, there is no right ending. Your imagination is the only limitation to Jack’s legacy.

I couldn’t agree more. 

RB; I was fortunate to have been around when radio and television devoured short fiction faster than writers could produce it. Short fiction has fallen off with the demise of pulp fiction magazines, as well as radio shows and television.  The Twilight Zone for example hungered for good short stories. I see my driver has arrived so I will take my leave, but I’ve had a wonderful time, I’ll be sure to mention your invitation to Howard.

Thank so much for coming. Robert Bloch ladies and gentlemen.

That might have been the best interview yet. Wouldn’t it be great if Mr. Bloch convinces H.P. Lovecraft to visit? What a nice guy. Well we’ll wrap it up here in the usual way.

We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.
H. P. Lovecraft 

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3 Comments

  1. *whispering behind her hand* Wow, Eerie, you’ve been snagging some fierce guests lately. What’d you do? Go fishing in the literary cemetery out back?
    *clearing throat* Um, Mr. Bloch, thank you for coming. I must say, Psycho is a true classic, sir, a true classic. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. One of my favorite writers as a youth…

    Reply
  3. Jami, You would be surprised at what and who turn up in the unconsecrated graveyard once the sun goes down.

    J.R. Robert Bloch is one of my favorites

    Reply

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