Fisticuffs and Bad Horror Movies: An Interview with Michael R. Colangelo

Introduction: I love short stories, especially gritty, smart horror. Horror that touches something inside of you. One of these writers goes by the name of Michael R. Colangelo. Back in the day when I was editing my own webzine/blogspot, I published his piece “Carcass.” I thought it was brillant and ever since then, I’ve been an avid fan and follower of his work.

Who or what has influenced your writing?

Everything. Right this week it’s a book of Michael Dirda criticism, a pile of skateboard magazines I found in the lobby, Game of Thrones on TV, rotten.com, and some movie called Ice Scream – which is like a porn film with all the sex scenes cut out. I’m not very discriminating. If it’s interesting in some way I’ll look at it and take something away. Broadly though: “textbook” literature, bad horror movies, true crime stuff, and independent comic books, I suppose.

You used to be an editor for Harrow. How was that experience and how did it benefit you as a writer?

The best part about The Harrow is if you go read through the archives the pieces there hold up really, really well, where other short fiction (especially online) does not. It wasn’t easy filling six fiction slots on a monthly basis, but I think we did a pretty damn good job of it, especially given our perceived lack of overall resources. As a writer, I think reading submissions is pretty key to the ongoing learning process. It should make you think about what’s right or wrong about a story in non-subjective ways. I’m pretty sure that translates into your own writing as to what might be right or wrong about something in a piece too. By the way, I’m currently editing for Ideomancer – which is different but the same.

The horror scene in Canada in seems to be flourishing and you’re from Toronto. How involved are you in that scene?

Toronto has always been pretty flourishing in terms of fiction writing in general. The city has some big publishers situated here and a lot of respected small presses too. It’s nice that the awareness is growing but it has always been a pretty big deal. As for the scene, the last time in attendance at one of these writer clubs, fisticuffs broke out and a scoundrel dented my top hat. I won’t be returning, to say the least.

Recently you won the Richard Laymon award? How did that come about and how did you feel afterwards?

The HWA emailed me in December and told me its intentions. We’ve done something like increased membership counts by 40% every year since I’ve helmed the Membership Chair, and I think everyone’s a little mystified about how that was done. But whatever — I’ll never tell and it’s a giant glass tombstone with my name engraved on it that is named after a guy who wrote about a hundred novels about tits. Fuck yeah.

If you had to kill a man and dispose of the body as well, how would you go about doing such a thing?

Bare hands, obviously. Probably just one hand. Then feed him to his children and raise them as my personal assassins for when I lose the taste for it myself.

I love your short fiction; however, I’ve been patiently waiting for something longer to come out such as a novel or a novella? Will this happen anytime soon?

I get asked this question a lot. Trouble is, nobody’s actually thrown a pile of money at me to get things rolling. Some douche is going to suggest that’s not how things work, but the problem is I’m pretty content where I’m at right now – wherever that might be. So money=book unless it tickles me to write and send something long out, which could happen too.

There are a lot of writers who get little or no recognition such as yourself. Can you recommend any?

Just me.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Nope. Thanks for the questions.

*You can find more of his work here.

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