04 December 2004

Four versions of Poppy Z. Brite

Even if you're not interested in the writer Poppy Z. Brite, you may enjoy her description of the four stages of her writing career.
Living in the French Quarter wasn't nearly as much fun as I'd always thought it would be, especially since I wasn't drinking alcohol at the time. (How I thought I could live in New Orleans and not drink is utterly beyond me.) Couldn't seem to get serial killers out of my system; in addition to the two novels, I made them the subject of several short stories and one comics script ("Becoming the Monster" in Weird Business, illustrated by Miran Kim) and pontificated obnoxiously about them in interviews. Big influences during this time included Jeffrey Dahmer, Dennis Nilsen, Dennis Cooper, Gregg Araki's movie The Living End, the Church of Euthanasia, and my own belief that I was some sort of nihilist rock star of the horror scene.
Personally, I don't recommend her writing from the period she's describing: Excuisite Corpse is a serial killer novel too dark and nihilistic even for me. But Lost Souls, from the stage before, is a trashy goth delight about adorable tortured gay goth boys in love (but haunted very literally by ghosts of the past, natch) --- and her short story "Calcutta: Lord of Nerves" is a true horror classic, poetically taking us through the streets of Calcutta in George Romero's zombie world.

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