The creeps come out at night
Andrew Hooper and Rocky Magsam
Whether it's TV shows or movies, comic books or conventions, Andrew Hooper and Rocky Magsam, hosts of The Mouths of Madness podcast, aim to cover anything and everything that fits beneath the horror umbrella. The longtime pals launched the podcast, named after the 1995 John Carpenter film, In the Mouth of Madness, not just as an excuse to discuss all things blood and guts, but also as a way to reconnect as friends. Now, the two regularly travel together to Los Angeles for movie premieres; interview horror icons, such as Ari Lehman (best known as the original Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th film series); and rate the genre's cheesiest and scariest flicks. The pair just celebrated its one-year podcast anniversary and have logged more than 50 episodes. A new episode is released via iTunes every Friday come nightfall, because, well, the creeps come out at night. Hooper and Magsam recently chatted with SN&R about scary dreams, villains and how, really, horror films bring people together.
What’s the horror film that first hooked you?
Andrew Hooper: I think the first horror movie I ever saw was Child's Play when I was 9. It freaked me out, and there was just something about it that I had to go back to. Then, I saw Night of the Living Dead when I was 11, and from that point on, I was hooked. An influence of mine would have to be [George A. Romero].
What makes a genuinely scary movie?
Hooper: If you can predict a movie throughout the entire time, it's not fun. I need context to all of it. And it genuinely has to be scary and have a story.
Rocky Magsam: The instant gratification you get from every single scare. You'll be scared, and then, immediately, you're safe.
Tell me about your first nightmare.
Magsam: My first horror [movies were a] Ghostbusters and Gremlins double-feature in 1984. So, I was like 6. The thing that made it worse was when I went home, I had my first nightmare ever. In this nightmare, there were zombies chasing me, and they killed me in my dream. Then, I woke up, and I threw up 12 times (laughs).
What’s intriguing about the genre?
Hooper: So many people try to talk about horror like it's tearing the world apart and it's making society terrible, but it really brings people together. It brings that kind of excitement out of people. [Watching horror films is] almost like being on a roller coaster. There's something exciting about a contained scare. It's almost like when your friend jumps out at you from behind a corner. Horror is one of those genres that whether you love it or hate it, is going to give you a genuine reaction when you go see it, no matter who you are, whether you're scared or grossed out or pissed off.
Do you despise any scary flicks?
Magsam: The original Night of the Living Dead is the most boring fucking movie ever made. I've never finished it in one sitting. I fell asleep at [one screening where] the the cast was present. But it was the first modern zombie movie, so how can you not appreciate what it did?
I prefer anything from the mid- to late-'70s to early '80s. … Think about it, every single horror icon everybody knows was from '70 to '85. You can try to create a new one, but you're not going to recreate a Freddy Krueger or a Jason Voorhees.
Scariest villain, go!
Hooper: I like the monster from The Thing. It's not my favorite horror film, or Rocky's, but we both agree that it's probably the best horror film ever made because the effects are scary, and it [has that] fear of the unknown, completely. The monster has no rules, no shape, no look and can be anyone in the room. That whole movie is the fear of the unknown.
Meet any horror icons through your podcast?
Magsam: We just went to [the Scareanormal Fresno expo] and both met two of our favorite people in the horror business and were actually able to interview them. [Dawn of the Dead's] Ken Foree actually cut a promo for us for our podcast. To have a horror icon from your favorite horror movie of all time cut anything for you is great. I also got to meet Danielle Harris and actually talked to her. I've loved her ever since she was in The Last Boy Scout and the remakes of Halloween.
Hooper: Something that I look forward to with this [podcast] is to have a more back-and-forth relationship with listeners. I want listeners to interact a lot more, whether it's people showing up for an event or emailing us questions or telling us suggestions for movies. The podcast was started to bring Rocky and I together, but we want to expand that with everybody.