My Job Is to Scare the Crap Out of You

At Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, Dead Bodies and Killer Clowns Are My Artistic Medium

I always knew that writing and visual arts would be unpredictable career paths. But I’ve discovered that there is one thing that I can always count on: dead bodies.

As the art director for the “Scare Zones” at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, I oversee the zombies and ghouls that overtake sections of the park every October. I was just 18 when I started working at Universal. In the fall of 1980, I graduated from high school in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and was trying to find …

Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the …

Here’s Your Snickers. Just Don’t Kill Me.

Halloween Has Gotten Milder Over the Years. But—Take It From a Vampirologist—It’s Still About Rule-Breaking and Bargaining.

I am a vampirologist. I have a blood-red business card to prove it. And a doctoral dissertation in Slavic folklore. Because of that, people tend to give me things they …

Even Halloween Has Become Aspirational

Why Get To Know the Neighbors When the Trick-or-Treat Experience Is So Much Classier In Another Part of Town?

Last Halloween, I felt like the victim in a horror film. I was the guy ignoring the wise warning of my older next-door neighbor.

You’ll need at least 15 bags to …

No One’s Going To Murder Your Cat Today

Halloween May Feel Sinister, But That’s Mostly Because of Untrue Stories

Depending on whether you tune in for The Walking Dead or prefer the antics of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you’ll find Halloween’s imagery either devilish or delightful. For all …

My Horrific Philosophy

How 20th-Century Science Made Everything—Even Our Monster Movies—Much, Much Scarier

Fourteen years ago, way before I’d penned my first horror-movie script, I found myself studying the philosophy of science at Rutgers. It was something I pursued because it combined the …