Horror. To some, the genre is that of cheap thrills, startles and nightmare fodder to allow entertainment to be entertaining without the need to turn on one’s brain. To others, Horror is a conduit that our deepest fears, anxieties and paranoia are visualized, hence why the community of horror fans has become as large, vocal and intertwined as any group in modern popular culture. Horror molds around our individual perceptions of shock and terror, and often times can be discussed with the enthusiasm and passion that may not apply to other genres. Therefore, Diabolique Magazine presents Talking Terror, a weekly column where we speak to actors, comedians and other public figures about their relationship to the world of horror.
The connection between horror and comedy is one that has been forged before most of us have been born, through the pun-laden and wickedly twisting EC Comics to the slapstick physical comedy when Abbott and Costello played off the likes of Frankenstein, The Wolfman and Dracula. And as interesting as that connection may be, there’s a much more interesting question that lays beneath it, asking, “Through all the varieties of horror comedy over the years, what attracts funny people to horror?” Some may say that it may be the influx of imagination that both genres require, and others may say that they’re both forms of therapy, in a sense, to give us relief from the demons of real life.
We’ll never know exactly for certain, but that doesn’t change the fact that comedians such as Robert Kelly have been holding strong with his horror fandom whilst storming the comedy scene in a big way over the past two decades. Initially garnering attention from his appearance on Dane Cook’s Tourgasm on HBO and his hilarious appearances on The Opie and Anthony Show, Robert Kelly has often delved into his own life with such gut-busting hilarity and cringe-worthy honesty that he’s established himself as a talent and voice that cannot be ignored. Since then, Kelly has co-authored the book Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity, with comedians Bill Burr and former Talking Terror guest Joe Derosa, appeared in a scene stealing moments of uncomfortable brilliance on Louie, added his inimitable comic timing to the police drama NYC 22 and founded an award-winning and incredibly popular podcast, You Know What Dude? Kelly opened up to Diabolique about his love-hate relationship with horror, low budget wonders and how horror often bleeds into his real life…
DIABOLIQUE: You’ve talked and joked about horror films on both your You Know What Dude? podcast and The Opie and Anthony Show in the past. Have you always been a fan of horror?
ROBERT KELLY: You know, I really hate horror because I get really scared. It’s almost like heights or hot food. I’d love to be able to walk on the top of a tall building and I’d love to eat really hot, spicy foods but I can’t. I can’t see a horror movie by myself, bro. I couldn’t see Evil Dead, even though I really wanted to see it, because I couldn’t find somebody to go with me. I really can’t go alone. I hope you understand what I’m saying in that I love them, but I can’t see them because I get really fucked up.
DIABOLIQUE: A lot of people are like that, actually, because horror movies provide that cathartic thrill but at the same time, they tread on your emotions and mess around in your head, so I understand that mentality.
KELLY: Yeah, I think I’m that type of guy where I believe in it. You know how they always say, “If you believe in it, it will come to you?” They always put that in horror movies, where if you believe in the Devil, he will come but if you don’t, he won’t. I believe in all that shit, but I don’t because I don’t want it to come to me.
DIABOLIQUE: Do you remember your first exposure to horror films?
KELLY: Yes, it was The Exorcist. I went to see either Smokey and the Bandit or Smokey and the Bandit II, and I was with my mother, my stepfather and my sister. [My sister and I] went to see Smokey and the Bandit while [my mother and stepfather] went to go see The Exorcist. I went into their theater to look for them because our movie got out earlier, of course, and I remember walking into the end of The Exorcist and losing my mind.
Then, I watched The Exorcist a little later in life and it fucked me up so bad. I had watched it with my sister, and when I would come home, there was this long, thin stairway at the back of the house that would lead up to our apartment. I would come home from school and [my sister] would stand up there waiting for me, and as soon as she heard the door and hear me walk up the first two steps, she’d swing around and roll her eyes up so they’d be white, and she’d just growl so I’d have to run back downstairs. She would do this for, like, an hour and a half until I was crying because I just wanted to go home. But every time she did it, I swear to God, I was like, “I don’t know if she’s kidding. What if she’s not? What if she’s really possessed by a demon?”
DIABOLIQUE: The horror film landscape has changed greatly since the days of The Exorcist. Are there any current horror films that you’ve enjoyed?
KELLY: I just went and saw The Conjuring, and I thought that was really good. It always messes me up when they say it’s based on a true story, even if it’s loosely. I think they should do that with every horror movie: “based on a true story.” Psychologically, that puts you in a better place to watch it and suspend reality, because there are certain things where there’s no way that happened, but when they say it’s based on a true story, you go, “Oh my God, that happened!”
I thought The Conjuring was a real good movie and my favorite type of horror movies is the demonic possession. They haven’t done it right since The Exorcist where they say it’s the actual afterlife, which is my favorite because those movies are the closest to being real. Zombies, monsters, vampires, were-whatever; that stuff I get, but there’s no way it could ever be real. There’s something in my brain that goes, “That’s not real.” When I get scared and get really petrified, I can go, “it’s not real,” and I can calm myself down with that, which sucks in a way because it takes me out of the movie.
But when you see a movie about possession or ghosts or demons, I can’t use that [tactic] in my head, so I can’t psychologically twist to go “it’s not real.” I go, “No, this really happened, you fucking idiot. Oh my God.” I get weirded out and I can get scared as I’m watching the movie. What I thought they did really good in The Conjuring, and I’ve said this before on my podcast about Insidious, is that they’ve got “day ghosts.”
Insidious was probably the scariest movie I’ve seen in a long time. That movie fucked me up and I couldn’t watch that movie in its entirety. I was by myself and it was on Netflix. I couldn’t watch it, so I had to shut it off and go back to it. See? Horror movies fuck me up because everything always happen at night. During the day, the paranormal crew is fine, walking around and eating peanut butter and jellies, but the scary stuff happens at night. But all of the sudden, if it’s the middle of the afternoon and the birds are chirping and the sun’s out, and some fucking demon walks by in the background, it fucks me up. It really fucks me up.
I loved in The Conjuring when they were playing Hide-and-Seek and the ghost clapped her towards the closet. That was just crazy, especially when the little girl came up behind her, like, “What are you doing?” Oh God, that messed me up. I love that [the mother] got possessed at the end. I loved that, although if she died, the ending would have been better, I think. But that possession was really cool. Also, claustrophobia kills me, so being in a cramped space with a fucking demon coming to get you; that’s like what Evil Dead did in the basement. I don’t think there’s anything creepier than those two scenarios: claustrophobia and if somebody’s possessed by a fucking demon.
DIABOLIQUE: The Conjuring definitely felt scary in a very old fashioned kind of way, which I think is one of the reason’s it has been so successful. What do you think is the biggest difference between the horror films you grew up with and the horror films you watch today?
KELLY: I think when they first started making horror movies, there were the ones that had a budget like The Exorcist, but then Halloween and films like that were so low budget that they felt more real. They didn’t really have money so they had to make shit work to scare you, like a character would be on the phone and you’d see some guy walk by the window, and that’s crazy. It wasn’t this big monster or all of this blood and it wasn’t a trick, it’s just a fucking figure walking by a window behind her while she’s on the phone and your heart stopped, like, “Holy shit.”
That really got me and I think they’re getting back to that because of how easy it is for average people to make a horror movie. With technology now, a horror fan could get a couple thousand dollars and make an insane horror movie like The Blair Witch Project. The first Blair Witch, not the second one which was terrible. But the fact that they made the first Blair Witch is crazy, and it’s scary as shit because it’s based in reality and is supposedly based on a true story.
I like low budget, independent horror movies. I think they’re better to me than a blow-out horror movie, although The Unborn bugged me because they took what was so great about The Exorcist and they used it for a minute before the ending that was so fucking ridiculous. I literally threw my popcorn in the air and said, “Are you shitting me? A little see-through ghost demon baby? This is ridiculous.” A little low-budget horror film would not be able to afford that see-through baby.
DIABOLIQUE: It’s funny that you mention The Blair Witch Project because found footage has really taken off in the horror genre since the success of the Paranormal Activity movies. As someone who lets horror affect them so much internally, do you find found footage films to be more intense for you because they take on that voyeuristic quality?
KELLY: Absolutely. If you can make my psyche believe that it’s real with a gimmick, like “found footage” or “based on a true story,” I’m in. I love movies and being entertained, and I hate horror movies because I love them. I love them and I’m addicted to them but I can’t watch them because I scream through them. If you can help me believe that the movie is real or really happened, I’m good. I’m a sucker. I’ll flip that switch and that’s all I need.
I think that’s absolutely key to a horror movie, even if it’s not true or they fucking lie. I don’t give a shit. I just need to suspend reality for 2 hours or an hour and a half so I can get into this. It’s almost like pain; watching a horror movie is painful. It hurts my stomach because I know what’s coming, so I crouch down in my seat, I put my hands over my ears and I start to hyperventilate. My fists start clenching and my toes start crawling, and then all the sudden something happens. They get me every time, too!
You know how they do it, when they fake scare you? Someone comes around the corner and there’s just some hunky dude with no shirt on, going, “Boo.” I freak out at THAT. They get me on that, and I love when they do that. The more real, the better, bro. There’s nothing worse than when they take you out of reality. Even in Insidious, I loved it but the ending kind of fucked me up a little bit because they mixed the reality with fantasy.
DIABOLIQUE: Throughout your career, you’ve been very vocal about your anxieties and the fears you have in your interpersonal life. Would you say this makes it easier for you to identify with horror movies that revolve around paranoia or social anxiety, ala Rosemary’s Baby?
KELLY: No, I like imposing forces. Halloween is my favorite of all time, I think, because it’s just about this guy that can’t die. He just keeps coming. I think that’s maybe because of my abusive childhood and getting into fights and all that bullshit, so when I watch those movies, I want to fight back. I’m always like, “Get the fucking knife! Hit him in the fucking head!” Like, I’ll talk, man. I’ll go, “Why don’t you just cut his dick off?! That would flip him right out if he got his dick cut off! Cut his hand off! Do something! Stick it in his eye! Why are you stabbing him in the chest?”
I get into it when it’s actually a person coming at somebody. The thing about ghosts is that you can’t fight a ghost. What do you do if there’s a ghost? You get some holy water or you can use Jesus’s name, which I think is hilarious. Apparently, Jesus is the only God that repels ghost. Moses can’t. If it’s a Jewish ghost, you’re out of fucking luck, you know what I mean? Why are ghosts always white, too? There’s never a pimp ghost. “What’s up, motherfucker? Boo, bitch!” It’s always a white kid or a white woman or a creepy old white guy. It’s never a black guy, going, “This is bullshit!”
The stuff like Rosemary’s Baby, which is a great horror movie and a great movie in general- it’s got great acting, and the ending is just crazy, but that movie only scared me a little bit. Once somebody sets the curve, like The Exorcist or Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s nuts what they’re trying to do to people. They’re trying to give people heart attacks in movie theaters. They’re literally trying to make people die with what they’re doing now. Think about Paranormal Activity, the first one. Did you like it?
DIABOLIQUE: Paranormal Activity, to me, is one of those movies where when it’s scary, it’s really scary, but when it’s not, it’s sort of flat. That’s just my opinion.
KELLY: They definitely should have gone Paranormal Activity 1, 3 and then 2. 2 is stupid, and I get it but they should have put them out in that order. Paranormal Activity really freaked me out because of how basic the film technology was. That made it real for me. Demons fuck me up, dude, because they could be real. You ever go on a ghost hunt?
I went to Virginia City, dude, and I went into the back room of this place called The Millionaire’s Club. You had to be a millionaire to belong to it back in the day, and it was a whorehouse, basically. Before that, they used to store corpses there when during the winter, the ground was so hard they couldn’t dig graves. So they used to keep the bodies in this backroom, and I was there and I heard shit. That’s fucking nuts. I don’t want anything to do with it, but I can’t help myself. It’s like what I said in the beginning. Horror movies are nuts, man. It’s like getting into a fight and getting your ass kicked, like Fight Club. My wife is thoroughly embarrassed of me when we go to horror movies.
DIABOLIQUE: Well, horror movies are definitely like that but they’re also the only films where it’s sort of okay to interact with them. You don’t see people lose their minds over drama or even comedy quite as much as they do with horror films. Do you have any memorable in-theater horror movie experience, for better or for worse?
KELLY: Yeah. I mean, I feel stupid about it, but when I saw The Blair Witch Project… it’s sad about how much I scream in horror movies. It really is. It’s embarrassing. I’m a 42 year old man and I’ve got tattoos. At The Blair Witch Project, I screamed and yelled. I do talk. I’ll say, “Go, go, go, go!” I do that shit where I tell them what to do. I’m an advice giver, like, “Don’t go there, take a left! No don’t go down there! No, leave him! Just leave him! he’ll understand!”
I’m definitely an advice giver and I scream. This is my typical moment in a horror movie: I’ll sink in my seat, I’ll scream and I’ll grab the person next to me, and it doesn’t matter if I know you or not. I’ve grabbed strangers, no joke, by the arm where they’re just like, “Dude, what the fuck?” I’ve scared the people sitting next to me because of my craziness.
You know how much of a pussy I am? Remember Resident Evil? The original video game? When you’re coming into the building, through the door and the dogs jump through the window? I had to shut the game off and go outside for an hour and a half and talk myself down because that fucking scared the fuck out of me so bad. I remember that I was living with [Bill] Burr and said, “Dude, why would someone make a game like that?” I got mad! It got me that bad. As soon as it gets me, I get mad, like, “Fucking assholes!” It’s a love-hate relationship with these horror films. It really is.
DIABOLIQUE: I completely understand what you mean. When I saw The Conjuring, and that scene with the maid happened, I remember it being the first time in years that I got so startled that I shouted, and I remember just stewing in my seat going, “How dare they?! Who do they think they are, scaring me?!”
KELLY: Yeah, dude! You get mad at the filmmakers! I get mad at those cocksuckers because I can see them typing or filming, going, “That’s going to be good.” That was a great part, though. I love it when it’s the guy who doesn’t believe. That’s the best.
DIABOLIQUE: Do you prefer seeing horror movies with that communal, in-theater experience or do you prefer watching them at home?
KELLY: I think all films should be watched in the theater first, especially horror movies. But that sucks for me, because I can’t go to horror movies like Joe [DeRosa], who will go to a horror movie by himself. I don’t want to go to a horror movie when there is 2 people in the theater at 1:00 p.m. That’s just me, but you need people around you because you need to see other people getting scared. I need a friend because I don’t to get in a fight because I grabbed the guy next to me’s girlfriend’s arm. So I prefer to see them in the theater, but I can’t because I can’t go by myself at all. I will not go by myself. It gets embarrassing and sad.
But I watched Insidious on Netflix on an iPad and I was still fucked up, and I was watching it during the day! That fucked me up even worse, and that’s how scary that movie was for me. But I think going into the theater the weekend the film comes out is the best way to see a horror movie. It’s like comedy in the sense that if you go to a club and they just start selling tickets to people who don’t know who is going to be there, it’ll be a good show, and I’ll keep it professional and everyone is going to laugh but they won’t love me. If you do a show and all of your fans are there, it’s a way better show for everybody. So if you go opening night or opening weekend into a theater packed with fans of horror and want to see that movie, it’s a totally different fucking show.
DIABOLIQUE: I would imagine that as a comedian, you’re a bit more perceptive about what you see happen repeatedly in horror films. Is there any trope or device that is a dealbreaker that’ll take you out of a horror film?
KELLY: Yeah, I’ll tell you right now. It happens in a lot of movies: the continuity. It’s the little things. If a girl gets lit on fire, her clothes have to burn because her clothes aren’t ghosts. She’s a demon, but her clothes aren’t. That happens all the time and I hate that. I hate when they don’t catch the little things. And I know they have to close the movie big, but I wish they wouldn’t feel the need to use special effects as much. Not special effects, but more so CGI.
You don’t need CGI! In The Conjuring, the hands coming out of the closet are somebody’s real hands, and that’s fucking creepy! You don’t need to CGI that! I get that there are certain things in CGI that is getting better so it looks more real, but even in Insidious, they went into this realm and they pulled it off. That’s why I love low budget: because they don’t have the budget for CGI. When they don’t have the budget for CGI, it’s like Vine. With Vine, it’s 6 second videos, so it’s like, “What the fuck can you do in 6 seconds? Nothing. It’s stupid.” But all of the sudden, you see people get creative and they figure out how to do a little, tiny hilarious film in 6 seconds, or tell a little story in 6 seconds. The creativity of the human brain will find a way.
DIABOLIQUE: That’s very true. With horror films, or any film really, when you’re low on resources, you turn to your imagination. Considering horror is rooted and spawned within your imagination in the first place, low budgets allow you to think out of the box and come up with something you hadn’t thought of before.
KELLY: Yeah! I mean, let an actor almost die! Get that shot! They used to throw people off of buildings in movies. Remember that shit? If you saw a guy falling off a building in a movie in the ‘70s, he was actually falling off of the building.
DIABOLIQUE: It’s so much better for the audience when you can actually see something, because then it can’t be unbelievable.
KELLY: Especially when you have the greenlight of “based on a true story”, because then you can say, “Hey, this actually happened in real life.” So if it really happened, don’t use CGI to do really crazy, crazy shit. You have to make it look like it really happened. That’s why when the low budget and practical effects come together, those are the horror movies I really like.
Horror movies, to me, are based in our own real fears. Patrice [O’Neal] and I used to talk about when your phone cuts out and it starts making that noise, that [imitating static gibberish], and Patrice used to think that was demons talking to us. He used to think that those were demons or ghosts trying to contact us through radio waves because those are old radio waves and it almost sounds like someone is breathing when that happens. That fucks me up every time and I listen and talk back to it every time it happens. I’m always like, “…hello?” It freaks me out every time, dude.
Patrice and I used to talk about that all the time, and one time we were on the phone and that happened and he heard the same shit on the other end. He was just listening on the other end, so I called him back and said, “Dude, did you just hear that?” He said, “Yeah, that’s fucked up. That’s like some demons or some ghosts trying to talk to us.” That type of shit feels like it’s real. I just hope they stop with the fucking CGI. I didn’t seen Evil Dead (2013), and I haven’t seen it yet because I need somebody to watch it with me, but I heard it was more gory than scary.
DIABOLIQUE: Well, with the new Evil Dead, it’s really brutal as to not make it funny like Army of Darkness or Evil Dead 2. The film doesn’t rely on CGI that much, even though when it is there, you tend to notice it, but a lot of it is practically done and really cool. In a way, it’s more brutal than it is traditionally scary, although the film still is very scary at times. But it’s very enjoyable for the fact that it’s a horror movie with only 5-6 people in it, so instead of dispatching people left and right, they put everyone through the wringer.
KELLY: I think that’s smart. I think the original Evil Dead is one of the greatest horror movies of all time because you can laugh and you can have the shit scared out of you. I think that’s one of the scariest movies, too. I’d put that up there with The Exorcist.
DIABOLIQUE: Well, when it comes to horror films, how important is the gore of the films to you? Are you more interested in atmosphere?
KELLY: Yeah, I don’t care about gore. I don’t think gore is important to me. I like atmosphere. In the first Evil Dead, the camera coming through the forest was just a camera guy running through the forest at high speed with that ramping up sound effect. That scared the shit out of me. That’s just genius… or stupidity or the fact that they had no money. “I’m just gonna run through the woods. I’ll speed it up and put a sound effect over it. That’s gonna be the POV of the demon.” WHAT THE FUCK?! That’s just so simple and beautiful. There’s no blood or gore in that moment.
My uncle has a beautiful house that’s unbelievable and you can have 14 people sleep at this house. It’s in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire where they shot On Golden Pond. But if you pull up to that house at night, and you pull up and it’s just you, and you’re at the house at the top of the hill surrounded by forest, once you’re out of that car, you’re petrified. Why? Because of that [Evil Dead] type of shit making me think something’s out there. Something is out there looking at me and I can’t see it. That scene in Evil Dead is what I think of.
You don’t need gore to make a good horror movie. You just need to set someone’s imagination down a fucked up path. You need to take something that’s in everyone’s regular life, like opening a closet or going to sleep at night looking at the dark corner in your room or having a baby monitor on that has night vision and you see something go past it. That’s what I mean. It’s the real simple shit, like, if you can take that element and some scary shit to it, like a demon or a monster or a ghost, that’s when you fuck up people’s lives, but in a good way. That’s when you’ve got people checking over their shoulders or if you’re walking in the woods by yourself and you hear a noise that’s something other than you and you go, “What the fuck is that?” It’s nothing! It’s fucking nothing, but in your head, maybe that’s a killer or a rabid fucking bear.
They don’t make anymore good animal horror anymore. They don’t make movies like Cujo or that fucking horror movie with the bear, Prophecy. That’s the one with the water in the pond got fucked up by the government, and all the animals that drank from the pond got fucked up, like a tadpole that was three feet long, but there was a rabid, nuclear bear that started killing people.
DIABOLIQUE: You’re right. In fact, I can’t even place a horror movie with a killer bear that’s not some kind of “survival thriller” film.
KELLY: Yeah. Prophecy is an old movie but it’s really scary. The bear just got fucked up by this nuclear water and kills people along the side of this mountain. This thing would come out of nowhere and fucking murder people.
DIABOLIQUE: In your stand-up, you cover a lot of down-to-earth and brutally honest material on relatable subjects, although you venture several times into really dark places. Do you think comedy is essentially more honest when you shed light on the darker aspects of life?
KELLY: I think comedy is different because, like movies, there’s different genres of comedy. I think I say more on my life and am honest, and I try to be as open as I possibly can with what I’m telling the crowd. But there’s some guys that take news and topics and what happened today and write a joke about it. There’s political comics, but the guys I hang out with, I don’t think we deal with the “evil” side of humanity or the “dark” side of us, but I do think it’s the more honest side.
I don’t think it’s dark, to be honest. I think for a person to reveal on stage in front of a crowd that they’re a piece of shit sexually or that they have issues or to reveal that they hate certain things, it’s not a bad thing or an evil thing or a dark thing, it’s an, “Oh my God, that’s an amazing ability.” What you’re going to do is make people relate to it, as long as they understand that it’s a joke. I’ve talked about wanting my wife dead after I’ve stood around talking for 15 minutes about how much I love her.
Immediately, women go, “WHAT?!” and I go, “Let me explain. I’ve been that angry at my wife where I’ve fantasized about her being killed, like pushed off a bridge, in my head. But for seconds, it’s not like it’s for days or hours. I’m not in the backyard digging holes. It’s 3-10 seconds of just, ‘I hope a fucking car hits you right now.’ You know what I mean?” Then, I come back to love, but those thoughts helps me get over the moment of anger. She’s had the same thing happen, like when I’m driving and she’s trying to help me because I keep missing the exit and I’m yelling at her. I know, in her head, an arrow is coming out of a campground and landing in my empty, dead skull. To be that honest in front of a crowd is an amazing thing.
It’s not “dark”, it’s real. People call it dark because everybody wants to be happy. Everybody wants to be The Brady Bunch and have great days. But in reality, there are grey areas, and life sucks. Life is hard when life is good, bad things happen and we all have issues and nobody wants to deal with them. The only people who deal with them are the ones honest with themselves. I think those people are healthy. Those aren’t the people who are hiding things or burying things or not talking or being honest about what they feel and who they are. Those are the people that scare me. Somebody who smiles all the time is scarier to me than someone talking to themselves walking around New York City.
Even in horror movies, where it’s terrible, awful stuff, but at the end of a horror movie, you feel better. You feel like you’ve gone through something. “We made it! We fucking did it! The sun’s coming up and the Devil is gone, man!” That’s a great feeling and I think horror movies give you this great feeling of accomplishment, almost.
DIABOLIQUE: Yeah, it’s that rollercoaster mentality of overcoming your fears in a controlled situation.
KELLY: Exactly. At the end of horror movies, it’s like, “We did it!” The family is hugging and they’re happy and the sun is coming over the house. It’s kind of like life, not some shitty romantic comedy that’s a lie and would never happen. [Romantic comedies] are bullshit; they’d never happen. I think horror movies are more realistic to life than regular fucking romantic comedies. You feel good, then you feel shitty, then you’re scared, then you feel good again, then you’re really scared, then you feel really crappy, then you’re screaming, so you reach out for help, but they’re fucked up so everything falls apart, but then you help each other, you pull each other up, and then everything’s good and you’re happy and the sun is coming up. Then it’s on to Part 2!
DIABOLIQUE: Well, you mentioned before about how zombies and vampires don’t scare you as much as supernatural stuff, which is interesting because of how zombies are back in the spotlight with The Walking Dead and vampires with True Blood. Is there any kind of old school horror subgenre you’d like to see come back into the fold?
KELLY: Well, I never really liked zombies, ever. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. I just didn’t get it; it was stupid and it didn’t make sense. I wasn’t into them until this year when I finally watched The Walking Dead for the first time, and that got me. I think you need three seasons of zombies to make it realistic. I didn’t see World War Z, again because I can’t go by myself, but that looked a little better. I liked the zombies in the Will Smith movie I Am Legend, because they were fast, but the slow zombies thing never got me. Night of the Living Dead never scared me. I don’t know why, but now they do. Zombies really fuck me up now because of The Walking Dead. I’m glad that that show is coming back.
You know what I watched yesterday that was actually pretty good? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It sucks that people aren’t going to watch it because of the name, but it was actually pretty good. The way they incorporated slavery almost made you want to go check history books. “Did he really kill vampires?!” And the thing with his son was pretty fucking cool. I love how they incorporated real, historical facts into a vampire movie about Abraham Lincoln. They pulled it off! They really pulled it off.
DIABOLIQUE: Yeah, I think Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a blast. It’s really ridiculous and is trying to be an action/horror hybrid, but at the same time, it’s a project that because they’re going that far out into the water, they don’t care how audacious they get or who they piss off. They just say, “Abraham Lincoln had a slave best friend, and they fought vampires, who are also responsible for slavery.”
KELLY: [laughs] You’re right dude, but it totally works! It’s just a crazy ride of horror as opposed to really scary movies, like Insidious. I think horror has gone too far to go back, in the sense that I’m older and vampire movies might not work with me now. I’d love to see them pull off a vampire movie again. The one that did work for me was 30 Days of Night because they figured out a way to make it real. That actual event where they have a month of darkness actually happens in Alaska. They made it real for me, so it made me want to go to Google and see if people have died in Alaska. That did it for me.
I don’t know how they’re going to bring back werewolves in the age of CGI. I can’t buy CGI. It doesn’t get me in the way it used to get me. When they actually get into a suit, to me, that’s the shit. I don’t care if some guy is hyperventilating because he’s been in a suit for 12 hours. That’s when horror movies were great. Remember An American Werewolf in London? It probably took days to shoot that hand growing to just see it grow. Now they do it in three seconds.
DIABOLIQUE: Absolutely. Movies like The Howling and An American Werewolf in London are endearing because you see the actor, and you know he went under 3 hours of make-up for a single shot. That level of effort and commitment shows there against someone behind a computer making it look like you are a werewolf.
KELLY: I’d love to see those movies come back. You know who I’d love to see come back? The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Especially with all this redneck shit and Swamp People stuff. Someone should make a Sasquatch movie where it’s not the Sasquatch we know, where it’s some fuzzy guy in a suit. It should be something really fucked up, or something that could possibly be alive out there that’s taking people out. I’d love to see something like that. I also liked the one with the vines, The Ruins.
DIABOLIQUE: It’s funny that you mention Sasquatch because next year, there are two Sasquatch movies coming out. They’re both found footage, and one is called Exists, and that’s from Eduardo Sanchez, who directed The Blair Witch Project. The other is called Willow Creek, and that’s the first serious horror movie from Bobcat Goldthwait. Supposedly, they’re both great.
KELLY: Bobcat is a great director, too.
DIABOLIQUE: Do you have any future projects coming out in the near future or in development?
KELLY: I’m shooting my hour special in November in New York, so look out for details on that. When tickets are available, you should grab those because we’re doing it at a cool, small venue over by the Comedy Cellar, I believe. So, that’s happening and I’m excited about it because it’s going to be my first hour special. I’ve got some great shows this November at the New York Comedy Festival at the Village Underground, and we’re doing my podcast live there and we’re doing a Riotcast show right after that. It’s two shows happening on November 6th for the New York Comedy Festival. Also, check out my podcast, You Know What Dude? which drops every week on iTunes, Riotcast and my You Know What Dude? app.
For more from Robert Kelly, you can visit his official website and you can follow him on Twitter: @robertkelly. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Robert Kelly’s You Know What Dude?, on iTunes and on Riotcast.com, and you can also hear more of Robert in his appearances on The Opie and Anthony Show and on FX’s Louie and CBS’s NYC 22, which are both available on Netflix Instant Streaming. Furthermore, you can pick up Robert’s book, Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity, (co-written by Joe DeRosa and Bill Burr) on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retail outlets. As previously mentioned, Robert Kelly will be appearing at the New York Comedy Festival which runs from November 6th – 10th.
Remember, you can learn more about the evolution of horror comedy in Issue #17 of Diabolique, now available at the App Store, Google Play, Barnes and Noble and wherever horror magazines are sold! Next Monday, we’ll be speaking to sing/songwriter and humorist Jonathan Coulton exclusively here on Talking Terror!
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– By Ken W. Hanley