The Cemetery Dance Interview: Stephen Graham Jones

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When we opened the first pages of Stephen Graham Jones’ My Heart Is a Chainsaw back in 2021, we fell in love with Jade Daniels, Graham’s perfect vision of teenage imperfection. She was scrappy and self-deprecating yet willfully too smart for her own good; her encyclopedic brain for horror trivia featured an artist’s instinct to hyper-relate the genre to the world at large. But growing up in a small doomtown like Proofrock, Idaho, is not a large world. Rather, it’s a suffocating microcosm of our crumbling society where the walls are closing in, largely to the fault of her own imagination and the occult boundaries her mind crosses to materialize various personifications of said doom.

Stephen Graham Jones
(Photo by Gary Isaacs)

Then through 2022’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, we grew up with Jade, only to realize the more things change, the more they stay the same, even while the body count of Proofrock’s finite population rose with the tide of that cursed lake. All the while there’s a serial killer named Dark Mill South who seemed only a red herring, where even after his capture, he kept escaping; all the while paling in comparison to something untouchable under the surface of everything.

And when we commit to surviving something like Graham’s brilliant trilogy, even in the beginning, you’re already dreading the ending. And because of the inherent gravity of heartbreak, we knew there would have to be a finale for the finest final girl, Jade Daniels. In The Angel of Indian Lake, the third and last installment of the Indian Lake Trilogy, Graham successfully ties up every loose end, like serpents slithering down our neck, shedding from multiple real time eternities from the condensed Savage History of Proofrock. 

And now it’s all history, just like that?

I had to ask the man.Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Elle Nash

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photo of author Elle Nash
Elle Nash

Elle Nash’s Deliver Me (Unnamed Press, 2023) burrowed into my psyche deeper than any other book in 2023. The novel’s neglected yet unforgettable main character, Dee Dee, whispers to us, using her perpetual inside voice, offering accumulative clues to the relationship between her environment and her biological delusions; a hushed effect of descent that eventually lands on what is truly growing in her depths. Sometimes the desire is greater than the acquisition; it can block the illumination of what lengths we are going to get it.  

Initially inspired by a bizarre true-crime event, Nash transmutes a headline with nothing left to the imagination into a delicate tapestry of inner hallucination, igniting a divine poetry from ignorance — all of it privileged information from a narrator so unreliable, it hurts. But one must always keep pushing. 

Nash is also the author of Gag Reflex (Clash Books), Nudes (LF/SD), Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books), and is the editor-in-chief of Witchcraft magazine. 

I caught up with Nash in early January to discuss Deliver Me, the miracle and terror of childbirth, the constitution of bloodshed between genders, and the desensitization of horror inside our American nightmare. Continue Reading

Review: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

cover of Don't Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham JonesDon’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
Gallery/Saga Press (February 2023)
464 pages; $23.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Gabriel Hart

The slasher flick genre, and perhaps horror literature in general, isn’t likely to be the same after Stephen Graham Jones concludes his Indian Lake Trilogy; the way he’s blown it apart and reassembled it, using its well-worn tropes as trap doors to cavernous and kaleidoscopic subplots, rubbing its masked face in its own fake blood without disrespecting its vital primitive idiocy we’re unabashedly attracted to. In fact, Jones has intellectualized a genre many attempt to dismiss as trash, begging the question why so many of us intelligent, inquisitive people can’t stay away from it? The answer is simple: we cannot survive unless we go through something.Continue Reading