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

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

How I Spend My Halloween: Stephen Graham Jones

banner reading How I Spend My Halloween

If you know anything about Cemetery Dance, you know that the arrival of October…The Spooky Season…is a very special time of year for us. To celebrate, we’ve invited some of our favorite spinners of spooky tales to share their favorite Halloween traditions and memories with us.

Today we’re joined by Stephen Graham Jones, whose novel My Heart is a Chainsaw took the horror genre by storm last year and will, in true slasher tradition, be followed by at least two sequels.
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The Cemetery Dance Interview: Stephen Graham Jones’s Heart is a Chainsaw

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Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is to slashers what peanut butter is to jelly. Separately they are still awesome, but together they are perfection. With the popularity of the genre on the rise again due to movies such as Fear Street and the new Halloween Kills, and books from powerhouses such as Grady Hendrix, I got to sit down to chat with Stephen about his own latest release, My Heart is a Chainsaw.

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Review: My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

cover of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham JonesMy Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Saga Press (August 31st, 2021)
416 pages; $26.99 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

“Do you like scary movies?”- Scream (1996)

Sometimes movies take their inspiration from books and sometimes books are inspired by movies. In the case of My Heart is a Chainsaw, author Stephen Graham Jones lets his “horror movie fan” flag fly inside the soul of his teenage protagonist, Jade Daniels.Continue Reading

Review: Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

cover of Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham JonesNight of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
Tor (September 1, 2020)
136 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to kind of feel guilty about it all.

Stephen Graham Jones packs a lot of information about his new book Night of the Mannequins into that opening sentence. You get a hint of events to come, a clear idea of the tone, and an important clue about the attitude of the narrator, all in less than 40 words. That, my friends, is talent.Continue Reading

Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Gallery/Saga Press (July 14, 2020)
320 pages: $20.63 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I read an interview with Stephen Graham Jones where he said, I just figure I am Blackfeet, so every story I tell’s going to be Blackfeet.” (Uncanny Magazine/Julia Rios)

This one, simple statement is manifested in SGJ’s body of work; each book wildly different from the last, but distinctly identifiable as his own because they bear his fingerprints, unique storytelling voice and personal context.Continue Reading

Review: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Tor (2017)
112 pages; $7.07 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Mr. Jones doesn’t know it yet, but we have a lot in common. When writing, we both dig deep for the little boy inside that’s packed full of maybe too much emotion, then put him in a situation where maybe we could never survive ourselves; maybe we wouldn’t want to even try. Then dig deeper still for all that hurt and confusion from our own lives invested in this and that, take it and use it in stories that are meant to do much more than entertain, but to touch people, make them consider. Mapping the Interior does that perfectly.Continue Reading

Review: 'Mongrels' by Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels_cover-678x1024Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
William Morrow (May 2016)
320 pages; $19.39 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The werewolves of Mongrels roam the South like a pack of feral dogs, surviving on the very instincts and abilities that often work directly against them. They live in ratty trailers, work an endless parade of menial jobs, subsist on road kill and strawberry wine coolers. They sneak into town under assumed names and sneak out under the cover of night when things go bad. And they always go bad.Continue Reading

The Top Werewolf Films You (Probably) Haven’t Seen But Should: Stephen Graham Jones Talks ‘Mongrels’


Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on

Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

The Top Werewolf Films You (Probably) Haven’t Seen But Should: Stephen Graham Jones Talks ‘Mongrels’

Mongrels_cover-678x1024When I initially pitched the idea for this column to the editors at Cemetery Dance Online, it was a very, uh… loose pitch. The “hook” was me discussing horror movies and horror fiction, wherever they happen to intersect.

And while that loosey-goosey connective theme has probably turned off some readers (“now we’re just reading a list of books he likes? Get out of your own butt, guy!”), it’s meant that I basically get to write about whatever I want and have it get a bunch of eyes on it.

Amazingly those suckers visionaries at CD were cool with that. Also I keep coming up with jokey clickbait headlines, so that probably helps. There is a list of “Top Werewolf Films” somewhere in this interview, but you have to read to find it.

Having no set format means I get to have guests. Which is a long-winded way of saying that, this month: I wanted to talk to one of my favorite authors! And he said yes!Continue Reading