With his upcoming book, Confessions of the Impaler, getting a lot of buzz lately, I thought I’d take a couple minutes to pick the brain of the author, Vincenzo Bilof.
HorrorNews: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a little about Vincenzo Bilof. What should we know?
Vincenzo Bilof: The Tale of Vincenzo begins in the in the colorful world of Michigan, a planet that’s not too far away, but you still need a spaceship that can fold space and time to get there. Vincenzo is interested in the human psyche and the psychology of fear, and he always felt that horror was a genre that still had untapped potential. He began to write in the horror genre because he envisioned a Dystopian novel called The City Wore a Sullen Face, a book that includes zombies, but zombie literature is far too popular for this book. Instead, Vincenzo attempted to imagine zombies as horrifying monstrosities that could provoke fear, and he wanted to explore post-apocalyptic morality. Well, it turns out that most people just want zombies to get their heads blown off by beefy dudes who can wield swords, so Vincenzo discovered the bizarro genre, and realized there’s a place in the literary world for him.
HN: You’ve got books about zombies, werewolves, bizarro serial killers, and now Vlad the Impaler. Where do your tastes lie as far as the world of horror? What are some of your influences, both movie-wise and book-wise?
VB: I’ll answer this question in first-person, because Vincenzo needs someone to represent him. I’m not a fan of horror fiction. Most of the books are written at a very low-level, and utilize a variety of tropes that aren’t interesting. Characters with psychic powers are just… boring, to me. I’m a huge fan of Roberto Bolano and Cormac McCarthy, who both wrote novels that are scarier than most horror novels.
But I enjoy horror films, particularly B-movie grade and Grindhouse-style. I love foreign horror films, but most contemporary American horror films don’t impress me, though I will say there have been some gems in the last couple years. I love horror fiction that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I like trashy horror.
HN: You’re also an editor over at Bizarro Pulp Press, where you no doubt get to see a bunch of great stories coming through on a regular basis. Any favorites that stand out? How did that come about?
VB: I’ve been friends with Pat Douglas for a while, and he wanted to run a little press for the fun of it. We had a couple people editing, and I was just around to help out a bit. I didn’t know too much about bizarro… it seemed silly to me, at first. I had no idea it was literary, experimental….
I happened to be editing All Art is Junk by R.A. Harris. I fell in love with the book, and it opened my eyes. I felt like I’d been missing out, and there was a place for me in the writing world after all. FREEDOM. Reading his book was liberating, to say the least. Since then, I’ve become addicted to bizarro literature, and I’ve explored a variety of authors and variations of the bizarro. It’s a genre that doesn’t have any conventions, any expectations…
I decided I wanted to work more closely with Pat; as an educator, it’s great to hear a student say, “Now I love to read” after you recommend a book to them. I had that feeling after reading All Art is Junk. My goal is to help grow the genre as a whole. Bizarro Pulp Press isn’t competing with anyone, because without a publisher like Eraserhead Press, we wouldn’t be doing this.
HN: The new book, Confessions of the Impaler, looks like it suggests a new take on the Dracula legend. Anything you’d like to say about the new book? It’s coming out through Dynatox Ministries, how did you get hooked up with them?
VB: I discovered Jordan Krall, the gentleman who operated Dynatox Ministries, by researching authors who’ve become pioneers in the bizarro genre. Learning about Dynatox was almost as profound a revelation as my initial discovery in the excellence of bizarro fiction; Dynatox is a press that seems to exist for the sake of dark, literary art. Entire sub-genres of horror are explored, and there’s plenty of experimental work.
I thought it would be a mighty achievement if I could be considered an author worthy of this press, because it would mean I’ve written something meaningful. I pitched an idea to Jordan because he was interested in starting a Hardcore Horror imprint, which became Christbait Rehab.
So now we have Confessions of the Impaler, and it’s not a vampire book. Most of the book is based on research; this is an experimental, gory book that takes place within Vlad’s mind. The book jumps around between memories as he recounts atrocities while speaking to a monk from the Vatican. The vast majority of the book isn’t really fiction, but the method of storytelling and some of the elements that I created make it a fictional story. I wanted to challenge myself; who was the most hardcore person to have lived? I thought it would be interesting to delve into Vlad’s mind and explore the psychology behind his actions. Suffice to say, the book is not for everyone. The gore is extreme, and most of the events described really happened. The book will be available in December, and a very limited amount of copies are available; after that, it will be out of print.
Confessions of the Impaler
Publisher: Christbait Rehab (Dynatox Ministries)
Release Date: December 2013
Limited Quantities Available. When the book is sold out, it will be out of print.
Inside the mind of the real Dracula…
Lies about Vlad Dracul III have been spread throughout Europe by his enemies, but his love for Wallachia, his home and kingdom, remains strong. A monk has been sent by the Vatican to investigate these rumors in a Hungarian prison, where the man called Tepes, or Impaler, sleeps. Surrounded by the impaled corpses of insects and animals in his cell, the real Dracula is a devoted servant of God whose atrocities have been committed in the name of justice. In Wallachia, there shall be no poverty, no thievery, no lies… Only the blood of the guilty, and the rotting corpses of the Infidels. No depravity is unworthy of God when it comes to preserving the dream of a free Wallachia.
The Impaler’s confessions. An exploration of a genocidal mind.