By Jordan Gerdes
I first found out about Cocktail Party Massacre through horror twitter, and people naming some good podcasts to check out. What I found was a hilarious and genius idea for a horror game show. Brock does such an awesome job with it that I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you! So here we go.
FoF: Who are you?
My name is Brock, and I was born on Halloween in 1978. Ever since, I’ve been a horror nut. I’ve written horror stories, made horror-focused art and, most recently, started a horror podcast.
FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
I’m the creator, producer and co-host of Cocktail Party Massacre, which – to my knowledge – is the only horror movie game show podcast. My co-host Pickens and I invite guests to our weekly cocktail party to talk about their favorite horror movies. As the podcast title suggests, we even craft a cocktail inspired by the movie. Things turn into a massacre, however, when the party is crashed by a diabolical slasher who challenges our contestants to three rounds of trivia based on the movie we’ve been discussing. If the contestants beat our slasher in three brutal rounds of trivia, they win a prize and, more importantly, earn the coveted title of FINAL GIRL. If they lose, though, they end up rotting in our graveyard.
Why do I like the podcast? I’m a person who prides himself on his creativity, and I really wanted to bring something different to horror podcast fans. There are plenty of podcasts that do an incredible job analyzing horror, and there are others that knock it out of the park when it comes to speaking comically about horror movie plots. I thought there was space for something else – something that would allow for a little more interactivity. Ideally, Cocktail Party Massacre fans are listening in their cars, their offices or at the gym, and they’re screaming answers to some of the questions I’m asking. Really getting into it and engaging with the show in a way they don’t necessarily engage with other podcasts. Or – better yet – they’re signing up to be a future contestant so that they get involved in a really fun game show experience.
FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
Guest go to our website to sign up (www.cockailpartymassacre.com/contact). I send them a questionnaire, and they respond. In that response, among other things, they select the movie of their choice. We really encourage them to select a horror movies that speaks to them and has shaped them in some way. Ideally, it’s a movie that they can remember seeing for the first time…a movie around which they have some sort of narrative they can share with our audience. Then, I go to work researching the movie and watching the movie — really mining the movie for bizarre trivia. When the guest arrives, we have cocktails and talk about the movie in general…before we dive into the game show, which starts with a pre-game round called the 60 Second Synopsis. This pre-game round TERRIFIES our contestants. It’s a little nerve-racking, but it’s a blast. Contestants have only a minute to get through as much of the plot with as much detail as possible. The better a synopsis they give, the farther way they’ll run from our slasher in what ultimately becomes a cat ‘n’ mouse game of who can outwit the other. Once the game is complete, we either award a prize…or ‘kill’ our contestant with a chainsaw. Winners go on our leader board. Losers go in our graveyard. Both the leader board AND the graveyard can be found on our site.
FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
Well, like I said: I was born on Halloween in 1978 – the same year that John Carpenter’s original Halloween debuted. I always thought that was kind of cool, and maybe – in an esoteric way – it tempered my life in such a way that I had no choice but to be a horror freak. I’ve always been drawn to the macabre. When I wrote stories, more often than not, the were horror stories or thrillers. When I draw, I draw monsters. I’ve always been drawn to the bizarre, and – other than my birthday – I can’t explain why. Although one memory stands out to me: I remember when I was really young and I watchedFrankenstein for the first time. There’s that moment where the monster slowly turns around, and it gave me a legitimate fright. But as the movie progressed, I really sympathized with the monster. The pathos is real with that one. He’s a victim of his creator, and – as a queer person – I used to feel as though I was a victim of my creator, too. The cards were stacked against us both. Our biologies weren’t broadly accepted. Maybe that’s part of it, too. But I just love monsters. Anything weird. What I don’t support, though, is the notion that we should sympathize with slashers. Although the Slasher sub-genre is my favorite, I’m always rooting for the strong female leads — not the slashers. To me, the slashers represent toxic masculinity. I love to see strong women pulverize slashers – and all that they represent.
FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)
This is so hard to answer because I have so many favorites. My favorite horror movie is Night of the Living Dead. Perhaps it’s a cliché answer, but no matter. It’s how I feel. This film truly elevated the horror genre and it was a landmark achievement for the civil rights movement…because Ben – played by Duane Jones – not only became one of cinema’s first black heroes, but he also became one of cinema’s most recognizable heroes – period. And what a tragic hero, at that. While simultaneously breaking color barriers, he becomes the victim of grotesque violence and a sort of profiling that was not too dissimilar from the experiences of black people in the Jim Crow south at that time (and still today, sadly).
My favorite horror novel is probably The Collector. Not to be confused with the slasher film of the same name, The Collector is a novel by the insanely brilliant John Fowles. It’s more akin to The Silence of the Lambs…and, in fact, I’d be surprised if Thomas Harris didn’t get loads of inspiration from Fowles’s novel when scribing Lambs.
In terms of horrific art, I obviously love Francisco Goya and – for a more whimsical, modern spin – Mark Ryden. Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention a local artist and favorite person of mine, Amy May Arcos who has fantastic horror-inspired art for sale – including Cocktail Party Massacre t-shirts.
These are just some of my favorites…but I could keep going until you fell asleep…or ultimately died.
FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
Well, just in general, I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people who’ve signed up to be contestants. I never thought there’d be such a great reception and that so many people would jump at the opportunity to win the title of Final Girl. Horror fans are amazing in general…and I feel our podcast fans represent the best of the best of those fans. Mothers. Fathers. Other podcasters. Scholars. Comicon coordinators. Psychologists. Artists. Musicians. Gay. Straight. Our fans span the gamut, and they’re so incredibly intelligent, passionate and dynamic individuals. They’ve been the greatest gift to me, and I’m sure our listeners feel the same way. It’s great getting to know them, and the friendships we forge on the show have continued with pretty much all of them. I love getting a glimpse into their lives…and some insight into their horror tastes and proclivities.
FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art/work plays in the community overall?
I think one of the things the podcast has highlighted is just how diverse the horror community is – and, more importantly, how strong that community actually is. Those on the outside of our generally inclusive and supportive community conjure all kinds of images in their heads when they think of horror fans. They probably think of goth kids who wear pentagram jewelry, and – yes – those kids exist and they’re more than welcome in our community and on my podcast for sure. But that’s reductive. The fact is, as mentioned earlier, you can cast a wide net and scoop up all kinds of horror fans. And you can also find people who don’t classify themselves as horror fans but are nonetheless compelled to come on the show to talk about at least one movie that terrified them, affected them, shaped them in some way. Horror has a real impact on people, fans or not. Our podcast welcomes these stories…and – via the game show – translates these stories in what I feel is an incredibly inventive and interactive way.
FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight?
I’m working tirelessly on making the podcast better. It definitely still has its challenges, and I’m so honored that listeners are still devoted despite those challenges…but that’s a real focus of mine right now…taking the podcast to the next level and making the game show even crazier..introducing new segments…new game features. Anything to keep it vibrant and fresh.
I’m also working on a horror picture book for kids and a YA novel that is a kind of horror / magical realism hybrid. I think getting kids excited about horror at a young age is so crucial to their development. After all, can you imagine a world without Roald Dahl? He never dumbed down some of life’s harshest lessons. His literature really respected kids’ intelligence. He made a huge impact on my childhood, and I’d love to have a similar influence on children. To inspire curiosity…and, let’s face it, a little precociousness….
FoF: Anything else you’d like to say/add?
I don’t know what else to say right now, except please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. If you have ideas on how we can improve,
don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out and follow Brock and Cocktail Party Massacre on all their social channels and check out an episode!
I want to thank Brock for taking the time to interview and for all he is doing in the community.
Stay spooky y’all,