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Greg Lamberson: Filmmaker, Novelist, Horrormonger

Get to know a Buffalonian...

Greg Lamberson must be on of the area’s most prolific artists: He has a new novel out, The Frenzy Way, which he’s signing at Talking Leaves on June 30; his film Slime City Massacre (shot in Buffalo) is touring the festival circuit; the second novel in his Jake Helman series is out in October, with the third in the can and a fourth underway. He’s a fixture in the horror community and ahas won numeorus awards for his work. We asked him to tell us about the world of slashers and werewolves that is his milieu.

Tell us about the new novel. What’s it about?

The Frenzy Way is about cops battling a werewolf on the streets of New York City. It’s a gritty police procedural with a lot of action and a connection to Western New York.

What is this secret society of werewolves?

I wanted to create an entirely original mythology for my werewolves. I won’t tell you exactly what they are, but they secretly live among us in large numbers, and they’re peaceful. The killer is a rogue whose deeds threaten to expose them and start a war between our two species. In essence, the monster is a terrorist.

Horror is a weird genre in that it walks (or often blurs) the line between the camp and the truly frightening or disturbing. Where’s your inclination lie?

Camp is much more evident in my film work, partly because I work with such low budgets. I directed Slime City Massacre in the ruins around the Central Terminal last summer, and some of the concepts are so bizarre they’re impossible not to laugh at. But I’m deadly serious in my novels, which is really the only way to frighten readers, who need to buy into the characters and situations in a way that filmgoers looking for something different don’t.

What scares you? Are you capable of scaring yourself?

Republicans scare me. Sharks scare me. Being broke scares me. I don’t get scared when I’m writing, but I do get very excited when story points develop that I hadn’t planned on—I believe that when I want to know what happens next, the reader will too.

Do you prefer filmmaking to writing, or vice versa? Comic books?

They’re very different experiences: writing fiction is a solitary experience and making films entails working with as many as 100 people, facing insane deadlines and solving crises every day. I hope to continue doing both.

The community for the work you do is definitely passionate and critical…is it also large? Is there a sense of knowing everyone you’re writing for?

There’s definitely a large readership for horror, but the challenge is siphoning some of them away from Stephen King. I work hard at creating characters and surprises that mainstream readers will react to whether they like the genre or not, and I tend to combine my horror with crime and thriller elements to make it more accessible, but I write what I want to read.

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