Eric S. Brown: bringing up BigfootLocal author novelizes famed horror flick
There are so many ways to divide up us humans, from cat people and dog people, to country music lovers and loathers. But as local author Eric S. Brown knows, one of the most definitive divisions is between those who love horror — and everyone else.
Horror fans are a specific breed. Loyal and devoted, they have their own world of books, movies and comics, which often exists a few steps outside the mainstream.
That’s how Brown, who has been writing horror for 11 years, can be one of the best-reviewed authors in Haywood County — and the country, actually — and you may never have read any of his books. If you have, then you’ve probably read many, and chances are you also know he has finished a soon-to-be-released novelization of the Bigfoot-themed B-movie “Boggy Creek: The Legend is True.” That film is the remake of “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” a 1972 cult mega hit.
If you don’t know any of this or why it matters, then count yourself among the uninitiated. Don’t worry, as there are many of you — at least for now.
As Brown said by phone the other day, “Horror people are very seldom famous.”
As true as that may be, his star has been rising for years. Though his new novelization is based on a straight-to-DVD, low-budget horror flick, the movie has quite a cult following and has been selling like gangbusters. While there’s no telling how the folks of the horror fandom will receive Brown’s treatment of it, he does currently have the highest user-rated book on Amazon, both in the U.S. and the U.K. There’s even strong interest from Hollywood to turn that book, “Bigfoot War,” into a movie.
That novel, his biggest hit yet, has opened up all kinds of doors — and even directly led to this most recent development in his career. “Boggy Creek” director Bryan T. Janes asked for Brown specifically to whip his movie into a novel.
“It’s kind of cool that Hollywood sought me out because I’m the ‘Bigfoot guy’ to write their book,” Brown said, clearly loving his new title.
As he was penning the novel, he didn’t let this flattery get in the way of him taking risks, however. While retaining almost all of the film’s dialogue, he added an entirely new subplot and character to inject some extra drama. This “redneck with a lot of guns,” as Brown calls him, is accompanied by more gore and general craziness than in the film. While the movie has a few artsy and subtle elements, Brown has gone the other direction entirely.
“My book is kind of more like a horror-action thing, really in your face,” he said.
That has always been his goal, even more so than many other authors in the genre. Brown doesn’t actually consider himself part of “mainstream horror,” he said, but instead belongs to a fringier subset of writers and fans. He’s not into the typical clichés, preferring something a little less predictable and a little more out there. He’s confident his niche audience feels he same way.
“The people who don’t want your standard werewolves and your standard zombies, they need my stuff,” he said, “because my stuff is different.”
It’s gutsier (literally and figuratively), with more action and plot twists, and less trendy elements sprinkled throughout. Though he started his career with zombies, which have recently become the ghoul du jour, he wrote about them because he loves them, not because they’re considered cool. He feels the same way about Bigfoot, another monster that is actually starting to become hip again — perhaps with Brown’s help.
Since “Bigfoot War” debuted in 2009, a slew of similar titles have been released. Some people have even accused Brown of being a “trendsetter,” he said.
Of course he’s tickled by all this, but he doesn’t sound wrapped up in it. He knows, no matter what, his genre and content are always going to keep him a bit off the beaten path. He seems to kind of like it, as do his readers.
Being a horror writer is “crazy-rewarding and the fans are awesome,” he said.
So, horror might be an island of misfit toys, but it’s his island. And he feels right at home.