Slasher Crasher is the debut novel of David Nora. It is a modern day horror comedy that pays homage to the splatter movies of the 70/80’s with a “Mean Girls” sensibility. It is the story of a group of teens navigating typical high school drama with the looming threat a serial killer thrown into the mix.
The humor comes from the biting dialogue between the three main characters, a former trio of best friends: Betsy Coleman, Kathleen Strike and David Ecklund. While Kathleen and David remain best friends, Betsy becomes estranged from the group when she begins dating a boy that Kathleen liked. The drama and hilarity takes off from there as the teens attempt to work through their differences.
These characters could easily have become ‘one-note’ but I am happy to say this is not the case. David has crafted a story where the final girl trope is thrown on its head in a way I have never seen done before. Some of the characters become more fully themselves as the story progresses, while others change completely. It at once captures the awkwardness and insecurity of high school with a sympathetic and loving wink at both the main characters and the reader. Plus its funny!
This is the backdrop into which Nick Roesch, an escaped mental patient, enters. The character of Nick is an obvious nod to Michael Myers but sort of reminds me of Frank Zito as portrayed by Joe Spinell in the original MANIAC. With Michael Myers of course comes a Dr Loomis character and in this story he is Dr. Bonesteel who is absolutely over the top and just as hysterical as Loomis was in the Halloween series; more-so actually.
In anticipation of the August 22nd release of his book, I sat down with David and asked him a few questions- horror nerd to horror nerd.
John H: Hi David! Thanks for sitting down to chat with us about your book. It was such a fun read filled with nods to so many of my favorite horror movies and icons. Fans of the genre will have a great time spotting the ‘Easter eggs’, so to speak. What are some of your favorite horror films, villains and final girls?
David Nora (DN): My favorite sub-genre of horror is definitely slasher. Ever since I was seven years old I’ve been gobbling them up, and I still find ones that I haven’t seen! My ultimate favorite is Scream 2. Sarah Michelle Gellar as Cici Cooper is everything! I used to–hell, I still do–pretend to be her and answer imaginary phone calls with an ‘Omega Beta Zeta.’ I also love ’80s slashers such as My Bloody Valentine and Terror Train. Of course Jamie Lee Curtis is the quintessential final girl… ‘I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy’! Forty years later and she’s still kicking serial killer ass. That’s a survivor!
As for villains, I’m partial to Ghostface from Scream. Not only does he have a killer wit but also the sexiest voice ever in horror history. Ghostface’s sultry threats turned me gay!
HAHAHA Literally, the perfect response! Scream as a franchise is top of the heap to me and my all-time favorite movie is Halloween (1978). Sidney Prescott and Laurie Strode are the definitive final girls. I can definitely see their influence on Betsy and David; Kathleen not so much though! I assume these characters are based on people you know in real life?
Yes! In fact, the book was inspired by my former high school friends and our dramatic falling out. There were three of us: Kathleen, Betsy, and I. We were total opposites… Kathleen was the badass; Betsy was the Goody Two Shoes; and I was the closeted artsy kid; but somehow we became best friends. We were The Three Amigos until Betsy’s 17th birthday party. Kathleen, for whatever reason, decided to bring a bottle of Jack Daniels to the party. Betsy’s parents found out and they called our school. The school suspended Kathleen and so she was pissed at Betsy. Why did Betsy’s parents have to call the school? Couldn’t they just have called her parents?
This led to a major falling out. We were never friends again. Fifteen years later I thought to myself, ‘Why keep telling my therapist this? It could be a good story!’ So I threw in an escaped mental patient, a couple of dead teens, and some tater tot jokes and Slasher Crasher was born.
Makes sense to me! HAHA So, how similar is David Ecklund to David Nora?
David Ecklund is completely me! I was a part of the high school drama that ensued in real life so I felt it was natural to make me a character. However, when I write, I usually have an idea for the beginning and end–and then I change those about ten thousand times. I knew I was going to include “myself” in the serial killer craziness as the gay best friend but I didn’t know how much of a role I’d play. At the same time, I was nervous. Since horror tends to make queer people the villain, I felt like it was my civic duty to create a powerful role for David Ecklund. Thankfully, this role came organically; David isn’t the confused transsexual killer, like Psycho or Dressed to Kill, or the gay guy with one funny line who gets murdered in the second scene. He’s a well-rounded character with flaws and quirks and a significant gay transformation.
Yes, he certainly is and yes there certainly is a ways to go before queer representation in horror is where it needs to be. You are helping to push that narrative forward with David’s story. That being said- who is your target audience and what do you want them to take away from Slasher Crasher?
Gay. Straight. Young. Old. Anyone who loves horror, especially a good, ol’ slasher, or something kooky that’ll tickle their hamstring bones… Wait, do hamstrings have bones?! The book is a mix of Mean Girls and Halloween. Probably 70% Mean Girls, 30% Halloween, and 2% Butter Scotch Ripple, so I feel like it’s a fun, little escape. And who doesn’t need an escape from the noise of our Motorola Razrs and 8-track players?
I want the readers to have a good time, laugh their asses off, and finish the book wanting more. I’m an entertainer. I love making people laugh. If I don’t make the reader pee a little, I feel like I failed as an entertainer/writer.
Hahaha! Fair enough! Tell our readers where they can get their hands on a copy of the book?
The book will be available through Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Balckrosewriting.com. Currently I’m working on planning signing events. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend a few conventions—horror and LGBTQIA-related–throughout the upcoming year. In the meantime, as a special treat, if you purchase the book and send the confirmation to my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) you will receive a choice of a free set of character drawings or my PG-13/R horror-inspired photo shoot.