The “I” in Team



Suggested Audio Candy:


Jorge Quintero “300 Violin Orchestra”



The bastards have been lying to us all along. There is an “I” in team. Before you all go dusting off those dictionaries, I wish to let it be known that I have no intention of challenging one of the most well-worn set phrases in everyday life. Taken literally, I would be on something of a loser to suggest something quite as preposterous as a silent vowel that nobody picked up on before now. However, the whole term was coined as a pun in the first place and a cautionary one at that. Used to remind potential mutineers the importance of pulling together, it certainly has some relevance. That said, I’ve only gone and found myself a loophole and, naturally, I scurried straight back to my fallout shelter to inform my friends and countrymen. What a stand-up guy I am. Either that or about to be branded cuckoo and have my wings clipped. Whatever happens, I now know I have a team on hand to bail me out. Or if eleventh hour rescue fails, come and bounce about my padded cell with me.


So this is where the “I” comes in anyhoots. You see, I’m surrounded by brilliance. Everywhere I look I see potential, some of it polished to within an inch of its life and, even more encouragingly, some raw and very much work in progress. Both fascinate but the latter asks more of me as a team player and I feel like I can have a bearing on the transition. There are blogs I visit that consist only of a dash of musing, no images or audio, bells or whistles, just bare face prose delivered from the soul. These sparse little gems thrill me to the very core as they mark the beginning of something. To become a scribe, you must first locate your center, find a style that suits you, then remember that the rest is up to you and not let that feel like an added pressure. We writers place unnecessary expectation on ourselves and have a tendency to over think at times. That’s just the nature of the beast. But it’s also the beauty.


Ultimately we are the very best kind of quality control and every word that comes out should be what we would wish to read first and foremost. Should that mean immortalizing a concern or gripe, then so be it. Freedom to operate is under our sole jurisdiction as this particular channel is boundless. Others will always be on hand to impart their advice and that may not always be what we want to hear. However, this is where self-belief is critical, as every view is subjective and ultimately it is us who has the final say. I encourage feedback, regardless of whether or not it is positive, as it all provides perspective and can be taken or discarded accordingly. Once we reach the point where we are comfortable in ourselves, we become aware that it is all we ever need to control. There will always be critics, one-upmanship, jealousy, bitterness – it comes with the territory I’m afraid and isn’t exclusive to just this field either. But we hold the pens.


Given that my film appraisal archive is currently nearing 600-strong, it stands to reason that almost half of my allotted reading will be review based. However, this is not to keep a beady eye on the competition, I simply love to hear a fresh take on a film I have a great deal of fondness for. Whether positive or negative matters not as my own opinion is formed and not dependent on general consensus. But a great example would be a Dust-Off I read a few months back by a gentleman by the name of Scott Drebit who writes for Daily Dead News. Firstly I recommend you take a look-see as this site is going places and has the team to make shit happen. Secondly, Scott’s appraisal of Tony Maylam’s 1981 slasher The Burning truly knocked me sideways. He engages his audience instantly and that is an incalculable gift to possess but what really got the cogs turning was that he picked up on a discussion point that I had never really entertained in any great depth. Basically, he made the giallo influence in Maylam’s film clear and I was thrilled to have before considered his angle.


There are numerous other critics who bring me joy and I shall elaborate a little further on this occasion. This isn’t about preferential treatment, I don’t play like that, but can only have an opinion on something which is presented to me personally as I simply don’t have available the man hours to seek shit out. Recently I have been reading a lot by Frisco Kid, Bill Meeker and this guy is a very important voice in horror, and one which is already fully developed. The work of John Leavengood never fails to take me right back and he makes no qualms about where his true allegiance lays. Movies, Films & Flix is a two-man show and has been telling it like it is for years now. Speaking of double-acts, everyone’s favorite Demon Scribblers, Cult and Fiend, hit us on every kind of level imaginable and don’t draw the line at assessing movies either. This kind of approach mirrors my own and I have the utmost respect for their achievements.


Christopher Zisi boggles my mind as I have learned about more obscure films from this guy than any other on the circuit over the past couple of years and dig that he focuses solely on the positives. His analysis comes short and sweet, but he never fails to make a point free of prejudice or preconception. I also wish to point you in the direction of the Trash Film Guru or Ryan C. as he is also known. My experience with Ryan is limited but I have made it my business to check out his work and each time I come away massively impressed. Moreover, he’s been going for years, and there’s a treasure trove there for the sniffing out. There are numerous others and, to the likes of the excellent U.K. Horror Scene and others aside, please feel free to share your posts with me anytime whatsoever as I have nothing but respect for your endeavor and the only reason I’ll ever fail to pay that forward will be missing it on my feed. Simple as that. That’s how I roll and it’s not subject to change.


The Grueheads are teeming with talent and you only need to take one look at the work of Richard Bell to know just what we’re packing under the hood. We all have our own style and I can only aspire to writing in the exclusive manner that he does. It’s simply from another time and with more than simply flashes of brilliance. Meanwhile, both Gillian Gibson and Phoenix Fiery continue to grow with every single story or short poem they post. Gillian recently undertook a massive challenge in supplying us with what is essentially a full-blown novel and doing so chapter by chapter. Cassandra Chivara does likewise and I’m itching for her to start a WordPress page so more people can watch her petals unfurl as they are doing so exquisitely.


Lesley Burkhart Smith can light up a day with 100 heartfelt words and, one day, I hope she fully realizes what a precious gift for spreading joy she has. AnnThraxx has an insane aptitude for prose and, moreover, never ceases to surprise me with how that gushes from her font. Then there are the filmmakers, actors, musicians, radio hosts, tireless promoters, and that’s a whole different article right there for another day entirely. I could go on until the cow’s graze but the list would be endless and I’m not here to open any cans of worms and shun handfuls of wrigglers out of spite.


Instead, I shall take us back to the very reason I started this blathering in the first place. There is very much an “I” in team and I feel nothing short of blessed to have located it. What I am suggesting is that we all see ourselves in the same colors and make a collective noise that can take this industry by storm. I’m not interested in being top dog or throwing my weight around, that much should have been clear for some time now. I just like being a part of something truly monumental and, looking round at the wealth of talent in my direct cone of vision, I’d say we’re already pretty damn formidable. To whomever coined the phrase, and it would appear to have come about in the sixties, I’m not looking to piss on your fireworks. However, it will take more than spell check to convince me that I’m not onto something here and “I” have no problem whatsoever with taking one for this particular “team”.


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  1. Thank you for the kind words. Cult & I do our best to tickle everyone’s bloody horror bone. Happy to be part of the team.

    1. You are most welcome. The Demon Scribblers work tirelessly to keep the horror flowing and never provide anything less than compulsive reading. Happy to know you guys and proud to walk alongside you.

    1. Sounds like one helluva plan Bill. Together we could construct one mighty Optimus Prime of horror. I have nothing but respect for your work and you’re a great guy to boot so that’s two damn good reasons to fly your flag forevermore.

    2. Absolutely Bill. Together we are a force most potent and I have so much respect for the people listed here and others besides. You’re right in the thick of it, I love your style and will stand alongside you unflinchingly for as long as there is breath in my lungs. Truth. #GrueBrother

  2. Jonny and I are most grateful for the inclusion, my friend. Many talented souls bring passion to their work in great volumes, as you do, and we’re thrilled to enjoy what they do as well.

    WRITE ON and keep creating!

  3. Everyone in this list is more than deserving of this well worded tribute! I know the Grueheads immediately took me under their wing and have been extremely supportive of everything I have done ever since….I’ve always been so grateful to be a part of their inner circle!❤️

    1. I am both grateful and blessed that you are. Together we can really do something here, something fucking majestic. No egos, no bullshit, just a group of talented souls who can give horror a much needed shot in the arm. <3

      1. I couldn’t agree more….There’s no limit to what can be accomplished when you are surrounded by people whose talents compliment your own. 😉 Who knows what this group is capable of…the world of horror may never be the same again.😉😜

  4. Amazing guy you are Keeper and it reads with every kind word you share with all the ones you cherish. I am glad to know you and to be a part of the Grue Crew, much luv always 💋💋💋

    1. My dear and wonderful Christy, you just absolutely made my Monday at the very offset. I’ll let you into a little secret, I had a decidedly tough weekend and woke this morning feeling a little down. I try never to let this show and always remain positive but, as you know, life knows how to throw the odd curve ball. However, one message can make all the difference and my day is now incredibly sunny. It is I who is glad to know you and thrilled that you are a part of the Grue Crew.

      You never fail to make me smile and have a wonderfully wicked sense of humor much like my own. I cherish our friendship always. Massive love to you and thank you for the ray of light you just cast. 💋💋💋

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