New Kids On The Block 2018 with Derek Milman

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Hi friends! I’m super thrilled to welcome author Derek Milman to Pop! Goes The Reader as we celebrate the release of his debut novel, Scream All Night, which is officially available in a library and bookstore near you today! While Scream All Night is not strictly a horror novel but instead could best be classified as a dark comedy, because the story takes place against the backdrop of a B-horror movie studio, I thought it might be fun to pick Derek’s brain and ask him to share a few of his favourite horror films. After all, #31HorrorFilms31Days is right around the corner in a few months, and I’m always on the lookout for some recommendations that’ll scare my pants off!

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at [email protected]. I would love to collaborate with you!

About Derek Milman

Derek was born in New York City, and raised in Westchester County, NY. In grade school he wrote short stories about stuff like aliens and submarines and magical strawberries. He would frequently send story ideas to computer game companies, which would always result in an awkward phone call informing Derek that, at eight years old, he was too young to be put on their payroll. In high school, Derek published an underground humor magazine (sold in local stores) that caught the attention of the New York Times, who wrote a profile on him at the tender age of 14.

Derek studied English, Theater, and Creative Writing at Northwestern University. He started off as a playwright and screenwriter – his first play was produced in New York City right after he graduated college – and went on to receive an MFA in acting at the Yale School of Drama. As a classically trained thespian (Derek’s favorite word), Derek has performed on stages across the country, and appeared in numerous TV shows and films, working with two Academy Award winning film directors (who probably have no recollection of working with Derek).

Derek has taught at a film school in NYC, worked the front desk of a yoga studio, and had a very short stint as a DJ in a Lower East Side club (if you tipped him well enough, he would pretend to have that New Order B-side no one ever heard of). He began writing YA fiction a few years ago. Scream All Night is his debut novel. Night Flight, coming in 2019 from Little, Brown/Jimmy Patterson will be his second novel for young adults.

Derek currently lives in Brooklyn, where he writes fiction full time, wanders the waterfront staring at the Manhattan skyline, plays video games, and buys lime green hoodies made out of locally-sourced hemp.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Derek Milman’s Favourite Horror Films

1. The Shining
The way this movie continues to permeate popular culture fascinates me, and it does so in such an interesting and subversive way. I mean, they actually enter this movie in Ready Player One, which isn’t even in the book! It’s a deeply scary movie about a writer, insanity, and some very mean ghosts. The idea for the movie, and book – an alcoholic writer and his troubled family getting snowbound in in an intensely haunted empty hotel is already so terrifying. Maybe it’s one of the scariest “ideas” ever thought up. The performances are incredible, the music is incredible, and Kubrick is an absolute master at building tension and using the camera in innovative, acrobatic ways, to create terror. Some of the images never leave your mind. I see the influence of this movie everywhere, and constantly, from the immersive theater performance Sleep No More, to electronic music artist The Caretaker (name taken from the film, obvs) who samples pre-war parlour music.

2. Jaws
This film, about a Great White hunting swimmers in New England, is one of the few perfect films ever made. It changed people’s lives, and it changed culture. Despite becoming the very first “summer blockbuster” people literally stopped going to the beach. They were empty! People were afraid to go in their swimming pools. We’ve all taken a dip in the ocean, but this movie created a whole new psychology in terms of what’s coming up beneath us in the murky depths of the ocean. Jaws also has probably the most famous music score in the history of film, which adds to the film in tremendous ways. A tension-filled adventure, my favorite scene in the movie is when all the action stops for Robert Shaw to deliver his chilling monologue about the USS Indianapolis sinking, and sharks picking off the surviving sailors. “And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like doll’s eyes…”

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Cited as perhaps one of the most influential horror films of all time, its greatest achievement, with its sludgy low-budget feel, is really looking like something you shouldn’t be watching. Also, before I saw this movie, I’d never seen horrible things happening to people in broad daylight before. It’s about a group of friends that have an unfortunate meeting with a family of cannibals in the middle of nowhere. Leatherface paved the way for Jason, Michael Meyers, even the creature from Alien, and many of the rules and tropes that would come to define the slasher genre: unconventional weapons, large faceless, emotionless killers who are seemingly unstoppable. I see this movie reflected in so much of pop culture, and even video games as well, such as the recent Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. It’s an accidental masterpiece.

4. Night Of The Living Dead
“They’re coming to get you Barbara!” Oh this movie, another low-budget extravaganza, is so so good, and so effective, and pretty much gave the world zombies. There would be no zombie movies without this movie. It also had a black man playing the hero, which at the time (1968) was a subversive move. And all the white characters in the movie are either ineffectual or making terrible decisions. It’s Ben (Duane Jones) who is the most clear-headed and takes charge. When I saw the movie again recently, and linked it to its time period, I found this extremely moving and powerful; although the movie was never intended as any kind of racial statement. George Romero stated that Jones, who was an unknown theater actor, simply gave the best audition. He’s so good, too. People are trapped in a farm house while the dead rise from the dead. They crave human flesh, and come in droves, while the government, in a series of radio broadcasts, desperately try and find answers, but don’t really have anything more to offer than creepy, scrappy theories. The movie ratchets up the tension brilliantly, and is notable for its extreme gore (also subversive for the time period) which remains, to this day, deeply disturbing. It’s a scary movie – then and now.

5. The Birds
When I saw this movie as a kid I was most disturbed by the lack of answers or explanation. Over time, I’ve come to realize how explicitly terrifying that idea is. You never really know why people in Bodega Bay are getting attacked and killed by birds. Positively dystopian, this movie is so unbelievably watchable, you never even realize until later how scared you were. There’s one classic scene after another, one brilliantly staged set piece after another. The scenes of bird attacks, particularly at the end, where everyone is trapped in a house, and birds of different species begin penetrating the roof, will turn your blood cold. The movie escalates the terror perhaps better than any horror movie of all time.

Want to know more of my favorite films? Check out The Exorcist, The Fog, It Follows, The Changeling, The Omen, The Sentinel, Halloween, and Eyes Without A Face for some more scares!

Title Scream All Night
Author Derek Milman
Pages 400 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Dark Comedy
Publication Date July 24th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.

But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film — The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy — and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens — Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.

With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past — and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?

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