An Interview with Author Joe Knetter

By Jason Harris

Author Joe Knetter holding Vile Beauty.

Author Joe Knetter holding Vile Beauty.

Author Joe Knetter started writing ten years ago after being a lifelong horror fan. His start came when he was online and found a publisher who was looking for stories.

“I thought it would be fun to give it a shot, so I wrote four and sent them in.”

All four of his stories were accepted, he said. Since then, he has written many more stories with interesting titles. His favorite title is “For the Love of Orson Welles’ Fat Black Ejaculate,” which can be found in his collection, Vile Beauty.

“It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” Knetter said about the title. “I was stoned one night. I just randomly said that. I can’t remember what about.”

He ended up writing that story for a gross-out contest. After submitting it and people started reading it, the contest organizers changed the rules so that his story was excluded, Knetter said.

Vile Beauty is really nasty. It’s more for shock value and over-the-top stuff. The other stuff is a little more mellow. Zombie Bukkake is obviously pretty out there.”

There are times Knetter will come up with the title first, then work the story around it.

He has a new story, “Crack in the Sarcophagus,” appearing in Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification, which debuts this month at Anthocon.

“I think it’s going to be a fun book.”

He loves attending horror conventions, and attends quite a few. When he first started out, he would attend up to 14 a year. This year he has only been to three, including Rock & Shock.

“Being that there are so many shows across the country, it kind of gets oversaturated a little bit.”

At his first convention, his goal was to sell one book. At one of the many conventions he has attended since that first one, he met his girlfriend of four years, Sarah French.

“The goal is always to make money, but it’s just as important for me to network,” Knetter said about conventions. “The shows are fun. It’s great to meet people.”

He did have a fan come to a show once whom he later found out was disturbed. This fan later arrested for putting bombs in vibrators, which is what Knetter used in one of his stories, he said. The fan was caught before anyone got hurt. He would have felt bad if someone had gotten hurt, but realized that if the fan didn’t react to something he wrote, he would have reacted to someone else’s work.

“Lucky enough, he was stupid enough not to do it right. Thank god. Horror fans are good people generally. They’re not troublemakers.”

He did have another fan buy one of his books that was poorly edited early on in his career. This fan highlighted his mistakes in the book then brought it back and gave it to him, Knetter said. “That was pretty comical, actually.”

Inspiration strikes Knetter everywhere. He has used an old mental hospital his mother worked at as a setting in a few stories. He has also written about a haunted hotel his girlfriend lived in while growing up. His story, “Room 17,” describes what happened at that hotel.

“I had to change the name of the hotel by one letter. Legally, I’m good to go now.”

He has been inspired by the early work of Clive Barker and is a huge Stephen King fan. His work has been compared to Wrath James White and Edward Lee.

His advice to writers is to just write, but don’t expect to make money, because writers don’t make much.

“Write because you have to tell the story and hope that you get lucky enough that it finds someone who likes it. You have to keep writing.”

You can find out more about Knetter on his website, click here.

‘War of the Worlds’ Live on Stage

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HALLOWEEN


Infamous Radio Broadcast Recreated on October 31 at The Arlington Regent Theatre
Event benefits new documentary about the Orson Welles Cinema.

On October 30, 1938, The Orson Welles Mercury Theatre broadcast H.G. Wells’ classic tale of interplanetary battle with War of the Worlds and stunned the nation as many who heard it were convinced that a real invasion was taking place. It was one of the first times that the power of radio was on full display, and it resulted in new regulations about what and how news could be presented on the public airwaves. On October 31, 2013, the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA, will commemorate the 75th anniversary with a live theatre event recreating one of the most famous radio plays ever produced.

This new War of the Worlds theatre recreation will use classic Foley audio techniques (where sound effects are produced mechanically where possible) and will feature a cast of local media celebrities, including Christopher Lydon from WGBH; cultural reporter Joyce Kulhawik; RadioBDC on-air personality Henry Santoro; Cha-Chi LoPrette from 100.7 WZLX, and others to be announced. The production will be directed by Nerissa Williams with Foley direction by Austen Wright and Hal Wagner.

The live event will raise funds for The Orson Welles Complex, a new documentary produced and directed by Garen Daly about the legendary Cambridge art house. As one of the Cinema’s managers during its heyday, Daly is chronicling the unique story of the Welles with cinematographer Austin de Besche, noted for his work with John Sayles, among others.

“What more fitting tribute than to recreate War of the Worlds, the broadcast that launched Orson Welles’ career in the movies, as we embark on preserving the memory of the Orson Welles Cinema in a documentary film,” said Daly. “We thought it would be a lot of fun and a great way to commemorate the anniversary on Halloween night.”

For those living in the Cambridge area in the 1970s and 1980s, the Orson Welles Cinema figures prominently in their memories. Patrons enthusiastically relished the innovative programming that included midnight movies, revivals, and European films. Viewers discovered Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, and many others at the Welles. Tommy Lee Jones was the Cinema’s first manager, and Stephen King included the Welles in three of his stories. Through the years, the Cinema added a film school and a restaurant, and it spawned a generation of people dedicated to the arts who influenced the industry.

Daly’s documentary, The Orson Welles Complex, is scheduled to release in 2015. Follow news and updates at www.facebook.com/OrsonWellesCinema.

War of the Worlds live theatre event will take place Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA. Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door. Purchase at the Regent Theatre box office or online at www.BostonSci-Fi.com/WaroftheWorlds.

The Regent Theatre is located at 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA. (781) 646-4849 www.regentheatre.com