In all seriousness, though, Renee is one of my favorite new people I've met since starting this writing career. I first appeared on her (sadly) defunct podcast, "Books and Booze," the purpose of which was (I'm not shitting you) to get drunk and talk about books. Since then she's become my go-to person (after my sister) for confusing questions about feminist theory. And she also let me slaughter her entire family in my forthcoming novel.
So I'm very pleased to introduce to you all the one, the only, Renee Asher Pickup.
About Renee Asher Pickup:
Renee Asher Pickup is a mellowed out punk rocker living in Southern California. She is senior editor at Dirge Magazine, class facilitator at LitReactor, and is one of the hosts of the Unprintable Podcast. Renee writes fiction about bad things happening to flawed people and stands by the statement that "From Dusk Till Dawn" changed her life.
You can find her on the "Dirge" website, her own website, and Twitter (where she often livetweets horror movies/horrible movies/action movies):
SK: What are your horror bona fides?
RAP: No one told me there was going to be a test! I write and edit for "Dirge Magazine," which has a bit of a reputation as a horror magazine, though we focus on a lot of other stuff, people seem to really enjoy our commentary on the horror culture and the dark things that often go hand in hand with it. Also, I'm a life long horror fan and know so much about "The Exorcist" it makes people uncomfortable.
SK: Who or what terrifies you?
RAP: Cockroaches and ventriloquist dummies, mostly. On a more serious note (though my phobias of roaches and dummies are super serious), people scare me. It's incredible to me that humans are capable of so much good, and so much despicable evil. I think that's why I find horror that focuses on the human reaction more captivating than the average monster movie (though B Movies will always have a place in my heart).
SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?
RAP: I think I have been very lucky in building a network full of really amazing people. I don't find that I hit a lot of gender-based bullshit, but I can't dismiss it as a real problem because unfortunately a lot of women I know personally do face it. Mostly I only encounter the run-of-the-mill awfulness that any woman with a social media presence has to face. I did recently discover that responding to unwanted advances via social media with photos of Danny Trejo was a great way to deal.
SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?
RAP: Vampira! The Bride of Frankenstein! I love the women who stuck it out and made it worthwhile to watch horror when everyone was still so terrified of pussy that a smoking hot woman like Vampira could be the villain just for being smoking hot.
Also, Mercedes McCambridge, the woman behind the voice of Pazuzu, in "The Exorcist," one of my all-time favorite horror films. The work that woman put into embracing and projecting pure evil is awe-inspiring. They really don't make movies like "The Exorcist" anymore, and that may very well be because they don't make actresses like Mercedes anymore.
SK: What are you working on currently? Why should folks check it out?
RAP: I just finished another true crime piece for "Dirge Magazine" which should be up around Valentine's Day. As I mentioned above, people scare the shit out of me - and it's most often people's responses to the scary stuff that's the most frightening. If you want to get an up close and uncomfortable look at how sex influences the way we view a human's right to live or die - check out my piece on Jodi Arias. Or, if serial killers are more your thing, and you haven't checked it out yet, my piece on Ted Bundy is a favorite.
"Dirge Magazine" is the premier dark culture magazine, covering counterculture arts and entertainment, lifestyle, and editorials.
Sifting through generalized sites for things that fit your dark aesthetic can be tedious, and an abundance of redundant horror sites has created an explosive amount of coverage on a surprisingly narrow range of interests. While we appreciate what they do, we seek to expand beyond horror, into the strange, the subversive, and the beautifully grotesque.
We want "Dirge" to be a place you can come to see things you haven’t seen before, or a fresh take on the dark side of something familiar. A place where news isn’t robo-barfed at you, but rather experiences are shared in a meaningful way.
We reject the ideas of clickbait and garbage journalism. We keep it smart, sexy, and darkly funny.