Nominated for the 2023 Rondo Award
Mark Bailey - Giant Bug Cinema
BearManor Media Interview
1. Why the "Monster Kid" era of movies? With there being so many eras and so many genres of movies out to enjoy, why did you pick this particular time period and genre to focus on?
a. Within the last ten years, I discovered a vibrant online Monster Kid culture and found it matched my love of retro and ‘60s space-age graphics. Although I’m relatively new to embracing this Neo Monster Kid scene, it does bring me a lot of joy. And when I noticed the glut of classic monster insect movies, I decided to try producing a collaborative book of reviews. The Monster Kid era has been very good to me as of late in providing a bounty of content, which I hope comes through in our book.
2. What was your inspiration for such a niche project?
a. Like a lot of Monster Kids, I really love this stuff and found the number of movies devoted to a huge insect menace too good to pass up. So, I toyed with the idea of producing a book that would be both entertaining and informative with a ton of the retro space-age graphics that I really dig. Plus, a scene in Ed Wood (1994) where Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) complains about current horror movies having a lot of “bugs” must’ve stuck with me all these years and helped push me toward this project. Also, I produce an interactive map of giant monster movies that are set in New York City (nycgmam.com), so finding classic monster movies involving insects was fascinating and totally in my wheelhouse. I guess I really dig patterns and coincidences in genre movies. I must’ve found a topic that I could sink my teeth into.
3. What were the biggest surprises encountered while producing this book?
a. The number of established writers that gladly came on board without hesitation was astonishing. I guess they liked the concept and we seemed to click on the subject of classic monster insect movies. And despite the project being started in the summer of 2019, and inevitable setbacks, the time flew by from start to getting published with BearManor Media.
4. How did you get all the writers?
a. Not being able to produce all the reviews for this book on my own, I had to find the like-minded and enthusiastic help. I found myself being a bit of pitch man (with a touch of carnival barker/used car salesman) that would send out correspondence to gauge potential interest in such a project. To my shock, it paid off handsomely! Some of the writer/contributors I already knew from sci-fi, horror, and comic book conventions. Specifically, a few of them came from GFest (an annual Chicago area Godzilla/Gamera/Giant Monster Movie event). Otherwise, it was classic monster movie groups on social media, and friends of friends. Yes, a significant portion of the writers came from other participants recommending them.
5. What can you tell me about the writers?
a. They all did an amazing job writing about a very eccentric sub-genre in entertainment history. I was so pleased that each one could write something clever about these films. We have a very diverse writing pool including – but not limited to – educators, film historians, screenwriters, cosplayers, horror hosts, media personalities, actors, high school and college students, podcasters, YouTubers, retirees, filmmakers, event promoters, and very passionate genre movie fans. Keith J. Crocker, a skilled writer, filmmaker, and film historian, proved to be immeasurably supportive through a very critical stage of production. While Lisa Hodorovych and Steven Orkin not only handled their respective chapters, but also became the project’s invaluable co-editors and helped get this project finished. Andrew Rausch (The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood) and Steven Peros (screenwriter) were both such great additions to this collaboration. Spiritually, the book now belongs to the “Magic 28” – that’s what I call the twenty-eight collaborators that made this possible. I cannot thank them enough for all this support in completing this book.
6. Twenty-eight writers are handful, how did you manage so much talent?
a. It’s not like I had to project manage all the writers at the same time. Although there was some overlap in chapter submissions, the entire process organically fell into a smooth routine. Most of them understood that I wanted the finished product to celebrate this fascinating period in pop culture and to keep the typical mockery to a minimum. I believe we delivered on that. This was a great team and I hope to work with most of them on other projects.
7. The layout and designs are quite good, who did them?
a. I did all the graphic design and layout for the project. It was so much fun to come up with the visuals and make a layout that was compelling and easy to read. The hardest part was not sharing any of the finished product until it was published. This has been in production since the summer of 2019 and very few saw any of the graphics, so it got a little lonely.
8. What made you pick BearManor Media?
a. I really enjoyed some of the Ed Wood titles from BearManor Media (The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood by Andrew Rausch, in particular). They were all well-written and designed books. I figured these guys knew what they were doing when it came to this kind of publishing.
9. What are your next plans?
a. I would LOVE to see a copy of our book end up on MST3K and Svengoolie, but for now I’ll help the contributors promote Giant Bug Cinema – A Monster Kid’s Guide with some graphics and maybe a few animations. Also, I’d love to try and get this nominated for a Rondo Hatton Award. Everybody involved worked so hard on this and deserves such an esteemed recognition. I have other book ideas, but I need some time to see how I feel about them down the road. Sometimes a creative idea turns out to be an impulse that fades, so I don’t want to commit to anything yet. But I do have ideas for other books.
10. While researching the book, what is the most surprising things you learned?
a. Some believe that this is a children’s book based on the use of “Monster Kid” in the title. Although the book is family friendly, some of the content is probably too sophisticated for children. FYI, “Monster Kid” refers to fans of classic monster movie culture. Also, after signing with BearManor Media, I learned of a few more movies that used a monster insect theme that would fit this criterion. But most of them were forgettable and not a big loss for this production. I really wanted to keep the book as a very lean read and adding reviews of unremarkable movies was avoided, if possible.