If We Board Up the Door the Monsters Won’t Get Us, Right?: The Influences for my Novel An Augmented Fourth Part 3 / by Tony McMillen

In previous posts I spoke on how gigantic an influence the band Black Sabbath was on my upcoming heavy metal horror book, you can read about that here and here; now I want you to put down your headphones because we’re going to the movies.

Like most writers I get my inspirations from all over, other books, music, comics, video games, history; the biggest inspiration actually being my life itself but that kind of thing can be boring to talk about so instead I’ll tell you about another massive influence; especially with this book: monster movies. Because I love me some good monster movies. I grew up on good monster movies. Alien and Aliens, Predator, Monster Squad, Gremlins, Tremors, Jaws and most importantly to this book John Carpenter’s The Thing.

I think like a lot of people my age discovering The Thing was like finding out about some really great lesser known band. If Aliens and Predator were the Led Zeppelin and The Doors of monster movies The Thing was like the Iggy and the Stooges of the genre. It wasn’t just that it was lesser known (at the time I was growing up) it was that it was a little less obvious, a little rawer here and there. A little weirder and more off center.

Besides being a horror story that takes place while it’s snowing what An Augmented Fourth and The Thing have in common is that they’re both in the mold of that book with the racist as hell title by Agatha Christie that was later renamed And Then There Were None. They’re about not being sure if the people around are you really are who they say they are. They’re about being paranoid (cue Iommi riff) and no longer certain that you can trust anyone. Also The Thing is about just how shitty and isolating the winter is. Seriously, fuck snow.

"Snow picnic today, amirite?" "Kill yourself." 

"Snow picnic today, amirite?" "Kill yourself." 

Similar to the “one of us is really the killer” story is the whole, “let’s board ourselves into this room and wait out this zombie werewolf hentai enthusiast apocalypse that’s happening outside but oh shit now we’re locked with ourselves and maybe we’re the real zombie werewolf hentai enthusiasts?!” type of yarn; and An Augmented Fourth has a bit of that in its blood too. It was a huge thrill for me to write my characters boarding themselves into a room as some otherworldly force tried to force its way in. Are you fucking funning me? I’ve been waiting to write that scene since I was 14 years old. Confession, I have been writing that scene since I was 14 but none of that shit will ever see the light of the day let alone the light of internet. Thank Christ.

People boarding themselves up from a monster is a classic story turn I’ll never get tired of. The initial mad scramble to get the boards or whatever up in time, the running out the clock getting to know you fat chewing, the arugments, the accusations, the inevitable fuck up that lets the monster back in; I fall for it all every time. Can’t get enough. So I got to right my own version of it. My own Bill Paxton saying, “Game over, man. Game over.” My own dude with that fucked up poodle hair from Return of the Living Dead getting hysterical about how fucked up his friend Freddie’s face looked after he had acid thrown in it. It was a total gas for me as a writer and I think you’re going to have a fucking ball as a reader.

Despite it firmly being a horror book An Augmented Fourth is the most fun thing I’ve written. Not that it’s one big joke, there are chills, thrills and some very dark musings on the human condition but it’s also about a heavy metal band called Frivolous Black who have an album titled Friv Today, Die Tomorrow. There’s no way not to have fun writing about guys like that.

I also was breaking a few of my own rules writing this book and breaking rules is always fun. We’ll talk about that in the final section.

Read The Conclusion