Today we return with an all new installment of Dissecting Fear, this week’s guest is an extremely talented musician, horror lover and Halloween enthusiast. His name is Billy Polard and he records under the name The Ghost In You. I met Billy after he reached out to me a while back during the launch of TrueHorror Music. We have since stayed in touch and I have become a big fan of his music. Not only a musician, Billy also sings and writes all his own songs.
Originally my intent was to post this article up at the midway point of October, but due to a number of reasons, I had to unfortunately postpone it until I had the time to give it the attention it deserves. So my sincere apologies go out to Billy as I know it would have been perfect for him to have this posted during his favorite time of year. Still I feel his music and love of Halloween and horror will help everyone who reads this cope with the dread post Halloween depression syndrome.
Earlier this month Billy was kind enough to contribute his song “Ten Thirty One” to our Halloween Compilation EP . The song is a truly beautiful heartfelt ode to Halloween. Being that this article SHOULD have been posted in October, we asked Billy what his favorite Halloween memory was. His answer is in depth and you can tell he has an unbridled passion for the holiday.
“I don’t think I can pinpoint any one specific memory as my favorite. The thing that I enjoy most about Halloween really boils down to a feeling it gives me. How that feeling could turn even a boring trip to the drug store with my mom into a fun Halloween adventure. I recall being a kid and the excitement I felt when the sun would start to go down earlier and earlier each day. The leaves would start changing and falling, the weather would start getting cooler. There was this really special spooky feeling that I felt in my bones. I can still remember when I was 5 riding the bus home after school everyday in the fall. I’d get so happy approaching my house, knowing I’d soon be seeing the scarecrow that my dad hung from the tree in our front lawn, slowly swaying in the breeze. It’s because of all these little special feelings that I still love Halloween to this day.
That’s exactly what my song, “ten thirty one” is about. It’s my love letter to Halloween and all the nostalgia and emotions the fall season brings. Inspired by my memories of growing up in my old neighborhood, the leaves changing, carving jack o lanterns, my mom dressing up like a witch, the homemade costumes she made for me and my brothers, watching scary movies, and everything else that comes with the Halloween season. There’s even a nod to “John Carpenter’s Halloween”. One of my favorite movies of all time.
If you feel that same sentimental way about the season that I do, I think you’ll enjoy the song. I also made a music video for it. I directed, shot, and edited it last October. I even made the vintage style skeleton mask seen in the video, and the person wearing it is my oldest childhood friend, Brett Schmoltze. The whole thing really was a personal project and I tried my best to capture visually what I saw in my mind when I recorded the song. I hope watching it triggers the same nostalgia and emotions that I felt writing it.”
After watching that video it is obvious Billy is not only a talented singer, songwriter and musician, but that his passion for Halloween fuels much of his creative process at times. Billy is also a lover of horror films and remembers many of his early experiences with them. Continue on to read his in depth answers to our Dissecting Fear line of questioning!
AS A CHILD WHAT HORROR FILM OR HORROR CHARACTER SCARED YOU THE MOST AND WHY DO YOU FEEL THEY HAD THIS EFFECT ON YOU?
For me, it was Chucky. I don’t think that’s an original answer, but that doll literally ruined a few years of my childhood. I could not sleep with the lights off. I made my parents leave the hallway light on and my door cracked open because I really believed Chucky was at the foot of my bed. That movie came out in ’88 when I was 4, so this is probably 89 through 92 that my sleep was totally ruined. For a while it was also Michael Myers. When I’d have to go to the bathroom, I’d rn and cover my eyes because if I didn’t I’d see that white face in the shadows.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF AN INSTANCE OF TWO WHERE THIS FEAR MANIFESTED ITSELF AND HAD AN IMPACT ON YOUR BEHAVIOR?
Aside from truly believing that what my child mind created was real, it only affected me by making me really, really scared. As much as I didn’t like being frightened, at the same time it was also a feeling I craved. It was my own choice to be scared for the most part. I begged and begged my parents to rent Child’s Play for me. They wouldn’t let me rent the actual copy, but surprised me one day with a taped off television version, commercials and all. I assume what they were trying to prevent me from absorbing was the bad language, but curses were the least thing they should have been concerned about. If you take the profanity out of the film, it’s still just as frightening! Haha. That taped off TV VHS was my holy grail for a while. I shared it with all my friends. When you are a kid, horror movies are kind of like pornography. They’re things you are not “supposed” to be watching and you share them with all of your friends. I must have watched that tape 50 times, until my parents stopped giving a crap and I was allowed to just walk down to the video store on the corner and rent whatever I wanted.
WHAT VHS COVERS OR HORROR MOVIE POSTERS SCARED YOU AS A CHILD AND WHY DO YOU FEEL THE POSTER OR COVER HAD THIS EFFECT ON YOU?
As I mentioned before we had a video store at the end of our block growing up. Like most kids of my generation who love horror, there is a certain nostalgia from the (now extinct) video store horror section. There is the time when you’re only able to run by it, trying not to catch a glimpse, then there’s the time when you became more intrigued and fascinated by all the box art. I’d stand in the section for what seemed like an hour, just looking. Those are really memorable times for me. I don’t think todays generation will ever know that experience. I can’t picture them when they’re older saying “Hey, remember scrolling through the Netflix queue when were kids? That was awesome!”
The original question though all goes back to Chucky again for me. Seeing that huge (then life sized) doll on the poster for the original Child’s Play hanging on the video store wall…I was in horrified love. It’s an image that is tattooed on my brain to this day. I was just discussing this very poster last week. I’m refering to the painting of Chucky with his arm outstretched holding the snake voodoo knife. The one that is so beautifully painted it almost looks like a photograph. In fact, for years I thought it was. I am nothing if not a nostalgic grumpy old man, so seeing all the awful, awful photoshopped images that movie studios choose to release our favorite movies in, rather than the original painted covers or posters…honestly infuriates me. I will NEVER understand this choice. I would stare at the VHS covers almost as long as it took to watch the movies themselves.
I do not say this sarcastically at all, but that original Child’s Play VHS cover is a beautiful work of art. If that’s what art is, something that draws you in that you just can’t take your eyes off of, then to me there is no difference between that painting of Chucky and the Mona Lisa. I have been trying to find out who painted that for years with no luck. So if any of your readers have the answer, please let me know. I’d love to read an interview with the artist and to know more about how they were offered the project.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SCARY? WHEN IT COMES TO MODERN HORROR FILMS? SO MANY PEOPLE ARE QUICK TO SAY A FILM IS NOT SCARY, BUT EACH VIEWER HAS A DIFFERENT DEFINITION OF WHAT SCARY IS TO THEM.
This is a loaded question. It’s hard for me to get scared these days, but that does not mean a film isn’t effective or good. Take something like Re-Animator. It’s not really scary, but it’s a great, creepy, fun horror film. It is very rare that a horror movie can scare me. The thoughts or images certain films provoke can be frightening or creepy, but I’m rarely truly scared. It also depends a great deal on viewing conditions. If I recommend a horror film that gave me those feelings to a friend, I always say “Watch it in the dark, if possible with a headset on, and with no distractions. Put down your fucking smartphone for an hour and a half!”
The last modern horror film that honestly scared me was “The Blair Witch Project”. Though that is hardly a modern horror film now. I finally sat down to give it my full honest opinion two years ago (after the hype finally cooled down haha). Going back to the perfect horror movie conditions, I watched this alone, in the dark, at 4am with a headset on. It honestly had me on the edge of my seat. I felt lost in the woods with them. I’ll have to view it a second time to see if it holds up to my initial opinion. I am really a big fan of a certain atmosphere in movies. Sometimes a movie can not be incredible, but the setting can be just what the doctor ordered. I love woods and leaves and old houses, etc.
WHAT DO YOU NOT CONSIDER SCARY OR NOT LIKE IN YOUR HORROR FILMS?
Little…”creepy”…children. I am so tired of this cliche. It is so overdone and hardly ever scary. But sadly, as with most of the world, we are idiots and apparently eat it up. So they’ll keep making that same film over and over again until we stop paying for seats. How many more movies do they have to make where a family movies into a new home and their child suddenly starts acting strange or sees things, or starts drawing morbid images in crayon? and speaking of moving into a new home, I am so tired of every family in a movie being super wealthy. It seems to me that people in Hollywood are so detached from reality. I would find it much easier to absorb myself in the movie’s world if the family were living in a small apartment or moderate house. Yes, I understand they try to set a mood, but you don’t ALWAYS have to make the parents profession be a writer, actor or work for a popular magazine. Seriously, who are they targeting here other than themselves? I’d sympathize much more with a construction worker or a supermarket cashier.
The second thing I do not consider scary in horror films…internet and cellphones. That can all go to hell. Yes I understand this is the world we live in today, but back to my “old man” comment…I still use a flip phone. I can’t stand the use of technology in horror movies, or this tween style generation. I don’t find haunted text messages scary, I’m sorry. I would totally be okay with every horror movie taking place only from 2001 or earlier.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR OR HOPE TO GET FROM HORROR FILMS THESE DAYS?
I am not a fan of all the paranormal activity/teen style horror movies of this generation. I am also not really a fan of most supernatural horror films either, unless done right. I mean, is the idea of a walking, talking killer doll realistic? No, but I think it is all in how well a film is made. Direction, special effects, acting etc. Thanks to Tom Holland’s direction coupled with Kevin Yagher’s amazing effects work, I really believed that Chucky was alive. I feel like crowds today need too much too soon. It is all either terrible cgi, PG-13 jump scares with no real story, or remakes of classic films, but with cgi…and don’t get me started on remakes. I don’t think you have enough time to hear my opinions on that. Did I mention I am a grumpy old man!?
I honestly don’t watch or enjoy many modern horror films at all. There are too many twists that films try to make as well. If it’s about a murderer, all I need is a creepy atmosphere and a killer. Take a tip from my favorite horror film of all time, Carpenter’s Halloween. I don’t need to be shocked at the end. You don’t need to try to reinvent the wheel. Like “High Tension” for example. I saw that movie when it came out, and it is one that I own, so I do enjoy it, but I cannot tell you how disappointed I was at the end of the movie. (SPOILER ALERT) when it turns out that it was her the whole time killing everyone, I was deflated. I was so excited while I was first watching it in the theater, thinking to myself “This is awesome. It’s just a normal family on a farm and there is a fucking psycho killing them.” I did not need a single thing more…and it was all the more frightening and believable for it. That stuff really happens. I didn’t need to have split personalities, or some spirit, or to be tricked to have it be effective…it already was. What is more common in the world, random acts of violence or people with multiple personalities?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECENT HORROR FILM AND WHY?
I honestly could not tell you. Not that I won’t watch new movies all (I won’t pay to see them in the theater any more though, but when I watch them on Netflix or whatever, they are instantly forgotten. That is not really a good sign if I can’t remember them.
LASTLY, DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A CERTAIN WAY OR MINDSET TO HAVE TO WATCH A HORROR FILM AS FAR AS IT BEING EFFECTIVELY FRIGHTENING?
I feel like you either have to go in totally cold, with no or low expectations, and or have the perfect viewing condition…quiet and in the dark. I am a big fan of watching television with a headset on. Not only to block out outside sounds and not disturb people late at night, but it really allows you to get into the movie’s world. I have a 55 inch television with a headphone jack. Instead of spending 100 bucks on a wireless headset, I bought a 25 foot cable off of Amazon for 6 bucks and just comfortably watch in bed with my earbuds. I love it.
SHAMELESS PLUGS TIME! FEEL FREE TO LEAVE US WITH SOME INFO ABOUT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND ANY FINAL THOUGHTS!
I have been recording as “the ghost in you” for almost 10 years now and have written, recorded and released two full length albums. I am currently working on my third. I record everything myself at home in my bedroom, although my latest song, “fear the fall” was recorded from inside my car. My albums can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp (cheapest), or just about anywhere else you can download music from. I was also just released on vinyl for the first time. I recorded a cover of John Lennon’s “Oh Yoko” for the double album, “I Saved Latin – A tribute to Wes Anderson”. It also features Matt Pond, Juliana Hatfield, Phox, Saint Motel, Sara Lov and many more.
“Ten Thirty One” isn’t the only reference to my favorite horror film. I also have a song called, “The Shape” on my second album “Wet Wood”. The song isn’t about him, but was just my little inside wink to Michael Myers. that song and the rest of my entire catalog can be streamed or downloaded from my official website http://www.theghostinyou.net/ All of my music videos and anything else I create can be found there as well.
You can follow me on instagram at @theghostinyoumusic (this time of year it’s mostly Halloween junk)
and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theghostinyou
Thanks for reading this nonsense and for asking me to be a part of your site!