FREAKY FRIDAY: An Interview With Dax Ebaben

By Jordan Gerdes

FoF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself.

I’m a horror lover who is lucky enough to be able to write about the genre in my free time. By day, I work at an abortion clinic in NJ where I help schedule patients and assist in advocating for funding on their behalf when they are unable to pay. By night, I write mostly for Bloody Disgusting. I cover VOD/DVD films for now, but hopefully will take on features in the future!

FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?

In general, I write film reviews.
I’ve recently started working on more personal pieces, but film reviews are my thing. Writing has always been a release for me. It’s a lot easier for me to write out my thoughts than to say them. I specifically love writing about horror movies because they
truly bring me so much joy. I love analyzing and thinking about them. I genuinely love horror, and have since as early as I can remember. The first movies I remember seeing in theaters were The Haunting (1999) and The Others (2001). I think the first movie
I actually saw in the theater was Aladdin (1992), but the horror ones are the first I remember. I love all sorts of movies, but horror is my life.

FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?

I tend to write things on paper first and then transfer them to type. It’s more work, but I think I do that because I grew up so used to writing in notebooks. It feels weird to me to start from scratch on a computer. I’m nearly incapable of doing it, but I’m trying to change. Other than that, I feel like my process is just taking short notes while I watch a film, trying to outline something for myself, and then shrieking every 5 minutes until I actually finish an article.

I find inspiration naturally comes to me when I’m watching a movie. The only time it doesn’t is when it’s boring. I’m inspired by my fellow horror reviewers and writers, too. I like a lot of the horror academics that have become popular in the last few years. Great writing inspires me, as do thoughtful reviews. Most of the critics/writer I look up to are current, although I appreciate those who sort of paved the way. I find inspiration from music, too. I grew up in the punk/hardcore scene in NJ/Philly, but I usually listen to film scores when I’m writing about movies.

FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?

I think it probably had something to do with the other-ness of horror, its taboo nature, as well as the way it handles social commentary and metaphors. I relate to horror in some of those ways, on a personal level. I’ve also always just enjoyed horror stories more than other types. They seem more real to me, even if they’re outlandish. The problems within horror stories seem more realistic to me, which was a big draw. I find them empowering in many ways. Plus, not for nothing, my brother and cousins were all in their late 20s/early 30s by the time I was old enough to remember things, and they all raised me on metal and slashers.

FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)

Oh man, I love so many horror works that my mind goes blank when I’m asked this question. My favorite horror movie is SCREAM, which is also my favorite franchise. I relate to Sidney Prescott so much. She’s been through all this bullshit and just handles her business. She learns to cope with her past and channels her fears, anxieties, and frustrations into bettering herself and fighting back, something I really appreciate and strive to do. Also, I’m a bit obsessed with HEREDITARY at the moment. I can’t get over it. I’ve thought about it non-stop for the past year. I love every single part of it. It’s the perfect balance of beautiful, soul-crushing, and terrifying. I’m also a big fan of a lot of the film scores that have come out in the last few years.

FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?

So far my favorite thing I’ve worked on is the latest article I wrote, which was for Pride month on Gayly Dreadful. I love writing reviews and analyzing films for Bloody Disgusting, of course, but the Pride month article was very personal and I appreciate all the positive feedback I’ve gotten from it. I was scared I would be dragged for it, but so far it’s been great!

FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art/work plays in the community overall?

I like to think critics play a positive role in the community, and that film criticism uplifts things that are worthy of attention. I’m not sure that’s always the case, but I think the culture is sort of shifting away from gleefully tearing into films. If something deserves a negative review, that’s one thing, but I think people are realizing there’s no need to be mean-spirited. I think of film criticism as sort of a guiding hand for people who may not be sure if a movie will be for them. That said, I always want others to form their own opinions on movies.

FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight?

I would really like if people would check out my reviews on Bloody Disgusting. I’ve also been slowly chipping away at a script for a short film that I want to make with my super talented friend, Mike Groves. Mike and I are trying to get a podcast off the ground, but it’s been hard with our schedules. Stay on the lookout though!

FoF: Anything else you’d like to say/add?

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, this has been really fun! I hope I wasn’t too boring! Anyone reading this, please follow me on Twitter!

I want to thank Dax for taking the time to sit down for this interview.

Check out Dax’s piece on Gayly Dreadful titled “Horror Did Not Save My Life” and check out his reviews for Bloody Disgusting! You can also find him on Twitter!

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