Some exciting news from the Fangoria camp as they’re revealing today that not only are they coming back as a quarterly magazine but they’re also launching Fangoria Presents, a label dedicated to releasing branded books and films! To kick off this new venture, the label has announced Fangoria Presents #1 as Preston Fassel’s Our Lady of the Inferno, a novel that will be released this September.
“Set against the backdrop of 1983 Manhattan, Our Lady tells the intersecting stories of two deadly women: Ginny, a twenty-one year old savant who oversees the prostitution operation of a Times Square gangster while caring for her disabled sister; and Nicolette, a thirty-seven year old waste management executive who moonlights as a serial killer. At the outset of the story, Ginny has become sort of a criminal kingpin in her own right, but the moral compromises she’s had to make to get to this point have begun to eat away at her, and a series of professional setbacks and personal tragedies push her towards a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, Nicolette is entering her third year as a serial killer, and as the delusions that drive her become more severe, she finds herself struggling to keep her mask of sanity in check. After a chance encounter on the streets of Manhattan, the clock begins ticking down to a confrontation between the two women.”
We had the chance to ask Fassel to expand a bit on his relationship with Fangoria, Cinestate, and the novel, to which we got some pretty amazing information!
Telling us about how Our Lady of the Inferno came to be at Fangoria, Fassel explains, “It’s an unbelievable honor to have my book coming out as Fangoria Presents #1. I mean, how many people can say that their first horror novel not just got picked up by a publisher, but that publisher is Fangoria Magazine? And that it’s going to be their first licensed novel? That’s some World Series, Game 9, bases-loaded-home-run sort of stuff, isn’t it? Back in 2016, the book was briefly in print with an independent horror press that shortly thereafter went out of business — it sold, like, maybe twenty copies, tops, and then the business went under — and I kinda thought that was it, you had your, if not quite fifteen minutes, then ten seconds of fame, that’s it. And then this happened.”
Expanding on his dreams and on what this novel means to him, he states, “Some kids want to grow up to be star athletes, I wanted to be a horror novelist. That was the dream. I always knew I wanted to be some kind of writer but then, when I was thirteen, my mother bought me a paperback of The Shining from the drug store. I’d read those “Great Illustrated Classics” all throughout my childhood, but The Shining was the first unabridged, uncensored, honest-to-goodness adult book I read and when I was done with it I knew for sure, yeah, I want to be a horror writer. And now it’s happening.”
“I mean, it’s the sort of thing that you think is going to happen for someone else, but, that’s not the sort of thing that really happens for you, you know? And a part of me almost still doesn’t believe it. I just watched our graphic artist, Ashley Detmering—who designed that beautiful cover—and our Director of Social Media, Natasha Pascetta, take a publicity photo for the book, and, even still, a part of me almost doesn’t believe it. I think I can be sitting in a movie theater a few years from now, watching a film adaptation of this, and see my name onscreen, and, a part of me still isn’t going to believe it. Like the only way this could be any more amazing right now is if, like, Stephen King himself read it and endorsed it. And I know that’s a crap shoot, but, hey, who knows, right?” he continues.
Truly important to Fassel was ensuring that his vision remain intact, that his work go unchanged, which he says was exactly the case when his book was signed to Cinestate and Fangoria. “And the thing I really love about this, and the thing I love about Cinestate, and Dallas Sonnier, our CEO, who bought the rights to the book, is that this is my vision. Nothing’s been changed that I haven’t wanted changed, nothing’s been removed or altered, the story wasn’t focus grouped. This is the story I wanted to tell. Final cut, so to speak. When I was a teenager I spent a lot of Friday nights alone in my room marathoning 80s horror and 70s grindhouse VHSes that I’d rent from Hollywood Video or our local grocery store, and try to formulate my own 80s horror story. What would I want it to look like, feel like, what would I want it to be about? And it’s Our Lady of the Inferno. It’s an absolute perfect distillation of everything I wanted to say, everything I wanted to do, and not a word of it was changed. And I hope that horror fans of every stripe are going to feel that enthusiasm, and that it’s going to be infectious and they’re going to love reading this story every bit as much as I loved writing it, because I didn’t just write this for myself, I wrote it for the 18-year-old kid who lives in the heart of every horror fan. I wrote this to be every horror fan’s Friday-night, school’s out, beginning-of-the-weekend horror story.”
Going into what readers can expect, Fassel adds, “There’s a ton of love into this story — my love for 80s horror, and 80s pop culture, and kickass final girls and terrifying monsters. I really wanted to give readers a story that was going to keep them either screaming or yelling “yeah!” and characters they were going to fall in love with, especially female horror fans, because, you know, there’s a big dearth of great female characters in horror, aren’t there? So I wanted to give horror some memorable female characters, who’re complex and nuanced and beautiful and terrifying, not, like, these mindless sex objects who are there to look hot and die, or look hot and survive, but who give you no idea of who they are as people with agency, with desires and hopes and fears all their own. I want readers to fall in love with Ginny, my heroine, to cheer her victories and empathize with her defeats; I want them to be terrified of Nicolette, of her capacity for mindless, brutal violence, and insane rage.”
Fassel ends by giving us hope of a potential film adaptation and how that might create a potentially iconic horror cosplay option for women. He tells us, “And I’d hoped that, if this really took off, once there’s a film adaptation — Fangoria has the film rights, as well – there’d be more cosplay opportunities for female horror fans. My wife and I are both huge horror fans, and, if we’re going to a con, I’ve got like limitless possibilities, but, so many great female horror characters aren’t iconic. Dr. Bowman from Day of the Dead is an amazing heroine, one of my wife’s favorite all time horror characters, but, she spends so much of that movie in a blouse and jeans. If you go to a horror con in a blouse and jeans, who’s gonna get that you’re cosplaying? Or Laurie Strode? Maybe you could’ve pulled that off back in the 90s, but, so much of her wardrobe has come back into fashion that, again, no one would even think you’re supposed to be in costume. So in addition to making these characters engaging and multifaceted and complex and fully realized as human beings I also strove to make them iconic. And hopefully I succeeded in all those things. Hopefully this is something that people just love.”
Pre-orders are already open for Our Lady of the Inferno and can be found via Amazon.