Interview w/ the Drunken Severed Head

Weirdness is where you find it.
That's the motto behind one of the horror blogosphere's most diverse and dedicated fear film fanboys, Max Cheney from The Drunken Severed Head. Clinically incapable of holding his own at a game of Eyeball Beer Pong, yet remarkably more agile than most severed heads I know, Max has made it his goal to document his own weird journey through a life full of movie monsters, Halloween hootenannys and pints of finely aged golden ale.

Max was kind enough to recently roll his severed head down to the clubhouse for a few drinks and a chat on how much sauce can a severed head slam back, ancient mummies living in neighbor's walls and, more importantly, where the bodies are buried.
Let's start off with the basics. Exactly how much alcohol must a severed head consume before it becomes intoxicated?
You may as well ask how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Or who put the “bomp” in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? Who put the “ram” in the rama lama ding dong? There are things Man was not meant to know. Just Woman. My woman.

The actual answer is: Very little. As a severed head, I can't hold my liquor!

Where did the concept for The Drunken Severed Head originally come from?
I'm a member of the Universal Monster Army forum, and some years ago I shared an EC Comics-like story I had written about a kid who gets into trouble at home. At the end, his scientist mother, in need of a respite from the behavioral distractions of her offspring, twists his head off, knowing that she later will restore him to life. (Yeah, subtle horror isn't exactly my forte.) A friend, Joseph Fotinos, (a/k/a "Prof. Anton Griffin") read it, then wrote and posted a parody of my story, casting me as an alcoholic hack writer. At the end I get my head twisted off by my own fictional characters.

At least that's what I was told by my therapist during my last hypnotic treatment. But that doesn't explain this pan of MD 20/20 I'm sitting in. (Boy, this stuff knocks your vision outta the 20/20 range, I'll tell ya!)

Where are the bodies buried (I know there has to be more than one)?
Here they are-- in this crawlspace. Here, take a look-- no, you first-- no, really. What are you, chicken?

My wife and I bought a house a little over a year ago, and I heard an interesting anecdote from the inspector who looked at the house before I bought it. He told me he once found a mummified corpse in a hidden crawlspace of a house he was inspecting for a potential buyer The home's owner, an old lady who'd been moved into a nursing home had been married to the dead guy. Turns out she'd murdered him forty years previously and had reported him missing then.

That buyer declined to make an offer on the house, I'm told, but I'd have considered the mummy a real plus. I'd have glassed him in and charged guests a quarter to look.

Now that entrepreneurship! When did your appreciation for the horror genre first develop and what inspired it?
My appreciation for horror started with the "monster craze" of the Sixties, when I was just a toddler! I was given the 5-inch high monster figures Pop Top Horrors to play with. Cast in Halloween-orange plastic, they were different from other solid figures, as they had detachable heads that could be popped on and off. I had great fun playing with them.

Also when I was very small, I was hooked on the cartoon Milton the Monster and also The Munsters, both featuring Frankensteinian monsters. As a present for my 4th birthday, I was given a Herman Munster talking puppet. I became a fan of monsters for life, but of the classic Universal Frankenstein's Monster especially.

The first film I can recall seeing is either Evil of Frankenstein or Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte; I saw them both when I was very little. King Kong Escapes was another that became indelible in my memory. None are Great Classics, but they established what I wanted from movies. And the original Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine kept feeding that interest.

As fans of horror, we often become accustomed to the generic "jump scares" you see in movies today, but there will always be those primordial pressure points that prey on our collective fears (ie. the dark, the unseen). That said, what really scares you?
Flying terrifies both me and Erica Jong. (Oh, go Google her.) It's true. I don't fly. Yeah, yeah, I'm safer in an airplane than in a car, but if I'm gonna meet my doom in a car, at least it'll over with in a few seconds at most. Rather that than minutes of plunging through a few miles of air. Aaaiiieeeee!!!!

Your blog seems to embrace the lighter side of horror, much like a running gag in a back issue of Tales from the Crypt. What motivates you to write (aside from a sixpack and the occasional cinematic side-boob)?
Right now what motivates me to blog is the knowledge that there's an audience who voted for me in the Rondo Awards and they need be shown some gratitude! Gotta make time for 'em, try to be entertaining. But that's the challenge I feel safest with anyway. Don't have much proficiency with other skills, but I guess I can write tolerably well-- and even entertainingly, sometimes.

As a well-established member of the Universal Monster Army, how important is the concept of community for horror fans and what do you think is the common bond we share?
Thanks for the plug for the UMA. It's a great forum for fans of monster collectables of all kinds, especially for those who love the classic monsters of Universal Studios, and the movies those monsters appeared in. But all monster movie film fans would enjoy the threads there. And hey, with Spring here, who doesn't get to some new threads? (Insert smiley emoticon here.)

I met my wife online at the Universal Monster Army forum! In fact, I met many of my friends that way, and maintain many friendships with the aid of the Internet and the telephone. My wife Jane was one such friend, but eventually we started crossing the 600+ plus miles to see each other. Then she proposed, and we wed the following Halloween!

Community is important to everyone, of course. But folks with a passion for subjects considered odd or marginal by most people truly need all the community they can get. Nothing beats real-time, face to face social interaction, but that is increasingly harder to get in modern times. On-line communities help fill the need for communicating and connecting with those who get you.

The bond we all share? A willingness to be open about our own morbid fascination with disfigurement, death, power and and the essential strangeness of everything outside ourselves. Most folks mask it, even sometimes from themselves. It's why fairy tales and fables endure, and it doesn't mean we want to see or be part of real-life horrors.

Pick your poison: a bottle of J&B (The Thing) or a tall glass of Tenefly Viper (Street Trash)?
Oh, definitely the J&B and The Thing. (I assume you mean the 1982 remake, not the 1951 original.) The J&B Scotch wouldn't dissolve me like the Tenefly Viper. The Viper is to be saved for serving to your enemies-- but I'm no mean drunk. I'm a very friendly inebriate who loves everybody and any body.

There are memorable things about both Things (aren't I cute?), and I'd re-watch 'em both. But I'm as likely to re-watch Street Trash as I am Pink Flamingos or 2 Girls 1 Cup. Don't bet on it. For dark comedies in questionable taste, gimme Delicatessen or The Loved One.

What's your favorite Halloween tradition?
Must I choose one? I love playing music that gets me in the Halloween mood, whether it's horror novelty stuff like Screamin' Jay Hawkins, dark surf stuff by The Ghastly Ones, mood music by Midnight Syndicate, creepy rock or psychobilly. That might be the personal tradition that most gets me in the Halloween mood, but the first thing that came to mind was "decorating my house and yard."

You're a true Halloween harbinger indeed, Max.

Ok, time to spill the brains... I mean beans. What's the strangest thing you remember doing as a kid?

What age range do you consider "a kid"? I once conducted a séance with some friends when I was about ten, and when I was about sixteen I threw a party in a funeral home. (I worked there as a general assistant, and had to "house sit" the building when the mortician/owner went on vacation for week, a situation I took advantage of!)

Of course, the strangest thing I ever did as a kid would most likely be the scenarios I dreamed up for my toy monster figures when I played with them, but that was too long ago to remember the details!

That's the spirit! (pun fully intended)

For more of Max's drunken, severed antics be sure to check out his blog, TDSH or drop by the Universal Monster Army forums and join the creature cause.


  1. Great interview! Reading this definitely got me pumped for Halloween this year! Possibly with good ole Mr. J&B? Are you down? HA HA! We might fair well with that Viper. Phew!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    The only thing that J&B is good for is burning psycho slashers and alien shapeshifters within an inch of their mortal lives and then pissing on the ashes... so yeah, break out a bottle and let's get lit. Haha.

  1. This is one of the finest clubs I've never been kicked out of!

    Thank you for the interview. I am especially grateful to you for plying me with copious amounts of Jagermeister and aftershave until I talked.

    At the bottom, you give the initials of my blog as "TDSM." The "SM" is more right than you intended-- one would have to be a masochist to read anything I post!

    Again, thank you!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    I'm telling you, Max, it was all those Jägerbombs... I can't spell straight anymore and I think that I'm blind in one ear (ear not eye, is that even possible?), haha.

    It was truly an honor and a pleasure, good sir.

  1. Great interview, Max! I'd select the J&B and The Thing as well.

  1. sunshine said...:

    What a wonderful interview! :)
    I love Max. :)


  1. Mike Scott said...:

    Hey Max! Are you on a Rondo interview tour, or something? When will you be on "Entertainment Tonight"?

  1. John Rozum said...:

    Just when you thought it was safe to browse the internet, Max starts popping up everywhere you look. It's nice to see others showing their appreciation for Max and giving him lots of attention, which he craves, I mean deserves. He's the kindest drunken severed head I know.

  1. V and B-- Come by my house on Halloween for free drinks!

    Alex-- Great comment!

    Laura-- I want to hug you, but I'm armless, so I'm 'armless!

    Mike-- Please talk to my publicist and send a letter to ET's producers.

    John-- Thanks! And I'll crave 'til the grave!

  1. Belle Dee said...:

    Yay! Max! Wonderful to read your interview!!

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