Rodrigo Gudiño is publisher of the world's most influential horror magazine, Rue Morgue, which covers horror in entertainment and culture, with a focus on horror films. The magazine has grown from a small stapled publication to a glossy magazine with accompanying radio, filmfest and website. He worked as editor-in-chief until recently when he turned that position over to Jovanka Vuckovic so that he could focus on his film career, although he still works closely with the magazine. The magazine covers film, art, culture, music, horror icons and even magazines such as Girls and Corpses. Here Girls and Corpses probes the mind of Mr. Gudiño, much as aliens probe the anal cavities of you Earthlings.
G&C: How was working on your first film, Rod? Are you planning on working on any other films, and will you be moving towards more movies and less writing and publishing?
RG: My first film was a learning experience. But it was also a ton of fun; I think I am really going to enjoy making movies in the future. And yes I will be making more movies -- that is why I retired from my post as editor-in-chief of Rue Morgue. However, I will continue to publish the magazine and work with Jovanka Vuckovic (the current editor) as well as with the Rue Morgue Radio guys and the team that puts together the Festival of Fear.
G&C: What is wrong with Hollywood films, and why are there so many recent American horror films that are terrible?
RG: You are right, there does seem to be a dearth of good horror movies right now. I think it has to do with the current fad to reference stuff that has gone before ie., in the form of remakes or films crammed with homages to other films. It doesn't seem to be the trend to invest in original ideas right now, and I suspect that's why so many movies are just not cutting it.
G&C: What are your feelings on 'splatter-porn' films like "Slaughter Discs"?
RG: Splatter porn is a hard sell because it tries to unify two opposing emotions physical revulsion and sexual attraction. Philosophically, this is an interesting concept but it's very ambitious and unfortunately film is an unforgiving medium: if you do not look professional or tell an engaging story or at least have convincing smut or gore, then you're not going to hit your mark. And I haven't seen anything yet that hits the mark.
G&C: What are your feelings on the new wave of extreme horror films like "August Underground" and "Murder-Set-Pieces"?
RG: I am open to extreme horror but all filmmakers - no matter whether they are making Murder Set Pieces or Maid In Manhattan are storytellers. And if you don't creatively invest in your story and/or your characters, your movie will only appeal to those with an overriding interest in special effects. I think it's for that very reason that I have found other films (such as Irreversible or The Manson Family), much more soul crushing than most "extreme horror" films. Making audiences feel extreme emotions is still an art form.
G&C: "Aftermath" made the cover of Rue Morgue- what are your thoughts on the film? Is it just thirty minutes of depraved gore or is it something more than that?
RG: There's definitely more going on than that. Nacho Cerda has said that his film is not a gore film because it is not festive the way gore films are and to a certain extent I agree with him. But beyond that, I see a filmmaker who is trying to come to terms with the indignities that befall the body once we die. It's a very hard truth that all human beings have to face, and while Nacho has illustrated it in possibly the worst way, the truth is that death is always the worst thing.
G&C: Do you have a favorite necrophilia scene in all of the films you have seen?
RG: Probably Dellamorte Dellamore because they made it look so pretty. But for realism I'd go with Aftermath all the way.
G&C: What got you interested in horror?
RG: I'm afraid the answer to that question is lost in the foggy memories of my childhood. To be honest I have no clue. But I have always been attracted to macabre imagery as far as I can remember. Even when it terrified me to the bone.
G&C: How did Rue Morgue get started, and how did it evolve into the horror institution that it is today?
RG: It started as a twenty page black and white zine back in 1997. I was writing under various pseudonyms at the time and had a few writers on board. It was as indie as indie gets. As to how it evolved to what it is today is a long story that can probably be summed up in the following words: originality, perseverance, love, luck.
G&C: "Rue Morgue" started as a magazine, and now you have a website, horrorfest and radio program. How did Rue Morgue develop these new ventures? Anything planned for the future? How about a television show- or possibly a channel?
RG: Rue Morgue was always about horror in culture and entertainment, in other words, not just about film but other media as well. So inevitably it was natural for me to develop Rue Morgue into those different media, like the radio program, the CineMacabre Movie Nights, our Halloween events and of course The Festival of Fear. But the future of Rue Morgue is in feature films, at least for now. We are still independent after all, and I want to move slowly to ensure that the quality remains.
G&C: Why are horror and humor so closely related?
RG: Probably because they are both instinctual and primal reflexes. No one can control what they find funny or frightening, it's in their genetic make-up. Ultimately, horror and humor expose deep subjectivities that allow us to identify the core of who we are.
G&C: Why are horror and sex so closely related?
RG: I suppose horror is closely tied to death whereas sex is all about life so the fact that they are opposing concepts ties them together. They probably would not be as meaningful or powerful on their own. But sex and death are also social taboos; they are socially or morally confrontational. That makes them especially related because no matter how essential sex and death are to the human experience, a big part of humanity will always be uncomfortable with those two concepts. As long as people are around, they always remain a source of social concern.
G&C: The music review section of Rue Morgue almost always has at least a couple of Misfits-influenced horror punk and rock-a-billy bands. What do you think of the genre and why are the Misfits such an influential band?
RG: I don't have any specific opinions about horror punk or rockabilly other than I like some of it despite its derivative nature. The Misfits seem to have hit on a nerve, much like the films Halloween or Night of the Living Dead did for filmmakers who just keep adoring and rehashing them. I suppose The Misfits' mixture of punk rock, fifties chic and B-horror captures something essential about the counterculture.
G&C: Are you looking forward to the new Rob Zombie "Halloween" film?
RG: Actually, yes I am. I think Rob cares about the new movie and, let's face it, it's been a long time since anyone involved with that franchise has.
G&C: If you opened the mail one day and there was an actual snuff movie in it, would you watch it and review it for Rue Morgue?
RG: No. Rue Morgue has always been about art and entertainment and snuff is not something I relate with those two words.
G&C: Are you reading anything interesting right now (for example, the webzine "Girls and Corpses"?)
RG: The only interesting thing I am reading right now is Girls With Corpses.
G&C: What horrorfests, conventions and film festivals will you be attending?
RG: I'm not sure which ones I will be personally attending but next year I will be concentrating more on film festivals to promote my movie The Eyes of Edward James and my upcoming film The Demonology of Desire as well as Rue Morgue Cinema in general.
G&C: What is the future of horror?
RG: People like you (Girls and Corpses Magazine).
G&C: Thanks, Rodrigo!
RG: Thx to you.
L-R: Jody Infurnari, Dave Alexander, Jovanka Vuckovic and
Rodrigo Gudino. The great Ray Harryhausen is sitting.