An interview with JV Johnson

1 ) You’re the publisher of a magazine (TAPSparaMagazine) whose writers include folks of GHOST HUNTERS fame;how did you guys meet up?

I had the opportunity to meet Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson (the founders of TAPS and the stars of Ghost Hunters) at a paranormal event many years ago. I was simply interested in the topic and went to learn. I had not been at the event for more than 5 minutes when I ran into Jason and Grant getting off of the hotel elevator. I introduced myself and it was the beginning of friendships that last to this day.
2 ) What are some articles that you feel are must reads from your mag?

Every one. Seriously, we put a lot of effort into the editorial content of TAPS ParaMagazine, and we are proud of every issue, and every article. I can tell you that one of the articles that has received a lot of attention is an article I wrote about post-mortem photography. This piece, which explored the most Victorian-era practice of taking photographs of departed loved ones generated a tremendous reaction from our readers. It was a slight departure from the paranormal-heavy content that is usually found in the magazine, but intrigued people nonetheless.
3 ) Have you ever been a part of a haunting yourself?

Some say I haunt my employees. I assume what you’re asking here is whether I have experienced a haunting. The answer is “yes.” I won’t pretend to have all of the answers (or for that matter, ANY of the answers), and cannot necessarily explain some of the things I have experienced. But that, in itself, is the very nature of the paranormal – beyond normal explanation. I have seen things that logic cannot explain; that my understanding of science cannot explain; things that simply leave my fascinated and more curious than before. These are the experiences that increase my desire to know the truth.
4 ) For 2013, the name of the horror con will now be Scare-A-Con and not Scare-A-Cuse;is this because of the change of location from last year or to better reflect the over all vibe of the con? From my view the con was a mix of horror entertainment and paranormal reality.

Changing the name of the convention serves 2 purposes, and you touched on them in your question. First, it better reflects that the event is more regional in nature, and is not necessarily limited to just Syracuse (although Syracuse will always be considered “home” for the event), and it also offers a better impression of what the event is…”CON” is the accepted abbreviation for “convention.”

Regarding the “mix” of the event – our mission is to combine the best elements of horror and sci-fi pop culture and entertainment. Currently, much of that pop culture focuses on paranormal realty television and the movies it has inspired – ie Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, etc. These are “horror” movies that in essence are paranormal reality programs…..

As we grow the convention we are adding more elements as well – COSplay (costuming), comics, Anime’, steampunk, and more are all becoming parts of SCARE-A-CON.
5 ) On your website it states you’re well on your way of the planing for next years event. Can you tell us who you may have already gotten and who you’re going after?

At this point, I cannot offer any specifics on guests for 2013. I can tell you, however, that we are extremely excited about the folks we are talking to and can assure you and other attendees that we are not only maintaining the quality of our celebrity guests, but we are raising the bar and look forward to featuring some very high-profile people for 2013. You will not be disappointed.
6 ) How much time and energy goes into creating an event like the now renamed Scare-A-Con?

It’s immeasurable. In the 4 months before the convention, I am working on details nearly 20 hour per day, seven days per week. There are so many things that go in to the planning, and fortunately, I have a terrific team of volunteers. Without their help, it would not be possible. Speaking of that – if anyone is interested in volunteering, contact –

The event has grown so quickly, that it is starting to outpace my ability to organize alone. We are starting to establish committees to handle certain functions, and expect that our team will grow to a hundred people or so for 2013.
7 ) Who are some of your favorite horror actors/actresses?

My preference is old school horror. I am a huge fan of the classic horror movies from Universal (Dracula, The Wolman, Frankenstein, etc.). While these movies don’t necessarily carry the same “punch” as they did when they were released (people used to faint from fear when these movies were shown in theaters), there is an honesty about them, and a respect for humanity in the stories that doesn’t exist in today’s horror films.

I also love the campy horror/sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s – these movies, many of which have been lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and similar programs, are just fun to watch and reflect an age when America was redefining itself amidst the cold war.

So, with that, I am a tremendous fan of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, etc. That does not discount, or lessen my appreciation for more contemporary horror actors. Their job is harder than ever, as movie-goers, become more and more difficult to scare. There is some terrific talent in the horror-film business and we’re very fortunate to have many of them as guests for SCARE-A-CON.
8 ) If you could make a horror movie what would it be about?

Funny you ask. I am currently writing a screenplay for a zombie movie. The zombie theme has a great deal of attention with popular shows like The Walking Dead, and given that night of the Living Dead is one of my all-time favorites, I decided to pay homage. Not sure when it will be done, but if I ever get it made into a film, you can bet it will premiere at SCARE-A-CON.
9 ) What do you have to say to the nay sayers who say there are no such things as ghosts and horror is for the intellectually challenged?

Grow up.

Regarding ghosts – we are not even saying that ghosts are real. We are simply saying that there are things that happen that we cannot explain, Sometimes these occurrences seem to possess an intelligence, and that only fuels speculation that something spiritual exists. Until I actually have 100%, irrefutable proof of a “ghost” I can only say that it is one theory of many, and the question remains open. But to close your mind to the possibility is simply denying yourself the experience of learning and discovering some of humanity’s most enduring questions.

When it comes to horror movies, there has always been a stigma associated with the genre. It’s a place where many film makers start their careers, but few consider it their objective. The truth is, however, that horror is the most enduring and most loved of all film genres. It appeals to one of the basic human emotions – just like comedies appeal to humor, or romances appeal to love, horror movies satisfy a basic human desire for a thrill…in this case fear. It generates the same adrenaline high as riding a roller-coaster. Some people like roller-coasters, and some don’t…but I certainly wouldn’t call those who do intellectually challenged.
10 ) What do you think of the state of horror TV shows today?

I don’t think you can effectively present horror on the small screen…in a time-limited way. Shows like The Walking Dead are more action-thrillers than horror, although they feature some horror themes. When you’re watching in your living room, and getting a sandwich during commercials breaks, it’s hard to get the same experience as a dark movie theater with a large screen. Just not the same.
3 Random Questions

1 ) Best type of bar food?

Depends how long I’ve been at the bar. Generally anything fried does the trick….or the universal food – pizza.
2 ) Worse driver:Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes

Both are not just bad drivers, but are train-wrecks.
3 ) What did you have for breakfast?

It just so happens that breakfast is my favorite meal – providing I can have it for dinner. Today, a bacon/egg/cheese bagel did the trick.
Any social or non-social websites you would like to promote?,,

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Ash Hamilton is not only the owner of, but also one of its major contributors. A long time horror movie enthusiast, Ash has lent his personality to radio and television and continues to support his favorite genre through his writing and art. He also loves beef jerky and puppies... and low-grade street-quality hallucinogens.

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