The Skinny on... Garth Marenghi

As his new book TerrorTome hits shelves, the author, dreamweaver and visionary (plus actor) Garth Marenghi fills out our Q&A

Feature by Garth Marenghi | 31 Oct 2022
  • Garth Marenghi

Garth Marenghi is the finest horror writer of his generation, massively underappreciated in his own time. Well, underappreciate him no longer! The writer, director and star of iconic Channel 4 series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is back with a new trio of stories in the form of Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome. It's about Nick Steen, a horror writer whose hellish visions come to life and start wreaking havoc on the town of Stalkford after he gets sucked into a haunted typewriter.

But what kind of twisted mind could come up with that? We spoke to Garth (via creator Matthew Holness) to take a dive into the murky waters of his mind. Don't have nightmares. Or do. It's your call.

What’s your favourite place to visit and why?
The Arcadia Daemonicum, a fine art gallery dedicated to visual renderings of my own work in the realms of the fantastique. All of which are painted, sculpted or rendered in forms as yet unknown to civilisation by yours truly. Admission is prohibitively expensive, so I tend to go alone. Which I prefer. They do a meat-only buffet.

What is your favourite colour?
Shrane – a colour I have glimpsed only in dream.

Who was your hero growing up?
Flynn the Holy, a 17th century goblin slayer from Dublin Town. He was the first real hero I ever wrote and he mainly dispatched goblins via rudimentary G-clamp, compressing them into smaller form, then stamping on them. I’ve always idolised my own heroes. After all, I’m their first reader. Incidentally, you can obtain the complete Chronicles of Flynn the Holy plus other assorted juvenilia via private e-book sale. Yes, it’s extortionate. Yes, it’s essential.

Whose work inspires you now?
Again, largely my own. Awe at my recent work inevitably informs and inspires my next. Today’s Nick Steen is tomorrow’s Vaughan, Soul Sucker of Nantucket.

Which three people would you invite to a dinner party, and what are you cooking?
I’d only ever invite two people, mainly because they tend to interrupt me, but also because most supermarket four-to-six-person ‘roasts’ constitute the biggest false advertising scandal in modern retail. Roastwise, generally Turducken, if it’s in season; otherwise I’ll ask my personal slaughterer to advise.

What’s your all-time favourite album?
Ride a Rock Horse by Roger Daltrey.

What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Todd Browning’s London After Midnight starring Lon Chaney, a copy of which I found at a car boot sale last year and burnt the same day. The vampire wasn’t real...

What book would you take to a desert island?
The Oeuvre, by Garth Marenghi. Which is all of them, minus TerrorTome. But if the trip’s not for a while, I’ll wait until Oeuvre 2 comes out.

When did you last cry?
At seven months, three weeks and two days. I no longer liked rusks.

What are you most scared of?
My tax bill (heh heh heh). Seriously, though? My tax bill.

When did you last vomit and why?
This morning. I think it’s Noro. Did you anti-bac, because I didn’t have time.

Which celebrity do you think you could you take in a fight?
I could easily take Richard Osman, despite – in fact because of – his height. And he’d no doubt thank me afterward. He’s dying to branch into horror.

If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?
A salamander.

Tell us a secret?

Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome is out on 3 Nov via Hachette; Garth Marenghi's TerrorTome book tour, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 27 Nov