Author and Artist RE Bunch [Women in Horror Month 2022]

Author and artist RE Bunch has been passionate about horror since childhood. Her work reflect a variety of influences.

Please introduce yourself:
My name is RE Bunch and I have been in love with horror since I could walk and talk. My mother took a home video of me when I was about 3 or 4 years old, being fully mesmerized by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on glorious VHS. Since I could hold a pen to paper, I have been drawing spooky images and writing up dark tales. I love gothic slow burns, and gore-filled slaughters. Horror has been like a light house in my life. In good or bad times, it has always been something that shines through all of it. 

When I’m not doing spooky-stuff, I love hanging out with my dog Roscoe. He’s always my very first reader, and constant critique companion—he has some moody looks. 

What is it that attracts you to the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
Horror has always had a lovely fluidity in its presence. The genre is about capturing a feeling, a mood, a chill in your soul. It can blend itself with almost any genre, comedy, romance, sci-fi, speculative, etc., and still be identifiable as a horror story. A horror story can be a drama where certain death is what is at stake. It is diverse because it is about raw, intense, feelings. As the adage goes: there is more than one way to skin a cat. That is why horror is so much fun to work in. 

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
My mom has always inspired me. She continually pushes me to keep trying at it, especially when I feel something is not panning out. She has always encouraged me to be my “weird-spooky-self”. 

I also love Rob Zombie and his wild career. A weird goal of mine is to design and run my own haunted house. If it could be one-tenth as polished, and as well thought out as his was, I’d probably die from joy. It was easily one of my favorites. 

Really most of my ideas come from true-crime stories, occult books, death metal, folk punk, and just immersing myself into life happening around me. 

What are your passions, cinematic or otherwise?
Tastes change over time. When I was young, I really loved the old Hollywood Horror movies. The black-and-white movies with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi playing almost every single monster. I also enjoyed 1970’s and 1980’s horror like Basket Cask, Motel Hell, Wicker Man, and others. They are campy, fun, and just hold up to the test of time. Tim Curry as Pennywise was brilliant and forever ruined clowns for me. 

When I was a teenager, I loved the blood and guts intensity of Hostel, Saw, House of 1000 Corpses, and Jeepers Creepers. Things that at the time seemed shocking, but now are almost so saturated in the market it seems tropey and tame. Now I find myself more drawn to movies that seem to have a vision and a broader conversation running in the movie. I love the stuff that is coming out of A24. Midsommar, Heredity, The Lighthouse, The VVitch have all been delightful. I love a good artsy-horror movie that isn’t holding any punches to get their message across. I feel that is the direction a lot of my writing has taken recently. 

Considering this is 2022, why do you think we still need a movement like Women in Horror Month?
Absolutely. You google “famous horror authors” the first 20 results you get will have 5 women, and only 1 person of color represented. That’s shit and it’s wrong, considering how diverse and eclectic humanity actually is. 

It is something that is only going to change by representation. We need more women authors in the market, both traditionally published and self-published. We also need to be more demanding of better, more well-rounded female-identifying characters we see in art. There needs to be more added to the conversation in terms of how women view themselves, events, and the world around them. It can only be done by more women pursing writing and creating art to tell their stories. 

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a woman as something that makes it so much more difficult at times? 
Somedays it is hard to keep wanting to try at it, but I feel an almost compulsory need to keep working at it. I’ve been told “you have to think of Sisyphus as being happy in his endless labor”. But Sisyphus didn’t have to make the boulder he pushes up every damn day, or have the mountain heckle him for his effort as it falls back down. That sounds like being told to accept a hopelessness in my craft and being content in that absurd lost space it occupies. 

The people telling you that are just scared of losing their space and standing, a notion they created and put onto others to justify exclusion. When really there is space for everyone. I would say, don’t lose the faith. Just because they don’t see the potential in your work, does not mean it is invisible to everyone. It is valid and your work is good based solely on its own merit. Each time you create and try for something better, the world is made that much better because you have been your authentic self. 

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
A general writing teacher I had in community college once told my class, “Eavesdrop on people to learn better dialogue.” Just deadpan, serious without any further explanation or instruction as to why. It was left up to us to figure out why he would have said to do something so oddly intrusive. 

I think the real point they were making was, if you learn structure and writing from movies and books you may not be creating realistic representations of people in your art. People will often blatantly lie, they omit information, they forget, they’re sarcastic, and generally do not give you a giant arrow to point out what is important for you to know. There is a lot of contextual information you must gather and ‘read’ between the lines to really know what is being said. Listening and watching people outside of your close group is important because you start to see how people communicate with body language, facial expressions, and great original phrases. 

When you immerse yourself more, you will become more aware of some of the more feral stuff that people do on a daily basis. 

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror? 
Iseult Murphy is a great Irish author. I found her through a book review site, and I am glad that walked into my life. I’ve read the first book of her Seventh Hell series and All of Me, and she is fantastic! You really feel transported by her settings into these odd places in Ireland. Towns I’ve never been to start feeling familiar. Her characters are magnetic, and very relatable in their motivations. I’m excited to see more of her work in the future. 

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I’m currently working on more linoleum prints for my Etsy shop. My current project is a snail with a skull shell, that is turning out super cute. I’ve gotten loads of interests in the hand carved creatures I press into paper. I’m also seen more interest in commissioned artwork. I’m always happy to make something special for someone else. 

In terms of writing, I’m beginning to feel more optimistic about it again. I’ve taken some time off after releasing my last novella The By-Blow Promise Land. It was a pretty ambitious project for me. In terms of content, finding a better editor than my first book, and getting it together for release. It was a lot to do in what felt like a short amount of time. I’m super proud of it, but I needed some room to breathe so to speak. I am hoping to get back into it with work on some creepy collections of short stories. Short stories have always been a love of mine, so that is where I feel most at home. I am also working out a series about a coven of witches right now. I feel very connected to the idea of a generational horror arc built over a few books. 

What do you hope to leave behind in your legacy as an artist?
Creation is a respiratory act; you inhale different thoughts and ideas to exhale them out as a unique creation. In turn that same exhale is inhaled by someone else and turned into something completely different. 

I’m just happy that so far, people have enjoyed the strange things I put out. If you have enjoyed it: Thank You! Deeply and truly, it means the world to me. I hope it has inspired you to create your own stories and art. 

If you haven’t: You take whatever thing you didn’t like and create something better from it is all I ask. 

Pop them links to follow your work here: – My author site where I put up drafts of stories for early readers to enjoy before they are finished. – Get some weird stuff for your walls. – Books on Kindle Unlimited, and Paperback. Please leave a review, that would be cool of you.