Get to Know Our Very Own Chief Ghastly Grinner, Ryan Larson

Internet friends are a very special kind of person. You gravitate towards people who have the same interest as you and you can bond over things you enjoy in life. Sometimes, if you meet in person, it’s like you’ve been friends for years and years and you find comfort in their presence. This sometimes doesn’t even happen with people in real life. As for Ghastly Grinning, most of the team came together through the Shock Waves Horror Movie Club group on Facebook (If you don’t know of Blumhouse’s Shock Waves podcast, the GG staff highly recommends it!).The Ghastly Grinning team started out small but has grown over the past year. Contributors have a mutual love for all things horror. Not only that, but many want to see positivity when discussing the genre. There is always something positive to find in anything you’re watching. Make Horror Happy. This is Ghastly Grinning’s motto and it’s here to stay.

As we get into October, the main thing to celebrate is the beginning of Ghastly Grinning’s launch. The one year anniversary of launch is on Halloween, appropriately enough. As a contributor to this site, it feels like yesterday that Editor in Chief, Ryan Larson, came to a group of us in a private chat with an idea and was ready to get this website off the ground. Since then, Ghastly Grinning has been covering horror news, movies, and any topic that deems itself worthy of talking about for the site with 400+ hits per day.

So why not hear from the man himself? I sent Ryan a few question that I thought would be interesting to hear his response on with the upcoming birthday of his brain child. Your staff couldn’t be more proud of you, Ryan! We can’t wait to see what is in store next!

Why horror?

Ryan: Oh boy, that's a loaded question. When I was, like, maybe five years old my mom bought me my first comic book. It was Uncanny X-Men #159, which just so happened to be the X-Men versus Dracula. So I fell in love with two things that would be incredibly formative and important to shaping my whole life. I don't know quite why but it gripped me, the supernatural, that is. Then my love for horror in general grew from there. I was a Universal Monsters kid through and through growing up, then moved on to slashers, and now it's anything and everything in between. I suppose I love how diverse and inclusive the genre is.

What prompted you to create Ghastly Grinning?

Ryan: I had been doing freelance work for a good while but the well had dried up, in multiple ways. A few editors I wrote for moved on to bigger and better things and my passion was waning. After falling in love with the Shock Waves podcast and the attitude they approached towards the genre. Celebrate everything. So after I found some like minded individuals online, we decided to launch our own site. I grew so tired of the negativity I saw on other sites and social media about this subject we all are supposedly in love with. I also wanted to create a metaphorical safe space for horror. Somewhere people could go and not just know that they would find a celebratory approach to the genre but where they could also find progressive views on it as well.

What is your motive?

Ryan: To make people happy. To give people the option to tune into the thing they love and positively know that they're not going to see anyone slamming it, looking down on it, criticizing it in unnecessarily hyper critical means. Also, to try to remind people that it's okay to love things and recognize wrongs but still love them. Also, to give people, whether it's writers or filmmakers or anyone in between, the opportunity to get the spotlight. I love being able to publish something a writer worked hard on or giving an independent director or actor praise for the work they do too.

What have you learned in the past year running a site?

Ryan: It's a lot of work. It's pretty much an extra full time job. It's hard because you can't pay anyone so it's not like you can be upset that they didn't finish their assignment or haven't written anything. You have to be empathetic and remind yourself that you're all in this because you love doing it. Also, be patient. It takes time to find a foothold, takes a time to get noticed by PR people, to be taken seriously and gain some clout.

What is the greatest thing that's happened as a result of GG?

Ryan: Meeting the people I have and growing close to my team of writers. There are a lot of fun perks that come with the gig but those are honestly the best. I've grown incredibly close to a fantastic group of people and because of the site I've grown more confident in myself as a writer and even as a person.

Do you have any goals for GG for the next year?

Ryan: I would love to get my writers paid, that's the long-term goal. Getting on some of the bigger sites and distribution companies lists would be rad, somewhere like Scream Factory or Universal. I want to travel more, too. Get myself or the writers out to more events. And some other fun stuff.

Any final words?

Ryan: Thanks to everyone who has helped us grow. To my writers and friends who pushed for this. It's not always easy but it's never not fun.

Rachael Hauschild