Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview with Cory Benhatzel.

Full Name:
Cory Louise Benhatzel

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?

Amherst, New York.  A suburban small town of Buffalo, NY.  I call it upstate NY, but I guess technically it’s Western NY. It’s a mix of the suburbs and the country.

Current hometown:
Amherst, New York. We have wild animals outside and a nice piece of land with a little house on it.

Favorite city and why?
To live, Amherst.  I don’t have to be around too many people on an average day and can stay in the house with my cat (and husband) and paint. To visit, New York and Los Angeles.  I lived in Los Angeles for 8 years and I could never do that again.  New York is nostalgic and beautiful.  But claustrophobic.


How would you describe yourself physically?
Curvy.  Pale.  Some tattoos. Long white hair.

How would someone else describe you physically?
I try not to look at other people when I’m out in public and when I do I have a hard time deciphering what they are thinking about me.  I don’t know what they think I look like, honestly.

The first thing people notice about you is…
…my hair? Sometimes my tattoos, because around here it is still a bit shocking to see a young woman with tattoos on her arms.  My eyes?

Hair Color/Eye Color/Race?
White platinum hair /blue eyes / “white”= German, Polish, a bit of French origins.  My name Benhatzel, is my “maiden name.”  I chose not to take my husband’s name for several reasons.  Firstly, I always thought it was a disgusting tradition to dismiss your entire persona because you get married and are female, since I was a child.  Secondly, my husband has no real connection with his name, whereas I do.  My name, Benhatzel came from the German name, VonHetzel, which was a knighted German version name from when my family first came over.  Von means “from”, and is a higher version than the prefix, “Van”.  I’m not sure what Hetzel meant.  My father had originally wanted to name me Boris if I was male, after Boris Karloff.  I’ve always scolded him for not naming both Boris and keeping our original name, VonHetzel.
And also, my father had a band that was locally famous here in the early eighties, called “Benhatzel”.  So another reason to be proud of my surname.

Sexual orientation?

Religion, if any?
I like many aspects of anti-theistic Satanism.  That being said, I could never label myself as a follower of any religion. There is a lot of anger in me for religion in general and my relationship with Satan is a complex one.  I do think it’s fun though to think about Satan as, like, this great seducer, who if I do his bidding, will grant me whatever I want.  I guess it’s a multi- layered fantasy.  Complex, like I said.  And I do believe in spirits, or ghosts.  I also think of Satan as myself as well.  Complex.
Antitheistic Satanism is sincerely my favorite kind of Satanism.
That is soooo funny!  Because there are only two kinds!  Clever!
Are there? I didn’t even know. I only ever dabbled in Satanism, and even then from a purely philosophical perspective.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I don’t kill spiders.  When I save a ladybug, I make a wish on it before it flies away. I hate clowns. Also elevators and most people.  And heights.
So a high elevator filled with clowns would be your worst case scenario?
I hate clowns too. Mostly because they’re not fucking funny. Also anyone I’ve ever met that felt compelled to dress up like a clown has been a natural born asshole. Except for Angus Oblong. That guy’s okay in my books.
All clowns are horrible.

Do you smoke/drink?   If so, what?   Any bad habits?
Yes to drinking. Sometimes the occasional weed.  Or clove. For drinks mostly whiskey, beer and jager. Bad habits- I swear. 

Current occupation / Dream job:
Artist / More successful artist.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Drink, watch movies, spend time with my husband and cat.  But I also do that while I’m working.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Learn to aim for the head.
You might want to start hitting the firing range now. The head’s a tough target.
I agree, that’s why I would prefer melee weapons

Weapon of choice:
Axe, with chainsaw second.  Then katana.

Do you have any special skills?
Hopefully painting and drawing.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes, for fine art.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
A big chunk of it got paid off thanks to my family, and the rest I’m still whittling down.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
Yes, a cat who is my daughter, her name is Moogle.

What is your favorite animal?
Cat, but there are many others.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Most things that people do annoy me.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Favorite; sushi, mac and cheese, bean and cheese burritos…cheese in general.  Least; any kind of meat other than fish.

What is your favorite quotation/motto/saying?
“The audience ams a fickle mistress, Toki.  The audience ams a fickle mistress.” - Skwisgaar , Metalocalypse

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Sounds cliché, but probably my husband, Justin.
It’s not a cliché if it’s true. We should all be so lucky.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
The deaths of my other cats, my parents divorce…having a scary medical thing…that’s a hard question.  My horrible part time jobs.  A bunch of shit in high school.  I still have nightmares almost every night about high school.  I got a lot of shit for being the weird looking arty girl.
What was the scary medical thing?
Let’s just say it would have been a lifelong affliction, ending my dreams as I know it.  But it was a false alarm. Get it?
I sure do.

What kind of shit did you get for being the weird looking arty girl?
Well I liked classic rock a lot as a teenager, especially Bowie. And I dressed like it. So I got shit everywhere I went because of that.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Not really.  I had been a bit careless with my heart at times in the past, but I can genuinely say that no one ever actually broke it.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Not on purpose.  I did specifically have to break one person’s heart though, I think.  To show that I wasn’t interested in them and they were stalking me.  They carved my name into their arm.
Yeah, that sounds like it was a bit much.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I try to make each new painting the best I can, although that doesn’t necessarily work out in the end.
I like to think of myself as an artist also as I dabble with the brushes every now and then and have managed to sell a few paintings. Sometimes a painting really gets away from me and the end result is definitely not what I had intended initially. Does that ever happen to you?
It usually doesn’t take that long for it to get out of control for me.  During the initial drawing I can tell if it’s going to work or not.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I really don’t know.  Worst sounds like something bad when it wasn’t deserved.  And I try not to do things like that.

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
Probably my bosses from my shitty old part time jobs and people that hurt animals.

What do you do?
Try to make the art I want to see.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve been drawing since I could make marks on stuff.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Be as nice as you can, and be as professional as you can. Never stop trying to improve what you specifically do. Don’t let people shit on you.  Even if those people are somebody.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
I moved out to LA after graduating from high school at 18 from western NY.  I was in all honors and advanced placement classes and was consistently on the honor roll.  I was always mostly obsessed with art though, and excelled in all my art classes, even achieving a perfect score on the AP art class/exam senior year.  I wanted to get as far away from Buffalo as possible, so I moved to the land of The Doors, Los Angeles, when I was 18, alone. 
I attended Otis college of art and design and experienced all that LA had to offer as a culture-shocked yet eager 18 year old.  At that time I thought I wanted to be a Rolling Stone-style photographer and was obsessed with taking live shots of bands.  Luckily I also studied fine art, of which drawing and painting had lifelong practices for me.  I ended up doing thesis studies of the pop media that had entranced me as a child; “Labyrinth”, “The Last Unicorn”, and “The Littlest Rabbit”, mostly.  I took large scale photographs and videos of the actual imagery and manipulated it, kind of psycho-analyzing myself.
After I graduated, amongst other things, I worked as a tattoo artist, and for galleries and then just went back to painting what I liked.  From there, I started showing in galleries, and so on.  I got really sick of Los Angeles after eight years, and moved back to my hometown with my now husband and daughter-cat.
Currently, I’ve done many gallery shows, mostly in the US but in recent years have branched out to Italy, England and Australia.  Looking forward to showing and seeing more of the world.

What projects are you working on now?
Currently a commission for an artist I quite admire, five gallery shows before the end of the year, and then ones lined up for 2014, writing/illustrating a book that I hope to publish someday, and trying to get decent merch made from my designs.

A full list of my shows can be seen here:

What are you watching?
I’ve literally watched thousands upon thousands of movies.  At this time of year more horror even than usual, especially classic horror.  My favorites are Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr’s The Wolfman, and several Vincent Price movies.  And a lot of the funny bad ones too.  “A Bucket of Blood” is one of the best, especially since it’s a movie about trying to be an artist.  My favorite movie of all time is The Shining.
Good choices all. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Universal Monsters.

What are you listening to?
I’ve been listening almost exclusively to Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam by Ghost for the past, oh I don’t know, like 4 months.
Do you find that music helps your creative process?

Yes, I love working with music in my ears, too loud, and (an often time shitty) movie playing on mute.

What are you reading?
Sadly failing at reading “The Satanic Witch” by Anton LaVey.  More like occasionally reading, sometimes skimming.

Favorite author / book?
I constantly feel ashamed for not getting to read anymore.  For a while I was so into Bukowski.  I think I read every book he wrote.  He’s the reason I don’t use showy adjectives when I write anymore, haha.
Bukowski is a tough influence to get out from under. His words are like cinder blocks used to build a beautiful sad strangely nostalgic building.

Favorite band / song?

Least favorite band/song?
I’m usually blissfully unaware of all the horrible shitty music that’s out there, until I am faced with it in a public place, like playing in a store or something.  So I never know who it is, but every time it’s a new piece of shit; each song is my least favorite.

Desert Island Music/Movies/Books: You know the deal. Five of each.
Music: Ghost, Nordavinden, Dimmu Borgir, Dethklok or 3 Inches of Blood, Coheed and Cambria
Movies: The Shining, Barry Lyndon, Clockwork Orange, Dracula, The Wolfman
Books: Anything Bukowski, Atlas Shrugged, The Satanic Bible, The Littlest Rabbit, 1984 or Brave New World.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I’d like to be able to help animals and simultaneously sing Satan’s praises.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.

I try not to think about that too much.  To have idols only leads to disappointment and frustration.  But.  I’d love to meet Ghost.  Especially Papa. (alive and in costume). 
Dead- Bela Lugosi
Fictional- Papa Emeritus II.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Best- current, artist.  Worst- art teacher for a chain that turned out to be run by scientologists.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Maybe but I don’t know what they are…
Well, if anything comes to mind we can do an update. It’s pretty easy.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Yes, there are a bunch of artists who I would love to hear their answers to these questions; Jel Ena, Cam Rackam, Dan Harding, Heather Gargon….those are just a few I can think of now.
If they’re in your FB Friends list I’ll send them an add request and go from there.

Got any questions for me?
How did you find me on Facebook?
We’ve got 23 “Friends” in common on Facebook. Each time I do an interview I try to remember to check out their Facebook friends and add a few artists/musicians/film-makers, etc. If I hover over someone’s link and they list themselves as an artist or their profile and cover pics are cool art I send them a Friend Request. I know it’s a bit invasive, but I haven’t had anyone complain yet and I haven’t reached the point where people are asking me to be interviewed yet so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing until I start getting enough interview requests that I don’t have to ask people if they want to be interviewed anymore.
Why did you want to ask me these questions? Or do you just ask everyone that you find on here without filter?
The initial survey is standard. It’s like a Rorschach ink blot test. The questions aren’t as important as the answers. The questions are a blank canvas that the interviewees can fill in with whatever content that they want to. Then if the interviewee has anything interesting to say I comment or ask follow-up questions. Sometimes the answers are so dull I can’t even think of anything to comment or follow-up with. Sometimes the answers are so complete and self-contained I can’t even think of anything to comment or follow-up with. My favorite ones are the ones where we kick it back and forth two or three times and have fun with the interview format. Some people don’t know how to have fun.

Closing questions / summary / and thanks:
Thanks.  This was really fun and I enjoyed reading yours and a bunch of other people’s interviews.  It’s so refreshing and weird to hear truthful answers to such personal questions.
You’re quite welcome. I tried to develop something that went deeper than your usual puff-piece promotional interview and gave people a chance to get to know the artists behind the media that they appreciate. Some people don’t “get it” but for the most part people seem to figure out what I’m trying to do with this interview blog. You provided some pretty solid answers so I didn’t have to do a ton of follow-up which I appreciate.
Thanks for allowing me to subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote. All of them.

Facebook:,    and

About the Interviewee:
Cory Louise Benhatzel was born and raised in the town of Amherst, New York. She loved her cats, drawing, and the magical forest that was her backyard. At eighteen she moved to Los Angeles where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art & Design. Cory's artistic love has always been painting and drawing, but has also tried her hand at tattooing, photography, experimental video and art gallery work. After eight years in Los Angeles, she decided to return to Amherst with her husband Justin and daughter-cat Moogle. She lives in a house guarded by gargoyles and paints most of the time.   Much of the inspiration behind Cory Benhatzel’s paintings come from her childhood experiences and memories.  The taxidermy she viewed at the local natural history museum, the deer skeletons she saw in her backyard, the flower gardens that her mother grew, the heavy metal music her father played, the wild birds Cory fed outside, and her beloved pet cats, all made an indelible mark on the artist. It was these early loves that created the painter and inspire the pieces she makes.  Cory has created a majestic world where supernatural beasts are impervious to the cruelty of humanity and are guardians of the occult; holders of great secret knowledge. Among the symbolism that the artist employs are that of Florigography (the Victorian-era Language of Flowers), witchcraft, Satanism and Norse Paganism.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

OPTIONAL: Prove you’re not a replicant.

Question 1:

A tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping. Why is that?
Trick question.  I would always help a sweet little tortoise.  And I have even helped one out of the middle of a busy street, stopping traffic.

Question 2:
Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about your mother.

Sweet, hard working, wished only the best for me, one of my best friends.

Question 3:
It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet.
I punch them in the nads.

Question 4:
You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar.
I would never have a little boy.  Or any child.  If I found a child like this I would spank him silly and teach him what it felt like for those butterflies he killed.

Question 5:
You're watching television. Suddenly you realise there's a wasp crawling on your arm.              
I say, ok, there’s a wasp on me.  I calmly walk over to the window/door and let him go outside.

Question 6:
You're reading a magazine. You come across a full-page nude photo of a girl. You show it to your husband. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall.
I masturbate to it when I’m alone. And/Or when he’s around. But seriously, he would never do that.

Question 8:
You're watching a stage play. A banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog.
Well, if I ever knew that happened with a dog, I would probably skin the people alive who did it.  Especially if I was drunk.  Those people would be so sorry.  If this is a reference to something else, I am blissfully unaware.
It’s from Blade Runner.

You’re not a replicant.

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