Christopher Bollen quotes:

  • I'm convinced I was the only kid ever who had a Death on the Nile [1978] movie poster and a Murder on the Orient Express [1974] movie poster on his bedroom walls.

  • I would stay at my grandma's house on my birthday every year and I remember she had a bookshelf of murder mystery books along with really frightening books, like one on Jack the Ripper. She also had a poster of a shark in the closet which also terrified me at the time.

  • I was obsessed with Agatha Christie in sixth grade.

  • The first horror movie I saw, in first or second grade, was My Bloody Valentine [1981], where there's a deranged killer in a miner mask stalking a small coal town.

  • I also wonder why is it that so many of the movies and books that are detective stories are also the most aesthetically interesting? From Hollywood noirs to horror movies like The Shining [1980].

  • My dad liked more macho adventure books like Shogun or spy novels. My mother reads murder mysteries. In fact, so does her mother, my grandma. That's where I trace the familial line of murder mystery obsession.

  • There's a structure to a detective story that I can easily understand. I understand playing that particular game. It's like solving a puzzle. Or creating a puzzle.

  • I just think, as writers, especially with a book that takes years to write, you sort of wake up every morning hoping and praying that you can make it work for the day.

  • We've come under the influence of television, where in all honesty we can follow a show that could just get cancelled midway through the season and the entire plotline never resolves itself.

  • I have always wanted to be either a cinematographer or a veterinarian.

  • I was never afraid on stage. That's where I was the least afraid. I could just do what I do and I had the amplification and the lights.

  • You find when you're writing a detective story that you're actually not trying to solve anything. You're trying to stop the reader from solving the puzzle.

  • As much as I adore Agatha Christie - and I think people make this claim about murder mysteries in general - it's often a very conservative mode of storytelling. Usually it's the greedy, climbing, new-money slimeball who wants to take from the aristocracy.

  • Every time I try to write on vacation, I fail miserably.

  • Talking to all those great writers and artists for the magazine was a form of graduate school for me.

  • In a lot of ways, work was my graduate school.

  • I also remember when I watched Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer [1990] at, like, age 15. That scared the crap out of me. Because it didn't operate inside the usual conventions of the horror genre in the way that I could accept. I can accept horny teenager counselors being murdered at camp. But I couldn't accept the derangement of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which was that anyone could be murdered at any moment - whole families, with no build-up music and no meaning. It terrified me.

  • She had no way of evaluating the beauty of someone so young. All young people looked beautiful to her now.

  • They were young and gay and the femininity of their teenage years had only recently hardened into the muscle of a competitive sexual economy. Their muscles met the demands of the city, and the city met the demands of their muscles.

  • There is something very romantic about the orphan figure in American literature.

  • Why I love chess and tennis - the volleying aspect, and the fact that your competitors' reactions and motivations and bluffs come into the game itself.

  • I have to say I do read partly for escapism. Why can't I escape and learn something?

  • There's something about fear and aesthetic that go hand in hand.

  • The death drive is parasitic. It runs off of other drives, leeching off of them.

  • I smoke cigarettes when I write, which is disgusting, but it really helps me.

  • One day I want to write a full-on horror book.

  • My strength is character. I'm pretty good at building walking-talking humans with brains like beehives.

  • I feel that I'm solid at description.

  • It is a little out of touch to presume that someone wants to follow your every observation and insight over the course of hundreds of pages without any sort of payoff. That's why writing isn't a one-way street. You have to give something back: an interesting plot, a surprise, a laugh, a moment of tenderness, a mystery for the reader to piece together.

  • I've never even done a residency.

  • I had been going out to Orient for several years.

  • I had lived in New York since 1996, sometimes in the worst neighborhoods, without even locking my door half the time.

  • I was a very scared child.

  • My parents were great parents, but for some bizarre reason they allowed me to watch whatever I wanted on TV, we had cable. And I constantly watched horror movies.

  • To this day I still watch tons of horror.

  • Going out into the country after living in the city is a loss of control.

  • It's always surprised me that mainstream America had the good taste to like R.E.M. It doesn't have the digestible quality the general public tends to look for in its favorite musicians.

  • Looking back, [R.E.M.]videos, by in large, have always been art films. I'm thinking of "Losing My Religion." That's a landmark piece.

  • Today, MTV doesn't play videos anymore, but YouTube certainly has become the next MTV.

  • An album for me as a teenager in the '70s was a fully formed concept. It was a body of work from an artist I liked or trusted or who excited me. Maybe one of the songs is really poppy and you listen to it on the radio as a hit single and then more of the world is about to find out about this artist by buying the record.

  • Now we're in an age of singles. It's actually always been more about singles for most of music history.

  • I wanted to reexamine the idea of the album for generations of people who are not my age, who love music or learning about music or are finding this band called R.E.M. or have just previously heard "Losing My Religion" and "Everybody Hurts" as their elevator music. I wanted to present an idea of what an album could be in the age of YouTube and the Internet.

  • I'm ultimately not so much of a professor as a progresser. And I'm ready to move away from what I consider to be this weird mid-century dream that I feel pulls us as a country, and us as a culture, backward.

  • There's a great scene in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre [1974] that I'm obsessed with: Sally is being chased by Leatherface with a chainsaw. And she runs into thorn bushes. And she's getting tangled up in it because she's running fast. But Sally needs to move slowly in order to get through the bushes - she will get farther faster by going slowly because her hair and clothes won't get tangled and caught. There's something really beautiful about understanding that, while someone's chasing you with a chainsaw, you have to move more slowly in order to get away.

  • There is a value to moving more slowly through a story.

  • There's also something sexual about watching the nubile girl in terror. But you do take on her fear as your own.

  • I've never had a mentor. I've always wanted one. I'm actually really disappointed that nobody took my under their wing.

  • We lost so many talented artists and writers from the generations before ours that we're really lacking older figureheads.

  • Both my parents were big readers.