E.L. King chats about horror, science fiction, Stephen King, and trashy horror with Xero Gravity.
We sat down with New York based content creator, lifestyle influencer, and horror host, Xero Gravity to chat about all things horror. Gravity loves horror and science-fiction media in all of its forms including anime, comics, cosplay, film, books, and more. She's been a fan of dark and gritty fiction from a young age which includes a deep adoration for the novels of Stephen King and a love of what she calls "trashy horror" films.
If you don't know Gravity yet, enjoy our interview with her below as we shout into the void of the internet imploring you to get to know her. In addition to having Gravity join us as our Slayer Spotlight this month, we'd like to wish her a happy birthday and encourage you to engage with her horror content! Gravity has a lot of exciting things in store this coming year, but we promised not to spill it all, so stay tuned to her Twitter and Instagram for updates on her latest projects.
Slay Away: Xero, welcome, and thank you for joining me. Are you ready to chat horror with me today?
Gravity: Yes! I'm so ready to chat. Thank you for having me.
Slay Away: When we spoke previously, you mentioned that chatting about intersectionality, representation and horror are big passions of yours. Tell us why those things are so important to you.
Gravity: Well as a young grunt, I definitely struggled with a bit of identity crisis. That was my big vice growing up. Something I used as an escape was the horror genre and my general nerdiness. You know it's kind of hard to escape reality and dive into these fantastical things completely when you're not really represented and it's really hard to put yourself in the shoes of the protagonist or a fantasy character. So, that's what I wanted to see when I was younger and now that I'm older and we've progressed a little bit I really can't stop thinking about how, if these shows, these comics and all this media, as intersectional as it has become at this point was around when I was young and struggling with my identity, I would have had a much stronger sense of security and the knowledge that I don't need to be ashamed to like what I like.
So I really just want to bring acknowledgment to how important representation is not just for due credit but also for young people who will spend a lot of time in these different realms. It really has an impact on how they are able to see themselves and expand their imaginations and stuff like that. It's something I hold very close to me, personally.
Slay Away: When you were growing up, was there anything in particular that you watched where you thought to yourself, "Hey, I really like this, but I don't see myself represented, why is that?"
Gravity: Well, the first answer is Anime. I would watch Toonami like the typical 90s kid. It was niche in my friend group. At least, I was really the only person who was into horror movies. Around that time we had the glorious early 2000s horror films. You know, kind of overly dramatic teen horror films, and those were like my vice. That was what I was doing every single weekend at Blockbuster. They're so fun and so out of this world and that's I think where it hit the most for me, because a lot of those stories, although they might be a little bit trashy, they were on the adventurous side. We had heroes and final girls, really strong characters and I didn't see myself a lot of the time. When I did, it really meant something.
Slay Away: When is a time that you saw yourself in a horror film and how did that impact you?
Gravity: The first time I saw myself and really felt represented was in Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) with Jada Pinkett as a final girl. That movie is so good and it holds up in my opinion. It might be a little bit on the cheesy side but I can still handle the cheese. It was a recommendation to me by my parents actually and that was this one time where you had your final girl or your protagonist character and they're making all the right decisions. Like, that never happens. More often than not, she's going to trip and fall at this exact moment over nothing or she's going to go peer down the very dark hallway even though it's very suspicious looking.
She made all the right decisions. Jeryline was her name I believe and that was just not on brand for the movies I liked to watch, especially because she looked like me. She was hot, young, killing it, and making all the right decisions. I was very proud to look like her when watching these movies. As a character, Jeryline holds up.
Slay Away: You mentioned a love of trashy horror films. We've got to know what your top-tiered trashy horror film list looks like. Which one do you absolutely love?
Gravity: This is a hard question! This will sound utterly ridiculous, but The Human Centipede 2 (2011). Honestly, that's like the first time I've said this out loud. Those films are disgusting, don't really make any sense and honestly, I was a big fan of all of them with the sequels trying to top the original. I wouldn't qualify this as trashy, but also The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) kind of stuck with me as well. That was a favorite.
Slay Away: Tell us about the horror zines you have in the works and your other projects.
Gravity: The two zines that I have lined up right now include a collection of the black final girl and a breakdown of the evolution of the final girl, but I'm sticking with 2010 to present for my subjects. The second zine is a zombie analysis where I compare and contrast the different renditions of zombies and I've partnered up with author Sylvester Barzey, a black zombie apocalypse author. He has a series called "Planet Dead". The zines are on hold for now while I'm curating IRL events like and working on Girls Game Night. I recently held my first annual Halloween bash, and just wrapped our 4th annual Girls Game Night fundraiser.
Slay Away: We know you're a Stephen King fan, did you have any other horror authors that you absolutely adore?
Gravity: Well, I've reread a lot of my king books They're definitely at the top of my list. I've read a lot of Dean Koontz, but really I read books pretty slowly. I'm one of those people that takes like a month to finish a book and then I'll read six issues of a graphic novel or three issues of a manga in between different chapters of the one book I'm reading. I have more manga than I do physical books.
Slay Away: What experience do you believe most shaped your love of horror growing up?
Gravity: To be quite transparent, it was just my fear of everything. When I was really young I was scared of everything and I mean literally everything. It was so ridiculous. I was even scared to use the bathroom in public places if it had automatic flushing toilets because I was terrified that I don't know if it would flush before I was done or I would get like sucked in like it was a bad evil thing. I can't rationalize it.
I think maybe, middle school was the point where I was like, "Okay I can't be a little scaredy cat for the rest of my life." Using my middle school logic, I went on the internet and searched up the scariest things I could find to indulge myself in them thinking I would build up a tolerance and not be as scared of everything. That's literally how I got here. That's what I did and I am a child of the internet. So, creepypastas and all that disgusting internet crap, I was just eating it with a spoon and then I eventually found things that I liked. I also found things that I didn't like and realized that I could have a preference. I am still scared of most things. I'm scared every time I watch a horror movie. I'm scared every time I play a horror game. I've just worked up a little bit of tolerance. I guess I can say it helped because I can walk voluntarily into a haunted house at this point.