Christopher Zisi is a blogger I met on Twitter. I always enjoy reading his reviews of B movies, and we have pretty similar taste in movies. I thought it would be cool to interview him.
Your biography says you are a paranormal investigator. What sort of paranormal encounters have you had? Do you believe in demons?
In 2011 I became a certified paranormal investigator. This occurred four years before I retired from the FBI. The Bureau was always big on us agents seeking educational opportunities. Many of my fellow agents were earning PH.Ds, mostly on-line, and the government had a program in which they paid for it. Most of these Ph.Ds would be utilized after retirement as many agents have gone on to teach at universities. My partner was getting one such degree. He would try to complete it on-line but often ended up swearing at the computer. Finally he had enough and pulled out of the program.
I remember thinking that someone needed to step up. My partner had dropped out, but I intended to succeed. Now I had to figure out a course of study. He was attempting a Ph.D in something to do with adult education. Not for me…boring! I went on-line and found Flamel College in Sacramento. They offered certifications in a number of fields. I chose Paranormal Investigator, UFO Investigator, and Cryptozoology. The Bureau loved it…though they wouldn’t pay for it.
I passed with flying colors…yes, I had to take tests. I decided to do a comprehensive investigation of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia…my workplace. Over the years accidental deaths and suicides had occurred. The results were mixed. Though the results of the investigations could have been interpreted in different ways, there was one investigation that sticks out. We had a mysterious fire in the classroom building. The exact cause is not known. I did several reading at the place the fire started and found some very exaggerated electrical readings. This was strange as there were no electrical sources nearby. No outlets, no coffee makers, no computers, no radios…nothing…just some electrical presence unexplained.
As far as demons…absolutely. If you ever have seen “The Conjuring” and its subsequent sequels, the Warrens give sage advice about demons…don’t engage…very dangerous.
What was the first horror movie you remember seeing? What is it about horror that makes you love it so much?
First Horror movie I remember seeing: Triple feature at the drive-in with my parents…I was six. “Count Yorga, Vampire,” then “The Abominable Dr. Phibes,” and finally “The She Beast.” Scared me silly. I was in a fetal position on the floor of the car. Took me years to ever watch another horror film, then it was “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” That was about 1977 on Creature Feature on WLVI TV (Channel 56) in Boston. I loved it.
Why do I love horror so much? As a nerdy kid, and very insecure, I was awful at sports, music, and everything else. In horror, loners and nerds usually were treated well. They were the ones who first figured out there were monsters. The cool kids (especially in slasher films) would die horribly. Also, perhaps, outcasts could identify with some of the classic monsters,,,the Frankenstein monster, Creature from the Black Lagoon…Dracula…these things were sympathetic figures, especially for a boy who doesn’t fit in. Frankenstein and the creature desperately wanted to fit in and to find love.
I also believe the horror genre, especially the slasher sub-genre, is a perfect outlet for our ids. Freud would say that our subconscious needs an outlet…a part of our brains we keep hidden from everyone and sometimes even ourselves. This is the “id.” We’re nice decent people, but sometimes we want to strike out in anger or perhaps in a violent anti-social manner. We don’t, as our brains give us restraint. Immediate impulses are quelled as reason and sanity win out. Suppressing these subconscious desires can be unhealthy and we need a healthy way to release them. Horror films give us the opportunity. Sure, I may love gory and violent horror, but I’m also aware this provides an outlet. Many don’t have outlets…you meet them in the news reports of church deacons fooling around on their wives or respectable people snapping and committing horrendous acts of perversion and violence. Often these folks are the same ones railing against horror as a genre that will corrupt.
Who is your favorite horror host?
Favorite horror host: Three come right to mind…Elvira, she matched up fun and horror perfectly. Joe Bob Briggs…he said what a lot of us felt, we wanna see gore, skin, and kills. The third are the folks of MST3K, I still watch all the old episodes on YouTube. Silly and inane, and I dare say, sometimes I actually watch for the movies.
What was it like working for the FBI?
FBI Agent career: For the majority of my career I was assigned to the Baltimore Division of the FBI. There I mostly did drug and organized crime investigations. I was promoted to a Supervisory Special Agent and was transferred to Quantico. There I taught new agent trainees interviewing and interrogation. Then I was assigned to teach police from all around the world interrogation and detection of deception. I was sent to dozens of countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Poland, Guyana, Serbia…to name just a few.
What was the scariest thing that ever happened to you as an agent?
Oh gosh…scariest thing I ever done? That is a tough one. I had so much respect and trust with the people I worked with that I never felt in danger, though I was of course. Drug raids and arrests were inherently dangerous, but when doing them, I never felt the danger. I was in The Maldives and a tsunami was heading our way. I was ushered to the top floor of their tallest building. My wife, thousands of miles away was terrified…I thought it was so much fun. What a way to I thought. I’d be a legend…Special Agent Zisi, killed in a tsunami. I figured the FBI would at least name a hallway for me at Quantico. The time came…6:05 pm, and it was a dud…a six inch tsunami. Oh well.
What is your opinion of Katy Perry?
Katy Perry? She needs to develop a third chord, work on a bit more agility in her dance moves, and perhaps take more antihistamine.
What’s the best horror movie you’ve seen recently?
Best horror movie recently? By recently, I figure you mean a film that has come out recently. The best one is 2017’s DEATH HOUSE. Gory, ominous, and deep in theme with a hall of fame cast. Harrison Smith did a fine job and everyone is in it from Barbara Crampton, Kane Hodder, to Camiile Keaton.
What is your opinion of Death Proof?
Death Proof? I love it. Tarrantino and I have similar tastes, though he gets me on talent. I love 1970s drive-in/exploitation. In fact, I have a novel coming out in 2019 which is extreme exploitation (dare I say sexploitation?) It is soooo deviant, I may have to come up with a pen name.
If you enjoyed this interview and are interested in Christopher Zisi’s work click here for his blog and click here for his Twitter!