“A great film demonstrates a profound sense of place or character… A great film is one that I want to dissect.” — Meet author Laird Barron

Wess Haubrich
10 min readMay 27, 2018
Screenshot from THEY REMAIN.

I caught up with author Laird Barron to chat weird fiction, cosmic horror, the craft of the story, film, his thoughts on True Detective Season 1 (his influence on creator Nic Pizzolatto is well-documented), the first cinematic adaptation of his work titled They Remain, and his foray into the world of hard-boiled noir fiction which will undoubtedly be profoundly dark and stoked by Barron’s impressive array of influences and acumen for what terrifies us most viscerally. I hope you enjoy Laird’s observations and learning on the craft of story (in film and literature) as much as I did.

Laird Barron and dog Athena. Courtesy of the author.

Barron is an ex-pat Alaskan, now living in up-state New York, his books include The Croning, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, Swift to Chase, and Blood Standard.

The short story “ — 30 — “ (upon which They Remain is based) can be found in Occultation and Other Stories.

Check him out online, on Facebook and on Twitter — he is really essential reading for fans of not just horror but a great story period.

Welcome Laird to The 405! I was wondering if we might be able to start by giving our readers a good, solid idea of what “weird fiction” or “cosmic horror” is to you. What got you into writing in that vein? Which writers have been most influential on you (of any genre)?

Thank you for the chat.

Cosmic horror is primarily concerned with the minuteness of humankind in the face of the cosmos. We are essentially microbes clinging to a speck of dust as it plunges into a vast interstellar abyss. I also note that the quasi-infinite nature of the microcosmic universe is an equally valid framework. Inner space, outer space; it’s the same. A cosmic horror story in essence says, we are tiny and impermanent and great, terrible truths await — so allow me to show you how small, how impermanent, and how terrible.

Influences and provenance — World mythology, including the Bible. Lord Dunsany; H.P. Lovecraft; to…

Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.