Dark Deals: 'Christmas with the Dead' and Kasey Lansdale’s Varied Options


In 1995 Random House published a horror anthology edited by the prolific editor Martin H. Greenberg entitled Great Writers and Kids Write Spooky Stories. Within that tome was a short story The Companion written by Kasey Lansdale, daughter of the award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale. It was the beginning of what has been a very interesting rise in entertainment and the world of horror. Well, before we get all crazy here let me say that she admits she didn't do it alone.

"My brother, my father, and myself, sat around and worked out the idea. My brother and I formed the story, and my father kinda hocky-pucked it into play as the idea was developed further. Growing up in an author's household, and having been writing and reading for as long as I can remember, it seemed natural to do a project together, even at the age of eight."

The story showed up a year later in Joe R. Lansdale's A Fistfull of Stories. But don't be looking for a short story repeat real soon.

"Most of my writing has transformed into song writing. I am working on a couple of projects, but music is the priority right now."

Indeed it is as she has three EPs under her belt and a solid country sound. Kasey Lansdale has been invited to music festivals around the world along with plenty of personal appearances stateside. But it seems as if everything that Kasey does is merely a stepping stone towards something else.

"I love to be involved in different projects and test myself with new creative endeavors...Honestly, I just feel like I have tons of this creative energy and I want to spread it around, diversify if you will. At some point, I will be old, more crotchety than I am now, and want to stay home on weekends rather than out performing at age 80. I feel like everything I'm involved in gives me an opportunity to spin all the things I love, cinema, music, writing, etc. into one big melting pot."

Yes, you read that correctly. She said cinema. You'll soon see her gracing the screen in Christmas with the Dead which was produced and written by Joe R. Lansdale with a screenplay penned by her brother Keith. Thriller mystery author Terrill Lee Lankford directed the work which tells the tale of a man who is determined not to let a zombie apocalypse interfere with his Yule festivities.

"I have actually been 'acting' since I was four," Kasey said, "beginning in community theater, moving into other stage production, small films, music videos, and then of course Christmas with the Dead. I have definitely had and maintained an interest in acting and camera work. I would love to be involved in other projects, and look forward to continuing my development of the craft."

She didn't have to look far. Kasey has recently picked up an option on Brian Keene's book Castaway which was mentioned in the last Dark Deals column.

"The Castaway project just kind of fell into place. I had met Brian Keene at a convention or two, thought he was a hell of a guy and kept in touch. Then Damien Maffei, (star of Christmas with the Dead) presented the idea to me and I offered to ask, and the rest is history. This is my first film production, but growing up in the Lansdale household, you learn lots real quick about 'showbiz.'"

In most cases options are purely a business deal but in this case there is some friendship involved also. That is a double edged sword making things both easier and harder due to expectations. At this stage in the game Kasey feels that the friendship is a plus for the business relationship.

"You know that no matter the outcome of the option, you've got a guy who's a great guy, and wants everyone to have success and good things. I also think business is business, and you can't allow the two to mix, but it sure is more fun working with someone you like.

"So far the beginning stages have been mostly excitement. I don't want to get ahead of myself and count chickens and what not, but I know the project can be great if we can line everything up; it is just a matter of whether or not we can get everyone on board at the same time. As you know, film projects aren't always about things that people think they are. There are often times a lot of red tape – hand holding and ass patting that goes into things – and you gotta get everyone to play along. I think it is important to just stay focused and let it unfold naturally."

"I would love the film to end up as the next beloved horror film of our time; the type that you have to watch many times to pick up all the subtleties and nuances. I think cinema could use a dark, gory film of this nature. Nowadays everything gets wrapped up in a nice little bow, and we have to branch out and away from that a bit. Not to say they don't exist, but less so than those that have the happy ending for sure."

Let me repeat for the umpteenth time in this column that most options do not result in movies being made. Kasey is aware of that eventuality but doesn't seem too put off by it.

"In the grand scheme of things it would not disappoint me that it may not get made. But anything that you work on and believe in you want to have a successful outcome. I also would love to see everyone involved be elevated in some way by the project. I would be initially disappointed, but would hopefully hop right back on the horse and try again. I think so long as you do your best at whatever you are doing, it becomes easier to let it go if things don't work out."

A talented, beautiful woman of integrity, in this business, does not happen often enough. However she is not beyond her own brand of family politics. I could not help but ask this budding entrepreneur if she had unlimited funds and could produce a film of any book in the world, what author or book would it be?

"Hmmm. If I had that opportunity, I would do a Joe Lansdale story... besides the pops....lemme get back to you."

Kasey Lansdale can be found on Twitter @KaseyLansdale, on Facebook under her name and you can even listen to some of her music there along with her website at

Del Howison is a journalist, writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. He is also the co-founder and owner of Dark Delicacies "The Home of Horror" in Burbank, CA. He can be reached at