Waste Coast - An Interview with a Vampire

This guy goes by the name of Spookhaus, sells weed to my friends, and sleeps in a coffin for kicks.

Jun 1 2012, 1:50pm

I first heard about Spookhaus (or Bruce Campbell) when I was on tour a few weeks ago. Our driver said he had bought weed off of this guy in Vancouver who was a real vampire. Obviously I was intrigued. Anytime I hear about someone that eccentric in my beautiful boring city I get really excited. When I found out that Spookhaus allegedly sleeps in a coffin, I was sold. Spookhaus isn’t just a normal vampire, he’s a personality. He makes music, comic books called Satan Clause, and even busks around town. And just like Manson, he has a gaggle of female vocalists, which he calls “The Witches of Spookhaus," while he calls himself “The Artist of Darkness.” 

Hungry to explore the depths Spookhaus's craziness, I was excited when he invited me over to his place for some wine. I brought my friend Kate along to the interview to take photos, but I also wanted a witness just in case things got weird. We arrived at his apartment when the sun was still out. I called Bruce to let him know we were there and suddenly a man appeared at the door wearing a black cloak and a kitschy skeleton mask. He waved, opened the door, and escorted us inside. Being the bubbly, optimistic girl she is, Kate tried to introduce herself, but the masked man stayed silent as we entered a red elevator. Then the masked guy pulled out a dead rat from his pocket and held it up for me, still saying nothing. I laughed, because what else was I going to do? This was funny, but as we verged on almost six minutes with no words, I started to question if being sexually molested by a vampire was something I could actually get into. Spookhaus's dark blue-lit apartment was more like a museum of horror with stacks of movies and posters of iconic vampires on every wall. And there was leather, lots of black leather. When we got good inside of Spookhaus's place, the masked man finally revealed himself. It was Spookhaus in the flesh! He poured us some wine in goblets and we sat down to chat.

VICE: How does a vampire end up in Vancouver?
I was born in France. My father was a major in the Air Force. He was an engineer, a strict professional, but he had all his training in the military. I lived on bases all over Canada and Europe. Have you heard the expression military brats? We’re so constricted and oppressed, so we tend to turn out pretty wild. I found an outlet. The horror thing is my outlet.

How did you get into all this?
Horror is very anti-establishment. It always has been. My parents hated taking me to see horror movies when I was a kid because they were real B movies and my parents thought it was junk, drive-in stuff. When I was a kid I begged for a cape and fangs to wear to school. It wasn’t an obsessive thing. I just liked it. Remember when I freaked you out a bit when you arrived? It’s just that kind of stuff. I got a rush from it. Horror movies got me so excited and I felt empowered, especially as a kid. I wasn’t scared. I was fascinated. The fact that my parents and sisters didn’t like it, made it even better. Just like a drug, like heroin.

What was the first horror movie you saw?
It was in San Antonio, Texas when I was four years old. It was called Ghost of Frankenstein and Lon Cheney Jr. played the monster. I remember this one scene where Frankenstein is rampaging through the town, everyone is running from him, and this little girl, who was my age at the time, is the only one who is not scared. She asks the monster to get her ball for her; I guess it got stuck on the roof. He picks her up and helps her get her ball down. Meanwhile, the villagers are screaming to let her go. I thought Frankenstein was cool. All the parents hated him but the children loved him. I remember going to see The Exorcist when I was ten years old. I was deep into horror, but that movie scared the shit out of me. I wasn’t aware of the depth of the satanic connotations. It was the first movie where they got into the Occcult and satanic shit.

Why are people afraid of horror?
That’s a good question. I can’t figure it out. Sure, I get a little freaked out but it’s doing its job. But at ten years old, I could relate to Linda Blair. She was being possessed and I was thinking the devil would get me too.

What do you think about the vampire movies and television shows like Twilight?
I hate it. I hate the vampire resurgence. It’s Hollywood bullshit. Twilight destroyed me.

Well, as a feminist the story behind Twilight offends me.
Well, as a vampire, I think that it waters down the vampire. It makes the vampire into a Justin Bieber. I’m sick of Twilight. I’m sick of Hollywood. Even though I own all these movies and 95 percent of them are from Hollywood—they are classics. I’m into the innocence of horror. There is no innocence in horror now. It’s just product placement and social engineering tools.

What about all the shows like “The Secret Circle”?
I don’t watch television. I haven’t watched it in over 25 years. When I do see it I am disgusted by it. It insults my intelligence. Within ten years of leaving the vision box behind I got better visions of my own. Television as we know, your mother told you this, it’s a hypnotic tool. It’s strobes that hypnotize you and suggests things to you. I felt that when I was younger. I would get panic attacks when I would watch television. I would smoke one, and try to chill in front of the television, but I couldn’t chill out.

But, you like movies?
I watched a lot of movies for a long time to get a vibe of the things I am doing now and then I got burnt out on it. I had it all in me so I could just let it all out. It’s like when you eat a really big sandwich and your body fills up with nutrients, fuel, and you have strength.

When did you realize you were a vampire? What it means to be a vampire?
It wasn’t anything esoteric. As I said, I was heavy into horror and the vampire was the most powerful character.

He could hypnotize people. He could seduce women. But, what I understand now about the vampire is the primitive aspect of the human being. Now, I think that we all at one time were vampires. Thousands of years ago, we had to hunt and collect. We would hunt something, kill it and eat the raw meat because we would be so hungry. Maybe even pop out an eyeball and eat it too.

Yeah, it sounds gross but that’s because the system has done it all for us. Now, we just go to the grocery store. We see a little blood at the end of the liver and we get grossed out. We live in an anti-septic world. We can all relate to the vampire, every one of us. I’m just tuning in a little more.

It’s the primitive ferociousness of all of it?
Absolutely. Is that good or bad? That’s the question with evil or vampires. What is good and what is bad? And I have explored evil. I was involved in the Brotherhood of Satan from Texas. They are an Occult group that believes that Satan exists. It takes about 13 steps to get to the top.

It’s like A.A. for Satan.
Yeah, they had approached me because of my music. They made me an honorary member, but I don’t like cults. I like being solo. I can’t be a Hitler tyrant and I can’t take orders.

That’s the vampire in you.
Yes, a vampire has magic in himself and confidence. He doesn’t need anything.

Do you go outside?
Of course. That’s all Hollywood. Hollywood screwed up the vampire and Hollywood screwed up the devil. Hollywood screwed up the Occult. It’s all about empowerment. We want to be something bigger than life. I think attaching yourself to Occultism is better than attaching yourself to the system. Better to empower yourself outside the system than with being a CEO or a marine. The religious sect creates the system we live in. New age thinking, hippy cults, Charles Manson, and all that shit is trying to get back to a commune, a communication of what we once were.

Have you ever listened to Charles Manson’s music? I don’t think people know what a great songwriter he was.
Yes, I am. I think he is a fantastic songwriter. I think Manson was framed. Charles Manson was a small-time criminal. He did petty theft. He was a criminal since the day he was born. He was a harmless loser, but I think that he was picked out, because he spent so much time in the jail system, that they thought they could use him as a patsy for the whole hippy generation. I have no doubt in my mind that Charles Manson was set up to destroy the hippy generation. He went and killed Sharon Tate right? She was married to Roman Polanski and Roman Polanski was the director of Rosemary’s Baby, OK? Polanski was also involved in a Jewish underground Kaballah that was run by Jews and people in the Occult and Rosemary’s Baby was Polanski’s little way of exposing them. Tate was killed three years later with her own baby dying too. They got Manson to not only demonize the hippy generation, but to send a warning to Polanski. Just something to think about. You don’t have to believe me. Look, going back to the Occult. If you are afraid, you will never be enlightened. You might have been scared to come over and see me...

Well, with that whole door trick.
Yeah, but I thought I’d test you. If you'd have left, you wouldn't have had any balls. But you stayed. That’s key. That’s why I dive into the Occult headfirst. I’m not going to die; I am going to come out enlightened. If you understand how the devil works, how evil works, and then you understand both sides. We already know our side, our moral good side. Evil is a necessity.

One thing doesn’t exist without the other. We live in a world of binary oppositions, day and night, man and woman…
OK, but you have day and night, but you also have afternoon, evening, early evening, everything leading up to the darkness. Then, you have the gradual light, morning, and then it happens all over again. People tend to look at day or night. There is more to it. There is man in every woman and a little woman in every man. There is good in evil and there is evil in good. The devil is part of heaven.

What would God be then?
I don’t even like to call God, God, you know? It’s just this good entity. However, the devil is something that came from God and the Occult is based on the earth. We all have powers beyond the powers that we have now. Our powers have been diluted by the system. Power comes from the earth and our earth is now covered with cement. It’s very hard for us to use the magic we possess, fully. Gas running cars, electronics, we think these things are empowering us but they are disturbing our true creativity and power. All human beings should draw natural power and the system we are in now squashes it down.

But don’t you feel like your squashing your power by living in an apartment in the city? Shouldn’t you be alone in the woods?
No. The only power I have now is the power to be creative. I can do that anywhere.

Photos by Kate Brown

Vice Channels