Five things you may not have known about the stars of "Comic Book Men," the AMC reality series set in filmmaker Kevin Smith's Red Bank, New Jersey comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash:
1. Walt Flanagan is a comic book artist and longtime friend of Smith's who helped inspire Smith's interest in comics.
2. Bryan Johnson is another longtime Smith friend and the inspiration for the Randal character in "Clerks."
3. Michael Zapcic is said to have an "encyclopedic knowledge of every issue of every comic known to man."
4. Ming Chen is also the creator of Smith's View Askew Productions website.
5. All four "Men" men, like Smith, host their own podcasts.
Something you already know if you're a regular viewer of the show, where Flanagan, Johnson, Zapcic, and Chen interact with Stash customers and join Smith for a review of the week's events: They're ridiculously funny and full of pop culture knowledge. And all of that is on full display in their answers to our Halloween-themed POPsessions questionnaire.
1. What scares you the most?
Walt Flanagan: Vomiting
Bryan Johnson: Walt ridicules me for this all the time, but little children. Specifically, children in a context in which they simply don't belong. If you walk into your house at 2 a.m. and see an unfamiliar adult in your living room, you think "OK, I'm being robbed." Now, swap that adult out for a six-year-old kid who quickly disappears into the shadows of an adjoining room. That is scary.
Mike Zapcic: I'm not terribly fond of heights, and rats are pretty disgusting.
Ming Chen: I'm somewhat claustrophobic. I have always had a fear of being buried alive.
2. What is the scariest movie of all time?
Walt: "The Exorcist" (1973).
Bryan: It's not my favorite and not even technically a horror film, but if we're talking scary, my vote goes to George Sluizer's 1988 film "The Vanishing." As an adult, I'm not super worried about werewolves or vampires sneaking up on me, but the idea of someone kidnapping a loved one from right under my nose and then taunting me about it? To me that's the definition of terror.
Mike: I didn't see "The Exorcist" until I was 12, so I'd built it up until I thought it was going to be the bloodiest, most gruesome film, but it wasn't. The horror was more subtle. It wasn't until a few days later that it really hit me, and that freaked me out even more.
Ming: I still think "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is one of the scariest movies of all time. Freddy Krueger attacking you in your sleep via your nightmares … what's scarier than that?
3. Who is the scariest monster in film history?
Walt: Spider-head from John Carpenter's "The Thing."
Bryan: For my money, it's the alien from "The Thing."
Mike: Hannibal Lecter, because he could be your high school geometry teacher.
Ming: The aliens from "Aliens" are monsters that I'd never want to run into in a dark alley. Bad attitudes, acid for blood, multiple jaws, using me as a host for baby aliens growing inside me. No thanks.
4. Who is the scariest real-life monster of all time?
Walt: Adolf Hitler
Bryan: You could take your pick from any number of already-apprehended serial killers, but I think the scariest monsters are the people who walk amongst us, yet we have no clue that they're monsters. The mother who murders her children because "God told her to." The nice, old man who makes birdhouses and sells them at the farmer's market. Oh wait, turns out he killed a young girl who was selling gift wrap back in '82 and buried her in his crawlspace. Miss Lucy, the daycare worker who spends her off-hours as a card-carrying member of an Internet child-porn ring. The scariest monsters are the ones who haven't been discovered yet.
Mike: Joseph Stalin. Hands down.
Ming: I'd have to go with Jaws, which was based off real-life shark attacks in New Jersey.
5. What was the first horror film you saw?
Walt: The made-for-TV movie "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" (1973).
Bryan: It was the made-for-TV movie "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." I was six, and it was a huge deal to watch it since it aired on a school night. It's about a young couple who inherit an old house and are told by the caretaker not to enter a locked room. Sally, the young wife, ignores him, enters the room, and opens a fireplace releasing a bunch of troll-like demons. After that she's stalked by the demons, but can't convince anyone else they exist. Hearing those demons whisper her name was easily the most scarring childhood moment to date.
Mike: "Night of the Living Dead." My parents let me stay up late and watch it when I was 7 — a poor parental choice, in hindsight.
Ming: "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was the first horror movie I saw, and it still affects me to this day.
6. What was your reaction to it?
Walt: I thought little cone-headed creatures lived inside the walls of my house.
Bryan: Contrary to the title, I slept with the lights on for nearly a year.
Mike: In the TV-edited version, [there was a] caption: "dramatization." The next day I asked my mom what that meant. She told me [incorrect, but not incorrect] that it was people acting out something that had already happened. I actually thought that the movie was part documentary, and that we'd narrowly avoided an undead plague.
Ming: I didn't sleep well for a month, if at all. I didn't want to get attacked in my dreams.
7. What's one nightmare you remember clearly?
Walt: Seeing a jetliner explode in mid-flight and then body parts from its passengers raining down on me.
Bryan: I have two younger brothers, both of whom are about 10 years younger than I. They were in their late teens at the time of the nightmare. I was supposed to be babysitting them, but lost track of time. I noticed they were missing and went outside to look for them. They were in the front yard, but were young again, about 6 or 7. Both were deadly-pale and struggling to breathe, like fish out of water. I knew I'd be crucified for letting my guard down, so I picked up one of them and twisted his head off. I threw his head in a trash can then wired his body to the undercarriage of my father's truck. I carried my other brother to the backyard and dug a hole. He was still breathing when I threw him in the makeshift grave, but I covered him up anyway. Hey, where are you going?
Mike: A family member is murdered, and I keep hearing a bell gonging.
Ming: When I don't get enough sleep and it builds up, I get night terrors about dying. Usually by suffocation or being buried alive.
8. What's one movie you're too scared to re-watch?
Walt: "Exorcist II: The Heretic" … terrible.
Bryan: The only time I'm scared to re-watch a movie is when it's remembered favorably from a nostalgic sense, and I'm afraid it won't hold up when viewed with adult eyes. That happened with the Linda Blair movie "Hell Night." I couldn't believe how boring it was and questioned how I could have liked it so much.
Mike: I don't have one.
Ming: There is a really crappy '80s horror movie called "Truth or Dare? A Critical Madness" that I watched at a sleepover once when I was young. It features bad acting and effects, but it scared the crap out of me, and I won't be re-watching it anytime soon.
9. Did you ever egg a neighbor's house on Halloween night?
Bryan: Nah. I've never been a vandal type. It sounds really dopey to say it, but my friends and I would look for cops, and when we were sure they'd seen us, start running. I guess I liked the thrill of the chase, but didn't want to inconvenience my neighbors to get my kicks.
Mike: Never a neighbor. You shouldn't egg where you sleep. I always traveled a distance of acceptable deniability.
Ming: Egged, TP-ed … You name it. Sometimes on random Friday nights, as well.
10. Do you believe in ghosts?
Bryan: I want to, but it's not looking good. I'm 45 and used the Ouija Board countless times as a kid with zero results. If ghosts want people to believe in them so badly they should make it easier to verify their existence. Why so coy, ghosts?
Mike: You bet.
Ming: I believe in ghosts and that disturbed spirits linger in the afterlife. I also believe souls come down from time to time to remind us they are still around.
11. What iconic horror role would you most want to play or make?
Walt: "Nosferatu" (1922), but I'd still keep it as a silent movie so I wouldn't need to talk.
Bryan: I guess I could play "The Blob"?
Mike: The Devil.
Ming: I'm a big hockey fan. I would love to chase campers around with a machete a la Jason Voorhees from "Friday the 13th"!
12. Are monsters evil or misunderstood?
Walt: Depends on the monster.
Bryan: Depends. Frankenstein, misunderstood. Freddy from "Nightmare on Elm Street," kind of an evil d---. Jason, misunderstood. Michael Meyers, seems pretty evil to me.
Mike: Good ones are evil.
Ming: Depends on the monster. Frankenstein? Misunderstood. Chucky? Evil.
13. Snog, marry, or kill: Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers?
Walt: I can't stand any of these '80s slasher monsters. I'd snog all the Universal monsters, though!
Bryan: Since I'm a straight guy, none of the above. So let's go with Jason's mother, Pamela Voorhees; Heather Langenkamp's character, Nancy; and Michael Meyer's sister, Judith. I'm gonna snog Mrs. Voorhees with the hope of sliding my hand up that big, old cable-knit sweater. I'll marry Judith, because she's super cute and has no problem with her boyfriend lasting 30 seconds during sex and immediately high-tailing it out the door afterwards. I'll kill Nancy, because, come on, how high maintenance was she? She couldn't let Johnny Depp catch a coupla zzzzs? The girl was a true pain in the a--.
Mike: I'd kill Jason, kill Freddy, and kill Michael Myers … at least as much as those franchises would let me.
Ming: Snog Jason. Marry Michael Myers. Kill Freddy.
14. What's one lesson you've learned from horror films?
Walt: Most monsters move at a snail's pace.
Bryan: If I'm not a female virgin, I may as well just give in to the inevitable.
Mike: Don't lose your virginity on Halloween.
Ming: Most people would advise you not to have sex, because you will wind up dead. I say, go out happy.
15. Is Halloween for adults or kids?
Walt: It's for everyone! Except Ming.
Bryan: Both. I've seen a huge decline in the number of kids that come to my house over the years. That could be because kids aren't into the holiday as much anymore or because I give out stale popcorn balls with pennies stuck to them. Could be either. As far as adults are concerned, I like costume parties and really like that girls have taken to using the holiday as an excuse to dress as scandalously as possible.
Mike: Why can't it be for both?
Ming: Halloween used to be for kids back in my day. Now that I think corporations have seen the dollar signs, it's more of an adult holiday. We barely get kids trick-or-treating anymore.
16. Did you have a poster or T-shirt of a monster on your wall?
Bryan: I have two movie posters. One from Roger Cormon's masterpiece "Humanoids from the Deep," and another from a somewhat obscure 1971 movie "Let's Scare Jessica To Death," that stars Zohra Lampert, the lady from the old Goya beans commercial.
Ming: No chance I'd put a poster up … a monster staring at me at 3 a.m.? No thanks. My parents were conservative and would never allow me [to have] a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" T-shirt.
17. Rank the following in scariness: ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves.
Walt: Zombies, werewolves, ghosts, vampires.
Bryan: 1. Vampires — These guys fly in your window and next thing you know they're giving you a super-hickey that condemns you to eternal life. I can't wait to die. Most of my time is spent avoiding vampires for that very reason. 2. Ghosts — Annoying monster which is almost worse than a vampire since vampires need to be invited in before entering your house. Ghosts don't even use a door. They'll fly right through your wall and keep you awake all night with the racket of their clanking chains. Most ghosts are more irritating than scary. 3. Zombies — Not all that scary if you find a decent fortress. 4. Werewolves — I'm hairy enough that they'd likely mistake me for one of their own. I'm down with my lycanthrope brothers and sisters.
Mike: Zombies, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts
Ming: Ghosts, werewolves, zombies, vampires
18. What is the spookiest music or song?
Walt: "Angel of Death" by Slayer.
Bryan: The score to "The Shining." Anyone who tells you differently is 100 percent wrong.
Mike: Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells."
Ming: Michael Jackson's "Thriller' isn't scary, but the voiceover by Vincent Price at the end definitely is. Otherwise, anything by Justin Bieber or One Direction scares the crap out of me.
19. What's your favorite episode of the "Twilight Zone"?
Walt: All of them!
Bryan: Hands down "A Kind of Stopwatch." The things I would do to Ming once I froze time. Unspeakable acts.
Mike: "To Serve Man." It's a cookbook!
Ming: "Time Enough At Last," the one about the guy who loves reading and gets trapped in a library only to break his glasses, is my favorite. The scariest one is probably "The Eye of the Beholder," featuring some scary pig makeup.
20. What would you like to come back as in your next life?
Walt: A cyclops.
Bryan: One of the "Duck Dynasty" guys. It's not fun having their looks but none of their money.
Mike: One of the "Honey Boo-Boo" clan … that'd be sweet.
Ming: Birds seem to have it pretty easy and free.
"Comic Book Men" airs Mondays at 12 a.m. on AMC.
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