This week I got to speak with a creator named Joshua La Rue. Joshua runs a YouTube channel called The 80s Slasher Librarian. He uses this channel to narrate novelized horror movies. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we did!
An Interview with Joshua La Rue
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and the work you do.
Joshua La Rue: On YouTube I am known as The 80’s Slasher Librarian, but my name is Joshua La Rue. I am 35 years old from Arkansas, I have always been a huge horror fan and an avid reader.
My childhood dream was to be an actor or pro wrestler and when I was 18 I actually became a licensed pro wrestler and worked the independent pro wrestling circuit for nearly 10 years. It satisfied both my dreams because i was able to play a larger than life villain character called The V.I.P and it was an amazingly fun acting and wrestling gig.
Unfortunately in 2010 during a match against a rookie my opponent botched a move and broke my back which made it impossible for me to ever step into a wrestling ring again, thus killing both my dreams at the same time. At this point i was married with 2 children and moving out to Hollywood to pursue an acting career was out of the question.
Last year I came up with the idea to take my horror book collection, I am lucky enough to own every single slasher novel ever written, and turn them into audio books so everyone could enjoy these books. Sadly, all of these books have been out of print for a very long time and the only way to obtain a copy nowadays is to try to find a used copy on eBay or Amazon.
Even if you are lucky enough to find a copy, the prices for them are crazy high. Some of the books go for ever 300 dollars per book! So the audio books are a way to share with the rest of the horror/slasher fans out there and also a way for me to once again do a form of acting. I don’t just blandly read these books into a microphone. I do voice acting and include sound effects and music to make it a very cinematic experience for the listeners.
Aaron Iara: Reading novelized horror stories is such a great concept. How did you come across this wealth of horror literature? What led you to creating a channel dedicated to these works?
Joshua La Rue: Filling the void of my dream of wanting to be in some form of acting is only part of the reason I am doing this. As I stated earlier, I have always been a huge Horror/Slasher fan and also an avid reader. Throughout my teen years and early adult life I built a collection of just about every slasher novel ever written.
Then in 2009 my house was lost in a fire and I lost everything, but as part of the rebuilding process for myself I decided I would get back every single book I lost and then some and complete the collection that I was trying to complete before the fire. I started hunting down copies of the books I lost and the books I had still been looking for at the time of the fire. I was shocked and saddened when i realized how hard a task this was because some of the books i had bought brand new prior were now out of print and the books I had found used in bookstores before were now almost completely obsolete and to buy these books on ebay and amazon and other similar sites was going to cost a small fortune to get them all at once, the prices were just crazy!
So I started slowly rebuilding my collection a few books at a time, what i could afford, I did this over the past 10 years slowly but surely getting the entire collection. One of the biggest reasons i wanted the collection back was before the fire I hadn’t had a chance to read them all and i really wanted to at the least get to read them so while searching for physical copies I was always also hoping I could find eBooks or audio books of these books to give me a cheaper option. Only a few books had an eBook option and 90% of them had no eBook option at all, then last year around July i nearly completed my collection and as I began reading the books again in my free time (I had started a new job that gave me more time to do so) the idea just slowly came to me.
I thought about other fans out there who may be searching for these out of print horror gems and running into the same problems I did, lack of supply and to high of a price to afford. I was also a fan of listening to Reddit narrators on YouTube and it just came to me, I could take that concept with these books, I could narrate these horror novels, I could do the voice acting and everything plus come up with a fun concept for doing it that helped other fans enjoy the books and made for an entertaining YouTube channel.
Instead of just recording and entire book and putting it on the internet I would put out 2-3 chapters a day of a book until I completed the book and then start on the next book doing the same thing, and at the end of each 2-3 chapter upload I would include a commentary segment where i interacting with my listeners and i would discuss my thoughts on the chapters and the book so far and then ask for their thoughts in the comment section. So in October of 2018 I started with my first narration which was Friday the 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath and now I am in the middle of the 24th audio book on the channel and things have grown so much!
It has been very fun and exciting and my subscribers seem to really enjoy the concept. The name just came to me during the first book, when I started the first 2 uploads of the first book my YouTube name was Larues.EXE a name that my kids had used for video game uploads on YouTube…but it just didn’t fit what I was doing and during the 2nd upload of the 1st book the name just came to me I was going to be bringing a ton of horror/slasher novels to life in audio book form, like i was building a library of 80’s Slasher audio books and that’s how The 80’s Slasher Librarian name came to be.
Aaron Iara: Making and marketing content and videos is often a collaborative process. How do you build relationships and approach cooperative work?
Joshua La Rue: Honestly I have not had to seek out collaboration, It has always just happened. For instance there is a great channel called SlasherPepper that I think you would enjoy and perhaps even like to interview as well. It is a young man who actually reviews Horror/Slasher Novelizations! I stumbled across his channel and he was reviewing one of the books that I was about to be turning into an audiobook. I left a comment telling him I really enjoyed his review and explained what I did and said it was neat how similar our channels were. He then reached out to me and asked if i wanted to do a coop review with him on one of the books I narrated. We did the video and since then have done a couple other collabs.
I also feel very lucky to have had my channel grow as it has since its inception so I have begun doing shout out videos where i talk about other smaller newer channels that I think my subscribers would enjoy. I plan on doing some collabs with a few of those channels, we have the idea in the works it just hasn’t come to fruition yet. Also a different kind of Collab has happened since I started my channel, I have actually had a few of the authors of these books reach out to me and actually record intros for the books they wrote that i narrate, it has just been mindblowing that even the authors are enjoying what I am doing, they have told me they appreciate how i am keeping their lost works alive. That is a great honor.
Aaron Iara: Running a YouTube takes a lot of time and energy. What do you do to stay productive?
Joshua La Rue: In the beginning of my channel I was putting out 2-3 chapters every single day, never taking a day off. My day job is a 24/7 gig and it allows me time to do this, but after a few months and several books I began feeling burn out and it was actually quite harsh on my voice, So now I do uploads at least 4 days per week and this has really helped the quality of the narrations and of the channel over all.
On my off days i do the things I enjoy, I make sure to get proper sleep and maintain a small work out daily and a good diet for energy. It would be easy to start slacking and letting my uploads get further and further apart, especially now that i have over 20 completed audiobooks on the channel but the truth is I absolutely love reading and bringing these books to life, when I take a day off or recently a week (was sick) it’s actually hard to keep myself from recording on those days ha, i actually miss it when i’m not doing it.
Aaron Iara: What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to your channel? How do you overcome them?
Joshua La Rue: Honestly the biggest obstacle is my voice, you can’t do this type of voice acting/narration so much during the week without it effecting your voice in some form, in the beginning i would just keep water next to me and power through but as time went on water just didn’t cut it. But since then I have been introduced to actual voice coaching techniques and using specific fruits and lozenges and drinks that keep my voice in check. Also as I have stated before, my collection was almost complete when i started the channel as there were a few titles that either cost just entirely too much money or were just to hard to find.
For instance, the book I am narrating currently titled Final Destination: Death of the Senses was only on store shelves for a very very short time before being recalled because the wrong author was printed on the spine of the book then before being republished the publishing company went out of business, now this book is straight up impossible to find, well one of my listeners and long time subscriber owns a copy and thanks to them I am able to bring this title to life their twitter handle is @TruResidentEvil and they have really helped the channel with this amazing and extremely rare book!
Also the first two Friday the 13th movie novelizations are super rare and super expensive, usually fetching over 300 dollars per book and another one of my subscribers Shawn Campbell reached out to me and let me know that they are actually transcribing the books from a low quality copy of the books, just so i can bring them to the channel as well. So I have some of the greatest subscribers in the world, they are always up for discussing the genre and the books and always there to help out when help is needed, they are sincerely the greatest!
Aaron Iara: How do you foster your creativity? Do you work at it or wait for inspiration?
Joshua La Rue: One of the fun things about what I do is that a lot of these books when I record them it is also my first time reading them myself! but this makes the voice acting aspect hard since I do not know what is coming ahead of time, but what I do is I skim each character before beginning work on a new audiobook. I skim through the character’s arc and description and by that I come up with the voice I think best matches that character and the attitude they carry, are they quiet when they talk or are they very outspoken, are they a ditz? or are they a nerdy type? are they a jock? etc etc. And then there is Freddy Kreuger and Chucky ha, those 2 voices (and I haven’t even recorded a chucky book yet but have practiced the voice) were the hardest to find 🙂
I knew I could never match Brad Dourif or Robert Englund but I really studied how they enunciate their words and the tone of growl in the words of Freddy for instance. I have recorded several Freddy books so far and have been told word for word that I have now played the part of Freddy more than Robert himself lol 🙂 but I have had the most fun doing the Freddy voice for sure, when I am doing a Freddy novel I go all in when it comes to Freddy’s lines and i always have a blast with it, Robert Englund’s portrayal is my complete inspiration for how I voice Freddy, In my mind he is the one and only Freddy Krueger and therefore the only true inspiration I can pull from to do that voice. As for Jason and Michael……such an easy job to voice act those 2 all I gotta do is breath 🙂
Aaron Iara: Do you ever have any performance/release anxiety when it comes to showing your work to others? If so, what do you do about it?
Joshua La Rue: In the beginning (if you go back and listen to the first couple books you will hear the difference), I was very timid with my narration and very anxious about what people would think or say. I kept saying in my outros that I am not a professional voice actor etc etc, sorry etc etc, but as time went on I just shed that nervousness and just had fun with it, people were gonna like it or not like it and all that mattered was getting these books out there and doing the best I can and having fun doing it. So now anytime i feel anxious or nervous I just bite the bullet and have fun with it win or lose.
Aaron Iara: What advice can you give to people who want to start their own YouTube channel?
Joshua La Rue: Just come up with a unique idea and run with it, don’t think too much or you will talk yourself out of something that can be great! have fun with it, if you aren’t having fun then there is no reason to keep going. Your subscribers are always important, always but you are important as well, Find something You love that you can share with others that they will love as well and just run with it.
Whether you have 500 or 5 million subscribers as long as you are happy and there are people enjoying what you are doing then you are winning and doing what you love. We only live once and we should do the best we can to enjoy every second of it!
Aaron Iara: Do you have any upcoming events, projects, or releases you would like to discuss?
Joshua La Rue: I recently unveiled a new intro on my channel that was made by a professional Stop Animation Animator by the name of Alberto Hernandez Merida and it was so cool seeing myself done in stop animation and being stalked by Freddy, Jason and Michael in the halls of the fictional 80’s Slasher Library, folks can check that out on the channel as well as video intros that have been recorded by Kane Hodder and CJ Graham (both actors who have played Jason Voorhees on film) and a video intro by John Kassir (the voice of The Cryptkeeper) that has been amazing having them introducing some of my uploads!
As far as upcoming releases I have an upcoming collab with SlasherPepper that should be dropping in the next 30 days! I’m in video #2 of a 3 video project he is doing on the 1980’s film The Intruder! it was a lot of fun and I think horror fans will get a kick out of it! Also the channel is very close to 5k subs and when we reach that milestone I will be doing a huge giveaway that will have 5 winners! gonna have some awesome horror/slasher prizes including rare slasher books! We only need 21 more subs at this moment to reach 5k!
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can readers find you and your work?
Joshua La Rue: Thank you so much for this opportunity to tell people about myself and what I am doing! I greatly appreciate it! You can find the YouTube channel at The 80s Slasher Librarian, at my offical Twitter page, and the official Facebook group page. There is a Discord group in the progress of being created and I will release that link soon in an upcoming video on the YouTube channel!
Check Out The 80s Slasher Librarian!
A huge thank you to Josh for taking the time to speak with me this week. Make sure to check out The 80s Slasher Librarian on YouTube!