Today, I welcome Comika Hartford to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Comika is a writer, actor, producer, and phenomenal lady and I am so happy to have been able to interview her as part of my women in horror series for February, which fittingly is also Black History Month. This award-winning woman is certainly making history for women in her field! I usually stick to books here, but we all like film as well, so I felt it would interest readers. Professionally her work in the genres of horror and psychological thrillers interest me and we’ll talk some about that below.
Comika has been working in her career for some time now and has numerous credits to her name. Besides being a TV and short film producer and screenwriter, she’s also an actress. She had a reoccurring role on Saints and Sinners and has been a guest star/co-star on shows such as CSI: Miami, Nash Bridges and in short films such as First Impressions, Hoax, and Unlucky Stars.
As you’ll see during the interview, she’s not only intelligent, but very outgoing and extremely funny!
Hi Comika, and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so glad you’ve joined me from Los Angeless in cold, snowy Ohio today – I hope you brought some of your warmth along with you! Come in for some hot coffee and we’ll settle in to talk. How do you take your coffee?
Hey Erin! I’ll have a Vodka and cannabis latte with almond milk. It’s cool if you don’t have almond milk.
Erin: The only milk I drink IS almond milk! Ha! It might be the cannabis I’m short on. Tell us a little more about you and your work so anyone doesn’t know you can become acquainted!
Comika: Well I started writing and performing with Rhodessa Jones’ Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco before attending Emerson college. I specialize in horror/thriller screenplays with a social commentary edge.
Erin: That’s so amazing! I love the poster for Bango as well as the film. But for others, tell us what’s Bango about? Where can one watch?
Comika: Thank you! Bango is actually the first episode of a horror anthology I wrote set in a creepy California suburb called HINTERLAND ZOO where every house is the nightmare next door. It’s about a quiet couple taking a walk on the wild side that goes sideways real quick! You can watch it on Amazon Prime & our website www.bangofilm.com takes you right to it.
We’re pitching the rest of the anthology later this year so please leave a review on Amazon if you end up watching. Every review helps. And please feel free to be completely honest, if you dont like it just say why… My favorite review so far is “What psycho wrote this?” Mmm… Delicious.
Erin: You’ve also written and acted in a horror web-series turned film The Grey Area and it’s won so many awards! Congratulations! Can you tell us about it?
Comika: Yes, The Grey Area has been upgraded to a feature film; It was a lot of work to push that through but it’s on! We just shot the second chapter last November with Zorina Juan directing and my partner in crime Eric Shapiro, who directed Bango, producing and keeping blood off the furniture.
Erin: The Grey Area sounds fun. I know you’ve described it as “the female version of Supernatural that meets the West Coast version of Law & Order on the streets of San Francisco.” With it being a psychological thriller, it’s sounds totally like something I want to check out!
What’s it like writing and/or producing films or shorts compared to acting in them?
Comika: Hmm… Sorta like the difference between running a restaurant or dropping in for a meal!
Erin: Do you ever direct? Or aspire to? Why or why not?
Comika: Nah. I love my director allies, but I don’t envy their job. Directing is like trying to organize changing Baby Godzilla’s diaper. No really! Think about it: There are a lot of people around. Lots of destruction. Lotsa crap to deal with. At least one crying monster. And if it doesn’t come off well… it’s all your fault!
Erin: Haha!! I don’t think I want that job either. And which of all the above do you like better in general and which do you prefer in horror?
Comika: I love writing. I prefer that over everything in any genre!
Erin: What do you feel women bring to the horror genre that is more distinctive than men? How do you feel women shine in the genre?
Comika: Mmm… well being a woman involves a lot of blood and dealing with rape culture so… Yeah. Horror is kinda our genre. We own it.
Erin: What do you think most people of either gender can do better to support women in horror?
Comika: Watch our movies! There’s a lot of great work happening. The Soska sisters are doing a remake of Cronenberg’s Rabid, Aislinn Clark’s The Devil’s Doorway is on Hulu, and Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer looks creepy af!
Erin: What types of themes do you explore or want to explore in your screenwriting?
Comika: I like to explore religious themes and mythology; I am very intrigued by the idea of vengeance- based deities.
Erin: What is a piece of writing or book or film or all by a woman in horror truly touched you, was memorable to you, or inspired you?
Comika: Kasi Lemmons’ Eves Bayou! It still messes me up.
Erin: Who are some women in horror you admire and who would you recommend to others to get to know?
Comika: Nikyatu Jusu came out strong at Sundance with Suicide by Sunlight. She is definitely someone to watch.
Erin: Have you ever thought of writing short stories or a book in the horror genre (or any other genre)?
Comika: I think I’d like to write a kid’s show… Seriously!
Erin: What are some of your current or upcoming releases?
Comika: Well I’m working on a screenplay about Black vampires that travel to the Americas during slavery to rescue their kidnapped relatives. It’s called Legacy and much like American history it’s filled with blood, torture, and genocide… Yeah. Good times!
Erin: Oh, wow! And though true, the film sounds like fun! I can’t wait to hear updates on that.
Where can everyone find you to connect?
Comika: You can find me at comikahartford.com which connects to Facebook, I’m @blamethewriter on Instagram, and you can follow our progress with The Grey Area at:
Erin: Thank you so much for joining us today, Comika! It was such a pleasure and please feel free to stop back by anytime! 😊
Comika: Thanks Erin… Um, can I have the rest of this Vodka to go?
Erin: Of course you can, how else would you juggle all the horrifying stuff you have on your plate? Please stop back by for me when Legacy is set to air.
Thanks to Comika for joining us!