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Dark Delicacies: Del Howison Video Interview

If you’re like us, you enjoy curling up with a good horror story, which is why you should check out Dark Delicacies, the self-described “Home of Horror” in Los Angeles. While other independent book sellers (such as Change of Hobbit and Forbidden Planet) have dematerialized over the decades, Dark Delicacies is still running strong at its current location in Burbank.

However, the word “bookstore” does not fully do justice to Dark Delicacies, which offers much more that books. How much more? We took a trip to the store’s current venue to find out, from owner Del Howison.

Watch the video, or check out a partial transcript below…

We began by asking Del Howison to define Dark Delicacies as something more than a ‘book store’…

DEL HOWISON: I think the main thing for Dark Delicacies is the genre. It’s a horror store. So we specialize in horror books, horror clothes, horror movies, horror jigsaw puzzles, magazines. I could have Frankenstein cookie jars – as long as it has that that genre connection, I think that’s that’s what really defines Dark Delicacies.

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: You also do events.

DEL HOWISON: And have an occasional sacrifice! Yeah, we do we have events. Of course CovID has put a crimp in a lot of things, and that’s gradually working its way back. We still do signings, but what we’re doing now is: you’ve written a book; people want your autographed book; they pre-order it because we announce it; you come in with an appointment with me when we’re closed, and you sign everything; and then when we open back up I say, ‘hey, your [autographed] books are ready; come get them. Whereas what you’re referring to is the old days – which we hope will be the new days – when people would come in and do a signing here in groups of 1 to 10 – signing posters for a new movie or a book or whatever, and the people would come in and get to meet and greet. That was the fun stuff.

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: How have you managed to survive the year? Is it by online sales like you were describing?

DEL HOWISON: We did a lot in the beginning. It was about mid-march I think when everything started closing down. We kept shipping up, and thank god we have the fans and the loyal customers that we have. We still shipped all over the country; we shipped all over the world. Then as things loosened up a little bit, we did curbside. There’s a term that’s going to go into history – several years [from now it will be] ‘What does curbside mean?’ And then i also offered free local delivery until the store could get up and running at a limited capacity and then grow.

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: This is your latest location. How long have you been here?

DEL HOWISON: It’ll be two years in May. This is number four. Before this we were on Magnolia nine years. We were on Burbank Boulevard. Before that – that was 11 years – we were back on Magnolia, where we started in 1994, for five years. So we’ve grown; we’ve changed; we’ve adapted. When they’ve raised the rents too high, we’ve had to move, but it’s all worked out, and it’s worked out because of the fans and customers and a lot of luck.

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: So is this making you the longest lived independent bookstore in Los Angeles?

DEL HOWISON: No, I don’t think so because you have places like The Iliad, and I know there’s ones down in Los Angeles ‘proper’ that were long before me. It does make me the longest running horror bookstore.

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: You judge the success of an independent store not by profit but by longevity, so you’re standing pretty high in this list of genre stores.

DEL HOWISON: Like I say to my wife, this is a non-profit organization – we just didn’t plan it that way!

Dark Delicacies is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. The address is 822 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank, 91505. For more information, call (818) 556-6660, or visit www.darkdel.com.

In-store events have resumed since this video interview was recorded. Composer Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th, Deepstar Six) and director Armand Mastroianni (He Knows You’re Alone) will be signing copies of their work on May 22 at 2pm. Author Brandie June will be signing her book Gold Spun (a retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin) on June 26 at 3pm.

Dark Delicacies Photo Gallery

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Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.