Like many peo­ple, I was stunned to see friends on Facebook talk­ing about the unex­pect­ed death of Andy Copp last night.  He was a reg­u­lar pres­ence in online horror/exploitation film cult cir­cles, a main­stay of the con­ven­tion cir­cuit, a pro­lific blog­ger and a proud mem­ber of the under­ground hor­ror film­mak­ing com­mu­ni­ty, with sev­er­al fea­tures and short films to his cred­it.  He had some health prob­lems as of late but still found the ener­gy to work tire­less­ly on a fea­ture enti­tled Church Of The Eyes.  How could some­one with that sort of dri­ve and ded­i­ca­tion leave us so soon?

Sources close to Andy con­firmed he had com­mit­ted sui­cide.  I was not close enough to him to know what led him to that ter­ri­ble choice — but it hurt me to hear this news.  Even though I’d nev­er met him in per­son, he’d been an active and always wel­come pres­ence in my online life for many years.  We’d trad­ed movies, dis­cussed films on mes­sage boards and Facebook and I had hap­pi­ly pro­mot­ed his work via this blog.

And I wasn’t alone in feel­ing this pain.  Almost imme­di­ate­ly, there was out­pour­ing of love on Andy’s Facebook page.  There are a lot of peo­ple who loved and admired him dur­ing his short time in this world — and their words make it obvi­ous that they will car­ry him in their hearts for a long time to come.  Whether it was a long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor com­ment­ing or just a fel­low fan he’d met at a con­ven­tion, every­one was hurt­ing because they’d lost a major source of sup­port and kind­ness in a cor­ner of fan­dom where those qual­i­ties are often in short sup­ply.

That was always my expe­ri­ence with Andy.  He was a reli­able read­er of Schlockmania and nev­er hes­i­tat­ed to offer an encour­ag­ing com­ment when we had sim­i­lar assess­ments of a par­tic­u­lar film. He always made me feel wel­come to express my thoughts; that some­one not only read my online scrib­blings but cared enough to let me know.  Similarly, I could always count on him to express him­self in a thought­ful man­ner when we’d trade com­ments on Facebook — no mat­ter what the top­ic of dis­cus­sion was, he’d be hap­py to dis­cuss things with peo­ple of all view­points.

My last major inter­ac­tion with Andy was when he asked me to review his short film, Consumption Of The Heart, at Schlockmania.  It was my first expo­sure to his work and I was impressed: despite the rough edges inher­ent to no-bud­get film­mak­ing, he dealt with edgy sub­ject mat­ter in a head-on style and found the human­i­ty lurk­ing beneath its sur­face.  That is how I’ll choose to remem­ber Andy: some­one who had the courage to shine a light on the dark­ness and make heart­felt art out of what he found.

Rest in peace, Andy.  I hope you’ve found the peace that this world could nev­er provide.