C. Robert Cargill

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C. Robert Cargill
C. Robert Cargill & Ryan Harrison - Fantastic Fest 2009 (cropped).jpg
Cargill at Fantastic Fest 2009
Christopher Robert Cargill

(1975-09-08) September 8, 1975 (age 46)
  • Screenwriter
  • Novelist
  • Podcast Host

Christopher Robert Cargill (born September 8, 1975) is an American screenwriter, novelist, podcast host, and former film critic known under the pseudonyms Massawyrm (on Ain't It Cool News) and Carlyle (on Spill.com). Cargill currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife.[1]

Early life

Cargill was raised in a military family, growing up on army bases around the United States. He held several jobs prior to writing, including video store clerk and travel agent.


Film critic

Cargill wrote his first article in 2000, when he volunteered to write a review of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for a website called "Guerilla Films." His article managed to get the highest amount of traffic of over 50,000 hits, "a HUGE deal" at the time, which secured him the job to write more reviews.

While working for Guerilla Films, Cargill began spending time with Ain't It Cool News' Eric Vespe (AKA 'Quint' on the site), which landed him a job on Ain't It Cool's "Indie Indie Column," a previously abandoned post.[2] He began writing for Ain't It Cool News under the name Massawyrm in May 2001.[3] His first review for the blog was of Jon Favreau's movie, Made.[3] During his work as a blogging critic, Cargill met various directors, which occasionally led to small roles in independent productions.[4] In 2011, he told Jordan Gass-Poore' with Slackerwood that it was getting "tougher and tougher" to write movie reviews because of his relationships with people in the movie industry.[3] "I've always had a strict code about writing about films made by people I'm friends with," said Cargill. "It's harder to write objectively about film without people feeling that you're being biased."[3] Besides his work for Ain't It Cool News and his involvement with Spill.com, he also did freelance work for Film.com[5] and Hollywood.com (the site that owned Spill.com).[1]


I considered every film another day of classes and writing a review a home work assignment and it was graded by everyone who wrote nasty comments on the internet.

C. Robert Cargill[4]

Having wanted to be a fiction writer from a young age, Cargill considered every film he reviewed and its feedback as a learning experience. According to an interview with The Austin Chronicle he compared it to "a strenuous, endless crash course—maybe even a master class—in what does and doesn't work in a story."[4][6]

On the 26th of February 2013, Cargill released his first novel, Dreams and Shadows, an urban fantasy story of folklore and mythology, which also follows three modern characters from childhood to adulthood.[7] Subsequent novels included Sea of Rust and Day Zero.


The idea for his first film came to fruition when he met up with a fan and friend Scott Derrickson at a bar in Las Vegas where he pitched his idea for Sinister. Derrickson, showing great interest in this concept, contacted producer Jason Blum who particularly liked the simplicity of the concept and understood the urge to make it as fast as possible before it could be made by anyone else. Shooting of the movie started in September 2011, 6 months after[2] and was first screened at South by Southwest. In an interview with Film.com, Cargill stated that his days as a film critic were over for the time being due to his success and dedication to his new-found career path. "I may pop in every once in a while and write up reviews, but ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be a fiction writer, and now I have the chance to do it in both formats that I am in love with."[2] Both Cargill and Derrickson returned as writers for Sinister 2 (2015), which was directed by Ciaran Foy.[8]

Cargill, along with Derrickson and Jon Spaihts, worked on the script for Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016).[9] More recently, the writing duo of Derrickson and Cargill signed a deal with Blumhouse Television.[10]

Cargill, under the pseudonym of Kit Lesser, wrote a biopic about FBI agent William Hagmaier (played by Elijah Wood) and his relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy.[11] "There have been a lot of movies and a lot of media made about Ted Bundy, and one of the things that bugged me a lot was that it's all kind of selling the myth of Ted Bundy and kind of glorifying him in a way," Cargill told Jordan Gass-Poore, the host of the horror-comedy podcast, Pod of Madness. "And the deeper you dig into the story you realize there's nothing to mystify here, there's nothing amazing about him." The film was released in 2021 as No Man of God.

Cargill and Derrickson are also working on a movie adaptation of the Deus Ex video games.[12][13] Cargill and Derrickson will also team up to write the script for The Outer Limits, a movie based on the influential 1960s television show of the same name. The film, produced by MGM, will be adapted from a single episode of the classic show, "Demon with a Glass Hand."[14]


Cargill co-hosts the film podcast Junkfood Cinema with critic Brain Salisbury,[15] and the writing advice podcast Write Along with author David Chen.[16]


Year Title Credited as
Writer Actor Producer Role Notes
2002 The Rules of Attraction Yes Bus Station Townie uncredited[17]
2005 Last Days of America Yes Breakdown Guy
2006 Pathogen Yes Janitor
2007 When Is Tomorrow Yes Stephen
2009 Zombie Girl: The Movie Yes Himself
2012 Sinister Yes Co-writer The original concept came from a nightmare after seeing The Ring, consisting of him going up to his attic and finding a box of super 8 films.[2][18]
2015 Sinister 2 Yes Co-writer
2016 As They Continue to Fall Yes
2016 Doctor Strange Yes Co-writer
2019 Into the Dark Yes Executive producer Anthology TV series. Episode - My Valentine
2021 No Man of God Yes Credited as "Kit Lesser"
2021 Shadowprowler Yes Yes Co-writer, Executive producer Short film
2021 The Black Phone Yes Yes Co-writer, producer
TBA The Outer Limits Yes Co-writer
TBA Deus Ex movie Yes Co-writer In pre-production. The movie will be focused on the 2011 installment Human Revolution.[13] Co-written with Scott Derrickson.


  • Tome of Artifacts by Keith Baker, contributed (April 2007, ISBN 978-1588469359)
  • Dreams and Shadows (February 2013, ISBN 0575130091)[7]
  • Queen of the Dark Things (May 2014, ISBN 0062190458)[19]
  • Sea of Rust (September 2017, ISBN 9780062405838)[20]
  • We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories (Feb 2019, ISBN 9780062405876)[21]
  • Day Zero (May 2021, ISBN 9780062405807)[22]


  1. ^ a b "C. Robert Cargill bio". C. Robert Cargill. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  2. ^ a b c d Whale, Chase (2012-10-09). "From Blogger to Screenwriter: 'Sinister' Co-Writer C. Robert Cargill". Film.com. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  3. ^ a b c d Gass-Poore', Jordan (2011-11-16). "The 'Sinister' Side of Local Writer C. Robert Cargill". Slackerwood.com. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  4. ^ a b c Grobler, Craig (2012-10-22). "Writer C. Robert Cargill gets Sinister with us whilst chatting about his love of film..." The Establishing Shot. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  5. ^ "C. Robert Cargill-Film.com". Film.com. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  6. ^ Whittaker, Richard (2013-02-28). "Chasing C. Robert Cargill's 'Dreams and Shadows'". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  7. ^ a b "Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill". Goodreads. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  8. ^ Fischer, Russ (2014-04-17). "The 'Sinister 2' Director Is 'Citadel' Filmmaker Ciaran Foy." Slashfilm.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  9. ^ McMillan, Graeme (25 April 2016). "'Doctor Strange' Screenwriter: "Every Single Decision That Involves the Ancient One Is a Bad One"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (2020-12-14). "Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill Ink First-Look TV Deal With Blumhouse". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  11. ^ Gass-Poore', Jordan (2020-10-30). "There's No Safe Word In Hell". Podofmadness.com. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  12. ^ Lussier, Germain (1 March 2013). "'Sinister 2′ Moving Forward From Original Creators". slashfilm. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b Bibbiani, William (2013-02-20). "It Will Be Cyberpunk: Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill on Deus Ex". CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (2014-06-19). " 'The Outer Limits' Movie in the Works From MGM, Scott Derrickson." HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  15. ^ "Junkfood Cinema".
  16. ^ https://writealongpodcast.com/
  17. ^ "The Rules of Attractions (2002)". Movieclips. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  18. ^ Bibbiani, William (2013-02-19). "Horrific Images: Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill on Sinister". CraveOnline. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  19. ^ "C Robert Cargill - Queen of the Dark Things cover art and synopsis". Upcoming4.me. Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  20. ^ Cargill, C. Robert. "Sea of Rust". HarperCollins US. Archived from the original on 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  21. ^ Cargill, C. Robert. "We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories". HarperCollins US. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  22. ^ Cargill, C. Robert. "Day Zero". HarperCollins US. Retrieved 2021-06-07.

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