I'm actually taking someone else's advice for a change and starting a new blog dedicated solely to a topic I slavishly adore. After mulling over a few cutesy-weird names, I chose to settle on something simple; Horror Guy will do quite nicely.
This is the space where I will put down my rants, raves, critiques and crap I have say about any and everything I can find in the horror genre. To get this whole carcass up and shambling, how about a little bit about me?
The first movie that I can recall seeing and comprehending what was happening on that little TV screen is George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
I was four years old but the black and white images of a handful of
desperate individuals trying to survive a zombie holocaust were burned
into my brain. I won't even get into the discussion of what kind of
parents allow a four year old to watch such a gruesome spectacle;
suffice it to say that from that moment on, I had inherited my mother's
love of all things fun and terrifying. As much as I remember that
flick, I don't really remember being frightened by it as much as I was
just fascinated by the idea of dead people getting up and walking
around. The earliest film I can remember actually instilling terror in
my tiny little heart was the first movie my mom took me to see in a
theater when I was only six; Steven Spielberg's JAWS.
We were living in East Texas at the time, nowhere near a body of water
that held any danger of Great White encounters, but I was scared out of
my noggin....and loved it! It was around this time that I began
discovering the plethora of horror-themed material available, even in
the pre-Internet days, and I absorbed it all like a human-shaped
sponge. Every weekday at 3:30pm I would be parked in front of the
television for the "3:30 Movie", hoping beyond hope that I would be
presented with a good old-fashioned black and white "monster movie"
(whatever their subject material, all horror flicks were 'monster
movies' to this youngster), it didn't matter which one or what it was
about. Saturday afternoons were reserved for watching flicks presented
and commented on by Madame Macabre, a sort of post-Vampira, pre-Elvira goth movie host. Saturday nights were the best; that's when I would sit, waiting agonizingly for end credits of "Hee Haw!" to roll because immediately after was "Creature Feature"
hosted by the "cheapy creepy" Dr. Paul Bearer. Dr. Bearer would present
us with a different low-budget horror film every week and for some
reason, I remember enjoying those a lot more than the flicks shown on
the 3:30 Movie or hosted by Madame Macabre. One in particular that
stuck in my brain was a tale involving a possessed bar-b-que grill that
mutilated its victims by spewing hot charcoal on them.
By the time I was seven years old, I had begun reading the horror paperback novels that my mom had around lying around. Ghost House by Clare McNalley was the very first one and its story of a family being emotionally torn to shreds by a jealous spirit sticks with me to this day. At the ripe old age of eight, I discovered and read my first Stephen King novel, The Stand...and was hooked. I've been a King fan ever since and will probably be reading his stuff until I lay down for my own dirt nap.
As I grew older, my interest grew stronger, to the point where I was devouring everything horror-related that I could get my hands on; monster toys and models, wall posters, the writings of E.A Poe, HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, Fangoria magazine, books by John Saul, Peter Straub and others, academic studies of actual occult practices, horror comics from Marvel and DC, and even crappy community theater productions of Dracula. Nothing was too low budget or chintzy to be outside my interest.
Getting to go to the theater was a rare treat for me when I was younger and I had to wait and catch most of the flicks I wanted to see when they aired on network TV. So it was in 1980 on a dark Friday night in October that I curled up all alone in our living room to watch the final movie of my life (thus far) that would actually terrify me to the point that I still have nightmares about it: John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN. I'm sure that someone watching it for the first time today would find absolutely nothing scary about it, but bear in mind that back then there was no other movie of note that was anything like it. This was all before FRIDAY THE 13TH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, SAW and all the other horror flicks that would become ingrained in the social consciousness. There was little plot and less acting talent, but the images of this faceless, emotionless madman stalking a group of teenagers and slaughtering them mercilessly, coupled with one of the most memorable horror movie music themes ever, was simply terrifying. What's more, this particular madman, Michael Myers by name, who seemed human by any other measure could not be stopped. Even taking a chestful of bullets from Donald Pleasence could do no more than slow him down. Fans of F13's Jason Voorhees would see this as nothing novel, but again, this was a few years before the summer camp slaughterer first donned his hockey mask. Multiple sequels would try to put a rhyme and reason to the machinations of Mr. Myers, but none of them would ever come close to the sheer fear invoked by the original film. This year, horror auteur Rob Zombie is remaking/re-imagining John Carpenter's classic with a promise that it will satisfy fans both new and old. I know this old fan is quite excited by the prospect.
And there you have it; the birth of horror guy. Gotta run now. Something creepy on the DVD shelf is calling to me.