Evolution of a Horror Fan
If I'm being honest, it all began with an intense fit of uncontrollable crying. Most horror movie geeks I know watch horror movies for the first time at an age that would make most parents uncomfortable, and I'm no different. When the final scene of the film Children of the Corn finished, I was inconsolable. I couldn't catch my breath. I was seven, and I was hooked for life. I'm not sure of the psychology that creates horror movie fandom, I can only be sure of the things that we partake in that creates that fandom. What follows are my defining horror movie moments. Some are from movies that may leave you shaking your head. You may not agree with them, but they're mine all the same.
Jaws- No movie in my life ever affected me more than Jaws, and no movie moment ever left me blown away more than the death of Alex Kintner. The scene had it all, from the perfect shot as the camera zooms in on Chief Brody, to the perfect insult as Brody calmly says "That's some bad hat Harry." I can't pinpoint the exact age I was when my big brother turned to me and said, "Watch this", but I am sure I wasn't old enough for it. The movie was on TBS, and I was not prepared for the level of violence I was about to see on basic cable. That one single shot of a severed leg floating slowly down into the abyss of the ocean wrecked my little mind. Jaws, to this day, is still my favorite movie and its probably the greatest gift my big brother ever gave me.
The Shining- The Stanley Kubrick movie was the first time that I discovered that I could be wrong about a film. It was really just a dare from my Uncle and older Sister that made me watch The Shining. As an 11 year-old I really wasn't ready for the content in the movie, but I didn't care because a dare is a dare and I had to prove that I was man enough to watch it. After the last frame rolled on Jack Nicholson's face, I was left confused. I wasn't that scared really, more grossed out by the old lady in the tub than anything. I would brag to people I'd meet that the movie wasn't good and that it had no effect on me whatsoever. 3 years passed until I watched it again with my friend one night during our summer vacation. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. Sleep did not come to me that night. I laid in bed just thinking about the movie until finally, morning showed its face.
MonsterVision- Joe Bob Briggs had an enormous influence on my life. His show Monster Vision, which aired on TNT introduced me to so many movies. When you grow up in a really small town, it is almost impossible to find everything you read about in Fangoria magazine. Joe Bob was my introduction to movies like They Live, Halloween II, and Beastmaster. One of the most important nights of my life occurred on Halloween night, as he hosted a marathon of all the Friday the 13th movies he could show in his allotted time. With the aid of Pepsi and Snickers bars, I stayed up all night. It was the first true movie marathon of my life, and it was glorious. Without this show, I believe that my love of Horror movies may have faded away. So for that, Joe Bob, I say thank you.
Halloween- Even before I saw the movie Halloween, I knew who Micheal Myers was, and I was terrified of him. Growing up in the '80s it was impossible to avoid. The movie was part of pop culture long before I was able to have a desire to watch anything other than Saturday morning Cartoons. So, when I woke one night to the sound of John Carpenter's classic score coming from the living room, I had to investigate. As I walked in on my brother and sister watching Halloween, it was just as Laurie Strode was begging Tommy to let her back into the house as the Shape started slowly walking across the street toward her. I stood there in the doorway, and it was like he was walking toward me, and I was not prepared.
Still, as a grown man, I struggle with the white mask. I know there is nothing to fear, that its just a stupid William Shatner mask, and that movies are not real. But there is still a small part of me that is that little boy standing in a doorway, scared to death.
IT- Oh, where to begin with the made for TV movie, IT? First and foremost, I recognized, even as a child, that its quality was not the highest. It looks just like every other made-for-TV movie, but I didn't care; I adored Stephen King and hated Clowns.
It all began while watching an episode of the hit TV show, Hunter, with my father. As I sat on the couch next to my Father, I watched as an innocent, fun looking clown tricked a man into letting him take his son to the bathroom. After that moment, I would never trust another clown again. So, as you can imagine, Penny Wise had a very real and startling effect on me. Without question, it is the worst movie on my list, but it goes to show that quality to a child isn't really the most important aspect of a horror movie. It only matters if it scares the hell out of you.
Scream- Scream was the one that brought me back to the fold. In the year 1995, something had happened to me. I had switched high schools and wanted to fit in more. If you are under the age of 25 or so, and this is going to shock you, but being a movie nerd, and especially a horror movie nerd, meant that a certain group of people would not like you. So I fell out of love with horror movies. It did not help that the early 90's was a very rough time for the genre in general, but I have no real excuse except that I wanted to be cooler.
It is very trendy these days to dump on a movie like Scream, and I can understand that. The movie is almost shockingly dated, but in '95 it was absolutely game changing. I discovered the Internet because of the movie. I spent hours on message boards trading facts about it. I will always be very grateful to the movie for this fact. It brought me back like a Slasher begging for a sequel.
These are just a few of my personal moments. What are yours? What creeps you out the most? Leave us a comment below. And as always, away we go.