I can’t really explain my love for horror movies. I have been asked countless times and I have tried but I can never truly explain why I am so drawn to this twisted and sick genre. I simply remember sitting down to watch Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter at about six years old (it was the 80s and I had two older brothers) and just being hooked with everything I saw. I was enthralled with the masked monster killing these innocent people for what seemed like no reason at all. I wanted more.
Off to the video store we went and every time we would go, you would have found me in the horror section scanning each one of those vivid and creepy cases. I didn’t care what the movie was about most of the time. I picked my next watch usually based on how cool I thought the cover looked. I remember running to my mom holding up the covers of movies like The Evil Dead, Dead Alive, and Pumpkinhead just because I thought the cover art was cool and creepy. Most of the time it paid off with a few being a disappointment. It didn’t matter though because I grew to appreciate this genre and give it a pass more often than not.
I was never one of those kids that couldn’t tell the difference between reality and make-believe. I always knew Jason was just some guy in makeup and he wasn’t really hurting the actors. I enjoyed how they made the blood squirt and how they made people’s faces look split open. It wasn’t until I came across An American Werewolf in London that I sat up and noticed the incredible work of special effects artists. This just made me want to dig into the genre even more.
Next, I would start to learn the directors of the movies I loved and realizing they were behind several of the movies I was drawn too. Carpenter, Craven, Cronenberg, Hooper would become staples of my early experiences where I would want to watch whatever had their name on it. But the random picking of the movies off the video wall would help me branch out and find others like Barker, Argento, and Holland. I was attracted more toward slasher films but this helped my horror palate grow because it opened me up to a variety of films from art house to Italian to the gritty and real.
One of my joys is introducing someone to a horror movie they have never seen, watching them process it, and discussing it with them after. Whether they liked it or not, I simply enjoy broadening their horizons because I usually get, “I have never even heard of this film before” or mostly “You’re so weird.” Good horror movies can make you feel things other movies can’t and show you they are deeper than just gory kills and nudity. Yes, some are mindless like your average action flick, but so many have something to say that if you really pay attention and give them some thought, they could just change your mind on the genre.
I can’t sit here and say I love every single aspect of horror movies or TV shows but I am more open to give it a chance and try to understand than any other genre. They have never scared me and there are only a few that have ever really “got” to me. They usually just entertain or exhilarate me. Maybe that’s what I am in search of. The movie that legitimately scares me but until that happens, horror will remain my favorite.
What do you think of the horror genre? What are some of your favorites in movies, television, and beyond?