Why Horror?

14 Aug

There’s a short answer and a long answer to why I’m writing a book about horror.  The short answer is that a few years ago, when I was playing with the idea of writing a more genre specific guide to fictional crossovers, I posted a poll in the Facebook Crossovers Forum, listing several genres and asking which they would like me to tackle first.  The most votes went to horror.

But of course I wouldn’t have listed the genre had I not an interest in the subject.  

When I was little, my parents didn’t let me watch R rated movies.  But I was allowed to watch anything that was on any of the six channels our television received.  So I got to see older films and edited for television films.  I fondly remember on Saturdays watching the Creature Double Feature, which showed old Universal, Hammer, Godzilla and B-1950s sci-fi monster films, I was very interested in scary stories, particularly with a supernatural element.  Of all the monsters, vampires were my favorite, and I even admired Dracula’s character.  

Another avenue for exploring horror strangely came from my local barber shop.  The barber always kept comic books in the seating area, but strangely they were all DC horror books, such as House of Mystery, The Witching Hour, and Weird War Tales.  These were great stories, just light enough for all ages, back in an era where comics were still written with kids in mind.  

Eventually, due to my friends having cable, and my family eventually getting cable as well, I was finally exposed to the awesomeness of 80s slasher flicks.  Jason and Micheal of course were scary and fun.  Something about an expressionless slow moving killer brings me back to the man from my nightmares.  But Freddy was something else.  Freddy was a fantastical being with amazing powers and a twisted humor.  And he came with an origin which kept getting expanded with each film.  Freddy was a personality who made the audience root for the villain.  

Meanwhile, around that time, I had discovered movies based on Stephen King, and then the books they came from.  The first horror book I ever read with the Night Shift anthology.  I also tried my hand at reading Poe, but at age 11, I’ll admit it was a little more advanced than I could handle.  

In high school, my obsession with vampires continued and I discovered Ann Rice.  I also became obsessed with stories of hauntings, (having lived in a haunted house myself) and read and watched anything fiction or non-fiction related to hauntings.  Also, my rebellion against my Catholic upbringing led me to seek out anything regarding the occult, fiction or non-fiction.  

Into adulthood, my horror fandom continued to grow, and of course, I no longer had a mother to restrict my viewing habits.  Despite my strong love of horror, it wasn’t until I was nearly 30 years old before I discovered one of the greatest and most influential horror writers of all.  

Thanks to some discussion groups I had joined, I discovered H.P. Lovecraft, and the influence his works have had on so much horror that has come since.  I began reading Lovecraft as much as I could.  The first story I read was probably my favorite.  That was the Shadow Over Innsmouth.  

So why horror?  Write what you love, they say.  I love horror.  I love it in all its forms.  I love the serious and the silly.  I love the hardcore and the watered down.  I love slashers and monsters.  I love the supernatural and the men in masks.  I love monsters who are scary or heroic.  I just love horror.


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