I fucking love horror fans. Specifically, I deeply enjoy the people who love the same things I do. The ones who say “Ooooh, beautiful” when Freddy Kreuger splices a victim from navel to sternum (or whatever) with his razor sharp claws. The people who look into the darkness for pleasure and comfort, to make them feel better. Like I do.
I’ve always loved dark things – a childhood of being scared of horror-light kids TV and an obsession with Tim Burton – though my taste has refined over the years. Somewhere along the line I developed a palate for more sophisticated horror fare, the type critics like to call ‘elevated’ because they don’t believe horror can be valid in its own right. I hate that term more than anything and I disagree that horror can’t be artful. Anyone who thinks that obviously hasn’t seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (or for that matter, The Dream Child).
Or Candyman, the best film of all time.
While I mention the evolution of my horror tastes, I have to be honest: I’ll give most horror movies a go if they sound interesting enough. I have a soft spot for 90’s post-Scream horror, especially I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and Cherry Falls – and I love found footage, a hangover from The Blair Witch Project which changed everything for me back in ’99, when it was marketed as a true story and I believed it for a second.
When I feel bad I don’t put on Disney, I put on The Babadook (or more often than not, Paranormal Activity). I like dark twisted storytelling and gore. I love the supernatural. I LOVE home invasion and the people living in the attic/walls sub-genre. I love Gothic hauntings so much I often dream about being lost in secret passages deep in the heart of crumbling estates. And for the longest time I didn’t really have anyone to share all this with. My husband enjoys horror but not in the way I enjoy horror, which I could devour all day, every day. He has limits – and can’t abide the terror of the Baba-dook-dook-dook.
Not a lot of my friends were into the same things and that’s fine, I think horror heals a deficiency in me and not everybody has that. My anxiety is soothed by horror more than anything else and I think it’s because I can control my fear if I choose it and enjoy it. In turn, each story is a worse case scenario and I can breath deep at the end as the credits roll because I’m safely tucked up on the couch in my chenille blanket.
Something changed when I met my friend Matt who loves this genre even more than I do. We bonded over Stephen King but our first conversation was about Digging Up the Marrow, which I recommended to him. He loves Twin Peaks and I honestly can’t think of anything else that moves me more. It’s the best TV ever made and the most haunting. Talking about it reminds me of discussing each episode of Twin Peaks: The Return with James on our podcast – every time I think about it, I want to watch it all over again. Maybe I will.
Also my sister-in-law who was making a short ghost film when I first met her, and who always critiques the horror films she watches in a way that makes me think about them from a different angle. And of course, Jill my blog partner in crime who’s watched all manner of weird shit with me and hopefully always will!
I’ve started using Instagram to seek out horror brands and other like-minded people. They’re all right there and I love that they consider the genre to be superior in every way. That they understand the mental health benefits of a damn good scare. That neo-horror (like Midsommar, Hereditary and Get Out) fucking rules but the classics still have their place* – and should be digested over and over again, not just at Halloween. These are my people – and I love them for it.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
*Argento, Craven, Carpenter, Romero, oh my!