The Lovely Horror

I’ve always been into horror, ever since I was a kid. I remember being terrified of movies like The Omen and The Exorcist, but being supremely interested by them as well. I’m not quite sure what it is about horror that gets me. I can say with surety that I can’t abide movies with a high ‘boo factor’ – things or characters that just pop into frame to make people jump in their seats. I’m also not fond of drawn out suspense for the ‘jump money-shot’. It’s cheap and irritating, in my opinion. Maybe I’m just getting old.

As a teenager, I LOVED splatter. I collected Fangoria and went to Horror and SciFi conventions. I loved Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, Blood Feast, etc. I couldn’t get enough. When movies like Gates of Hell and Pieces came out, I lamented the fact that I wasn’t anywhere near 17. This being said, I still can’t watch the orginal Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It tweaks me too much. It’s that ‘out in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to be tortured/raped/victimized for days by people who happen to be psychotic and there’s nobody and nothing that can save you’ thing that I don’t deal well with. The supernatural I can deal with. Raging psychotics on holiday (ala movies like The Strangers, SAW and Wolf Creek) just end up making me angry.

My mother couldn’t really understand why I liked the splatter genre, being that she fell in love with Poe at the age of four. She was more of a fan of works along the lines of Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. I remember her telling me about how she read it while sitting at home alone one night, and at the “My God! Whose hand was I holding?” part of the story, she threw the book across the room because it freaked her out so much. She did end up finishing it – in the daytime.

Since I’ve gotten older, I’m understanding where she’s coming from. I have less tawdry, less easy to satisfy tastes now, and am much more a fan of the subtleties in the books I read and the movies I watch. But still – I did love Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween and am wanting to catch the Friday the 13th remake. Ah, nostalgia.

In movies, I’m getting to be more of a fan of watching the character’s reaction to the creature/bad thing before them – rather than seeing it outright. CGI is really hitting its stride with realism lately, but sometimes it’s just better to allude. The things that my imagination can come up with are usually creepier and less pleasant than a computer animated shambling horror.

I read mostly paranormal fantasy nowadays, but am wanting to get back to some of the classics from my youth. It’s been too long.

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