Many people struggle with depression, both in the US and everywhere around the world. We all have that one thing that makes every problem we have go away. Mine was the wonderful world of the dark and devilish; Horror films were my life.
The Webster dictionary defines depression as:
A state of feeling sad
A serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way
A period of time in which there is little economic activity and many people do not have jobs (this clearly doesn’t apply here but, the more you know, so here you go)
Growing up with depression, I always felt so dementedly different than everyone around me. I wasn’t an only child, but my sister (who is still important in my life to this day and whom I couldn’t live without) was long out of the house, and my brother, who i’ll always have love for, was fighting his own demons (and still is) to really be there to connect with. Dad was always in and out of prison, and mom rotated random men more than the servers at your local Denny’s.
It was me on my own, to make myself happy by any means I could. Which was hard, or course, seeing as I was 12-years-do and personal employment was far in the future. I hated the life I was stuck in, always sledging to the next moment like a sullen soldier resiliently moving in a vat of quicksand, only to be scummed by the surrounds they tirelessly tired to easily escape. There was only one thing that ever truly took my mind away from the unrelenting liquid of my own personal quicksand: Horror movies.
While there were many things that helped me limp though the horrible existence that was my childhood, Horror movies always did something to me that anything else simply couldn’t. To understand why I’m still living today, we have to go back to when I fell in love with horror.
When was nine, I saw a double feature of John Carpenter‘s Halloween (1978) and Rick Rosenthal‘s Halloween II (1981) from the dusty screen of an old tube television on the USA Network. This is the night that would forever change my life, and in so many ways, save it. It was the night I came home.
‘John Carpenter’s Halloween’-Courtesy of Compass International Pictures
My mom was out at some dive bar, one of those places where rednecks are never in short supply and where you’d bet your life on if a tattoo parlor was, in fact, operating from the dank stalls of the disgusting place the establishment tried to pass off as a restroom. Mom rarely heard from us when she was out, but tonight, she would make probably the best decisions she’d ever would for her eccentric son.
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My sister was watching me at an age that was probably a little too young to be doing the solo babysitter thing (ironically). When the Halloween double feature came on, my sister, who will always be protective of me, refused to let me watch the films. At nine , she felt I was too young for horror. She may have been right, but mom disagreed. I had her call mom, and mom probably said yes to get off the phone quickly; The rest is history.
What I saw that night moved me in ways that I never knew possible. I had seen movies before, even some scary ones my uncle would let me watch in secrecy, such as some of the Friday the 13th franchise, but nothing had the visceral impact like Halloween, and it’s sequel, had on me.
From then on, I would beg, borrow, and steal to get my hands on any horror tale I could. When i was in deep in the magically macabre world of horror, I wasn’t depressed anymore. I no longer thought about the love I wasn’t getting form the people who were supposed to give it. I was blissfully in a canoe on Crystal Lake. I was a patient at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. I lived at 1426 Elm Street, a neighbor to the stalking grounds of a certain dream demon. Horror is hell to some, it’s always been heaven to me.
Today, I’m a 29-year-old man and I have a life where I make the decisions. I no longer have to ask anyone what I can and can’t do, buy, and watch. My destiny is in my hands, not the damaged grip of others.
That said, I still get dressed from time to time. I still feel worthless in the darkest times of my existence. But when that happens; I go in the office, grab an old horror favorite, and travel to a place where anything is possible. The darkness of Horror still brings me to life’s brightest light. Horror saved my life, and to the filmmakers who give their talents to our genre, Thank you. From the bottom of my black heart.
If you suffer from depression, there’s always help. I encourage you to reach out in anyway to get help. If talking to another horror fan who feels like you helps, I’m always available on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments of any of my articles on the site. 1428 loves each and everyone of you.