Horror love is our focus for the month of October at 1428 Elm. Carla Davis tells us how she became a lifelong fan of the genre.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Full disclaimer, I am older than most (if not all) of my fellow contributors at 1428 Elm. I think majority of us develop an interest in horror movies in our teens, but I just never outgrew mine. Really, my age gives me a unique perspective on the genre.
As a teenager, I saw many iconic movies when they were released in theaters (often on opening night). We’re talking movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie.
I still adore these films, but I have grown along with the genre, and I love nothing more than to find a brand new, great, scary movie. I do not seek out gore, but I also don’t avoid it.
My love for horror began when I was way too young to watch those types of productions. My father worked at a movie theater during my early childhood, so watching films was a very regular occurrence for my parents, my sister and me.
I can remember my mother making us duck our heads behind the seats in front of us during scenes that were too sexy or bloody. But, I also remember a moment from Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. Someone is trying to ring the church bell, but the sound is muffled.
Upon investigating, the body of a young woman is found to be stuffed inside the bell. I was only about five years old at the time, but for whatever reason, that particular scene has stayed with me throughout my life.
For the Love of Uncle Ronnie
I was also an avid reader from a young age, and there came a point when I would pick up whatever book my mother or father had recently finished and just start reading it. Those books were often horror novels, and my parents did not really censor my reading material.
I mean, I read The Exorcist when I was about ten years old! That one scared the hell out of me, and I am sure my mom did not know I had read it. I read my first Stephen King book (Salem’s Lot) at age 12, and that began a love affair that has lasted to this very day.
All of that aside, my Uncle Ronnie is the main person I credit with my love of horror movies. He took my sister and me to see Silent Night, Evil Night (AKA Black Christmas) when I was 11, and that’s when the love kicked in hardcore.
The terrifying scene that has haunted me forever features one of the dead girls, mouth open wide, plastic bag over her head, in a rocking chair up in the attic. And the chair is just rocking back and forth. SO scary!
Horror- Black Christmas – Courtesy of Film Funding Ltd. of Canada,Vision IV,Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC)
He also took us to see Torso, Dawn of the Dead, The Driller Killer, Halloween, and Herschel Gordon Lewis’s The Gruesome Twosome (that one had to be a revival, as I know without a doubt that I didn’t see it upon its original release), among other horror classics.
Uncle Ronnie unfortunately passed away a few years ago, but I will always remember how he tortured us after seeing Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. He lived across the street from a small cemetery at the time, so you can imagine how terrified we were, especially when he kept saying, “They’re coming to get you, Barbaraaaaaaaa…” To this day, when I find a good horror movie, for a split second I think: “I’ve got to talk to Uncle Ronnie about this one!” I really, really miss him.
Horror-Image courtesy of Image Ten
It’s Okay to Love the Macabre
I know that a lot of people don’t understand how I can love horror the way I do. They think it’s twisted, or that there is something wrong with me. But, my horror-loving friends and I discussed this just last week: it does not mean that we secretly want to commit murder, or that we are mentally ill.
On the contrary, I think it’s pretty healthy. We understand that movies aren’t real, but we also know that true horror does exist. Turning your back on it doesn’t make it disappear. You can’t go through life being afraid of real-life terror, and facing it on the big screen takes away its power somewhat.
So, I just choose to give in to the adrenaline rush that a good horror movie gives me, and I continue to seek out new and terrifying movies (along with the occasional nightmare they may bring). And, I send out a silent “thank you” to my Uncle Ronnie every time I watch a scary movie.
How did you fall in love with horror? Let us know in the comments section below.