Greetings all! This article has gone through a bunch of changes before it made its way to Horror Haven. I’m glad I can release it to the world now, as I wasn’t sure it my creation was going to have a life this time. A lot of times, I come up with the article and struggle coming up with a name. Sometimes, the title comes to me, and the article comes later. This is one of those cases. It happened one night when I was sitting alongside the crypt…
The wolves were howling at the moon, and the night air still had a crispness to it. It just came to me, “Understanding The Beast”. That was going to be the next article. But, what was the beast? Was it an actual screen monster from my childhood? The genre itself? Or as I deleted and restarted, was it the article itself? It’s funny, I was in Barnes and Noble not too long ago. I was talking to the sales associate about horror and writing. He asked me if I was a journalist. I paused for a moment, and said that I was. It was the first time that my writing has felt that way. I did not take journalism. But, I feel like I’m trying to make some kind of mark on this world. A little escapism is good in this day and age. I don’t know, maybe someday I’ll be one.
Back to the beast, I think its my love of Horror. I can trace my long history to a time I can barely remember. Anyone who knows me, knows Godzilla rocks in my world. He was the first, and he will always be the undisputed king of the monsters in my book. I remember being very sick in the hospital when I was little. And the nurses and my parents struggled to find a television for me. It was back in the day when the children’s ward had maybe four to six beds in a room. But, they found this old red-colored TV that was wheeled in, and I got to watch, “Godzilla vs. King Kong”. I was a monster kid. I collected Famous Monsters and Eerie. I was and still am a huge comic book fan. I recently unearthed some of my old Charlton Monster comics along with a bunch of Gold Key and Whitman comics. I’m sure some supermarket or newsstand stocked these back in the day.
My watching habits began with Creature Double Feature every Saturday. This would sometimes segue into the Movie Loft and the occasional late night horror treat. This was a steady diet of horror from the ’30s through the ’60s . I learned of Toho, Hammer, the Universal Monster catalog, AIP catalog, and more. Hammer Horror was just awesome. A gothic 19th century setting, far from the modern world. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing just blew away everything they were in.
The 80s came along, and cable changed my chances for seeing these great classics. As more channels arrived, they discovered they could fill the time slots with infomercials for less than the movies. So, I was glad when video stores popped up. I was introduced to whole new genres of films. Slashers, apocalyptic, zombies! It seemed there was something for everyone, and the lower the budget – the more I enjoyed it. Much of the ’80s were spent roaming the woods of Crystal Lake or Elm Street or even the quiet suburbs of Haddonfield. I lost track of those old monsters for a while, but I would return to them later.
As an adult, I have really reconnected with my youth. Thanks to many great yahoo groups, message boards, and sites like this; I discovered there were many monster kids like me out there. I have enjoyed finding new old classics that I can’t imagine not having in my collection now. Suspiria, Creeping Flesh, Race With The Devil, Near Dark, the list goes on and on. Thanks to DVD, so many of these are at our fingertips now.
This beast has been so good to me. It fueled so much of my imagination as a child. Sometimes now, I still sit around the campfire, look at the stars and listen to the noises around me. Was that something slithering out there? Does that snap of those branches mean Jason is out there searching? The people who have crafted movies, books, and games sometimes are taken very seriously because of the genre they have chosen to hone their craft. My hat is off to them all. To me, they did their job well.
So, if this beast ever bites you and won’t let go, embrace it. Breath in that garlic necklace. Feel the heat of the angry villagers’ torch. Let your heart beat like you are being chased through the woods. When you give yourself over to it, that’s when the fun really begins. We’ll talk again soon….
Drop me a line and let me know what you all think at firstname.lastname@example.org
And check out the Fright Channel at www.horrorhaven.com. It’s a great place to start for some of those classics.