When I was a kid, my mom would always sit us down to watch whatever cartoons or action movies were on, while she went off to cook or clean. Back then, we didn’t have cable, but we did have many VHS movies, and most of them were horror movies that my mom kept in a chest in her room, away from us.
My mom would make it a stern rule not to watch these movies. Which is weird considering they never cared when we saw violent action films, or gory science fiction films. And wouldn’t you know it? I never killed anyone in my life. Good parenting goes a long way, folks. As you can guess, she had a library of the classic horror films. You know the classics I’m talking about. But, she’d trained us to be horror fans, and to quench our thirst for the frightening, we’d watch stuff like “The Monster Squad,” and “Goonies,” films that were creepy, but not scary enough to keep us up at night.
And every once in a while, she allowed us to watch frightening stuff like “The Willies,” and, my childhood favorite, “The Gate.” Eventually, as we got older, like a druggie with their fix, the dose of horror she gave us just wasn’t enough anymore. We were thirsty for horror films, and one day, we busted into her chest, stole five of her horror movies, and watched them all day long without her knowledge.
I could watch almost any horror film. Any horror film but the zombie films. You couldn’t pay me to watch a zombie movie when I was a kid. Not even sitting with adults during the day made me re-consider a zombie movie. But every now and then, I’d get curious and peek while my mom watched stuff like “Zombie,” and “Dawn of the Dead.” And I paid for it.
Dearly. I’d stay up all night quivering, and flinching at every shadow and sound, and I lost a lot of sleep. Zombies just scared the living soul out of me. Something about them, to this day, just gives me the case of the cold sweats. Maybe it’s their movement, maybe it’s their need for cannibalism, maybe it’s the fact that they’re humans eating other humans, I can’t explain it, but zombies just scare me, as Dennis Hopper once said.
But still, every Halloween, I sit and watch “Dawn of the Dead” and “Return of the Living Dead” in spite of my penchant for getting the s**t scared out of me, because that’s what horror movies are supposed to do. They’re supposed to scare. And these movies do their jobs on me. Being scared is a raw human emotion, and that’s the reason why horror will never die.
We will suffer through PG-13 tame fare, or J-Horror fare, or lame remakes, but horror is a constantly changing beast, as Argento once observed. It’s always changing, always conforming to society, and always going against the grain.
Halloween is an all year affair for me, it doesn’t matter what time of day or what month I’m in. Being in October just gives me an excuse to relinquish most of my duties and drown myself in the genre. It could be July in 89 degree temperatures, and I’d still be sitting down to watch “Halloween.” It could be Thanksgiving, and I could be sitting down to see “Jason Lives.” And of course, every Christmas there’s “A Christmas Story,” and “Black Christmas.”
Halloween for me isn’t a holiday, it’s more like a state of mind. It’s what I basically do all year, and my friends and family just feed it. Thanks to Phil Hall I was finally able to see “Cannibal Holocaust.” Jeremy Knox turned me on to some great slashers I may have missed, including “Leslie Vernon.” My mom always insisted that I dive in to all things horror whether they be movies or books and I’m almost never disappointed, and regardless of the substance, there’s nothing like sitting down to watch a horror movie alone or with friends.
Today I will be having my annual Halloween movie marathon, and though I’d love to share my thoughts with you on the films as I originally had planned for the blogs, I have about thirteen movies I’m watching, all too lengthy to go into, but rest assured, I’ll be thinking of my buddies, and all those people that fed my love for horror while I’m eating chips, chugging Iced Tea, watching Shaun of the Dead, 28 Weeks Later, The Descent and Les Diabolique… and stealing candy from my nephew.
Tomorrow is November 1st.
But for people like me, Halloween keeps going on and on until our pulse fades…