I did not attend film school; I never even finished my English degree. I’ve never worked for any publication or apprenticed under an established reviewer. I’ve not researched the history of films nor am I terribly interested in learning; same for the technical aspects of film in general–don’t know it, don’t particularly care. I’m not even well-versed on the history of horror films itself. And yet I have the audacity to claim that I am completely qualified to analyze and review horror films for this reason:
I love horror more than anybody I know.
From the time I was four years old and my mother plopped me down in front of Dark Shadows, I fell in love. All the other kids loved Disney; fuck Disney, I was all about Barnabas Collins. And Christopher Lee. And Peter Cushing. Or anything which had vampires, mummies, werewolves, monsters, skulls, dinosaurs, mutants, aliens, bats, rats, frogs, snakes, gators, self-aware genius ants, giant bunnies or generic psycho killers—anything to jump-start that dark junky thrill. My love for horror was not an acquired taste; it was innate. I was born understanding the joy of the Good Scare…and if it scared me, it was good. In fact, the only time I ever remember horror upsetting me was a segment of Night Gallery–Season 1, episode 5 to be precise–about a truly fucked-up looking doll that literally walked the night. I watched it again recently and by god, I feel vindicated because that is an objectively depraved toy. Being scared of that thing is just damn common sense. To this day, it is my only real experience being freaked out by the bad scare.
Now if you know anything about horror, you’ll know that even being alive before Night Gallery went into syndication means I’m old. I am. Quite. And there’s only two good things about getting old–1) I don’t give near as much of a shit what people think and 2) I’ve been watching horror for decades, which means I have watched one metric fuck ton of horror…more than anybody I know. And instead of growing up, growing out of horror (and stagnating, in general), I watch more than ever before, and definitely more than even the most ardent horror fan…which is due to another backwards blessing.
I have…a “condition”. Name’s not important. All I’ll say is that it is an autoimmune thing. Autoimmunity is like living with an asshole roommate. Most of the time, it’s fine. You barely even notice them. On good days, they can even be fun, but just when you’re beginning to think that maybe it’s not so bad after all, the asshole goes full-on dick and you remember all over again why you would give anything if you could just break the lease and move the fuck away.
But I can’t. Obviously. All I can do is ride the sofa until the asshole settles down. Could be hours; could be days. Sometimes longer. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve lived with this asshole most of my adult life; more often than not, with $5000/month (before insurance) medication, I’m just as well as everybody else, if not better. But assholes are capricious; I never know when it will attack. Makes it kind of hard to commit to a regular 9-5. Sofa surfing or not, though, I have something very valuable that gives me the edge over most horror fans: time. While all y’all are wasting time having lives, I’m watching horror. Even with all my too many interests, the domestic gig, time with MB, and now, writing a blog, I still have time left over to watch a horror film more days than not. And since the quarantine, I’ll sometimes watch 2-3 horrors a day. Because streaming has been a major game changer.
Currently, I have Shudder, Netflix, Prime, IFC Unlimited, Hulu, Vudu, Tubi, Popcornflix, Frightpix, Horror Movies by Fawesome, Dark Matter, Fear Flicks and, of course, Youtube. All of the channels beginning with Tubi on are free with ads, but those ads are few…trust me, I haven’t watched cable for years because I couldn’t bear all of the commercials and general inanity. I would gleefully, with extreme prejudice and satisfying vengeance, delete any channel that constantly interrrupted the scares with stupid ads, but the interruptions on these free streaming channels are minimal (except for the channel Sony pimps out…fuck you, Crackle. You ruin everything good). Point is, I could literally watch horror movies 24/7…indefinitely. Especially my favorite type of horror, which tend to be low budget, low tech indies and (jesus, I hate this term) mumblegore (will be writing soon on mumblegore, because what it means is as good as the name is stupid and misleading).
But here’s the problem–I watch more horror than anybody else. I love horror more than anybody else…and I like to analyze them for metaphors, easter eggs, hidden meanings, find out cool trivia, what was going socio-politically during the era and how that is reflected by certain scenes etc…which means, I tend to talk about horror more than anybody else to people who don’t love horror as much as I do. I’m driving people batshit. The podcast was my baby boy’s idea. He got sick of my constant texts about things like how I had figured out what the “reconstruction” reference meant in Kill List sort of thing and that was his polite way of saying he didn’t give a shit.
He asked, “Why not start your own podcast so you can talk about horror all you want?”
I replied, “Because there’s seven million and elebenty-two hundred thousand other channels doing the same thing”.
“But not the type of horror you like…and they sure as hell don’t parse the shit out of it the way you do.”
Turns out the podcast is making me want to slice off my own eyelids with the lid from a rusty can, but I gotta talk about horror, so…hence. Even if nobody in the whole world reads it, I still accomplish my goal of running my head incessantly about horror. And I do know horror, more than most…probably even more than you. I feel confident in my abilities. Even if I can’t figure out how to make a decent podcast.
So that is who I am and that is what this is. Time to shift my ADHD brain into hyper-focus and talk about horror.