The appeal of Horror

I blame my love of horror on Hans Holzer.

When I was little I found some books my Mom had by Holzer dealing with ghosts and the paranormal. They had grainy black and white pics of ghosts that triggered something in me. I then began devouring everything I could by him. Trips to the library found me sneaking into the adults area looking for anything and everything on the subject.

I became insatiable. And then one day I found a book on possession and exorcisms and it chilled me like nothing before. demons, ghosts, posssession, haunted houses, graveyards all promised me the kind of excitement that normal fare didn’t.

When Chiller theater (Sunday afternoons at ), came on I was perched in front of the tv. From the creepy music to the claymation 6 fingered green arm coming out of the ground ( which can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asO97gdn2oo&NR=1) I barely breathed. Barely blinked. There was a good mixture of Hammer films, Godzilla movies and the Universal classics. However the ultimate horror memory of my youth was watching The Night Stalker with my Mom. Not only did I get to watch this unbelievably awesome show, I also got to stay uo late!!! I’m not sure my mother knew what she was getting herself into by doing that, but I’ll always be grateful to her for that experience. I’m especially glad she’d hold my hand as she took me to bed so the monsters wouldn’t get me.

I can’t remember the first horror novel I ever read though but I think it was Carrie. My sister had a paperback copy that I “borrowed” from her and if nothing else I became a King fan. I guess I was 10 or 11 at the time. Probably far too young for such fare but there you go.

when my family moved to Phoenix, in 1981, I found Fangoria at a supermarket magazine stand. I don’t remember the cover but do remember it was issue 15. I’ve bought every issue since, despite no longer having many of those early issues anymore. From that moment on, I never looked back.

Horror, for me, is the ultimate escape. The characters may not escape death, but I, as a reader, will. At least for the length of that novel. I had a friend who read a short story I’d been working (this would be around 1988 I believe) on and he said, “When are you going to outgrow this?” My answer then is the same as it is now.

“Never, I hope.”

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4 Comments

  1. There was a time I almost felt embarrassed by saying I write horror. I was in my early 20’s then and felt I had to be the next Salinger or Vonnegut. Now I flat don’t give a shit. I write what pleases me, be it horror, fantasy or bad poems. I’ve realized I can’t force myself to write something I have no interest in, so why bother?

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