Small children don’t watch horror films for a reason. I have never figured out what this reason is. I have been fascinated with the horror genre since I was three and no I am not a serial killer. My love of horror began at such an early age. I remember Halloween being a happy time. My father and I would always decorate the house and then go trick or treating, the whole enchilada. Most of my days were spent from 6am to 7pm at a trashy daycare center, which is a very long time for a child to be held captive. I didn’t see my dad a lot because he was busy working towards his next six pack. Halloween was such a happy time for me because it meant that I would be seeing more of my dad, I got to have fun for a change. Daycare sucked, kids were mean, teachers were mean. Halloween was nice.
I freaked pre-school teachers out with my fascination with ghosts and the beyond. I had an imaginary ghost friend, for a month or two. While other kids were obsessed with Teletubbies and The Magic School Bus, I obsessed over Casper the Friendly Ghost and Chucky, mainly because we didn’t have cable, only VHS tapes. I actually ended up being placed with the big kids who came to the after school program, this was so I wouldn’t traumatize the other three year olds.
When I was four, I went to live with my aunt. I still lived in the same town. I ended up switching to a “better” pre-school. I freaked out a very religious teacher by talking about ghosts and she tried to sprinkle holy water on me during nap time to rid me of bad juju. She wouldn’t even let me play with the other kids at times. I didn’t know that I had “abnormal interests”, I was four years old.
My aunt was even surprised when I wanted to go as Ghostface for Halloween, I had gone as Pikachu the year before. Ghostface was a huge step up on the costume ladder. The next year I really pushed my limits by trick or treating as a bloody version of Jason Voorhees. After that Halloween, my aunt decided that I would go as Harry Potter the next year and the years after that.
I still saw my dad on weekends. We would spend a lot of time at his friend Mary’s house. Mary had a 14 year old son who liked to beat me up, he was like an older brother to me, not a good one. I beat him up sometimes. He was a horror. Mary’s son would tell me that the boogeyman was gonna get me or Hannibal Lecter was going to eat me, all I could say was “REALLY?!?! WHEN?!?!” .
At Mary’s house I got to watch my first rated-R horror flick and that movie was Hannibal (2001). I was six years old and kind of nervous at first but Mary assured me that this film would be just like the Goosebumps show that I watched on TV. Boy was she wrong! I remember that film quite specifically. The man eating boars, Hannibal eating brains and feeding the brains to a Chinese boy on a plane. It was ten times more graphic than Goosebumps. My tiny child mind kind of got bored, it wasn’t a particularly good film and I fell asleep.
The next week Mary, her son, my dad and I watched Halloween 6. Great parenting Dad, great parenting. But if it weren’t for these movies, I wouldn’t have discovered my love for horror. Halloween 6 was the first horror movie to actually scare me. I was paranoid that Michael Myers was gonna get me. He was the first fictional character I saw going after children. To worsen my trauma, my dad also had many friends that looked like Michael Myers.
I didn’t get to watch anymore movies like that until I was ten. I still had Goosebumps and The Bailey School Kids, but that was all kids stuff. I didn’t get scared by much of the mainstream horror. I was fearless around haunted houses and spooky costumes, because they were just that to me. I loved it all. I even went to Spooky World when I was in third grade, the lines and Radio Disney were what scared me the most. Of course I wasn’t the only kid who got to watch scary things, but I was one of few so that made me a little tougher than most kids my age.
The moment that really caused me to love horror and slightly hate it, happened one night when my Aunt took me to a Laundromat. She asked me to get something from her car. It was dark, the car was very far away, times were different. I ran as fast as I fucking could to that car because I knew that if I didn’t, Michael Myers was going to get me. Fortunately I survived but the experience left me feeling hollow. It also made me realize that I was actually afraid of something and I didn’t want to be. I immediately begged my dad to rent Halloween for me. I got home, popped it into my VCR and watched it. I loved the movie so much and it had absolved me of my fear. The next weekend I saw Freddy vs. Jason. After that I managed to borrow Nightmare on Elm Street from my local library. No librarian questioned the fact that a 10 year old was renting a rated-R horror film. My math teacher caught me and gave me a stern talking to, I managed to convince her that it was for my dad, which was a lie. My dad was very sick with the flu at the time and I ended up watching Freddy’s first rampage all by myself.
Some people might think that it was crazy for me to watch horror movies at a young age, but I had real horrors to deal with growing up so the horror movies alleviated those challenges. They also inspired me to write a blog. I could go on and on about how much the horror genre has shaped my life for the better. I could never hate horror movies because they helped me get over my childhood fears and they inspired my love of books. Horror movies, no matter what critics and psychologists tell you, aren’t all bad, I turned out fine.