by Martin Readshaw
With #31DaysofHorror on the go in the run up to Hallowe’en – my favourite holiday of the year, minus the pesky, meddling kids banging on my door – I began to wonder: what does being a horror fan suggest about what kind of person I am?
I’ll admit, until relatively recently in life, I wasn’t a fan. From the bits I’ve seen, I’m in no hurry to sit down and “enjoy” films like Saw and Hostel. But, I’ve always had a fascination with monsters, ghosts and the beasties that go bump in the night – as well as those that “bump back”. (Thank you, Professor Broom).
As otherworldly as they may be, who hasn’t secretly wanted to be as seductive or as irresistible as Dracula? Who hasn’t felt as out of place as Carrie White, or as misunderstood as Frankenstein’s creature?
And who hasn’t found themselves dealing with those annoying people that we’d happily cheer on Freddy Krueger, Ghostface or Jigsaw to get rid of?
“He’s a sick mind, full of demons.” That was an opinion I recently read on Facebook about Stephen King. Does that opinion of Stephen King also apply to horror fans?
Like the Wolf Man, I believe we all have that darkness inside of us. Some are better at keeping it under control, not even hurting a fly, just like Mrs Bates’ boy. I’d argue that rather than a sick mind, it shows imagination. It’s certainly worked well for King!
We like to be scared – that’s how theme parks stay in business. We’re strangely fascinated by real life monsters like The Krays, Ed Gein, Jack the Ripper, and Jeffrey Dahmer; horror comes in so many different forms. From the loner that lives at the end of the street… to the Alien on the far edge of space. From the pages of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and the aforementioned King to the cinematic offerings of Tobe Hooper, George A. Romero and Eli Roth.
As long as you’re not hurting anyone by re-enacting your favourite scenes, I don’t see the problem with having a few demons in your head; after all, there’s nothing scarier than your own imagination, and there’s no real reason to be afraid of the dark.
Only of what’s waiting for you in it…
Sleep well, dear reader. Don’t let whatever’s under your bed bite.