This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately, and something I’m asked about all the time: why horror? Why do I write it? Why am I so obsessed with it?
I started watching horror movies at an early age. I remember being about 3 or 4 years old and hiding behind a chair in the living room, secretly watching Halloween II, my parents blissfully unaware. It wasn’t until nurse Jill was stabbed that my mother noticed I was present (I think I gave myself away by gasping in fright), and instead of scolding me, she sat me in her lap and we began discussing various defense moves.
We always watched them together, so I associate horror with her–and I learned what not to do to become a dreaded “damsel in distress.” I loved monsters, Garbage Pail Kids, Tales From the Crypt, and Swamp Thing, and I loved reading: Stephen King was definitely a favorite, and I was scolded on multiple occasions for doing book reports on King. Still, my mother took me to the East Baton Rouge Parish Library on Goodwood to select more horror books–to her, reading was reading.
There was a video rental store down the road that also fueled my obsession–one of the few businesses in a village of 500, in fact–which carried a delightful assortment of horror: An American Werewolf in London, The Thing, The Fly, The Lost Boys, Hellraiser, Reanimator, and quite a few obscure ones.
So the simple answer? Horror can be what you make it–does it scare you? Disturb you? Or does it empower you to kick the bad guy’s ass?