My mother worked at a video store when I was still in the single digits and some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days I spent hanging out with her at work. I used to spend hours perusing the horror section, silently daring myself to turn the boxes over and look at the gory stills on the back. My mom did the ordering and I absolutely lived for the days she would bring home Manhattan phone book sized catalogs full of poster art. The one that has always lodged most firmly in my brain was It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive , with the bassinet on a tropical beach and that twisted claw reaching out. It drives me crazy that I never managed to see that movie!
The movie snobs of the world look down on us horror junkies. They dismiss horror films, especially the slashers, as cheap, derivative and brainless. And many of them are. But what most people don’t realize is that there are memories attached to these films for a lot of us. My mother loves telling me the story of how she way staying up with my grandfather when he was dying of lung cancer and he woke from his heavily medicated state to catch her watching John Carpenter‘s version of The Thing. He cussed her out in French (my grandparents were Canadian) for watching something so disgusting, but wound up staying awake to finish it with her. So, yeah, many – if not most – horror movies are gross and dumb, especially the recent ones. But every once in a while you come across a good one, one that makes you leave a light on when you go to bed and run back from the bathroom like when you were a kid. Sometimes it’s not even the whole movie, just one scene or a particular image.