Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Life and Death(eventual) of a Horror Nerd

    Having a lazy day watching hours upon hours of horror documentary's has made me all kinds of  reflective on my choices that led me to the lifestyle of a horror nerd. What causes this? I invite you through my mad musings looking back at some of the monumental events that made me this way. As I said earlier I am feeling reflective so this is not my usual type of article but hopefully I can add some insight into what makes someone commit to having most of their life be dedicated to something so macabre. Part History, part observation, a little bit of bullshit and full of comparisons and anecdotes(OK maybe it is like one of my reviews).
     If I think back to my childhood most of my memories are of the first time I saw Jason Vorhees, the first time I ate a bowl of Count Chocula, the first time I heard Iron Maiden. These were all momentousness times in my life. I remember being asked to write a short story in fourth grade, I of course wrote a story about a deranged killer, it was total garbage and derivative of all the horror films I had seen at that time but I was proud of it, I even drew a picture of the killer(basically a mixture of Leatherface, Freddy, Jason, Ash and Pinhead), I turned it in and went home. My mom received a phone call that night from my teacher who was less than impressed with my story.  Not because of how it was written but because she was appalled that I would write such a thing. She told my mom I needed therapy. My mom of course told her that I just had a vivid imagination and that I was fine.  She of course was right, I would never hurt someone. I was a very mellow child. I was polite, I didn't start fights I just liked to watch bitches get their faces ripped off on screen. Lucky for me my mom saw no problem with this. I was lucky enough to have a mom that supported my love of all things horror.  She from a young age had no problem with me watching or reading pretty much anything but she would constantly reiterate that it was not real. 
     My  love of horror just continued to escalate, by fifth grade the VHS boom was full blown and we finally had a player. I would stop by the video store every day on my way home from school and grab anything that had a monster, an axe, blood, a warning label, well basically anything in the horror section.  I went through these like crazy. I mean I devoured them. If I liked em I would just rewind(yeah rewind) them and play em all over again. I think I watched A Nightmare on Elm St 3:Dream Warriors four times in a row the first time I rented it, not to mention the Dokken video at the end that I must of watched thirty times. It didn't stop with movies. I would go to the library and get anything with Stephen King or Clive Barkers name on it. I used my allowance to buy Fangoria every month and I would cut out all the pictures and hang them on my wall or put them on my trapper keeper which of course would get more calls home from school.
    In middle school a lot of things changed in my life. I left my moms and moved into my grandparents house. I went to school in the next town over and probably the most important thing happened. I saw A Clockwork Orange. The reason this is so significant is that it changed the way I watched movies.  I mean Clockwork Orange blew my mind so much that I wanted to know who was the madman behind it. Stanley Kubrick. I then went to the video store and rented one after another, every movie that had Kubrick's name on it. This was the first time I paid attention to who directed a film. I then started to do it with other directors and my life had changed yet again. This is the only time in my life I took a sabbatical from horror.

     The ninety's were  my least favorite decade in horror, there were a few gems but for a small window of time due to my discovery of a whole new world(you know its stuck in your head now) of film I kind of lost my interest. Now instead of going to horror section I would use my newly purchased books on film to go through the likes of everything from Coppola to John Waters, from Godard to David Lynch. I just couldn't stop. Scorsese, Truffaut, Fellini,  Kurosawa, Bergman, Herzog and on and on and on. I then saw Reservoir Dogs  which started my journey through independent cinema. I would go and look for anything that looked like it was gonna be gritty, bizarre, and weird. This is where I found Jim Jarmusch, Greg Araki, Harmony Korine, Lars Von Trier, Richard Linklater, Todd Solondz and on and on and on. I hadn't completely given up on horror but this is the one time in my life it was on the back burner.  I would still revisit classics like Freddy, or the Evil Dead films.  To be honest I don't fully remember what put me back on the horror track but I think it just kind of was always there.  I still had stacks and stacks of VHS I had collected through the years. My room still had some horror posters on the wall but i was just so engulfed in Cult/Arthouse/ Independent films that I didn't give it the time I once had. This of course all changed.

     By Y2K Gabe Nye the Science Guy, Jeremy Gaulkenstein, Jacob Von Klingele, Jimmy Caution, The Keith Initiative  and many more would spend our days drinking coffee, smoking smokes, and talking film and horror was always the main subject.  In 2002 during our regular coffee sesh we decided we wanted to do a horror marathon, not just like a one day event but like a week or so. We would watch a list of films we determined and review them and put out a zine when all was done.  We started coming up with films to be included. As we made the list we quickly realized it was gonna take longer than a week. In the end we decided to do the 49 days of horror. We went from Friday the 13th till Halloween.  Everyday we would walk to the store, get beer and smokes and sit in my dank ass basement and watch horror films till we passed out and would wake up and start over again. It was a blast but of course we never got around to putting out the zine. Jump ahead another year and while at coffee we decided we were gonna try it again, only not nearly as big. We started making lists again. this time we did it in categories. We had Friday the 13th day, a Cannibal day, surreal day, Naked Massacre Night(yes we got naked and watched all the slumber/sorority/ cheerleader massacre movies),  Critters day, and so many more. In the end we ended up with 50 days. We did from Friday the 12th(The opening of Cabin Fever) till Halloween.  It was a blast. Every day we would go out rent/buy/borrow movies grab our booze and smokes and sit in my trailer(I upgraded) and go through our lists. We were serious we had everything mapped out on a graph that we had proudly posted on my door. I think in the end we did over four hundred films(quite a bit as I was working about 30 hours a week).  This time I was determined to actually put out the zine. We had notebooks all over and if you were there you were required to write a review. We had so many and it would of been epic but my trailer flooded and all the notebooks were ruined.

     Since this I have not looked back. I eat, sleep and breath horror.  Jacob Von Klingele and I opened a store called Videodrome dedicated to helping people in the shit town we lived in find obscure films and memorabilia.  I have driven hundreds of miles to meet actors and directors. Every month I pick up Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Horror Hound, and many of other magazines depending whats inside.  I read blogs, websites, and continuously pick up horror memoirs, and reference guides.  I am constantly buying, renting, downloading, netflixing and borrowing any horror film I can get my hands on.  Its not just movies. I will buy things just because they are horror themed. October is an expensive month as there are lots of thing I want for the whole year that I can only get around Halloween. I drop a ridiculous amount of cash on cereal as its the only time I can get my Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Frankenberry. I will buy six bottles of hand soap just because it has pumpkins on it. I will buy rolls and rolls of paper towels because there are witches on them. If I am gonna wipe up my vomit I might as well use monster themed towels.  I have an oven mitt that's a skull, cups with severed heads towels with vampires and skulls. I only drink my coffee out of mugs with the likes of the black dahlia or Subconscious Cruelty(or ALF).Ninety percent of my cloths are from horror films. All I am saying is horror is a lifestyle.  Its a commitment. It is not by any means the only thing I do but it takes up a large percentage of my activities. I am glad. Horror has brought me so many opportunities and friendships. There are people I have never met and when I see a trailer I have to share it.  If I see someone wearing a shirt from Fright Rags its like an invitation. Hey lets bullshit. Horror has and always will be there. You may have to sift through a lot of shit(or just wait for me to) but its there and I will wallow in it till the day I die.




Mr. Gable said...

Whenever this site gets going again you'll have to buy some shit from it. Zombie Themed Hot Sauce. FUCK YES.

Anyway, during my time as a horror nerd myself I have observed that the horror fan is actually the most kind individual. People who absolutely LOVE horror movies are always the people that will help you out when you need it and are just plain awesome. Because we get our kicks watching violence. It's those people that idolize comedy and romantic movies that are always so fucking uptight dicks.

I was ruined as a child. My dad ALWAYS fucking spooked me whenever we watched a scary movie so I never really liked horror movies. The first horror movie I remember sitting through and not shitting my pants was Carnosaur 2. I still fucking love that movie to this day. But it was really A Nightmare on Elm Street that started my love for everything horror. And sadly, that started around my late teens. I'm so far behind.

From there it went to the other big franchises...F13, Halloween, Hellraiser, etc. Then after that I just kinda did the theatre thing. But after awhile that just got old and tired. So I started my yearly Halloween tradition (i got FUCKED last year) of watching random movies from the video store. Just anything that looked awesome. And it turned out that a lot of it was from the 80s and it fucking blew my balls off. I loved it.

So then I started exploring more and more. Directors like Carpenter and shit. Then I started to notice actors, etc. But then I moved into a new apartment and met my neighbors...these guys are the group I hang out with to this day. They are fucking CRAZY when it comes to movies. Their passion is without a doubt, EVERYTHING THAT SUCKS. Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2, Street Trash, The Taint, Thankskilling, etc. I shouldn't say these suck, they're fucking awesome. It's at that point that I really started LOVING movies. It's so bad now that I don't give a fuck what it is...put it in, let's watch it.

And it's because of these movies that I started blogging about them and its these movies that have caused me to meet people like you and several others. I fucking love it man, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Keith said...

brilliant post, eric. really well written. glad i got to know dank-basement-eric-martin first, that dude ruled. not hating on current martin, or even trailer martin, just really dug that basement. lulz.