Friday, August 13, 2004

Friday the 13th

Today seems like an appropriate day to discuss my fascination with the horror genre.

I can't really explain it, other than to say I've always been fascinated by the macabre and tales of the supernatural, and I've always enjoyed the sensation of being frightened by such tales. I think it started when I was pretty young. I loved Scooby-Doo, which generally revolved around Scooby and the gang investigating claims of ghosts, phantoms, monsters, etc. Those cartoons are just funny now when I catch them on Cartoon Network, but some of the episodes were pretty creepy to a five-year-old.

I graduated from there to books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and others like that, plus "true" tales of ghosts and unexplained phenomena. I had some sleep-deprived nights due to some of those stories, let me tell you. No nightmares or anything like that, but I would lie awake just thinking about some of the stories. In my own sick and weird way, I liked it. I'd scare myself, really. I knew the stories weren't real, but...what if they were?

I was in sixth grade when I started reading authors like Dean Koontz, John Saul, and Stephen King. Some of those novels were more about psychological horror, which was new to me. I totally grooved on it, though. And they also wrote enough "conventional" horror to keep me happy in that regard. To this day, one of my absolute favorite novels is Koontz's Watchers. I've read it a number of times. Even now, after I've read it so many times, it still has the power to creep me out. I think that's awesome.

Around the same time, I started watching horror movies. My friend Rachel and I used to rent all the horror movies we could get our hands on, and I've seen some really bad ones. Of that ilk, I'll go out of my way to mention the numerous movies based on the book Watchers that I just raved about--the novel was great, but none of the movies stayed true to it, and thus they all sucked. Sad but true. I was pretty into the standard fare of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, though. Alien is an awesome horror flick, too, although a lot of people write it off because it's also science fiction. Personally, I don't care if it takes place in outer space--that movie is damned creepy.

I haven't seen a lot of the more recent horror films, I'm sad to say. Partially it's because some of them look so awful, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that no one is really interested in seeing them with me. I haven't yet seen The Ring, The Sixth Sense (although I know the surprise, dammit!), or The Blair Witch Project. They're all on the list, though. I think the last horror movies I saw were Scream and Scream 2, actually. I thought the first one was good and pretty clever, but after that it got stale.

Of course, a lot of Stephen King novels have been made into movies, and I've seen quite a few of those just because I enjoy his work so much. Some of the movies are terrible, but some are great. Don't bother with The Dark Half or The Stand (although yes, I do own The Stand on DVD). It was pretty decent, as was the original Salem's Lot (I didn't get to see the updated version on TNT). Misery and Pet Semetary were both pretty awesome. The translations of his work are really hit or miss. I like to see them, though, one way or another.

Right now, I'd have to say I'm pretty interested in seeing The Village. I haven't seen any of Shyamalan's films, actually, but I want to check them out. I haven't seen The Exorcist, which shames me as a horror fan, but I'd like to see that and then the prequel that's coming out shortly. Also, for kind of a guilty pleasure I'd like to see Alien vs. Predator (and Freddy vs. Jason for that matter). Since Brandi is most definitely not interested, however, I'll almost certainly have to wait until they all come out on DVD, and then I'll watch them by myself.

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