I spent a lot of my childhood time in front of the TV absorbing Vincent Price classics and Elvira-hosted B-movies. My family was an early adopter of cable, and when I was around 10 I became OBSESSED with the trailer advertising Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill, and begged my mom and dad to let me watch it. Short story: they relented; I had nightmares — and I wasn’t allowed to see another R-rated movie until I was 13. Unfortunately for me, A Nightmare on Elm Street was released before that so I had to settle for tall tales on the bus about how gruesome it was instead of seeing it on the big screen myself.
My parents, who are the best, fixed this by renting ANOES on VHS (hi, yes, I was a teen in the 80s) for me as soon as I turned 13, and letting my invite my friends over to watch it with me. About 15 minutes into the film, my dad, the ultimate prankster, ran up the stairs in a dirty leather hat with an actual RUNNING CHAINSAW and laughed maniacally, scarring the shit out of every. single. kid. in. the. room.
And that was it! From that moment on, I WAS HOOKED on splatter-y horror films. I dove into the local Blockbuster’s (R.I.P.) selection of of Hammer Horror, discovered Romero’s Zombies, quickly fell for Clive Barker’s S&M aesthetic, rode Craven’s roller coaster of good & bad, and explored Argento, Bava, and Fulci. The long-haired vengeful ghosts of Asian-horror also got me good, and I’m still in awe of how the legend of Sadako has always remained terrifying no matter how many adaptations she’s appeared in. I love everything about horror, from the script to the F/X (mostly practical, please!) to the deep, dark, musical scores.
Horror movies are rarely perfect, but as long as there’s a decent body count and some good splatter, I’m all over it.