Anyway, in response to all this negative thinking, Final Girl declared Tuesday March 18th as “Don’t Be A Douchebag Day” and reached out to her fellow bloggers to share stories about why the movie watching experience is still frickin’ awesome! To which, I humbly accept the call. Rather than just talk about one particular movie or instance, I decided to cull together a timeline that molded me into the horror film geek that I am today. So, here we go.
I don’t recall the first horror movie I ever saw, but very early on in my life I saw a 1978 film called The Legacy on TV. I remember being extremely afraid and even had to leave for a bit at one point. The part where the girl drowns in the pool because she can’t come up for air is probably the root of my dislike for water sports (that, and Jaws of course). We had the novel kicking around our house and that cover always gave me the shivers. I can’t tell you why now. I mean, look at it. It’s completely absurd! And yet…
I grew up in the eighties where home video was still a novelty. Going downstairs and finding a VCR under the tree was like, well… Christmas! We had rented one a few times previously and now we had a VCR at our disposal ALL THE TIME! I remember trying to wrap my head around the concept of being able to tape episodes of Battle Of The Planets off the TV and watch them ANYTIME I wanted. Though it did take me a while to save up the 20 bones it cost for a blank tape. We also got an Atari 2600 that morning, making 1981 the best Christmas EVAR.
I loved, LOVED Halloween as a kid. I used to watch it endlessly. And this was a time when movies weren’t generally available for sale, just rental. You could buy them, but they were about $100 a pop, so obviously unless you were Richie Rich, you were renting. One day, I got the genius idea of renting both Halloween & Halloween 2 and watching them back to back. That meant three hours of Michael Myers mayhem, which, as you know, is all kinds of awesome.
I remember showing American Werewolf in London to a friend one day. Early on, when David and Jack are being stalked on the moors, my friend got so scared he had to watch from behind the couch. Now, I’d seen the movie a few times already and knew what was going to happen, but my friend was so scared shitless that he made ME scared shitless. So much so, I had to seek refuge behind the couch myself. Isn’t that weird? Fear is contagious.
I have a brother who is seven years older than me. One night, when my folks were away, my brother was entrusted with my well being. Now, my bro - being of recent legal drinking age - wasn’t about to waste a perfectly good Saturday night looking after me, so he rented me a couple of movies and took off with his friends. Those two titles were… Women’s Prison Massacre and Stripped To Kill. It was a good night. Very educational.
I have a cherished memory of my Dad, brother and I doubled over laughing during Evil Dead 2 when Ash is struggling to get Linda’s possessed head off his hand.
Oct 1990 – Aug 1994
I can’t tell the history of Jay without mentioning my tenure at Major/BB Video. It is the main reason this blog exists and the base from where my modest horror vocabulary springs. Those were good, good times.
I was an avid reader of Fangoria when I was a teenager, but one thing that always bugged me was that their convention Weekend Of Horrors never came up to the Great White North. Then, in the spring of ’91, a Toronto date was announced for June. I was ecstatic. I went both days, met icons like Kane Hodder and Tom Savini (whom I would both see again in ’04) and bought so much shit I was on a first name basis with the poster vendors by the end of it.
Anyone who played the first Resident Evil remembers when that zombie dog smashes through the window. It was probably the first time a VIDEO GAME made you jump five feet into the air. I was with a few friends, playing it in the dark on a big screen TV and we screamed like little girls when it happened. Sure, the live action intro was cheesy and the voice acting atrocious, but man did it get ever your blood going when those zombies came shambling toward you and all you had was a lockpick.
It was an ex-girlfriend that turned me onto the Toronto International Film Festival. Until that point, I didn’t even know it was open to the public. Thanks be to her because it was there that I discovered the Midnight Madness programme. Over the last eight years, I have seen numerous fantastic offerings like Haute Tension, Bubba Ho-tep and Cabin Fever. The day the lineup is announced each year always feels like Christmas to me.
Now, I mentioned that Fangoria came here in 1991, but after that never again. I always wondered about that because the turnout was good from what I remember. Then, in 2004, the Toronto based horror mag Rue Morgue brought horror back to the Big Smoke. There had been a Sci-Fi/Comic Expo happening annually for several years and Rue Morgue fashioned a piggyback horrorcon – or Festival Of Fear – onto that. Kudos to them because this event is extraordinary and always packed full of cool things to do and see – on and off site.
Okay, that’s it. I had to narrow it down to those. Trust me, I have many more tales to tell, but you're probably already asleep.
I feel better now. Less jaded. How about you?