Sorry I didn’t post a trailer yesterday, I was busy cleaning the apartment prior to hosting an anniversary party for Annika and I- ten years legal!
If you are an Angeleno, you are familiar with the existence of New Beverly Cinema- a great revival movie theater with a storied past.
I’ve been to the New Bev maybe three times in the last 14 years, because I am fucking terrible at going OUT to movies. Annika and I saw a double-feature of Evil Dead and Dead Alive there once (it was awesome, but the seats killed our asses) and my buddy Bri and I caught The Cabal Cut of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed a few years ago… I think that is it?
A lovely young woman named Julia Marchese has been part of the public face of the New Bev for as long as I can remember. I follow her on Twitter, she’s funny and smart and really loves movies.
The other day I read a great blog-entry that she linked to: Horror Forever. Check it out, I’ll wait.
*sips beer leftover from Anniversary Party*
When she linked to the blog on Twitter, Miss Julia asked (I assumed hypothetically) “What made YOU the horror hound you are today?”
I started to form a 160 character response several times, but couldn’t make it work, couldn’t pull the trigger.
What DID make me a horror hound? Was it The Bride of Frankenstein when I was 8? Was it watching Evil Dead 2 as a fresh-faced kidlet in 8th grade? Was it shuddering through The Haunting when I was 15? (or was it 16?)
No, I think those dabbles made me aware but didn’t really induct me.
Watching the tv series Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show in ’89 might have contributed.
But what really cemented my love for Horror Films, was a shitty year of my life.
In 2000, Annika and I had separated, broken up, whatever. Thank GOD that didn’t take. But I moved out to LA in the summer of ’00, and tried to make a go of it (we got back together in ’01) on my own.
I had a time-intensive job as 2nd assistant to an A-List movie star/director/writer, so I didn’t have a social life.
I drank too much.
And I watched A lot of scary movies.
I mean, I had a good foundation; I had always loved horror fiction, I loved the above-listed movies, and in college I was introduced to some other strong entries. Every so often, my buddy Cliff and I would go to the movies and watch whatever started next- no matter what it was. We saw a lot of crap that way, including 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers– I think we were the only people in the theater.
For years my best pal Shelby and I would spend New Years Eve together with food, drink, and movies- often horror or sci-fi films that we could make fun of (the entire Watchers saga).
But in 2000 I really started delving deep. I found some good critical blogs (The Bad Movie Report, Stomptokyo) and I broadened my horizons, horror-speaking. I gobbled up everything I could get at the video store (remember those)- often renting things that I remembered the box art for from my childhood video rental store visits.
I watched, on average, 3-6 movies a week. I watched screeners of movies that hadn’t gotten into the theater yet- Deathwatch, Sangre Eterna… I dove down the side-channels of J-horror, and Italian and Spanish 1970s fare. I rediscovered George Romero’s Of the Dead series and the Blind Dead series. I drooled over Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps (seriously, the early 00s were good for werewolves). My friend Chris Chaffin hooked me up with WEIRD and forgotten horror from the 60s and 70s, vile grindhouse fare and arty productions alike. I watched DTV shitpiles where Adrian Paul was a vampire cop in a world of vampires, or Michael Rooker was a hitman for the vatican who hunts demons and badly written ultra-low budget stuff that was full of genre hat-tips (characters named Carpenter, or Raimi! Not funny!)…
And on Halloween, 2001 (or 2002?) I caught a restored version of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That was a big moment.
Going deep into horror taught me a lot about myself, about the genre, and about storytelling. And yes, frequently it was “what not to do”.
When Annika and I reunited, she accepted my raised interest in horror. She accepted it and even encouraged it (our early blog, Grumpy Critic/Angry Cook was based on her cooking a meal, my writing about it and the horror movie we would watch during digestion).
And in the 14 years since, as my twenties disappeared and my thirties have nearly run out the clock, I’ve remained a horror fan. It is a great, powerful genre.
And I love it.