by Sparky Lee
“Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
I have been a hard core Horror film and Book addict since the age of 10 when I read my first Stephen King novel, Pet Sematary; by age 13 I had amassed a very respectable Stephen King collection and I read them all voraciously. My favorites being The Shining, The Tommyknockers, The Stand, and It.
The first horror film I ever saw was the 1982 classic Poltergeist. At eight years old, I became OCD about ensuring our television set was turned off and unplugged at night.
The next films I watched were Stephen King’s Christine about a sentient, malicious 1958 Plymouth becomes virtually in love with and passive of its young new owner. In tune with the John Carpenter eerie deadpan-style musical score (See 1987’s Prince of Darkness), it adds to a film that is classic in its good old fashion revenge plot.
After this, there would be 1984’s Children of the Corn also written by Stephen King but directed by Fritz Kiersch (also known for later films such as Tuff Turf, Gor, and even a few episodes of the short lived Swamp Thing series circa 1990). Children of the Corn scared the crap out of me with its creepy unsupervised children, rolling demonic earth and blood; so much blood. I began a nightly ritual of quietly dragging my blanket and pillow behind me while I parked myself in a makeshift bed on the floor by my Dad’s side of the bed. I got used to be stepped on first thing in the morning.
As if these films weren’t enough for an 8-10 year child. My parents insisted I join them for yet another John Carpenter scream flick, using that same melodic monotonous steady music that never alerts you to something happening like most Horror film scores. Carpenter is a genius for this technique. The film was 1982’s The Thing starring then and still handsome Kurt Russell. This film takes place in the Antarctic where a team of researchers and scientists are posted on a small American research base. Upon discovering evidence that a Norwegian group of scientists eventually went mad, were attacked, and seemingly turned on each other. What we later learn is that an alien craft was unearthed releasing an alien race able to take over the bodies of everyone and everyone. There is a disturbing scene in that film where one of the many kenneled dogs ends up morphing in to one of these violent beings. It was an excellent film and one I proudly still own in my personally DVD collection. I was 9 when I watched that one. This resulted in another 2 month round of me dragging my shit in next to my Dad while I attempted to sleep between the fear and the guilt of being such a pussy. I was 9.
Over the years my love of Horror stretched out in to the genres of Comic Books and Television series. I can’t enough of the Fright surprise, the Gore and the Unexpected.
I’m guessing many people are drawn to the Horror Genre because of this: The fear of the unexpected and the fear of the unknown.
Other Horror Films that really made an impact on me are as follows:
Carrie (1976) with Piper Laurie playing the crazed mother. No one could have played that better, not even Julianne Moore in the 2013 remake.
The Exorcist (1973) brought to life the incredibly dark and disturbing novel by the same name by author William Peter Blatty; this film made many of us question our faith, believe in possessions and exorcisms. The battle between God and Satan has always been a troubling yet intriguing subject matter for me.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) Written and directed by Roman Polanski is still one of my all time favorites. The innocence and naiveté that Mia Farrow brings to role is precious. You end up loving her character, desperately wanting to protect her. A newlywed young couple move in to an old Brownstone in downtown New York, with an epic dark history. The husband’s career soon begins to reach new levels of success, can they trust the kindly old (creepy) long term residents of the antiquated apartment building, Minny and Roman Castavet whose intentions although seemingly sweet quickly become irritating, invasive and eerily creepy and unpleasant. This is a great classic thriller that I never get tired of watching.
And lastly, 1987’s John Carpenter (cue creepy soundtrack) film, The Prince of Darkness which takes a group of theology students in to an abandon church in L.A. which harbors a deep dark sinister secret. Protected by monks for years is a giant vat of green liquid that allegedly contains the essence of Satan himself. Needless to say, mistakes occur and hijinks ensue and it seems Satan is attempting to pull himself through to our world. As I mentioned previously, any scenario exploring God versus evil I find compelling, mainly due to my own faith and the theories out there that he already walks the earth.
We enjoy being frightened, maybe we think of it like a carnival, ride; you decide if you want to get in, belt up and take that ride despite the side effects of nausea, vomiting, fear and nightmares. We keep going back…
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
― H.P. Lovecraft
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live in Fear of the Unknown…