It would have been difficult to NOT become a horror addict when I was growing up. I was born just after the beginning of the horror renaissance of the late 1950s, and by the time I was culturally aware, that renewal was in full swing. Monsters were everywhere by the mid-1960s, and with fewer entertainment options, their presence was much more concentrated and therefore ubiquitous than today. The entertainment choices we now enjoy that are spread across hundreds of local and cable television channels and as many more streaming services were in those days distilled down to, in most places, three or four networks – NBC, CBS, ABC and sometimes PBS – and maybe one or two independent UHF channels per market, if you were lucky. Everyone knew who Herman Munster was, or Barnabas Collins, or Morticia Addams, or Samantha Stevens. Everyone who had access to a television set had seen at least one episode of The Twilight Zone. Programming at the local and national levels was filled out with regular movie presentations – morning, afternoon, prime time, week day, weekend, late night. Old movies, recent theatrical releases, made-for-television-films – there was no other way to watch movies outside of theaters until the widespread availability of cable TV and home video in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. And many of the movies shown were the Universal horror pictures of the 1930s and 1940s, or the Godzilla films from Japan, or the “in unliving color” blood-and-bodice terrors from Hammer Films in England. Monsters were depicted on the covers of mainstream national magazines – Life, Look, Time, TV Guide. Toys, games, model kits, wallets, comic books, bubble-gum cards, lunchboxes, everything that appealed to children of the time had monsters plastered all over them. Magazines about movie monsters and paperback books full of pulp magazine reprints about – you guessed it – monsters crowded the newsstands in every drug store within walking distance of my home. America was glutting itself on monsters, and I wallowed in that cultural cesspool of delicious terrors.
How could I possibly avoid being caught up in it?
Why would I want to?
So, eventually I grew up, got married, went to college and got my BA in history, then started producing offspring and being obliged to make a living and all that other adulting stuff attendant thereto. Now that my kids are grown and I’m left with this massive accumulation of horror books and magazines and comics, and scary movies, radio shows and TV programs, and creepy toys and games and cards and all manner of other cool stuff, what else is there to do with it all but write about it for the enlightenment, entertainment and edification of younger generations of horror addicts?
And so, that’s why I do what I do. That is why I am, and shall for the foreseeable future remain, your Friendly Neighborhood Historian of Horror.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Check out our new book at: Amazon.com