Got your attention? Good; because the thing is, I hate the
term “true horror fan” and personally I feel that anyone that uses that term
has no clue what horror is or even really cares about the genre. Sure, they show
up at the theater to watch the latest popular film everyone is talking about.
But once it’s over they puff up their chest and proclaim they were not scared
at all and then say “any true horror fan will think that movie sucks.” Lately
it feels like folks are throwing the term around a lot and I wanted to get my
two cents in.
To start, let’s look at one definition of the horror film (note: it is from Wikipedia, but it was the best definition I could find).
“Horror is a film genre seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's primal fears.”
Okay, I’ll buy that. But I honestly could slap that same definition on romantic comedies as well. Now let’s look at the definition of the word horror: an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear. That can encompass a lot, and for each of you reading this it will be something different. Every time I hear an Edie Brickell song I cringe in horror, but apparently someone likes her because you hear her in every damn Starbucks you walk into. My point is that when it comes to horror films, horror is in the eye of the beholder. And if you step back and look at the horror genre there are hundreds of sub-genres and each one has its own fan base.
If you’ve ever been to a horror movie convention (you are a true horror fan, right?) then you know what I’m talking about; just walking the floor you will see tables set up for gore hounds, classic horror film fans, modern horror films fans, vampires (both real and sparkly), zombies (fast and slow), werewolves, and you will even find kid-friendly horror. My point is that everyone has different tastes and in the horror genre there is a lot to pick from. Just because one person thinks Paranormal Activity wasn't scary but I do doesn't mean I’m not a true horror fan. It simply means we have varying opinions on what is scary.
And how many of you “true horror fans” have seen any of the Fangoria Presents films, or any of the sometimes ridiculous Full Moon Video movies? I ask because if I had to define the true horror fan I would say that not only do they embrace all aspects of the genre, they support them as well. The movies released by Full Moon Pictures and the Fangoria Presents films are what you might call B-movie horror, they are not very good. But let’s be honest, my beloved horror genre is filled with bad acting, gaping plot holes and cheap effects. But the horror genre is also a wonderful place for young directors and actors to cut their teeth. Horror films are quick and easy to make and they can be relatively cheap. This means that we end up with a lot of straight to video films, but if you give some of them a chance you just mind find that little diamond in the rough. After all John Sayles (Alligator, 1980), Oliver Stone (Seizure, 1974) and James Cameron (Piranha II, 1982) all started their directing careers filming horror.
My point is that I don’t think the term “true horror fan” is a very nice and/or accurate term to throw around; especially when you are trying to prove you know more about the genre than I do. If you don’t think Insidious is scary, okay. But that doesn't mean those that did are not “true horror fans.” I've been following and loving horror since I first watched Alien at 10 years old and I will honestly say that I do not call myself a true horror fan, I am a dedicated horror fan. I love the genre, I support the genre and I respect other people’s thoughts and opinions on the genre.
Stay Scary friends :)