Hi ghouls! 👋🏻 We’re kicking off Spooky Month officially with a little bit of a story.
I haven’t always been a horror fan, unlike most people who are. Most people who I’ve talked to about horror have always been a fan of the genre even when they were technically too young to be fans. My horror journey wasn’t like that, I wasn’t watching the Friday the 13th movies when I was a wee one and I wasn’t into Goosebumps either. I was more of a Scooby-Doo kind of kid who turned the channel over once the Treehouse of Horror specials of The Simpsons was finished because I was scared of the end credits.
We all have different ways that we come to love our favourite genres, so I would like to tell you all about how I did!
WHEN I WAS A KID, I DID NOT LIKE ANYTHING SCARY.
I am not exaggerating when I say that. When I was very small, I was scared of everything, even things that aren’t scary like movie studio logos or the song Money Money Money by ABBA (I wish that was a joke but it’s not). The furthest into scary I would go was Courage the Cowardly Dog and the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons.
So, no I did not read Goosebumps or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark because they were too scary even for me. I have a memory of being scared during class reading time at school during the climax of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the part where Cedric dies) but I was eight years old so that’s probably not that hard to believe.
Part of me wants to say that me being scared of everything had nothing to do with me being Autistic and more to do with me being a child, but I’m more inclined to think that it’s a combination of the two. I’ve always been a nervous person but when you’re little things can be either cool or scary, and I fell on the side of things being scary. Any time friends would suggest watching scary movies at a sleepover, I would beg them to pick something else to watch because I was scared of being scared.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED?
The first horror book I read was actually Monster Blood (from the original Goosebumps series) but I never finished it because I picked it up at the very end of the school year and before I got to the scary stuff, it was the summer holidays and I couldn’t just go back and finish it because that was in my final year of primary school and I didn’t go back to that school once the summer was over.
The second horror book I picked up was The Dead Zone by Stephen King. That’s probably an odd choice for a first King book to read but I was 14 at the time and still adamant that I didn’t like scary things and that book technically isn’t a horror novel (it’s more of a thriller) and isn’t scary. It has some scary concepts but it didn’t give me nightmares.
The first horror book that I actually finished, however, was Dracula. It took me a year to finish because I wasn’t as good at reading Victorian books as I thought I was, but that was a milestone for me. If I could read a book that was considered scary when it was first published then I could read much scarier stuff, right? Well, I tried, but horror still wasn’t a favourite of mine at that point.
On the movie side of things, I watched my first horror movie when I was seventeen years old. And guess which movie that was? If you said Dracula from 1931, you are correct. I went to an almost extreme with easing myself into the genre. I was really into old movies when I was a teenager and didn’t want to see anything graphic, so I got started with the Universal Monsters series. In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad an idea because they’re still horror movies, they’re just so old that they can only really be considered creepy rather than scary.
NOT FORCING MYSELF TO ENJOY HORROR MADE ME A HORROR FAN.
If I had forced myself to love horror because I wanted to prove that I wasn’t scared of everything, I would not be making this post. I wouldn’t have been dedicating every October to celebrating the horror genre and everything adjacent to it. By easing myself into the genre when I wanted to get interested really helped me to be able to dive headfirst into the gorier stuff.
There will always be books and movies that I’m too scared to read or watch because of their content, and there is nothing wrong with that. Having boundaries even with fiction is a good idea because there will always be things that we know are too much for us to handle. Some people can watch graphic depictions of sexual violence without flickering and some people (like me) can’t watch it without feeling the need to throw up. I have a post about extreme horror planned for later on in the month so keep an eye out for that.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO DISCOVER YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE.
Even though most people I talk to about horror got into the genre at a very young age, I don’t take any shame in getting into it at an older age. I came to my favourite genre when the time was right for me because if it was forced on me when I was still scared of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, I wouldn’t have wanted to touch it.
There is no timescale on when you can start enjoying things and the phrase “better late than never” always rings true. Our tastes change as time goes on, and while my favourite genre has shifted from sci-fi to horror, I have a pretty good feeling that it’s not going to change to anything else any time soon. I have been in a huge horror mood for an entire year now, after all.
talk to me!
How did you get into your favourite genre? Has it always been your favourite genre or did you come to it later on?