I’m going to Texas Frightmare this weekend, which is self-described as “The Southwest’s Premier Horror Convention” and is arguably the largest horror convention in the nation. This year’s guests include Clive Barker, Doug Bradley, Kane Hodder (and a bunch of other dudes who played Jason), Brad and Fiona Dourif, Tobin Bell, all the kids from It, and Matthew Lillard. There will be screenings of several horror classics (Last House on the Left, The Changeling) and new hopefuls (Death Kiss, As the Gods Will) as well as various Q&A’s and photo ops.

This will be the second horror convention I’ve ever attended, but the first one with more than just 50 or so bored-looking folks. So, I don’t quite know what to expect, but I’m excited.

If you’re a long-time reader of the site you’ve likely noticed that I’ve written a lot more about horror movies this year than usual. If you’re new, then, hey, you’re just now finding out horror hasn’t always been such a consistent presence on this site. In a way, I’m simply falling in line with the wider trend. As has been written about time and time again in the industry trades, legacy newspapers and blogosphere over the past year, horror is hip again. The smaller budgets fit into Hollywood’s current hyper-aversion to risk, and the cathartic escapism provides audiences a much-needed safe space to scream at a time of global unrest.

In a larger way, though, I’m simply having fun with a genre I’ve always loved. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved horror movies. I blame my older brothers. They used to tease me that they could watch Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies but I couldn’t because I wasn’t young enough. In fact, on one of my birthdays, they got to watch Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4 while I was stuck with Monster Squad (not a bad trade-off, now that I look back on it). That turned horror movies into that thing which I wasn’t allowed to enjoy, which only made me want it all the more.

But they were right. Those Jason and Freddy movies scared the hell out of me. I wasn’t old enough, not that that stopped me.

However, there’s more to it than just, “I started watching the when I was a kid.” Horror allows us an escape and often a safe place to work through societal issues through metaphor. Horror forces us to face our mortality. It lets us scream. All those standard things you normally hear when people talk about why they love horror.

The “why horror?” question is one I’ve always been interested in, first for my own fandom and secondly for everyone else. In 2014, horror superfan Tal Zimerman actually made a documentary tackling that very same topic, charting both his own fandom as well as the academic research on why we like to be scared and giants of the field such as Romero and Carpenter for their thoughts on the subject. One of the more striking moments in the doc is when he attends a horror convention and asks the “why horror” question to fans. Imagine a lot of happy people dressed in black, some of them in costume as their favorite slasher villains, excitedly describing formative childhood scares, long-standing desire for catharsis, or just a need to work through some shit. I imagine the scene would be the same if I asked the question of everyone at Texas Frightmare.

But I’ve got to hit the road and an entire weekend to ponder the question further.

For now, I turn it to you- why do you like horror movies? Heck, do you like horror movies? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

7 Comments

  1. I remember being very young and accidentally catching the last few scenes of Nightmare on Elm Street on TV as someone else was watching it, and as silly as that final scene looks now, back then it really stuck with me and I just became fascinated with those weird supernatural 80s killers.

    Also, I actually accidentally found your site while trying to find out if anyone had made a version of Freddy’s Dead with the proper 3D in it yet.

    Reply

    1. “I actually accidentally found your site while trying to find out if anyone had made a version of Freddy’s Dead with the proper 3D in it yet.”

      Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know that they have, actually. That whole entire finale feels so weird without 3D.

      “I remember being very young and accidentally catching the last few scenes of Nightmare on Elm Street on TV as someone else was watching it, and as silly as that final scene looks now, back then it really stuck with me and I just became fascinated with those weird supernatural 80s killers.”

      Kind of same here. Freddy and Jason were my “in” and after that I was always drawn to scary movies. As I’ve gotten older, the thrills and jokes (sometimes unintentional) of the old slashers has given way to more of an interest in ghost stories and the superantural (or, ya know, supernatural stories that don’t feature a grim jokester trying to kill you with knife hands). Plus, since horror has been the entryway into film for so many people in the industry I’m also interested in the genre from an economic standpoint, the way it’s never been fully respected and even after success producers and certain directors will long to make their true passion project. When Sam Raimi, however, followed Spider-Man trilogy with Drag Me To Hell that was clearly a guy who loves horror movies.

      Reply

      1. There’s a Nightmare on Elm Street box set that comes with a version of it with 3D, but it’s supposedly pretty shoddy 3D. Maybe I’ll get desperate enough to buy it anyway someday.

      2. I haven’t exactly heard great things about that myself. However, 3D is the way that sequence was meant to be seen, and it’s super obvious. For me, I just don’t love Freddy’s Dead enough to go all out for a 3D-friendly box set.

      3. I was lucky, that was the only one in the series I actually saw in the theater.

      4. My older brother went to see it opening weekend, and I remember that because he came home with a really flimsy-looking pair of 3D glasses. However, to that point, the only 3D glasses I had actually seen was the pair Casey Siemaszko sports in Back to the Future as one of Biff’s goons. So, to actually see one up close seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me at the time. What was your experience with the glasses?

        Of all the Elm Street films the only one I saw in the theater was Freddy vs. Jason. Opening night with an oddly majority black audience who talked back to the screen the whole time. That actually made the film so much better because it felt like an experience – almost like going to a WWE event, particularly at the end when the crowd suddenly divided between those who wanted Jason to win and those rooting for Freddy.

      5. I remember it seeming very impressive at the time. All that stuff with those 3 worm guys leaping out of the screen and flying through that weird tunnel and Freddy’s head flying out and exploding. Who knows if it would really hold up as well today but I hope I can find out someday.

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