It was early 2006. Before Instagram. Before Goodreads. Horror fiction fandom was a very different thing than it is today. I had been heavily involved in message board moderation, and extraordinarily successful at it, but I wanted something more.
I had ideas of starting my own website. A place to house an all-new message board forum, and a home for me to write reviews and commentaries about the genre. My older brother had recently passed away, which brought on morose thoughts of my own mortality. I figured that I had better take action if I wanted to do it.
I pondered a bit on a name, and my love of horror fiction and film, coupled with my lifelong passion for drive-In theaters, made the name Horror Drive-In a natural. So I enlisted the unbeatable help of Deena Warner Design and launched Horror Drive-In, the website, on January 20th, 2006.
Fifteen long years ago. So many changes have occurred. The cell phone and other quasi-intelligent devices changed everything about our lives, and the way we communicate has been one of the most prominent. Social media sites engulfed the internet, and message boards have become obsolete. Reading and publishing have undergone radical metamorphoses.
Yet I still chug along. I have abandoned message boards, but I still review. It’s possible I have grown into more of a curmudgeon, but I think that comes with the times. Back when I started, publishing was a world of Anything Goes. Now it’s Everything Goes. So many authors, so much product, so much hype.
Looking back, I am astonished at the pace I kept up in those first few years. I was a regular drinker, which took up a lot of my energy. I read a lot. I watched an average of a movie a night. I maintained a popular and demanding forum. I wrote reviews and commentaries on a steady basis. Add to that a stressful job and a family to raise.
I am proud of the reviews and essays I wrote. I didn’t intend this to be an advertisement, but they have been collected in book form and published right here at Cemetery Dance Publications. He Who Types Between the Rows: A Decade of Horror Drive-In has sold well, and reviews have been uniformly positive.
Traffic is down at Horror Drive-In these days, and despite it being one of the most venerable review sites in the genre, my presence isn’t as strong as it used to be. It’s a new world and a new generation has risen. That’s okay. The genre needs new blood in order to stay fresh.
Yet I continue. I think I have a lot to say about horror. My decades of horror obsession bring a lot of experience to my reviews. I think my writing has improved in the years since I began. It’s like a lot of writers say: I can’t not write.
I’m proud to have been a member of the horror community. Proud to be a reader and a buyer of horror books. I just signed on for another year of Horror Drive-In. I may not be up for another fifteen years, but you never know.
Thanks to everyone who has been along for the ride. I’ll see you at the next horror con.
Mark Sieber learned to love horror with Universal, Hammer, and AIP movies, a Scholastic edition of Poe’s Eight Tales of Terror, Sir Graves Ghastly Presents, The Twilight Zone, Shirley Jackson’s The Daemon Lover, The Night Stalker, and a hundred other dark influences. He came into his own in the great horror boom of the 1980’s, reading Charles L. Grant, F. Paul Wilson, Ray Russell, Skipp and Spector, David J. Schow, Stephen King, and countless others. Meanwhile he spent as many hours as possible at drive-in theaters, watching slasher sequels, horror comedies, monster movies, and every other imaginable type of exploitation movie. When the VHS revolution hit, he discovered the joys of Italian and other international horror gems. Trends come and go, but he still enjoys having the living crap scared out of him. Cemetery Dance recently released his collection He Who Types Between the Rows: A Decade of Horror Drive-In. He can be reached at email@example.com, and at www.horrordrive-in.com.