I am the perfect age to be a slasher fan. Halloween was released when I was seventeen years old — roughly the same age as the victims in John Carpenter’s masterpiece. I saw it in a walk-in theater and the experience was truly transformational. I was on the verge of adulthood and this movie, which was based on an oft-told urban legend, felt like the beginning of something entirely new.
Halloween was a runaway success and along with the inevitable sequel, imitator movies were quickly made and released. The biggest of them is, of course, Friday the 13th. I was eighteen years old.Continue Reading
I like to read something special for a holiday. In 2020, deep in the pandemic, I spent a long week whiling over The Cider House Rules, a novel I read and absolutely loved when it first came out. I was considering what to read this year, when it occurred to me that I had not read T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies since it was originally published. That was quite a few moons ago, and my memories about it were vague. The Ceremonies is a book that requires attention and a little patience, so a week off is the perfect time to indulge in it.Continue Reading
If you had asked me if I knew that life was constant change, and that none of the things I loved would last forever, I’d have surely shrugged and said, Sure, everyone knows that. But when you get right down here, where it counts, I believed it all was permanent.Continue Reading
We all have our number of days in this world. Stick around long enough and you become the old guy. I certainly miss being young, but I could not be happier about the time of my life in the horror genre.Continue Reading
I’m a member of the Books of Horror Facebook page. They are mostly a good crowd of modern readers, but I have been feeling alienated. Out of touch with the new trends. There is so much talk of grossout fiction. People crave disgusting, perverted, vomit-inducing horror stories.
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.Continue Reading
I have a bad habit of thinking that the things I love will always be there. Like drive-in theaters. We had three of them in my hometown. I went as much as I could, but I thought they were forever. I should have been out there every damned weekend.
It seemed that the cool bookstores would always be there. I had no idea Amazon and their Kindle would tear the guts out of our communities.
It wasn’t that long ago when I used to see great old VHS tapes at the thrift stores. I’ve been buying a lot of genre stuff up as interest in them has risen. Mostly I find later things from the latter half of the ’90s and first half of the 2000 decade.Continue Reading
I look back at the nineteen-eighties, which some consider the Golden Age of Horror. I was a rabid fan at the time and I continue to be one. There were milestones in the genre in this renowned era, especially, I’d say, from 1984 to 1988.
Stephen King’s It certainly qualifies. Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood brought a baroque aesthetic to horror fiction. John Skipp and Craig Spector’s The Light at the End ushered in a new breed of horror and a new breed of fan. Robert McCammon’s Swan Song would make the list.Continue Reading
Ex-Library books. They are the bane of collectors. You can hear howls of rage from sea to sea when secondary market sellers pawn them off as “Very Good” condition. Ex-Library books are the red-headed stepchildren of the publishing world. I think they deserve a lot more respect.
I readily admit that I spend much of my horror ruminations on days gone by. Many consider the 1980s to be the Golden Age of Horror. It was an unparalleled time of creativity and fun in the genre. Horror fiction was going crazy, with many old masters still crafting great stories, and brash newcomers were shaking the foundations of traditional horror storytelling.Continue Reading
I often tell people that the first book I ever read was (Robert) Heinlein’s Have Space Suit-Will Travel. It’s sort of true, and it sort of isn’t true. In one sense Space Suit is the first novel I read, yes, but that does not count Doc Savage books.Continue Reading
We were talking about the great horror boom of the 1980s at the Horror Drive-In message boards the other day. Most seem to think that it was the greatest era in the history of the genre. I happen to agree. I was there, and as big a fan of all things horror as you’d have been likely to find. It was an exciting time, for movies and for horror fiction. I could go on about it indefinitely, but I have something else on my mind today.Continue Reading