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The True Horror Fan

February 2, 2012

I don’t think there is a subject in horror that I could write about that disgusts me more than this one. That being said, I still feel I have to address the insights that I’ve seen in a couple of recent articles from some “true” horror fans.

One of the articles literally spells out, line by line, what the definition of a true horror fan is. Reading through the article I noticed that I indeed met some of the criteria, but I also fell short on several points. I’m not worried about someone thinking I’m a true horror fan or not. For me to be worried about what anyone else thinks I’d have to value their opinion first and quite frankly we shouldn’t be worried about other people’s opinions of us, we should only be worried about our own opinions of ourselves – and in my opinion, it would be pretty hard for anyone to look at my life and not see that I am a fan of horror. It also grates my nerves that someone would think they have the ability to judge everyone else and scoff at those who come up short in their book.

Let’s start with the idea of what a fan actually is. Plain and simple – someone who really enjoys something. Someone who really enjoys horror is a horror fan. There is a range of course from the casual fan who might just watch horror movies when they come on television, to the super obsessive fan who might fill their space with all things horror, never misses a convention and makes sure to hit every single horror movie in theaters as well as the straight to DVD releases. Both extremes and everyone in between is a true fan.

I don’t get the need for anyone to categorize people like this. It’s not like there is some kind of pyramid that can only house so many “true” horror fans at the top tier that suddenly we need to make sweeping class descriptions for the genre so that anyone who isn’t out there collecting every horror poster, toy, and movie, gets put into a less respectable category.

Truefanchart

I can tell you that I don’t read horror books all that often – it’s too time consuming and there is to much crap out there to waste my time with trying to find that one story that will do it for me. I’d much rather watch the movie or the show and enjoy the story that way. I don’t go to horror conventions much, they are often too expensive for me. But for all the things I don’t do, I still run a moderately successful (to me) web presence, I collect a lot of horror items, I watch a lot of horror on TV and I dig horror movies.

Do I get into all things horror? Not even close. But doing one and not the other doesn’t make anyone any less of a true fan than the person who does all these things. People pick and choose for a number of reasons, not the least of which is money or personal preference.

As far as “fake” horror fans… Well, I can’t say I’ve never met someone who would subject themselves to horror just for attention, but who cares? We should welcome these people because they see the value in the things we love or at the very least they want to be part of the party because let’s face it… horror fans are super cool!

In what way does a “fake” fan bring real fans down? Studios are always making money off of horror and I’m sure some of those people are not fans of the genre in any way other than that it makes them money. Why should that bother anyone? Are those people taking away from you in some way? In fact  they are actually giving you something by making horror content that you love. Are they occupying space at the top of that imaginary pyramid that defines a true fan? Whatever.

Now if trying to judge people and put them into categories isn’t a grotesque enough of a topic – I ask this question here: How can you be a fan if you hate everything?

I’m not calling anyone specific out in any of this post, but I have seen lists that talk about the worst of the genre for the year and just about every single movie that was something to be discussed was on each of these lists I’ve read. I can’t say I didn’t agree with some of the selections, especially since it looked like they selected everything, but those lists did have a couple titles on there that I found to be very good and several that I thought were at least entertaining.

Lovehatehorror

Nothing is going to be perfect… Filmmakers, authors, artists, and the like don’t generally set out to make piles of shit. They either set out to make something great and inspired or they set out to make a pile of cash – which to get the cash means they have to believe in their project and make something they think people would pay for. So again, no one sets out to make a pile of shit on purpose. Even the really good pieces have flaws. Have none of you ever heard ‘the perfection is in the flaws‘?

I’ll give you what I think is the perfect example: Fright Night (2011). Here we have a remake (which is not correct at all. It’s not a remake, it’s a total rewrite which makes it same general story as the original but completely different movie which in and of itself is a rarity) where a bunch of fans are excited, another group of them are all cursing it’s very suggestion, and out of those two sides we get 1. people who never bothered seeing it. 2. People who saw it and didn’t care for it. 3. people who saw it and loved it. 4. people who saw it and loved it but refuse to say that publicly. 5. People who assume that everyone hates remakes so everyone must have hated this movie and every other movie that is a remake. I’m sure I’m missing a few groups there, but I hope you get my point.

I’ll admit remakes have typically been disappointments, but not all. As a horror fan I can’t help but rejoice every time someone decides to go make a new horror movie. Whether it’s something I’ve seen already, something that’s been re-made five times, something that’s been rebooted over and over, something independent, or something mainstream studio. Every time someone sets out to make new horror means that I’ll get to feed on more of the subject matter that I love. I get to see a movie. I get to collect the merchandise that comes out because of that movie. I get to revel in the thing I love most.

When I saw that “Fright Night” was coming out, I cringed a little, but I was curious and wanted to at least give it a chance. I mean I’ll at least give anything a chance. I did watch “Human Centipede” after all. I loved the original “Fright Night”, I love Roddy McDowall, so I was in this weird place where I didn’t want the stuff of my childhood ruined by some crap Hollywood money maker. However, I believe that ANY time we judge something to be shit before we even see it, we’re potentially missing out and I don’t want to be one who misses out on something I love, even if there’s a chance it might suck.

Thisguy

Everyone has a choice. Let your cynicism make you play it safe, call it shit before you see it, then miss out on something that could be brilliant OR take a chance, give the film a once over, then make the call. At the very least you’ve spent a night out (probably with friends) watching a movie that you can bitch about later which you were going to do anyway. The difference between these options is that at least having seen the movie you’ll know what you’re talking about. 😉

So anyway, I saw “Fright Night” and I LOVED it! I was so glad I went to see this movie. Like I said, this movie wasn’t a remake at all, it was a re-write of the film and there is a big difference, so I got a very welcomed surprise. There was no shot for shot, the character personalities were all different, it was more intense and less comedy and the 3D was pretty stellar. Not to mention the original “Jerry the VampireChris Sarandon made a super cool cameo.

The point is that I enjoyed it. It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the universe thought it was crap… I enjoyed it and that’s all that mattered. As a “true” horror fan in the truest sense of the word I can tell you that if I’d been like others out there crying about how it’s another remake and it’s going to suck and blah blah blah… I think my reputation would be on the line with other horror fans who turned out to really like it a lot. Especially if you said the same thing about every movie I happened to be the least bit interested in.

Talktothehandbitch

You don’t think so? Well, let me just say that as soon as I read those lists about the worst horror flicks this past year, I instantly called into question the writers’ standing as any kind of respectable horror fans and now we’re here with this blog post with me calling into question all those people out there who call themselves “true” horror fans but spend all their time talking about how they hate all this horror.

Does being a horror fan sometimes feel like you’re being slapped in the face with Hollywood’s sweaty ball sack over and over again? Sure. But that’s part of being a fan. You have to take the good with the bad. You won’t like everything, but you can’t hate everything either or you’re just not a fan. I mean I can’t make it simpler than that. Whether it’s novels, comics, movies, toys, other fans, etc. If you hate everything, then you are the opposite of a fan.

Teabagged

If I’m wrong then tell me what you DID like this past year. I’m more interested in seeing what I missed out on than I am at seeing how you think everything I liked or everything I’m interested in seeing is a waste of time from your point of view. Hell, if I based what I watch on these particular worst lists, I’d never see anything!

So what is a TRUE horror fan? A true horror fan is someone who really enjoys horror in any form at any time for any reason in any dose they prefer. Are some fans bigger fans that others? Yes. Does that matter when it comes to enjoying horror for yourself? Nope. Besides, what makes you so much king or queen or god of horror that you’re capable of putting other fans in their place? Am I a better fan than someone who doesn’t collect toys and movie and such? I don’t think so and you shouldn’t think so either. I’m perfectly happy to hang with a group of people and be the biggest horror fan in the group or be the least among them. The point isn’t to be one or the other, it’s to have fun and enjoy the horror.

Enjoy the horror folks!

– Mr. Frights

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