The Man in Black

What If?

I was terrified of horror films as a child. I remember having horrific nightmares after watching Gremlins. Lulled into a false sense of security by the nauseatingly cute Gizmo, I couldn’t look away as the Mogwai critters transformed into creatures of chaos. It instilled in me my fear of clowns, sewers, and drain pipes. (Ain’t no way I will ever step on a drain while I’m in the shower, that’s for sure.) And I vividly remember watching the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead with the blanket up to my nose, unable to sleep until well into the next morning (Daylight never looked so beautiful.) So why come back to it again and again? Why subject myself to newer, more sophisticated horrors? Why dedicate an entire blog to the subject?

Because, as I grew older, I began to appreciate more what horror films offer. The unrepentant glee of watching bikers who had destroyed a commercial paradise being ripped apart in Dawn of the Dead. The splattering gore and suspense of The Thing. The claustrophobic tension of cave diving in The Descent. They all offer unique perspectives on the human experience. Horror provides an unflinching view of humanity at it’s best and worst, and it probes our very existence and the ways in which we respond to the unknown. Scenes such as when Claude Rains kills his son (Lon Cheny, Jr.) in The Wolf Man speak to the enduring human tragedy that is life. They illustrate how much the human heart does not want to endure but must endure, because life (and God) is cruel like that. It critiques our society and the roles of its inhabitants and comments on our beliefs. Horror is the medium in which we can look at any facet of our society, no matter how grotesque, risqué, or taboo the topic, and ask ‘What if?’ As you read the blog, please enjoy what horror has to offer, and realize that it’s not just all scares and jumps. But if you get nightmares, well, just repeat:

It’s just a dream, it’s just a dream, it’s just a dream…

 

As a frame of reference, I’ve decided to include lists of non-horror items as a way to see what I like, or what influences me.  Horror items will be covered in the blog itself.

Top 5 Favorite Films:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • There Will Be Blood (2007)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • Casablanca (1941)

Top 5 Favorite Albums:

  • In Rainbows by Radiohead
  • Demon Days by Gorillaz
  • Mule Variations by Tom Waits
  • Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction
  • Loveless by My Bloody Valentine

Top 5 Favorite Novels:

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  • The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Top 5 Comic Story Lines:

  • “Batman and Robin Must Die!” – Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison and Frazier Irving
  • Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender (and various artists)
  • “Here Comes Tomorrow” – New X-Men by Grant Morrison and Marc Silvestri
  • “The Wild Hunt” – Hellboy by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo
  • Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

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