How Horror Shaped Me

As a small child, I was raised by my grandmother (God bless her soul). There wasn’t much she or my family censored me from. I mean they tried here and there, but I’m convinced the universe had different plans. One particular night, while she was asleep, I woke up. After using the washroom and failing to get comfortable, I decided to watch TV. Securing the remote controller from under her body was difficult enough, then I flipped through the channels and saw this!

Fluffy the Crate Beast from Creepshow (1982)

It scared the piss out of me, literally, which resulted in a thorough spanking. As I was old enough to know better but still small enough to repeat the offense. You would think I learned my lesson, silly boy. I had to find out what it was, so I told everyone. One of my uncles knew what I saw and said, “A monster just like it lives under our house.” Looking back, I prayed that it would eat his punk ass.

Chucky from Child’s Play II

Enter, Family Movie Nights, an occasion where my rambunctious clan gathered around the large Sony TV. It was stacked atop our long dead Zenith floor model tube. Here is where I became acquainted with the likes of Chucky and the towering menace to the hood known as Candyman. I was no stranger to monsters as I watched Mighty Morphing Power Rangers religiously after school, but these guys were on a whole nutha’ level.

Soon, I was desensitized by the creature features. Sure, I slept with the covers pulled over my head. Yet I was able to see shows like Tales From The Crypt or The Outer Limits and be entertained. I learned about concepts beyond my years, why you shouldn’t tempt fate, and how you’re stronger with a unit. Needless to say, I developed a morbid sense of humor.

Poltergeist (1982)

The tales my uncle told no longer affected me. I would scoff and say, “There’s no such thing. Monsters aren’t real.” This was before I became familiar with the channel, National Geographic. Anyways, I started creating my own monsters and kill scenes. I would discuss these ideas with my classmates accompanied with drawings. This got me a trip to a child psychologist, but that’s a story for another time.

I didn’t have the most pleasant upbringing and I’ll spare you the details. All I can say is like most film, the horror genre, was a form of escapism for me. It taught me that, if these people can survive Pumpkinhead ugly ass, you can fight the bullies at school. Also, that people in these movies got it way worse than me. I guess you can say it helped me overcome many of my childhood fears and navigate those to come.

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