Ten Films That Made Me A Horror Fan For Life
My dad was a hardcore movie junkie, but above all, he loved horror films. Before VCRs became common place we would go the drive-in practically every weekend. Needless to say, there were plenty of horror features in the mix. It is likely I would have been a horror fan despite my dad’s influence as I took to the genre like a moth to a flame. My little sister grew up in the same house and loathed horror films; and still does to this day. In the summer my dad would let me stay up late on Friday nights and watch a station out of Buffalo that showed horror films. Back in the day you could always catch monster movies on Sunday afternoons also. There was nothing better than a rainy Sunday afternoon lying on my belly eating froot loops watching giant monsters destroy the world! I had a pretty magical childhood thanks to my dad, who was a big kid himself. My dad would be most pleased I have this little horror blog. He died 11 years ago but will always be in my horror-filled heart. I have literally loved horror films my entire life. I love the emotion that is invoked in me when I watch a horror film. You know the feeling of those tiny hairs on the back of your neck standing on end? I live for that! Below are ten films that particularly rocked my early years and made me a horror fan for life!
Apparently the day I was brought home from the hospital my parents watched Godzilla as they took turns holding me in their arms. Godzilla and his many incarnations were on television a lot when I was little. My dad told me that when I was still a toddler I would stomp on my toys and do a Godzilla growl. I don’t remember that to be honest, but I sure remember liking Godzilla in grade school. My little girlfriends made fun of my Godzilla lunchbox saying “it was for boys”. I felt sorry for Godzilla. It wasn’t his fault he was giant. I even cried when he dropped to the bottom of the ocean in the first film.
Black Sunday (1960)
I was probably around seven when I seen Black Sunday on late night TV. Barbara Steele’s character completely freaked me out! The nail marks on her face where they removed her death mask and her angry eyes stayed with me for a very long time. After the initial shock wore off I became quite interested in witches. In fact I invented quite the story for myself. I was from a long line of witches and my great grandmother was even executed! I was such a creative kid.
The Devil Rides Out (1968)
My earliest memory of Satan-inspired shenanigans was Hammer’s The Devil Rides Out. Another late night TV experience. My family were not church goers but my best friend was Catholic and was always filling my head with craziness. “You and your family are going to hell because you don’t go to church”. “In hell you live in fire and get tortured everyday”. My parents assured me this was not the case but it burrowed away in my brain nonetheless. The Devil Rides Out really scared me when I was a kid. Christopher Lee being on the case did make me feel a bit better though.
13 Ghosts (1960)
13 Ghosts is one of the first ghost stories I can recall seeing. Even as a kid I thought 13 Ghosts was as fun as it was scary. It does have its spooky moments though and the creepy old house was wonderful. I begged my parents for ghost goggles and was incredibly disappointed when my dad told me that no such thing existed. I decided I would just go ahead and make my own. Fortunately my dad had a pair of swimming goggles which I painted and covered in glitter glue. For some reason he wasn’t quite as excited as I was.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
I certainly didn’t understand the symbolism present in Invasion of the Body Snatchers back in the day, but aliens turning us into unemotional pod people was quite enough to creep the heck out of me! I could relate to Kevin McCarthy’s character; being a little girl who liked stuff most little girls did not. A lot of little girls were like pod people to me. Goes a long way to explain why I have had so many male friends over the years.
The Blob (1958)
I think they showed The Blob numerous times on Sunday afternoons. It is funny that of all the horror films I watched when I was young that The Blob shook me up as much as it did. The idea of something enveloping me and suffocating me to death was a huge fear. I must have had some weird experience I can’t recall. In fact, to this day, I get panicked if I get caught up in my bed sheets!
House of Wax (1953)
I probably could have filled this list with nothing but Vincent Price films; I seen a ton of them when I was a kid! House of Wax was incredibly spooky to me as a kid. I had been to a wax museum in Niagara Falls before seeing the film and thought the wax figures were creepy as hell. They looked like who they were supposed to but yet somehow terribly wrong. Kind of like they were real people dipped in wax!
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
I really loved Christopher Lee when I was a kid. He was stern and intense and tall as a damn tree. He frightened me and thrilled me all at once. I’m actually not entirely sure if Horror of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness or Dracula Has Risen from the Grave was my first Hammer/Lee/Vampire film but it matters not. I loved all three! I do recall thinking Barbara Shelley was pretty neat because she looked tough so I chose Dracula: Prince of Darkness to represent. My mom told me I asked her what would happen if I put red food coloring in my eyes. Apparently she replied I would go blind and would never be able to watch another horror film again. Nicely played mom.
My parents took me to the drive-in to see Carrie. Empathy for villains seems to be a trend in my childhood viewing. It is difficult for me to even think of Carrie as a villain; although she does kill most of the graduating class of her highschool! I believe the viewer is meant to have some empathy for the unfortunate titular gal. Her fanatically religious mother was excessively cruel as were her school peers. I figured if I was Carrie and had telekinetic powers I would want to hurt them too. I made numerous attempts to move a pencil with my mind after this film. Unsuccessfully I might add.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Another film my parents took me to the drive-in to see was Dawn of the Dead. I am embarrassed to admit, it made me feel a little bit nauseous on this initial viewing. This was my first experience with serious gore. I even covered my eyes (but looked through my fingers). After ruminating on it for a couple of days I could not wait to see another gory horror film! Lucky for me the 80s were soon approaching and I would have plenty to choose from. Dawn of the Dead really upped the anti and changed my taste in horror films for some time to come. Vincent Price and Hammer films would no longer satisfy. Of course I have come to re-discover the awesomeness of the older stuff but in the 80s it was all about the gore for me.