For the Love of Horror

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It’s the theme this time of year – Horror!
I’ve always been a horror fan, literally as long as I can remember. 6 years old watching Night of the Living Dead. 7 years old watching A Nightmare on Elm Street. 8 years old loving Pet Semetary and It…. these movies in a way defined my childhood.

That had me thinking – people who love horror really seem to love horror. I mean almost in a way that it’s ingrained in them as a person. Maybe it’s that way with every genre, and I just dont’ realize it. A lot of my friends are fans of horror as well and we all seemed to be introduced to it as children. Is that why we love it so much as adults?

As an homage to my childhood, here are my favorite horror flicks that defined my love of the genre. I tried to make this list in order but I kept moving some around and can’t decide if I love certain movies more than others so I said screw it – this  list is in no particular order except for number 1, that one is definitely number 1 and always will be.

10. Poltergeist

One of the reasons I didn’t like sleeping with the lights off when I was a kid!  The kid creeped me out, the old lady creeped me out – the whole freaking thing was creepy!

9. The Amityville Horror

This is another I remember watching at a really young age, glued to my granny’s television probably around the age of 9 or 10. I later found the book for 25 cents at a library sale and bought it “for my mom” in hopes of getting my own hands on it.

8. The Lady in White

This is more of a children’s horror (rare for me at that age, I know). When I was 5 or 6, my Papaw would record movies off of HBO for me to watch when I was in town to visit. There was one VHS (yes I’m talking late 80’s early 90’s here) with two movies on it – Mio in the Land of Faraway (has anyone else seen this movie?? It has Christopher Lee and a young Christian Bale in it but no one I have ever met remembers it) and The Lady in White.  I wore that VHS out watching both films, I loved them so much. One fateful day, as was the norm with VHS, my tape was accidentally recorded over and I lost those two movies for years. I finally found the DVD of Lady in White a few years back and snatched it up.

7. IT

I don’t really remember how or when I was introduced to Stephen King. My Memaw and Daddaddy (mom’s parents) love the King and have every book he’s written. I don’t know if it was IT or Pet Semetary that I watched first, either way storm drains were never the same to me after.

6. Pet Semetary

This is one of the movies when I was a kid that actually scared me – it was the sister Zelda. Here, take a look yourself:

Yeah, thanks, I’ll never get out of bed again because I’ll be too busy hiding under the covers from Zelda!

5. The People Under the Stairs

This Wes Craven flick is one that I watched over and over as a kid. I think it terrified me because my Granny and Papaw had stairs to a dark dank basement that I was sure hands were going to start grabbing me from.  I never willingly went into that basement and I think this movie had a part in that.

4. Stephen King’s The Stand

By the time I was 10 I was a pretty hardcore Stephen King fan. When The Stand miniseries came out I was allowed to watch the 1st hour each night, because the 2nd hour was my bedtime. I was so annoyed at that! Thanks mom for making me sleep sheesh. I had to wait until later when the DVD’s came out – then I got to see the whole thing in all its glory. Today the special effects lack a little something but the story itself is so good that I don’t care.

3. Night of the Living Dead

I remember watching this, New Years Eve when I was in the 1st grade. Mom gave me special permission to stay up late because it was a holiday. We even came up with a song for the naked zombie – “I am the zombie butt!”…It was love at first sight, and the first time I remember watching a horror film.

2. Creepshow

I don’t remember how many times I rented this Stephen King classic when I was a kid. There was a movie rental place down the street from my Granny and Pap’s house that I could walk to (though why they were letting someone under the age of 10 rent this crap I can’t tell you!)  I’d go down there and rent some favorites over and over, and this was one of them.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street

This is number 1 for a few reasons. I do remember the first time I watched it – it came on TV and I asked my granny if I could watch it, and she said I could unless I got scared then I’d have to turn it off. Well I didn’t get scared, I fell in love instead. I was around 6 or 7 at the time. It was probably around the same time that Freddy’s Dead came out (1991). I was so excited to see it and I think my friend’s parents must not have known what we were watching because they took us to the movies and dropped us off –I guess 1991 was a simpler time because I can’t imagine dropping a 7-year-old off at the theater — Anyway, man I can’t explain to you how much I loved Freddy Krueger. It seems that a lot of people out there are either a Freddy or  a Jason or a Michael Myers…. I love Friday the 13th and Halloween but Nightmare on Elm street is definitely my main squeeze. Yes I am one of those adults with Freddy Krueger action figures and I’m not ashamed to admit it! While I did love A Nightmare on Elm Street at that young age of 7, I didn’t own any of the movies myself so I didn’t really get into all of them at that time.

Then, when I was in the 6th grade at around 11 or 12 years old, I got really sick. It was dead of winter and I was stuck in bed for a full week. At the time I lived with my Memaw and Daddaddy, and being the awesome grandpa that Daddaddy is he went to the video store and got me the full run – A Nightmare on Elm street all the way through Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Being sick sucked but I couldn’t tell you how many times I watched through the full run of those movies.

So there you have it, my list of my favorite childhood horror films. All of these movies were watched when I was no more than 10 years old. (well…11 or 12 if you count that big run of Elm Street when I was sick in the 6th grade)

I know there are some quintessential 80’s and 90’s horror classics missing from this list – movies i didn’t get to until I was a teenager or an adult. Well, what can I say, I was just a kid and had to watch these movies by my own means….which just means I’ll have to make another horror top 10 before Halloween 😉

The Insanity

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This isn’t a particularly fun or entertaining topic today…. but I’m desperate and feeling hopeless and there’s literally no one out there that I can call and say “HELP ME!!!?!?!?!” regarding the matter.

So here’s the deal — I was an idiot and I will own up to that and freely admit it – I decided to go to a college that was outside my price range and therefore depended on loans to pay for it.

$85,000 later I’m still not graduated because I’m out of financial aid, and the big kick in the pants about that is I only have 6 classes to take before I get my two degrees (AA in Screenwriting, BFA in Film Editing)

Well when I was young and dumb none of this mattered to me – the great and mighty “Someday” wasn’t affecting me then…but it is affecting me now. So here I am now, I’m 28 years old, I still haven’t finished college and I can’t finish unless I come up with the money on my own – I have no savings to speak of what-so-ever.

This isn’t a plea for pity, it’s a plea for ideas! I have thought about it until I’m sick, I can’t afford school on my own so finishing doesn’t seem to be an option, I don’t have any extra money to make the payments they want me to make on my student loans, my credit is beyond shot, and when I think of the big picture, of paying of that much money over my lifetimes it’s heart breaking. I’ll never have extra money to buy a home with, or anything like that.

So there you have it….does anyone out there in cyber land know of any ways I can either find some crazy way to make or get money to pay off my student loans, or save more of my own money (trust me I’m a crazy penny pincher as it is – I go as far as to make my own laundry detergent and fabric softener as of late, and it works well!!)  I just hear of all these people walking tight ropes around town instead of driving to raise money for themselves, or tap dancing through ice rinks… I dunno…

There’s got to be a way that Laura can fix this pickle she’s in. She’s in such a pickle she’s reverted to the 3rd person. That’s the first sign of insanity…if Laura doesn’t fix this pickle soon the insanity will just get worse!

Horrific Life Lessons

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Last night my best friend of 12 years, Monica, and I had a girls night in. These are rare, as she is proud single mom to a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. She’s definitely that one person that I can sit in a room and not speak for an hour and never feel uncomfortable – you know what I mean? Anyway, yesterday we suddenly found ourselves sans kids and at Wal-Mart at 10 o’clock at night buying toilet paper and coffee – because that’s what people who are 28 going on 80 do on a Saturday night! But honestly, that’s ok with me because the two of us can come up with our own fun – it doesn’t have to be going out to dinner or going to the bar (that was Thursday night!)

Inspiration struck and we found ourselves perusing ye olde RedBox for something…anything! We flipped through the pages to uninspired “Oh I’ve seen that” and “Hmm heard that was alright…” — then we saw our film. The one we knew we’d have the best time watching.

Madison County

Now I’m not going to bash this film for two reasons – 1. I enjoyed the time I had watching the movie. 2. It was sort of apparent that this was a low-budget independent group effort, and I love the people who make low-budget independent group efforts. I hope to be one of “them” someday. It was a little Hills Have Eyes meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre…but from what I can tell the filmmaker was going for that, so kudos to him – he succeeded.

What I am going to do, however, is share with you the list of life lessons Monica and I compiled while watching the characters of this movie.

So without further ado:

Life Lessons Learned from Madison County

1. No matter how bad you have to pee, freaking hold it until you find a gas station. If you legitimately have no other option then you’re driving in the wrong part of the country and will surly end up dead if you exit your car.

2. If you drive through a town that only has 1 gas station/restaurant combo, just keep driving. Hit up the next town and go on with your life.

3. If you and your friends find yourselves outside a creepy house that you had to hop a fence to get to, but no one is home so you decide to go back to “town” to ask more questions… GO AS A GROUP. One person doesn’t need to go back to town alone with the only car, you’re just asking to be murdered!

4. If you are alone in a cemetery and hear someone giggling, DO NOT under any circumstance investigate it. Get the hell out of the cemetery!

5. If you didn’t listen to life lesson 4 (idiot) and find the source of random cemetery giggling to be two scantily clad women who for some reason won’t acknowledge you, even though you keep following them shouting “Hey!!” – DO NOT continue to follow them. It’s a trap, I repeat, it’s a trap!

6. If you’re being a complete idiot and are still following the girls giggling in the cemetery and you find that they’ve jumped into a lake with their tops off, DO NOT join them — again, it’s a trap and you WILL be murdered.

7. If you’re in a creepy area and one of your friends wandered off like an idiot and you start to wonder about his whereabouts, just stick together as a group if you decide to go looking, DO NOT break off into subgroups.

8. If you’re with one other person and suddenly decide something is very important at the road that you need to run off and resolve, DO NOT leave that person alone, just take them with you. If you’re alone in the creepy country town with only one gas station/restaurant combo being ran by a creepy old lady, then you’re just asking to be murdered!!

9. If your friend sacrifices him or herself for you because there is a bad guy right behind you – DO NOT just continue to sit there crying like a tool. Either A. Go help your friend who now has the bad guy after them, or B. Run away to get help.

10. If your friend is murdered by some crazed killer mere feet from you, when the bad guy decides to wander off DO NOT go investigate your friend. RUN AWAY. They are dead, there’s nothing you can do now except get your ass out of there.

11. If you and a friend are being stalked down by a killer, do not hobble off holding onto each other. You’re not injured right now but you WILL be if you continue to hinder fast movement by hugging and walking at the same time. It’s idiotic. Get your ass in gear and MOVE!

12. If you find yourself with the upper hand against a crazed killer, DO NOT hit him once and then run. In a situation like this just think of the killer as a zombie or a vampire, they aren’t dead until their head has been chopped off!

13. If you didn’t listen to life lesson 12 and only hit the killer once and ran, then listen to life lesson 13 for crying out loud! If the bad guy is after you again because you were an idiot the first go around, and you manage to knock him or her down for a second time, for the love of all that is good in this world MAKE SURE THE MONSTER IS DEAD!

There you have it, life lessons all should live by. If you don’t, then you deserve to die!