The early influences of a horror fan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 21, 2019

The early influences of a horror fan

Fear has been embedded in humans since the beginning of time. It has allowed us to survive, adapt, and thrive. It is an essential pillar in the core of being human. Thus it seems natural that the genre of horror has captivated so many. By indulging in this genre, we can feel dread, discomfort, terror, disgust, etc. All from the comfort of our own rooms. As a result, anything related to horror and the dark side of both the natural and metaphysical world has a group of avid admirers. As with most interests, the love of horror has humble roots that can grow and expand for years.

One of the biggest influences of a young fan of the macabre would be the literature they are exposed to from an early age. The best known example of this would be the Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine, which was always a staple in my own library. Books like these serve as an easy, palatable transition into the world of horror for a budding fan. The Goosebumps books in particular dealt with young protagonists, usually in middle school, and the bizarre yet terrifying adventures they had while facing a wide variety of monsters or supernatural entities. The books are bite-sized but still manage to provide wholly satisfying reading experiences, while serving as a stepping stone for the young enthusiast to jump onto the heavy hitters, such as the works of Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft.

“Back in the good old days,” children's TV shows generally possessed a bizarre air about them. They'd effortlessly shift from being adorable to being absolutely terrifying (borderline traumatising) and we loved it. No other show embodies this duality better than Courage the Cowardly Dog. The show followed the lovable and cowardly Courage, who manages to survive through horrific situations in order to save his owners, Muriel and Eustace. Even as a grown up, one can't help but appreciate how truly scary the show was and how it gave us such memorable antagonists. The show either terrified a young viewer so much so that they avoided the genre entirely, or they were nudged into an appreciation of it. Either way, both types of kids probably faced the worrisome issue of imagining a dead pharaoh outside their door, politely asking for his slab or to make them suffer with a curse.

Functioning on a different but similar wavelength than TV shows and movies, an underrated form of story-telling would be just that. The act of story-telling in its simplest form is an under appreciated treasure and it has contributed a lot in developing the love for horror and the unknown. This can be traced back to childhood, where cousins, siblings, and friends would get together and share terrifying stories about paranormal adventures that they've had or heard of. It isn't limited to just sharing personal stories though. Folklores and urban legends play a great role, as people seem to be naturally drawn to them and feel the need to find out more.


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