8/30/13

Why (HORROR FANDOM) Matters by Kristy Jett of HorrorHound Magazine and FEARnet

Every day, I find myself in a unique position to observe the fandom in which I, myself, am embroiled - that of horror. I am not only an observer from frequenting horror conventions; I work for the most fan-centric horror t-shirt company out there (Fright Rags), I am a writer for HorrorHound Magazine and I am involved with a host of film projects in the horror genre. I have a varied viewpoint due to all of these ways in which I get to view this horror community of ours.

When I posed the question to myself, “Why does horror fandom matter?,” it wasn't so simply answered. I’m not sure why, but I struggled with how to explain why something that is so trivial to some means the world to the rest of us. I guess it might come back to the way we were brought into this genre.

Over the past few years, I have had conversations with what seems like hundreds of people about where we got our “start.” I have never in my time asked someone for his or her story and received a response of, “I don't remember.” The question has always been met with an enthusiastic and detailed narrative; specifics too! There is a keen attention to where they were, who they were with or who exposed them and how it made them feel. The feeling, in particular,is what always sticks out in these rehashings. Horror, by definition, is “frightful and shocking,”so why shouldn't something so powerful have an indelible footprint in our mind? Especially if we first viewed a horror film as a child, with those formative years creating lifelong impressions.Our childhoods, for better or for worse, form who we are, and the pop culture we are surrounded by shapes us. For some, that first glimpse of horror scares them away and they don’t continue down the path. But if you're reading this, then I don't believe you have that problem, and, in fact, you would consider yourself a horror fan.

So why does fandom matter? Fandom itself doesn't just define a fan of something; fandom is the collected, avid enthusiasts for any given pop culture facet. If I'm to be mushy about it, fandom matters because it’s a way for all of us to be able to relate to other human beings. If you're in a grocery store minding your own business and someone sees you’re wearing a shirt of your favorite sports team or your favorite band, it could spark a conversation; one complete stranger to another talking about one of their favorite things. Then why does horror fandom matter? It goes deeper than other fandoms

Maybe it’s because it is beyond the mainstream, and it has a very strong counter-cultural element to it. Sci-fi has gone mainstream. Gaming has gone mainstream. Calling people “nerds” doesn't even hold the weight it once did, because all genres, in one way or another, have seemingly adopted the term. To be fair, shows like The Walking Dead, Dexter and True Blood have brought horror into the limelight and made genre fans out of people who once shrieked at the sight of blood. But liking one show with a horror theme doth not a hardcore horror fan make.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but I don't think there will ever be a day when a candidate for Miss America will lovingly talk about her love for the Critters franchise. I don't see a genre that focuses on the decimation of humans as ever being allowed to permeate everyday life for all walks of life. That’s even without letting this discussion take on a political tone and reminding us that, in other parts of the world, waking life is the horror story.

That brings us back to the discussion: why does horror fandom matter? Since this was the question posed to me, I’m going to answer it for myself; I’ll leave you to answer it for yourself. Horror fandom matters because those of us who live and breathe this lifestyle are proud of it. It’s our badge of honor and courage; we not only handle what a lot of people can't, but we're genuinely good people who like to share this love with other fans and even non-fans. Media can make those silly arguments of how violent television, movies and video games create violent people - but we know the truth. The horror community, which is built on horror fandom, is one of the most positive and loving groups of people I have ever come across in my entire life. The media would like to think we’re a bunch of blood-sucking heathens, but it’s quite the opposite. Horror fandom matters not just because we all share it with one another, bringing us closer; but because, in little glimpses every day, it allows us to show the outside world that being a fan of something so polarizing as horror movies isn't an indicator of anything other than that.

2 comments:

  1. Well said. That is all ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. A girl who placed top 10 at Miss Illinois this year expressed her love for the SAW franchise in her bio "fun fact." Trust me, the day is coming sooner than you think :)

    ReplyDelete

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