You may ask yourself, is opening an online publication about the genre of horror with the present state of things the best time? It's a loaded but valid question. The concept of HORRORWOOD Presents... was sent to me by the fine folks at HAUNTVAULT™ with the offer to run it as editor-in-chief back in September of 2015.
I thought long and hard about the decision, and accepted the offer with the agreement that we could take our time and shape the website organically. I spent the interim soaking up as much as I could about the genre of horror and writing about it. The road to launch has been a long but fulfilling journey.
There already seems to be an endless supply of online publications about entertainment. What can we do that hasn't already been done? Instead of fixating on how to be “different,” I want to go back to why I love the horror genre. The writers and I are channeling our passion for horror with every piece. The genuine love for the genre and storytelling is enough.
One of my earliest memories with horror is seeing a drive-in theater marquee that said, "The Exorcist." This was during the re-release with new material, not the original, mind you. We weren't there to see The Exorcist, and yet my heart was racing. I caught a glimpse of Reagan (Linda Blair) in the full demonic possession make-up created by the legendary Dick Smith. The image burned itself into my mind and remained there for years until I finally worked up the nerve to watch it for myself.
The Exorcist is an iconic movie. I had seen the home video cover countless times at video rental shops. I heard people recount parts of the movie over and over. The work took on a life of its own well before I had seen it and this is no accident. Horror taps into a primal part of our being. We remember things better when they carry an emotional charge and stimulate the part of our brains that help us process and recall information. The most memorable horror movies live on in infamy thanks to this phenomenon.
The genre gives storytellers and the audience permission to explore complex and dark subject matter. You can have horror that's superficial and fun, works that are moody and evocative of complex themes, or perhaps a mixture of the two. That's the beauty of it. The catharsis can be healing even in times of great duress.
I had seen clips of John Carpenter's The Thing on TV during my childhood, but it wasn't until high school that I used what little money I made from my job at a small movie theater to buy a used DVD of it. "Wow" was all I could muster by the end. The movie left me shell-shocked; I had to know more. So I scoured for whatever I could find about the project, which led me to publications like Fangoria and haunt events such as Halloween Horror Nights™, and this unbridled obsession has continued on to the present. I owe a great deal of my passion for the genre to it. And I am not alone.
Everyone has their personal favorites; their obsessions. The stories and moments within them that resonate deeply. Horror may not have respect from organizations like The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but it doesn't need it. Horror is horror is horror, no matter how one tries to dress it up by giving it a different label or denying it outright. The genre matters to us as it is, and therefore it matters. If you're here and have made it this far, you, at the very least, have an interest in horror.
So join me on this journey with a collection of writers as we explore the genre of horror. Our focus will be on film, but other mediums such as video games, books, haunted events, and comics are fair game. Think of HORRORWOOD Presents... as a little zine distributed at a drive-in movie theater with a penchant for horror movies. Hopefully, you'll take something away from our collection of thoughtful essays, and perhaps even contribute yourself to the growing archive.
Thank you for reading, and we'll see you out on the lot.