I got into horror slowly and wouldn't be a full fledged horror fan until I was an adult but even as a kid I showed signs of interest in the field. Of course there was Halloween, best night of the year. I read a bunch of the Goosebumps books and for a time R.L. Stine was an important figure in my life. Bunnicula was tremendous fun.

My real exposure to horror, what really got its claws into me and stayed with me, were two sources: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and E.C. Comics. I was aware of the Schwartz books from a fairly early age and many of stories he told were terrifying as hell. Even as an adult I recognize their power but no doubt that is due to the fact th as t they were based on folklore. As a kid, I could only handle a couple of them. This was a time when Freddy Kruger was unbearably scary to me.

I told the story of my experience with E.C. Comics in another article and so I won't go into too much detail. E.C. Comics saw a widespread reprint run in the 90s and I was able to get into them fairly early. I was a couple of years older by then and horror was palatable to me by then. Out of anything, those comics has a singular influence on my youth as a horror fan. Without the guidance of the Crypt-Keeper and his fellow Ghoulunatics the trajectory of my interests would have been different, less focused. Horror is something I grew with and kept returning to. There was an allure about that magnetized me then as it does now. I can thank horror fiction for giving me a sense of direction, a literary form I could give my heart to. It was the spice that the bookish side of me needed.

P.S. There was an author of kid horror I wish I got into when I was younger but only started reading him last year. John Bellairs wrote classic novels, including The House With a Clock In Its Walls, about sorcery, ghosts, and curses that had the flavor of Harry Potter decades before hewas introduced to the world. I say the flavor of Harry Potter but mixed with a heaping dose of M.R. James. He even acknowledged James as an influence and it shows, especially in The Figure in the Shadows. It's a winning combination.

Written by Nicholas Montelongo

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry