I make a living as a machinist. It's complicated, challenging work that is sometimes rewarding but usually maddening. I make a difference in the world, and my work has a positive effect on it. The area of the Navy I work with deals with pollution control, salvage, and rescue.

I can't say I enjoy it. I don't much fit in the blue collar world, even though I've been in it all my life. Then again I doubt I'd be very comfortable in a white collar environment either.

I am good at my job, but I do not define myself as a machinist.

Before entering the world of metal-working I did a variety of jobs. Chiefly among them as fence builder. I liked that a little more, because I was outside. The summers were hell, though.

There wasn't much money in fencing, or the other crap positions I held. I was all right with it. The driving force that got me through every day was my love of horror.

I would dream of being off and settled in with my VCR and some horror tapes. I'd often flip through horror magazines before and after the movie.

I always, always loved reading. Working outside was nice because I would get rain days. They put me financially behind, but I liked them because I could stay home and read. I nearly always read horror.

For the past sixteen years I have slaved over this website. I have written hundreds of blog entries. Some I am proud off. Others feel forced and kind of lame. I do this stuff off the cuff in a stream of consciousness flow. Often it works.

All this work constitutes a portrait of a horror fan. A microscopic peek into the inner workings of a genuine fan. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who loves the genre as much as I do, and who has done so for as long as I have. Without bragging, I feel like I am the quintessential horror fan. I like to think I am intelligent, articulate, and witty.

I've often asked myself why I continue doing it. I am frantically busy with the dreaded day job. I devote time to my marriage and to our property. I like to see movies, go outside and walk, and a little reading time now and then is nice.

I know traffic is down here at Horror Drive-In. I just paid up for another year of web hosting, and the estimated value of the site is a hell of a lot lower than it once was. Why?

Well, I feel like I have a lot to say. All modesty aside, I have a breadth of knowledge of the field that puts most "influencers" to shame.

I don't play the game of praising every author and every book that comes along. People see it as supporting the genre. I see it as being the exact opposite.

I was recently listening to an interview with Oingo Boingo frontman and movie composer Danny Elfman. In the early days when he entered the film score industry, he was reviled. Established composers felt he was an unruly rock musician who was out of his league. In a way, that was true. Elfman had no formal training and no classical background. Now Danny says Thank God for the criticism. It made him bust his ass and continue to improve. No one gets better from ass-kissing.

I plan to keep this up as long as possible. Possibly no one will care in the long run. But, as the man once said, what else would I be doing?

My writing has been published in one book, and another is coming in the spring. Will there be more? That's impossible to say. I hope so, but how many will the horror-buying public pay for?

Maybe it will all be deleted after I'm gone, but maybe, just maybe, all this work, and these thoughts, will stand as the ultimate look at the inner workings of a true horror fanatic.

I've lived through a lot of changes. Famous Monster of Filmland and the the monster syndicated monster movie revival on television. The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. I read Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard in paperback reprints when I was a little boy. I caught the last remnants of the great exploitation cycle in the drive-in. I thrilled to the coming of Stephen King and the creation of horror as a viable genre for publishing. I was there for the slasher movie era, and I had a front seat for the advent of home video. I laughed through the horror comedies of the eighties. I witnessed horror fiction turning on its head by the splatterpunks. I endured the lull of the nineties and watched it come back with a vengeance. I was an early DVD enthusiast. Torture porn came and torture porn went.

Now horror is more popular than ever. I'm no longer the dewy-eyed naive kid who is enthralled by everything that comes along in the genre. I've earned my cynicism.

But I fight it every day. I try to keep that little boy alive inside me. The one who was filled with awe and wonder at Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man. The kid who was traumatized by The Night Stalker. The one who fell completely in love with the work of Stephen King and Peter Straub. The raucous teen who partied with reckless abandon at the drive-ins and midnight shows. The guy at the video store renting tapes every single night. Whose blood raced every time a new Fangoria was in his hands.

I've given my life to horror and I don't regret it a single bit. It's been my passion, and my financial downfall. I keep going and I continue to buy the books, to watch the DVDs.

When I'm gone maybe all these words will stand as a legacy of not only my life, but of horror in all its forms.

Written by Mark Sieber

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