Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Horror occupies but a tiny corner of the Internets—which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you are. If you are a high-profile horror writer caught with your hands in the copy jar, then you are grateful to have chosen an industry that is already so marginalized that even your relationship with a famous director fails to elevate your “bad” to a blind news item.

No, you can't come in, I'm being fabulous.
And therein lies my point. A notable horror journalist has committed intellectual theft—really, one of the worst things you can do in any industry—and no one outside of horror is giving a crap, much less donating a fart. The fire is pretty much 100 percent contained.  Thus begging the question: if no one outside of horror cares, then why has everyone in horror become so delusional?

I can’t really say everyone. For every icon who is an ass to his fans, there’s a Bruce Campbell, or a Lloyd Kaufman, or insert the name of any horror icon you dared reach out to online who not only surprised you by responding—but damn near gave you a heart attack by being gracious (for me—Anne Rice, who I will always love for her emails). And to be fair, some icons are correct to keep a (loving) distance on social media in order to protect themselves and their families from the Crazies. But you still get that they appreciate their fans and care if they die.

No, this one goes out to the stewards of horror: the writers. The icons who gave us the novels that became the films. The journalists who made names for themselves with their sharp observations or gallows humor. The former creates horror, and the latter shapes it, and neither can exist without the other. But both are becoming compromised by social media, which has cultivated the very un-horror need for One of Us to become Better Than You.

The writer I once respected has turned into a silly, conceited old wannabe rock star desperately chasing outrageousness. The journalist I mentioned on Twitter as an influence—who responded by saturating my feed with retweets of media reports praising her Oscar gown—has become a lesson for those who prefer their parables to be pretty. Now while these two have become some of the worst offenders in my world, there are others. The obnoxious child of a legendary author who fancies himself the gatekeeper of a horror dynasty and forgets that his father holds the keys. The film critics who got the memo on their genius and have moved on to being clever. Don’t bother tweeting to them, they can’t be fucked. But be sure to listen to their podcasts. Devil horns.

Where would these people who are Better Than You be without One of Us? Answer: they’d be working a goddamned day job while pursuing their real passion over the white noise of Cronenberg. Like I do. Like you do. We are supposed to be in this for the love, not for the lucre. When I was growing up, there wasn’t anyone in my life from 1980 to 1993 who loved horror films, short of my fifth-grade best friend, and even then it ranked third in her life behind unicorns and Val Kilmer.  So now we’ve got a caste system? Bullshit. Really, who in hell do people think they are? They’d better have an idea, because for the most part, the rest of the world doesn’t have a clue.  And I prefer horror over mysteries.