Shortly after starting Midnight Movie Gay, and well after I’d already developed some semblance of a relationship within the horror community throughout social media, I invited some of my personal friends, acquaintances, and coworkers to stop by it for a read. And when I did this, I found I got a peculiar reaction from most of them.
When did you start this? What for? You really love horror this much?
It was like they had no clue I was a hardcore horror fanboy. But then again, after thinking about it, I guess I’d never given them one before.
It’s not that I hide my horror love. Most who know me know that I love going to the movies and watching TV shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story… but so do a lot of “casual” viewers. And like those other viewers, my DVR is often filled with just as much reality trash, history specials, HGTV, and sitcoms as it is horror shows and movies.
Similarly, I don’t maintain a Blu-ray library, I don’t collect horror memorobilia, and I don’t live in Fright Rags t-shirts. So I guess I can understand the surprise when my friends and family found out I had taken my love for the genre and done something with it. The blog was their first real inclination that I had this strong affinity and relationship to the genre. I might as well have been an avid surfer who they’d never even seen at the beach!
As I said, I was at first I was taken back by the reaction, but quickly came around to understanding it. Even later on I had an introspective moment where I thought to myself, “I really am not like most other fans. I don’t fit the mold they’d, or even I would, expect. I’m the Marilyn Munster of horror nerds.”
As you might recall, Marilyn was the fairly normal and “human” niece of Herman and Lily Munster. Often they, along with Grandpa and Eddie, made jokes about her “unattractiveness” and normalcy. Even Marilyn’s own mindset was that she was homely and different than the rest of her ghoulish family, resulting in running gags where her behavior was actually regarded by the other Munsters as something worrisome and troubling.
I suppose I could relate.
Of course I don’t mean to paint horror fans in such a single, broad stroke. We, like in any fandom, come in all shapes and sizes and styles. And I’m sure others like myself have had to “come out” as horror lovers, whether by accident or on purpose. But that isn’t to say that, even to this day, I sometimes feel like I don’t “fit in” to the general horror community.
Walk into any horror convention or midnight show and your eyes will undoubtedly be assaulted by a sea of black t-shirts featuring horror designs, gothic skulls, heavy metal bands, and pro-wrestling logos. Tattoos, piercings, and a personalized horror collection to show off are also prominent. But me… I don’t have any of those things. In fact, I can’t help but feel like I’d be a very boring horror fan to encounter.
I’m all black jeans complimented by pastel flannels and polos. Flip-flops, swimming trunks (never board shorts!), and peach margaritas. I’m country music, Bad Girls Club, and COPS reruns. Sure, I have random horror tees I like to wear on special occasions, but more often than not I dress and act like I should be reading Stephen King hardbacks in an Adirondack chair. Basically, I’m kind of this weird, douchey, preppy-hipster-nerd hybrid.
Though maybe it all sometimes makes me feel “left out” or like an aberration in the horror community, but I suppose I also kind of like it that way. I like that something about me surprises people. I like when people are genuinely startled that I can discuss the Satanic Panic of the 80’s, Elm Street chronology, or Halloween nostalgia. And I like this kind of encounter from the opposing end too. I like it when I run into other horror fans and spearhead a conversation about what qualifies as a true “final girl” or give a badass horror novel recommendation. And I love when they happen to make fun of the uptown jerks and basic bitches who stand in line for an hour for brunch and I’m just standing there like, “Oh man, I love brunch…”
Any other “Marilyn Munster” types out there who scare folks when you laugh at decapitations or cheer on slashers? I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of having to “come out” as a horror fan! Drop me a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Stay spooky, kids!