Passions: Horror films aren't purely for Halloween or Friday the 13th, though I draw the line at Saw X - Gaby Soutar

When I was nine years old, A Nightmare on Elm Street was released. Along with a tribe of Eighties heartthrobs, its main character was Freddie Krueger, who had carving knives for fingers, a face like pulled pork and wore a Dennis the Menace striped jumper.
Action figure of Freddie KruegerAction figure of Freddie Krueger
Action figure of Freddie Krueger

In my primary school, it was a badge of honour to have watched this film.

I think it must’ve been a couple of years before I actually got to see it. However, I have a vague memory of watching a bad quality VHS tape at a pyjama party.

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It triggered a fascination with creepy films that’s not reserved for Halloween.

In my teens, there was the horrific Hellraiser - argh, the nightmares over Pinhead and Butterball - then classics like The Exorcist, Carrie, The Hitcher, The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby. I’m not sure if The Lost Boys counts as a horror, but I enjoyed that too and not just because I had the hots for Emilio.

Perhaps I’m a secret adrenaline addict. I would never do a bungee jump for the thrills, but I love controlled frights with popcorn on your lap.

However bad your life is, you watch horror and think, well, at least THIS isn’t reality. They make everyday worries seem humdrum.

I do have a line. I’m not that into slashers or gore. Films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Saw, which has its tenth iteration, Saw X, in cinemas now, don't do it for me.

Also, my heart isn’t robust enough for constant jump-scares.

I do love Pan’s Labyrinth, Pearl, St Agatha, Midsommar, Hereditary and Get Out.

However, I am no horror snob. I’ll go see the latest in the Scream or Halloween franchises, even though they’re way past their sell by date. I once went to see the Michael Myers house, on an LA trip round famous residences, so I feel that I must continue to imbibe these turkeys.

Generally, I prefer the supernatural.

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Ghosts, monsters, and zombies, in the style of Dawn of the Dead, are ideal.

In fact, years ago, I did a zombie run in the Capital. It involved following a trail of clues, while participants were being chased and stalked by extras in extremely realistic makeup and costume. In this case, the living dead sprinted, 28-Days-Later-style, rather than doing a traditional lumber. I didn’t have a chance.

It was interesting to see how quickly I was picked off, and left for carrion by my pals.

It seems that my film addiction has been of no help, when it comes to survival. Still, I will continue to watch, purely for safe thrills.



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