Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Horror Fandom has changed since 1983...
-- and it's changed for the better. I was thinking of what it was like to be a horror fan in 1983. When I was a kid, it was very hard to see a movie like Plan 9 from Outer Space. I knew about it because it was written about in Michael Medved's Golden Turkey Awards, a snarky book from before the Internet invented snark. Maybe the movie would show up on TV around Halloween, and if so, you might see it, if you were lucky. We got our first VCR in 1983, but generally watched rented movies on it.
But Plan 9, awful as it is, was famous in a way. All fans knew about it because we'd all read the same books. Books was all there was. And think about this-- the books were the only way to know about or even come close to some of these movies. It's not like Werewolf of London came on TV all the time.
Today I can go to the Internet and watch a 1928 silent film version of House of Usher. The very idea is inconceivable to a horror fan in 1983. Danny Peary's Cult Movies was a great boon because it described movies like Black Sunday in depth, but where on earth were you going to see these things? In a sense, in 1983, all old movies were practically lost, or like astronomical phenomena, barely observable directly.