The 80’s: A Fans Point Of View: Part 1

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a HUGE fan of the late 70’s and 80’s Horror films. Unfortunately being born in the 80s I missed it all. That doesn’t stop me from talking to older fans about what it was like to be there, experiencing it first hand. So I decided to get 4 Horror fans together who had been there and interview them and see if the 80’s was truly a golden era for Horror or just a big hype. 

The conversations, as you can imagine, weren’t short so I’ll be posting up a question a week with their answers to it. To make things fair I chose 2 males and 2 females, I will only use their first names for their own identity protection: 

Q1: The late 70’s and 80’s are known as a golden age in Horror, what was it like experiencing this burst of popularity in the genre?

Robin: I was thrilled with it. I grew up watching chiller theatre on Saturday nights. All us horror fans had were the old classics. I looked forward to horrors I hadnt seen before and having more people to enjoy them with.

JT: Amazing. As a kid growing up in those times I had watched all the Universcal Classics and such of course, but seeing some of this “darker stuff” coming out at that time was scary to a kid and thrilling in a cool way. I remember seeing “Alien” in the theatre with my parents and thinking at that young age “THIS IS COOL!” and at the same time almost crapping in my pants. I remember wanting to see “Dawn Of The Dead” sooo bad when it came out, but they would not let me in, no one under 17 was allowed at all!!! Moving forward, I would always watch horror movies on our one pay movie channel we had at that time, classics like “The Fog” and “Halloween”, then as I grew up moving on to the “Friday the 13th” series and the “Nightmare” series. I took in as much as I could and rememebr reading magazines like Fango, reading articles about these bizzare movies like “Suspiria” and the such. I re-call seeing “Creepshow” in the theater loving every minute of it!! As with “Dawn Of The Dead”, I could not get into “Evil Dead” either, but when “Evil Dead 2” came out we sneaked into the theatre, that was also a 17 and up show only, even back in “87!!

One cool thing to see develop during this time was the video market, now we take it for granted, but for those of us that rememeber how VHS rentals started to boom in the early to mid 80’s, it just left the door open to all sorts of terror to view. The slasher genre during that timewas fresh and exciting, but I can re-call laughing my ass off as the “F13” series just got goofier and goofier. Now all we have are remakes of these movies I grew up with, and to tell you the truth, it really makes me sad, because they just don’t stack up to the one’s I remember seeing in the movies as a kid

Grant: It was cool growing up watching so many quality horror movies. Especially the ones that did not have to cater to a wider audience by injecting humor into the film. Do not get me wrong, some of my favorite horror flicks are humorous (“Evil Dead II”, “Return Of The Living Dead”, “Shaun Of The Dead”, etc…) but there is much to be said for solid horror writing and the films that are inspired by it. I remember watching ‘big monster’ movies every saturday afternoon like “Godzilla”, “King Kong”, “Gorgo” when I was very little. My folks first introduced me to true horror, actually it was my sister while babysitting me making me watch “The Exorcist” when I was around the age of 6-7 now that I think of it, My folks followed it up a couple of years later by letting me watch the classic “American Werewolf In London”. Then I was hooked on horror and terror!

In a way growing up watching the horror of the 70’s and 80’s kind of spoiled me for what was to come next…the 90’s (ugh). I think because I grew up seeing what was capable in the horror genre, my expectations still are quite high and now very few films make as much of an impact on me.

Robin: You just reminded me how much I enjoyed going to the movies to see “American Werewolf in London”. I’m older so I was in college. It was really “Halloween” that excited me. When that came out everyone, even non horror fans, watched that movie!

Kathy: I have to say we were very lucky the movies that were being produced were destined to be classics,and those that weren’t are still being viewed today in spite of it. I really enjoyed all the horror of the 70’s and 80’s the ideas were original and exciting (re-make what) things just started to get visually gory and that put a new spin on the genre in my opinion. It gave me a new love for the b&w classics that came before, there was a line drawn and everything that came after the 80’s had to be over the top to compete (not a bad thing for us horror fans) it is a hard task to take on that era. I remember going to the midnight showing of “Rocky Horror” every Friday and participating in the movie as a fan and audiance member it never got old, my kids don’t understand why it was such a big deal. It was a time when being a horror fan was a given ,today I can say I know of only one other horror fan I know personally. It really was an experience and I’m so glad I was there for it.

JT: I seem to recall back in the 70’s and early 80’s (even thought I as just a kid) horror was actually considered a solid form of entertainment where as today it seems that it is looked down upon…does that make any sense??

Kathy: I agree it was solid. No-one understands my love for horror, and the more I try to explain the more confused they get.

JT: I agree with that, maybe it’s a primal thing because we love to be scared, because back in those days that is what it all came down to, horror films where scary, some even made you think a little….like “The Thing” because they where horror stories but also made commentary on the times, the issues and themes that where happening back then. Not really seeing that in most of today’s horror…

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