Asylum File Contents

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why I Don't Believe in the Concept of a "True" Horror Fan

As a horror fan you have undoubtedly traveled through the perils of social media with many of us participating in horror forum boards and various horror groups. The one topic/discussion I have seen come up time and time again is the concept of who really is a "true" fan of horror. I have seen people label themselves as such and witnessed arguments where people lash out at each other accusing one another of not being a "true" horror fan for various reasons. So, I ask what does being a "true" horror fan mean to you? My guess is there would be a lot of different answers to this question. But, honestly how do you truly measure something like that? Is it determined by how long you have been a horror fan, what areas of horror you have the most knowledge in, how much memorabilia you have collected, how many conventions you have attended, how your lifestyle is horror orientated, how many horror movies you have watched and so on. 

As a fan of the genre for several years I have been told that because there are certain horror films I have no desire to watch somehow that makes me less of a horror fan, which frankly is untrue. I personally do not like exploitation films, Asian horror or B styled horror films. Now I have watched both the original and remake of Last House on the Left and I have no need to every watch them again. I have given Asian horror a view, but didn't really get into it and B styled horror films never really appealed to me. I also don't want to watch Cannibal Holocaust or I Spit on Your Grave. Why? Because I know what they are about and frankly I am not interested in them. Now because I don't want to watch those films does that make me any less of a horror fan or not a "true" horror fan as opposed to someone who has watched those films a dozen times? No, it doesn't. Just because I have no need to watch them doesn't mean that I don't understand the impact and influence that they have in horror. The love of horror comes from the personal preference of something that you love about the genre and it expands from there. But, to say someone isn't a "true" horror fan because they didn't watch *insert movie title* like *insert movie title or sub-genre* or don't know about *insert director, actor, etc* does nothing more than alienate those that are new to the genre and create distension between other horror fans. 

Shows like The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow and Hannibal have brought horror more to the mainstream and with that an influx of new horror fans are coming into the genre. Some may really want to get into horror, but don't know really where to start. Because let's face it, it's a big genre and it can be hard to navigate through and with the concept of a "true" horror fan looming over, it can alienate future or even new fans from being part of the horror community because they may believe they can't live up to that concept. 

The bottom line for me is that there really is no "true" horror fan because we are all fans of the genre it's just that there are varying degrees of fandom from the novice to the hardcore and everything in between that run through it. To be a fan of any fandom is wanting to share your knowledge and experiences with others. I believe that deep down it is the love of horror that brings you and keeps you in the genre and that love shouldn't be used as a measuring tool to evaluate your place in it....because there really is a place for everyone in this genre!