I am a horror fanatic and have been since I was around five years old and my Uncle Robert turned Night of the Living Dead, the original Romero Masterpiece on the television, one Halloween night. I was terrified, I remembered I couldn’t sleep much that night, not just from the fear, but from thinking for the first time ever about my own mortality and the possible deaths of those around me… it was horrific… and addictive!
I soon collected R.L. Stein’s Goosebump books, then Are You Afraid of the Dark… I read Edgar Allen Poe and soon found an author who solidified my lifelong addiction to reading horror, Howard Phillips Lovecraft!
Since then I have read countless other authors and watched numerous other director’s and writer’s visual works, but none had an impact on me quite like that of HP Lovecraft and George Romero. Sure, I love King, Barker, and many other authors, alongside Argento, and Fulci and others as favorite directors… but Lovecraft and Romero will forever reign supreme. There is something magical and unique about those two, something that others have come close to, but none have truly been able to fully encapsulate.
Horror and the macabre have been there in my sweetest and most bitter of times when I just needed a pick me up, and when I wanted to celebrate. From the heart-pumping adrenaline of action movies to the build-up of suspense, to sometimes the science fiction elements and drama elements of other films, horror sometimes and often has it all, though it manifests in unique ways within horror and the macabre. When someone dislikes horror, it truly boils down to their dislike of the delivery method (Scare, fear, phobia-inducing, cosmic, gore, etc…) of the elements inherent in other genres, but done differently within the the horror subgenre.
HP Lovecraft filled the reader with visions of cosmic dread, insanity-inducing creatures from beyond time and space that had stories without happy endings, and without hope. Lovecraft created a hidden world within New England for his tales, and he weaved them into a dark and foreboding tapestry that often held reoccurring landmarks and themes, creatures, and people. Meanwhile, George Romero told tales woven with social commentary that strove to push the boundaries of social acceptance, all the while driving the viewer to fear every step of the heroes and every interaction with certain survivors. In Romero’s films, the real villains of the films were often other humans (Racists, the greedy, etc…), not the undead!
George Romero single-handedly created the zombie genre as we know it today, and did so on an independent film budget at the time, while creating the all-time classic, “Night of the Living Dead.” HP Lovecraft utterly created this gothic, all-inclusive, cosmic-horror, monster/god-laden, story archetype that has since been duplicated countless times over to varying successes. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then both Lovecraft and Romero have been flattered into near oblivion, in music, television, film, books, poems, and more.
My love of horror and the macabre was sparked and enflamed by those two masters, and while others have come along and created incredible works, none have had quite the impact on me.