Roberts’ Rules of Horror is an alternate universe Duluoz Legend in which Jack/Sal/Ray/etc. is born in the Midwest in the late 1970s, grows up as a horror-obsessed outcast, spends his adolescence hanging around in friends’ basements, and becomes an adult with marginal writing talent.
Roberts’ Rules of Horror is a one-person ethnography of horror fandom. It’s a blog I created so I would have a place to write about horror and other things. It is the third (arguably fourth) incarnation of a website I created in the late 2000’s.
In its previous lives, Roberts’ Rules of Horror was a movie review website and then a movie/book/game/television/haunt review website. After a couple redesigns and a brief but honest attempt to attract traffic, I realized the Internet had long passed the phase in which an amateur or fan can buy a hosting plan, throw some HTML and CSS onto a server, and develop a site that actually gets noticed.
So I said, “To hell with all this.” What I really enjoyed about RROH was writing about the experience of watching a movie, or going to a haunted attraction, or reading a scary book – that was much more fun than critically evaluating anything. So I decided to ditch everything that came before and start a new blog full of stories about being a horror fan.
I’ve always loved horror. My mom did too. Her stacks of second-hand horror paperbacks, the titles always in flux, inspired me to read. Her reminisces of things like Dark Shadows and going to see The Exorcist during its original run are the reason I hoard horror novels, movies, and TV shows on physical media – so that someday I can turn over boxes of books, DVDs, and Blu-rays to my own kids.
I’m just as much my father’s son though. Long before we had a VCR or even a cable box, there was, perched atop our bulky console TV, Dad’s Atari 2600. If I tried really hard, I could probably remember a time in my life before I played video games, but it would take quite an effort. These days I’m less a video gamer than a pretty dedicated tabletop player. The horror stuff is well represented in my collection.
The genre is a thread that runs through my entire life, something I’ve always been engaged in. So this blog is a bit of a nostalgia trip, a place to remember old friends, long ago yesterdays, and childhood fears, and also to occasionally ask the question, “Well, was that movie good? And what did it mean?”
Roberts’ Rules of Horror is a place to tie all those stories into a larger one. It’s an alternate universe Duluoz Legend in which Jack/Sal/Ray/etc. is born in the Midwest in the late 1970s, grows up as a horror-obsessed outcast, spends his adolescence hanging around in friends’ basements, and becomes an adult with marginal writing talent. The horror obsessive is always the weird kid, and the weird kid never gets to tell his or her own story – someone less an outsider tells it instead. But being a weird adult is empowering. Now I get to tell the stories.