I remember bats swirling before me in the darkened theater. I remember a snarling mouth full of sharp canine teeth. I remember 3D glasses. I remember Vincent Price. I remember Daniel Cohen and Alvin Schwartz, and Stephen Gammell’s drawings of the eyeless, ethereal dead. I remember a basement and its cornucopia of horror movies on VHS. I remember the board and the planchette. I remember chainsaw chase-outs and Joe Bob Briggs. I remember a long drive home on an empty tree-lined backroad. I remember amusement parks shrouded in fog. I remember propping the baby up to burp her when the lights went red and the gymnasium doors slammed shut.
Those are the stories I like to recall, the days I wish I could relive, just once more with the knowledge of how fleeting they were and how irrevocably lost they later would be. Horror is a thread that’s run through my entire life, tying me to people, places, and events, interwoven everywhere with personal memory.
Roberts’ Rules of Horror will begin, then, with a vain attempt to restore flesh to the bones of memory. In the next several entries, I will attempt to trace my life as a horror fan through scores of movies, books, games, TV shows, and haunted attractions, from my earliest memories to now.