Two weeks ago, Bloody-Disgusting writer Trace Thurman wrote an editorial about the art of lying. In it, he described the pressure there is to sway from the truth when asked if one’s seen a movie that’s definitely still on a “To Watch” list.
“The idea for this post came from a fellow horror fan asking me if I had seen a particular Vincent Price movie. I (unfortunately) have not seen any Vincent Price movies. I know that I may have completely lost some of you with this statement, but it’s true. I fully plan on getting around to them at some point in my life, though. That being said, this person verbally assaulted me for never having seen a Vincent Price movie. Assaulted may be too strong a word, but it was definitely a lecture!”
These lecturers identify people inching into their film nerd debut as easy targets. Putting them down is a quick way to feel superior, and the victim’s lack of a resume of sorts stops them from fighting back. It can be done behind the guise of jokes or it can be more direct; both are unnecessary.
Whether you like it or not, we’ve all been new to the horror genre. It’s time that we accept this and stop acting like we’ve always seen what we have seen, known what we have known.
A newcomer is going to feel overwhelmed as it; the last thing they need is to be pushed away from their love for film just because they started later than some, which is why older fans should learn how to treat new fans with care.
And I’ve got just the list to guide you.
1. Don’t shame them for not having seen everything you’ve seen
When I was new to horror, I understood the need to lie about what I had already watched. I didn’t start using Netflix until the beginning of college and thus had a lot of catching up to do. Everyone had already gone through multiple viewings of the films I was anxious to get into. This eagerness swerved into shame within the first semester. Whenever I said I hadn’t seen something in particular, I was looked down upon and made to feel ignorant. It’s no surprise that I started to lie.
Thankfully, I no longer do so, but in return, I accept that people are going to go crazy when I say I haven’t seen some important movie, as if the amount of time I have to sit around is infinite. With horror especially, there’s a large amount of paths you should take. There’s the B-rated, the Universal monsters, the indie movies that are getting praised online. The list is always growing.
Give them time to explore and remind them how thrilled you are that they’re delving into something you love.
2. Make them lists of lesser-known films
Everyone knows about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Psycho is a movie you can talk to your parents about. The legend of The Exorcist has passed through many ears. New fans know to watch these and many others because they’re classics. Telling them to do so is mostly a waste of time.
The movies these fans won’t hear about in their beginner travels are the obscure films that usually don’t make it onto any “Top 10” lists, no matter how deserving. Although not as popular, they can be just as important when wanting to stay up to date and have an informed discussion with other film geeks.
Hell, even throw in some classic bad films to mix it up a bit. Make your list fun and exciting!
3. Help them keep up with all the recent and upcoming releases
There’s pressure to catch up with the genre, making it easy to forget to keep up with the new releases. If you hear about something coming out soon (ex: The Green Inferno) send your friend a text informing them that they might want to check it out. Get them in the habit of looking through Netflix and Redbox for flicks that have just been added. Who knows? It Follows might end up being their favorite movie.
The most important piece of advice in regards to staying up to date, however, comes from informing your friend of what newsites they can use. Bloody-Disgusting and iHorror are my personal favorites because they have a nice mix of old and new. By providing them with this information, they can learn to update themselves; let them leave the gore-y nest and fly to their local cinema.
4. Let them have their own opinion
In many ways, I find this to be the most crucial piece of advice on this list, which is why I’m saving it for last.
No one will share your exact taste in horror films. Not your siblings. Not your best friend. Not even your significant other. And that’s okay. Discussions thrive on difference in opinion. The world would be bland if we all liked the same things.
I for one was pleased with my viewing of The Lords of Salem. I know many people whose respect for me would plummet if I ever told them this, making it tempting to keep this information to myself. It shouldn’t be this way.
Encourage the horror newcomer to be proud of their thoughts and not hide behind lies to keep other horror lovers satisfied. Don’t lose respect for someone for something as silly as liking or disliking a movie. Your opinion is not the supreme opinion of the land, even if you’ve been exploring the genre longer.
Remember, in the eyes of killer down the street, we’re all the same.
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