The Horror Honeys: Horror Problems: The Myth of the "True Fan"

Horror Problems: The Myth of the "True Fan"

A Head Honey Murder Monday Rant by Kat

I see this phrase tossed around a LOT in the niche genre worlds...and the list of ways to NOT be a "real fan" of something is ENDLESS, and also seems to fluctuate in severity depending on who you're talking to at the time and what context and situation you're in. Frankly, I'm REALLY fucking tired of it.


You're not a REAL fan if you don't collect these super awesome expensive limited edition toys. You're not a REAL horror fan if you don't like Freddy. You're not a REAL fan if you haven't seen a specific silent film. You're not a REAL fan if you like Found Footage. You're not a REAL horror fan if you don't like gore. You're not a REAL horror fan if you can't name every single character from this specific horror series from memory. You're not a REAL horror fan if you don't like Stephen King. You're not a REAL horror fan if you DO like Stephen King. You're not a REAL horror fan if you don't like Rob Zombie. You're not a REAL horror fan if you can't name every actor who's played Jason over the years. You're not a REAL horror fan if you haven't seen A Serbian Film. It goes on, and on...and ON.


Being challenged on dedication to a particular genre of film, experience, reading material or whatever, is par for the course no matter what you're into. There's always someone who's seen more films than you have, collects more memorabilia than you do, or follows with religious devotion the films of a director that you haven't ever heard of. Does that make them a better fan than you? HELL NO. 


As someone who has been immersed in horror films, gothic literature, goth culture, special FX makeup, and horror writing for the better part of my life, I don't feel like I'm even halfway to being a "true fan," nor do I feel like I can tell people how they should or shouldn't be a fan, or how they should or shouldn't approach the horror genre. I don't like a LOT of horror movies. For example, I don't really like Friday the 13th, but that doesn't make me less of a horror fan. I refuse to watch August Underground because I know what it's about, and I have ZERO plans to see Cannibal Holocaust but that doesn't make me less of a horror fan. I've also been told in the past that I'll never be a "real horror fan" because I'm a chick. Well...f*ck that.

ANYONE can be a horror fan. This genre is a wonderful mix of fantasy, gore, brutality, beauty, extremity, victory, pain, and heartbreak - sometimes all in the same film.

Horror, like murder, is an intimate thing. It's a personal journey.

Regardless of how or when you start, a relationship with horror is a journey where you get to discover who you are deep down inside - what you'll stand for, what makes you hurt, what makes you laugh, what keeps you up at night, what makes you feel like you might puke, what disturbs you on deep levels, what pisses you off, and what makes you want to cry and not tell anyone about it.


So here's the thing. Judging a personal journey is BULLSH*T. Who are you to tell anyone that they are or aren't a fan because they connect to a film that you don't? Who are you to tell anyone that they aren't a fan because they can't afford to collect the same things you do? Who are YOU to tell someone how to experience something that's important to them. Who are YOU to try to dictate how another person views the world? Because that's what it really comes down to. How you experience a film is different from how I experience a film. Experience of an event is colored by an individual's real life experiences, race, spiritual beliefs (whether present or absent), gender/sexual orientation (yes, it plays a part), morals, social status, and even location on the goddamn planet and the social constructs and religious mores that go with it.


In a genre that's growing in popularity across ALL age groups, and tolerance levels, the amount of space for baseless (and needless) elitism is shrinking. Younger and younger people have access to horror films and horror themed toys. A great example is Monster High- do YOU want to be the one to tell a 5-year old girl that she can't like The Creature From The Black Lagoon because she hasn't seen the 1954 film? Of course you don't, because then you'd be an asshole.

Don't be an asshole.
So before you decide to lash out at someone who loves found footage horror, doesn't have a desire to see every Child's Play sequel, or maybe hasn't seen Nosferatu, maybe you should stop to think about how you would feel to be called out on how YOU experience horror films (or anything you love) by someone who doesn't know you, doesn't want to know you, and only cares about the fact that you disagree with them or make them question their own "fandom." 

Cool, right?

After all of that, let's examine what a TRUE FAN actually is, shall we? A true fan is an apparatus with rotating blades that creates a current of air for cooling or ventilation. Or, for traditionalists, the folding paper or silk ones powered manually.