Many fans of horror, amateur and professional alike, have devoted themselves to blogging about the thrills, chills, and no-frills side of the genre as seen in cinema and print. In this ongoing series that highlights the writers behind the blogs, we meet the unique personalities and talents that make the online horror scene so engaging. Up close and personal.
In this installment, author, and League of Tana Tea Drinker's member, Vince Liaguno of Slasher Speak gives us good reason why the standards of normalcy are overrated.
Let’s get one thing out the way: I love slasher films and am unapologetic about it. There is no hanging my head or lowering my voice when someone asks me what the last film I saw was and the answer includes the words bloody or massacre and is either preceded or followed by the name of a holiday or power tool. Buckets of blood, guts, and gore…mass murder, misogyny, and madness – it’s all good.
Introspection is hard, especially when society tells you that there has to be a reason for something and everything. We like our reasons and rationales – they help us wrap things up with tidy little bows and perfectly creased corners. But after spending the better part of four decades gravitating toward the cinematic and literary dark side, I’ve concluded that there are no simple answers for what makes some of us comedy connoisseurs, others action-adventure aficionados, and still others horror hobbyists. As the late Michel Serrault sang in La Cage Aux Folles, “I am what I am.”
And what I am is a slasher fanatic. No apologies, no regrets.
Slashers have been good to me. They’ve given me inspiration for my first novel and the follow-up WIP. They’ve given me countless hours of enjoyment debating and dissecting their pros and cons, their strengths and weaknesses, with fellow fans and more than a few slasher detractors. They’ve given me friends some 20 years after their release (Hey, Jamie! Hey, Lesleh! Hey, Harley! Hey, Jodi!). They’re given me surges of adrenaline that remind me that I’m alive and jolts that have made me laugh out loud in a crowd in a celebration of the silly. They were testing grounds when I was growing up, each one a cinematic merit badge that spoke to my courage. Even those dreaded remakes are sources of nostalgia now, oddly comforting throwbacks to simpler times that youth blinded us to at the time.
Slashers were afternoon matinees with Dad and suburban midnights babysitting neighborhood kids. Slashers were the waning days of drive-in theaters, the advent of late night cable TV and the explosion of Mom-and-Pop video stores on every street corner. Slashers were movie posters with wickedly clever taglines that tickled the budding writer in me with their alliteration and rhyme beneath garish graphics that made my eyes open wide in ghoulish awe and disbelief. Slashers were grindhouse trailers that made my blood run cold and my heart pump just a little faster in anticipation of release dates that seemed light years away. Slashers were trips to the local bookstore in search of movie tie-ins that promised details of just what those inattentive camp counselors were doing when a little boy named Jason drowned or an explanation of why there were no other patients besides a beleaguered babysitter in a small-town hospital one Halloween night. Slashers were the fuel that stoked my childhood nightmares and the source material for my adult creativity.
It was only natural then that my extension into social networking would result in a blog aptly titled Slasher Speak, a phrase that speaks to my cumulative experience with and within the much-maligned sub-genre of horror that captured my heart and never let go. Here I reminisce, review, and revel in the slasher art form – but, much like time has a way of distorting those first slasher film experiences, the way unrelated memories external to those experiences have a way of creeping in and melding all together – so, too, do those other aspects of my life and work periodically make guest appearances on the Slasher Speak stage. Sure there are smatterings of queer politics or insights into my latest work-in-progress or even an occasional mention of some actress whose name escapes me at the moment, but at the heart of Slasher Speak is a fanatic fanboy who paints the town red with his cinematic bad taste.
Questions of deviancy be damned. The accepted standards of normalcy are so overrated, after all.