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, Curt Purcell of Groovy Age of Horror reveals the influences, from Lovecraft to Eurotrash, that keep him in the groove of horror.
I guess having kids makes some people start going back to church. When my dad went back, pre-millennialist dispensational eschatology sank such deep hooks into him that his idea of a bedtime Bible story was reading me the freakiest prophecies and visions from Daniel, Ezekiel, and the Book of Revelation. Whatever religious lessons he meant to impart were lost on young me, but the frightful, bizarre imagery sure made an impression. My enduring fascination for the weird and fantastic probably traces back in large part to that.
Two of the first books I chose for myself from the library and struggled through mostly on my own were companion collections of Greek and Norse mythology. They probably should have been way above my reading comprehension level, but they were treasure-troves of grotesque creatures and uncanny figures, and I was determined to mine them for all they had to offer.
Once the television series IN SEARCH OF . . . started--that was early grade-school for me--I immediately became obsessed with it. It dealt with lots of wonderful weirdness--everything from Bigfoot to Amelia Earhart to killer bees to the Mayans to UFOs, etc. Of course, my parents being fundamentalists, they believed anything "occult" was literally demonic. Specifically, my mom believed that exposure to anything of that sort invited demons into your life. Just watching tv about such things could lead to trouble, she believed. Whenever an episode about, say, voodoo or fakirs or dowsing or anything like that aired, the channel got changed or the tv got turned off. But as I recall, each episode led with a pre-credit tease with some of the most dramatic footage. My mom's abrupt reactions only reinforced the way those glimpses into strangeness made me feel.
I don't think I started seeking such experiences from horror entertainment in a really determined way until early high school. I tried Stephen King, but his style and approach were not to my taste. My discovery of H. P. Lovecraft is what ultimately drew me in. I started running a campaign for the role-playing game CHILL. The simple gameplay and emphases on atmosphere and storytelling offered me a perfect venue to explore my horror interests in creative and interactive ways.
The last really big defining moment in my horror journey came during an otherwise dark chapter of my life when I discovered both anime and "Eurotrash" cinema. Hentai like Urotsikidoji and Wicked City range from contemporary to cyberpunk, while Euro-horror flicks by Bava, Franco, and Naschy range from gothic to groovy, but what all these movies have in common is that sex, violence, and supernatural horror click together in ways that made perfect sense to my bipolar mind. As I absorbed these movies, I was struck with the potential of those three elements to intensify each other, sometimes to quite powerful effect.
My interest eventually broadened from Eurohorror movies of the sixties and seventies to horror in other media from that period. It was just as I was branching into vintage paperbacks, with their amazing painted cover illustrations, that I discovered blogging. I figured blogging my explorations would be fun, and would also actually contribute something to the internet, since there were shockingly few sites devoted to the kinds of paperbacks that interested me. Thus was born the Groovy Age of Horror, and the rest is history!