I was one creepy bastard when I was a kid. Not Damian Thorn creepy, more of an Eddie Munster creepy. I was in love with all things horror, finding a strange comfort in the company of all the unnameable slithering things that go bump in the night. While my schoolmates would all be reading about Ramona, Superfudge, and Jacob Two Two, I'd be enraptured by HP Lovecraft's Shoggoth and Cthulu, and fantasizing about Poe's Lenore.
I actually daydreamed about being adopted by Weirdly and Creepella Gruesome. I think it started with a program in the 70's called Creature Features that we used to pick up out of WNED in Buffalo. They used to play back to back Kaiju movies (look it up you spoon-fed scallywag), and old Vincent Price flicks from AIP. Hammer Horror and most importantly the entire Universal Monsters and RKO Horror collections were a weekend staple. Man, I would sit mere inches from the gogglebox screen, bathing in the black and white flickering iridescence, empathizing with all these misunderstood tortured souls: Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, Wolfman, The Creature. These were my childhood idols, my friends.
My parents worried that there was something wrong with me. I'd quote The Raven at the dinner table and get choked up watching King Kong (the movie that made me fall in love with movies). My bedroom was plastered with posters and images of the greats: Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee in all their regal Transalvanian glory, Lon Chaney portraying the selfless Quasimodo, and his son Chaney Jr. as the lovable lycanthrope. My father took little solace in the fact that nestled between The Mummy and Nosferatu was a glistening Heather Thomas posing in a hot tub, hip thrust, thumb hooked into her hot pink bikini briefs.
Was I damaged? Was there something broken buried deep within my fragile psyche? I mean, I counted myself among the Unwanted, an Outsider. A Freak. I related to the loneliness of Monsters, understood what it was like to defend myself from unexpected and unsolicited hostility.
Save the pathos for your therapist, Sally. I needed Dr. Phibes, not Dr. Freud. The monsters were badass and cool looking, noble, strong. I realized that it wasn't that I didn't fit in with the world, it was the world that didn't fit in with me.
Truth be told, I haven't really changed much over the years. Now I'm a creepy old bastard. More Gomez Addams than Norman Bates. I have always found a beauty, a poetry, in the plight of the monsters. To this day I find the sound of Boris Karloff and Vincent Price's voices strangely soothing, lulling me to sleep, to dreams of ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties.
The children of the night, what sweet music they make!