Growing up in an excessively-permissive household – one where I was allowed to watch any movie or read any magazine I wanted without so much as a second glance – was a double-edged sword. On one hand, it was (obviously) totally unbelievably awesome: while my friends were stuck watching kiddie fluff, Disney flicks, and PG-rated fare with their parents (how embarrassing), here I was – the envy of all other first graders – reading FANGORIA Magazine and watching horrific movies and TV shows via early-’90s HBO, all on my own. (You KNOW I never missed my Saturday night showing of Tales from the Crypt.)
But on the other hand, being allowed to see and read these things at such an early age – an age where things like ghosts and monsters still seemed real to me – was perhaps not the best thing for me. Case in point: me seeing The Brood when I was 5-years-old.
Yes, one of my earliest horror movie memories – and perhaps one of the most influential – was my family watching The Brood and Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives on TV. My family were big horrornuts, and so there was, oftentimes, something spooky playing on the tube. And for whatever reason, they never minded little me sitting on the floor, smack dab in front of the TV, while colorful eviscerations by otherworldy ghouls played out. Perhaps my parents thought I was distracted with the GI Joes I was playing with, or the coloring book I was scribbling in, but I assure you: I was watching those movies right along with ’em, and I remember every vivid moment.
Director David Cronenberg’s The Brood is a type of psychological body horror film that even some adults would have trouble sitting through (and probably have trouble understanding, too). Yet there I found myself – a kindergartener – on the floor of our living room, watching the squeamish horrors unfold. Even my family sat in rapt silence.
Again, watching any horror movie at that age would’ve been probably too much to handle, but the fact that this film centered around a group of child-like creatures attacking adults and children with gory glee was probably what affected me so much. A scene towards the end of the film, wherein the little monsters are punching their way through a locked door in order to get a little girl, is indelibly seared into my brainmeat forever. And it’s possibly the single reason I’m the horror loving weirdo I am today.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: thanks, mom and dad.