Opinion: It’s Bloody Hard Being A Horror Fan Simon Fitzjohn October 27, 2016 Editor's Choice, Features, Halloween 2511 Iâ€™ve been meaning to pen this article for some time now, but I was finally pushed over the edge this week and have decided to take the plunge. Iâ€™ll get to what proved my personal tipping point in a bit, but hereâ€™s the thrust of my argument: Itâ€™s bloody tough being a horror fan. Now I know itâ€™s nearly Halloween and all that, meaning for the only time of the year you can wander into your local Tesco branch and find eye-popping zombies stacked by the entrance. But let us cast that aside for one moment â€“ or one article at least. Anyone who counts themselves a real horror fan has probably encountered the same shit that I have â€“ the weird looks when you blurt out your love for some gorefest being a good starting point. Being a university lecturer by trade, this gets even more magnified than my old days running a DVD rental store. You know the drill â€“ you let slip you like some violent horror film and thereâ€™s that awkward moment of bemusement on the part of the other person â€“ the â€˜but youâ€™re an intelligent person so why on earth would you like horror filmsâ€™ look that you get, followed by you furiously trying to explain yourself. I donâ€™t know of any other genre that gets that crap â€“ yes, I know I could just not care what anyone else thinks and get on with things, but life doesnâ€™t really work like that does it? In fact, and I have no idea if anyone else does this, but the majority of the time (apart from when Iâ€™m at home with the missus or at Frightfest) I actively hold back on my love for horror, keeping it to myself for fear of being ridiculed. Crikey, Iâ€™ve even written a couple of books on horror films (one on Bob Clark/Black Christmas and the other on the Psycho franchise if youâ€™re interested) only to describe them as â€˜books on a film director you probably havenâ€™t heard ofâ€™ when in respectable company. So, on to my tipping point earlier this week. I was on the train home from Victoria station after a taxing day at the office, perusing the latest copy of Dark Side magazine. To be fair, Dark Side has given me a few legitimate problems down the years, due to their frustrating insistence on borderline soft-porn covers from time to time, or for writer Callum Waddellâ€™s travails around Asia digging out some porn actress who might have appeared in a horror film once that no one has ever heard of because he fancies meeting them. Anyhow, I was reading the magâ€™s interview with Daria Nicolidi â€“ a great interview by the way â€“ and as I turned the page to continue the piece, there was a nice, bloody image from Profondo Rosso. Nothing wrong there I thought â€“ Deep Red is a landmark film after all, but it was obviously too much for the woman sat next to me. It went down like this â€“ she looks at me, looks at the magazine Iâ€™m reading, looks back at me, shuffles uncomfortably in her seat â€“ then gets up and moves. Now I am putting two and two together here and presuming it makes four, but there seems no other reason to think she moved, other than that she thought I was likely to attempt to gut her during the course of our journey. I did, just for one second, consider jumping to my feet and bellowing â€˜yes everybody, Iâ€™m reading a horror magazine, but that does not make me a murderous psychopath okay?!â€™ â€“ but I didnâ€™t of course. Instead I squirmed a bit, felt embarrassed â€“ then carried on reading. What really pisses me off is that this battle has been raging for pretty much as long as I have loved the genre. In fact, I almost have a checklist for what winds me up. Here goes: Just because I like horror films does not mean that is all I ever watch. This week for example I may have watched The Walking Dead season opener, the latest episode of The Exorcist (still not sure if I like it or not) and the upcoming DVD The Neighbour, but Iâ€™ve also sat through Poldark, Strictly Come Dancing, a bit of Grimsby and plenty of sport. I do not watch horror simply to get a gore fix. I like a good gore scene as much as the next fan, but a lot of my favourite films have little to no gore in them â€“ 1974â€™s Black Christmas or 1963â€™s The Haunting for example. What I really want is a good story, some suspense and, guess what, A GOOD FILM. Horror fans are some of the most passionate, informed and analytical film fans I know. Hitting Frightfest is always a highlight for me, as I am always amazed at just how much info genre fans store in their grey matter. Heck, my wife and I originally bonded over our shared love of the genre, and like nothing more than chewing the fat after checking out a film, talking over the directorâ€™s previous efforts or suchlike. Hereâ€™s the kicker – just because I like horror films does not make me dangerous. Yes, I know horror doesnâ€™t help itself a lot of the time, taking into account the drek we often get served up â€“ but horror fans will happily tell you if a film is rubbish. And, apart from when the likes of Childâ€™s Play or Scream get roped into a murder trial (or when the tedious â€˜it was like something out of a horror movieâ€™ line gets worked into some newspaper story), you may well be surprised to know most horror fans are happy, well-adjusted, mature folk. Thereâ€™s also absolutely no doubting in my mind that horror fans are ridiculously short-changed. Let me give you an example â€“ when I was at uni back in the day (the early 90s), a trip to Forbidden Planet was a real treat. Over the years I picked up back issues of Fangoria, got my hands on original cinema posters for the likes of the Friday the 13th films and even Dr Butcher MD, bought a Michael Myers mask, serial killer trading cards â€“ the list goes on. Pop into Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue now â€“ well, letâ€™s just say if you are not a fan of Doctor Who or Star Wars then donâ€™t bother. Salvation for a short while came in the form of The Cinema Store, but now even that haven has bitten the dust. I donâ€™t intend this as a â€˜woe is meâ€™ piece and you could quite rightly point out that I could still simply stick my chest out with pride, let all and sundry know I am a horror junkie and get on with it. And, donâ€™t for one second think any of this stuff could ever stop me being a horror fan, as that is never going to happen. But wouldnâ€™t it be great if we could all just get along?