Candice Frederick's Horror Inspiration

by Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker)

Confession: I’ve always been a scaredy cat.  Even as a child, I’d watch horror movies with the blankets pulled over my face and tense up whenever the music became extra chilling. But I love scary movies. Blame it on the adrenaline rush, the idea of doing something by which I’m genuinely frightened, or something else, I am hooked on the genre.

One of my earliest memories was watching Psycho with my mom years ago. I wouldn’t call her a film nerd quite to the extent I am, but you can tell she had such respect for this particular film. She’d say, “No one can beat Hitchcock. Not then and still not now.”  Although at the time it was my first time watching the film, she’d interrupt my viewing to say, “Wait, you’ve got to watch this part. Are you paying attention?” Yes, mom, I haven’t taken my eyes off the screen, I’d say. She was specifically highlighting the scene when Norman Bates as his “Mother” kills detective Arbogast when he’s this close to finding out the truth behind Norman’s shocking behavior. She was so impressed by the way the scene is shot, describing each detail, which really inspired me look at films differently—as art.

Over the years I still get excited each October when I binge watch scary movies, many of which I’ve seen countless times. I tend to hold a bias toward the older films (Friday the 13th, The Bad Seed, Carrie, etc.) because it brings me back to watching them as a child and being just as terrified. I also love the older films because I love how much a filmmaker is able to convey without the sometimes distracting use of technical effects. Horror from yesteryear is more psychological and honest than much of the more contrived films today.

But you better believe if there’s a horror film coming up, regardless of its debatable quality, it’s on my radar. I may not always run to the theater to watch it, but it will eventually make its way to my TV screen at home.

Candice Frederick is a former editor for Essence Magazine and a NABJ Award recipient. She writes the film blog Reel Talk and serves as co-host of Cinema in Noir (@ReelTalker)

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