Thursday, February 11, 2016

Donna Tha Dead's Horror Fandom Journey

I have always been a fan of being scared. The thrill of the unknown, heart racing anticipation. That being said, horror movies give me that feeling. The menacing figures, high pitched screams, gory effects and ominous music. I embrace it all and it all started with John Carpenter's The Thing. My mother was a huge fan of scary Universal movie monsters, Dracula being her favorite.

She loved the classic The Thing From Another World and when she heard of the remake, it was a no brainer; we were definitely going to see it. I had seen horror films before but none affected me quite like this. The effects, score and cast it all worked. A subtle mystery with a remote locale and cast. The thought that a creature could be lurking inside, without you even knowing...damn, damn, damn! Later, once we were home, my mother asked if I was okay. I think she was worried I would have nightmares but my senses were electrified with visions of MacReady and Childs.

I loved horror fiction as well. I became an avid Stephen King junkie, as he was a master of horror in the eighties. I devoured Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, and Octavia Butler. Then came my real obsession: zombies! Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Sugar Hill. Pretty much if there was a dead thing coming back or being resurrected I had to watch it.  My Twitter and Instagram accounts are Donna Tha Dead, that's how much I love zombies!

People would always tell me, "I've never seen a black girl like horror as much as you do." My thought was always that if I wasn't a black girl, would you make that same comment? I always saw horror movies as a way to escape being born a black woman in the South. A way to escape real life horror. Racism, sexism, fear of someone's religion or sexuality. The time in the fake horror world always shielded me from actual horror.

These films always have a villain. Be it a plague that turns you into zombies, a machete, hatchet or knife wielding maniac, monsters who want to drink your life force or beings from other worlds who can't wait to take over your planet/mind/body. Some of these villains are subtle and some are over the top (my favorite kind). Sometimes there are multiple killers and usually a final girl. There is something special happening when I watch these movies and I love the feeling that they give me.

Horror movies make me feel fearless, empowered and unstoppable. They let me know that in this world there is evil, darkness and death but there is also good, light and love. Horror unites me with people who share the same feelings. People don't understand why horror fans love horror and that's okay. It's not for them to understand what makes us tick. This is our milieu and we are the survivors who live here.

Donna Grant-Walker is an avid horror, sci-fi, comic book, video game lover. If it's geeky, then it
makes her happy! (@donnathadead)
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