I love pizza. I can’t say unequivocally it’s my absolute favorite food, but it’s definitely up there. But the thing is, for every beautifully made, artisanal pie utilizing only the finest ingredients, there is a greasy pizza with too much cheese, or the sauce tastes a little funny, or in the case of a local pizzeria, it has canned mushrooms on it.
And I like both. Not the same, of course; all things being equal, I’d eat the better quality pizza all the time, but if it’s offered to me I will eat the greasy, second-rate pie because, after all…it’s still pizza. There’s something comforting about it.
The horror genre is like pizza for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not the only thing I like. But it truly is my first love. I started reading The Dead Zone in 5th grade, and it never let up from there. I had an appetite for everything horror. I started reading all of Stephen King’s books, then Clive Barker. When I was a teenager, when there were still mom and pop video stores, one of my parents (awesome enablers that they were) would run me up to the store every weekend, and the owners got to know me and would let me know any new gory, blood-soaked titles that had come in since my last trip. Slaughter High, Blood Diner, Pieces…I dug them all. I even scored a poster for Return of the Living Dead after the store took their promo down.
I also know the difference between good and bad horror. And maybe it’s because I’m older now, but there seems to be a lot more of the bad then the good. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Because as much as I love the good ones, I’ll still watch the bad ones. Literally any new horror movie that comes out, when I see the commercial or the trailer, I want to see it. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a horror movie in a theater, but if I’m flipping channels and I see one on, I watch at least 10 or 15 minutes of it. At some point, I watch the whole thing. Like pizza, there’s some degree of comfort in it.
I realize horror is not everyone’s pizza. For my wife, it’s chick flicks; my father-in-law, action. But it’s kind of a neat thought that people can find comfort in something, and it doesn’t have to be the absolute best. Hopefully, someday one of my books will be somebody’s pizza. Even if it’s the greasy pizza with canned mushrooms.