Way back when I was a kid in the 80's, my Mom introduced me to the gruesome genre one October night when she let me stay up on a Friday night and watch Elvira on KHJ channel 9. I don't remember the name of the movie the gothic vixen with the endless cleavage was picking on, but I do remember it starred Christopher Lee, had a lot of candles, people in cloaks who were missing their eyes, and eerie music. It scared the piff out of me, and yet intrigued me at the same time. A couple of years later, my family got a VCR, and we lived at the video store each weekend, frequently strutting down the horror section.
During my pre-adolescent years I was introduced to Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers, and a host of others. Does anyone remember Creepshow? A couple of years down the line, we got cable. In 1986, I was introduced to a decomposing little character named The Crypt Keeper. Over the passing years my appetite for fear on film evolved into one of my greatest passions-filmmaking.
Now let's fast forward things a bit to the scariest time of a young lad's life-high school. The early 90's was a turbulent time for me. Aside from the raging hormones and longing to fit in, I yearned for a safe haven to escape from the cruel world of being a teenager in the era of grunge music and Beverly Hills 90210. I found solace with programs like "Tales from the Crypt" and "The Outer Limits". During my tour of duty in high school, I wrote for my school paper and was involved in the audio visual club. These extracurricular activities were early indicators of what lied ahead in the path of my life (or "Destiny" as some people call it).
After a decade of serving my country, working, and deciding what I want to do in life, forces of nature pushed me into enrolling into Rio Hondo College, where I earned my degree in Film and Television. My appreciation for horror film, and film in general, strengthened from course to course. During this timewarp, I still found a place to escape in the realm of the macabre. I worked at a local movie theatre while I was in college as an usher and projectionist. I keenly observed the reaction of moviegoers as they were hypnotized by the carnage on the silver screen. They jumped in their seats, they screamed in horror, and found delight in being suddenly frightend. Most of all, they kept coming back for more. Who would have known that this inspiration would be the catalyst for the founding of "The Late Night Horror FIlm Festival".
From the time I was a buck toothed kid with coke bottle glasses who did extra chores to earn the privileage of getting to watch "The Crypt Keeper" to the day I graduated from college, I witnessed three decades of horror film evolution. I fell in love with cameras, monsters, special effects, and the paranormal. I studied horror film, and watched everything from Nosferatu to Rob Zombie's rendition of Halloween. I even got to meet and interview horror icon Robert Englund. After writing forr the college paper and organizing/producing my college's first student film festival, I found my niche.
In 2009, I held the very first "Late Night Horror FIlm Festival". It was a dream come true to showcase new talent in the genre, and to see the fright in the audience's faces. The inaugural event was a local success, and I'm proud to say that the Fest is growing this year. Others may scrutinize people like my Mom for exposing me to scary movies at such an early age, but that's okay. Thanks to her, I can now add the title of Horror Aficionado to my resume.