Friday, March 8, 2013

Do You Have To Watch That Right NOW? (Or: Living with a husband who doesn't share a love of horror)

A while ago, I wrote this article for another website, but seeing as how it is still relevant today and I still have the same feelings on the subject, I decided to add it to the roster of posts here at FWF, for completeness' sake, though it's not exactly the same. I've done some tweaking...

I'm sure there are a whole slew of other horror fans who are in the same boat as I am.  So what IS it like to live with someone whose life does not revolve around horror? 

I started dating my hubby nearly twenty-seven years ago – longer than a lot of you have even been alive.  So what was popular in horror back in 1986?  Well, the good ones were films like Aliens, The Fly, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Hitcher, even April Fool's Day. Nothing really earth-shattering though. But the bad? They were pretty damn bad. Like Sorority House Massacre, Poltergeist II, Spookies, Maximum Overdrive, and Vamp, among others.
So instead of introducing him to my favorite genre in the way I could have, we were stuck seeing things like Platoon, Top Gun, Cobra, and Heartbreak Ridge. (Not that those are bad films, far from it. Just not horror.)

So when he finally found out about the major degree of my horror obsession, it was too late.  I’d already reeled him in.  Not that he doesn’t appreciate horror.  He’s just very much an action kind of guy.  Even though I try to explain how much action is truly in horror, he just wasn’t born to be a true horror fan.

Basically, he would never say he dislikes horror, and will often go with me to see the latest genre film.  He sat through Daybreakers and The Wolfman with me, but didn’t go see Let Me In or Sinister.   In that respect, he chose poorly.

His issues are random.  He hates anything black & white.  Out goes Carnival of Souls, The Phantom of the Opera, and one of my most favorite films, Psycho.  (Though he’s had to sit through Psycho and deal with it too many times to count.  He actually has an appreciation for that one now!)  This is a guy who finally watched It’s A Wonderful Life for the first time a few years ago, having always avoided it due to its monochrome.  Yeah, I know…
But he still gives me one of those heavy sighs or a big ‘tsk! when I slide Night of the Living Dead into the DVD player. (Even though he's watched it countless times and has even taken me to the actual NOTLD cemetery.)

He hates foreign films, claiming he cannot tolerate subtitled movies.  Personally I think that is because he doesn’t want to read while watching the action on screen, or perhaps he has ADD and can’t do two things at once.  It could be either.

Another gripe with foreign films for him is the plot.  Some of that may be due to, in various films, the fact that they are subtitled or speaking in another language.  But let’s face it, neither Fulci or Argento make for great narratives and while they may  look pretty (particularly in Argento’s case), they don’t always make a whole lot of sense.  So scratch Suspiria, Deep Red, The Beyond, and House by the Cemetery.
Matter of fact the first time he came home and I was watching The Beyond, I do believe he was so appalled at the poor quality of the film as well as the completely pointless plot that he just turned and walked out without saying a word.
He has in fact, watched Tenebrae though, and states it’s a “mostly tolerable” film (!)

So, moving on from  Italian horror, we attack the French.  Not literally, but that might be nice, right?  Anyway.  The hubby can get down with the French.  Mostly. Well, not really…
But while watching these films, he doesn’t really want to have to pay attention to the questionable plots, he’d rather just watch the violence.  As in High Tension.  Or Frontier(s).  But when he watched Irreversible he couldn’t stand the fact that it started from the end and worked towards the beginning.  He just despises that technique and is verbal about telling me so.

As for other foreign films, he sees no point in Asian films, as most of the so-called J-Horror has been remade as American films, which he will always prefer.  (Yeah, he’s one of those types.)  Didn’t even want to think about watching [.Rec] - he’d already seen Quarantine.  Yikes.  He didn’t mind the Norwegian slasher film Cold Prey too much, which is indeed a shocker.  But suffice it to say, if I’m putting on something with subtitles, he’s outta here.
For this reason, he has yet to see the fabulous Let the Right One In.  (But he's seen and enjoyed Let Me In on DVD. He just doesn't understand that it comes from a superior foreign edition.)

Gore.  Yeah, he likes it well enough.  But I like it more.  I think it has to again do with the sub-par plot lines of many of the most gruesome flicks.  He did like Hostel.  But what wasn’t to like?  Naked girls and lots of blood.  Ditto that with Hostel II.   So I guess you could say he’s a fan of Eli Roth, if pressed.
But something like Dead Alive or even Martyrs?  Nah.  Martyrs is a double whammy cause you’re adding in the foreign aspect.

Classic horror?  I’m sorry (and ashamed, for him) to announce he just doesn’t get it.  At all.  No doubt he’s seen most of the Universal pictures, I have most.   But again, when you combine the black and whiteness with the quality that was available back in the 30’s and 40’s, and he is one disapproving dude.  He does NOT want to watch Browning’s Dracula ever again.  Give him Bram Stoker’s Dracula, sure.  But not something from 1931!!
I have a special place in my heart for those films, but I watch them alone.

Same goes for Hammer horror.  He saw most of them back when he was a kid but laughs, no – cackles, hysterically at them now. I guess he just thinks they are pretty hokey.  And they are.  But again, they’re awesome, right?
And can we just forget Godzilla and everything associated with it?  I own the original Gojira, and when I watched it once when he was home, he sang the theme music out loud for three days in a mocking tone.

He's not completely irredeemable. He does like (maybe even love) a good ghost story.  He is a big fan of The Changeling (thank God), loves The Shining, enjoys Ghost Story and The Woman in Black (either version), was shocked by The Sixth Sense’s ending (like everyone else), and tolerates Haunted due to Kate Beckinsale’s nudity. Of course.

I’d have to say his favorite horror films are a lot like the films anyone else without an obsession or great knowledge of horror would be.  Halloween, The Exorcist, and Jaws. In other words, nothing off the wall or eccentric.
He does, however, have a great love of all things Jamie Lee Curtis – so movies like The Fog and Prom Night are always welcome on our flat screen.

We do agree on a few things.  The never-ending remakes are getting out of hand, 3D has worn out its welcome, hand-held camera flicks are nauseating, and most CGI is an overrated, obnoxious mess.  Oh! And we both love Kurt Russell.

All of that being said, how do I live with someone who isn’t as into horror as I am?  I mean, I most often live and breathe horror.  I spend hours on my laptop writing about it when I’m not watching it.  It can be really difficult for me to deal with the fact that even though I have an entire library of horror to choose from at any given moment, I may not be able to watch what I want when I want.   I can kind of understand, as if it were up to me, I’d watch nothing but horror.  And then where would I be?  Without great flicks like When Harry Met Sally, Rocky, Gladiator, Braveheart, Grease, Forrest Gump, The Breakfast Club, Sideways,  and The Godfather films– all of which both of us love.

So we have to have some conditions.
*I cannot rent exclusively horror from NETFLIX.  If he wants to see the latest Expendables or Transporter movie, what can I say?
*I don’t generally watch two horror movies back to back, unless he's asleep, isn’t home, or it’s October – all bets are off in the tenth month and he knows it.
*I don’t ramble on about horror to him 24/7, although I most certainly could.
*I try to appreciate things like Bruce Lee marathons, movies about gladiators, and dumb-ass inane comedies. Though I draw the line at anything with Chris Farley in it.  Just no.
* I have to forgo horror some nights to let him watch American Pickers, Pawn Stars, or any random VH1 show about the greatest hits of the 70's.
*And I promise not to spend all my time online, though sometimes that seems difficult.

He’s actually more than tolerant with my obsession.  He reads my blog and tells me mine is better than anyone else’s (of course he’s not only required to say that but to be honest he doesn’t read anyone’s but mine).  He understands my sincere and undying devotion of all things Norman Bates, and appreciates Jaws (almost) as much as I do.  He even helps me decorate for Halloween, and always is the official carver of the seasonal Jack-o-lantern.

He’s forgiving of my fixation with horror.  He gets me, and for that I’m thankful.  He sits through (and falls asleep through) a whole big heaping pile of horror.   Even enjoys some of it.
Often he knows I’m itching to re-watch Argento’s Opera and so he’ll retreat to the den to peruse eBay for a couple hours.  God, he’s tolerant.

So what I guess I’m saying is that I’m lucky.  I’ve got a guy who is able to deal with me watching all the horror I can get my hands on.  He doesn’t make me turn it off, he accepts that I cannot stop adding to my ridiculously large DVD collection.  He even endures listening to the over-abundance of horror movie scores I’ve accumulated. And he’s proud of my writing – not only for my blog, but all the other places I turn up.

But if I'm being honest, what I’d really love to be saying is that my hubby loves  to sit down with a glass of the red stuff and have a marathon of Evil Dead,  Zombi 2,  Friday the 13th, Profondo Rosso, and the 1977 version of Piranha, you know?  
But hey, marriage isn’t perfect  – I’ll take what I can get :)


Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

Sometimes I think, "Are true horror fans really so few and far between that I'll never meet one in real life and have to enjoy my obsession all on my own for the rest of my life????" While I could totally do that, it would be nice to sit down and watch High Tension or [REC] without somebody complaining that if they "wanted to read, I'd go get a book." It would be nice to have somebody to laugh with me at Shaun of the Dead or Army of Darkness. Oh, maybe some day.

While you've found someone who is at least tolerant, it still sounds very restrictive to me!

bluerosekiller said...

Christine - Your husband is an incredibly lucky man. Does he realize just how much of a dream woman you are to men like me? LOL
Seriously, it's awesome that you've reached such a cool balance in your relationship & that you're both tolerant of each other likes/dislikes/passions etc.. And that he "get's you".
That is SO VERY important to a good, long term/permanent relationship. I'm so happy that you've found that.
Congrats to both of you for discovering one another 27 years ago & I wish you two all the happiness together that I'm certain you both deserve.

Vladimir Kowalsky said...

Do you wanna have a partnership with a funny Brazilian blog? It's Crepepasta Brasil ( There's a translator in the blog, if it should be necessary. Answer please.

Christine Hadden said...

Michele: I wish very much that my hubby would be as involved and as obsessed with horror as I am. It seems weird that he doesn't want to watch them and I do, it's like the stereotypical roles are reversed. But in the end, he knows I will never NOT watch horror, and I know he's a 95% perfect husband, lol.
Hopefully you won't have to go through what I do and you'll find that guy that is 100% perfect :)

Jim: Hey, thanks much for the kind words. Relationships take work, but I'm willing to put in the time cause he's worth it. That sounds so sappy but it's true. (But I still wish he'd watch more horror!)
He did say he wanted to go see the new Evil Dead film, so that's a start....

Husnt Silva: Thanks for reading, but I'm not interested in a partner-blog with anyone. Appreciate the thought.

Chase said...

I laughed through this article because I saw so much of myself in it. My wife has a low tolerance for horror, not in the disapproving sense but in the overly sensitive "starts crying when Colin Farrell bites his first victim in the Fright Night remake and asks me if its going to get worse" sense. But she gets it, I am writing my thesis/dissertation on horror, and she is nothing but encouraging.

Christine Hadden said...

Chase: Congrats on having someone who is tolerant of your horror habit! You see, there are people out there who can deal with it! :)
And thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it!

Robyn O'Neill said...

I am living the very same life you are. My hubby is not a horror movie fan at all. I eat, sleep, breath, and live horror 24/7. On my movie nights he stays glued to the computer, and lets me have my fun. Even though he does not appreciate the genre like I do, he tolerates it.

Christine Hadden said...

Glad you were able to work out a happy medium too! I don't need my hubby to love the genre, but it does help that he likes it enough to tolerate my obsession!