Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meet The Horror Bloggers: Andre Dumas, The Horror Digest

Meet The Horror Bloggers is an ongoing series, dedicated to bringing you the folks behind some of the web's best horror blogs.

This week, we bring you the amazingly talented Andre Dumas, proprietor of The Horror Digest. She recently finished watching every film listed on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. She's also the queen of the screen grab, using it to highlight her reviews or other random musings (see her recent, epically awesome post about Pee Wee's Big Adventure, here).

Andre steps out of the darkness and into the light:

When I sit here and try to write a story of my horror origins, I feel that my life is a strange variance from the rest of my horror friends. My foray into horror began much later in life and under some of the strangest conditions. As a child I was terrified and comatose when it came to experiencing horror. Save for a trip to Florida and a viewing of Psycho when I was in 2nd grade, my parents never introduced me to horror or let me indulge in it’s magical VHS ways. It wasn’t because they were uptight rather, it was more like I was the uptight one. Although I was tantalized in a strange way by the power of neon Klown hair, my nightmares of finding my entire family turned into Killer Klowns outweighed my curiosity. As a teenager, I was afraid of gothic kids and cried the moment I started walking through the school’s annual haunted house (which sadly yes, was the kids version). Am I sad that my nosedive into horror took such a long time? Not really, because who really wants to read another autobiography about horror VHS covers? The truth of the matter is- I’m not what you’d expect. I’ve reached the point where almost every review I’ve done in the past 6 months are movies that I’ve never seen before and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Part of horror, perhaps one of the most important parts, is the experience. So what better way to experience it than your very first time?

We’ll begin, with the beginning. Previous to my first few years of college, horror movies dealt me much more pain and suffering than I’d like to admit. I for one am shocked that I didn’t die of a heart attack sooner. Instead of receiving that adrenaline rush of excitement while watching a truly scary movie, I literally felt sickness, fear and dread. There was never a release or something to make me say “That was awesome!” when watching such films. My first horror movie in a theater experience was Signs and I spent the entire movie with my hands over my ears and my eyes welded shut. I probably cried too but who was keeping track?

This all changed after I began religiously watching Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. A program many people dog but I’ve come to respect it since it is responsible for my true love of horror in the first place. With each clip that was showed, my ears perked up and I found a desire to watch each film in it’s entirety. Something about them was so exciting and beckoning. After hijacking my mother’s Netflix queue, I was sent two of the movies I was most eager to see; The Last House on the Left because a friend of mine’s mother always talked about how it was the scariest she had seen and Suspiria, recommended to me in my days of pretending I was a movie buff (you know that time I went out and bought a Godfather poster after seeing the film one time? Mmmhmmm). I only got halfway into Last House before feeling the need for a shower and while I lasted through Suspiria--I still felt a strangely icky feeling. Icky, like I was trapped in a nightmare and also because sometimes people were...dubbed! It wasn’t until my 2nd viewing of Suspiria that I came to realize how truly beautiful the film was. It was then that I realized I loved it and probably always would. I set off on a creative journey of semi-darkness. Writing was always my first love and my stories began undertaking a slightly darker and more beautiful tone than ones in the past.

I was still a bit on the fence about horror though. With every film I watched, I felt ickier and ickier--and gore wasn’t exactly my strong suit. My final acceptance and love for the genre however kicked in at the most unlikeliest of times. In my sophomore year of college I developed an anxiety disorder which in case you don’t know, is easily confused with dying. During these times, I felt like throwing up and crying for no reason almost every day- and while I felt this way, Hellrasier 1 & 2 were playing back to back on the good ol’ TV. You may think Hellraiser is the last thing you should watch if you feel like you are going to hurl, but for some reason I found them to be oddly comforting. I became lost in a world where it was OK to get involved in a story line that consisted of S&M and a lot of blood. I found a beauty in the story and it’s creativity. Instead of affecting my gag reflex, the blood and guts were exciting. I had arrived at my destination of horror fan. I was ready to watch as many horror movies as I could and I couldn’t be more excited.

After spending the larger part of my college career trying to tell people that Suspiria is the most beautiful film ever made--I gave up and graduated. After my first few months of unemployment I started to realize that I could blog about how beautiful Suspiria is the most beautiful movie ever made. In addition to that I thought maybe I could write about... other horror movies. A black backdrop, red font and google image search of the word “blood” and so began The Horror Digest. It’s been up and running for 10, almost 11 months now and I couldn’t be happier at where it’s taken me. I have recently watched and reviewed every movie on Bravo’s list, finally taken somewhat of a liking to Asian horror, done more than just reviews and met some truly amazing people that I can call my friends.

I’m not your typical horror fan by any means. I don’t like Friday the 13th, I usually frown when people tell me that the sign of a good horror movie is blood, gore and boobs, and I’m still scared of gothic people. I focus on my fear and how the movie affects me and I value the fact that some of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen- are horror movies. One day I hope to share that little piece of info with the world, but for now I guess I can settle on sharing it with my small group of readers.

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Strange Kid said...

Phenomenal blogger spotlight, Cortez.

I never really thought of horror as a coping mechanism (per se), but you've kind of opened my eyes, Andre, and what better film than Hellraiser to ignite that sort of interest.

Man, its been ages since I last saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, but I've got a sudden inclination revisit it. Thanks, Andre, you rock!

The Mike said...

Andre's the best. Good stuff!

B-Sol said...

What a great story, and a different journey to horror fandom than so many of us. Love this. It also supports my theory that very often, the people most fascinated by horror are those most upset by it.

kindertrauma said...

One of the freshest voices in horror blogging and now I know why. Besides being a witty and exceptionally observant writer, Andre is my idea of the perfect horror audience. She's imaginative enough to still get scared and she's diligently committed to unearthing the beauty to be found within the genre. Go Andre!-Unk

Chris Hallock said...

I've always said that I love how Andre's posting is like watching a toddler chase a butterfly. She is the BEST!

Andre said...

Aww thanks all! You have warmed my day!

Emily said...

Wow. Who knew you were a born again? No wonder why you have such a fresh and enthusiastic take on the genre.

Also, I love Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments (though I do have issues with their ordering; Child's Play at 98?).

Waxdude said...

I also became slightly obsessed with Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments, and it's sequel. Cheesy to be sure, but something about the way it was put together also made me track down some of the movies listed- within a week I had "Alice, Sweet Alice", "Don't Look Now", and "Black Christmas". For some reason many horror fans DID NOT approve of this list- although I'm not sure why...