Getting Past the Stigma of Being a Horror Fan

A Letter of Appreciation from @screamfaceguy

I didn’t exactly have the ideal childhood. Abusive father and step father, living in women’s and children’s shelters or couch surfing in a distant relative’s basement, you get the basic idea. My mother, god rest her, was usually too busy working to care that much about what I watched, and having stumbled upon MonsterVision one night was like a blessing.

Most horror fans probably know the stigma of just being a horror fan. Tell people what kind of flicks you like and they look at you like you have green skin and just stepped off the mother ship. I never had any friends or family growing up who liked horror, but every week like clockwork there was Joe Bob and his crew watching along with me.

Here was someone who seemed to be talking directly to me. And he had a whole crew of people in the studio watching along and laughing with us. Obviously he wasn’t really talking directly to me, but it sure seemed that way. Joe Bob had a way of drawing you on and making you feel at home. Those Friday, and later Saturday nights with Joe Bob were often the only thing I had to look forward to, staying up late into the night and waiting for my buddy Joe Bob to come back and have a chat.

Joe Bob’s manner of presenting movies reminds me a lot of my uncle Donnie, who passed on around the same time MonsterVision was cancelled. An old farm hand and factory worker, Donnie was laid back and had a wide sarcastic streak. He could be a bit abrasive at times, but there was a lot of wit and wisdom in his words and he was always a pleasure to be around, and never purposely offended or turned anyone away.

As the years went on and MonsterVision was cancelled, I always wondered where old Joe Bob was. Off watching crazy movies, no doubt, but those long weekend nights without him chatting me up and making me feel at home got to be lonely. Without any other horror weirdos, as I used to call myself, it seemed like I was a fish out of water.

Eventually time and experience gave way to conventions, and social media made it easy to find and follow like minded folks. But there was something about the experience of turning off the lights, grabbing some popcorn, and watching flicks with an old friend that just wasn’t there.

When Joe Bob came back to prominence in 2018, it was like coming home again. Suddenly I had my old viewing partner back, and this awkward horror weirdo felt a kind of happiness he hadn’t known in a very long time.

Marathons big and small, weekly double features, tweets with Diana Prince/Darcy the Mail Girl, and even the occasional like from the man himself... at long last, I had found the community of like minded weirdos and mutants I had always wanted.

I have a lot for which to thank Joe Bob Briggs. For helping me discover and come to love horror. For keeping me company on long, lonely nights. For being the one thing I could look forward to in some of my most difficult years. For keeping the spirit of the drive in alive and well. Thank you, Joe Bob, Darcy, and all the many members of the Mutant Family. Because of you, the drive-in will never die.

- @screamfaceguy

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