AllClean Softwash - October 2019

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Why I Love Horror Movies Happy to Be Scared

When I think of Halloween, I think of horror movies. Don’t get me wrong; I get excited about every aspect of the holiday, but horror is a genre I unabashedly love. I watch horror movies and read scary novels all year-round, but even more so in the fall when everyone’s in a spooky state of mind. I can’t even tell you when my fascination with horror began. It goes back to my earliest days. When I was a kid, my favorite movie wasn’t “E.T.” or “The Goonies.” Instead, it was the 1979 cult horror classic “Phantasm.” How I ended up being introduced to this decidedly adult movie as a child is a mystery lost to the sands of time, but whatever the case, I loved this movie. You probably know a child who’s watched “Toy Story” or “Moana” enough times to have it seared into their brain. I was that way with “Phantasm,” with the Tall Man serving as my Buzz Lightyear. Once, we even ran into Angus Scrimm, the actor who played the Tall Man, at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. He was very surprised to meet a fan so young. From “Phantasm” grew a love of horror movies, a passion I shared with my dad that persists to this day. If that gives you a sense of just how much of a nut I am for this stuff, it will come as no surprise that I’ve spent years trying to get our daughter, Justine, to join in the family tradition. For most of those years, she resisted. She was just too scared to enjoy them. But eventually, as if possessed by an ever-growing force you’d find in a horror movie itself, Justine became curious about giving horror another shot. Maybe it’s the popularity of horror-adjacent shows like

“Stranger Things,” but horror seems to be having a bit of a moment right now. Aside from massive superhero flicks and Disney movies, horror movies seem to be one of the only constants in the theaters these days. Larger cultural trends aside, Justine’s first foray into serious horror came in the form of this year’s “Pet Sematary.” (Why on earth did Stephen King decide to spell it that way?) To be honest, I thought the movie was a bit of a dud, nothing compared to the book or previous adaptation. More important than that specific movie, though, was the fact that Justine made it through and seemed to enjoy it. If she thought “Pet Sematary” was cool, I reckoned, she’d be blown away when I showed her the really good stuff. My first pick was “The Shining.” Can’t go wrong with a classic, right? It was a huge hit, frightening and delighting Justine in equal measure. Since then, we’ve been making our way through the horror canon, exploring different subgenres and having a hell of a good time. Horror movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m glad they’ll be something I can share with my dad and daughter for many years to come. How do you celebrate Halloween? Are you into the tricks, the treats, the scares, the costumes, or all of the above? What scares you? If it happens to be cleaning your gutters or washing your windows, I happen to know a bunch of great folks who can take care of that.

–Jennifer Ricca

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