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Collecting The Atrocities   —   Horror Movies

There are two types of people in this world: the collector and the non-collector.

Being a collector doesn't just mean that you buy a lot of one thing. Having a lot of books doesn't mean that you collect books. Just like having a lot of shoes doesn't mean that you collect shoes. Being a collector is a characteristic of ones very nature. It informs who we are on a basic level, humming below the surface of our skin, quietly ticking in our brains, urging us, driving us, causing us to crave. Collectors make lists of what they have and what they need. They know the minutia of the items they collect, whether it be the difference between a mastered and an unmastered version of an album, a rereleased version of a toy, a second printing of a comic book, a director's cut of a movie, or the year and season of their designer shoes. A collector is informed. And a good collector is organized.

I suppose I've always been a collector. As a child I collected Barbies. No, I didn't just have Barbies. I collected them. My mother had JC Penny and Sears catalogs, you remember, they were the size of telephone books and had everything from appliances to toys in the them, and every month I would scour the Barbie section for what was new. They were my treasure maps to happiness. What new outfits for Barbie did I need? What new furniture? New friend? Each page had a picture with a number next to it and in the margin that number would give you the name and description and order number.

I would make lists of the things I absolutely, positively needed, must have or I would die. And then I would take these lists with me to Kmart when my mother would do her shopping and I would sneak a few items into the cart while she wasn't looking. When she would inevitably discover my hidden treasures this would trigger the standard, "Heather Marie!" reaction, which would be countered with a, "But mooooom!" My mother, however, was a reasonable woman, and I a reasonable child. I didn't ask for the Dream House or the Pink Convertible, all I wanted was the Safari Outfit. And if she was feeling generous, maybe the Feeling Fun Barbie? No? Okay, next time.

Other things I collected as a child: Archie comic books, stuffed animals, The Baby-sitters Club books, and Christopher Pike books.

This is all to say that being a collector, having that desire and need to collect that certain something, has always been in my heart. And unsurprisingly, this has not changed.

As an adult I have dabbled in different collections. From the basic collections of authors/books, to the strange collections of compelling ad and fashion spreads in magazines, and the unquantifiable collection of jewelry. But upon moving to Portland and discovering CD/Game Exchange, I have found my true collecting passion - horror movies.

Now, we all know that I love horror movies. I watch them constantly and keep an extensive list of the movies I've seen. I know horror movie trivia, like the filmography of certain directors, obscure movies that are remakes of even obscurer foreign movies, horror movie trends and inspirations, scream queens and more. I read Rue Morgue magazine every month so I know the festival movies that will slowly hit the shelves over the course of the year, I know the production issues of certain movies, the backlash a more controversial movie has received, and the indie darlings that people won't shut up about. You'd be hard pressed to throw a title at me that I haven't heard, old, new, upcoming or otherwise. And I can generally guess the horror movie you loved as a child but forgot the title of if you just give me a little description. It is a passion, a way of life, who I am. And so it makes sense that I would collect horror movies.

At current date I own 307 horror movies.

I am an avid horror movie collector, yes. But I am a choosy one as well. I don't just add any horror movie that I come across to my collection. I take pride in my collection, thus I have to take pride in my selection.

As a collector of a genre that has a rich history, I feel that I must honor the origins and roots of the subgenres and directors that I love. Do I love the original The Last House on the Left? No. But being one of the most controversial movies of its time, and also being Wes Craven's first film, it has a rightful place in my collection. I also have to own any original movie that I want the remake of. Do I love George Romero's The Crazies? Well, kinda. It's hysterically terrible. But I do love The Crazies remake so therefore I must own its predecessor.

The collection has to have balance. Horror movie classics like The Omen and Rosemary's Baby have to be in there, as well as standard collections like The Nightmare on Elm Street movies as well as the Friday the 13th series. Obscure foreign movies add a nice weight and balances the fact that I own the Wrong Turn series.

Also in my collection are guilty pleasures that have no other value than just being really fun. Have you seen Kaw? It's about killer ravens. It's really ridiculous but who doesn't want to see Sean Patrick Flannery run around trying to kill evil birds? Cause I know I do.

My collection is a work in progress, like most collections are. I have a Wish List that is constantly in a revisory state and I am frequently looking for cheap used copies of those wish list movies at CD/Game Exchange. However, the one thing (aside from money) that a collector is always battling with is space. We always need more of it. Sure, I have briefly entertained the idea of converting my current movie collection to digital and then selling my DVDs. But this idea is quickly dashed when I think of what I would be losing. The DVD cover art, the synopsis on the back, the clean lines of titles lined up neatly on the shelf. These are all important elements to my love of collecting these movies. And so I struggle with finding the proper displaying space for an ever-growing horror movie collection. I have a perfect vision of what I eventually wish for my collection to look like. It will take up an entire wall with nooks carved out for showcasing individual movies, complete with small spot lights on the ceiling and floor softly illuminating titles for the ease of perusal. On the walls nearby will be the movie posters - professionally framed - of my favorite films. There will be creepy masks, antique furniture, a huge vintage oriental rug, glass display cases with strange artifacts, a creaky rocking chair, a chandelier and a hunchback man sitting in the corner watching you as your browse.

I've got a lot of work to do.

Posted 12.7.2013 3:50:06 PM

The Husband wrote:
Question! I know it's not something you desire, but ... Is it *possible* to own every horror movie ever made?
Posted 12/11/2013 10:42:33 AM - The Husband's website
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