On entering the supermarket, I abandoned my mom and made a detour to the in-store rental shop. We didn’t have cable, so this was where I gathered ideas for my mental watch list. The shop was often unattended so I hung out in Children’s and New Releases, flipping the boxes over and reading the descriptions. It helped if the supplemental movie stills captured just the right moments, something to make me hungry for more.

Then, along the back wall, there was the Horror section. Once bored of skimming my usual genres, I shuffled past the Horror movies, my peripheral vision doing a quick scan of the movie art. None of the films along that far wall were going into my mental list. It was just that my childish curiosity got the best of me. I had to know what these films were all about. And maybe repeated exposure to the scary imagery would dull the creep factor.

illustration of vhs boxes printed with horror titles

Avoiding the Horror section altogether might have been a wiser move. It was one thing to invent a plot line in my head based on the cover art. To satisfy my curiosity by reading the movie description…now a chilling story line and a couple choice movie stills were imprinted into my brain. I couldn’t unsee the death and suffering, caused by murderous, antique dolls or men with knives for fingers. I was already a kid with an overactive imagination. I just ended up feeding the beast.