The genre of horror means so much to so many and while it may seem niche to some, this theatrical and literary genre is quite universal. It’s safe to say that must of us are familiar with the likes of the Universal classic monsters, along with slasher icons such as Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees. Previously we spoke about first encounters with the Universal Monsters when UMU’s Joe wrote of his introduction to the classics in his “Of Mummies and Werewolves“, which we suggest giving a read. Recently, our friend Ali Abouomar, a director/writer/producer/podcaster & friend of UMU, reached out to us. He had something to say. With him wanting to speak of the Universal Monsters and his early experiences with horror, we decided to let him have at it. You could read and enjoy what he wrote below. – Steven of UMU
My earliest memories aren’t pleasant ones. They are filled with loud noises and thrown objects. Or an 80’s pre-divorced household. To bypass the darkness at home, my uncle (understandably 23 at the time) introduced me to horror. He made a point to make me stay up past my bed time ingesting everything from Lugosi’s sullen Dracula to Englund’s haunting Freddy. He meant well, bless his heart, but waking me the next morning wearing the mask of whatever movie monster we just watched might have been slightly traumatizing for a 6 year old. Regardless, my love for the intricate and the horrific only grew. As a youngster, my Halloweens were always an opportunity to dress up as a monster. Not just your run of the mill costume either. As Dracula I had a custom made suit, glued on wig, and an hour of makeup. I was 10. Then there was Frankenstein, The Mummy, and even the Devil himself for added measure. I couldn’t get enough.
As I got older, my taste changed, but horror has slowly become the itch that can barely be scratched. And not just for me. Horror movies, especially ones involving monsters, are incredibly popular. Forget everything you know, for as a filmmaker, I can go anywhere in the world and a common thread will always be just that; monsters. Every culture has a variation of the boogeyman, of Count Dracula, or of Victor Frankenstein. It’s a strange glue that binds cultures. We focus on the Coca-Cola or Apple. Push that aside, we have been fascinated by monsters since cavemen. Look at the exaggerated (were they exaggerated, hmm) drawings in caves. Move forward to stories of Vlad the Impaler and Belle Gunness. Immortal legends that permeate every facet of our society. Find me something or someone else that even come close. I thought so.
I haven’t delved into the arena of monsters yet, but with my first horror film approaching, I intend to utilize that scared 6 year old’s trauma as an avenue to dive into the murky depths of Del Toro, Craven, and Pierce. We as humans enjoy that emotion; fear. We have an attachment to the unknown, the different, and the scary. There is a reason why some of our earliest movies were horror. It’s an almost sick affection that transcends anything else. Even the horrors of a broken marriage. But it’s a sick affection that I love. And so do you. Don’t lie to yourself.
The twisted & sweet mind behind the Golden Globe nominated films Bobby, Come Early Morning, and While She Was Out. Ali could be heard on the Nine Panel/Stream This Podcast podcast (iTunes) and is also the Editor of Social Magazine.