Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate

By Martin Barker; Julian Petley | Go to book overview

7

I WAS A TEENAGE HORROR FAN

Or, 'How I learned to stop worrying and love Linda Blair'

Mark Kermode (Age 36)

My first introduction to the world of horror and sci-fi came in the early 1970s through watching a regular spot on ITV called 'The Monday X Film'. At around about 11.00, when everyone else was in bed, I would sneak down into the family living room and sit entranced by a selection of creaky (but crucially always colour) horror flicks, usually from the Hammer or Amicus stable. No matter that I had to have the volume turned down so far that it was impossible to hear anything that was being said: what was captivating was the electrifying atmosphere, the sense of watching something that was forbidden, secretive, taboo. It was, indeed, my first real experience of discovering something that was uniquely mine, something that existed outside the domain of my parents' control and authority.

I also sensed from the very beginning that there was something incomprehensibly significant about the actions being played out on-screen, something which spoke to me in a language I didn't quite understand. Like a novice watching opera for the first time and recognising something in the gestures but nothing of the language, I felt from the outset that beyond the gothic trappings these movies had something to say to me about my life. I just didn't have any idea what…

Like any enthusiast, I rapidly discovered that there was secondary literature available about my particular obsession. I remember first finding a copy of Castle of Frankenstein in a local newsagent, and being both thrilled and terrified, desperate to buy it, but frankly scared of what buying it would mean. What would the newsagent think? Would he look at me in a different way from then on? Would he tell my mum? More important, would he actually sell it to me? The bizarre realisation that the newsagent neither noticed nor indeed cared what I was buying soon gave way to a weird sense, first, of anti-climax, then of dawning horror when I finally got to read Castle of Frankenstein. What was disappointing was the fact that the magazine didn't

-126-

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Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • References 25
  • 1 - The Newson Report 27
  • 2 - The Worrying Influence of 'Media Effects' Studies 47
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - Electronic Child Abuse? 63
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Living for Libido; Or, 'Child's Play Iv' 78
  • 5 - Just What the Doctors Ordered? 87
  • References 108
  • 6 - Once More with Feeling 111
  • References 125
  • 7 - I Was a Teenage Horror Fan 126
  • 8 - 'Looks like It Hurts' 135
  • 9 - Reservoirs of Dogma 150
  • 10 - Us and Them 170
  • References 184
  • 11 - Invasion of the Internet Abusers 186
  • 12 - On the Problems of Being a 'trendy Travesty' 202
  • References 224
  • Index 225
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