The black-and-white image flickered on the screen. I lay in bed, peering at the television, fascinated by what was transpiring. Some unholy creation, born of man’s desire to best God at his own game, stumbled blindly across a boat’s dock. Arms flailing, his scarred features registered only pain and anger. His flat head and bolted neck seared themselves in my mind.
Then it was gone. Either the channel changed, I slipped into sleep, or that’s just when my mind goes blank on the details.
This is my first memory. Frankenstein’s monster. Quite possibly from the immortal Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Even though that movie’s climax doesn’t match up with my memory (I coulda sworn it was daylight, and that I saw the monster stepping out of a rowboat), that’s what I tend to believe. Because of this formative memory, I’ve devoted most of my life to a slavish devotion to all things horror. Movies and TV shows, comics and magazines, books and short stories, posters and paintings, toys and masks. It’s all been the collective object of my obsession. Reigning supreme above it all is Frankie. I’ll take any incarnation of the classic Universal Frankenstein monster, and I’ll agree that Karloff is King when it comes to playing the hulking thing, but when someone mentions Frankenstein, the onscreen depiction of him that first pops in my head is Glenn Strange from the movie above. The first horror-related poster I ever owned was a free glow-in-the-dark pin-up of him from a box of Super Sugar Crisp back in ’76. And hell, I’ve got that image tattooed on my right forearm today.
How did I get from there to here? What happened in my life that sent me headlong into perpetual monster-kid-dom? Why am I making up that word?
Here’s where I’m going to explore that. Maybe I’ll find out what it is that makes me tick. Am I the result of mutation or environment? Or am I, like the creature himself, just a patchwork of horror media detrius cobbled together in defiance of the laws of God and man?
Probably a little from column A, a little from column B, a little from column C. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions just yet.