Conor Metz grew up in Kent, Washington. From a young age, he was drawn to genre stories. His parents exposed him to a variety of outlandish films and as he grew older those interests led him to many novels and comics books of a similar nature. These stories have shaped him into a writer who loves composing compelling narratives that contain interesting characters and catchy dialogue.
As a child, I always found it interesting that the things that frightened me were always different than my older brother. While he had what I felt was an irrational fear of movie monsters, I always was more afraid of things that either really existed like serial killers, or things I felt could exist like ghosts, witches, or other supernatural forces. To me things that had no real place in history were strictly fantasy, my brain could assure me there was nothing to worry about from the things I’d see on TV, they could never hurt me in the real world. But when it came to things that had a real place in history, whether through superstition or first-hand accounts claiming to have seen or dealt with these things, I found the thought of coming face to face with any of them bone-chilling.
I had the blessing and curse of growing up in a small community that felt very secluded from the cities which surrounded it. My house was directly in front of dense woods that seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Looking now on Google Maps, I think it was probably only a few hundred feet till the woods ended at other houses, but when you’re a kid things seem bigger, scarier even. The road I lived on seemed massive to me, this wide asphalt threat where any speeding car could be my end. Now having revisited this old neighborhood as an adult, that road is only about twenty feet wide. The steep, scary hill which could prove death if I rode my skateboard down? It’s at an incline of maybe 30 degrees. So yeah, I guess things are just generally scarier when you’re a child. And I was one who always had an overactive imagination.
Ever since I could walk, I wanted to adventure to lands unknown and the woods behind my house gave me that opportunity time and again, but the problem with woods is they can let a young imagination run wild and this started making me think unimaginable terrors could be lurking in those woods. Which occurred in no small part due to the things I grew up watching.
My mother loved movies, she got that from her mother, and our TV always seemed to be playing movies of some kind. Usually my parents kept things kid friendly, but through the fault of comic books, my brother and I discovered Predator when we were way too young and my parents relented to letting us watch the climax of the first film since it didn’t have the violence that preceded those twenty or so minutes, nor too much of the swearing (apart from the classic one ugly mother line). Of course, being the belligerent child I was, I wore my dad down one day when I was five and he was home alone with me. He ended up letting me watch the whole film, and Predator became not only the first R-rated film I saw, but the first monster movie too.
So, while Predator wasn’t the first true horror film I watched, it was the one I can pinpoint as starting my love for monster movies. Part of what I loved was that the designs of monsters could be so cool, but never too scary—unlike some of the other things I was afraid of. Unfortunately, my love of monsters opened the door to things that did scare me.
The first time I can remember being scared by a film, like really scared to the point I couldn’t sleep and had a string of nightmares was Pet Semetary. By this point I was in fourth grade and had watched a whole slew of horror films, not to the extent I dove into them a few years later, but I’d seen a lot of the bigger hits. I figured Pet Semetary was no big deal.
I was wrong.
This film scared the crap out of me and it was so bad that apparently, I’d blocked the worst offender, Zelda, from my mind until somebody brought her up when I was college and the horrific depiction of that character came flooding back. But again, this came down to what I felt could be real. Stuff like ghosts, I’d heard stories about, so maybe they possibly existed. The visions the main character had of the dead student with his brains hanging out stuck with me to the point where I’d be scared he’d pop out of the woods on my walks home from the bus stop every day after school. This was, as I look back on it now, completely irrational, but at the time seemed a very reasonable assumption.
The things we’re scared of as children inform our adult lives as much as anything we experience back then, but I do find that there’s something about experiencing these fears and facing them which fuels the fire in any horror-lover’s heart. My brother was terrified of The Thing as a child ever since he walked in on my parent’s watching it during the infamous dog transformation scene. Years later, he built up the courage to watch it and now it’s his favorite film.
I can’t say I have a story exactly the same as my brother, I am still freaked out by Pet Semetary, probably no thanks to its bleak ending, but I do still love a good scare. Probably two of my favorite movies, The Shining and Suspiria, I watch every year not just because they’re brilliant horror films, but they unsettle me so much and I love the experience. I guess when it comes down to it, the fears we carry as a child we either overcome and become addicted to, or we run from, never to look back. Maybe that’s why horror is a genre people either love or hate.
The Edgewood Nightmare