Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.
Yes, I am starting this with a bad joke but there is a reason I started this way.Just like how this joke is bad it still makes you laugh, at least a little.There are statements/question people say to me that I find funny – in the same way this joke is funny and at the same time I think, ‘Wow, I cant believe someone just said this to me’
Let me give you some background before I tell you what the question is that I get from people.
I have always been into horror movies and things that are related to being scared. I love haunted houses, both Halloween style and real places that claim to be haunted – example, the Amityville house in NY. (Yes, the house the movie is based on)I can remember as a child there was nothing more exciting than being scared. Either during Halloween or when you are in your bed late at night and you have the feeling something is in your room with you and you are too afraid to get up and turn on the light to see who or what is under your bed or in your closet.
One of my favorite memories that I can remember from when I was in the fourth grade was the first time I got to stay up late and watch a horror movie – ALONE!Back in my day, 7-11 (the convenience store) would team up with Channel 21 and have a horror movie event every other month. They would do things like Smell-o-Vision, yes, I said Smell -o- Vision.You would go into 7-11 buy a Slurpee or a Big Gulp and they would give you a big card that was a scratch and sniff – it would have pictures of items like a gas can, dirty socks, etc.On a late weekend night on Channel 21, they would play a Horror movie and anytime you saw the items on TV, you would scratch the card and smell the item to give you the feeling of being there.Luckily, my first experience with the channel 21/7-11 horror movie night the promotion was a 3-D movie.It worked the same way – buy a big gulp – get the 3-D glasses -wait for the weekend and watch the movie.
I was so excited – I have never seen a 3-D movie before and it was the first time I got to stay up late and watch a horror movie alone.You know how kids are – this was one of the coolest things ever!When I was younger, it was not common for families to have a TV in every room.We only had a TV in the living room and in my parents’ room. My dad knew how excited I was so he moved the TV from the living room into my bedroom. This made me even more excited – if that was even possible – not only did I get to stay up late and watch my first 3-D horror movie but also I got to watch it in my room.So as my dad was finishing setting up the TV I turned on the TV to channel 21 and there was a preview of tonight’s 3-D movie and the horror movie gods must have been on my side tonight because they announced it was going to be a double feature 3-D horror movie nite!I was jumping up and down with complete excitement.I grabbed my 3-D glasses, my bowl of popcorn and got in my bed.My dad finished doing whatever it was he was doing to the TV and said, “Goodnight and enjoy your movies.”As he walked out, he turned off the lights. So I was there, all alone, in the dark. The only thing that could be seen is the glow coming from the TV.At midnight the horror movie program started.The first movie was ‘The Mask’ and the second film was the original ‘House of Wax’ with Vincent Price (Amazon link at the bottom of this page)
The movie started – I was sitting in the dark, wearing my 3-D glasses. I wasn’t scared at all. I think it was because all my excitement and it did not give me time to think about what was just set up for me. A little boy all alone in a dark room withHis parents up stairs, asleep – looking back at it now that is totally a perfect setting for a horror movie.As the movie’s plot began to build, my excitement was beginning to lessen and I was drawn into the storyline and the 3D effects.Then it hit me – I remember it like it was yesterday.About halfway into the film there was this very ‘cultish’ scene where these hooded figures, all in black, was getting ready to sacrifice a young woman – the figures were in this very foggy place and the only thing visible was the two figures, a woman laying on this platform and two torches at each end of the platform.The camera began to zoom closer to the woman, very slowly, and as the woman got closer, her body – her flesh – her skin, began to fade way and all there was left was a skeleton. In perfect 3-D perfection, the camera zoomed fast towards the skull as a demonic snake jumped out of the eye socket and out of my TV screen – I do not think I really watched the rest of the movie in 3-D because my hands were over my eyes for most of it.It totally scared the hell out of me. (Needless to say, but I am saying it anyway – this started my obsession with 3D movies and I now have over 100 3D movies in my collection)
It is moments like that seem to shape our likes and dislikes; I was totally hooked on horror items – not your typical horror movies but gimmick style movies.
This love for gimmick horror is not just limited to movies,
– It is reflected in some of my music – bands like, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (TKK), I think they capture this horror gimmick perfect in their music and their music is totally sexy sometimes.Another group is the Electric Hellfire Club, which has a member of TKK.
And videos that I made for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day – ‘- Don’t worry, she is into horror so it fits – the song is done by Rob Zombie – she loves Rob Zombie – (so just push play)
Ok, you maybe asking yourself by now – ‘How does that lame joke and the statements that you have heard from people fit into all of this?’
As you may or may not know – I am vegan.Therefore, when people find out that I am vegan I get all kinds of questions. I love when people ask me questions because I really enjoy meeting people and finding out about them and their stories. I would never look down on anyone no matter how silly I find his or her question to be, that is not what I do.So the one question I get from people once they find out I am into horror movies/culture, etc is – “If you are vegan how can you be into horror movies. I thought you were against killing.”I find this statement funny in the same way that I find the gimmick horror culture funny because its so over the top.I try to answer this question with humor and try to address the seriousness of the question at the same time- that can be very difficult.
Its entertainment a release from everyday horrors – I think vegetarian horror film director/writer, Larry Fessenden said it best, “I make horror movies because I have an acute awareness of the horrors of life. There is no more explicit an example of everyday horrors than in people’s treatment of animals, in the labs, the slaughterhouses.”(Check out Larry films – Habit and Wendigo)
– two other vegan/vegetarian horror movie directors – Dario Argento, and Rob Zombie (I could list a long list but I wont)
All this talk about horror movies – I am going to watch one now.