This episode has everything! Lady Shasha talks growing up a fourth-generation horror fan in Connecticut on a steady diet of HBO, Gore Zone, Elvira, Dean Koontz, drive-ins, Blacula and Buster’s Pub & Video. Plus what it’s like being one of the few women of color producing content in the horror community.
Click to Listen to Podcast at Dear Final Girl: Horrorigin Story – Lady Shasha’s Horror Lineage
Transcript of My Horrorigin Story (Be sure to listen to the complete podcast for an excellent conversation):
Hello! I am Lady Shasha Mistress of the Snark, from What Did I Just Watch? and this is my horrorigin story.
Horror has been a part of my life since I have had conscious memory. I was a toddler in footie pajamas in the back of a van, drifting in and out of sleep to Alien and later on John Carpenter’s The Thing. Those are literally the first two movies I remember seeing. Those two and Empire Strikes Back.
Growing up I got to see a lot of horror movies at the drive-in or in the theater. The drive-in we went to most was the Hartford Drive-in, which actually wasn’t in Hartford. It was on the Berlin Turnpike, in Newington CT.
I saw Ghostbuster’s sitting on a swing set in front of a Drive-In Movie screen in 1984 while wearing a ghostbusters t-shirt at that drive-in. I even got to see David Cronenburg’s remake of the Fly in the theater for my birthday one year.
As a latchkey kid, cable television was a big part of my growing up and I was pretty fortunate to have my own TV in my room with all the movie channels. The HBO premier movie instrumental with the overhead shot of the neighborhoods was something special to me. It introduced me to classics like Evil Dead and Hellraiser.
Another really great thing about growing up in the 80’s were the horror movie hosts. Joe Bob Briggs, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Dr Atomic and Commander USA introduced me to classic b-movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Blood Feast, Basketcase and The Toxic Avenger and made it cool to be a horror fan.
Reading was also a great gateway to horror for me. I remember being in the cafeteria in 6th grade and talking about the books we were reading. The other kids at the table were talking about The Babysitter’s Club and Ramona the Pest. I was talking about Pet Semetary.
I could talk for ever about horror fiction, but in the interest of keeping this short I’ll just say thank you Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Octavia Butler, Ann Rice and Clive Barker for giving me something great to stay up past my bedtime for.
Speaking of reading, by the time I was in middle school I had discovered Fangoria and Gorezone magazines and was a full blown horrorphile and connesuier of gore.
I was very fortunate to grow up in a part of central Connecticut, where I could ride my bicycle to several mom and pop video stores.
We had a Blockbuster video, and just saying that makes me almost smell the popcorn they used to sell by the register, but I was introduced to some real gems at the independent video stores. Like Bad Taste, Curtains, and Eyes of Fire, which I rented off the strength of the VHS cover art.
Another cool thing about where I grew up in Connecticut is that I lived on Elm Street at the time A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 came out. We had a neighbor named Freddy too. He was a nice quiet guy with a Jheri curl. But I digress.
What’s interesting about my love of horror is that it is inherited. My great grandmother saw all the Universal monster movies in the theaters during their first run. My grandmother watched the Hammer Horror movies the same way and her all time favorite show is Dark Shadows.
Fun fact: I got to go to the the Lockwood-Matthews Mansion, in Norwalk CT for a fashion show. It was used to film many of the interior scenes from Dark Shadows and House of Dark Shadows. It felt super haunted.
If it wasn’t for my Grandmother I probably wouldn’t know anything about Dark Shadows among other Horror classics. The first time I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre it was with my grandmother. I watched the first Saw movie with my grandfather. I remember him saying, “That was a dang good movie.” It was and still is.
Thanks to my parents, I was exposed to sci-fi horror like The Thing, The Blob and The Fly. That goes for the original 1950’s versions and the remakes. I am so thankful that I was able to have an appreciation for both the original drive-in classics and the 80’s remakes.
My parents took me to see Sci-fi classics like Dune, Robocop and Predator at Buster’s Pub & Cinema, it was like a Connecticut version of The Alamo Drafthouse. I will always be greatful for being able to see those movies on the big screen.
And being there that time we saw Terminator 2 and that one drunk guy ran down the middle of Main Street East Hartford immitating the police officer from T2 right after the movie.
At one point my mother had a collection of over 800 movies. So many that she typed up a catalogue of her movies. I used to discover movies just by them being in her collection. That’s how I stumbled onto black horror classics like Blackula, it’s sequel Scream Blackula Scream and The Beast Must Die.
As a teenager in college can you guess where I worked? No, not the video store. The movie theater. I worked at Showcase Cinemas East, for the free movies.
Later I worked at Real Art Ways, which was an art house cinema, gallery and coffee shop in Hartford, CT. Isn’t that so 90’s college student? That introduced me to international movies and more experimental horror and sci-fi.
Since then my love for horror has only grown. I love the creativity that goes into the stories. The production design and most of all the effects. I started my YouTube channel to talk about horror because I watch horror movies almost daily and I noticed that at the time I started my channel, there were not too many horror reviewers who were women and less were women of color.
I am happy to say that this is changing and the voices talking about horror and being involved in the making of horror are becoming more and more diverse and I’m happy to be a part of that.