I LIKE FOOTBALL. … There I said. I feel like some great big linebacker size weight has been lifted off my chest (please hold the jokes until the end of the article). It’s not always an easy thing to admit in front of your fellow horror lovin’ dorks. “Hey, guys did you watch Eli Manning throw for 300 yards and then dodge that sack to throw the game winning touchdown?” Crickets. If you had simply offered up your opinion on the necrophile antics of A Serbian Film you might have received a verbal response and possibly entered into a night long debate about whether shock films of the present can compare to shock films of the 70’s. The simple fact that you know who Eli Manning is beyond a Toyota commercial might just force you to hand over your geek badge.
I would definitely not call the horror community judgmental, but it seems to me that there is a fairly clear cut line between the pigskin and the pig face mask or horror for ye football fans. I mean they have their celebratory traditions of beer and food, throwing on the jersey of a quarterback or running back and regurgitating ESPN stats until their family believes that they are, in fact, announcing the game. The horror fans have gallons of Jolt cola and micro brews, Fright Rags T’s and recant the latest Dread Central article until they can’t tell fact from rumor. Totally different, right?… See what I did there?
I don’t really think that fan boys and girls of any subject matter are all too different. People ARE in fact alike all over to capture a concept from the Twilight Zone (not Sports Center), and while it may seem like the separation of horror and sports is solely breached during moments of humor whether it’s a screening of Student Bodies or Fatal Games or a Friday the 13th hockey game played with a Jason Voorhees mask, we actually share quite a few traditions and behaviors that merit taking notice. Let’s break it down in play by play fashion, so you don’t think I’ve lost my ever lovin’ mind.
We have our own tricked out outfits that keep the general public at a stiff arm distance. Football jerseys and apparel bare team logos, player names and various forms of football artwork. One might describe it as the football fan’s uniform. Horror fans have their own battle garb. We go out in t-shirts with a smorgasbord of horror iconography on our chests. Sure we dress in black but don’t confuse us with those woe-is-me Goth kids even though a number of them share in our love of the strange and unusual. The horror uniform is a hoodie with a They Live slapped on the back. It’s as varied as the clothing manufacturer’s spinning their wares, but it is unmistakable. Similarly you cannot mistake the football fan with large print player number on the chest and back; player’s name over the number on the reverse. Both are conversation pieces. Both can get your into trouble among the wrong crowd and either fan will spend their entire paycheck on just one limited edition piece of clothing.
Both the football fan and horror nerd have a relatively unhealthy diet when they are in their “feeding frenzy” during an exhibition or movie marathon. Not much can be said to differentiate the diets of either fan base save that beer may be served but horror fans seem to prefer micro brews especially if they have leanings toward evil (think Pumpkin King or Rogue Dead Guy Ale over the Miller/Budlight crowd). We’ll take hot wings on either side of the fan base, but you’ll probably find us all eating pizza at the end of the day. The horror fan is an avid caffeine drinker. Mountain Dew. Jolt. Rockstar Energy Drink (my personal favorite). We need to finish the movie marathon. The football fan is naturally aggressive getting their energy from screaming at the TV (more on that later). Either way, we’re gluttons. We’re like locusts. Put us in front of the TV, in the stands at the game or in a crowded theater with snackies that make our bowels weep onto toilet bowl shoulders.
Each fan base has its own holiday. Horror fan have Halloween. Football fans have their Super Bowl which I think can be classified as a legitimate holiday. You can further extend it to any other bowl game you like for the college fans. It’s appropriate to go even a step further and talk about the play offs. The horror fan has an equivalent here too. Creature Feature Week! Think of a prolonged period of viewing that is found to be meaningful. I can think of no other time than what was once a network staple. In recent years the form of CFW has changed and moved to cable television but the feeling is celebratory. One might be inclined to extend the same connotation to Shark Week and I would concur. Another meaningful day in the life of a football fan is the NFL draft. While we have no equivalent save new release day at either the movies or video store (what’s a video store?) we can throw out Friday the13th and call it even.
The regular season is significantly longer for the horror fan lasting all year. A game is really any time the horror geek watches a movie or two. Typically one side loses and the other wins. Take that metaphor and attach it to whichever movie you so choose. We all like to pick a side. Killer. Final Girl. Zombie. Team Edward. Team Fulci. We make our own schedule and have our team has its own ten yards to a first down. You can attach any metaphors between film and game you like. Directors are coaches. Actors are players. The ball is a giant pot used for boiling corn. There’s a personal foul for unnecessary roughness… in the bedroom that results in being killed (the equivalent of a fifteen yard penalty in movies). Whatever you’d like. Hey, kids play with balls, adults play with chainsaws. What’s so different about watching a three hour football game as opposed to watching a science fiction double feature?
We’re both crazy I can assure you. Horror fans are just as likely to paint their faces as the football fans. Both will brave inclement weather be it for a movie premiere or the big game. We watch webisodes or Sports Center. We read HorrorHound or Sports Illustrated. We even have our own versions of “snobbery”:
Football Fan: You like the NFL? Pro Football isn’t nearly as good as College!
Horror Fan: You liked Scream 4? Hollywood isn’t nearly good as Ti West (all respect shown Mr. West)
Weather it be the naked folks in the shower or the cheerleaders before the commercial break, we all like a little skin in our entertainment.
For the most part the only difference you’ll find between a football fan and the horror fan is that one yells at the TV and the other has the TV yell at him. That is of course unless you’re in a crowded theater with a bunch of half drunken fan boys doing their best Mystery Science Theater 3000 impression (and don’t sportscasters do their own MST3K through the entire game?). We’re alike. We’re nerds. We’re jocks. We’re the friggin’ entire Breakfast Club rolled up into our own individual wrapped fan packaging. So I love football, and I love horror flicks. We are creatures of the same Doctor Frankenstein or standing Commissioner.
Please enjoy the following visual aid to assist in driving this comparison into the friggin’ ground:
Let’s start with Sunday’s match ups and go into the entire NFL line up.
THE BALTIMORE RAVENS VS. THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
On one side we have the Baltimore Ravens whose token horror movie would be The Raven (for obvious reasons). On the other, The Patriots with Uncle Sam as the horror movie that might be considered the best possible fit. I was tempted to use Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving faux trailer for that selection given the ties to New England, but this is a more natural fit.
My choice for the New York Giants (my team of preference in this match up) is Troll Hunter. Did you see those trolls? Giant! For the 49ers I figured My Bloody Valentine would be an excellent fit even though the substance to be mined is somewhat different. Would Harry Warden make a good running back? You speculate.
THE REST OF THE TEAMS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER BY TEAM NAME
The reason for this choice is obvious. (Chicago Bears)
This movie just makes me think of cowboys, and the only cowboy horror flick I could think of was The Burrowers. I find that The Burrowers pales in comparison to Tremors and may in fact be too similar to rule out copycattery. (Dallas Cowboys)
Whales… Dolphins… hey you can’t tell the difference once their in a can of tuna right? (Miami Dolphins)
Note: No marine life were harmed in the writing of this article.
I am not a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. There is no secret about this thus I have given them a movie fitting of their overall performance. I would have put Cujo just for Michael Vick but that film is way too good for these dirty birds. (Philadelphia Eagles)