Q&A: What was the first horror film you ever saw?

Nicola Reeves emailed the website and asked:

What was the first horror film you ever saw?

Great question! I think it was the Hammer version of The Quatermass Xperiment which I remember watching on a tiny black and white TV in my grandparent’s cottage long after I was supposed to be in bed. I must have only been seven or eight and they’d completely forgotten that the portable television was still in my bedroom. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

The image was grainy and the sound tinny – especially as I had the volume turned right down so Grandad didn’t realise I was still awake, let alone watching late-night telly – but it scared me silly, mainly due to the sheer amount of body horror which kept me awake for hours, nervously looking at my arm for the first signs of alien mutation.

Thinking about it now, the movie probably kicked off my fascination with plant horror, which still crops up (pun intended) in my stories. And yes, that includes the Drengir which I created for Star Wars: The High Republic.

It was only much later that I discovered The Quatermass Xperiment was based on a BBC TV show and realised how much it had influenced my real gateway to horror – Doctor Who! While Quatermass has Victor Carroon’s terrifying transformation into a big murderous blob, it was Doctor Who that made me the monster fan I am today!

What was your first horror film? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. It must’ve been 1980’s The Changeling or 1963’s The Haunting. Both made a large impact on what I find effective in horror and absolutely created the foundation that my adoration of haunted house films lay upon. Knowing The Haunting in particular has been a large influence on other things I enjoy. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion 100% uses a few nods from The Haunting. From the caretaker who hangs themself to the stretching outward door effect seen in the hallway scene. This of course led me to the original novel as well and more recently the Netflix series by Mike Flanagan uses the structure as the backbone to what is now one of my favorite series of all time, The Haunting Of Hill House.

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