Dear Michael, Freddy, Jason, Ghostface (both of you), Leatherface, Harry, Mandy, Pinhead, Angela (you sexy beast), Billy, Death, Pennywise, Jigsaw, Leslie, and all the rest of you fuzzballs,

You can’t hide the truth from me. I know too much, seen you do your thing one too many times. Yeah, you’re killers, (glossing right over that) but deep inside, you’re all heart. Each and every one of you. I’m pretty sure you’ve got everyone else fooled, that’s just how good you play your game. You’ve got everyone thinking you’re demigods doling out punishment to those who sin in your eyes. Critics slander your good name by calling you fundamentalist propaganda (and worse), but they don’t know a thing (Freddy, Ghostface, don’t mock them. Not everyone is clever like you two). You see, this in this country, unless we all agree and we’re all the samy same shade of sameness, we just can’t get along. We’re that insecure and puritanical. It’s embarrassing.

But you guys and gals are better than that. It took me a while to see it. Even after I fell in love with horror, I avoided you like a hell dimension of pleasure and pain. Back when I was a kid, people would tell me the stories of your movies like they were real, and even though I knew they were lying, part of me believed it because I was taught I lived in a slasher movie world where people were cruel to each other just because they got off on that kinda thing.

But then you, Michael, stared blankly at the sheer stupidity spilling out of my mouth, and convinced me to watch your antics. And from the first chord of your glorious theme, it was like the rush of one those 24-hour, all night romances—Nick and Nora and their playlist, Lucy and Shadow and Melbourne, Australia. Your scares took my breath away. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.

You what I noticed? That heavy sense of paranoia? The exploitation? The glee when someone died? That was all in the thing that twisted my world into a sick and evil place.

Okay, okay, okay, let me explain. You know how you stalk your victims? Each of us in the audience has a stalker. We feel it when we go about our daily lives, and when we turn around to look, it disappears into the scenery, but we know something isn’t right. Sometimes it’s called depression,  sometimes trust issues. Like you guys, there’s a lot of names and different styles, but it follows us everywhere we go, and strikes when we least expect it.

You guys exposed my stalker, drug him into the light, and stripped off his mask (That was actually his face, Leathers. You can take it off now).  When I watched your movies, I could finally put the stalker that haunted me into perspective and actually enjoy the rush, and sometimes even laugh. You unmasked him. Disarmed him. Neutered him, and let me have a go at the stabbity-stab. (My metaphorical stalker earned it.) When I realized how the exploitation in your movies felt like that thing, it finally hit me that I was being exploited. When I realized that, I turned around and them have both barrels. Like you guys, the stalker sometimes comes back, but I’m getting better about pulling the trigger at the corpses’ slightest twitch.

You taught me how to be a Final Girl.

You see, we waste so much time, trying to out run the fat guy, trying to hide and blind ourselves with distractions. None of that stops our stalker as he patiently waits for the kill. What we really need is courage.

When we’re scared, we become like the teens in your movies. We lose our minds and do stupid shit. But to understand anything we have to become teens again. They’re the ones who ask all the right questions after all. The fear is antiseptic. Horror must disinfect the wound before it can heal.

I know why you all wear masks. It’s because you don’t want anyone to see your true face.

I’ve already seen them. And you’re all adorable.

With all my love,