"Morbid and mysterious, sweet and sinister" is how Costa Mesa-based horror blogger Fatally Yours describes herself on her MySpace page, where she also forewarns anyone who might want to meet her that "I do bite . . . pretty hard."
Yet no wounds were to be found after our first meeting. Fatally, whose business card depicts her bound in electrical tape and answers to the name of Sarah in casual conversation, is actually quite soft-spoken, especially considering she majored in public relations, a career in which pushiness is practically a prerequisite. Her boyfriend, Justin, a solidly built 6-foot-plus floral arranger, is the one who looks like he could eat people for lunch.
It was a former boyfriend who bought her the domain name fatally-yours.com as a present. Sarah had previously used the moniker as a MySpace alias, taking it from the name of a favorite Alkaline Trio song, and decided it worked as a website name, too. Some two years later, the site now gets about 12,000 page views per month and has a dozen regular contributors culled mostly from various MySpace blogs, and Sarah has been courted by the bigger horror sites-horror-fanatics.com, pretty-scary.net and bloody-disgusting.com-to become a semi-regular contributor. None of which pays, she says. "That's why my little tagline is 'for the love of horror.'" She's cool with that, saying, "Hopefully, this horror thing will pay off in the end, but even if it doesn't, even if it's for my own amusement, I'm still happy with it."
By day, she toils as an executive assistant in an office job. The makeup is toned down, but the outfits stay somewhat Gothic. "I dress professionally," she says. "Nothing too outrageous, but I guess I stick out in the all-black getup." And unlike some other notable Internet reviewers, like, say, Ain't It Cool News' budding screenwriter Drew McWeeny or would-be producer Harry Knowles, Sarah has no further Hollywood ambitions.
"I'm not really interested in anything else besides reviewing movies," she says. "No acting-it'd be cool to be in a horror movie where you get killed off or something, but nothing serious. I have no acting experience whatsoever."
As a kid, she remembers desperately wanting to see the first Leprechaun movie, but Mom and Dad wouldn't take her. Instead, her horror awakening came in high school, viewing-what else?-The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. "It left me traumatized and speechless for days," she recalls, but her reaction to trauma is apparently quite different from that of most people: "I was like, hey, that's pretty cool! So I started watching more, and then in college, we actually had a film class on horror movies, so I was exposed to Suspiria and some Japanese stuff. I actually wrote my thesis on Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
A transplant from Northern California, she enjoys the weather here, but Sarah has found it hard to meet like-minded friends in the area, especially female. "I think it's just a stigma that women have, where they haven't even actually sat down and sat through a horror movie to see if they'd like it or not. They just assume right away that 'oh, no, that's too gory for me! I can't handle it!'" she surmises. "And also, it's the portrayal of women in horror movies sometimes, which can be pretty brutal. But I think if women would get more involved in directing horror movies, that would be great, and then more would actually enjoy them if they're from a woman's perspective." Though she's quick to add, "You could even extend that out to any movie in other genres because most directors are male."
She's optimistic about the future of the genre, possibly due to her particular perspective-studio horror movies often don't screen for review (and if they do, only in LA), while independent filmmakers are only to happy to send her their work.
So while those who only observe the multiplexes may see horror on a downslide, she sees otherwise: "2007 was a better year for indie horror . . . the limited-released Hatchet, straight-to-DVD Wrong Turn 2 and no-budget horror comedy Stupid Teenagers Must Die! were embraced by fans, while bigger-budget films like Captivity and Hostel Part II bombed. I would love to see more original films in 2008, but it looks like I'll be looking to the low-budget independent arena for those."