Allow me to be blunt - the entirety of my horror knowledge is newer than my high school diploma.
Growing up in a household that frowned upon the genre, I was not exposed to the history, breadth, and depth of Horror until quite recently. In my undergraduate years I flirted with horror films, marathoning many a franchise. Nightmare on Elm Street, Chucky, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser - I watched them all with popcorn and a security blanket, despite my nervous sweat.
This last year I have become much more familiar with the genre and the community. Through this, I have come to one fantastic realization - I have always been hungry for horror.
Nightmares and a healthy fear of the dark (not really the dark, but what lies hidden within it) had a firm grip on my childhood. Yet I still gravitated toward Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters II, the Nina Tanleven series (also by Bruce Coville), and numerous novels by John Bellairs - the artwork of Edward Gorey gracing the hardcovers I coveted.
Far from making my nightmares worse as my family feared, these early forays into the world of the frighteningly supernatural provided me with an outlet - desensitizing and enabling me to work through the monsters I created on my own.
Modern serial killers and cruel, gory death for death's sake hold no magic for me. It is in the ghostly haunted and demonically possessed that I find my fun and my fear.
So, while I did not grow up with horror film, I realize that horror has always kept me warm in its company and I look forward to stoking the flames.