Killumbus Horror: Founder finds community in shared love of gore flicks

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

Columbus gore geeks have carved out a new space to discuss their shared bloodlust, both on and off the internet. Bridget Oliver founded Killumbus Horror, a Facebook group she launched to discuss the movies her friends and family didn't dare watch. As the tight-knit community of horror-hounds grew, Oliver wanted the conversation to move beyond the internet. Through a partnership with the Gateway Film Center, Oliver and Killumbus Horror, members bring their macabre obsession to the public sphere with meetups and special film screenings. On July 25, members will strap-in for a double-feature of independent horror movies "found." and "Headless" at the group's next event.

"Sometimes people just need an outlet from the monotony," Oliver said during a mid-July interview. "I was a new mom, and I quickly learned none of my immediate friends and family wanted to talk about horror movies. I decided to create a group for horror fans like myself to see what happened. I never knew there were so many people in Columbus who love horror movies."

After 13 years as a corporate IT manager, Oliver and her husband decided to adopt a child. The adoption process moved quickly, and Oliver was thrust into motherhood.

"I took my maternity leave from my job, returned to work for a summer and then decided to take the break I always said I would to stay home with my son," she said. "I've always liked horror movies, but I never had the opportunity to watch a lot of them until I found myself up at 3 a.m. rocking my baby."

With the help of Netflix, Oliver's horror obsession developed, inspiring her to comb the internet for rare films and horror-focused discussions. But with limited time, it became difficult for Oliver to flesh out the gems from the duds.

"We're already in this information overload, so I decided to filter out the things I wanted to keep on my radar," she said. "I needed an outlet. At some point, I need to venture out and speak to somebody besides my dogs, baby and husband, so I started the group."

The group gained momentum when Oliver started sharing information and facilitating discussions on the page. Group members followed her lead, and began contributing reviews, blogs and information of their own.

"The group turned into me sharing my thoughts during the week. I was already online all day looking at horror websites. From there, members started sharing the movies they were finding and getting into really spirited conversations about the films with other members," Oliver said. "The group has turned into a treasure trove of information. There are so many subgenres of horror movies, and different things scare different people. With everybody contributing, it becomes a great way to find out about movies you haven't heard of."

Killumbus Horror Group grew, and the Gateway Film Center took notice. As Columbus' unofficial horror hub, the venue offered the group a place to set up shop.

"People seemed to like the group and were having fun, so [Gateway Film Center] suggested we started doing meet-ups. They are the home for horror in Columbus, and they could definitely help facilitate," Oliver said. "The Gateway has been really cool about bringing in the iconic and independent horror movies people might miss on the big screen. Our group has almost doubled since our first meet-up at [last month's] 'Pumpkinhead' screening."

The community Oliver has built reaches beyond slasher movies and has created another place for horror fans to connect on a personal level about their shared interests.

"I've reconnected with people from my past because they are horror fans who have heard of the group," she said. "I've made lifetime friends over 'Human Centipede.' The human interaction is really growing the community - we're discovering the things we have in common outside of horror movies."

Oliver hopes this camaraderie continues to grow amongst group members this Saturday at Gateway Film Center's upstairs lounge before the "found."/ "Headless" double-feature, and future meet-ups.

"It makes me happy to see somebody freak out with excitement when they discover something new because of the group," Oliver said. "Life isn't easy-sometimes the local news is scarier than the movies. It's cathartic to have a 'scare' about it as opposed to a laugh."

Killumbus Horror meetup

"found."/ "Headless" double-feature

Meetup at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25

Movies begin at 5 p.m.

Gateway Film

1550 N. High St., Campus

gatewayfilmcenter.com