Here at Halloween Love, we truly are about the love of it all, including other horror sites. No matter how big a site is, sometimes people miss it. So, we wanted to create a new segment where we give a shoutout to some of our own personal favorites. For me, my pick definitely had to be UHM (Upcoming Horror Movies).
From the very first time going on the internet, UHM has been the resource for me to keep up with all the latest upcoming horror movie news. Instead of scouring the internet for updates, UHM creator Mike “FrighT MasteR/frightie” Wilbur, for going on 20 years now, has curated all the best updates in one place for us. Although I have absolutely no doubt that frightie wouldn’t have been doing this all these years if he didn’t enjoy it, all the same, thank you for the insane amount of time you’ve put in, which is just daunting to think about.
But, I didn’t just want to give a shoutout, I wanted to hear from the man himself as well…
HL: Other than being a horror fan of course, what was the initial drive or light-bulb moment where you said “I need to start a website.”? And was this something you’d ever done before? Did you have help, or did you dive in on your own and figure out how one cobbles together a website?
UHM: I got my first computer around ’96-’97, so I was probably around 14-years-old and aside from being a fan of movies in general, I was fascinated by the inner workings of websites, so I would view the page source of the sites I’d visit just to see what was behind everything. Eventually I became somewhat familiar with HTML and created a site at Angelfire to test out what I learned. When I became more confident in my skills, I moved to Geocities with a brand new site since they offered more space.
At the time there weren’t a whole lot of notable horror sites and the ones that were around basically just covered movies that were already released. I’ve always been into movies that hadn’t been released yet and loved staying ahead of my friends, so I’d often visit sites like Dark Horizons, Coming Soon, and Upcoming Movies just to see what was coming out. Being a big horror fan, I’d have to specifically look for horror movies from these sites. Then I realized that other fans were probably doing the same, so I thought “Why don’t I just make things easier for them?”
I already had a site at Geocities, so I started posting about horror flicks that were in development or in production. I noticed more and more people were starting to visit, so a year-or-so later I decided to make it official and UpcomingHorrorMovies.com was born.
HL: How old were you when you first launched the site back in 1999? Certainly, you don’t have to give an exact age, but were you just a kid, teenager, or already an adult?
UHM: The site was launched during the Summer before my Sophomore year in High School, so I’m pretty sure I was 16, going on 17 at the time. It was cool coming back to school and telling all my friends that I had my own official website. Of course they couldn’t care less, but hey, it was a pretty big deal to me!
HL: Passion, profit, or both? The way I see it, trying to make money and even making some money to help cover operating costs, doesn’t exclude the possibility of the project being purely passion-motivated. In other words, over the years, monetary wise, have you ever gotten out more or even the same than you’ve put in based on hosting and service fees, money put up for prizes and cash in giveaways, and probably most importantly, your time?
UHM: I started the site simply as a hobby and I felt like I was doing a service to fans like myself–people who simply wanted to know what was coming out. I didn’t think about the possibility of making money until a year into it when I was approached by an ad company and started bringing in some revenue. Obviously not enough to live off of, but being a teen still living with his Mom it was awesome! Especially considering I was making money from doing something that I loved. The money increased over time to the point that I could actually live off of it.
HL: Running the website for all these years, what would you say has been the most rewarding aspect and most punishing aspect of it?
UHM: Most rewarding would have to be hearing from the fans, specifically when someone would say that they’ve been visiting for years. It’s just a nice feeling knowing that I’ve been helping them stay updated all this time and kinda been there as they grew. And it’s crazy when they say stuff like that they’ve been visiting since they were in school and now they’re an adult with a buncha kids or something. It just puts it into perspective how long I’ve been doing this.
On the opposite spectrum, it can be tough managing everything on my own. I don’t do as many reviews as I used to since I have a family now and I honestly don’t watch as much horror as I once did because of time restraints and also because it’s often hard to find stuff out there that even looks worth watching. I used to make it a point to see any new horror flick available, but I eventually got burnt out after watching so much crap. I still love horror, but there’s so much bad stuff out there.
HL: Do you still have a “day job?” What do you do?
UHM: The site has pretty much always been my “job” even before I made money from it. Like I said before, it started as a hobby and it transformed into something that I get paid to do. Though it doesn’t pay as it used to since the state of advertising has changed drastically, so unfortunately I may need to start making some changes soon.
HL Final Thought: Yes, we’ve had our own problems and have been looking into how it’s impacting others.
HL: I very much consider building a website to be a creative effort and art-form. Are you otherwise, generally a creative person? Do you draw, write poetry, etc.?
UHM: Initially, one of the many reasons I created a site in general was because I wanted something of my own to be a part of the internet and learning everything from scratch and putting it out there made me feel smart and creative. And I’ve always been into writing anyway, so the site was a good way for me to explore that.
Reviewing movies was something I always enjoyed. Even before I typed up my opinions on flicks, I’d spend time describing my thoughts on movies I saw to friends and family. Once I put it all in writing it became a lot easier and a great outlet for my creative side. I’ve written short stories for fun as well, but nothing serious. I don’t really consider myself a very good writer (check out my early reviews, for example), but I still enjoy doing it.
HL: To the new blood of horror site creators that might be reading this, what advice would you give them?
UHM: It seems like everyone has a site nowadays. Technology has made things much easier for anyone to just start up a site, especially with WordPress being such a popular and simple platform. It’s crazy to see so much change in the 17+ years that I’ve been doing this. But the best advice I can give is to do it if you enjoy it and don’t do it thinking you’ll make a living out of it, because chances are you won’t. Especially now that advertising has changed so much.
If it’s something you love to do, whether you’re reviewing movies or creating a community of like-minded individuals, now’s a better time than any to get started, because the means are all there. And if you’re determined and stick around long enough, you’ll likely build a dedicated fan base and over time you may even see some revenue come out of it.
HL: I know this is a tough one for any movie lover to answer, but what’s your favorite scary movie?
UHM: Haha, yeah, honestly it is kind of a tough one because I have a lot of favs. I can’t really pick one, but I’d say in my top 10 are movies like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, John Carpenter’s The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness, Evil Dead 2, Hellraiser, Demon Knight, Event Horizon, etc.
HL: What are your fondest childhood memories of Halloween?
UHM: I don’t really have any since I moved around a bit as a child and my parents didn’t want me to trick or treat once I turned 12, so all that ended pretty early for me. Before that, it was all pretty basic trick or treating stuff. When I got older I got into dressing up and just walking around with friends, but nothing specific really comes to mind. Nowadays Halloween is a whole month thing, so I have more fond memories of just binging horror flicks throughout the month of October.
HL: Open-ended question. Take this opportunity to share anything you like at all, even if off-topic.
UHM: I’d like to take the opportunity to express how grateful I am for the fans out there that may have been following UHM since its inception or might have recently discovered it. The site wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has if it weren’t for you visitors, so thanks for visiting and getting to know the person behind it all a bit better.
I’m a bit humbled that anyone would even want to interview me, let-alone read about me (hopefully I wasn’t too boring), but it’s a little eye-opening and somewhat of an example of how far UHM has come after all these years. It may not be as popular as other similar sites out there, but I’d like to think that the site has left some kind of mark on the interwebs in one form or another and maybe even in some people’s lives too. Thank you.
Thank you frightie!
Where to read UHM:
Official Website / Facebook / Twitter
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