One of the great pleasures that I’ve derived from writing about horror movies for the past ten years has been the friendships I’ve made with other fans along the way. The best way I can put it is that the horror community is truly one big, extended family. We’re bonded by a shared passion, and though many of us may never actually meet face to face, it’s a bond that is very real and very powerful. We’re friends. We’re family. And when we lose one of our own, it hurts. With the passing of James Harris, we just lost one of the best there ever was.
I’m heartbroken to write that my friend James Harris, loving father and husband, passed away this morning after an extended battle with Ewings Sarcoma. He was just 36 years old.
There was a lot more to James Harris than being a horror fan, but when I say that I’ve never met a horror fan like James, I mean every word of that. James, who ran the longtime horror blog Doc Terror under the pseudonym “Jimmy Terror,” was without question one of the most passionate horror fans who ever sat down at a keyboard to express his love for the genre. Whether he was reviewing the latest indies or waxing poetic about Giallo films during his well-known “Italian Horror Week” celebration, James never seemed to have a bad thing to say. And in a community so full of fans who often don’t seem to really have anything nice to say, James’ positive voice was a breath of fresh air that inspired and touched everyone that came across his words.
Outside of the horror scene, James’ heroic battle with cancer inspired even more people. When he was diagnosed back in December 2015, James made a vow to not only fight but to also document, with great honesty and strength, his day to day trials, tribulations and triumphs on both his blog and on social media – and you better believe he never stopped writing about horror movies, through it all. One of his last blog posts, just under a month ago, was about the indie film The Beaster Bunny. It looked terrible. Absolutely godawful. But in typical James fashion, he expressed only excitement about the impending arrival of that killer bunny.
That was Doc Terror for ya. He represented the best in all of us.
No matter how bad things got with his health, James’ attitude was always as positive as his unwavering stance on horror movies. He was a warrior. In fact, he was such a warrior that even when I learned he was admitted to hospice earlier this week, I was still sure he was going to win the fight. We last spoke back in January of this year. I reached out to let James know how inspired I was by his strength. Not surprisingly, again in typical James fashion, he quickly pivoted to a conversation about giving back to everyone who had been supporting him. He told me that he couldn’t wait to get better and repay everyone for their kindness. “When this is over I’m going to make sure to give back in some way,” he wrote. “Everyone has been wonderful.”
James did give back. He’s been giving back ever since he started his blog. Ever since he was diagnosed with cancer. His whole career as a writer, you could say, was about giving back. About shining the spotlight on films that others were ignoring. About praising movies that nobody else seemed to have anything positive to say about. He was a champion. Not just for the horror genre, but a champion in life. A champion for his wife. For his daughters. And in this moment, I realize that James did win the fight. He did slay the beast. Because cancer never took away his loving spirit. Never even diminished it a tiny little bit. And it also never took away his light. He made damn sure of that.
I love you, James. We’re all going to miss you a whole lot.
If your life was touched by James Harris, as mine was, please consider donating to the Harris family on Go Fund Me. James’ wife and daughters need our support now more than ever.