I think almost everyone can trace back into their childhoods those moments that influenced them becoming what they've become. I like to write science fiction and fantasy because of the movies I watched as a kid. I have fond memories of hanging out with my dad watching MonsterVision. I watched such classics as King Kong, Night of the Lepus, The Thing (both the original and the remake with Kurt Russel), among many, many others. When I got older, I enjoyed watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. That show, of course, was slightly different than MonsterVision because they were making fun of the horrific movies they played, but they still played "classics."
My dad also let us watch Sinbad movies (the pirate, not the comedian), as well as sword and sorcery movies such as Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonja. We watched Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. Movies with fantastical worlds and sword fights. Magic usually abounded, along with mythical beings. These movies started a life-long love affair with wanting to explore and create new and different worlds. (It also started a life-long love affair with Arnold. I love that man. But only in his action/adventure films.)
I was never a huge horror fan until later in life. I hated being scared as a child. Gremlins freaked me out for years. I didn't really watch horror movies as a past time until I was in college. (With the exception of the Alien franchise. But back in the day, I considered them science fiction, not horror. And, yes, they scared the crap out of me.) Then, I had become so jaded and cynical it took a lot to frighten me. But even now, I'm very particular about the type of horror I watch. For instance, I don't like things with horror that's too real. Give me the supernatural and monsters any day.
That being said, I still remember the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead. I was 15, and I had a friend staying the night. I remember being scared, but not jump-out-of-my-skin scared. It was more of a creeped out feeling. It made me want to see more. Since then, I've always been fascinated with zombies, and I try to watch as many shows as I can. Trust me, I've seen some horrific (as in terrible) zombie shows.
Recently, my kids are going through their fantasy phase. Since I have such fond childhood memories that revolve around movies, I like to buy those movies. I own Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts. I have one of the Sinbad movies, too, but I can't think of which one. I love Ray Harryhausen, so my goal is to own all the movies he ever did. The graphics are horrible, some of the story lines have huge plot holes, but I still like to sit down and watch them with the boys. It brings back that tingly feeling from when I was a kid. It inspires me to write. I can only hope that my body of work can be as lasting and as influential as some of these films. Heck, if nothing else, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if I became a cult classic.