“And I am a horror addict.”
A few random laughs of disbelief flutter through the crowd.
Oh I know I don’t look the part. I mean, look at me. I’m 40, I’m married, I own my own house, I work at a customer service help desk during the day and have 2 dogs named Lilly and Cooper. (Because he is a Minature Pincher- get it-Minature Cooper…Mini Cooper?…Nevermind). Let me go back to the beginning.
The year was 1976. I was 6 and already loved going to the movies. My aunt, who was 12 years older than I was, would bring me along to all the Saturday movies that she went to with her friends. Mostly Disney, Pete’s Dragon kind of things. Well this particular Saturday we went to see this movie about people on a beach. They go swimming and the she gets eaten by a shark. Yes, folks, we ARE talking about Jaws. And yes I DID see it first run in the theater, and then the next weekend, and then the next. I was hooked. The rush of fear through my 6 year old body was like nothing I had ever experienced before. My aunt made me promise not to tell my parents what we were seeing every Saturday. A secret promise that I honored through the following months. That is until 1978 – “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” remake. My aunt took my friends and I to see it. My friend ran out of the theater crying once Donald Sutherland began bashing out the brains of their pod counterparts. Thus being seen by the theater manager, (back when people cared about each other) he proceeded to call my friends mom to come pick up her hysterically crying son who was now hiding between the Space Invaders and Missle Command arcade machines in the lobby. The jig was up and my aunt was no longer allowed to take us to the movies.
But thankfully my dad understood my NEED to go to the movies…Or just wanted quiet on Saturdays afternoons. And gave her another chance. And THIS would be the day that changed my life. She bought our tickets, handed me my popcorn and led me into the dim theater. We took our seats and the movie opened with the sillouette of a hulk of a ship run aground. Decayed, dead in the water. The fishing boat passes it oblivious to what lies ahead for them. They anchor, and begin to relax for the night. Out of the darkness comes a floating shape. A crudely carved wooden canoe covered with a tarp. The men lean over the side of their boat, attempting to grab hold of what they think is an empty raft, when the tarp is thrown to the side, and a hand brandishing an axe, buries said axe into the head of the closest man, before slashing through the stomach of the next closest. Spilling his insides to the deck. Somewhere between the squeltch of the guts on the deck and the screams in the theater was a loud bang. That was my horror cherry popping.
HOLY SHIT! THIS WAS IT. ALL BETS ARE OFF.
I had never seen anything like this. They SHOWED the axe go into the head. My aunt must have sensed my shock as she asked if I wanted to leave. I stammered “No WAY!”
That movie was 1980’s “The Island.” Starring Michael Caine and David Warner. It was a damn pirate movie. But after seeking it out a few years ago, it is still pretty violent, even by today’s standards.
After that, it was anything horror I could get my hands on as a 10 year old kid. Old School Universal Monsters with my mom. Creature Double Feature on Saturday afternoons with my cousins. Collecting Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine from the corner store.
It was almost a full year later when my parents finally gave in and took me to the Revere Drive In Theater to see what “this horror movie business is all about.” It was a double feature of the new horror movie based on a book called “Amityville Horror” and then some other movie called “Dawn of the Dead” or something.
I think you can see where this one is going.
“Amityville” was great and my parents were surprised that I handled it as well as I did as well as the fact that I was still so awake. The second movie started and I settled in between my parents in the front seat of their 1970 Caprice. All was fine until during the police raid, a SWAT team member loses it and turns a mans head into liquid via shotgun and before I could say “Helicopter Zombie,” the engine was started and we were driving out the exit. No amount of begging, pleading, and crying would get me back in front of the greatest zombie opus of all time… Yet…
to be continued….