Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keep on Walking...

I've only Walked out of Five movies in my life...

Everyone who knows me knows I am an insane movie goer. There was a time in my life when I would see several movies a week theatrically. When I worked several theaters and had the keys to one in particular I had a habit of staying after and running the films for myself or friends and saw plenty that way too (man I miss that place, or what it used to be I should say). But over the years and thousands of movies I have seen theatrically I have only ever walked out of five movies in my life. Some kinda weird circumstances I guess, some just anger inducing. It is late and I thought I would share.

#1 CRITTERS - I was fairly young when this came out, can't remember exactly how old. Early teens, maybe 12 or so. I was dying to see it because of the write ups in fangoria and almost had my Mom convinced to let me see it at the Kon-Tiki theater on a double bill with Lamberto Bava's Demons! I was too young to understand things like Grindhouse theaters and what went on in them. But my Mom wisely understood that the Kon-Tiki was not a good place to drop off a young teen for a three and a half hour stretch. So when it finally landed at the Loews Ames we went and saw it together. Now the Lowes Ames was a second run theater for the most poor in Dayton, Ohio. It was a two screen affair on Main st. in an area that wasn't too hot. But in 1985 it wasn't the ghetto it is now either. The theater charged 80 cents for a ticket. We had been seeing movies there for years. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Escape From New York (my first R rated movie btw) Hardly Working with Jerry Lewis. But it had been a couple of years since we had been there preferring drive ins as the mode of seeing flicks. A lot had changed. It was now the flea pit of Dayton. We made it maybe a half hour into the movie before the Hobos and drug addicts freaked us out too much. The guy across the aisle from us was smoking dope and kept dropping matches and his joint and temporarily setting the seat in front of him on fire. Vagrants kept wandering up and down the aisles. I was the only kid there, and my mom the only woman. we did not feel safe. So we left. Didn't ask for our money back but gave a bitching out to the manager on the way out, but I'm sure they didn't care. No one got killed so it wasn't a big deal. My first time ever walking out of a movie. I was crushingly disappointed too because I wanted to see Critters so damn bad. 

2# THE FIRST POWER - Years later when I was 18 or 19 I went to see this occult horror flick with a huge group of friends at the new multiplex in town. Once again I made it about 20 minutes to a half hour before outside forces made me leave. When I was younger I had a hell of a temper. Really bad. I would go off like a motherfucker about shit and not care about who saw it. I didn't give a fuck who I scared the shit out of. I've gotten much better as I've grown older and am pretty mellow now. But then, watch out! So my friends and I are chilling before the movie when a group of teenagers, probably 16 years old or so all crowd in behind us. Now I have this power in a movie theater to attract the biggest douschbags in the place just by my presence. I can be in an empty theater and the biggest, loudest dumbfuck will come in and sit behind me. Happens all the time, to this day. It was in full force that night. These kids were obnoxious, rude, loud, spoiled little fuckwits and wanted the world to know it. We all prayed they would shut the fuck up when the movie started. They didn't. About ten minutes into the movie I hear them behind me discussing the ACID they have brought with them and distributing it amongst them. Clearly they were about to get fucked up and make more noise. Now earlier before the movie started, we had moved once previously because another group of idiots were being loud and we didn't want to be around them during the movie. So this was the SECOND group of fucktards we had encountered. They continued to talk and get louder and louder. I finally lost my cool, spun around in my seat and got about two inches away from the face of the kid directly behind me, who was also the loudest, stupidest of the bunch. I screamed at the top of my lungs "SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU FUCKING RETARD OR I'M COMING BACK THERE AND RIPPING YOUR FUCKING HEART OUT!!!" I stared at him for about thirty seconds and then just sat back in my seat. My friends were mortified. The theater was staring at me in silence and fear. I was far scarier than the piece of shit movie we were all watching. Some people were glad the kids were now shut up. But I think most were just terrified. There was a consensus amongst my friends it was a good idea that we leave just in case someone tried to shoot us later. We went and got our money back. The funniest thing is that the movie was shitty anyway and to this day I've never seen the rest of it.

#3 ARMY OF DARKNESS -I'm gonna commit horror fan heresy here. I detest this movie. I think it is a big load of shit. let me start by saying I LOVE the first EVIL DEAD. it is one of the movies that made me want to become a filmmaker. I love EVIL DEAD 2 a lot as well for different reasons. I didn't mind it was a comedy because it was still a horror movie too. I was stoked to see ARMY OF DARKNESS. really, really excited. My friend saw it earlier in the day and told me it sucked shit but I had to see it myself anyway. he even came with us to see it again just to see if a second viewing would change his mind. I was working a theater at the time so i got in free. Within five minutes I felt totally cheated as the whole mythos of the other films was replayed for laughs (though I appreciated seeing my then current crush Bridget Fonda) by the crucial half hour mark I literally felt like Sam Raimi was standing at the front of the theater cackling that horrific laugh of his and flipping me off. I felt like that movie was one long fuck you to me because I loved the original so much. I wasn't just disappointed. I was offended. My girlfriend thought it was stupid and my friend was just convinced his first prognosis was right. So we left and saw a different movie. Unfortunately that was the American remake of The Vanishing which wasn't much better.

#4 SLITHER - This story is not as interesting or exciting. I used to go see movies with my mom every Sunday. We haven't lately because her health is not so good and the cold weather makes it harder for her to get around. But anyway, we would normally go to the Danbarry Cinemas which are our local second run houses which only charge $2.75 a ticket. Basically they are current grindhouses with crappy seats, rowdy customers and spotty projection and sound, but they are a deal. We went and saw SLITHER and immediately I noticed the sound was fucked up. It sounded like the soundtrack was running through sand. I hoped it would get better but after about fifteen minutes it never did, so we left and went into the movie 16 BLOCKS instead, which was alright. Weird thing is that no one else in the theater left at all. Another Danbarry story was when we went to see the Lindsey Lohan movie I KNOW WHO KILLED ME.

We didn't technically walk out because we never got to see any of the movie at all. We walked in and sat down and the only other people in the theater were the worst, most intensely frightening white trash family I had ever seen. And I grew up in a white trash ghetto. What made it so bad was that there were like five kids with them varying in ages, none of them being monitored or watched. It was in the smallest theater the place has which is about as big as a large living room anyway. And these kids were spread out over the entire theater. Some in the front, some in the back, some to the side of us etc. The family was right across the aisle from us and were hardcore. The "dad" looked like he just got out of prison that day and had spent all his time pumping iron and getting tattoos. He was clearly making up for lost time drinking. "Mom" was fairly nice looking... from behind. She looked good in fact. But then she turned around and had on a tank top shirt that allowed her sagging muffin stomach to hang out. Which looked like a popped weather balloon of sagging disease ridden skin. There was another fairly normal woman with them. I suspect it was a parole officer. They ALL were talking at the top of their lungs and clearly didn't care they were in public. So we hightailed it the fuck out of there. No way were we gonna watch a white trash thriller with a white trash family cheering it on. We saw SHRECK 3 instead.

#5 THE HILLS HAVE EYES REMAKE - I actually saw this at the drive in with SILENT HILL. I was fucking stoked to be seeing a horror double bill at the drive in. Something I had not done since the 80's. Drive ins only play family friendly fare now so this was a rare, rare occasion, I was pumped. I didn't care if both movies sucked ass. I was watching horror movies the place they were meant to be seen. I was there with my girlfriend at the time and she had gotten babysitting for her son overnight so we could go. It was all good. She wasn't a horror fan, but would watch them occasionally with me. SILENT HILL went over fine. We both liked it manly because it was artistically done. I was biased against THE HILLS HAVE EYES going in because it was a remake of a movie I considered to be pretty damn close to perfect as it stood. The movie started off REALLY strong with the montage of mutated babies and children during the opening credits. Real mutated babies and children. I think that set the tone for my girlfriend right there. 

I wasn't giving the movie much of a chance really and was kinda picking it apart, not noticing the profoundly disturbing effect it was having on my girlfriend. By the time the camper attack happens. She was toast. She was shaken and crying. Not hysterically, but still enough that it upset me. Here was this movie I wasn't taking seriously at all, but it freaked her out completely. She didn't ask for us to leave, but she made it clear she was not liking the movie and it was upsetting her greatly. So I offered for us to go and we left. The ride home was awkward at best, I'm not sure what was said and that night was uncomfortable as well. I felt like an asshole. It wasn't my fault, but I felt like it was. Like I had subjected her to something horrible on purpose and then didn't have the decency to even notice. Our relationship got weird after that. She started taking much more notice of what I was into and how I reacted to it. How much I let it infiltrate into her world and especially the world of her kid. We didn't make it very much longer. Six months maybe. We tried again later down the road, but it was a dead end. I did see the movie a few weeks later, shockingly enough, at the Danbarry with a friend that I hadn't seen in many, many years. We both really, really liked it. The second viewing I found it to be a well made, powerful horror film with a lot of balls. The script is bad, but it has a lot of verve and menace and totally plays it straight. It never fucks with the audience and is mean as hell. The very thing that upset my girlfriend. Funny thing is when we first started dating she rented Last House on the Left just to get a feel of these kinds of movies and was gonna watch it on her own. I dunno if she ever did. I kinda warned her not to.

So that's some stuff out of my brain pan. Just some memories to fondle for a while. It's almost 5:00 am so if there are misspellings and shit, forgive me. I'm tired, sore and going to bed.

(Post script: I wrote this article in 2009 for Facebook. What you are seeing here is a slightly edited and cleaned up version. Also my Mom who appears several times here passed away in 2010. She was the person who often was my movie going partner in crime from a very early age. She was often willing to go to movies most parents would never go to and I owe most of who I am to her.)

© Andrew Copp 2009

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