I think my earliest memory of truly being traumatized by a movie experience had to be seeing a VHS rental of the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE at an elementary school birthday party. I have a distinct memory of this kiddie party being held in a finished basement where the parents were upstairs while fourth-graders played party games below, like pin the tail on the donkey and seven minutes in heaven. Anyhow, we stuck in this tape and I knew right away that this was something very adult, that we shouldn’t be watching. The opening flashing images felt gritty and real in a way that movies hadn’t before. It was exhilarating. The corpse shot at the end of the credits sequence terrified and fascinated me. As the movie continued to play the other kids got bored and ran around doing other things. I sat and watched the movie. The whole thing. It was the most upsetting, horrific thing I’d ever experienced and I loved it so much. All of it! I couldn’t stop thinking about Leatherface, his mask, his family, his chainsaw. I drew pictures of him in class, thought about what (or who) he and his father were having for dinner, and if they’d ever get caught. I don’t think I was truly convinced it wasn’t real. I think it may have changed my life.
Shortly thereafter a trip to the video shop took on new meaning. How could I convince my mom to allow me to rent completely inappropriate things? She’d protest and not let me get what I wanted, but I launched a campaign. One weekend, my little brother and I stayed with our aunt and she took us to the video store where I was able to pull the wool over her eyes and convince her that we’d seen THE EXORCIST and CUJO before, even though we hadn’t. I think I picked movies based on their cover art and these two looked real good, especially CUJO. Shortly after THE EXORCIST began my aunt went to bed and my brother and I stayed up and watched both movies. Again, captivated and terrified. They were effective and I loved that feeling of being so effectively frightened by something. I soon became obsessed with these films as well and knew I had to seek out more STEPHEN KING, and movies about Catholic scary shit.
I came back from that weekend at my aunt’s and proudly boasted to my mother that my brother and I watched R-rated movies. This seemed to piss her off, but also worked to wear her down. The next time we were at the video store and I begged and begged for A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and she relented. It had just come out on video and I knew it involved a killer with finger-knives. I HAD TO SEE IT! Well, we got home and popped it in that night and I worked myself up into a frenzy of fear from the very start. The opening titles alone! I can now see why title designs are so important to me. They set the whole tone. I almost had to turn it off. Later on, at the point where those razor fingers come up slowly out of the water in the bathtub, I thought I was having a heart attack. No lie! I thought I might die. Finishing the film felt like a triumph and my love affair with Leatherface sorta ended and Freddy became my new long-time childhood mistress. I was obsessed with Freddy. I wanted to hang out with Freddy. I was in love with Freddy. All these years later, I look back on those formative traumas and can see how important they were. I’m still in love with Freddy, the ROBERT ENGLUND one.
UNK SEZ: Thanks JOSHUA/PEACHES, for the super excellent traumafession! I should also thank you for creating ALL ABOUT EVIL; I swear this may be the first time in my and Aunt John‘s four hundred year old marriage where we are both equally enthusiastic about seeing the same movie!
Kids, make sure you check out ALL ABOUT EVIL‘s official site HERE so that you can see when it’s coming to your neck of the woods! This fantastic flick not only stars the incomparable NATASHA LYONNE but also showcases our heroes CASSANDRA PETERSON (ELVIRA, of course!) and MINK STOLE (Who, once upon a time, I saw on Philadelphia’s South street. I asked her for her autograph and she was sweet as hell and gave it to me and didn’t even punch me like some celebrities might!)
Above all else check out the trailer for ALL ABOUT EVIL below; if it doesn’t stroke your appetite for hilarity fueled mayhem then you really need to reevaluate your existence… pronto! Seriously silly rabbits, GO SEE THIS MOVIE, otherwise it means you’re just trying not to have fun on purpose!
STOP THE PRESSES! Need more PEACHES in your diet? Allow me to recommend PEACHES‘ super fine horror and cult themed blog which you can stumble into HERE! You guys are going to love the four-part article on Italian horror by ROBERT BARBER and you’ll also find insightful film reviews and updates on PEACHES‘ actions and whereabouts! Go PEACHES!