It was 1980. I was 11. My brother said he would take me to a movie that night, and I could just pick whatever I wanted to watch. I narrowed the choices down to THE LONG RIDERS and some horror flick called FRIDAY THE 13TH. So we left that evening and as it turns out, there was rain, heavy rain that night in Savannah, GA. The city itself kind of looks creepy at night, but with the downpour and the streetlights there was a weird orange glow outside as we headed towards the Lucas Theater. So not only were the streets looking eerie, but the theater itself was in an old, Victorian building.The movie scared the hell out of me, but not in a fun way. I liked being scared of movies and TV shows, but this was on another level. I found the gore disturbing, so I had fear and a sick feeling inside. An hour and a half of suspense + sick gore really began to wear on me, and I wished we had never gone (or had at least went to see THE LONG RIDERS!) But I made it to almost the end of the movie without letting my brother or his girlfriend know how scared I was. I think I would have been all right if there wasn’t that scene where Jason jumps out the water and grabs that girl in the rowboat. That really caught me and the rest of the people in the theater off guard; there were lots of screams (which oddly were comforting to me). But after that, forget it. I withdrew into myself and was thoroughly terrified. When the movie was over, we walked out into the lobby, where, and I am not making this up, there was a deformed man standing there with a cane. The deformity extended to his face, and when my bro’s gf turned around and saw him standing there, she let out a scream. I felt a mixture at that point of absolute terror and sympathy (for the man). It was a disturbing mix of emotions.
On the ride home my toxic imagination began to work and by the time we got back to the house I had *almost* come to believe that *somehow* I was in the afterlife. I was in hell. Funny thing is as terrified as I was, I was more afraid of looking foolish in front of everybody, so while I admitted that it was a scary film, they never knew to what extent I was afraid. People including my sister-in-law just a few years earlier had some bad reactions to THE EXORCIST (my sister-in-law told me that she really freaked, like a psychotic episode.) I think my experience was similar.
A few weeks later I was in my bedroom watching TV in the dark. As it happened an ad for a new movie called THE SHINING came on, with the scene of Danny running through the snow and that god-awful music playing. That scared the shit out me and I got my courage up and hauled ass down the dark hall to the other end of the house where my parents were. I run into the den and my dad says something like “What’s wrong with you?” and I reply, “Oh, nothing.”
You think this is over? It gets worse. As it happens I was scheduled to go to 4-H Camp that summer in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Yikes. The camp looked just like Camp Crystal Lake and the scary started as soon as night fell. There were all kinds of weird noises out in the woods and of course my recent film screening was in the back, front and sides of my mind. There were six bunks in the cabin and there were five of us. We bullshitted for a while which was cool, until someone decides to start talking about horror movies. He mentions THE SHINING, which I found disturbing because I knew what was coming…….and this kid says “I want to see that movie that takes place in a summer camp…….” –DON’T SAY IT KID– ….”I can’t remember the name of it….” –DON’T SAY IT…….. “Oh yeah, its called FRIDAY THE 13TH!” Damn! I didn’t want to hear that. As I mentioned before, there were five of us in the cabin and we were all talking when we heard a strange, wheezing
sound. We established that it wasn’t any of us making that sound and we ALL got a little nervous! Of course, I was more than nervous. As it turns out there was a sixth kid assigned to our cabin, he just arrived late, came in and went to sleep (and snored and wheezed). None of us remembered him coming in though. The whole week was like that, creepy, full of strange woodland noises and really, really dark nights. I’m glad camp only lasted a week.