(The state of being...not the band.)
The theater darkened and the people quieted and all that could be heard was the sound of the crunching popcorn and the sounds of the dancing concessions making their way across the screen. It was like a giant television...only BETTER. It was beyond the scope of all imaginings. It was THE SILVER SCREEN!
(Silver meaning figuratively in this sense...not the actual color of the screen...although in the early days of film the projection screens really were painted silver for better brightness, contrast and depth according to the oracle...Wikipedia.)
The cartoon was next...probably something from the Mickey Mouse collection...you know...the characters that comprise "old school" Disney...Pluto, Donald Duck, Minnie, Goofy, and of course...Mickey. That turned out to be fun...but it wasn't Bambi. It was the warm up act!
The chanting inside the brain began...Bambi...Bambi...BAMBI!
Then suddenly...there he was. In living color. Bambi.
Except for that part about Bambi's mother being shot by hunters and the matter of that forest fire scene. You think a cute little Thumper and some bluebirds are going to offset that? Let's just say that someone didn't handle all of that very well. Or so I'm told.
Yes. I had to be carried out of Bambi screaming at the age of three because I was traumatized by the forest fire scene. And for those who wondered why I absolutely must have concessions in a theater and why I must refuse your offer to see something hideous...now you know.
Although it was unlikely that I was wearing the tee shirt, it was pretty clear that little Karen was Team "Bambi's Mom" NOT Team "Buck Who Shows Up at the End and Is Supposedly Bambi's Dad."
That was strike one. Strike two was a movie that I went to see with my mother that she kept her hand over my eyes most of the time. It was apparently something that she really wanted to see, but she didn't want to deal with the blowback from that decision. I'm fairly certain that strike three was "Fantasia." I believe that that one proved to be a bit much for me as well...which doesn't really shock me since it somewhat creeps me out as an adult.
A few years later, I watched a movie called "Frogs" It came out in 1972 (per the oracle Wikipedia). That means I was nine-ish when this cinematic masterpiece came to the Ritz Theater in Thomaston, Georgia. Here's the movie poster.
This movie haunted my dreams for the next three years. Okay...longer. Overactive imagination? Yes. Definitely yes. Here's the synopsis of the movie in case you
Jason Crockett is an aging, grumpy, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for his birthday celebration. Pickett Smith is a free-lance photographer who is doing a pollution layout for an ecology magazine. Jason Crockett hates nature, poisoning anything that crawls on his property. On the night of his birthday the frogs and other members of nature begin to pay Crockett back. Written by Kelly W.
Hey, let's just say that what they say about "payback" is totally true. Ol' Jason got his...as did a whole host of other people.
Then I saw "Westworld" in 1973.
Ewww. Just ewww. I never did forgive Yul Brynner for making this movie. The synopsis said "a robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park." Yeah, it caused a lot of havoc and terror for my overactive imagination, too. (Update: I understand that this is coming back around like most of the movies I detest...Westworld 2012 is apparently being cast right now. Great. Just great (not).)
And then...in 1978...Halloween. I'm not even going there. I can't even pull the movie poster off to copy it over for you here. The blog is my happy place...so no. Just no.
(TRUE STORY: this just happened. I was editing this to post and heard the theme for Halloween. The volume is on very low so I've been ignoring the TV. Guys, it is currently on AMC. I had to get up and turn it to George Lopez. O.M.G. Creepy, yes?)
I wouldn't go see any of the "Friday the 13th" movies or "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies when everyone else did during my younger days because I couldn't afford a therapist. Thankfully, years later, that "therapy" came in the form of a former boyfriend of Jill's who sat on the couch with us during a Friday the 13th marathon and showed me how fake it was. I felt safe with him sitting there and by about the 6th one...we were laughing...and I finally realized that what I was seeing on the screen was fantasy.
I know. It took awhile. I was 42 years old. I kid you not.
These early bad experiences with movies aside...I have found that I really enjoy some suspense movies, almost all romantic comedies, and a few historical movies. I can stand the occasional drama...except those that end badly like "Message In a Bottle" and "City of Angels." Those movies? I boycott.
And why yes, I HAVE had moments of drama in a movie theater (see the post on "Amistad" HERE), but not like I did as a child.
I've come to realize that having an overactive imagination is the other side of a double edged sword that makes me somewhat creative and fairly sensitive to what is going on around me. But let's just say that a lifelong fear of frogs, forest fires, robots and psychopaths means that I've done my "time" in the slammer to earn that creativity.
Fortunately, it is not genetic. My daughter can see the most heinous things in a theater and not be freaked out. She can sleep afterwards. But then again, she can also ride fair rides with abandon and has no problem with that bungee cord thing at the beach. My heart rate went up just typing that, by the way. My son can hang with her, but he knows his limits. That means...he normally avoids horror movies, but if his sister is home, he will watch one with her occasionally.
Big Dave just sleeps through everything...so, whatever.
I did find the antidote to my movie paranoia...watching old movies. Catching James Dean in "East of Eden" sometime around 1977 introduced me to what we know now as "Turner Classic Movies" or "AMC." There used to be a movie that came on WTBS - Channel 17 - out of Atlanta in my hometown in the early afternoon on Sundays. It was a huge deal because up until that time we only had three channels and PBS. The "TBS" stood for "Turner Broadcasting System." Thank you, Ted Turner. Oh, and this explains why we all watched some of what we did. Five channels. No, not five things worth watching out of the three hundred channels you have...five channels, period. So, if you can do the math with five worthy shows out of 300, do the math and you'll understand why we watched a lot of Lawrence Welk, Hee Haw, and soap operas. Exactly! Captive audience.
|Julie Harris (in this movie) was in a play at a theatre where my parents were working...I think it was Bucks County Playhouse...but I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, she held me as a baby. Cool, yes? :)|
I grew to love old movies (and still do) because they weren't trying to push the envelope as much. Even their scary movies were tolerable to me. Old movies tend to end right. They don't have rapid fire profanity or graphic scenes that make me uncomfortable (ie. Anne Hathaway in "Love, Drugs and Other Things.") They entertained the viewer without trying to take that viewer somewhere that they really didn't want to go.
(Like a camp out in the woods with a bunch of other teenagers, for instance.)
And just when I thought I was over all of the "movie paranoia" out comes "Black Swan."
No offense to Natalie Portman, but I still don't know exactly what that movie was about. Fortunately, it ended well. The description "well" is relative, here.
In a few weeks a movie is coming out that I'm looking forward to seeing. It is called "Something Borrowed" based on a book by Emily Giffin.
And the best thing? I already know how it ends.
It ends well.
If you are one of those people who can sleep after watching Linda Blair in the "Exorcist"...more power to you. I am not from your tribe. But if you are up for it...we can catch a good chick flick somewhere. Just know that popcorn is mandatory.
So are good endings.