Halloween was a big thing for the teenagers in the town where I grew up. Sales of toilet paper and soap increased exponentially at all of the grocery stores. These sales went to teens who had never been to the grocery store without their mom and mothers restocking their shelves at home that had been raided by their teens. The sales of toilet paper and soap paled in comparison to the sale of eggs. Egg throwing on Halloween was the favorite pastime of most teenagers in our little town and the surrounding community. As the local police force turned a blind eye to everything but the worst of hijinks, our fair city became a little Hershey’s omelet every October 31.
When the movie “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” made it to theaters around where I lived in 1966, I was 4 and 1/2 years old. I don’t have that many memories of this time in my life but I do remember specifically wanting to see this movie. I remember seeing the ads on TV. I’m sure that made me want to see it more than anything else. I don’t know how often my mom took me to the movies when I was this age. It didn’t really matter. The ad campaign for this one was doing its job on me. I remember seeing newspaper ads for it too. These ads where the way that I knew it was showing in theaters near us. I remember these ads because I remember “picking up” the newspaper in from these ads with Silly Putty. I remember doing this with the newspaper at my grandmother’s house. I was staying with her while my parents were at the hospital when my sister was being born. This is why they couldn’t take me to the movies.
I saw Evil Dead when it first came out in 1981. I was in college at the time and there was a group of us called the Bad Cinema Club that went to see nearly every horror that was released at that time. This is not to say that all horror movies are bad. But there are a lot that are and we would go to see as many as we could to make sure we saw the bad ones. I do not intend to go through the plot of the movie here. I will say that this movie stood out among all of the others that we were going to see. It had an eerie feel to it that at the time made it seem more real than most of the other horror movies we were going to see. My thoughts at the time were that this stuff was really happening to the people on the screen. They just turned the camera on and recorded what was happening.
I was a freshman in college when Friday the 13th Part II was released. By the time this one came out, I was more familiar with the jump scare techniques they used in the first Friday the 13th film. During my first semester of college, I had helped form a group called the Bad Cinema Club. We would go to see almost any horror film that was released at that time. The studios were putting out a glut of horror films because of the success of Friday the 13th and Halloween. We could go and see something almost every week. Since we were college students trying to be mindful of how much money we spent, we would try and go to see these movies on bargain night. Friday the 13th Part II would be showing at the old Malco Theater in Jackson, Tennessee. This was located in downtown Jackson just off of the court square. The audience for this film would be filled with broke college kids, drunks from the downtown bars, and easy to scare poor people from the neighborhoods around the downtown area. This would be the perfect audience for watching this scary movie.
I didn’t jump on the modern horror movie bandwagon until the release of Friday the 13th. When it was released May 9, 1980, it had been about a year and half since Halloween had made its debut. I had completely missed Halloween and never really paid much attention to it until Halloween II came out in 1981. So I had little to prepare me for the experience of Friday the 13th.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller