Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My First Horror Movie Experience

A wonderful blog writer over at Pearl, Why You Little……  tells a story of when she was a youngster going to the drive-in and watching a horror movie. It brought up memories of my own first horror movie drive-in experience.


The year was about 1978, maybe ‘79.  I was about 12 years old.  My mother’s sister is only seven years older than me. So she was maybe 19 years old.  She drove a 1976 Chevy Camaro V8 Rally Sport with the radio on, going faster miles an hour.

Her boyfriend at the time was one of the rich kids in the town she grew up in. His family home sat on the hill, with walls of windows looking down on us poor folk of the valley. The legal drinking age in that state was 18 years old back then.

They were fast, and they were trouble. The Eagles Hotel California cassette tape was the hottest sound of that endless Corvette Summer

It was a hot desert night and we were cruising The Strip of their small town, drinking Jack Daniels from the soda pop cans. I didn’t like the taste, but sipped it anyway. The strange mixture making my tummy rumble.

We ended up at the only large screen movie option in town. The Drive-in. With that big clunky mono speaker that hooked onto the window.

The move was rated R. No big deal. We had been through this before. My aunt snuck me into the R-rated Saturday Night Fever movie a few weeks earlier.

I curled up in a ball on the floor of the back seat, and they threw a blanket over me. Easy-peasy, I was eating popcorn and drinking Jack Daniels and Coke as the opening Snack Shop montage rolled across the screen.

It was a double feature extraordinaire.

Piranha  was the feature flick. A forgettable and campy summer movie. The buzz of the Jack & Coke kept me giggling and laughing at the terrifying flesh-eating scenes of gory high-camp.

During the movie intermission, my aunt and her boyfriend chose to enjoy another rite of teenage passage. The smoking of the oddly shaped cigarette. The smell was quite different from my parents Pall Malls and Virginia Slims.

I was offered a drag. I inhaled. I coughed. I felt my head become extremely heavy. I inhaled again and sipped on another strong tasting soda.

And then the second-run midnight movie came on.

I was enthralled, horrified, and completely grossed out. I screamed. I somehow kept my stomach intact the entire movie. For my young and sheltered life, this was the most horrifying movie I had ever seen.

And then we all went home to my aunt’s apartment. I was left to sleep on the couch to listen to the strange noises coming from her bedroom.

I was still feeling the effects of the toxic chemicals that had entered my body all night. I stumbled to the bathroom and looked in the mirror at my bloodshot eyes. My Eyes.  The Mansion of the Doomed images haunting me in my not quite normal state of mind. I gingerly poked a finger at the corner of my eye and watched my eyeball move in the mirror. 

I poked it again, a bit harder this time.  I screamed.


Most of us remember our first horror film. Was there a film that made an early impression on you?


  1. Nicely written.

    Jaws was the movie that altered my behavior the most, living in Jacksonville Beach.

    The Good Luck Duck

    1. amazing film, with very little actual shark scenes.

  2. I have no idea what the title was, but it was in the mid-60's and it was about animals escaping from the zoo. They'd go places like people's garages and kill them as they got out of the car. It was horrifying to me, because it made me feel soooo vulnerable. I didn't want to even go into our barn alone for months afterwards. Not that we had the possibility of marauding animals, but I also worried about being eaten by a shark and had never been to the ocean, nor did it appear likely at the time.

    1. reminds me of Chevy Chase's old SNL routine of the Land Shark.... knock knock.... who's there?......Land Shark.....

  3. Pearl-like piece!

    Thanks awfully for visiting my blog :-)

    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

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  4. 2 movies.. Jacob's Ladder.. and Hellraiser.. I'm scarred for life.

    1. Both great movies.
      Hellraiser had a crazy creep factor with Pinhead