by Camela Thompson
I love hanging out with authors. Inevitably, someone goes off on a tangent, triggering a round of story telling. We hear about warped childhoods (my favorite), traumatic college capers, and horrific writers' conference pitches. Get us in a group and we'll talk all night. In that spirit, a group of us are participating in a blog hop to tell you about our worst theater experiences. Here's my story.
The 90s were a little bit amazing. Big hair, bright colors, a weird ass phase of feminism, and the resurgence of slasher films. Scream 2 came out in 1997, and I attended with my then boyfriend. My love of the horror-comedy blend started early and we can blame that fascination on my paternal grandmother for introducing me to Friday the 13th at the tender age of six (WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE THINKING?). The Scream franchise had enough sense to make fun of itself, and scenes were intentionally over the top. While my friends were shrieking--and we were teenagers so conjure that horrible noise they make that's closer to pig than human--I laughed. Okay, sometimes I hid, but that was an excuse to pretend I was normal for my boyfriend. Sucker.
Grandma, is that you?
Not much scares me, but when it does, it's something really weird or demon possession. People who aren't afraid of demon possession have a gene missing. As my boyfriend and I sat snuggled up in the theater so I could steal his soda, the movie kicked off with a bunch of college kids attending a movie premiere in a theater much like ours. I tensed when a character stood up and went to the restroom--doom music hinted at a terrible event looming in the near future. I coped by drinking more soda. When crazed muttering emanated from the stall beside our man on a date with destiny, I finished the soda. When he leaned into the stall divider to eavesdrop on the crazed mumbler, I bit my knuckles to keep from shouting a warning. When the knife penetrated the stall divider and his brain, I realized that I had a new phobia of theater bathrooms and I had to pee.
Perhaps if I had downed a medium Sprite, I could have lasted through the movie and the car ride home. Because it was a large Mountain Dew, my heart rate rivaled that of a hamster's and only a slim chance existed that I could last through the end of the movie. On the up side, I lost all sense of fear after another thirty minutes of clenching every muscle below my navel. No amount of doom music could make me pretend to hide behind the boyfriend's shirt. I could only think of Tycho Brahe and his exploded bladder (it's a thing, look it up). My boyfriend kept glancing over at me and asking, "Are you okay?" because I incessantly squirmed in my seat. Reasoning that a psycho had less chance of successfully hiding in a post movie rush, I tried to make it through to the end. I failed.
When the killer was moments away from being discovered, I stood. People hissed at me to get out of the way while I blocked their view of the mask unveiling, tripping over someone's purse and nearly voiding my bladder two seats from the end of the aisle. I scurried down the hallway to the exit, pausing twice to press my knees together and pray. The strain of pushing the door open to the lobby got me so close to wetting myself, I instantly formulated a plan that involved hand soap and those air driers to revive my pants.
If that isn't scary, then you're better adjusted than I am.
Stop congratulating yourself. It's not hard to do.
When I burst into the bathroom, I fought the impulse to run back out into the lobby. The place had been deserted, but I had been too occupied to notice. Convinced that someone loomed in wait sheerly for the pleasure of copycatting a copycat of a copycat killer, I stared at the stalls and tap danced to jog my bladder into submission. When I had nearly convinced myself I could wait until I got home, an intense wave of muscle spasms hit and I shot into the first stall. If I didn't hit TMI levels before, I now confess that I emptied my bladder with my jeans around my ankles, feet pressing the door of the stall closed, and leaning over against the hard tile wall to shrink as far away from the stall divider as possible.
The fact that I stuck around to thoroughly wash my hands is a testament to my germaphobia. I returned to my seat just as the credits hit. Because this was before Marvel trained us into watching all of the credits for a ten second glimpse at a character, my boyfriend rolled his eyes and informed me that I had missed it all.
I didn't care. I could walk to the car with my head held high and not ruin the seat of his mother's car.
To this day, I have no recollection of the movie after that first scene.
Check out some awesome theater stories by Michael G. Munz, Tiffany Pitts, and Elise Stephens.
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.