A Night at the Theatre
You pull up to the building, excited to finally see it. You’ve been waiting for months and you’ve watched the trailers over and over. You walk in, stand in line and get your ticket. You grab your popcorn and butter it up while you get a big cherry slushie. Guaranteeing a bright red smile for the foreseeable future.
You find the correct theatre and pick your seats, choosing carefully, finding just the right area for your viewing pleasure (and not too close to the other theatre-goers unless it’s a packed house and it’s unavoidable). The lights dim, the movie starts.
The theatre can be a magical, wondrous gateway to an adventure-filled couple of hours and can lead to some truly memorable moments. Moments that might seem small but also make you smile, laugh or shake your head in later years.
Below is the Kali Krew’s fondest theatre memories and moments that we just can’t get out of our heads. For good or for bad.
This week’s topic brought to you by Brian
“watched this with my partner. Had no real clue what we were getting into. Super tense for most of thr movie. When that demon thing grabbed her and drug her, we aalllll startled violently. You could feel the “oh fuck” in the air. I gripped my partner’s arm with both hands, something I’d never done before and haven’t done since. To this day I don’t know how I didn’t bruise him.” – Lilyn
“it became a gag in later movies, but watching that little fucker appear at the end of the movie? You could tell who had and had not already seen the movie once by the shrieks/gasps/cursing. It was awesome.” – Lilyn
Check out Lilyn’s review of Insidious: The Last Key
“Let’s just put it this way… remember the people talking about being afraid to even eat their popcorn in the silence? Tooootally true. Jesus. Every time there was sound in the movie I about crawled over my seat to get away from it.” – Lilyn
“My husband and I were really looking forward to seeing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so we were thrilled to take our son. Who was two. To a two and a half hour movie. Luckily he was a pretty chill kid so we just sat at opposite ends of a row and let him range between us and crawl up in our laps when he got tired.” – Gracie
Freddy may be one of the worst of the series but it will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s the first horror movie I saw in a theatre. And it was in 3-D! Bestill my little eleven-year-old heart!” – Gracie
“I recently talked about this movie on Necronomi.com with James Sabata and Don on their podcast about The Blair Witch Project and it was a very interesting conversation. I will fully admit that I fully believed the story when seeing it at the theatre and it made it that much more interesting.” – Gracie
“I was so freaking hyped to see this. It was a movie based on my favourite game series of all time and it looked good. And, compared to other video game movies, it was good. Very good. To see a large, buff Pyramid Head filling up my screen (yes, I know, it’s strictly fan service and he doesn’t really belong here but since he’s not an integral part of the story I can allow it, unlike his nonsensical appearance in Silent Hill: Revelations). And to hear Akira Yamaoka’s beautiful music in theatre quality speakers. I was in Gracie heaven. And I got to share it with my nephew. And a much better video game adaptation viewing experience than the last, which would have been Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. But that’s a story for another time. If you want to hear it let me know in the comments, it was… quite an experience all the way ’round.” – Gracie
“In, I guess, 1989 or so, a group of my friends and I went to see ‘Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer’ at a late-night showing as part of the Cambridge Film Festival. As massive horror nerds we knew what to expect, the rest of the audience did not. They watched in stunned silence as one of the most horrible films ever made played. Most of them were, I suspect, expecting a low budget ‘Silence of the Lambs’ or ‘Halloween’ rip off.
By the end of the film, over half of the patrons had walked out in shock and disgust. At one point a couple got up to leave. The guy turned to the man sitting in the seat behind him, who had been nervously laughing at various points in the film, and punched him hard in the face. “Why don’t you shut up, you sick fuck” he said.
It all made an already traumatic film even more harrowing. 30 plus years later I’m still scarred.” – Olly
“Paranormal Activity was just a genuinely freaky experience. Dead silence in the theatre except for collective gasps, pretty much. It was just very tense and you could tell the whole audience was way into it.” – Sam
“When we saw it, two girls stood up during …the scene…turned to the audience and yelled,
“what the fuck?! Fuck this movie! We are leaving.”
And I guess they thought we would all go too?” – Shawn
“When I saw The Mist and it ended, nobody got up from their seat. We all just sat in stunned silence.” – Shawn
“My first movie theater experience was The Apple Dumpling Gang. Years later during one summer, bored, my mother encouraged me to go see some movie with the idiotic name of Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of those experiences was really enjoyable.” – Bill
“Dating myself here, but if you’re asking about actual moments experienced IN A THEATER, Jurassic Park, hands down. That moment when the electric tour USVs all die and it’s pitch black and pouring rain and all you see through the side window is a big ‘ol dino eyeball. Plus, the theater I was in had recently retrofitted it’s sound system and had everything way too loud so when the T-Rex screamed the first time, it was DEAFENING.” – JB Rockwell
Check out Lilyn’s review of Jurassic World
“I saw Avengers in the theater with my son. When Hulk thrashed Loki the theater erupted. It was glorious. The loudest, spontaneous, reaction I ever witnessed in a theater.” – Brian
“When the first Tron came out, I was 7 and saw it in the theater. I took my son to see Tron: Legacy in the theater, he was 9. As we sat there, the movie rumbling large all around us, I glanced over. My son was completely engrossed. In that moment, I had a metaphysical experience. For a quick, fleeting moment my 7-year-old self was watching the same movie with my son.” – Brian
“Robocop 2 teaser trailer – Summer between middle school and high school, my friend Jim and I go to the mall to see Lethal Weapon 2.
Sno-caps procured, lights dim, crowd settles, a trailer starts. Criminals looting a weapons store in a desolate urban landscape. Exactly the kind of 80s action fare we loved. We don’t know what this movie is but damn do we want to see it. A cop car rolls up on them. One of the guys shoots a missle at the car. The bad guy’s light up the car with their machine guns. Love it. What we now call practical effects was just special effects and stunt work then and holy crap were they working for us. Then, a little over a minute into the trailer, a metal foot, a gotdamn metal foot, gets out of the car and we all lost our faces. One dude in the theater shouted “Oh shit” and another said “Damn, we about to get another Robocop movie”. That’s exactly it, we were getting another Robocop movie.
In 1989, the movie landscape was different. It was more analog and we weren’t connected to every little scrap of info surrounding a movie’s production and release. In the summer of 1989, they dropped a whole ass surprise teaser trailer for an upcoming major release and didn’t tell anybody.
A decade later, with Phantom Menace, that would change. The studios told us what movies to attend to see the teaser for Phantom Menace. We all dutifully did as we were told, like the good little corporate minions we didn’t know we were becoming.
A decade after that, we’re all online, it’s harder to be surprised.
A decade after that, we no longer feel the magic of watching movies because we’re now all consuming content. Surprise is harder to come by and often feels impossible.
I’ll always have the summer of 1989 and the glorious, spontaneous, organic reaction to the teaser trailer for Robocop 2. Who knew a metal foot would be a last gasp of something special.“
“It’s not easy to surprise us anymore. As an audience we’re not innocent, you know, like an apathetic teenager we have endless opportunities and resources, and endless chances to see something special, but we’ve become more and more bored by the nature of art due to our endless access to content.” — Donald Glover”
What is your favourite theatre experience? What moment stuck in your mind when the lights dimmed, when you were expecting that first rush of excitement as the movie started? Let us know down below!
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GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.