I worked 7 days in a row this past week and today was my day off. Usually, I have a list of chores including supermarket shopping, cleaning, and other errands and appointments that fill the day quicker than a bolt of lightning lights the sky. Fortunately, Daryl and I tackled the torment of grocery shopping last night after work, and most of my other errands can wait until another time. I made no plans today.
The day was mine.
I enjoy going to the movies alone on my day off. I’ve been a fan of solo movie watching for years. The very first time I attended a movie by myself was when I was about 21 and the original horror flick Halloween came out. It was a chilly, blustery autumn day and there was a new theater that just opened up in my neighborhood. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to be concerned that whoever I was with was enjoying the movie as well. It was rather liberating. I was also afforded the very best seat in the house which was dead center, about 8 rows from the screen with all the popcorn I could eat without throwing up.
So this morning, when I heard there was a new 3-D version of one of my favorite teen in peril blood fests with eye-popping, lap-dropping mangled appendages bursting from the screen, I jumped at the chance to get to the 11:00 am showing of Final Destination 5 while Daryl was at work.
Daryl and I have many similar tastes in movies including Mrs. Doubtfire, Bird Cage, Sex and the City (the first one only — the second one was a hideous disaster) and The Color Purple, however, we also share VERY different preferences for the types of movies we don’t like. For example, Daryl does not care for movies that are scary, violent or gory. On the other hand, I have always been a huge fan of horror, blood and the occasional disemboweled entrails. We have often discussed our cinematic clashes and have agreed that my solitary treks into terror are just what the witch doctor ordered.
I had the entire theater to myself this overcast morning. As I was downing my breakfast of popcorn and snow caps while the obligatory previews rolled across the large screen, I silently wondered as I put on my special glasses… why DO I like to watch death, mayhem, and destruction? Perhaps it stems from growing up on Saturdays glued to television’s “Doctor Shock’s Creature Double Feature.” The black and white classics of Vincent Price and Claude Rains were my escape into the macabre. The special effects of the great Tom Savini and his mastery of gore in the seventies with movies like Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th were my meaty morsels of madness. But does that truly explain WHY I am STILL attracted to these gore fests like a butcher knife to a shower?
I’m afraid of death.
Plain and simple, death scares the shit out of me. Maybe it’s having a ghastly death that bothers me. Final Destination 3-D literally THREW gruesomeness into my face. Severed heads, bones and hollow eye sockets were tossed at me like balls to a basket, bouncing randomly through the theater before landing on my lap. Who would have thought that getting an erotic massage would beHeadly… I mean be deadly? How could a simple laser eye surgery go horribly blind tossing the eyeless victim out a six-story window? And I would never think a haphazardly misplaced half inch screw could literally fuck me over. Sigh.
The unexpectedness of a horrendous death is what bothers me the most. By making just one tiny incorrect decision, I could snuff my life out in a matter of seconds. A wrong turn. A missed glance. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps this is why I watch this catastrophic carnage. I think by having this terror tossed at me on MY schedule, it gives me some sense of controlling death. Or at least the timing of death. Now mind you, I certainly don’t obsess about my personal method of demise, but watching this type of movie forces me to be more aware of my every step, bringing me caution.
I left the film as I came in… alone, vulnerable and continuously looking over my shoulder. I searched for loose pipes as I peed in the men’s room. I tip-toed cautiously down the empty claustrophobic hallway searching for the elusive exit sign. I looked both ways twice as I stepped into the parking lot toward my car.
As I was driving home I noticed EVERY weaving propane tanker truck in view. Loose ladders tapped dangerously with sinister glee as I passed pickup trucks covered in paint and tar. Every leaf blowing free from the side of the road mocked me while dancing across my tenuous path. Break lights winked in red just waiting for my forgotten turn.
Fortunately, today, I made it to my final destination in one piece.