By the end of 1988, I started to think of myself as quite the midnight horror movie connoisseur. I’ve pieced together the whole movie Nightmare on Elm Street through my tiny little figures. Along with watching Children of the Corn, Aliens, and Halloween, amongst others. I actually can’t be too sure about whether I watched Halloween or Halloween 2. Thinking back on it, I have a point of reference for the other two films.
One is when I got to stay over a friend’s house for the first time and their parents letting us watch Alien with time on cable—not noticing the subtle change or rather a lack of an (s) in the title. Thinking this viewing would be a piece of cake, watching Ripley conquering the Aliens. Although the same premise does happen, My young mind caught off guard, discovering back story and how Ripley became a badass!
Then again forth of July weekend 1992 Terminator 2: Judgment Day was released. My mother and her best friend, Ms. Nancy, wanted to see it. It was on a Sunday, and I knew nothing of the previous film other than had a naked killer robot. That still never stop me from seizing an opportunity to watch grown-up movies with any adults. Moments into the film, I get my introduction to my old friend Linda Hamilton. Whom I didn’t know by name, nor did I remember that her character’s name in Children of the Corn was Vicky. Somehow my twelve-year-old self was put at ease. Baseless logic of thinking if she starred in the movie, I’d be okay somehow.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Halloween, I don’t have a point of reference or scaring moment. Something to jog my memory to a particular scene in the film to help me identify the correct Halloween. This exposure prepared me for one specific moment; I didn’t know I wanted it—late summer of1 989, which I believe was Labor Day weekend. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 was in theaters. This particular summer, I was spending at Fort Bragg, a military base in North Carolina. My mother dropped me off at my babysitter house as she was attending to her weekend plans. I don’t remember how well I knew my babysitter. My only occurrence being this solitary memory. The particulars of how everything unfolded is a bit dim in my mind at this point.
What I can never forget is that she took me to see NOES 5: The Dream Child.
I can only imagine how my nine-year-old mind must have been delighted at my first “big-kid” moment with other big kids. We made our way to the concessions stands and got our snacks. Next, we make our way to the theater—this is where why my heart sank to my asshole. Freddy Kruger himself was taking tickets. Now I didn’t know the difference between an employee dressed up as Freddy and Robert England, the actor. Either way, I became stricken with fear and began to feel nauseated—trepidation of being mortified that I would be in harm in some fashion. If not from Freddy, then the ridicule from my babysitter and her friends we met at the theater. I positioned myself between my babysitter and her girlfriend as a cushion. Freddy would surly have to get to them before he got to me. To my astonishment, Freddy merely tore the tickets.
I’m ALIVE, is all I could think. I made it past the treacherous Krugger without a single scratch on me. We take our seats, and the movie begins. I won’t pretend that the film was smooth sailing for me. There was a lot of watching threw my fingers. Assuming the teenagers I was with wouldn’t take notice of me given how dark it was, and the movie on the screen was their focus. I did find out after the movie; I was wrong in my assumptions. None of that mattered because of about 20 mins into the film. Ticket taker Freddy entered the theater while we are watching. Krugger came in, but he also snatched people out of their seats and dragged them out of the emergency exit. A mounting feeling of uncomfortableness that I too would soon be drag out of the film to place unknown.
I quickly became stricken with dread that he would eventually make his way to me. I lost all focus on the film. Row by Row as Freddy stalked his prey and terrorized movie-goers. I was nearing to the point of peeing my pants. The gimmick finally concludes, sweating and relieved I can eventually turn my fear back to the on-screen Freddy. I try and regain as much of my composure as I can. Try as I might, I was unsuccessful; he was already in my head. Paralyzed, I watched in fear waiting for him to pop back out at any moment. The movie ends, and we get in the car as I feared they began to pick on me, “the baby.” I didn’t care, and I couldn’t care less about the sophomoric rants of those I once wanted to be my peers. I just went through the worst-case imaginable I might as well have peed my pants.