Part II: The Circle Of Life…Starring Bruce Lee.
In the midst of my induction to Jackie Chan, my best friend Ste had mentioned a fella by the name of Bruce Lee and how a movie called “Game Of Death 2” was his crowning achievement. I was intrigued. So, we’d often run around the playground at school playing “Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan”, a rather inventive game in which we’d both pretend to be our favourite Asian movie stars and twat invisible villains with our fists and shit flying kicks.
One day my dad had taken my brother to Woolworths to get a record he really wanted, it was Appetite For Destruction, so this must be around 89/90, as this was about the time my brother went through his “rock phase“. So my dad returns and pops his head in the back room, where most of my movie watching took place and where I was probably watching ‘Caddy Shack‘, and says “You like martial arts film and that don’t you? Here I got you this…” and tosses me a tape. It was a Bruce Lee movie, it was called ‘Enter The Dragon‘…I thought “Well, it’s no ‘Game Of Death 2’, but I’ll give it a shot.”
I didn’t watch it right away, but I bloody well should have. I noticed a copy of ‘Enter The Dragon’ in my friend Mark’s living room and said that I’d just got it, Mark then informed me that, for some fucking ungodly reason, it contains a “really horrible bit where all these women get in a circle and start having babies and that”. For some fucking ungodly reason, being about seven years old (and a moron), I believed him. It sounded horrendous, why would I want to see that? Never asking the important and logical question of WHY THE FUCK WOULD A SCENE LIKE THAT BE IN A BRUCE LEE MOVIE!!!???
I do give him credit, that is some thoroughly inventive and fucking weird shit for an 8 year olds brain to cook up.
So, it went unwatched for a few days…Then logic (sort of) kicked in and I thought that this “birth scene” probably takes place in the middle of the movie, so I’ll skip to the end “where all the best fighting usually is”. Which of course was the case, I finally got to find out that Bruce Lee is awesome. Eventually I was brave enough to watch the whole thing as I remember that I’d asked Mark’s mother about the scene in question and she assured me that it didn’t happen, all while probably asking herself why her son is such a weird little shit.
After this I of course became a fan of Mr Lee and I rented the rest of his movies from my Great Aunt Jeans video shop. I believe this was the only video shop in town that had all of the Bruce Lee movies, the original Rank Video releases with the great artwork. The shop was pretty small and in the back was a giant steel cabinet with many more tapes inside, probably as many as were on display in the shop, old stock I guess. So I was always allowed back there to peruse the selection and take what I wanted for free. Thinking back now of course, there was probably many a rare treasure contained in that giant steel cabinet, most likely a bunch of movies that had ended up on the DPP list during the video nasty’s era. When the shop closed a few years later, I think I got ‘Ghost Busters’, which at the time I was very pleased with…But I just wish it had stuck around a little longer, so I could have really taken advantage of all of the gold that was probably contained in that big ‘ol cabinet.
Now as for why I had “videoshop-a-phobia“ for a short while…I can’t remember if this was the impetus behind it, but the main thing that always pops into my head when I think of this time is my older brother tapping me on the shoulder and shoving one of the ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ video boxes in my face and making a loud scary noise to freak me out. It did, as I think by this point I’d become aware of Mr Krueger’s antics to some extent and was deathly afraid of the BBQ’d nonce. Being a bit of a emotionally timid child, when I finally did start going inside the video shop again I’d give the horror section a wide birth. If only I could explain to my younger self via a time machine of some sort that one day he will own all of these films that cause his bladder to weaken, and worse than that, he’ll actually be a big fan of them.
But despite my fear, my curiosity was always really high when it came to horror. When my mother and father got their first house, it was right next to a video shop called Revolver Video, a place I’d practically live in very soon. She’d go there a couple of times a week and rent pretty much nothing but horror, this was the early eighties, so she was probably on a steady diet of things like ‘Last House On The Left‘, ‘I Spit On Your Grave‘, ‘Nightmares In A Damaged Brain’ etc. Once the topic of something being “banned” came up on TV and mother told me that a lot of videos were banned a while ago, I’d ask her what they were like and she’d tell me (not in too much graphic detail though). ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ was a movie that peaked my interest, not that I wanted to see it right away, because I was a pussy, but the title conjured up all sorts of things in my frightened little brain.
I remember a kid called Ben, who lived in my street, telling me that he’d seen TCM…I asked him what it was about, he told me. Of course he hadn’t seen it and what he told me was a complete fabrication, but it did actually sound pretty realistic. He said it was about a lumberjack who gets unfairly dismissed from his job, so he takes his chainsaw and kills his co-workers. Pretty damn believable…Certainly more believable than a ritualistic kung fu multi-birth. As it turns out, unbeknownst to her, my mother had trouble remembering what goes down in TCM…She recalled a scene where a guy was sitting in his house, the doorbell rang, he answers it and someone chainsaws the poor bastards arms off. Years later when I finally saw TCM, I told her this scene wasn’t anywhere in the movie and was relatively gore free. I never did find out what movie she was confusing TCM with. If anyone has any ideas, both me and my mother would be extremely grateful.
Next time, Time Burtons ‘Batman’, settling the score with Freddy Krueger and getting in trouble over ‘Hellraiser‘…