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Growing Up With Cinema (Or How Kids Lie About Movies) III

Part III: The Dark Knight and that dick Freddy Krueger

The next movie that made quite an impact on me was Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’, it was the first time I’d been ridiculously hyped about a new move, with the possible exception of ‘Masters Of The Universe’ a year or so before. My brother was also looking forward to it, I think everyone and their grandmother was. The Smash Hits Poll Winners party, which used to be on TV every year, and for some reason my brother recorded, voted it ‘Film Of The Year’ and showed the trailer. I must have watched this trailer over a hundred times, I was so pumped, I couldn’t wait until our local cinema, The Wallaw, got it…But then, the new 12 certificate was introduced for ’Batman’ and my dreams were slashed like that poor guy in that movie who got his arms hacked off with a chainsaw. My brother went to see it, I anxiously awaited his return, he said it was the best movie ever, which I was happy to hear but it didn’t help quell my disappointment with being unable to see it.

A few weeks later my Dad informed me he was getting me a pirate copy and was bringing it home. My Dad worked on oil rigs and it was a hive of pirate copies of movies back then, he’d always bring two or three movies back with him, but this was the big one, this was Batman. He was getting back at about eleven, I was meant to be fast asleep but I was too excited, as soon as I heard the taxi pull up I ran downstairs and asked if he had it, he did, I asked if I could watch it now, I could not. Back to bed. Needless to say, I loved the movie, it was everything I’d hoped it would be…On the same tape was ‘My Stepmother Is An Alien‘, minus the first few minutes. A Kim Basinger double bill, which was fine with me.

My battle with the horror genre, in particular Freddy Kruger, was about to come to an end. In 91, my first year of middle school, Channel 4 screened ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’. The next day at school Ste mentioned that he had taped it and if I wanted to watch it at his house after school. I manned up and said “Fuck yeah, bro!”…All right I didn’t say exactly that, but I was determined to stop being a pussy and finally get around to seeing these films I was so curious about. I was so stand offish about any kind of horror or gore that it even ruined my first viewing of ‘The Terminator’, thanks to the scene where Arnie scoops out his eye with a scalpel.

So, after school we went to Ste’s house and watched ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’…I believe this was the first time Ste had seen it too, even though he had told me numerous times that he’d seen them all and would explain in great detail scenes from the sequels and if I’d say “What happens next? Is it…” and then wonder out loud, it would always be the right answer and Ste would say “Yeah, that happens. I thought you hadn‘t seen them?”. This is really the only time Ste ever lied about stuff, I bring it up now and then and Ste always finds it amusing but strange that he was bullshitting me so much.

I actually found myself enjoying the movie, was I finally cured of my aversion to horror? Pretty much. So after this I started to rent horror movies now and then, ‘Friday The 13th’ (I remember being confused that the killer was not that Jason guy I’d heard about), ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘Hellraiser‘…Which got me in trouble in a bizarre, roundabout kind of way. I watched it with a couple of pals, one of which was quite religious and wasn’t really allowed to watch anything outside of a PG rating. It got to the flashback scene where the evil step mother is shagging a pre skinless Frank, and he starts to cover his eyes, saying he’ll get in trouble for watching it. I assured him he’s not going to get in trouble unless he tells his parents himself, we all chuckled and continued on with the movie.

The next day his sister approaches me in the street and tears me a new one for showing her brother “porn“. He essentially did grass on himself and must have been so distraught during his admission that it sounded like I’d forced him at (toy) gun point to watch hardcore porn. I was confused to say the least. I was never yelled at for him seeing the scenes in which people are torn apart by chains and hooks. Nope. Just a pretty cheesy, not at all graphic, run of the mill sex scene.

Next time, I make a new friend and we make a buddy cop movie…


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