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The Reeler Blog

"You Wanna See a Real Horror Movie?"

Is it live? Or is it Wicked Little Things? (Photo: After Dark HorrorFest)

Pioneer Theater programmer and dear Friend of The Reeler Ray Privett sends word that attendees at a few of this week's After Dark HorrorFest selections in Manhattan were treated to a "movie and a show." To wit, from a screening of the otherwise lackluster Wicked Little Things at the AMC/Loews on 19th and Broadway:

For one drunk guy about six rows from the front, perhaps [the film] brought too much stimulation. At every little shock cut or creeping shadow, Drunk Guy yelled out with excitement: "Yeah!" or "That's what I'm talkin' about!" or another one-liner so brilliant and insightful that it could have come out of the script.
A bald guy a few rows behind Drunk Guy got annoyed, and repeatedly shushed him. ... Drunk Guy would have none of his shushing, telling Bald Guy off, and eventually standing up, turning around, and yelling at him. "Dude, this is a horror film festival," yelled Drunk Guy, excusing his behavior. He then threatened Bald Guy: "You wanna see a real horror movie?!," though his query included our favorite four-letter expletive. After a bit, Drunk Guy sat down, but that was just the tease. By now, the crowd knew the kill would come. ...
(I)nsults continued, and eventually fists of fury flew, starting a fight that lasted about five minutes. Audience members alternately ran out, yelled "down in front!," or rooted on their favorite fighter. The fighters were yanked apart, and Drunk Guy's buddies pulled him up the aisle and out the theater. Only then, as the scene calmed down, did the lights come up, and did managers come into the theater. They looked around a little while, interrogated Bald Guy and his buddy, and then turned off the lights again. With the floor show finished, the audience turned its attention to the much less exciting movie.

Shit. And all that time I thought the real fun was going to be throwing down at the Trapped in the Closet tribute in Williamsburg. This'll learn me.

At any rate, that wasn't even the fest's only fight; follow the jump for the entirety of Privett's dispatch.

=====

For Sunday afternoon's show of Wicked Little Things at the AMC / Loew's theater at 19th and Broadway, theater #2 was about two-thirds full. Familiar creatures from NYC's genre underground lurked next to legions of badass ne'er-do-wells and a startling number of disoriented and attractive non-goth young women. About fifteen minutes in, the crowd was looking for something, anything, to get excited about. The characters, story, and execution provoked little reaction, but such scenes as a car accident followed by a shovel to the head brought some stimulation. For one drunk guy about six rows from the front, perhaps they brought too much stimulation. At every little shock cut or creeping shadow, Drunk Guy yelled out with excitement: "Yeah!" or or "That's what I'm talkin' about!" or another one-liner so brilliant and insightful that it could have come out of the script.

A bald guy a few rows behind Drunk Guy got annoyed, and repeatedly shushed him. Apparently Bald Guy expected the same quiet, focused screening conditions as for a viewing of the Essential Cinema at Anthology. Drunk Guy would have none of his shushing, telling Bald Guy off, and eventually standing up, turning around, and yelling at him. "Dude, this is a horror film festival," yelled Drunk Guy, excusing his behavior. He then threatened Bald Guy: "You wanna see a real horror movie?!," though his query included our favorite four-letter expletive. After a bit, Drunk Guy sat down, but that was just the tease. By now, the crowd knew the kill would come. And indeed another five or ten minutes later, after trading a few more yells and shushes with Bald Guy, Drunk Guy stood up again, about the time a pig was being slaughtered onscreen. Suddenly five to ten big guys were all standing up, and the non-belligerent fled the front few rows.

After another avalanche of f-words, Drunk Guy said, "Fine, I'm leaving" - apparently cajoled by his buddies to leave. The audience applauded, and Drunk Guy moved toward the aisle. But insults continued, and eventually fists of fury flew, starting a fight that lasted about five minutes. Audience members alternately ran out, yelled "down in front!," or rooted on their favorite fighter. The fighters were yanked apart, and Drunk Guy's buddies pulled him up the aisle and out the theater. Only then, as the scene calmed down, did the lights come up, and did managers come into the theater. They looked around a little while, interrogated Bald Guy and his buddy, and then turned off the lights again. With the floor show finished, the audience turned its attention to the much less exciting movie.

After the movie, post-fight analysis continued. In the lobby, a manager reported the cops were called, but Drunk Guy and his buddies fled the theater before the boys in blue arrived. Michael Gingold, the gentle and intellectual Managing Editor of Fangoria magazine, had been sitting two seats away from Drunk Guy; he reported Drunk Guy had been drinking Budweiser. Gingold's dismissive review of Wicked Little Things, filed late last night, tersely observes: "at the showing I attended, the only excitement came when a fight broke out between a drunk patron and fellow viewers who objected to his loud 'n' rude comments."

Spectators may have enjoyed the fight, but oh that poor theater staff. The managers and the rather fascinating short, stuttering, and very courteous ticket takers handled the situation as well as possible. But this was not the only fight to break out at an After Dark show in Manhattan. Friday night at the Regal on 42nd Street, a guy got smacked for talking on his cellphone, leading to further fisticuffs and screaming women during a showing of Dark Ride.

Whether this was exactly how they hoped to do it or not, After Dark and the theaters where they showed successfully created an entertaining and frightening filmgoing experience.

###

Posted at November 20, 2006 4:57 PM

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