14 February 2009

My First Friday: Crystal Lake Memories

My earliest Friday the 13th experience was at our now-closed local double-feature theater just over the Illinois state line in Genoa City, Wisconsin.  (If that sounds familiar, it may be because the creator of the soap The Young & The Restless lives nearby and borrowed the name.)  My friend and I arrrived near the end of whichever was currently playing .  We would pay a dollar and you could watch as many times as you wanted as they alternated both movies on a single screen.  I'd love to know what the other movie screening that night was.   (That must have been the one we told my mother about, if she knew we were there at all.)

I know I had already been exposed to some gore at the age of 10 when my Uncle Hugo had taken me to see John Carpenter's The Thing while I was visiting his family in Pasadena over the summer of 1982 (and for that I'll be forever grateful).   I only have a vague recollection of my first bit of topless cinematic sex and one of the girls thinking she was talking to someone in a top bunk and realizing it was actually dismembered body parts, mostly glimpsed through my fingers as my hands were covering my face.  

However, this theater often screened films from earlier years.  Considering there were only two years a new Friday the 13th movie wasn't released from that time until I graduated high school, that doesn't help me narrow it down much.   We did see the Final Girl Film Club pick Visiting Hours there also, which was released in 1982, so it possibly could have been Part 3, the first with the hockey mask.  Looks like I'm going to have to watch them all again and see!  

UPDATE:  Thanks to a tip from J. Astro from The Cheap Bin, I confirmed that it was indeed Part V.  It was the hedgeclippers that jogged my memory!  They were in the earlier sex scene I recalled, and the bunk bed scene was later in the film.  I don't have any recollection of having seen the rest of the film before, and now I see why.  Having also just watched Part 3, I'm really glad I don't have to associate any fond memories with that one!

Friday the 13th was especially fun because "Crystal Lake" seemed very familiar.  I spent most of my childhood and adult life living within a few miles of Crystal Lake, Illinois, first in Richmond and then in McHenry.  (Incidentally, Kevin Smith's Dogma begins in McHenry.  Jay & Silent Bob end up there while trying to find the fictional Shermer, the setting of several John Hughes films.) This photo of the lake on the city's website looks like it could be a still from one of the movies, and the "Welcome to Crystal Lake" caption simply makes me adore the matching tagline on the new F13 movie poster.

Crystal Lake

Just an hour north of John Wayne Gacy and an hour south of Ed Gein & Jeffrey Dahmer!

However, no one I knew went to camp there.  Crystal Lake was actually the biggest city nearby, where you would have to go if you needed anything high-falutin' and citified.  I picked up a few classes at the community college there, which, unfortunately for sweatshirt purposes was not named Crystal Lake College, but McHenry County.  For camping, anyone would come out to the sticks, where I lived.    I actually now live even nearer where I did my camping as a Girl Scout at Camp Anokijig in the Kettle Moraine Forest.

This recent revisiting of the Friday the 13th franchise as well as the long-awaited Return to Sleepaway Camp made me wonder, how many of you fellow fans actually attended a summer camp? 

Turns out there just happens to be a contest over at Evil On Two Legs if you'd like to share your own Friday the 13th  memories.


Anonymous said...

When I was growing up I got my horror movies from three sources: a local TV station's weekly double-feature, which usually had a classic from the '40s and '50s, paired with a comedy from the same era; a revival theater not far from my hours; or from the top of my parents car at the drive-in, watching another screen without sound.

I miss all of those things because they are gone, replaced by multiplexes that are technically very nice, but lacking character.

Bloody Mary said...

Man, I'm so jealous of all of you who had parents that allowed them to watch horror movies! The only non-family-friendly movie I saw with my parents was Sixteen Candles, because it was the second feature at the drive-in and my younger brothers fell asleep! I clearly remember the boobies complete with sound-effects! I depended on relatives like my Uncle Hugo, who brought his own kids, or my best friends' parents who would drive us to the surrounding towns to theaters or to rent VHS tapes to watch at their home unsupervised. Another younger cousin was an only child and had his room filled with posters and memorabilia and videos, but by that time thankfully I could drive myself. I scared myself silly by first seeing the first 3 Halloween movies in one sitting while babysitting. And I got to see Creepshow at one classmates' house after school. She had cable AND an Apple IIe computer! Lucky!

Anonymous said...

My mother was the only one who really let me watch whatever I felt like, and standards at the box office were kind of slack back then, so I got to see (for example) Alien without any parents with me. Not such a great idea, as I got so frightened I actually passed out and it wasn't until years later that I saw anything that happened between the time when the facehugger jumped Ash and when they had him on the ship and were looking the thing over.

Bloody Mary said...

lol! I was treated to that one courtesy of my Uncle Hugo, again.

A friend and I actually drove 15 miles to see The Serpent and the Rainbow and were denied admission, and I turned 18 away at college a year later! I guess the guy at the door took his job very seriously!

J. Astro said...

I believe, though I could be mistaken, the "FRIDAY" film you're referring to with the top-bunk/dismembered parts sequence is PART V. :)

Bloody Mary said...

J, that very well could be, V came out just before eighth grade was over, and something about the "new beginning" is sort of ringing a bell. I've blown all of my fun money for now so I'll have to wait until the 25th to find out, but I'm on a mission! Thanks for the tip!

Elwood Jones said...

I was in a similar situation as Sam, in that my sources of horror viewing came from late night TV which would also supply a steady stream of 50's B movies, aswell as assorted Kung Fu and Godzilla movies. My only other source were either going around my friends house, or getting either my dad or Grandma to let me watch them, with my Grandma (a fellow horror fan) being slightly conned into renting them.
As a kid I thought "Psycho" & "Jaws" were the scariest movies and pretty much still do. However I still remember watching "Friday the 13th" for the first time on VHS while in college and everyone loving that you saw the deaths in full.

I used to to rent from a video store called "The Video Bug" which sadly closed down a few years back, but was great while it lasted due to the fact they never threw any stock out, so you could go in and rent old horror films, most of which were still in the large VHS boxes....ahhh nostaliga!!

Also Bloody Mary am I getting you confused with someone else, but did you used to write for Depravedpress.com??

Bloody Mary said...

J. Astro: I couldn't wait and went out to rent them all and see. You were right, thanks! I'm amending my post.

EJ: That must have been another Bloody Mary, this blog is the only place I've written. You reminded me of my Gramma! I remember watching The Omen with them and asking what that was in the grave they dug up. I didn't make any sense of it until I was older. She would holler at my Grandpa for letting me watch Benny Hill with him after she went to bed, though. "Ernie!"