Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Like most kids born in the late 70’s and early 80’s I had a movie rental addiction. I was an only child throughout the 80’s and my parents were extremely young. They had a lot of life to live and I was a good enough kid that I wasn’t getting into too much trouble at those ages so my parents had a certain amount of freedom that most parents wanted. They could leave me at home while they went and had fun and I was privileged enough to stay at home by myself. I had friends from the neighborhood that didn’t have the same privilege and of course every one of them wanted to be at my house all the time. At that age just like most kids I was absorbing everything and anything and my parents (when their friends or other parents weren’t around) would let me watch whatever I wanted. I mean I had to go to bed on time during the school year but on the weekends my education was thoroughly provided by the television. My dad had a whole bunch of blank long play tapes and he would always record movies at all times of the day. That’s back when HBO would send out the little guide book every month about what was coming on for the whole month. We also had Showtime and Cinemax #blessed! He recorded all of the Friday the 13th movies up until probably 5 I think and then whatever else looked cool for the month. We couldn’t afford to buy videos so I wore those tapes out, we had Rock n Rule, The Breakfast Club, Robin Hood(the animated Disney movie) She, Warrior of the Lost World, all kinds of crazy movies.
The first time I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street was after my cousins left the house on a movie night that my parents and their parents watched in utter horror. Me and the rest of the kids made the mistake (at least for the others but not me) of walking through the living room right at the part of the movie where the woman is getting thrown around the room an Freddy is gutting her. They yelled at us to leave but I couldn’t get that gruesome image out of my head. So later that night I watched the movie and fell in even more love with horror. I mean Jason and Pamela laid the groundwork for my obsession with horror but I wanted more.
The older I got my parents would take me to the video store more and more, almost every Friday night. I didn’t have time for games, I wanted Horror and Sci-Fi! I spent a lot of tone at my parents friends house listening to records and making mix tapes and before we went there they would stop at the video store and they would let me pick out whatever movie I wanted. One of those times I saw Mad Max for the first time at the suggestion of my dad. Later on that night I saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time on midnight TV all cooped up in the back bedroom by myself.
Those two movies shaped almost everything I watched for the next ten years. I memorized actors before IMDB, Tom Savini was a God to me, Stan Winston and Arnold Schwarzenegger enamored me and Chow-Yun Fat became my hero! All my friends thought I was crazy for watching movies in other languages but I didn’t care, if it had a cover that called to me from the shelf, I was renting it. I gravitated towards Anime, Horror, Science Fiction, and everything I hadn’t already rented 50 times! I memorized parts of the movies and quoted what I thought was cool around my friends. Oliver Stone taught me life lessons while Conan taught me the rules of life. My parents always took me to movies at the Mann 4 Plex Theatre by the old Wal-Mart because it was cheaper to go get a happy meal before we went and buy a .25 cent candy bar and sneak it into the theatre. I saw everything good and most of the time it was just me and my mom in the theatre by ourselves.
I hated school because when I got home and the hours before my mom got home the tv was all mine. My dad was always at work, most weeknight he was working on a rush job of fixing typewriters and computers. both of my parents gave me the best gift and that was the gift of cinema. I will end this post here and continue next time with being a teenager at the video store.