And though Paranormal Activity was rad, and totally freaky, and a must-see, the fact that I was so insanely scared out of my mind had fuck all to do with the movie, and everything to do with the people in the movie theater.
Here's a bullet point version of what went down:
- I ended up going to see this movie by myself, due to a set of boring, unimportant circumstances that don't even warrant repeating. I was slightly apprehensive about hitting up Court Street alone on a Sat night (based on previous experiences), but figured that it was a 6pm movie, so how bad could it be? (A: VERY FUCKING BAD).
- The theater was PACKED. I was slightly surprised that it was so packed, cause this was more of an indie movie that I assumed not everyone has heard about, but, yet again, I was wrong.
- The woman sitting directly behind me, and one seat over had her 4-inch spike heeled feet draped over the seat in front of her (next to my face). Basically, one accidental slip of her foot, and I'd be Stevie Wonder. I wanted to move, but there was nowhere to move to. A security guard walks by before the movie starts and nicely says to her (without my prompting): "excuse me maam, can you take your feet off the seat." She ignores him. He repeats himself. She ignores him again. He shines a flashlight in her eyes to get her attention and she screams: "AW, HELLS NO! YOU BEST GET THAT MOTHERFUCKING FLASHLIGHT OUTTA MY MOTHERFUCKIN EYES!." He responds calmly with: "there's no need to speak to me like that. I just need you to get your feet off the seat." She hisses and then stomps her feet down. He walks 2 feet away, and she puts her feet right back fucking up where they were...in my face.
- The chatter from the roving group of wild teenagers is, at this point, loud enough that you can't even hear the audio from the previews that are running.
- I seriously consider leaving, and then don't.
- I notice that there is a woman sitting across the aisle from me with a baby. A MOTHERFUCKING BABY!? At PARANORMAL!? On a SATURDAY NIGHT!? Let's pretend for a minute that bringing a baby to a movie...any fucking movie, isn't an 11 on a scale of 1-10 of irresponsibility--bringing a baby to a scary movie, during which people are screaming, jumping, and getting generally frightened out of their minds is the sort of irresponsiblity that lands people here. FYI, I "noticed" this baby round about the same time everyone else in the theater did: when it started screaming its fucking head off. The sighs of frustration and annoyance could be heard all around.
- The baby STFU for 15 mins or so, and then started getting fussy again. A couple of "SHUT UPS!" were yelled throughout the theater. The baby stopped crying again.
- 2 mins pass, and the baby starts screaming...like so loud, you can't even hear the movie. An angry woman (no, not me...but good guess) behind the chick with the bebe screams "SHUT THAT KID UP!" The baby mama screams back: DON'T YOU TELL ME TO TELL MY 1-YEAR-OLD TO SHUT UP, BITCH! Though I can't remember exactly, here's round about how the rest of the convo went. AW = angry woman and BM = baby mama:
AW: WELL WHO THE FUCK BRINGS A BABY TO A MOVIE LIKE THIS!? YOU EVER HEAR OF DAYCARE?
BM: LISTEN YOU STUPID CUNT, WHY DON'T YOU SHUT YOUR FUCKING FAT FACE UP! DON'T YOU BE TELLING ME BOUT DAYCARE. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW YOU STUPID BITCH.
AW: DON'T YOU FUCKING CALL ME A STUPID BITCH, YOU GHETTO TRASH BITCH! I WILL BASH YOUR FUCKING FACE IN RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR LOUD ASSED KID IF YOU KEEP IT UP.
(*at this point, yelling has broken out throughout the entire theater. You cannot hear the movie at all, and if you are not participating in the crowdsourced smackdown, you are likely sitting in your seat afraid your ass is gonna get a beatdown like I was).
BM: OH, I WILL CUT YOU, YOU FAT BITCH, IF YOU TRY TO LAY A HAND ON ME. DON'T YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT YOU DUMB CUNT.
(baby starts whaling again).
- At this point, a good number of people are standing up at their seats, yelling, laughing, and cheering this entire fight on. You could completely feel the energy in the room start to shift, and not in a good way. I would have gotten up and left at this point, but the entire fight that was going on was happening 2 feet away from me and I was petrified I was going to get caught in the middle of it. I pulled my phone out of my bag and literally dialed 9-1-1 with my finger hovering over the "send" button, in case things got ugly.
- There was a break in the yelling for a second, and someone in the audience let out with a "BOTH OF Y'ALL NEED TO SHUT THE FUCK UP!" At which point, BM yelled: "I'LL SHUT UP WHEN THIS CUNT BEHIND ME SHUTS UP! ITS HER DAMN FAULT!"
- Finally, a security guard walks into the theater (THANK GAWD), and after spotting him, the two women shut up. The baby is still crying and the guy tells BM that she needs to take her crying baby out of the theater. She ignores him and refuses to make eye contact. He tries again, and she ignores him again. The woman sitting next to BM (her mother, perhaps?), leans over and "shoos" the security guard away--as if to say "its fine." To my utter disbelief, the guy just walks away. He stands in front of the theater for a min or so to see if the baby starts crying again, (it doesn't), and then he just leaves.
- The baby starts crying again.
- Everyone starts yelling again, but the woman sits tight.
- A few minutes later--just enough time for her to feel like she gave everyone a loud and thorough FUCK YOU--BM loudly stomps out of the theater with the crying baby.
That was mostly it, until the end of the movie when these two REALLYFUCKINGSCARY things happen and the entire audience just erupts. I'm not just talking getting loud, I'm talking like jumping out of their seats and moving in a way that felt like people were coming at me (they weren't, but that's what it felt like). The movie was immediately over after these scary moments, and so everyone was getting up anyway, and these two events melded together to make this big mass exodus/jump up thing that felt like the crowd was pushing everyone out of the theater in a scary way.
Here's the thing: if this description seems more funny than scary, I can assure you that I was sitting there in my seat with my heart beating out of my chest, in full-on panic mode for most of the movie. And I am not a chick who easily gets scared. My mother-in-law is afraid to be in her own, upper-middle-class suburban, alarm protected home at night, convinced that there are roving gangs in NJ, ready to attack at any given moment...but I'm the chick who walks alone from the subway late at night, and forgets to lock my door. I'm not proud of these facts, and I'm not suggesting that others behave that way, but the point is: I'm not a fucking scardey cat.
And yet, let me say this with the utmost sincerity: because of tonight, I will never ever step foot in the Court Street movie theater again, because I fear for my own safety there. Call me a pussy, and chalk it all up to me overreacting if you want, but anyone who was there for this particular showing can back me up. This place sucks a dick, and I am done.
Back to the germ-filled, broke-ass purple seats at the Pavillion I go.