The first film I ever saw? Well, at least, the first film I remember seeing and at the cinema was ‘The Reptile.’ Imagine! The first film I saw and at the tender age of six was a Hammer Horror film! In 1966, the same year as the iconic ‘Black Magic’ chocolates commercial’ was released, the great Hammer Horror studios released this chilling and atmospheric piece. And yes, I was 6 years old! My mother had a passion for horror films and, as my father was away, she would take me with her to the weekly Late Night Double Horror bill being shown every Friday evening at the local cinema. And yes, technically, children were not allowed in to see such films as they were rated 18+ but, being a small village and knowing the people who ran the cinema, my mother persuaded them to allow me in, provided she could promise that I would behave. And, and , and, Oh, how well I behaved!
OK, maybe those old 18+ horror movies are tame by today’s standards, probably even quaint, but I was only six years old!
Add to this the fact that I vividly remember my mother telling me, on the short bus ride to the cinema, that she wouldn’t take me home if I was afraid – meaning she wouldn’t leave half-way through the film if I was too scared. However, I interpreted this as meaning she wouldn’t take me home at all if I was scared at any time – before, during or after the film. So what was I to do but watch the film and not be scared because I was terrified that I may not be going home. LOL.
A baptism by fire, the beginning of a life-long passion for horror and a great fondness for those classic Hammer Horror films from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s! Sadly, the 1980’s heralded the death of a great deal of what had been good in cultural terms, as the country slid inexorably into the quagmire of bad taste hair-styles, instantly forgettable, tooth-rotting candy pop and drowned in the greasy slime of over-priced ‘designer labels’, a thankless, impersonal, disposable consumerism fueled by incestuous Thatcherite greed. Everything must change . . . but not always for the better!