• ERIC BUTLER

In the beginning ...

When I was writing last week's post about movies that may have influenced my journey as a horror fan, I had another idea. I am going to focus on a handful of horror movies from every year of my life - and where to find them. Some years there may be 5 others 20. I may even miss a few. So if you have a favorite movie I glossed over or ignored, please let me know in the messages or hunt me down on Facebook.

Of course, I wasn't hitting up the theaters as a newborn so for the first 4 to 5 years I will be speaking of movies I saw either on cable or from the local video rental stores when I was older. Kids today don't get just how mind-blowing it is to simply reach out through the cloud and find about any movie you may want to watch at any given time.


Back in my day...

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There were 4 ways to watch movies: at the theater, rent them on VHS, watch them edited for TV and basic cable, or get them uncut on premium cable(this was HBO at first with The Movie Channel, Showtime, and Cinemax coming a little bit later).


Unlike today you couldn't go to a channel's app and stream any movie at any time. You had to get a TV guide or check the local paper to see what was coming up for the week.


But you could set up the DVR and then watch it whenever you wanted right?

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Aren't you cute?


No, you had to sit there and watch it from start to finish. Although you could tape it on VHS and watch it later ... even pause like a magician. I'm sure most people my age had several VHS tapes with 2 to 3 movies on them that had their favorite movies and most likely a ton of crazy 80s commercials.


Unlike basic cable today, which seems to show endless amounts of Law and Order, there was a time that the main stations played MLB, NBA, sitcoms from the 50s-70s, and blocks of cartoons and movies. TNT, USA, and TBS were the main stations to find huge blocks of horror movies on Friday nights, Saturday mornings/afternoon, and a random Tuesday or Wednesday depending on what season was in play. You would find 2-10 movies that fell into a sub-genre of horror that allowed you to grow your knowledge of obscure and often terrible movies.


But sometimes you discovered gold. The other way to find some amazing movies was to get a ride - or in my case walk for about an hour - and go to the rental place. Now I was a lucky kid whose parents filled out a card that gave me carte blanche to rent anything in place.


FYI this was in deep south Alabama so there was no back room.

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So any time I could scrape together a couple of bucks or my mom wanted to reward me, I headed to the video store to find a new horror gem or rent the newest Nintendo game available. For those who might not know, you could keep older movies/games for 3-5 days without paying any extra. So I hung out in the actual sections more often than not - plus New Releases were mostly for Friday viewings if you weren't heading to an actual theater.


I spent 2nd through 10th grade in Alabama. I lived on the Army base Ft Rucker until my parents divorced while I was in 7th grade and then my mom and I moved to a neighboring town, Enterprise. That was cool with me because they were the only town with a movie theater within a 30-40 minute drive - excluding the one on the base of course.


Not just a movie theater in fact, but 3.

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They were owned by the same company, but they were spread across the town to fit into preexisting buildings I assume. 2 of the theaters were in strip malls that faced each other and were divided by the largest street in town. I wish I could remember for sure, but I think each one had 2 movie screens each. Then a little farther down the way, near an old Psycho-styled motel, was a "newer" theater that had 4 screens. I have fond memories from all 3 - and yes there was a card at each one with a note to let me go see whatever. My mom was tired of having to get out of the car to buy my ticket.


So this quick peek into how we old-timers may have consumed our movie content has rambled on way longer than I expected. I feel like I need to end this here because any more would just sound like bragging. The movie poster above gives you a hint to the biggest horror movie of 1975, and it will join a list of about 10 more this Sunday as I roll out the first post of my newest project.


Okay, just one more ... yes, there was a Shoney's in front of theater #2 (screens 3 & 4).


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