Wednesday, 12 July 2017
The buzz of watching what we weren't supposed to.
Oobie's video shop on the main street at home was my heaven as a teenager. I lashed so much money into that place as a young lad it was ridiculous. They never asked for proof of age which just rocked. Xtravision up the road had a newer selection but Oobie's was far better. Older stuff, foreign stuff, cult stuff I'd never heard of before. That shop introduced me and the boys to John Woo, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Lo Wei and George A. Romero and I'm forever grateful. And then there was the treasures hidden under the counter. No no no, it wasn't porn, but it was illegal. The films that were banned in Ireland.
Stuff like The Exorcist and A Clockwork Orange ( both not technically banned but very unavailable ), The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Meet The Feebles, Man Bites Dog, The Bad Lieutenant etc and a nice selection of the infamous video nasties of the 80's.
Oh man the thrill of getting your hands on this stuff was great. Hanging around in the shop until it was empty and then sidling up to the counter, making shite small talk, while the bloke behind the counter looked at you in utter bemusement,knowing exactly what you were up too. The video's had home made labels and were on the verge of falling apart. They were copies of copies and looked awful but we didn't give a fig. We'd bring them to which ever house had no parents for a few hours and pile around the TV.
Roaring the house down during the eyeball scene in Zombie Flesh Eaters
Being absolutely traumatised by the home invasion scene in Man Bites Dog, so much I had to go into the garden to stop myself getting sick, and the other bastards laughing out the window at me.
Trying to act hard and pretend not to be scared during The Beyond and failing miserably.
4 of us literally bouncing around the house with glee during that insane Evil Dead ending.
A friend's granny walking in on us during the crucifix bit in The Exorcist and making us say Our Fathers ( I'm not lying here)
Of course all these viewings with accompanied by copious Silk Cut Purples & Benson And Hedges just to make it all even more cool!! We were 16, we thought we were the absolute shit.
The vast majority of the time the films disappointed us by not living up to the hype but every now and then they were great. It wasn't about the quality of the films though. It was the buzz of watching something forbidden and getting away with it. It was like gambling. It's not about what you win but about the tension and adrenaline kick of wondering would you win.
Another place was car boot sales and flea markets. Film collector heaven. You could find anything there. There was a great flea-market in Dublin near St Stephens Green shopping centre that was full of treasures. I'd go into Easons, read Dark Side magazine then stroll up to the flea market and have a nose. They rarely had what I'd just read about but you nearly always left with something good.
That buzz doesn't exist anymore. Everything is easily available in seconds. Netflix, Youtube, streaming sites or a simple click on amazon. Stuff that was banned and only available on ropey 3rd generation VHS copies now gets pristine blu-ray releases. It's great to see these films how you were supposed to but it's just not the same. The thrill is gone.
I suppose part of it is growing up too. I still love horror films but I've lost interest in the gory stuff. Give me a solid ghost story now and I'm happy out.
It was fun while it lasted though.
Any dodgy movies memories of yer own to share?