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It's the Booze Talkin: Horror movie fans, don't be a jerk in the theater!

11.01.2016by: JimmyO
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Every single October, for the last five years, I’ve had the opportunity to see HALLOWEEN on the big screen. Being in Los Angeles you have a plethora of occasions inviting you to see some cult classic in theatres and it is wonderful. Here is the issue, two out of the five times of watching my favorite horror flick there has been more than a little bad moviegoing behavior from the audience. Sure we all know that Laurie Strode throwing down the knife seems kind of funny or whatever, but this was more than that. This past weekend, one small group in the theatre laughed and made loud comments constantly, while another young woman was involved in a serious texting conversation. Thankfully, most of the audience was respectful and stayed quiet and involved. Unfortunately, that small group managed to make it a bit more challenging to just enjoy the movie.

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It wasn’t just HALLOWEEN. In fact, when THE EXORCIST returned to cinemas for a bit, the same thing happened. The same damn reactions with far more laughter than fright. You’d think that a young girl possessed by a demon using a crucifix in a sexual connotation would be a slapstick comedy with these people. This is not an exaggeration, this is unfortunately a common thing depending on the theatre and perhaps the time. Maybe younger audiences are laughing because the films look old or, to them, just seem out of touch. Yet it isn’t just young people. One year when we went to HALLOWEEN the audience was a mix of a-holes in their thirties and such and they were terrible. Sadly this isn’t just a reaction you find in classic features, it happens in horror movies far too often.

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When THE DEVIL’S REJECTS came out, a “gentleman” in the audience was especially verbal. He made it clear he thought the movie was disgusting. He found it offensive. He really, really, really hated this flick! So why don’t you just f*cking leave man? Movies are damn expensive, and frankly when I pay my money to sit and enjoy a feature presentation I don’t want to hear you. I don’t want to see the glow of your phone. And I don’t really care if you think the scream queen backing into a closet is a stupid idea. If you really feel that you are in the middle of a Mystery Science Theatre or RiffTrax flick, how about you just rent horror flicks at home so we don’t have to hear you bitch and moan about how silly they are!?!

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Of course movie fans all have different reactions when it comes to getting scared in a multiplex. And part of that reaction for some can be laughter. Yet there is a huge difference between nervous and playful laughter opposed to those who feel the movie sucks so bad they must talk crap about it just so others know how awful it is. The beauty of seeing a new genre flick opening weekend is that it should be a fun experience. Horror crowds are awesome when you have the right movie and the right atmosphere, but it only takes a couple of jerks with cellphones, or wannabe comediennes to ruin the film. This kind of behavior unfortunately seems to be especially prevalent in horror.

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As a genre fan, I remember a time when audiences made a ton of noise in a scary flick. They would scream, then laugh because they screamed. They would say things like, “LOOK OUT!” or “Don’t go in there!! The killer is in there!!” and it would all be fun times. In fact, watching a genre flick with likeminded individuals is just this side of cinema heaven. Yet that has changed. While we still have some of the fun reactions during the slasher, torture, creature features, we also have the constant conversations about the movie as it plays - whether they dig it or not it doesn’t matter, this shite is annoying. And then there is that intense desire to pick up your phone during a pivotal scene, just so you can see what your best pal is up to. Just stop!

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but stop being a jerk when watching horror flicks… or any flick for that matter. If you want to cheer, scream and laugh, do it respectfully. Scary movies have always had audiences gasping, talking to the screen or just giggling at something silly. That’s all fine and good, but the constant commentary and phone usage is not cool. It’s distracting. It’s rude. And most importantly, it ruins the movie for nearly the entire audience. How do you deal with it? Well that’s tricky as well because screaming shut the f*ck up can be even more jolting than their chatter. We as an audience need to do better. We need to be respectful to everybody else because they all pay the same price. Is it too much to ask for moviegoers to put their phones away and cut the unwanted dialogue? How do you handle this kind of theatre going etiquette? What is your worst moviegoing experience with an audience?

Extra Tidbit: How do you handle when somebody is being rude in a movie?
Source: AITH

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9:23PM on 11/01/2016
Good article. The thing that stood out for me was Los Angeles. I lived there over 8 years, and have also lived in Chicago & St.Louis for over 10 years each, and by far the most annoying movie audiences were in L.A. I recall multiple times where people's cell phone's went off in the middle of a film. Loudly. I was lucky enough out there to catch a screening of Friday the 13th pt 3 in 3-D & much of the packed house behaved as if they were at a Borat movie. Don't get me wrong, plenty of good
Good article. The thing that stood out for me was Los Angeles. I lived there over 8 years, and have also lived in Chicago & St.Louis for over 10 years each, and by far the most annoying movie audiences were in L.A. I recall multiple times where people's cell phone's went off in the middle of a film. Loudly. I was lucky enough out there to catch a screening of Friday the 13th pt 3 in 3-D & much of the packed house behaved as if they were at a Borat movie. Don't get me wrong, plenty of good things about L.A. & SoCal in general but a few too many movie theater patrons acting like the theater was their own living room.
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8:50PM on 11/01/2016
Thank you for this column. I have experienced the same thing, especially during violent movies. Violent movies would, of course, include horror. I do not know if they attract an immature audience who cannot follow traditional theater etiquette. I do not know if they attract audience-members who want to anti-socially ruin the horror flick for the horror "nerds".
But, I have definitely noticed the same thing that you have.
Thank you for this column. I have experienced the same thing, especially during violent movies. Violent movies would, of course, include horror. I do not know if they attract an immature audience who cannot follow traditional theater etiquette. I do not know if they attract audience-members who want to anti-socially ruin the horror flick for the horror "nerds".
But, I have definitely noticed the same thing that you have.
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3:10PM on 11/01/2016

Well said

This is a big reason why so many people don't go to movies as much - or even out at all. Even bars here in the UK are dying a death as people are choosing to stay home, for the pretty much the same reasons as people choosing to stay at home and watch movies instead of going to the cinema... high costs are just not worth it when you have to deal with ignorant, disrespectful assholes. Why pay through the nose and even risk total strangers ruining the experience when you can stay at home and
This is a big reason why so many people don't go to movies as much - or even out at all. Even bars here in the UK are dying a death as people are choosing to stay home, for the pretty much the same reasons as people choosing to stay at home and watch movies instead of going to the cinema... high costs are just not worth it when you have to deal with ignorant, disrespectful assholes. Why pay through the nose and even risk total strangers ruining the experience when you can stay at home and control the entire thing at a fraction of the cost. For a while my cinema was even doing a quiz thing during ads and trailers that had you connecting to via your phone to play. Even though just through the ads it still felt like encouraging phone use for the actual movie as winners were announced after the movie. Thankfully did not catch on. Not sure if they were trying to entice people who know they are always on their phone to come in or just a bad marketing decision.
With bars it's simple and less surprising - there's alcohol involved, you run the risk of encountering some drunken jerks. But sober jerks in a cinema is not cool. There's no excuse for not considering anyone else who's paid to see a movie. My experience of seeing Crimson Peak - a movie I love and enjoyed a whole lot more when I caught it ahome - was severely disrupted when a couple came in late and sat right next to me. He had a severe body odour issue and she commented the entire way through "what's happening?" "why's she doing that?" "oh she was told not to go in there" "oh that's a knife" "I think that's a ghost". All loudly, no whispers. Cinema was full so couldn't move. Everyone was goaning I can handle the audience participation type of noise you mention, laughing at actual funny parts, screaming at scary parts, even the occasional "don't go in there" etc... as it's showing they're into the movie and enjoying it as much as I am. But treating the experience like you're in your own home when you're not is just shitty. I love going to the cinema, I love the exeperience of seeing certain movies on the big screen, especially horror. But I'm always trying to clock the audience to see who could be a potential jerk, especially groups of people or people just glued to their phones. In terms of dealing with people, I tend not to. I know wimp right? Normally a loud sigh or mutter a just audible "for fuck sake" does the trick but I don't think starting a full scale fight or arguement will help me or anyone else enjoy the rest of the movie. Never seen anyone else start anything either, other than reporting them to an usher who comes in to deal with them. A lot of the time I wait a week or 2 after release so it's quietened down from big crowds and less chance of idiots. Thankfully my experience of seeing classic movies reshown in special screenings has so far been really positive. Everyone there was very like minded in being able to experience something we'd all seen many times but in the way it was originally intended on the big screen. Everyone was just glued to the actual screen, the way it should be.
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