So, I kinda screwed the pooch last week, huh? I would like to say that The Crime Killer broke me, but the fact of the matter is I get lazy sometimes. Lazy and drunk. In fact, when not sleeping, I am either lazy or drunk, and, more often than not, both. It is just a quirky character trait that makes me beloved by like 3 dudes in Samoa and this homeless guy that waffles between a thumbs up and the stink eye whenever I am returning my Netflix. He lives by the mailbox, and I am pretty sure he always knows what I rented, thus the different greetings. He just hated The Eyes of Laura Mars and he is not afraid to intimidate strangers to prove it; a misunderstood master of criticism that gets his rocks off humping blue federal property.
But, I digress.
Today's little mid-week spiel will be a bit longer than usual, but only because I want to talk about myself -- my favorite topic.
I am not ashamed to say, flat out, that I was pretty much raised by television. In fact before Camp Counseling became Camp Counseling, it was going to be something very different. It was going to be called Raised by Television and be an autobiographical account of how movies and television played pivotal roles in decisions and events both large and small in my life. This is not to say I had horribly negligent parents who left the T.V. on while they got up to some completely inappropriate and irresponsible hoodwinkery. My parents were pretty decent, all things considered. In fact, they probably could've taught me a hell of a lot, but I chose to learn from Elvira and Joe Bob Brigs and Crow T. Robot to name a few.
My best friends were the UHF dial and old-school black box cable. Prime time for me started at midnight and ended when the sun tried to muscle its way past my heavy eyelids. I spent way too much time staying up 'til 4 AM just to watch the Knife Collector's Show on the Shop at Home network. Pubescent me thought seeing grown men getting way too excited about pocket knives was the funniest thing. Adult me still kinda agrees.
In a way, this lifestyle choice planted the seeds that sprouted my love of camp. It made things awkward because I was never fully awake when hanging out with my friends, and I would flat out lie to them if, instead of hanging out in the dreaded sunlight, I really wanted to watch, say, Porky's. Then again, a true friend would never interrupt Porky's. They must've all been jerks.
Yeah, I probably could've had straight up Stand by Me adventures and bonded closely with the dudes who were around pre- and post- testicular droppage. I probably would have a litany of coming-of-age stories to tell you. However, none of this matters because I had access to the Holy Grail of early 90's cable: Cinemax.
Sure, you could watch Joe Bob Briggs on Showtime and later USA, and he'd always have something wonderful for you. You could tune into Comedy Central and get a fix of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and laugh your ass off. Reruns of Elvira's show, too, were easy to come by and there's nothing quite like the feeling of having an errection during Plan 9 from Outer Space. However, they all paled in comparsion to Cinemax: the channel that would play anything.
Memory is a tricky thing. I forget pretty much everyone's birthday, when I took medication, if I ate in the past 24 hours, and even my name at times, but I remember every movie I saw on Cinemax way back then. And for you, people with nothing better to do but read my rambling, I will use my sweet brain and awesome languification skills to present to you a list of the first five movies I saw on Cinemax in the early 90's. I feel as though they are a good indicator of what shaped me to be the way I am.
As an aside, I tend to think in lists a lot. I like to break things down into lists as well. Just gotta organize and rate most of the things in my life. Like John Cusack in High Fidelity only I am not a blubbering man-baby vagina. Plus, I am relatively sure I ain't plowed Lily Tomlin.
Now, I am going to list the five movies, but I am not going to tell you what they were about. I will give a brief paragraph about how they affected me, but that is it. I feel as though experiencing these movies knowing nothing is the best way to do it.
Well, except for Death Wish 2. Which you should know all about and have seen multiple times by now. Oh yeah. That was the first one. Whoops.
Yes, Death Wish 2 is the first movie I saw on Cinemax. To try to articulate my love for the Death Wish franchise is futile. Though part 3 will always be my favorite, there was something magical about seeing Charles Bronson, dressed like a hobo, shooting Cowboy Curtis. It was as if Chuck knew I was on a better path, and he was murdering all the childish riff raff to make me the manly man I am now.
I also saw The Evil Dead for the first time on Cinemax. That was number two. I am secretly terrible at listing even though I do it all the time. But I guess it's not so secret now, what with you being able to see this, publicly, on the internet.
The Evil Dead was not a comedy. I think many people forget this. It was completely serious and even more completely hilarious. It was my first taste of true, utter camp. I immediately was hooked and, no lie, started envisioning all movie special effects being reimagined with claymation like the end. I really feel that is a tool that isn't used nearly enough any more. It is almost always hilarious. Except when Wes Anderson uses it.
Now, number three is a curveball. It is not campy, nor is it really a movie you'd expect me to talk about. So I won't.
PS: It was Flowers in the Attic.
Goddamn that movie was creepy, but I did find it hilarious it was immediately followed up by a soft-core porn movie. Something with "bikini" in the title. At a young age, I appreciated poor decisions. Then again, my life was a constant stream of them. Still is, too.
Troma entered my life early with Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D. I would love to say that it entered with The Toxic Avenger, but all I knew of good ol' Toxie was from Toxic Crusaders and well, there weren't nearly that many boobs and head crushings in that show. There was a dude with a big nose, though. I like to think it was Lloyd Kaufman playing around with Jewish stereotypes. Only I think he was from Oklahoma. Are there Jews in Oklahoma? This line of questioning is irrelvant, though. The point is Sgt. Kabukiman exemplified and magnified all the things I loved in The Evil Dead and then took it much further over the top than was appropriate or wise. The bombastic Troma spirit of entertainment being king became a siren's song to me.
So, of course, the next movie I saw was Eating Raoul. It was about people who murder and eat swingers. There was an orgy in it, and Ed Begley Jr.gets killed.
Hey remember when I said I wasn't going to tell you what the movies were about?
Also, remember when I stole a quote from Commando?
That was pretty cool of me. I'm a stud.
And, well, yeah. Those are the first five movies I saw on Cinemax. I guess you might have learned a little about me too, reading this list.
Oh dang, I got way too personal with this entry, didn't I?
Gotta fix this.
Here's a Scandinavian giantess singing a sultry song: