My Take by Jim Carl

When Prophecy came to my hometown in 1979, all the boys in my 5th grade class lost their minds. Going into the theatre, we were the very model of decent Christian children; coming out, we were savages to the core. Prophecy was a PG-rated horror movie, and it delivered on the bloody good stuff. The scene where Mama Bear crunches on the head of that guy in the jeep became, at least to us pre-teens, an instant classic. And how about that scene with the kid in the yellow exploding sleeping bag? Another gruesome moment we will forever remember, gleefully. For those of us raised on a vegetable diet of Walt Disney movies and the occasional Bigfoot documentary, it was carnal stuff; practically X-rated. I've read about kids in the 50s, terrified by Mars invaders, blobs, creatures from beneath the sea, and pod people. Every generation, it seems, has its own terrors. In 1979, ours was getting decapitated in the dark woods by an overgrown monster with bad acne.

For the next week, we re-enacted that head-chomping scene during PE class in the school yard so many times that, Mrs. Rattefeller, a math ogre who wouldn't be caught dead reducing fractions at something called Prophecy, punished us by sending the whole gang to the vice-principal's office. It was the first time in my life I'd ever gotten into trouble at school because of a movie. It was worse than getting caught cursing by your parents. I remember all of us standing there, cloaked in gloom, waiting to be called into the office, fully expecting to be expelled, and mentally preparing the perfect lie to save our own skins. These were, after all, school authorities, the higher-ups, the big enchiladas. We may have cried a bit. We were kids, and we were scared, and the idea that a silly monster movie had defeated us was shocking the pretty fool out of our minds. Prophecy was a traitor and a Judas, and none of us were going to graduate 5th grade because of it.

Did we eventually get paddled or sent to detention?  Expelled for being idiots who loved monster movies?  No, not at all, but it was a near thing. To this day, I believe the vice-principal felt pity for us, perhaps knowing that eleven year-old boys were supposed to behave like savages, and possibly agreeing with our tribal assessment that all teachers named Rathefeller were part of a dark coven. We were returned to our classrooms without bruises on our hides. Wanna know the funny part? Mrs. Rathefeller actually winked at us in the school yard several days later. It was the wink of a pod person. Despite Prophecy, she remains one of my favorite teachers of all time.

 

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