My Take by Jim Carl - February 22, 2012
DEADTIME STORIES (1986)
I had absolutely no reason to see the low-budget horror flick, Deadtime Stories. I'd never heard of it. Didn't even know of its existence until I saw the creepy ad in the Abilene Reporter News, the largest newspaper in my surrounding West Texas counties. My buddy and I decided, what the heck, let's give it a chance. We drove 40 miles to the Mall of Abilene, bought our tickets, and settled down with our tubs of popcorn and large cherry slurpees. What happened next still brings a smile to my lips more than a quarter-century later.
First of all, Deadtime Stories is an anthology horror film, like Creepshow, but without any of that film's clever touches. Secondly, it's a low-budget horror film, like Halloween, but without any of that film's scares. Lastly, it's in color and its dialogue is in English, like Carrie, and that's the nicest comparison I can make between those horror films. When it ended, I stomped into the lobby and demanded to speak to the manager. It was the first time in my life that I had demanded to speak to someone in authority over a perceived outrage. How, I asked, quite innocently, can such a terrible film be allowed to screen in his theatre? (Oh, naive youth. How I miss you.) The manager, who must have been a human being in another life, was a polite troll, to be fair, and explained that there was nothing he could do for me. I'd purchased the ticket. I'd watched the movie. The film hadn't broken, nothing went wrong during the presentation. That I didn't enjoy the movie was my own tough luck. He may have smirked a bit. I retreated, but only to regroup.
The next morning, I telephoned the entertainment editor of the Abilene Reporter News and described my experience, in loving detail, and didn’t neglect the polite troll’s stupid explanation. I might have smirked a bit myself. Stunningly, the editor ran the story, what a nice man. It read: "Irate Customer from Sweetwater Demands Movie Refund." A few days later, I received twenty-five free movie passes in the mail. Lesson learned: Publicity works both ways and numbers count. If complaining to the theatre manager doesn't get you free movie tickets, try complaining to 250,000 of his patrons and see what happens. That, and I hate trolls.
Do you have a movie experience that infuriated you? An experience that made you vow revenge against the theatre? Tell me about it.