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Slasher Movies, Catholic Guilt And Friday The 13th

On May 9, 1980 the movie "Friday the 13th" was released. I was 15-years-old, and you had to be 17 to get into an R-rated film.

The movie was created after the success of the original "Halloween" and is considered one of the first true "slasher" movies, about a bunch of teenagers restoring an old abandoned summer camp.

I attended a Catholic high school in the city, but lived in the suburbs about 10 miles away. I hung out with a big group of kids from the neighborhood. Most were my age, but some were a few years older.

Everyone was talking about the movie. Those who saw it right away said it was scary, violent and that there was a bit of nudity and sex. We were not to be denied.

Dave, the unofficial leader of our group, called an after school meeting. After about 30 minutes, it was decided. There were two in our group who hadn't seen the movie yet, both over 17 with driver's licenses and access to a car. The rest of us had BMX bicycles and were highly motivated.

The plan: we pay the way for the two 17-year-olds. They would purchase their tickets, wait for the right time, and then break the lock on the door to the back parking lot, where we would all wait to be let in.

I don't remember how much a movie ticket cost back then, or how many of us had to ride our bikes to the theater. But I do know it cost us just 50 cents a person, enough to cover the cost of two tickets, popcorn, drinks and risk.

The day came and I was a nervous wreck, overflowing with Catholic guilt.

I wasn't old enough or even yet allowed to see R-rated movies at home, like some of the other kids. We were going to break the law. Maybe I shouldn't go. Maybe I would get caught, arrested, disowned and eventually go to hell.

I was 15. I went anyway -- I already got teased enough for going to Catholic school, and if I wimped out I would never hear the end of it.

Waiting in the back parking lot was torturous, and seemed like an eternity. Maybe I had already been caught, lived my whole life, judged and sent to hell.

Finally, the door opened and we all rushed in. We made it into the theater and took our seats. I thought any moment an usher would arrive with a flashlight and demand to see our tickets. It never happened. The movie started and I got wrapped up in it. I liked it for the most part. The sex scene wasn't at all like I had imagined and I was never really scared.

That is, until the very last scene. The music was calm and soothing, leading you to believe it was all over, but there was one last surprise. That scared the hell out of me, but I didn't think anyone else noticed.

The lights came up -- we made it! I was still a little freaked out, and just starting to relax when I learned we were all going to sneak into another movie, "The Hollywood Knights." Why not, they said -- we were already here. I thought we were pushing our luck, and got nervous all over again, but at least it was a comedy.

One by one we all went into the theater across the hall, and found seats together. I was shaking inside, but thought I was doing pretty well hiding it from the others.

I never noticed Dave setting me up. He tipped off the rest of the guys to watch, and then waited for the lights to go down. He went behind my row, got down on the ground, reached under my seat, and grabbed my ankles. I thought it was the killer, and screamed like a little girl. The guys howled with laughter -- thanks, Dave.

That scared me more than any slasher movie I have ever seen.

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