Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Memories of Friday Nights

Back in the early 70s, my younger brother and I (not yet teenagers) were allowed to stay up late on Friday nights to watch horror movies. After the news ended at 10:30 pm, the local station out of San Antonio would broadcast “Project Terror” in which a horror movie from the 50s or 60s would be featured.

The intro to “Project Terror” was quite memorable. It began with this cheesy synthesizer soundtrack and a green atom spinning around on the screen. Then, the narrator would announce in a spooky voice:

“Project Terror! . . Where the scientific . . .and the TERRIFYING . . .emerge!”

Here it is. (I can’t believe it was available on the Youtubes.)

Isn’t that great? Watching that opening sequence was always so exciting. It meant that for the next two hours, we’d be unsupervised, late into the night, watching a horror movie and letting our fantasies run wild. Fun stuff when you’re ten and twelve years old.

However, I remember very well the first time we were allowed to do this. (We were probably eight and ten years old.) The movie was called “Them!” and it was about these giant ants that had invaded the sewers of Los Angeles; no doubt, their enormous size being the result of radioactive fallout. The movie’s tension built and built, you never saw the ants until later. But the first time someone got eaten by an ant, it only occurred off-screen – you only heard the guy scream.

My brother and I looked at each other, utterly terrified, quickly shut off the TV and scurried to bed. It was just too much for us.

Gradually, we got much braver and could finish a horror movie with no problem. These usually involved having a friend or two over for a sleepover. Of course, three or four boys under the age of 13 watching a man gouge his own eyes out as in “The Man With X-Ray Eyes” elicited uncontrollable shrieks of pleasure. Mom would appear and warn us to keep it down or the TV would be turned off.

I wonder what kids do these days on a Friday night? Do they have something as simple and pleasurable as “Project Terror” with which to entertain themselves?

I hope so. I hope that thirty years from now, some middle-aged guy will be blogging about the fun memories he made with his brother and friends, late every Friday night.

Oh, and here’s that cool scene where the guy gouged his eyes out. It was on the Youtubes as well.

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At 7:13 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I still can't watch horror movies, no matter how lame they are...they freak me out. :)

On Friday nights when I was young, sometimes we'd stay up late and watch "Friday Night Videos" at midnight. That was EXCITING--before MTV came along. :)


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