Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vampires Are Apparently Not Funny

Mama Kat's Weekly Writing Prompt: I sometimes laugh when I’m uncomfortable…or being yelled…or in church…or at a funeral. Write about a time when you laughed at an inappropriate time.

I didn't date much in high school. (That "much" should read "ever" really.) I can't really explain why. I wasn't asked much and I didn't have the nerve to ask. I had body image issues and thought of myself as the "fat girl." I wasn't really, but we're all a little skewed in high school. I was also wicked busy. Which is more an excuse than a reason, but most of the time, when my friends were frantically trying to fit everything in and keep their boyfriends from feeling abandoned, I was content with having one less ball in the air.

There were times, though, when I desperately wanted a date. Not a boyfriend, necessarily, just a date. See, all my friends and their significant others were friends. Sometimes, a bunch of us doing something turned into group date and no one bothered to tell me. I'd think that a whole bunch of people were going somewhere to hang out, get there, and discover that I was the only one not partnered up.

That is a tricky situation. If you sit by yourself quietly and alone, you'll seem like a party pooper, the one girl not having fun at the party, so to speak. If you cozy up to one of the couples and proceed to ignore the fact that they are there together, you'll look like you're trying to get between them. This led to a lot of trauma in my life.

There is one guy, in particular, a guy who really couldn't stand me, but who only seemed to date my friends, who I would like to apologize to. I cried at his house once and it was bad. Traumatic for everyone involved, I think. What can I say, I was young, lonely and didn't have my car, so I couldn't just leave. I don't think he ever forgave me. It doesn't keep me up at night, but you know. Sorry.

But that's not what I want to tell you all about.

In 1994, I was 16. I was a morbid kid, working my way through the complete works of Stephen King, writing depressing poetry and trying desperately to be different from anyone/everyone around me. Later that year, a group of us would burn a Barbie doll for a student movie and I would hang her charred head from my rearview mirror, in what I perceived to be a scathing critique of fashion and pop culture. Also, in 1994, Interview with a Vampire hit the big screens. You can imagine that for a morbid kid like me, this was a big deal. I was dying to see the movie. So, when one of my friends mentioned that a big group of my friends were all going on opening weekend, I jumped at the chance.

If you were to find yourself on one of these group dates masquerading as a non-date outing, movies were the best. There was no talking and plenty to occupy yourself with while someone held hands/made googly eyes/made out next you.

I was neither shocked nor appalled when I realized that this particular trip included 4 couples... and me. Disappointed, sure a little. But, vampire movie makes things better. When I ended up a group movie date by myself, I always tried to sit alone. Not across the theater alone, but on the end of the group, maybe a row in front of them if it was a big group. The idea was to not be surrounded. Strategic.

When we walked in the theater, the previews were already going and I hate nothing on Earth more than missing the previews. Everyone was whispering frantically, trying to work out who sat where, and not wanting to miss anything, I didn't pay attention and slid into the row and plopped down. Moments later I realized that I was not only between two couples and in the row behind two couples, but my girlfriends (who were always more sympathetic to my plight) were not next to me, their boyfriends were.

Vampire movie. Vampire movie. VAMPIRE MOVIE, I chanted in my head. This is going to be fine. Vampire movie.

The movie started and Christian Slater (man, I loved him) appeared and all thought of group dates and my life doomed to loneliness were forgotten in a sea of vampiric goodness.

I loved it. It was a wild ride and little, unknown Kirsten Dunst? Seriously? That kid could act! It was all going swimmingly.


Until someone got sliced in half. I have never minded a little of the old ultraviolence in my movies and blood and gore don't phase me in the least. But, I ask for one of two things: either the violence/blood/gore should be so fake as to be campy, so ridiculous as to be funny or it should look real. Period. Lukewarm violence need not apply.

Interview mostly went with the realistic option, and it was mostly fabulous. But there, in the background of one shot, is a guy getting sliced in half. (Now, I should note that no one seems to remember this part, but me. I can't find it in any "mistake lists" from the movie. It may not exist. That's okay. This is how I remember it.) The guy gets sliced in half, with a sword (which is already suspect) then the top half of his body falls to the floor, the bottom half remains standing and spurts blood.

So, I am not a doctor, but a heart (if a vampire even had a working heart) would be in the top half of the body, no? So, spurting blood should be the realm of the top half of the body. The bottom half should sort of ooze blood. Plus, I doubt a pair of corpse legs would maintain balance for very long.

I burst out laughing. I laughed really loud. It was funny! What? I am NOT warped. Well, maybe a little. Anyway, this was a packed theater, a horror movie and a pretty intense scene. And I, well, I laughed so loud that Brad Pitt probably turned toward Kentucky and wondered what the heck was going on.

Both of the boyfriends sitting next to me shot me twin looks of horrified repulsion and tried, in vain, to scoot as far as possible away from me. The two couples in front of me turned in their seats and stared, open-mouthed at me. The large group of total strangers surrounding our little group tried very hard not to stare.

The bad news is that for one of those guys, I will forever be "the girl who laughed at the vampire movie." The good news is that after that, people tended to think twice before they dragged me off on a group date without mentioning that everyone else would be coupled up.

And the double good news is that it crushed a crush I had on one of my friend's boyfriends. I'm sorry, but if you don't find that funny, well, you're better off without me.



Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

OMG OMG OMG! I know that scene, and I, too, found it fricking hilarious! In fact, Laurell K. Hamilton has a hilarious scene in one of her Anita Blake books where Anita and her vampire boyfriends hoot and holler at the absurdity of this movie. And I gotta say, this post is butt-kickingly funny. Funny, as in, laughing so hard but trying to be quiet at work that I'm snorting under my breath and tears are rolling down my face funny. You aren't the only twisted one, girly. You really aren't! LOL

Jessi said...

Oh my goodness, I am sooo happy that you remember this too. I have told people this story for years and the only response I get is, "I don't remember that part." And then to not find it anywhere on the internet. I was terrified that I had made up the whole thing as an excuse for laughing like that.

Suze said...

You know, I remember seeing that movie (was I in that group with you? Probably) and I don't remember anything about it except that it was kinda campy. And that Kirsten Dunst was pretty awesome.

Kisha said...

I completely remember the angst of being the only single chick on the group dates-totally feeling you there. And what? I think laughing hysterically at cheesy violence is perfectly appropriate:)

Jessi said...

Suze - Yes, yes you were. I am relieved that your memories of me are not colored by this event.

Kisha - I think there may be nothing worse. And yeah, I'd still laugh now.

Steph said...

I have never seen this movie, because while I do believe in vampires, I do not believe in Tom Cruise. Although I do love Kirsten Dunst. No one who has seen Drop Dead Gorgeous or Bring It On can NOT like Kirsten Dunst.

God, that ninth wheel thing (or whatever it was) sounds awful. I rarely had a boyfriend for longer than a few months, and never in high school, so I totally relate.

Becca said...

Hey, I was 16 in 1994 also! This brings back memories. I think those with darker minds just understand life more, not to say anything bad of the sunshine bunch. The interest in vampires for some, at these those of the non-sparkling variety, may come from their representation of human nature stripped of societies demands. The innate instincts. Not the whole "blood craving" thing but simply the suppression of human nature. Vampires don't fight it, and when fiction depicts they do it humanizes them.

Ah, enough rambling from me. I probably don't make sense to anyone but myself. But your post caught my eye.

Suze said...

Jess, I don't even remember who my date was, but I only had 2 boyfriends in high school so I've got a 50/50 chance of guessing right. It was probably the first one, though, and if it was then believe me you were better off as the single girl, trust me. But you know that ;)

Jessi said...

Steph - I don't believe in Tom Cruise anymore, but I was but a tiny thing when I saw Cocktail and I used to think he was dreamy. Plus, Christian Slater. Plus, Brad Pitt. Plus, vampires. I was doomed.

Becca - I think you are right. There is definitely a reason that the vampire myth and legend has held so long and fast to our culture.

Suze - It was the first, and I was better off, I'm pretty sure. It was hard to see that then, though.

Tessa said...

You write exactly as you would say it and I find it F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!! Every time I read this blog, I feel like you are sitting there talking to me in person. HI-larious!! Well done and no I don't recall that particular scene, but I did like the movie. Is there a Brad Pitt movie where he has long hair (fangs or not) that is not worth watching until the tape/dvd no longer works. I mean seriously. I'm still waiting for "Tristen" to ride in on his horse, kill a bear with his bare hands and whisk me away. Anyone else?

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Just wanted to let you know I wrote my own post today about "inappropriate laughter that makes people think you are serial killer material."

Leah said...

Hi there! I'm stopping by from Mama Kat's workshop. I loved this post! That is absolutely awesome! I wish I remember that particular scene from "Interview with the Vampire" though...Hmm.. might have to check out that movie and look for it.