When I was about 12, my mom dropped me off at the movie theatre so that I could see the Disney flick Gus. It was about a mule that played football and I was not interested in either topic. My agenda was escape from my mother and my house where there was never anything to do. However, when I arrived at the multiplex in the mall, I was consumed with all the self consciousness that a 12-year old girl can muster. I was beset with internal questions: “Was I the only one buying tickets to this baby movie? Am I too old to see a Disney movie? I’m practically a teenager! What if everyone in the mall found out and laughed at my childishness behind my back, or worse, to my face?” (A totally improvised illusion based on self-loathing)
After I'd purchased the ticket from the intimidating cool teenager at the ticket booth, I thought I'd implode with shame. I purchased the usual snack bar accoutrement, Junior Mints and a Coke. This was 1976 when those foods were still good for us kids. After all, our breakfast cereals were called "Sugar Smacks" and "Sugar Frosted Flakes." I think they must have taken all the sugar out now because they're just "Smacks" and "Frosted Flakes."
I slipped into the theatre and found it totally empty. I was just standing there with my soda, my candy, and my anxiety-ridden preteen hormones. It quickly came upon me that I had made a gargantuan social mistake, like a booger dangling off the end of my nose. It was inevitable that some cooler, more mature kids would peek into this theatre and I'd be sitting by myself watching a talking mule movie ... and I didn't even like football! I had to get the hell out of there. I turned right around and walked out.
In sheer panic, I ducked into the next theatre without looking at the title and sat down toward the front of the theatre so that nobody would pass by me and find out that I'd snuck in. There were about 20 people in the theatre and they were all adults. So I stayed because I was earnestly hoping I could fit in.
The movie was about an insane asylum in the 1800's. The inmates had taken over and had been torturing the doctors and nurses, but they deserved it. At one point, some of the inmates left the facility and attacked a passing stagecoach with a woman inside. They stripped off her clothes, tied her to a tree and attacked her. I was riveted.
It was during the nudity scene that I really started to be aware of my danger. I was imagining the much cooler teenage theatre employee dragging me out of my seat yelling "Hey! Who let this kid out of the Gus movie!" So I sat on my foot to be taller and practiced different facial expressions in the dark in case they came in and recognized me from the ticket booth. I could not pay attention to the movie because of my concern that I'd be arrested and thrown into mall jail. I could not leave because I couldn't let anyone see me. So there I sat, in my first R movie.
In hindsight, I can see that this movie had quite an impact on my life. I have always tried to avoid insane asylums and mules.