As long as I can remember my Mother took me to movies. It seemed like a weekly event, much like how I do it now on my own. That’s probably why it’s my preferred way to view films, on the big screen.
Now, on the other hand, My Father rarely went to the theater to see a movie. When he did it would be my Mother and I would be there as well. Most of these pictures would be comedies like Airplane! or the latest Pink Panther flick. But, one time we three went to see Visiting Hours. Odd choice, really. Still, it scared the hell out of my Father. It didn’t do much for me, though. A fact that was not lost on my Father.
There was only one time, just one time, when my Father took me to see something as Father and Son. That was for my birthday for that year. I would’ve been turning 16 years of age in 1981. At that time it was rare that many movie theaters cared if you were 17 or older to see R rated (or even unrated gore fest, for that matter). I could’ve seen it on my own or with friends. But, this was for my birthday and my Father wanted to take me to see anything I wanted to see.
And, that film was An American Werewolf In London.
Needless to say we were both impressed. I had already saw The Howling earlier that year, so I had experienced that style of transformation effects. But, my Father was floored, to say the least. He went on about how he was used to The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr. He wasn’t expecting what was presented to us that night.
The thing is, that was the first and last time we ever went to see a movie together as Father and Son. The film was released in 1981. Eight years later, in 1989, my Father died. An American Werewolf In London isn’t just a fun and scary horror film, it holds a special place in my heart for the reason stated above.
Thanks to John Landis, David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, and Rick Baker for a fond memory of my Father.
–Charles T. Cochran