I can't believe I had forgotten about this encounter for over a decade! It didn't come back to me until I was perusing this sub. Gee, thanks for that, I guess.
Anyway, it was the second week of January 2006. I remember that because it was the week after the first Hostel movie was released and I really wanted to see it, so I did.
I had to google its release date, but I remember that I saw it the week after.
For the decade surrounding this time in my life, I was a bartender so, if you're familiar with that lifestyle, you'll understand me when I say that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were my weekend.
I often had to do things by myself as all my non-partying friends had "real" jobs and were never available on weekday afternoons.
It was a Tuesday when I went to see a matinee showing of this flick at an already dying mall, so, needless to say, I was one of two people in the theater for the 11:30 start time.
The other person watching the movie is the reason for this post.
Other than the one seat, I had my pick of spots and so I chose a one in the upper-middle section of the theater.
I always like to get to the movie before even the previews start and I was taken aback a little by a man sitting in the middle seat in the front row. Like, the very front row closest to the screen.
Fine, whatever. He was wearing a yellow rain slicker, hood part covering his head.
He was sitting so still that I didn't even notice him until a particularly bright preview came on the screen and reflected of his rain coat. He didn't move at all. He had no drink or snacks.
He just sat there with his head craned far up in order to see the screen from his seat. It was almost creepy how still he was. Just sitting there.
I made a point to keep my own snacking quiet as to not draw any of attention towards me. I don't know. It was just a super weird vibe.
So, once the movie started and the theater went dark, I put him out of my mind. He would rocket back to the front of my attention not long after.
Remember the first real "gruesome" scene in the movie where one of the main characters gets his Achilles tendon sliced open?
! That scene was startling enough, but what added to it was the horrendous laughter that rumbled from the front row.
The guy was laughing maniacally, and I think I remember him clapping once at that scene, too. It wasn't like a laugh that all of us horror movie people blurt out when someone gets killed or whatever.
It was like Krusty the Clown after riding a rail of coke. His laugh would end as abruptly as it started and he laughed at every single damn scene where an innocent person got injured or worse.
He never laughed when the "bad guys" in the movie got theirs, though. Cool. It was like he was living vicariously through the killers and completely getting off on it.
All the while, he never moved, never took of his jacket. Even his shoulders barely moved during his laughing fits.
I wanted to piss myself and by the time movie was over, I was already standing near the exit with one foot out the door.
I exited the theater and went right into the lightly populated mall walkway, staring at the theater door the entire time. I never saw him leave.
It bothers me that I never actually saw his face. I guess he could be anyone.