Hercule Poirot turned to the group of suspects seated in the Orient Express dining car. “It is now quite clear to this detective that the murderer of Colonel Throckbottom is none other than….(COUGH, COUGH, COUGH, A-A-ACHOO!) who has cleverly been disguised as (RATTLE, RATTLE, CRUNCH!)”
At this climactic moment in the movie, Poirot raised his hand to point to the perpetrator and the entire row in front of me stood up to remove their coats or to leave for parts unknown. When I cry at movies, it is often caused more by the audience than the film.
We movie goers have to deal too often with the coughers, sneezers, snackers, talkers, wrigglers and shoe-losers sitting near us. I sometimes don’t get to see an entire movie until years later when it’s on TV. Until TCM ran “The Grapes of Wrath”, I’ d thought it was a story about a strike at a winery.
Snacking at the movie theater is a nice tradition, but it can be overdone. The couple in front of me recently consumed two bags of popcorn, four candy bars and a sack of donuts. I felt like I was playing PacMan. It was very distracting.
The noisy eaters are the worst. Without realizing it, they add sound effects to a movie. A nearby wolfish potato chip chomper spoiled “Gone With the Wind” for me. When Rhett Butler angrily swept Scarlett off her feet and carried her up those stairs, I thought I’d heard cracking and assumed he’d broken the poor girl’s back.
Laughter in a theater can be quite infectious and enjoyable, but sometimes it can be disturbing. The jolliest loud laughter I ever heard was from a gaunt, hatchet-faced old man sitting next to me. It was during “Psycho’s” chilling murder scene in the shower. I settled for sponge baths for weeks after that.
“Oh, I saw this picture. You’ll love it,” the ‘spoiler’ tells his companion. When you hear this, change your seat immediately to avoid his or her running commentary. “Now watch this! Watch what he does now! Watch!” Does he think we’re going to stop looking at the screen after paying so much for a ticket?
I encountered one of the more imaginitive movie house nuisances once in a Morristown theater. I was trembling through a “Friday the 13th” sequal in 3-D when I suddenly felt an icy cold hand on the top of my head.
As I fought off a fainting spell, I thought, ‘This 3-D is much too realistic.!” But then I heard a woman shouting beside me in the aisle. “This is our row, Sylvia. I remember we were six bald heads from the back.”