“Be faithful to me tonight,” he cooed, prettily, wrapping himself around my leg as I tried to retain my concentration on Traci Lords and her notoriously notable, legitimate acting debut in the remake of Not of This Earth.
It was the spring of 1988. I was home, on a quick break from college, and the “he” in question was my first horror movie buddy. He had a tendency to annoy me with such requests, over the years, as we watched such outrageous fare as Bloodsucking Freaks, Creepers and Friday the 13th, Part 4 together. I knew him as Father Lou and I think, despite our family’s closeness to him, that is what I always referred to him by. I can’t ever remember just calling him “Lou”. Due to my dad’s insistence, he gained a position as “favorite family uncle” during the latter part of my freshman year of high school. My father, a determined social achiever who was running a huge school district by the end of his career, was hot to make his way into the upper reaches of our local parish and a friendship with the new priest was a sure way to do it.
Father Lou endeared himself to us all, though, with his outrageous wit and sense of fun and cookie jars full of peanut M and M’s and red licorice. Most importantly, he embraced my love of all things terror related, something my parents thought made me a bit mentally unbalanced, and we were soon trading paperback novels with each other and, excitedly, rhapsodizing over our favorite films. While he made inappropriate comments, here or there, in my early teen years, it was once I hit 17 and he began to suspect that my friendships with other men in summer stock companies and various theater programs might be sexual in nature, that his efforts to seduce me tripled.
Once or twice, I would give in.
Questionable teen hormones and pure frustration allowed me to grant him a quick rendezvous or two in which his smooth rotund stomach and firm yet stubby penis were the primary participants. Both times, he would weakly ejaculate before I even had to touch him and he would quickly pull up his impossibly large tighty whities and run upstairs to clean up before my parents arrived to indulge in church gossip with him or just to simply visit.
Honestly, I’ve never quite known where to place him on my personal sexual registry. Inappropriateness aside, I was already 18 and in my final year of high school by the time, worn down from repeated advances, I allowed him a first, furtive dalliance. In many ways, I suppose my experiences with him are akin to the relations that I had with various men that I slept with, out of last call desperation, in my younger days in the city. He’s just another example of bad, instantly regrettable sex – a bizarre and off color story of my youth. He haunts me only in these dusty nostalgic ramblings or in those midnight hours as I bike the city streets, worn out from a work shift at the rib joint, and recollections, distant at first and then furtively prying, such as this overtake me. Otherwise, therapy and distance have reduced his foothold in my life, long ago.
More than anything, as a fully fledged cine-maniac, what I am most thankful for, I realize as I devise this, is that these woeful encounters did not color my love for the films we viewed. Many of them were indicative of the more sordid excesses of the genre – making the fact that my first viewing of them was with him all the more interesting, I suppose – and I still revel in that juicy freedom. Talk to an ardent fan of any type of media and oftentimes who they were with and the positivity that surrounded said creation are highly indicative of their devotion to it. Here, I am glad that sometimes celluloid itself is enough. That art, in whatever form it may arrive in, does indeed prevail.
I still adore Creepers (and Phenomena, its more legitimate rendering). It was my introduction to Italian horror cinema just as Bloodsucking Freaks was my first, very uncomfortable witnessing of an extreme form of grindhouse cinema. Both were bold and unconventional, aspects that I have wished for in my own life. These characteristics have, naturally, informed me more than anything else and I am fortified in the knowledge that they peek through at the most appropriate moments. Most especially, I hope, when recounting moments like this.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!