While waiting for a show to start at Toronto After Dark last month, a buddy and I were shootin' the shit about horror movie-going experiences of our youth. Mike brought up Army of Darkness and how he wasn’t able to see it because it was Restricted. That immediately struck me as odd. I definitely remember being parentless while watching Ash kick Deadite ass back in 1993. My father dropped me and a friend off at The Oakville Mews; in a snowstorm no less. That's dedication! Mike however, insisted that it was Restricted and not 14A. I then remembered my pack rat nature and said that I probably had the original newspaper clipping of Army of Darkness’ release somewhere and we could find out for sure.
First though, a little background for my American friends, if you are unaware of the differences in the Canadian rating system. Here in Canada, Restricted is basically the same as your NC-17. The rating that closely doubled the US version of Restricted was 14A, which was anyone under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, until Canada brought in the stricter 18A – under 18 must be with an adult – in 2001. The difference between what was acceptable for minors twenty years ago and today is staggering.
As you will soon see, some of the most innocuous stuff from the nineties was slapped with an ‘R’, but now it is almost unheard of. I can count on one hand the horror films that have actually been Restricted here in the last few years.
Anyway, it turned out that I didn’t have an Army of Darkness movie listing – though Imdb does state it was indeed rated 14A in Ontario – but found a shit-ton of others, which are now below. Take a trip down memory lane with me, won’t you?
I’m sure residents of the GTA will get an extra kick out of some of these theatre listings, as most of these venues no longer exist. Feel free to click to enlarge.
Look closely and you’ll see they had midnight screenings at the Eaton Centre. I’m not sure venturing into the musty dungeon-like corridors of that theater at the witching hour was such a good idea.
Such a harmless movie for all the woes of the world to have been heaped on. I remember being so flabberghasted, I almost went on Speaker’s Corner with my Chucky Doll to voice my outrage.
I had such an awesome time watching this one. I was just so glad that mainstream audiences were getting to see the brilliant genius of Sam Raimi. Not deterred by Hollywood refusing him a superhero property, he just decided to make his own! How ironic that a decade later, Raimi would later be handed one of the biggest on a silver platter.
Sadly missed this in theatres, as I loved this movie when I was a teen.
Freddy’s Dead I actually saw at the Drive-In with my brother and his girlfriend. It was one of the several times they snuck me in. I still have the 3D glasses.
This movie is of note because I saw it on my eighteenth birthday. I basically walked up to the ticket taker with my ID held out in front of me, like a badge of honour. The movie turned out to be pretty excessive in the gore department – at least in relation to the first one – so it was kind of fitting in a way.
The weird thing about this movie is that it had two versions. The theatrical version that I saw was vastly different from the one that came out on video. I actually dug this movie when it came out. I was a big video game geek, so this movie really opened up my imagination. Plus, as I've said before, I had a huge crush on Jenny Wright.
I remember three things about this movie. First was the ewwww factor, Second was the lovely Mädchen Amick and the third was that the hero of the picture was a cat. I have a soft spot for two of those things. (Note: one of them isn’t the incest.)
After watching the previous eight installments from my couch, this was the first one I got to see in a theater. Imagine my disappointment when Jason was hardly in it. I must admit that the ending was pretty epic though.
The Int-er-net? What's that???
I hope you enjoyed those. I have many other clippings and such lying around, so you can look forward to seeing more in a future archives post.
Another change, other than the loosening of the rating system, has been the shift from the smaller theatres to the big multiplexes. There's usually two checkpoints, one for each side of the building and its clusters of theatres. After that point you can pretty much choose which movie you want to see, regardless of what you got a ticket for. There's not enough staff in these places to monitor all the movement, and I don't think they or their managers really care.
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