The movie Arachnophobia was on some channel the other nite, stopped and watched a couple minutes between periods of some hockey game I was watching. While not anything I'm ever going to own on DVD, I do remember liking it. I had gone to see it in the theaters with some friends, which reminded me of the following story.
There was quite the marketing push for this film in the summer of 1990. A quick check of IMDB reveals it came out almost exactly on my 19th birthday. For weeks we kept seeing commercials for this 'comedy' film about a bunch of spiders and the people who were freaked out by them. Seeing as how it starred Jeff Daniels, who I like as an actor (except for Dumb & Dumber; how could he stoop so low?), it seemed like something good to go see.
Either late the nite before the official opening, or one-nite-only a week before the actual opening weekend, there was a sneak preview showing of the film. This is important only from the standpoint of up until the actual release weekend of the film, it was constantly being billed as a comedy. The commercials were edited in a way as to make this look alomst like a goofy 50's horror flick, with that edge of silliness to it that would make the horror aspect seem quaint.
Upon actually seeing the film, in a very dark theater, turns out the comedy aspect was extremely minimal compared to the creepy-crawly horror aspect. I'm not afraid of spiders, but I don't particularly enjoy them either. My friend who had driven us to the movie that nite, however, apparently had an extreme dislike of the creepy little guys, so much so that he was a little tense upon exiting the theater.
We had all enjoyed the movie, we just felt that we might have enjoyed it more had it been properly billed as the horror-first film that it really was. As we get into the car, with me in the seat directly behind the driver, I happen to look down and see a little G.I. Joe type action figure on the floor, and the brain spots an opportunity for comedy. Well, comedy for me, anyway...
While conversation continues about the film as we prepare to drive off, I carefully position the arms and legs of the figure so as to be as outstretched as possible, roughly resembling the size of the angry oversized spiders of the film we'd just seen. Just as my friend is about to start the car, I subtly placed the figure on his shoulder right at the nape of his neck, so that some of it was actually touching his skin. As for his reaction, let's just say it's a good thing I didn't do this while we were moving along on the road. Upon further reflection, it's possible the car might have jerked LESS violently had we actually been moving...
Oddly enough, immediately after the official Friday opening nite, the marketing campaign was switched to emphasize the fact that this was more of a straight-up horror flick. I like to think my little escapde in the parking lot had something to do with this.
Blog Post Soundtrack; The White Stripes, Metallica, Brant Bjork, Prong, Faith No More, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine (love that they got the X-Mas #1 in the UK, BTW)