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I think I was nineteen when I first saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original, not the remakes or the sequels. In fact, I think when I was nineteen, there WERE no remakes or sequels yet. The WAY I saw it, though, was significant. Y'see, I saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time while I was out in the woods in the middle of the night.It was a campout, y'see. I was out in a state park with a scattering of friends, in the middle of October, which is actually a very pleasant time to be outdoors in central Texas; cold weather doesn't really begin until November, but the weather cools off and is quite pleasant. We were building fires and pitching tents and drinking beer and smoking... um... cigars, and having a lovely time, the way you're supposed to when you actually pay to camp in a place what has water faucets and even the occasional power socket (if you pay extra). And in the early afternoon, the church people showed up. My friends and I looked at each other and said, "Wuh-oh." And promptly stubbed out our... um... cigars. It was some Baptist youth group thing, and they pulled up in several church vans and disgorged a flood of sleeping bags and camping equipment and thirty or forty tweeners who promptly began running around and making all kinds of noise while the five grownups seemed preoccupied with setting up tents and establishing their Baptist bivouac. We shrugged, and went back to our barbecue. There was more ruckus than we would have liked, but, well, public park, right? And kids will be kids. And we in our area roasted chicken and ribs and they in their area roasted weiners and s'mores, and the shadows grew long, and night fell. And here is where the story gets weird, and I must remind any who bother to read this that I was nineteen some thirty years ago... and the past is a foreign country, right? Things worked a little different back then, I must emphasize. But as the darkness fell and the stars came out, and the only light available came from our campfires... the church people did a funny thing. They took a bedsheet, and strung it up between two trees. We watched with interest. What, were they setting up a latrine or something, and this sheet was intended as a privacy shield? No... because shortly thereafter, a projector was set up and plugged in, and someone monkeyed with it, seeing that the image filled the bedsheet, and was properly focused. And not long after that, a Roadrunner cartoon began. Well, I was certainly interested. I couldn't hear very well from our campsite, but I could see well enough. And as the darkness deepened, and the hour grew late, I said, "Whatthehell," and I wrapped up in my big blankie, pulled it over my head, and attempted to stealth my way over into the Baptist campsite. I'd eaten and drunk well, but our camp had no electricity... and as far as entertainment went, I could listen to my boombox until the batteries died, or I could sneak over and watch late night cartoons with the Baptists. I figured I could be a good Baptist for one night, right? And the worst they could do would be to ask me to leave. So I humped it over in the dark between reels, and sat there amongst the good Baptist children, blanket pulled over my head, and trying to be inconspicuous. No one said anything. Not long after, during the next reel (a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon), I noticed my good buddies and tentmates, Bobo and the Troll, wrapped in blankets and doing a low hump across the no man's land between the two campsites. They found places no closer than twenty feet to me, settled down, and we watched cartoons. No one even noticed. There must have been thirty kids scattered across the field between the projector and the bedsheet. I realized we were a little conspicuous, wrapped in blankets, but no one said boo, and so we watched the cartoons, as the night droned on. It was around ten o'clock when the main feature started. A man loaded a BIG reel onto the projector, and then, I noticed, he got in the van with several other grownups... and they all drove away. Whatthehell? No supervision? I looked around. Aside from myself, Bobo, and the Troll, there were no adults anywhere to be seen anywhere in Baptist territory. Had they assumed we were the night shift, or something? Oh, well, not my problem... ...and the movie began. This particular movie began with some somber narration, and some sudden flash cuts of some GORY stuff, and the stentorian tones of a young John Larroquette announcing the story of... The. Texas. Chain. Saw. Massacre. My eyebrows rose. Wha? Is this normal Baptist entertainment for a field full of thirteen year olds? Whose idea was THIS? On the other hand, I'd never seen the movie before, though I'd heard of it, and I was curious. So I sat, and I watched, and the movie began. TTCSM is a rather engrossing movie. It feels for all the world like what they call "found footage" movies, these days, and after that gory beginning, we settle in to get to know our characters. We were a good fifteen minutes in when our heroes pick up the hippie hitchhiker who we later find has a knife fetish... Suddenly, a girl appeared in my field of vision. "Can I share your blanket?" My first response was "Don't you have your own?", but the look on her face told me she wasn't cold. I didn't blame her; the freaky hippie with the knife kind of weirded me out, too. "Yeah, sure," I said, and she snuggled up next to me and pulled her side of the blanket tight around us. I should point out that she WAS maybe thirteen, and that she'd apparently decided that I was one of her Baptist overseers, and that while she might have looked a little closer at someone she was gonna be snuggling with, I certainly intended her no harm nor foul. So we sat there wrapped in my blanket and watched the movie. What? Oh, come on, she was maybe twelve. Get your minds out of the gutter, there's barely enough room in it for mine as it is. I was a reprobate back then, sure, but even I had standards. Worst that I did to her was to let her squeeze my hand into jello during the scary parts. It seemed like a long time, as the story unfolded and the scaaaaary began to settle in, that a boy asked if he could get under the blanket, too. Whatthehell, I thought, and he took a position on my other side. I was glad I'd brought my big blanket. It was after Leatherface made his first appearance that things began to snowball. Three more kids in quick succession found themselves chilly, and sought comfort. I had to get harsh to keep one of them from sitting in my lap. Two more kids later, I was not actually touching any of the blanket; I literally had my own entourage, all wrapped up in the big blanket with me, all staring at the bedsheet screen with eyes as big as eggs. The rest of the movie had few interruptions; I think two more kids eventually showed up, but they wiggled in the back of the blanket, and we all sat there jammed together and clutching each other as Leatherface and his chainsaw roared wetly through the remaining cast members... I remember thinking two things, as I watched the movie: "Wow, this isn't as gory as I would have thought it was, although it's plenty scary and shocking. Is this a cut version?" (No, it wasn't; the original isn't as gory as many movies that followed it. It was the early seventies when it was made after all.) Oh, and the other thing was "Good ghod, what kind of Baptist youth group dumps a buncha tweeners in the middle of the woods, puts on TTCSM, and then LEAVES?" I did not approve of these kids' youth leaders. On the other hand, it was hardly MY problem. And eventually, the movie ended. I'm one of those people who watches the credits, so I sat there while the credits rolled. And then the film ran out and went tic, tic, tic as the reel rotated and white light shone up on the screen. I looked around.The field was empty. There had been thirtysomeodd children there when I'd sneaked over. Now there were nothing but three LARGE lumpy blanket outcroppings. Every single kid in that field had migrated to one of the grownups and slithered under his blankie. At this point, I looked around inside MY blankie. There were nine kids under it WITH me, and they weren't looking at the screen. They were all looking at ME with eyes as big as eggs... and I think a couple of them realized by then that I was a complete stranger, and that they were huddling under a blanket in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night with me. Awkward! Bobo, Troll, and I wound up herding them back to their tents and seeing to it that the boys and girls went to separate areas. I don't know why. We felt kind of responsible for them, I guess. I pulled the plug on the projector, and put the film back in the can. And then we trailed back to our campsite, still wrapped in our blankets, with thirtysomeodd tweeners staring longingly after us. We heard a scream around two a.m., followed by two other screams and a variety of yelps. We did not run to investigate. Our sense of responsibility only ran so far. Come the morning, I rose and poked up the fire, tossed some more wood on, and began a pan of eggs and sausages. Bobo and the Troll rose not long after, and we discussed the movie over breakfast. There was no sound nor activity from the youth camp area. It was close to eight before the van came back with several refreshed looking adults in it, and they set about waking up the kids; apparently, there had been little to no sleep for quite some time after the movie, and the children had slept quite late. And we noticed that the campsite was much quieter that day than it had been the previous one... Let me tell you, the venue where you see a movie matters, it really does.