Cineplex Odeon Memories: The Night I Was Ghostface

In addition to donning the bat costume earlier that year for the premiere of Batman and Robin, I was also tapped to play Ghostface from the Scream series in honor of the premiere of Scream 2 in December ’97 when I worked at the local Cineplex Odeon Theater at the Menlo Park Mall. My coworkers were aware that I was a huge horror fan as well as completely obsessed with the first Scream film. Electing me to stalk the popcorn gorging, giant soda drinking filmgoers while threatening that that I’d “gut them like a fish,” was a given.

Compared to spending 6-8 hours shaking hands and sweating in the hot, awkward bat costume, I took much pleasure running around in the free flowing, comfortable Ghostface costume. Stalking theatergoers with a fake knife and sneaking up on unsuspecting girls coming out of the bathroom became my pastime for the evening. The most memorable part of being Ghostface happened during each presentation of the film. Right after the moment Jada Pinkett has her excessively dramatic death scene in the film within a film STAB, the Scream title slashes onto the screen. During the short fade to black, a theater usher slammed through the emergency exit door and up the aisle in the dark theater as if he was being chased. Seconds later, wielding a knife high above my head, I barreled through the door and sprinted up the aisle after him. When I reached the door to the lobby I blasted through it and had a laugh with my fellow employee, Victor. In the fleeting seconds that the stunt took place, I remember feeling quite a rush as I heard almost the entire crowd scream and gasp in shock and fear.

What made the occurence even that much more clever was the fact that that part of the movie featured a “film within a film,” which blurred the lines of fiction and reality. I like to believe that my performance magnified that idea and added a little more thrill to the atmosphere.

Would you expect something like that to happen when you’ve spent nearly 10 minutes immersed in a film that you payed $8 bucks (at the time) to see? Nowadays anything that can be classified as an “interruption” would start a line of 12 people complaining in attempts for free passes. As I noted in “The Day I Got To Be Batman” I give credit to the Cineplex Odeon theater staff for taking liberties and being creative as film exhibitors.

It’s not everyday you walk into a movie theater and see a cavernous homemade Batcave erected or a knife wielding killer from a horror film chasing innocent ushers through the theater at high speed. I would’ve liked to have been one of the people watching Scream on that Friday night. It was almost a throwback to gimicks like “smell-o-vision.” I would love movies to become more of an event, like when I go to see an film in IMAX. Do you think witnessing the killer chasing someone through the theater would intensify your viewing experience? Maybe if it doesn’t succeed at creeping you out, it would definitely make for a memorable bit of conversation!