Film was a major influence on me. As a child going to the cinema was always an occasion, and pre video, pre internet, to see a film at the cinema was a big event and the only way of ensuring that you didn’t miss out on seeing a specific title that all your friends were talking about.
By the time I was in my teens in teh early 1970s I was able to start seeing ‘X’ films, what is an 18 now, at my local cinema. Called the Belgrave Cinema, it was a family run business that showed films after their main cinema runs had finished. On Monday to Wednesday they tended to show double-bills that were more adult in nature and then on the Thursday they changed the films to more family orientated fare. They also never asked my, or any of my friends, ages, which meant that we could get in to see all the horror films and their other x-rated epics.
I saw everything from Dracula AD ’72 to The Music Lovers to what were, I now know, pretty obscure films even in the early seventies. Films like Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly and Whatever Happened to Jack and Jill were screened at the Belgrave alongside Hammer faves like Countess Dracula and Vampire Circus though by the time I was fifteen I was becoming more interested in seeing bands and socialising and went to cinema less often.
Though saying that I still made a plenty of trips to the pictures throughout the mid to late seventies to see, what, now seems like of golden age of cinema: A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, The Exorcist, Jaws, The Devils, Last Tango in Paris, Straw Dogs, Salon Kitty, The Eyes of Laura Mars and dozens of other films that are now regarded as classics were all released during this time. Extraordinary really.