It’s all very Y2K, but Universal’s instincts weren’t entirely off. As far back as The Birth of a Nation, blacks have been acting crazy in movie theaters. Chris Rock’s latter-day disavowal of his “Blacks vs. Niggers” routine aside, they joke about it themselves—watch “Brenda at the movies”—and study the phenomenon in academia.
Sure, white people slashed a few seats during Rock Around the Clock, and there are (possibly apocryphal) anecdotes of rubes firing back at the gunman in The Great Train Robbery. But the near-liturgical behavior at The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the exact opposite of what goes on every night in America’s “ghetto” movie theaters.
(And even Canada’s “normal” ones: My otherwise sublime experience of taking in Ed Wood for the first time was ruined by the black kid behind me screaming, “What the FUCK is this SHIT?!” when Johnny Depp put on the angora sweater.)
I suspect Universal’s shockingly un-PC “private security” ploy was actually an ultra-ballsy bit of old-fashioned ballyhoo, the likes of which we haven’t seen since William Castle’s 1950s gimmicks: “nurses” and ambulances standing by at every theater to treat cases of “fright” and such.
I mentioned “stunt casting” — “complete with stunt haircuts” — in biopics, so for the usual Taki‘s commenters who brag about how stupid they are by complaining that they can’t understand what I’m talking about, maybe this will help?
Anyhow: Here’s “Brenda” — this franchise is black-written and directed: