“The floors were sticky. The seats were worn down to the springs. The smell was a combination of buttered popcorn and bodily fluids. In the back row, someone might be in a heated argument with a fellow patron — or getting a $5 hand job. Sometimes, a rat would scurry past your leg. Onscreen, any number of sordid acts, seedy pleasures or splatterrific gore played to a crowd that expected extremities at every turn.” — Time Out‘s David Fear on the 42nd Street grindhouses that are no more.
Speaking of which, a rat (or a very sizable mouse) crawled up my leg once — at a private screening room on Sixth and 54th or 55th, when I was watching John Badham‘s Dracula, which means it happened…good God, 28 years ago. I felt a slight flutter sensation on my lower left pants leg, and then the sensation of sharp little claws heading north. I spat out some vulgarity and flinched and stiffened my leg and swatted whatever it was that was crawling inside. The mouse-rat fell onto my shoe, dead or stunned. I grabbed him by the tail and threw him against the curtained wall. I was furious, but I managed to joke about it later on with the publicist.