Cell Phone Complaint Leads to Stabbing at Shutter Island Screening


We’ve all had our share of stories about inconsiderate moviegoers disrupting and ruining the theatre experience (some of us more than others), but I think this one takes the cake. A couple of weeks ago in Lancaster, California, there was a pretty horrifying incident that took place during a screening of Shutter Island. A man decided to voice his disapproval when a woman sitting near him was talking on a cell phone during the movie. The woman got up and left along with two men, but the two men eventually returned to stab the complainant. In the throat. With a meat thermometer!

Whether or not the two men were escaped mental patients themselves remains to be seen, but clearly this is not the kind of thing anyone wants to hear about happening at a movie theatre. It may even make some people think twice before complaining about disruptions… which is not right at all. About a year ago, the opposite situation occurred where a man was shot for talking during a screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. We may soon need armed guards in every theatre to handle all the disrespectful moviegoers out there, as things are clearly getting out of hand! I do actually believe that it should be up to theatre employees to enforce silence during movies, and that it’s not something we should even have to worry about. Don’t you agree? (Thanks to Kevin for the heads up on this story.)

  • Falsk

    “About a year ago, the opposite situation occurred where a man was shot for talking during a screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

    Yeah Philly! WOO! We don’t mess around in our theaters!

    When I saw “American Gangster” a few years back a fight broke out in the back of the theater and it took five minutes (and the audience yelling at the kids fighting to leave) before the lights went on and some police officers appeared. Of course by then half the theater had ducked out thinking there would be a shooting, the kids had left, and the incident pretty much over. Nice job, guys.

    So I could see the beefing up of security to have its uses… but who’s gonna pay for that? The theater? Pfft.

  • Hugo Van Nor

    The theater employee can’t handle security. Most are 16 yro making minium wage. Why would they wan’t to get involved? It’s sad that we have sit though PSA’s. Telling people to turn off their phones and not text.

  • Mrespony

    Isn’t there a way to block cell phone signals, maybe some sort of building material that would render a cell phone useless? Luckily there are places, like The Alamo Drafthouse, that explicitly tell you at the beginning of the movie that you’ll be kicked out for just talking, let along using a cell phone. Check this out: http://bit.ly/cOMAHl

  • pantsofdoom

    The major theaters in Chicago do have security guards with tasers.

  • i heard it was Jay…

  • at the new ICON theater here in Chicago they had a fight break out right after opening and it’s a new highend theatre with reserved seating! It has VIP seating above the non vip so the rich people can get private food service and spit on the serfs below! it might be what we see happen around the world – lord and serf type seating.

    I’m an architect, years ago they I read about a new paint that could be used in theaters to block cell phone reception. I’m sure the theater owners are concerned they could get a negative reaction if people can’t surf the web, talk while waiting for the film to start in their theater. I go to a lot of films alone, but I also get to the theater early to get ‘my spot’, I’d avoid a theater were I couldn’t us my iphone.

    there needs to be call buttons in seats, or at least a few on the walls, or a better yet, just have in large letters a sign with a text number if shit is going down in the theater!

  • This is from a Canadian newspaper.

    On March 14, 2009 at about 5 PM police were called to the Scotiabank Theatre at Chinook Centre in response to a report of a drunk male weilding a knife inside the theatre. A male patron who was extremely intoxicated produced a knife after theatre management and mall security approached him to ask him to leave. When police arrived, they found the male apparently passed out seated alone in a theatre. When a police officer approached him the male suddenly woke and produced the knife. The officer immediately subdued him by deplying a Taser. The male was transported to the hospitalwhere he was examined then released.

    Crazy stuff is happening in the land of Film Junk as well as in the USA. What is the world coming to?

  • This is really disturbing!! You really nailed exactly why I hate going to the movies now. What a shame.

  • El Ultimo Hombre

    The problem isn’t that we need security or call buttons. The problem is that people no longer have any common courtesy. That’s just a ridiculous way to behave.

  • mrepony

    “What is the world coming to?”

    There’s too much anonymity in big cities, people have grown accustomed to being assholes and getting away with it 99% of the time. Then there is the added influence of the self-oriented media that (perhaps unintentionally) promotes disrespect, bad behavior and overall douche-baggery that too many impressionable water-heads find entertaining. Said water-heads then imitate this shit in public. Then one of these water-heads finds their way onto a reality TV show and the cycle repeats. Water-head logic = I make someone angry enough with my bad behavior that they complain so naturally I need to punish that person with a good stabbing.

  • I’m surprised that theaters haven’t installed metal detector gates already. Besides catching the odd meat thermometer, they would be able to catch video capturing devices.

    These incidents only go to prove that movie violence causes real-world violence. :-)

  • Mike

    This is why Americans will never be allowed to drink alcohol in movies.

  • Mike

    it’s kind of funny, in a morbid way. Stabbing someone in the throat with a meat thermometer is very Martin Scorcese.

  • “…or a better yet, just have in large letters a sign with a text number if shit is going down in the theater!”

    Yeah, but then someone has to report you for texting, and the vicious cycle continues.

  • MikeInSacramento

    This is why other theater patrons don’t want to address people acting “rowdy” unless they sit several rows away from said people and can get away with not being identified.

    I have many times heard someone hurl a “STFU and watch the movie” rant from across the theater at someone, but nowadays if you say that to a person withins arm reach of yourself it is asking for a confrontation, so as is life, the normal behaved people usually have to endure a less pleasant time to keep the overall situation calm.

  • Falsk

    “This is why Americans will never be allowed to drink alcohol in movies.”

    @Mike – That doesn’t even make sense.

  • Niklas

    Im surprised by all these stories. I always go to Scotiabank theater or AMC at yonge and dundas in downtown toronto and I’ve never had a bad experience!

  • Nate

    Terrible. Next time I consider yelling at some loud douche in a theater, this story is going to cross my mind and I’ll probably keep quiet. I’ve noticed my local AMC lately has an employee come in a couple times during the movie for a few minutes. There hasn’t been any problems lately so I don’t know how effective it is, but I think just the presence of an employee would help a lot.

  • Mike

    “This is why Americans will never be allowed to drink alcohol in movies.”

    @Mike – That doesn’t even make sense.

    Theater owners are too scared of alcohol elavating the level of violence in theaters. Americans like to get rowdy when they get drunk…if you’ve ever encountered a rowdy drunkard, you know you wouldn’t want them sitting next to you in Toy Story 3.

  • McGuirk

    You can drink at many independent theater chains in the States, but these places generally attract a more evolved being. But who’s gonna drink a sixer while watching a 2-hour movie? You’ll be in the bog for half the film.

  • its funny how americans when say alcohol mean.. beer

  • Nick Robertson

    It can happen anywhere, I always wonder WHY these people go to the theatre and talk on the phone. Don’t they have a fucking soul? It cost’s $17 to see a movie here (regular, un-3D film) and people spend that to sit there and talk, fuck around and ruin my fucking enjoyment. If it were up to me I’d bring the SS back and have them in cinemas to stomp the pricks who do this shit.

  • Steve
  • Mrespony

    “its funny how americans when say alcohol mean.. beer”

    Wow, that IS funny.

  • Thanks for posting the story Sean. When I read it I immediately thought of you guys.
    Maybe the moral of this story is that if you truly believe in something (i.e. people should be quiet in a movie theater) then you’ll have to be willing to die for it.

  • Ovenball

    So what was the temperature of the victim’s neck meat? Man, this question is killing me.

  • trinity

    That’s nuts, I’m glad I live in a small town

  • It is really annoying to sit near a person who distracts or disturbs your experience in a theater. People should learn from this story to be considerate with other people as well.