This article is written with tears: As someone who has long been a fan of the horror film genre – the very first horror film that I ever saw in a movie theatre was Creepshow back in 1982 when I was a wee lad of just nine years old – I’ve long admired and, yes, envied the close knit bond between the fans of scary movies. Long before there ever was the very mixed bag that is social media (yes kiddies, there was a Dark Age when computers were relegated to the halls of NASA), horror fans found ways to communicate and build a community amongst one another that was far more secure, happy and stable than most Facebook fostered sites are now. I can still vividly recall my coveted 1987 subscription to Fangoria Magazine – other than Famous Monsters of Filmland, the essential monster mag any true fan would pick up month after month – and flipping towards the back part of the issue. There, packed in between the conclusions of articles that had begun sixty pages or so earlier, rested a sort of personals section where subscribers to the mag and fans could have messages placed for other fans to check out and read. If you subscribed you were instantly allowed a free message and all that was required was that it had something to do with our beloved world of make believe. Somewhere in a back issue of a 1987-’88 Fango rests a message that this fourteen year old future hack had placed in there as part of my membership package for the Fango Class of 1987. I’ve long forgotten what that message was; knowing my predilection even then for Tom Holland’s Fright Night and my excitement about its impending sequel, there’s a better than even chance it was somehow centered around that charming 1985 vampire flick. Or maybe I waxed philosophical on A Nightmare on Elm Street. Whatever; it doesn’t really matter. What mattered to this absolute geek who never felt as if he fit in anywhere was the idea that other like-minded film aficionados would read my message in one of my all-time fave magazines. I would finally belong. Pure bliss for an adolescent horror fan and a feeling I was only to experience one other time in my life when I met my future wife.
Forgive that long-winded digression, but this salient bit of news about a super-Halloween fan forced me to ruminate a little: Via the reporting of Deadline News comes the news that actor Jamie Lee Curtis – the original Final Girl forever immortalized in a string of Halloween films – did her heroic character of Laurie Strode one or two better when she officiated the wedding for a terminally ill fan of the Halloween franchise recently. The super-fan, Anthony Woodle, passed away just one hour after the ceremony.
According to Deadline News, Anthony “married his longtime girlfriend Emilee in a ceremony officiated by ordained minister Curtis. The 29-year old aspiring director had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2019. But just prior to that, he had been in touch with Rough House Productions, the South Carolina house that is reviving the Halloween franchise.” The respected horror site added that Ms. Curtis offered to officiate the wedding ceremony once she found out just how dire Anthony’s prognosis was, and arrangements were quickly hashed out for a September 13, 2020 wedding day. Originally the couple had wanted to marry a month later on, appropriately enough, October 31.
“The day of the ceremony saw Woodle’s health deteriorate dramatically. Curtis was on the phone as Woodle’s family surrounded the bed where he lay unconscious, with Emilee at his side. The ceremony started at 10:30 PM,” Deadline elaborated about that special evening.
In what might mark one of the most poignant tributes anyone who has ever officiated a wedding has given, Jamie Lee Curtis spoke directly to the bride and groom, saying “Anthony and Emilee, all anyone is promised is this moment. We live and we love in this moment. May the blessings of God rest upon you, may her spirit illuminate your heart now, in this moment. With the power vested in me by the internet, it is my great pleasure to tell you that you are now married people.”
Anthony Woodle passed away less than an hour later, at 11:17 PM.
Prior to his passing, Anthony and his bride-to-be were presented by director David Gordon Green with a private screening of 2021’s Halloween Kills. Emilee reported that she had never seen the love of her life smile as much as he did while enjoying the unreleased movie which features Jamie Lee Curtis once again doing battle with her nemesis Michael Myers. Anthony and Emilee had been together through thick and through thin since 2013.
Rest easy, Anthony. I’m glad that your final days were filled with such happiness and love.