The other day, or a week or so ago, I found myself amused by the Buzzfeed thing “23 Things That Scared the Bejesus Out of You as a Kid.” It was laughable, to me, because almost all of the stuff I didn’t find scary as a kid. But, I know that fear and what is considered scary is completely different for everyone. We can share fears, but our own set of fears is our own little bundle of things that help shape us into who we are.
Looking through these made me want to do my own little bundle of things that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I’m limiting to movies and television to see what comes about.
So! In no particular order:
The introduction for Tales From The Darkside
Being 3 or 4 at the time, and always finding it really weird that this was way scarier than Tales from the Crypt, the introduction to this series always freaked me the hell out. The stories were great, but if I was going to watch it, we had to wait for the intro to finish.
Pennywise the Clown dressed as the little old lady.
I was 4. This was scarier than the growing dread of knowing the Critters were slowly coming up the stairs to eat you.
Not the movie, but the damn doll. I had a doll, known as a Patty Play Pal, that was like the real-life version of a talking doll that, if it did become aware, would probably go on a murderous rampage. This thing blinked, moved its eyes, moved its head, and “talked.” (it moved its mouth that would “synch” up to whatever tape you had going in the “tape player” that looked like a lunchbox.).
Strangely, there is a “girl” version of this film. It’s a b-movie ripoff, that uses Patty Play Pal as the murderous doll. Talk about a mindfuck. (and currently I cannot find it. damn. It was the 80s version of Patti Playpal, which was the version I had (ugly pink sweater and when it was a fashion to wear socks with tights)
The ball of Critters rolling over the guy and leaving a picked-clean skeleton
Until that moment, Critters didn’t freak me out all that much. It was really bizarre to see that this monstrous ball of creatures could roll around and in mere seconds turn a human into a perfectly white skeleton.
Honestly, I haven’t seen the film since. I figure that eventually I’ll re-visit it and see if it holds up to what I remember. (then again, I plan on watching, or re-watching, the slasher films of my childhood to see how they hold up) Video is the Critters 2 trailer, which has a glimpse of the ball since I currently can’t find a clip of what I’m talking about.
The toilet scene in Ghoulies 2
When I saw this, I was between the ages of 3 and 5. My parents had rented this from the little locally-owned hole-in-the-wall video store (this was before franchised/corporate-owned rental shops showed up in my hometown) and watched it. The house I spent my early years in freaked me out already, this just solidified the fact that the bathroom was creepy as hell.
The People Under the Stairs
Most people will agree that this is a fucking creepy movie. Especially the tongue thing. (it probably doesn’t hold up by today’s standards, but I still won’t watch it)
The eyeball scene from Congo
Yes, it’s a mostly-boring movie (I spent my time rooting for the silverback gorillas), but the scene where the guy either sits down to eat a Hershey bar or finds the Hershey bar and eyeballs just fall down, I freaked the fuck out.
Speaking of eyeballs…
There’s a scene in a film, that I still refuse to look up which film it is (It’s a Prophecy, Warlock, whathaveyou film), and the group has “captured” the bad guy, ripped out his eyeballs, and when someone looks away, they do a closeup of the eyes (optical nerves attached) and another of the group starts screaming. Then we learn that they’ve pulled out the eyes of someone in the good guy group and there’s just blood and these two black holes.
The owl from Rockadoodle
This is supposed to be a happy, campy, sad things happen before we go on an Adventur to make it right movie. Then we have the owl and he is fucking creepy. I even watched this movie a couple years ago and my adult brain agreed: the owl is still damn creepy.
If I could think of any more, I could add more on. But these are the ones that mainly pop up.
I grew up watching horror films. The scariest thing I remember about Jason was him jumping out from the darkness to kill some kids, Freddie coming to you in dreams (and I had enough nightmares as a kid so I didn’t need that), Dr Giggles was fucking awesome (and now it’s just cheesy goodness). You see one eyeball-pokey scene, you’ve seen them all. And these are the ones that I can remember, even now, scaring me. Tales from the Crypt was something to look forward to (hell, I begged my parents to get Bordello of Blood and Demon Knight so we could watch it), Are You Afraid of the Dark? was my weekly squee into the weird, obscure, and paranormal (the original, not that newer group where Tucker was the leader and it was all of his friends)
And yes, I do realize being terrified of Chucky is kind of ridiculous–especially after he became increasingly more cheesy than horror. (And Bride of Chucky, really? the only good thing about that was seeing Jennifer Tilly). But how many kids had a “life sized” doll that was battery-operated for talking and movement? I was one of 2 kids I knew that had one and I was convinced that doll was going to kill me in my sleep. (I think my mom still has the doll)