Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Childhood scares

I was reading an article in this month's Geek magazine about the wonderful site Kinder Trauma and it got me thinking about things that scared the crap out of you as a kid. The kind of stuff you never forgot, I thought what better way to kick off our Halloween countdown, seeing as all of mine relate to the early seventies. Here are just some of the items that had me scraping the poop out of my short pants back in the day:



When the boat turns evil on H.R. Pufnstuf: I couldn't have been more than 3 when I saw this movie, so it's not surprising that when the innocent sailboat Jimmy gets on turns evil, I firmly planted myself behind the couch. I still kind of get creeped out by that boat, it must have been powerful.







That ventriloquist dummy from Magic:



I'll admit I never saw the film until I was a teen but the ad campaign for it gave me nightmares. I always found Ventriloquist dummies creepy to being with, so this really didn't help matters much. A close second to Magic would be the ads for Killer Baby movie "It's Alive" (which they are remaking) the site of that creepy hand coming out of a crib was disturbing, I was a sucker for such things.




Sleestaks: If I ever get a chance to meet Sid and Marty Krofft, I won't know whether I should thank them or start swinging. I spent many a Saturday morning behind the couch because of these guys, eventually my fear turned into complete obsession, which is were I've been for the past 32 years.






Almost frigging every minute of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: My parents probably had good intentions when they sat me in front of this (They also thought Animal Farm would be appropriate because it was animated, whoops!) I didn't jive with any of it, The OompaLoompas? Scary! Jack Albertson? Scary! The Ironic punishments? Terrifying, especially when Violet blows up, I've heard some people developed a fetish after seeing that, I think I prefer to be scared but to each their own....























The very sight of Jon Pertwee : Doctor Who was freaking scary when I was five and I respected/feared star Jon Pertwee and that haunting title theme. I remember my father mocling the show one Saturday night and I turned to my dad and said "No, don't make fun of Doctor Who!" I was actually worried for my father's safety.

Ten years later, I was sitting next to Jon Pertwee in a con suite, he was anything but scary.





The Robot Scene from Superman 3: If Richard Pryor wasn't bad enough, the film had a scene of a woman being turned into the most fantastically creepy robot ever, right in the middle of an effing Superman movie. Your guard is totally down and then BAM the producers shove in some good old fashioned nightmare fuel like a shiv in the back!
Well, that's all I care to drudge up seeing as I can't find a picture of my friend Paul's mom (she had crazy eyebrows man!) so tell me what scared the crap out of you in the 70's?

20 comments:

Terror Claws said...

Wow...you know, the robot scene was nuts. When you mentioned it, I had this nightmarish vision of it in my head, of metal rending flesh and horrible torture – but then I watch the clip and its retarded. I think youthful imaginations can enhance almost anything – for better or worse.

Also, totally hear you on the Sleestaks. Man those things are way too creepy. If I ever see the Kroffts, I'm punching them square in the mouth. Between those things, Pufnstuf (which ALWAYS scared me) and (shudder) Banana Splits reruns, all their live action stuff was utterly terrifying.

Ian Sokoliwski said...

For the longest time, I was convinced that Superman III was a much better film that people gave it credit for.

Then, when I watched it again, I realized that the only good thing about it (besides the line about Genghis Khan) was how much the robot sister scared me.

And even that ended up being really lame. I was far too impressionable.

You know what REALLY scared me as a kid? I mean, REALLY REALLY REALLY scared me?

That stupid robot from the first couple of seasons of Sesame Street. You know, the one with a pair of cymbals for a head, wore a huge bow tie, and ate children.

...okay, I may be misremembering that last part.

But I do remember it being terrifying. Most people have no idea what I'm talking about, as they got rid of it really quickly, and it never wound up in any sort of merchandise. Maybe because of how many kids it ate...I mean scared to death...

Dancin' Homer said...

2 things stand out out as things that scared me silly:

1 - the opening of Chiller Theater. I would run from the room when it came on. That howl, the breathing, that SIX FINGERED HAND THAT GOBBLED UP THE PULSATING LETTERS - WTF!!??!!
Watched it recently on Youtube. It still creeps me out.

2. When I was a bit older, it was the commercial for Dario Argento's film "Susperia". Anyone who saw it will remember the "woman" brushing her hair saying in that creepy voice "Roses are red, violets are blue . . ." before turning around to reveal her skull face. Again, watched it recently on youtube, still haven't recovered.

Halloween Spirit said...

Okay, my childhood terrors are really pathetic! I couldn't work up the courage to watch any sort of scary movie - I would close my eyes when trailers appeared on TV.Specifically, the scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when his face became smilingly evil, disturbed me. Also, even weirder, the opening credits of The Six Million Dollar Man, when they showed Steve Austin's skull,made me close my eyes.

wurwolf said...

I was a total scaredy-cat as a kid -- the littlest thing sent me diving under a blanket. Case in poin: the episode of the Brady Bunch where the boys rig up a ghost. I can't remember the particulars of it all. I think Greg and Marcia were fighting over the attic and she won (for a short time) and then the boys tried to make her think the attic was haunted.

I'm ashamed now that it frightened me so much.

Rozum said...

Nice start. I loved the Sleestaks as a kid, but when I was really small, I was terrified of the woman who hosted "Romper Room." At the end she would look into a mirror and announce that she could see "Jeff" and "Tammy" and "Jennifer" and many other popular names of the day. I thought she was a witch, and would hide behind a chair whispering repeatedly "please don't let her say my name, please don't let her say my name..." because I thought she really could see us, then I'd be in her power, or she'd be able to steal me away to make soup with.

Then the next day I'd watch the show all over again.

Shawn Robare said...

If there's one thing I think I truly missed out on being "born a little late" it's that I never got a chance to see the Sid and Marty Kroft theme park that was open in my neck of the woods back in the 70s.

Neal said...

I think it's funny that you were scared of Jon Pertwee. I had a similar reaction to Dean Martin when I was a child. I could watch his younger self in movies, but I would freak out when his variety show came on, and my mom or dad had to take me to bed crying in terror. I can't explain it now, but there was just something about this gray-haired, booze-swilling, cigarette-smoking, sleazy-looking guy that terrified me. Weird what goes through your head as a kid.

Dancin' Homer said...

wurwolf - you're not alone; i had the same reaction to that Brady Bunch episode. i think it had more to do with Marcia's voice on the tape recorder: "Let me oooouuuutttttttttt. I neeeeeeeeeeeeed aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrr . . ."

and although I don't remember it, my older sister tells me I was afraid of Sam the Butcher.

and one other, on the subject of ridiculous things that scare us: I vividly remember being afraid of the man's face on the $20,000 bill in The Game Of Life.

Plaidstallions said...

I'm in on the Brady Bunch ghost thing as well, man I was a wussy kid.....

El Vox said...

Cool blog!! Well, I'm not a child of the 70's. But remember my childhood fears: hearing King Kong on the TV and the drums sounding when they got to Skull island, and the dinosaur's roaring. All the old Twilight Zones, the 50's Invaders from Mars film, and such, ah, fond memories. :)

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the 70s, I was scared of Bigfoot because I lived in the Ozarks and saw "Legend of Boggy Creek." I was also terrified of a werewolf. My childhood reasoning was I could outrun the mummy, outthink Frankenstein's monster, reason with Dracula (yeah, right) but a werewolf was a raging, hungry animal. Also scary, episodes of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery", all of those B Movies like "The Late Great Planet Earth" and "Nostradamus" and the basement of our house. Nothing could instill terror into me more than being told to go downstairs to the basement at night to get something. I just knew a monster was going to jump out and chase me. Ahhh...childhood...

TiKiMOOSE said...

I remember a movie as a kid I saw on TV, where the monster was made of mud and he was outside a cabin in the woods...the people inside opened the door and the monster was there and they slammed the door on its arm. The hand fell to the ground and started crawling across the floor with a mud trail behind it...Talk about the HEEBIE JEEBIES....also a movie preview really freaked me out, with a white cat, an old lady's hand with a ring, and a girl being trapped under glass in a swimming pool. and large slivers of glass falling from a building cutting people in half...I had to close my eyes when ever that came on.

Andy said...

Yeeesh! I thought I was the only kid terrified by the woman getting robot parts...welded...to her face in Supes 3. Glad I wasn't the only one with a twisted childhood.

BTW, I remember Paul's mom. Not half bad except for those eyebrows.

Spinninmarty said...

PLaidstallions and Kindertrauma are two of the sites that I visit everyday. I'm glad you two found each other. A while back, I wrote a traumafession about being freaked out by a commercial they used to show in the Pacific Northwest. It involved an evil rock band of animals. I was unable to find this ad for the longest time, but a reader on KT tracked it down, thus opening old wounds.

http://www.kindertrauma.com/?p=1908#comments

Tom Beiter said...

The opening music of Night Gallery terrified me. It came on at like 10:00 pm and my dad would watch it in our living room. I could hear it from my bed and would scream for him to turn it down.

There were several movies I didn't actually see at the time, but the trailers (and the kids at school talking about them) was enough for me:
The Excorsist scared the Hell out of me (no pun intended). I wore a rosary I made out of popsicle sticks in religion class for weeks.

It's Alive. They put that frickin' picture of the monster/baby with it's arm hanging out of the bassinet on the back of comic books! What kind of pychos were they?!

The Amityville Horror. Anytime I saw flies gathering, I was convinced the gates of Hell were opening.

And finally, a peculiar, but nevertheless terrifying memory from my childhood. My grandparents owned a farm. At the farm, there was a large print of Gainsborough's "Blue Boy" hanging on the wall. The eyes in that picture would follow you from any point in the room. I hated that picture. I would make my parents take it down and turn it backward when we visited.

Todd Franklin said...

The Kolchak episode with the Headless motorcycle guy scared me. After fighting to stay awake to watch the episode, I wasn't able to fall asleep when it was time to go to bed. I didn't help matters that someone was riding their motorcycle up and down our street. I would be in bed with the covers over my head just picturing that headless motorcycler! Yikes!

Keith said...

I can totally understand where you're coming from. Many of those same things gave me scares. I remember my bro and I both had dummies that we got one year for Christmas. We were never good at not moving our lips. It was just something to fool around with. During the day, things were fine. We never got creeped out. We had to make sure we put the dummies up at night. If either of us work up to see one sitting in a chair or whatever, we always got creeped out. It looked like it was staring at you.

Deb said...

the horse head monkey robot thing from Space Nuts

ladracul said...

I so agree with you on #4. Only I have some irritation as Violet's dad only cares about himself, yet she's being punished. I totally don't blame her for hating him.

I was 11 and freaked out by that "Cliff's Nightmare" episode of "The Cosby Show"...which is weird, as I was never really afraid of the muppets to begin with...it took me a while to get over some of it, but I can't watch the episode.

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