Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Follow the Leader Episode 147: Cinematic Creepouts!



Redartz: Hello all; the Leader's back again this week and he's looking for a topic! We certainly don't want to disappoint him, so I'll throw open the doors and await the first brave soul to start the discussion. Cheers (oh, and Happy Halloween)!

20 comments:

Humanbelly said...

During (what proved to be an excruciatingly tedious) rehearsal yestereve, while waiting for the music director to figure out the offstage vocal underscore for our scene, my scene-partner leaned toward me and "spoke" part of the lyrics from "The Blob" (song from the original 50's film) in a semblance of iambic pentameter. It took me right back to the first time I tried to watch that movie on Creature Feature when I was about 11 years old-- and I got to the early scene where it got onto the old farmer's arm, clearly causing him agony-- and that was it. I was out. It was certainly a couple of years before I got back to it again.

So proposed topic (in the spirit of the season):

What was an early monster/horror movie moment from your childhood that simply proved to be too much for your young sensibilities? One that either made you run away or turn off the TV or gave you specific nightmares if you DID manage to sit through it? (I definitely have a couple of others as well-- but THE BLOB popped up in such a timely fashion. . .)

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

In a way, this is an easy question for me to answer: all of them when I was a little kid. I scared pretty easily, so I just stayed away from most horror content (even in comics, initially).
Heck, I remember being creeped out and scared the first time I watched this one episode of Gilligan's Island in which Gilligan dreamed he was Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and turned into the Hyde monster. Or an episode of - believe it or not - Little House on the Prairie when Laura thought she saw Mr. Olsen lop of Mrs. Olsen's head with a sword. She started having nightmares about screaming disembodied heads or something like that, and I remember it scared the daylights out of me and I had to leave the room. Granted, I was only about 7 or 8 years old at the time, but still (and I don't think I ever did watch that whole episode).

Redartz said...

Well done HB, a perfect topic for Halloween week!

Two such films come to mind: when I was very young, my parents would gather us kids each year to watch "The Wizard of Oz. ". In those innocent days of early childhood, even the scene of Miss Gulch furiously riding her bicycle was enough to cause me concern. But man, when the Witch appeared- into the other room, head beneath a pillow.

Some years later, I first watched "The Fly" on a Friday night Creature Feature (Sammy Terry, for anyone familiar with that Hoosier icon). Made it through the film, but that end scene with the guy stuck in the web ("Help me, help meeeeee....." ) REALLY creeped me out. Couldn't get it out of my head for weeks.

Incidentally HB, that theme from "The Blob" is great! Almost a weird dichotomy between the quirky lyrics and the swingy, danceable melody. Now I gotta go play it...

Mike Wilson said...

I seem to remember being freaked out by the Sasquatch on Six Million Dollar Man. Not a horror movie, but after seeing Towering inferno, I got paranoid about our house burning down, even though we lived in a one-story house.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, yeah: the witch in Wizard of Oz freaked me out too when I was little (the flying monkeys never bothered me, though). And yeah, the Sasquatch episode of 6 Million Dollar Man had me on the edge of running off to hide in my room, but such was my fondness for the bionic man that I toughed it out...

Killraven said...

First one that jumps out me was JAWS.
When that head rolled out of the bottom of the boat it was all over!
My feet came up into the seat as my imagination had me fearing that a head would be rolling down the aisle, then my hand went over my eyes, I would peak thru my fingers for much thereafter.
I have to give myself credit though, I stayed in my seat for the whole movie. While I seen many people leave the theater and not return. Pretty good for an 10 year old.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hmmm... I've never been a fan of horror so I've pretty much avoided the genre. THat said,

- First time I saw Night of the Living Dead in B&W, round 1974 (?) on TV. I was 13 and totally sucked into the show. Rivoted to the tube.

- Saw Friday the 13th on a double date. The girl I was with was two-bricks-short of a load and liked such films. I was 17 - 18, I guess. Folks were running out of the theatre when the kid (Jason?) jumps out of the lake to grab the lady and pull her in, in the closing dream sequence. I did squint my eyes through a lot of it and frankly thought that anyone who enjoyed this stuff should be on a watch list.

- Now for some recent stuff that has me profoundly concerned / scared/ apprehensive ... Black Mirror series on Netflix. It's biggest scare is the complete likelihood of many episodes coming true within a few years. "The horror of it all"... truly. Somehow I suspect many of us older dudes will feel soon enough like St Augustine 1,600 years ago when the Vandals sacked Hippo, etc. i.e., he was witnessing the end of the world. This time it may be technology run amok.

Humanbelly said...

So, jumping back to the WIZARD OF OZ cite-- oh baby, that movie seriously blurred the lines between "Family Fantasy" and outright horror, as far as I'm concerned.
Off the top of my head, in roughly chronological order, these are ALL moments or elements that scared the BEJEEPERS out of very young, painfully-sensitive HB:

1) The flippin' twister itself in the beginning!! My Mom was forever prone to flailing "tornado-panic" whenever a thunderstorm passed through, so I was already patterned to being terrified by the thought of one. And that relatively simple special effect in the film IS TERRIFYING. The fact that it is so huge and relentless and COMING ACROSS THE FIELD in so many shots scarred me forever. I have frequent recurring tornado nightmares--- always have. Had one last week.

2) The apple tree unexpectedly coming to life and smacking Dorothy's hand: "How'd you like it if somebody came and picked something off of you??" I was too young to remember (maybe 2-1/2?), but my Mom says I ran screaming and crying out of the room when that happened.

3) The giant, malevolent, fire-belching Oz-head. I couldn't look at it.

4) The flying monkeys-- when they fly off w/ Dorothy (and tear the Scarecrow to pieces).

5) Geeze, it's so small a moment, but when Aunt Em's face is replaced in the crystal ball by the shrieking, cackling Wicked Witch.

These are all the things that terrified me--- BEYOND the usual expected angst and drama of the story itself.

Other quick ones:

-There was a LOST IN SPACE episode that had, like, an escaped menagerie of monsters parade by at one point, IIRC. One in particular was a big shambling shaggy thing with large tinted glass spheres for eyes. Again, my Mom had to talk me down from a full-blown freakout.

-Honestly, the Russian spy "ghost" played by Richard Kiel (!!) in a GILLIGAN'S ISLAND episode creeped me out no end-- his wailing was particularly effective.

-Charlie, the end of FRIDAY THE 13TH is the ONLY time I have ever yelled out loud in a theater. . .

- And HALLOWEEN (seen twice on a very large screen) left me unable to retrieve the blasted front door key from its hiding place inside our dark garage when I got home. . .

- And one last one from young childhood. . .that I don't recall the name of. One of those 50's horror/sci-fi films where the local group of teenage misfits save the day by defeating the small invading scout-squad. In this case by shining their car lights on them in the middle of the night (!?!?!). The terrifying thing, though, was that one of the aliens loses a hand when it's hit by a car-- and the hand itself grows an eye, reanimates, and goes around killing people all on its own. CLASSIC under-the-bed terrors from that one. . . (anyone recall the title of this one?)

HB

Steve Does Comics said...

HB, the film with the teenagers shining the car headlights, and the alien hand going on the rampage is Invasion of the Saucer Men which, believe it or not, is a comedy and stars Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin.

Redartz said...

HB- Tornado dreams are a thing? And you've had 'em? Wow. I've had such dreams for years too. Many have been the times I awoke after enduring one of those 'stormy' dreams. And they are never at a distance; they always seem to be looming ominously and headed right at you...

Humanbelly said...

Steve-- THAT'S the one, yes. Geeze, it's a comedy? It was on, like, the Saturday Afternoon Movie on our local station when I was probably 5. . . and it scared the blazes out of me. I kept running out and coming back (my Dad was working on model airplanes in front of the TV, so he gamely kept me filled in). That's the only time I ever saw it--- and many details are still vivid. Frank Gorshin would have been the alcoholic kid who got inadvertently alcohol-poisoned to death, yeah? Thanks much for the confirmation-- nice!

Red-- Yeah, man-- although my version frequently has me eventually getting caught and swept up/away by the funnel cloud. It occurs to me even as I sit here that it's really a combination of two classic anxiety-dreams: the Being-relentlessly-chased-and-can't-get-away dream, and the Falling dream. Hunh. . .

Happy Halloween, all!!
I'm disgruntled to say that we have flippin' rehearsal tonight, as the leadership of this particular company has bought rather heavily into the "Theater is my LIFE" cliche', and doesn't really have a sense of folks' having lives outside the Pursuit of Shakespeare. . . sheesh. . .

HB

Colin Jones said...

I always rather enjoyed being scared and nothing made me turn off the TV. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Dr. Who and Scooby Doo, both of which seemed quite scary to the 4 year-old me, but I loved them. But there was one thing that did give me a few genuine nightmares - in the '70s there was a kids' TV series called 'The Tomorrow People' and the opening titles included a hand which started as a fist then opened up until it was fully splayed. I had a few nightmares about that hand coming after me!

Happy Halloween! It's been raining all day here so hopefully that will deter any pesky trick-or-treaters...not that there have been any in recent years.

Steve Does Comics said...

Like Colin, I've never been scared by horror films, even as a child, and my youthful frights came from TV.

Around 1970, there was a children's show called Escape Into Night, which featured standing stones with eyes, gathered outside a house that two children were trapped in. That really did disturb me.

Around the same time, there was a show called Timeslip which featured a woman suddenly ageing dramatically and dropping dead on the spot, which also terrified me.

In Doctor Who, I was scared of the Cybermen, the Yetis and the Ice Warriors. And, also, by a white unicorn in a totally black room.

Scariest of all was the Rupert the Bear TV show. Every moment of it was nightmarish.

The motionless faces of Rupert and his family, with their dead, black eyes was bad enough but there was also a boy with a badger's head, a creepy old man who'd leap out at people in the woods, from under piles of leaves, and, worst of all, a thing called Raggety which was a cross between a wasp and a load of roots and twigs. Every single time it appeared on screen, with its weird marionette movements and aura of malevolent chaos, I had to unplug the TV, as I was convinced it was going to leap out of the screen and get me. I'm relieved to learn, from Googling, that plenty of other viewers had the same panicked response to him.

There was also a show called Beasts, one episode of which climaxed with the protagonists entering their living room, to be confronted by an inhuman creature sitting in a chair and nursing its nightmarish baby. It was a sight that, once seen, could never be forgotten.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It's snowing in Chicago. Most of the suburbs have postponed the Trick or Treating until Saturday.

Personally, just my opinion, the moms and dads today are a bunch of candy asses... I recall numerous Halloweens in my youth that had snow (uncommon) or rain (fairly common). The last thing parents or kids were going to do was postpone it... no one really gave a hoot about the day in the first place. "IF you want candy, go get it kid..."

Even 10 years ago with my kids, they went out rain or snow or cold...

Redartz said...

Quite right, Charlie. I too enjoyed Halloween nights in creepy weather, both as a kid and as an adult. Incidentally, no snow in the Louisville area, but it's pretty cool- mid 30's.

Steve DC- your comments about Rupert and Raggety prompted me to look them up. Found images. Kind of wish I hadn't.

To anyone out there checking in tonight, Happy Halloween! Just watched the "Great Pumpkin" with my wife. We both still wonder how Linus' parents let him spend all night in a freezing pumpkin patch...

Humanbelly said...

Always wondered about that myself, Red! Ha---

I would think Chicago, of ALL cities, would have folks acclimated to Trick or Treating in a bit of snow. We certainly had a couple of those in Michigan. . . as well as cold rain. Ya wore a coat over your costume. That was it. WEIRD weather in DC area tonight, though! Well over 80 degrees as of about an hour ago-- with FIERCE wind, increasing rain, and lightning. Sounds like that cold front you midwesterners are having is driving this mightily along. Lots of tornado watching overnight. . .

Colin J-- HBGirl and I watched the entirety of The Tomorrow People a few years ago--! Man, that last series was just excruciatingly bad at times-- but we slogged through. And you're right, that opening credit sequence with the disembodied hand and truly eerie theme music was extremely spooky.

HB

Colin Jones said...

Another unnerving thing from '70s British TV was called "Protect And Survive" which was a series of short government-funded information films telling the public what to do in the aftermath of a nuclear war. All the Protect & Survive films are on YouTube and they seem a bit silly nowadays - they gave the impression that a nuclear holocaust was both manageable and survivable rather than bringing about the total collapse of civilization and a descent into barbarity. But back in the '70s those Protect & Survive films were rather chilling - but I remember them as chilling in a fun way, like watching a scary film, rather than being genuinely terrifying.

Colin Jones said...

HB, did the final season of The Tomorrow People include the story about Hitler being an alien? (unless I'm thinking about something else...)

Humanbelly said...

That was. . . Series 6 (I just looked it up). Series 8 was the final one. . . just four dreadful episodes. Alien life-forms had degenerated into mascot-level costumes with giant plastic googly-eyes. This show was never technically good in the first place but, geeze, there are levels that no self-respecting show-runner should ever stoop to. . .

HB

Joseph said...

For me, definitely the Changeling (starring George C. Scott). Scared the hell out of me (still does)!

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