I haven’t done a top 10 list in ages, and because I am so original, I want to piggy-back off this concept one of my favorite YouTubers put out – traumatizing things in fiction as a child. As a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with fear. I loved getting afraid of things, just so I could become more enamored with them. Today I have a relationship with fear that it’s just being wasted. Gory horror films do nothing for me. Deep psychological thrillers, or horror films that actually take the time to build atmosphere (there are so few) are my jam. As a kid, the stuff that scared me tended to grab my attention. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t fuck me up all the same. Here is a list of the top ten things in fiction that REALLY messed with me, growing up, in a scary way. Won’t be including any visual aids for this. Sorry if that’s a deal-breaker. I just have some of these attached to memories I’d like to forget.
10. Turning into lizard creatures
Star Trek Voyager
In one episode, Lt. Paris had discovered that it was possible to go to warp 10. He wanted to test this, and he just so happened to take Capt. Janeway along for the ride. What followed was them turning into these weird lizard creatures. But it wasn’t what you’d expect from Star Trek. They weren’t some big bulky thing that you can clearly tell is a costume or prop. They turn into these small creatures that look real. It was so unsettling to me as a child. For whatever reason, it just scared me out of my wits that I would turn into one of those things one day.
9. Pig head girl
This one just fucked with my head. An episode of Goosebumps featured this city that people could warp into. It was a two-part episode where you had one of the main characters being turned into a pig because of her greed. That image just fucked with me so hard. Looking back on it now it’s ridiculous. But at the time it just fucked me up so hard.
8. Back monster scene
As a kid I had this bad habit of going over to my uncle’s house. He is hardcore religious, and had a pool. But he also had another thing that he did – watch movies that were SO not appropriate for children. And as a kid who liked to do things I wasn’t supposed to, I would sneak over sometimes and watch them. One such film was Phantasm II. In it, we have a scene with a woman who is covered by a black cloak. They pull it off her face, and see that her mouth is taped shut. What else is under that cloak? They pull back more to reveal that there is a monster inside of her back, eating her. That scene stuck with me so hard. Scared the living shit out of me. But I couldn’t tell my parents about it because I would have gotten in trouble. The things I dealt with in silence.
7. The covers
Scary Stories (series)
Remember what I said about things that scared me enticing me to know more? Well, this was one such instance. I am so fucking pissed that they redid the covers for the new editions of the stories. The reasoning? Because they are too scary for kids. Bullshit! That is fucking stupid, and people who think that way are stupider. Yeah, they are scary, but sometimes things that scare kids also intrigue them. We like a little fear. I read all of those books because of the covers. And the neat fact is that the stories themselves were usually about sources of fear who are just misunderstood. I hate this idea that we have to make the world less difficult for children. Yeah, because kids can’t handle some scary imagery. Give me a fucking break.
6. The Witch
Hansel and Gretel
I honestly don’t know which version of this story I saw as a kid, but I remember that there was one version with this character who just fucked up my head so hard. Something about her screaming at these two children who she had chained up in a cage just messed with my head so fucking hard. I wish I could remember which version I saw. This story has been done to death. Another relic from a time gone by – when we could scare the shit out of children and it was okay, so long as the story has a happy ending. Don Bluth became a household name in the 80’s because of that philosophy, and he is absolutely right.
5. The threat of nuclear annihilation
I honestly don’t remember what specifically it was that got me scared of this. Maybe it was a movie, or the news, but I remember that the idea of a nuclear weapon attacking my house scared the piss out of me. To the point that I slept in my parents bedroom for ages. We had these mattresses that you could move around, and I was sleeping on one in the corner of their room for a long time. Now that we could be facing down World War III with North Korea, and the fact that my home state is in their launch radius, that thought has come back to me. Only this time I think I’d grab some marshmallows and enjoy the roast.
4. The Oompa Loompas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’m talking about the original, not that weird Tim Burton shit. In this film, the only thing I found truly frightening as a kid growing up with those orange-faced bastards. They are fucking creepy! Their creepy faces and their creepy green hair and their creepy songs. I hated them so much. To this day I’m not a huge fan. If I will say what the remakes did better, it is the different songs. One good spot on a terrible movie. That’s something, right?
3. Slappy the Puppet
Oh my Groj, this fucking puppet. One of the times that something didn’t entice me through fear and just freaked me the fuck out was this puppet. Everything from its creepy face to its creepy voice, the thing was just so scary! The guy they got for this puppet was just amazing. To this day, that creepy face makes my skin crawl. I’m well-aware how fake it all is, but it’s all in the performance. The guy they got for that was just too good.
The quintessential example of fear compelling me to fascination. As I am sure many who read my site know, Fantasia is not only my favorite Disney film, but my second favorite film of all time. And nowhere was that quality better exemplified than in the final number. In it, we see a powerful demon by the name of Chernabog summoning forth all of the damned for what must be one hell of a party. That creature mesmerized me. I loved everything about it. It had size, presence, and a creepy smile that just played into how scared and captivated I was at the same time. This character has become a staple of what I love about that film. Just made me want to go to the party that much more.
And the thing that freaked me out the most in fiction as a kid…
1. Expanding feet
A disclaimer – I didn’t like this show growing up. It was stupid, but I was young enough to be stuck watching it when the rest of the family was. And one scene that really fucked with my head growing up was when the youngest child in the family had this scary dream about her feet expanding really huge, and seeing it. That shit fucked me up! For weeks I had bad dreams about that concept, and to this day I feel a little weird when I see it. Old trauma, maybe? In any case, in a series devoid of any real tension or darkness, that one element has stuck with me. Hell, it’s the only thing I can actually remember about the series, outside of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it.
So, what stuff from fiction fucked up your life as a kid? Let me know in the Comments
Until next time, a quote,
“Like I said before, I think kids like being scared because it pulls them much more into the action. If they didn’t like being scared, they wouldn’t go out for Halloween, or watch High School Musical” – Nostalgia Critic