Category Archives: Lists

10 Most Rockin’ ’80s Cartoon Intros

 

If there’s anything we can remember distinctively about our favorite cartoons from our childhood, it’s most certainly the intros. The  ’80s are undeniably associated with over-the-top awesome music, bright colors, and spandex galore. So when it came to dazzling the eyes and ears of children of the era via animation, it came as no exception.

Even if it’s been 20 plus years since you’ve laid eyes on your favorite Saturday morning splendor, chances are you can totally remember that rockin’ tune that opened the portal to the castle of Greyskull or man-cats in blue spandex. I’m even willing to bet you probably catch yourself humming one of these intros every so often, like a trapped vortex of ’80s epicness spinning around in your dome. Well, if not, you’re about to for sure. And I’m not the least bit sorry about it!

I have to say it was pretty daunting ranking these magnificent ‘toon openers. The only proper way to get this task fairly done was to use the “head-bobbing method”. Basically, how hard it got my head bobbing back and forth like an idiot headed to the Roxbury.

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Anyways, according to the all mighty head bob, here are the 10 greatest cartoon intros of the ’80s!

 

10. Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling

Sadly, (and this is so irritating of the WWE) anytime someone uploads that glorious intro to Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, it gets taken down pretty quick. Sometimes you’ll be lucky if you catch it. But today is not that day my lovely readers. Luckily enough this kick-ass tune is quite awesome enough to hold on its own. Now just imagine Hogan and his animated buddies hopping in the Wrestling Roadster, while being chased down by Piper and his posse. Then a live-action, fully dressed in red spandex Hogan walking the city streets fist-pumping to this fine tune. You’re welcome.

 

9. Heathcliff

He may have not been quite as popular as that other smartass orange cat, but goddamn if he didn’t have the better cartoon opener. I don’t remember one thing about this show, other than the cool alley cats. But I sure as shit can sing this tune without skipping a beat. That has to count for something.

 

8. Ducktales 

Oh man, this one hits right into the nostalgia membranes-woo-hoo! Even if you never watched this, (and who are you if you didn’t) you remember and KNOW every word to this song- woo-hoo! Shit, now I can’t stop with the woo-hoos’. Curse you McDuck!

Just kidding. We love you. Woo-hoo.  RIP Alan Young.

 

7. Transformers

Muck like with Ducktales, chances are you at least know some of the lyrics. Come on, who doesn’t recognize, “Robots in disguise“? You’d seriously have to have been living in Gollum’s cave of riddles to not know at least that part. Plus, it’s basically robots fighting each other. What’s not to love here?

 

6. Alvin and the Chipmunks

It was inevitable a show centered around a trio of singing chipmunks that parody Michael Jackson songs were going to end up on this list. I mean, if the intro theme can’t suck us into a show of that nature, you’re kind of screwed. Love or hate the talking tree rodents, that tune is undeniably catchy.

5. Thundercats

HOOOOOOOOO!!!!

This intro gives you ZERO explanation of what this show is about. But the flashing lights, super ’80s-ish music, and all the energetic ass-kicking sucked you in anyway. When you heard this as a kid, you got damn excited to plop a squat on that oversized bean-bag chair and watch this badassery with a big bowl of cereal. And then maybe whack your little brother over the head with your plastic sword in the midst of all the excitement.

 

 

4. The Real Ghostbusters

Well of course, the more animated theme of  Ray Parker Jr’s smash hit from the 1984 blockbuster of the same name, was going to be included. Hell, even Rowan is getting down on this rockin’ classic intro to, quite frankly, one of the most badass cartoons to ever grace the screen on Saturday Morning.

 

3. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

The most powerful man in the universe also had one of the most powerful (and fuckin’ spectacular) intro themes in cartoon history. Much like with Thundercats, the opener is bright, flashy, and raging with testosterone; making you want to just sit the hell down and satisfy your senses with Skeletor mercilessly ripping into the He-Fool with epic insults. Face it guys- the Bone Daddy of Eternia was the real star here.

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2. Jem and the Holograms

There could be an argumentive debate on which Jem intro is superior- the other I’m referring to is the Barbie-like “Jem Girl” theme. However, the fact that The Misfits don’t get a little solo bit in the latter, automatically makes it the weaker version in my own humble opinion. Also, this may be another unpopular opinion on my side, but while Jem and her friends are truly outrageous in their own right, The Misfits had the better songs, period. I can only imagine what kind of rad as hell intro could have been with Pizzazz at the helm. Oh Hell, just bring them back and give them their own show already.

 

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I think it might be fair to say that the Ninja Turtles not only reign as High King for cartoon intros but quite possibly the animated era of the ’80s altogether. When poor He-Man fell from grace (that atrocious 1987 film may have been the final nail in the coffin), four smart-ass teenage kung-fu mutants took the crown as THEE most popular show for both boys and girls for the remainder of the decade. The exciting in-your-face opener is just the greasy pepperoni on top of a delicious pizza with a load of glorious ’80s cheese (but not too much) and a perfect solid dough underneath, Making this not only the most kick-ass intro to really get you excited for an episode but one of the greatest cartoons of the decade as well.

Great, now I just made myself hungry. Now if you’ll excuse me I have tomato bread to consume.

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What’s your favorite animated ’80s intro? Stay tuned as we dive into righteous ’90s next week!

 

 

Happy Dirty 30! The 15 Best Horror Films From 1988

Call me an old dried up fart-face, but it’s just so hard to accept that the legion of films we’re about to dive into, turn the dirty 30 this year. However, here we are in 2018 and our beloved movies first discovered by young horror fans at our local corner video store, are hitting a major anniversary milestone- and I’m a throwing a party for these glorious horror classics.

The wonderful years of ‘86 and ‘87 are pretty much unanimously considered from all of us, important years for the horror genre. Churning out such classics such as The Fly and Hellraiser throughout those time periods, paved the way for another banner year for horror fans in 1988; giving us a ridiculously awesome amount of films that still manage to give us cinematic boners thirty years later.

Speaking from the gut here, the year of ‘88 may just be one of the greatest years for the genre unofficially dubbed the “Slasher Decade”. From the beautifully constructed sequel to the above- mentioned Hellraiser, to the introduction of one of horror’s greatest tiny terrors in the form of a plastic doll, these movies filled our little horror hearts with all the fuzzies. For some even, opened up the door to the wonderful world of horror cinema upon seeing the hypnotizing VHS artwork that lined the horror shelves. Because as we know, video rental stores were all the jazz in this era and served as our savior from the word of mouth for the next cool movie to check out. So without further adieu, let’s retro rewind back to 1988 and look at some of the year’s best and brightest of horror!

 

15. “Night of the Demons”

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Night of the Demons is universally well-known among horror fans, especially from this tubular decade. Even if you haven’t seen this gem, you sure as hell remember that unforgettable VHS cover art from the video rental horror shelf. Hell, it’s what prompted me to rent the damn thing as a kid. Anyway, I feel like this delicious slice of cheesy horror isn’t mentioned nearly enough. So on the list this Linnea Quigley masterpiece goes!

Demons mixes up the perfect blend of dark humor and campy horror the ‘80s era is known to churn out. Night of the Demons pulls off this combo so well that it’s almost like the perfect example of a classic ‘80s genre film that we’ve see parodied over and over again. (Like the countless titles involving the fantastic word massacre). We have a basic set-up of a bunch of teens partying it up on Halloween night at, well, of course, a funeral parlor-duh. Because nothing bad can come of that in a horror movie, right? Even better, they perform a séance and a glorious chase between humans and demons ensues throughout the movie. Also worth mentioning is the movie’s kick-ass soundtrack which holds one of my favorite intro instrumentals of any ‘80s horror film. Give that one a listen sometime!

 

14. “Maniac Cop”

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If you can’t appreciate this little 1988 treasure starring the man, the myth, the mustache, Tom Atkins and equally legendary Bruce Campbell, I don’t think I want to know you- period. The movie even has the cheesiest and greatest self-titled rap song that can only rival Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready for Freddy” tune. If that alone doesn’t sell you off the bat, nothing further will so just skip this entry entirely.

In a sort of twisted Toxic Avenger/ Robocop mash-up, a no funny business cop is sent to jail on, really a minor technicality, and is mercilessly beaten to death (or so we think anyway) by the housed inmates he had sent there. A little private justice inmate style if you will. After being moved from the cell to the morgue, enter the king of chins Bruce and a dead wife that has been pinned on him. Along with a fair amount of strange murders of both criminals and innocents alike. Well, the Bruce is an adamant one and sets out to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt. And finds an old, thought to be dead colleague now a vengeful disfigured nutbag, behind the murders. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 

13. “Phantasm 2”

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Plainly speaking, I’m not a huge fan of the whole Phantasm franchise. (Cut me some slack, we all have different tastes.) However, if I were to choose only one from the series to watch, Phantasm 2 would most definitely be the winner.

Continuing with returning characters Mike and Reggie, Phantasm 2 picks up several years later with Mike institutionalized on the belief that the events in the first film were nothing short of his own wild imagination. Oh, if only it were that simple Mike. After being released from the asylum and reunited with Reggie, the pair embark on a journey that leads them straight to the forever now iconic, Tall Man. And if you know anything about the Phantasm movies, you know damn well it’s time to get weird- and it sure does. But in the greatest of ways.  

Almost ten years later and a larger budget the second time around, the effects gave away a greater nightmarish look to those epic, murderous spheres. Which I think we can all appreciate.  Aside from the elevated effects, Angus Scrimm is the glue that holds it all together with his snarlish expressions and the feeling of uneasiness in his presence as the Tall Man. What a legend and is still sorely missed by us all.

 

12. “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear”

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Infamous for his zombie films, George Romero gave us something different, and quite special in 1988- Ella the homicidal monkey. Also, goddamn if this one isn’t underrated and not talked about nearly enough. This adorable little monkey was absolutely terrifying and I frigging love it.

 

Ella is brought about when an athlete turned quadriplegic due to an accident, needs some help with daily duties and a little-added cheer in his now forever changed life. Enter Ella, an experimental monkey injected with human brain tissue turned service monkey. At first, the pair are actually adorable as hell. They really seem to take a shine to each other. However, Ella’s infatuation with her human friend takes a dark turn into some Marky Mark Fear type jealousy and she becomes a homicidal ball of fur and cuteness. She might be batshit insane, but she’s  pinch-the-cheeks delightful doing it. Which makes the idea that much more terrifying. She’s even adorable when she takes an angry piss on her once master and he calls her, “a slime” Actually, I laughed pretty damn hard at that.

 

11. “Waxwork”

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Ok, seriously: Fuck Madame Tussaud’s. Let’s hit up a Waxwork!

Imagine stepping into your favorite monster’s world. What would you do, and are you even prepared for it? Waxwork answers these questions for a couple of college students, (Zach Galligan-Gremlins, and Deborah Foreman- April Fool’s Day) among the crew. The six friends visit a Waxwork exhibit run by none other than David Warner (The Omen) that displays some iconic horror wax figures in all its glory. However, this magical house of wax can also give you a run for your money and life if you step inside one of the displays. You’ll end up in your favorite monster’s world and possibly become a part of it forever in the form of wax.

1988’s Waxwork is campy fan service entertainment at its damn finest and should be treated as such. If you love the classics Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, and Frankenstein, it’s kind of hard not to crack a satisfied smile during a viewing of Waxwork. Sure, it’s no masterpiece, but I dare you not to have some fuzzy feelings towards it after a watch. It just makes you feel you damn good about being a horror fan.

 

10. “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”

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1988 brought about the much-anticipated return of a horror icon from a seven-year hiatus, and after a foul outcry from fans who were pretty displeased with Season of the Witch. Welp, studios gave in and resurrected Mikey from the dead to unleash hell in Haddonfield once more. And although I have no issues with Halloween III personally, (in fact I frigging love it), I’m forever glad The Return happened as well.

The Return brings a once vegetable Myers awaken by the mere utter of the word “niece” and back to Haddonfield to finish off his one remaining family member. We get another dose of Donald Pleasance back as the ever-persistent hunter of Myers, and we’re introduced to one of today’s modern scream queens, Danielle Harris as Michael’s niece. It doesn’t hold that same type of magic as the original two sister films, but has its own spark of charm that has kept it a fan favorite with Halloween fans.

It may not be everyone’s favorite chapter of the life and times of Myers; but in between the Autumn essence of those beautiful opening credits that continues its feel throughout the film and Reverend Jackson P. Sayer, lies a pretty damn good sequel to the Halloween films.

 

9. “The Blob”

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Not everyone loves a remake of a true classic. But, in the tradition of The Thing and The Fly, once again a cinematic remake proves that it can be better than the original. Chuck Russell’s The Blob not only is superior to the 1958 sci-fi film, but more grotesque and memorable as well. Russell deserves all the praise here guys. Think about it for a second; how the hell do you take a campy B-Movie monster that looks like a mound of Jell-O and make it scary as fuck? Throw in some horrific death scenes at the hands of the Blob, have it swallow a child, and fling some body parts around the screen. Also, instead of using the “it came from outer space” gimmick, the thing was a government biological experiment. Which sort of makes it that much more horrifying. As the saying goes, “No beast on land, sea, or in the air is more dangerous than the man who rules the land.”

With a pre-Saw Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon taking on the ever-growing eater of children and star quarterbacks, The Blob is a gruesome step-up from its predecessor. There are a few cheese moments that take away from the more serious tone of this version. Like for example, Meg (Smith) shouting one-liners at the blob with a machine gun in hand. But hey, it’s the ‘80s. A slice of cheese is to be expected and especially when dealing with a man-eating, two-ton wad of Bill Cosby endorsed dessert.

 

8. “Friday the 13th 7: The New Blood”

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The seventh chapter of The Friday series brings about super zombie Jason and the man who breathed new life into the Crystal Lake slasher, Kane Hodder. Which makes The New Blood something really special when you look at the bigger picture. You can easily pick apart Hodder’s Jason from all others who have played the icon.His deep breaths, the menacing stance plus the way he moves around, make Hodder’s portrayal the most memorable, and a favorite among us fans. This being the first time Hodder slipped on the hockey mask, makes for a monumental moment in horror history indeed.  

The New Blood introduces us to Tina, a telekinetic teen brought to Crystal Lake for some therapy per her asshole doctor. During one of Tina’s episodes, she manages to raise Jason from the depths of the lake, and thus we can begin our official Friday the 13th film. The premise of a Carrie-like foe for Jason may seem a bit silly to some. But in the same breath, we’re talking about an undead being that has been resurrected FIVE times to maintain his excellent teenage kill record. So, come on. It’s not that bizarre really. Plus, I think it’s pretty funny to watch Jason struggle to kill this broad.

 

7. “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

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You’re probably noticing a pattern of slasher sequels here. The jig is up- I’m a big-time sucker for the continuations of our horror icons. And Dream Master is no exception.

Aside from Dream Warriors, Nightmare’s fourth movie in the franchise is definitely my favorite of the batch. The Westin Hills survivors return in Dream Master along with a new group of fine, fresh meat attempting to carry on with a normal life. But hey, nothing is normal about being an Elm Street kid. Freddy is awoken once again, by the mighty power of flaming dog whiz no less, and picks off the kids one by one.

Dream Master has everything going for it in a great sequel. A strong, likeable female lead (Lisa Wilcox), and a vengeful Freddy with just the right amount of sense of humor, (I’ll never NOT laugh at,“How’s this for a wet dream?!”). The soundtrack kicks all the ass, and we got some really unique and memorable teenage kills. Sheila’s death and sunken in dummy stand-in inside the classroom gave me nightmares for weeks. Also, a chick turns into a cockroach. What more can you ask for?

 

6. “Pumpkinhead”

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Yet, another 1988 film with the balls to kill a kid, and the birth of one of horror’s coolest looking monsters. Add in the mix a vengeance-seeking Lance Henriksen and one crazy looking witch, and we got ourselves a national horror treasure.

Henrikson plays a grieving father, Ed Harley, who is hell-bent on making the reckless jerks who killed his son pay dearly. In doing so, he visits a supposed witch to seek help. The witch warns him that vengeance comes with a price, but Ed gives no fucks. On the witch’s orders, Harley digs up a disfigured corpse, brings it to the witch who revives it with blood from both Harley and his deceased son, and boom- Pumpkinhead on the loose!

What makes Pumpkinhead so damn special aside from Henrikson and a unique new monster movie, is the feeling that no one really gains a victory in this film. It’s all rather, sort of depressing when you think about. This isn’t your typical good vs evil horror flick. I see it more or less as a grotesque Aesop Fable that genuinely evokes emotions of the viewers. A monster story that makes you…feel things. Can’t really say a lot of horror movies on this list can pull that off. But Pumpkinhead is sure one of them.

 

5. “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”

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Before I say anything else, I just want to express my great sadness that there’s never been a sequel to this glorious festival of cotton candy cocoons and toxic cream pies. Such a travesty.

The title says it all really. A flying circus tent of horrors lands in a small town full of extraterrestrial painted nightmares looking to feed. Only a select few are hip to the fact that a race of alien clowns have invaded and are harvesting civilians of Crescent Cove for supper, so it’s up to them to stop it.

For a little B-movie about alien clowns no less, becoming such a cult-smash over the past 30 years, is something that cannot and will not be ignored. Made from the minds of the Chiodos Bros, Killer Klowns is raunchy, silly, and damn enjoyable whether you’re on your first or 100th viewing. I’m pretty sure we’ll still be talking about this ridiculously amazing movie in the next thirty years. All hail the mighty Jojo Klownzilla.

 

4. “The Serpent and the Rainbow”

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Of all of the wonderful index of film from Wes Craven, it seems odd to me that The Serpent and the Rainbow often gets the shaft. Not today friends, not today.

The black voodoo magic movie starring President Alien ass-kicker Bill Pullman as a professor in search for “zombie powder”, was inspired by the novel from Wade Davis. The Harvard scientist Davis dug deep into the culture of Haiti’s rich history of voodoo, with a specific focus on the undead. The movie inspired by the intriguing novel slowly burns with magnificent detail about the voodoo culture. So much so, there really hasn’t been anything since quite like it. Over the years, fans and critics have slammed the film for its inaccuracy in regards to the source material, but I feel like that’s just a bit unfair. The deal was made for a fictional horror movie loosely based on the book, not a documentary. And in my humble opinion, tops the pops as far as psychological thrillers go.

The imagery is entertainingly gruesome and my skin crawls every time I revisit this Craven joint. If you’ve yet to see this gem, be warned claustrophobes. There’s a coffin scene you won’t soon forget for years to come.

 

 

3. “ Hellbound: Hellraiser II”

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In regards to horror sequels, there isn’t too many out there that rival the original. However, Hellraiser’s sequel Hellbound certainly lives up to its predecessor and dare I say, slightly improves on it as well.

Director Tony Randel takes us into Cenobite hell with the continuing saga of Kristy; this time around in a mental institution. (Recalling the events from the first film, that would drive anyone to the edge of pure insanity.) Of course, we don’t stay in that setting for long and Kristy is granted access to a grand tour of Hell and an incredible visual expansion into Clive Barker’s beautiful Hellraiser universe. Speaking of which, is so wonderfully crafted, it’s ridiculously hard not to view it as a true piece of art in motion. The makeup effects are the excellence of execution. A great example is the manufacturing of cenobites, particularly the scene where Julia pushes Channard into the labyrinth elevator. In addition, we get to see Doug Bradley in pure form, as we get to witness Pinhead’s origins. It’s just straight up incrediballs.

I’d also like to note, if you plan on revisiting this gorgeous piece of work this year for it’s dirty 30, I highly recommend the uncut version. There’s only three minutes more of the film, but trust me. Those 180 seconds make a huge difference.  

 

2. “They Live”

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Simply stating John Carpenter’s cult classic They Live was ahead of its time, might just be the goddamn understatement of the cinematic century.

Starring the Rowdy one the late Roddy Piper, Carpenter’s film about the world’s elite and society’s blindness towards an underlying evil is absolute brilliance. Based on Ray Nelson’s short story “Eight O’Clock In The Morning”, They Live is one of those rare films that forces us as viewers to question our world and surroundings. A homeless drifter named Nada, (Piper), discovers that the upper class of society are in fact aliens incognito and manipulating society to spend money, breed, and blindly accept their status in the world with subliminal messages. Via the mass media and advertising, constant commands are hidden to obey and conform. In other words, the truth.

They Live is just as relevant today as it was then. In the film, the rulers are portrayed as a completely different race that perceives humans as inferior – something that can easily be correlated to our elected politicians. The presence of these strong messages is one of the reasons They Live became somewhat of a cult-classic, despite the fact that it was panned by movie critics upon its first release. 30 years later, the movie’s statement still holds plenty of ground; and quite frankly, freakishly realistic. Now that my friends, is some scary shit.

I really struggled here not putting this at numero uno. Alas, there’s only one little guy who could possibly obtain that kind of voodoo power over me and my love for the Hot Rod…

1. “Child’s Play”

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Well actually, it’s no surprise really that Chucky is, the greatest attribute to horror to come out of ‘88. Spawning six sequels over the span of thirty years, Chucky and the Child’s Play series has managed to capture our hearts, (and souls), with his wise-cracking, murderous shenanigans. And we can’t seem to get enough of this Good Guy.

We’ve seen the whole killer doll plot before Chucky’s debut, but never anything quite like this. We have to give a lot of credit to the casting of Brad Dourif as the voice behind the two-foot Lakeshore Strangler. Dourif has a strong, menacing presence in his voice (remember the Gemini Killer), yet in the same breath can be quite comical as well. The moment Chucky lets Karen know he’s indeed alive paired with various obscene insults, made you jump out of your seat initially, then slump back in a goddamn giggle.

“I’ll teach you to fuck with me!”

Almost as good as that super random, “Fuck you” in the elevator.

Originally titled “Batteries not Included”, and then “Blood Buddy” before the decided name of Child’s Play, 1988 gave birth to a legendary icon in the genre we love and cherish so deeply. Apart from the iconic status, the film truly holds its place firmly as a horror classic. Directed by Tom Holland and written by Don Mancini, Child’s Play raised the stakes and opened the door for the deadly doll genre to come out and play once again.

 

Happy dirty 30 you wonderful, ugly little shit.

 

 

I just couldn’t help myself.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: 10 Best Tales From the Series

If you clicked on this little list I’ve put together, then chances are you’re quite familiar with the paperback trilogy of nightmare nostalgia we’re about to dive deep into the rabbit hole with. Also, I’m willing to bet a good portion of you still have these books. In which you most likely bought with your lunch money at your third-grade book fair. I myself, unfortunately, don’t possess a lot of my childhood treasures from my youth due to a nasty fire that demolished a good portion of my materialistic belongings. However, one of the things I managed to hold onto despite disasters, multiple moving vans, and the entrance of adulthood is, of course, all three 1986 Harper Trophy Editions of “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”.

The urban legends that were revised and compiled into an anthology of books by Alvin Schwartz paired with haunting illustrations by Stephen Gammell, were the ultimate trophy on our bookshelves. And an absolute necessity for those Friday night slumber parties or weekend camping trips. Not much has changed, at least in my household anyway, as these books have stood the test of time and continue to encourage reading to now my own two little ones. Just as I would grab one of my books, and read to my own father in his chair when I was a much smaller Patti, I continue with the “Scary Stories” tradition as my kids now read to me. It’s wonderful and refreshing to know that I’m not the only parent who has passed down these nostalgic tales to their spawns and that the trio of books that parents once hated, has overcome the odds and still holds a near and dear place within our hearts.

37 years ago, the first installment of “Scary Stories” was published and is listed as being the seventh most challenged series of books for its violence and surreal, spine-tingling illustrations. Cool huh? Schwartz then followed with two more books, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark in 1984, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones in 1991. In honor of the first books’ 35th anniversary this year, I’ve put together a fun nostalgic list of the 10 best tales from “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” series. This was no easy task thinning a list down to just ten, but I’m pretty satisfied with my final selections. So while we’re all patiently waiting for the highly anticipated Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark documentary to be available for public consumption, let’s celebrate 37 years of real Nightmare Nostalgia.

 

10. “High Beams”

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The tale as old as the ages and that has been told countless times and parodied in film makes number ten. This retelling of the story of a woman who is in very real danger not from who’s following her, but what lurks inside her car is based on a similar story that came out of Waverly, Iowa about a man hiding in the back seat of a woman’s car. She had stopped to get gas, and the attendant noticed the presence of a male figure in the back seat. He did not giver her change, so when she returned to pocket the rest of her money after pumping her gas, the attendant informed her of the situation and called the police.

 

9. “The Wolf Girl”

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This legend that is retold by many cultures throughout (mostly) the Southwest, involves a newly born infant whose mother did not survive childbirth and the baby was nowhere to be found. The father who had made the discovery in the story also took notice of what looked like wolf tracks around the area, so it was assumed the baby had been eaten by wolves. A few years later, people would report sightings of a young girl running around naked with long hair in the company of wolves. Numerous legends of children raised by wild animals or left to fend for themselves have inspired such books as The Jungle Book and Island Of The Blue Dolphins. However, Schwartz’s version is my favorite.

 

8. “Such Things Happen”

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Witches had a pretty bad rep back in the day, and still, in present times, are scoffed at by those who don’t understand. Schwartz based this tale from an American legend where a man is believed to be tormented by a nearby witch and takes it upon himself to try to stop her. According to Schwartz’s notes, “I adapted and expanded this theme to point up the conflict between education and superstition that may arise when an educated person feels like they are out of control.” And the tale he wrote is a pretty great little story.

 

7. “The Drum”

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This odd tale of two beastly children whose selfish wants become an unimaginable consequence is a cautionary tale told to children through the ages to basically behave or you’re getting a goddamn mother with glass eyes and a wooden tail in place of the one you have now. That’s actually pretty terrifying. The tale seems to have originated from England in the nineteenth century and then migrated to the states.

 

6. “Just Delicious”

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This one made me laugh more than most of the featured comedic tales that were often found towards the end of the book. This tale has been revised in many different countries and the theme stays pretty similar. The stories usually involve a man, while Schwartz swaps gender roles in his story, whose family is starving steal a heart or liver from a nearby funeral home to feed his family. Later that night, the ghost would come looking for said missing organ and take the lives of those who consumed it.

5. “Bess”

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As an avid animal lover, this one hurt the feels a tad when I was young. Based on an old European legend originally called “Oleg’s Death”, the story follows the same structure as in this book. The tale of a man who lived in fear of a horse, for it was foretold the horse would cause his death. Presumably, entering the safety zone after the horse falls victim to old age…. LOL. Yeah, not so much buddy.

 

4. “The Red Spot”

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This irked the shit out of anyone who suffers even the mildest cases of arachnophobia. This creepy story derives from the folklore of foreign entities (such as these eight-legged monsters) invading our bodies and setting up residence. Or you know, laying a thousand eggs inside your cheek while you sleep. Stunning.

 

3. “The Haunted House”

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The legend of a young woman’s murder and the preacher who helped put the spirit at rest by locating the murderer is likely one of the most beloved and remembered stories from Schwartz’s trilogy of terrors. It’s definitely among the most unique of tales found within these books as stories of haunted house resemble one another, this one has a bit of a twist whereas the ghost of the young woman is not threatening whatsoever, but a spirit wanting justice. Of course, justice and revenge run rapid throughout “Scary Stories”. However, this one just hits all the right notes.

 

2. “The Thing”

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Lawdy does that picture give me the beautiful skeevies. The tale is based on a folktale out of Nova Scotia in a book called Bluenose Ghosts where “the thing” is an actual warning of ones own impending death.  I’ll take the guy in the robe over that face any day, thank you.

1. “Harold”

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Oh Harold, you silly scarecrow. Don’t you know laying out skin in the sun too long gives it wrinkles? You need to take some notes from Buffalo Bill. Anywho, the walking menace from the cornfields makes numero uno as the tale remains to this very day, the creepiest tale to come out of these books. The story of Harold is retold from a legend that came out of Switzerland and quite honestly, stories about man creating a life and it ultimately becoming something they can’t control is a tale we’ve heard time and again. From Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to the Jewish tale of the Golem, Harold resembles the outline of such said stories as the creature that has been given life ultimately turns on its master. We all love stories of killer dolls. It is for that reason, this tale tops off this list.

What are some of your favorite stories from the books? Comment below and let’s talk nightmare fuel.

Scary Stories Paperback Box Set: The Complete 3-Book Collection

Nightmare Nostalgia: Children’s Movies That Scared The Crap Out Of Us

Think back to when you were a youngling. It was a time of the unnecessary belt with the leotards, the beta video, the jelly flats, and twisted people in the film industry trying to scar us with David Bowie’s huge bulge- Thanks for the unrealistic expectations Jareth. Let’s talk some Bill Nye and state some science here: Some of our beloved movies from adolescence had some pretty dark and twisted shit going on. And it scared the holiest of crap out of us.

It was damn glorious. They don’t make them like this anymore people…

 

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Grant it, I grew up in a tough household where horror movies were thrown at me at an early age. It was, “sit down, shut up and watch Dream Master. Oh, and here’s an Ecto Cooler if you get thirsty”. The strange thing with that is this: Freddy Krueger NEVER scared me as a child. As a matter of fact, I thought the man was pure comic relief, even in the early films. However, there were times when I sat down to a watch a so-called family-friendly flick, and ended up thinking ” Ok, what in the actual fuck and why am I getting the skeevies by this?”  Those early films were pure nightmare fuel, and because this is Nightmare Nostalgia, let’s take a look below at this UNRANKED list of kiddie-gateway horror movies.

 

The Witches

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Alrighty, let’s talk about this 1990 twisted gem. Anjelica Huston successfully scared the piss out of me when I was a child as the Grand High Witch. Unmasked, she was something straight of a horror flick- bravo Jim Henson. The Witches is adapted from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, and it’s important here to point out all of his books always bordered on a high creep factor. (Remember Augustus Gloop drowning a river of chocolate?) The story of a nation of witches who mean to bring an end to disgusting little “childrens” by turning them all into mice with enchanted chocolate, certainly made me think twice about buying that Hersheys bar. How’s that for a mind fuck?

 

The Dark Crystal

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Those goddamn bird creatures are the absolute bane of my existence. When Jim Henson strayed from his infamous Muppets, he ventured into a completely different realm of what the fuck. Especially to that of a four-year-old watching a gang of these hunchback birds called Skeksis, tear apart one of their own in a brutal fashion. Thanks for the sleepless nights creature shop.

 

The Secret Of Nimh

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Animation is no exception and can be a whole tank of nightmare fuel.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

An animal lover such as myself can find this movie extremely disturbing. Aside from all the beautifully dark imagery, the underlying tale of NIMH is sufficiently evil all on its own. Touching on the very real issues of cruel animal testing, rats and mice were taken to the NIMH labs and injected with a needle full of fuck knows what. One of these experiments led to their advanced intelligence and eventual escape, which brings us into another terrifying tale revolving around the struggles of love, betrayal, and ultimate power. Also, I can’t be the only one who thought that damn cave of bones dwelling owl, was completely terrifying with those glowing eyes and no-nonsense demeanor.

 

The Labyrinth

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Oh Jareth, how I love your cruelty! Being the oldest in my household, there were many a time I wished for the disappearance of my younger siblings. The Goblin King, gave Sarah her wish to have her little brother taken away by the goblins, much to the surprise- and dismay of our heroine. Dodging the bog of eternal stench, strange creatures, and Jareth’s charm all along the way, Sarah sets out to save her infant brother. This one borders more on the creep factor rather than scaring the crap out of you with its twisted cinematography and Bowie’s performance of a powerful, no bullshit-taking ruler. I think the only thing that really frightened seven-year-old me, was Jareth’s protruding bulge. That thing had its own goddamn zip code.

 

The Return To Oz

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Holy hell, where do I even begin with this little treasure? Floating, screaming heads, a ten-foot-tall walking Jack-O-Lantern, a headless witch that will take yours, the Gnome King, and of course- The goddamn Wheelers. If you’ve ever happened to pick up any of the original OZ books, they really aren’t too far off from this. Making this addition in particular, probably the one that rings most true to the infamous Frank L. Baum stories. Within the first 15 minutes, Dorothy is dragged off to a mental institution for some shock therapy.

Oh, what’s that a talking Lion?

Come on Dorothy, let’s take a ride. 

That’ll teach you to talk about your fantasy worlds to adults little girl.

 

The Black Cauldron

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Arguably the greatest goddamn Disney movie… EVER. Why you ask?

Well, lets break it down:

  • No annoying Disney characters breaking out in song in the middle of a problem.
  • There’s an army of fucking undead skeletons.
  • THE HORNED KING
  • Again, an army of undead skeletons. Because that’s important here.

The Black Cauldron is most unique in the Disney Rolodex of animated films. As stated above, there are ZERO musical numbers in this gem. Pretty much unheard of for any Disney animated movie. The tone is much darker than your average Zippity-Do-Da flick, and the main villain, the Horned King is flat out awesome. And scary as hell for a three-year-old who was taken to the movies expecting another Aristocats dance-fest. Instead, you get the cutesy character Gurgi leaping to his (seemingly) death, and pretty much every scene of the soulless Horned King scaring the crap out of you. What a seriously underrated Disney villain.

 

ET: The Extra Terrestrial

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Laugh if you must, but in the case you are, YOU UNDERSTAND NOTHING AND HOW DID THIS NOT FREAK YOU OUT AS A KID?! Listen, I grew up on horror films. And while most just provided good ole entertainment for me and zero scares, hell I laughed at Freddy and Kincaid from Dream Warriors, E fuckin’ T gave me serious nightmares. And my dad, in a perfect parenting win fashion upon knowing of my uneasiness with the long-necked alien, preceded to put a poster of this little asshole right above my bed at the tender age of three. Such a dick move Dad. Though, I’ll confess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and this is something I would 100% do to my own children.

Anyway, this piece of nightmare fuel, with his long bony fingers touching shit, elongating his neck like a little asshole and glowing red heart is the stuff of pure nightmares. Oh yeah, that little alien is a zombie. Lying there all white, ghostly, and ummm DEAD; and then springs to life mumbling some undead garbage about phones. GTFO.

 

The Hobbit (1977)

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As a child, I had only seen the Rankin/Bass 1977 television special once via an impromptu VHS rental my mother had brought home from work; and that was quite enough. Thanks for traumatizing me for life by the way, life-giver. Is it just me, or do any of the Rankin/Bass gems always seem a little on the creepy, and or morbid side? Like the time a bunch of mythological beasts and demons decided whether Santa Claus should live or die, (The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, 1985).

I mean, holy fuck.

Anyway, 1977’s The Hobbit was sustainably creepy in its own right.  Case in point, the Gollum creature in particular. Sure enough, Smaug shined as a scary enough animated villain; but not like Gollum. Due to the way Gollum was drawn and his froggy-voiced dialogue, this little shit came off as terrifying in the midst of this fantasy visual. Of course, when we’re talking about a prequel to pretty much the end of the world and men, I think its fair to have a few horrifying characters in the mix of such a story.

 

What so-called family-friendly films scared the living crap out of you when you were of a substantially shorter height? Let’s talk some nightmare nostalgia!