Tag Archives: Nightmare Nostalgia

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

Manic Mania For the Madman – Horror’s Unsung Slasher Icon

Madman may not share the infamy of other slasher films of the era such as Sleepaway Camp, Silent Night, Deadly Night, or My Bloody Valentine, but make no mistake – this small-budget independent horror movie has proven to be a tremendous force to be reckoned with.

Madman Could Not Be Stopped

Upon its release, it received horrible coverage. According to Madman himself (Paul Ehlers) the film never found its way on the cover of any magazine of the day and there was only a tiny blurb of an article discussing its merit. That’s shameful! To top it all off, very few theaters chose to showcase the movie making its audience miserably limited. Under most usual circumstances, Madman should have been quickly forgotten in the traffic of better-known franchises. However, in spite of its challenges not only did the film find its audience but has enjoyed cult stardom that grows stronger with each new viewing.

ComingSoon
image via ComingSoon

Being a fan of Madman is like being part of an exclusive club. A fan club with members like Joe Bob Briggs and Quentin Tarantino. Yup, both of them are Madman fans. Others praise Jason, Michael, and Freddy (nothing wrong with that at all I must add), but Madman fans are a category all of their own. It’s as if knowing the movie is our own kind of secret handshake. We recognize his growl and know his theme song by heart – and damn proud of it!

Originally the movie was based on local ghost stories. That’s right, my little ghoulies, initially Madman was rooted in the infamous Cropsey legend and was always intended to be the quintessential campfire boogeyman. He is a rumor, the resident guilty secret no one dares talk about after nightfall, and a whisper that chills the blood with inescapable dread. After thirty years he is still proving to be the ultimate deep woods camp legend. All you need to know to survive is “Don’t say his name above a whisper, or pay the hideous consequences.”

Villains Wiki
image via Villains Wiki

Today we’re going to pay the Madman his dues and celebrate all the fun, screams, and gory good fun of this underrated slasher!

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image via Fangoria

The Madman Legend

Old man Marz was anything but a soft-spoken farmer who lived peaceably out in the woods with his family. Oh no. Marz was an ugly drunk who beat his wife to a pulp and savaged both of his kids. When he wasn’t raising Hell at home he was busy cracking skulls open at the local tavern. In one such brawl his nose had been bitten off, but Marz – being the hateful cuss that he was – didn’t feel a thing.

His was a house of pain where a bruised wife and traumatized children lived in constant fear of his violent outbursts. It was anything but a home. That same hateful abode still stands, but is now rattled by the cruel ticking away of time and is cursed with haunted whispers and frightful suspicions; for one night Marz went completely ravenous mad. Without a hint of warning or any reason the old farmer picked up his axe and walked across the creaking floor boards with only a single thought in mind: murder. One by one Marz slaughtered each member of his family with cold systematic precision. As if to celebrate the event once finished Marz strolled into town – and still sodden by his family’s blood – sat himself down and had a beer at the tavern.

Upon realizing his crime vigilantes took matters into their own hands. Fed up with the sadism of the hateful creature they dragged Marz onto the streets. Someone took the Madman’s bloodied axe and buried it deep into the farmer’s face. He was still standing though, now driven by a rage that would please the cruelties of Satan and ready to slaughter the whole town. Luckily though they strung him up to the nearest tree and hung him there, thinking all was over. The next morning though Marz was no longer at the tree. He and the bodies of his family went missing, never to be found.

Blood Soaked Horror Reviews
image via Blood Soaked Horror Reviews

Madman Marz –as he came to be known, was never mentioned among the locals for fear that he would hear his name and come running.

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image via comingsoon

Upon the anniversary of the Marz family murder our cast of heroes (victims) have decided to camp just a little too close to the old farmer’s abandoned property. What begins as a fun little camp-fire ghost story soon turns into a night of savage butchery as the Madman hunts each of them down. All too late it becomes apparent that the legends are real – that he is real – and there is no escaping him.

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image via Fangoria

As far as back stories go his is one Hell of a good one. So why in the Hell does he not get any more recognition than he does? Madman is just as equally vicious as either Jason or Leatherface. As a matter of fact, I’d love to see a crossover of Madman vs Leatherface. The hatchet vs the chainsaw. Two backwoods maniacs with a taste for blood battling it out to the death! It should at the very least be a comic book for Shoggoth’s sake!

It’s an understatement to say this is a criminally underrated 80’s slasher film. It’s beautifully filmed all at night giving it an eerie tone that makes you think the killer waits behind every shadow. Fans of the slasher genre deserve to discover this one. It’s a film that needs to be experienced, and is best experienced with a group of friends.

Rivers of Grue
image via Rivers of Grue

Fun Facts

While filming Madman there was a rumor that someone was lurking around the woods at night uninvited and wanting to interrupt the crew’s progress. The director approached our Madman star and asked him to go out in the woods at night and stalk the stalker. While in full makeup and costume by the way. No lurker was ever found though.

Gaylen Ross of Dawn of the Dead stars in the movie. However, not only does she use a fake name in the end credits but allegedly refuses to admit she was ever involved in the making of the film.

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image via cineoutsider

Final Thoughts

Today we have seen Jason in Manhattan and space. Hell, the fucking Leprechaun got his little ass shot up into space. Michael has survived rappers and a remake. Freddy has been in a womb, in hell, and at Crystal Lake. And we have how many Hatchet – clearly inspired from Madman’s design – movies are there now? Not to mention Leatherface, Michael, Jason and Freddy are all now video game stars. But we only have one Madman movie. No sequels or remakes. There was talk that Paul Ehlers and his son had been working on a remake, but to my knowledge it hasn’t progressed beyond that. I think it’s a travesty that this never was allowed to become a franchise in of itself.

Not to mention I’m a horror figure collector and my shelf feels empty because Marz isn’t there. I’d gladly commission a talented artist to make me a Madman figure to stand beside my McFarlane Movie Maniacs.

Wicked Horror
image via Wicked Horror

Fans have made custom masks and fake trailers in honor of Marz. There’s a high demand for the Madman out there, and the love for his lore isn’t dying down. If you’re looking for a fun movie this is one

This has been Manic Exorcism. You all be sure to stay tuned in and keep those fuzzy nostalgic feelings warm here by the campfire.  I’ll be leaving you with the iconic Madman song.

Madman [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]

John Carpenter’s Elvis Biopic Starring Kurt Russell; Yeah, That Happened

It’s one of those things that if you didn’t know, you’re mind just got friggin’ blown like a scene from Scanners.

I was one of those people, and I’m seriously pissed off that nobody bothered to tell me that this national treasure existed. FOR SHAME on you, while I hang my own head in humility.

Anway, upon learning about this hidden-from-me-gem, I immediately ordered a copy (and you should too) from Amazon, and gave it a view over this past weekend. I was not disappointed folks.

Fresh off the massive genre hit with fans Halloween, Carpenter aimed his directorial skills toward the smaller screen with 1979’s made for TV biopic Elvis. Starring in his first of many Carpenter films, Kurt Russell takes on the daunting task of portraying the man, the myth, the lip-curl himself, along with Russell’s real-life father Bing Russell playing Elvis’ father Vernon in the film as well. Which would totally account for the believability factor as far as paternal ownership in the movie. Shelly Winters (Roseanne, The Poisedian Adventure) tackles the important role of Mama Gladys- if you’re an Elvis fan, you know how much this man loved his mama. Also starring Halloween alumni Charles Cyphers, Pat Hingle, and Russell’s ex-wife Season Hubley as Priscilla Presley, Elvis is a wonderful Carpenter family affair on-screen that respectfully pays tribute to the trials and tribulations of rock legend without diving into his death.

Made only two years after the King’s passing, the 150-minute biopic focuses on the star’s childhood, the rise and peak of his fame, and the important relationships in this legend’s life that affected an empathetic man so greatly. According to reports, there are two other versions of the film that aired in the UK beginning with Elvis’ hair being cut before his entrance into the US army, and then the death of his mother. With a great deal of the story being told before these two incidents appear in the film, I’m certainly glad that wasn’t the final cut! We cannot be deprived of that wonderful Shelley Winters, now can we?

Apart from the obvious, and at times not so great lip-synching, Russell’s Elvis persona is by far, my favorite I’ve ever seen. You’re also talking to a born and raised Vegas girl here, and I’ve seen COUNTLESS impersonators in my lifetime; more than I even care to. But, Russell really does pull it off embodying the very spirit of the King right down to his signature movements and hell, he really does look like him too! So that’s a pretty great bonus. With portraying a personality as large as Elvis, it’s so easy to go overboard (haha) with it. However, with Russell, it seems natural. Which speaks volumes about his acting chops. Fun fact: Kurt Russell actually appeared in an Elvis film, It Happened at the World’s Fair in 1963, where a mini Russell kicked the King of Rock and Roll in the shins. Russell also dubbed the voice of Elvis seen in Forrest Gump in ’94 and played an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland. So I suppose it’s fair to say Russell has had his fair share of defining Elvis moments in cinema.  However, Carpenter’s Elvis should, and I think is, his crowning achievement in his lip-curling legacy towards the once Graceland resident.

Originally airing as part of an ABC Sunday night special movie in 1979, Elvis went on to receive nominations from the Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture Made For Television and an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor (Russell). Didn’t win, but well deserved in any regard.

 

If you’re an Elvis fan or a lover of made for TV glory, I highly recommend picking this diddy up and adding it to your collection.

Click the image to pick it up over on Amazon!

Made For TV: “The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer”

If you were of sound mind in 1993, you may recall a horrific little made for TV movie entitled The Secret Life of Jeffrey Dahmer.  Or technically speaking, The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Oh yes, we’re going to talk about this fuckery.

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Frankly speaking, I’m not sure why this film isn’t talked about more often in horror circles. Visually the 1993 film looks pretty dated however, the movie that in my opinion, has most accurately depicted Dahmer’s perception of life and twisted state of mind, to this day holds up as THEE legit Dahmer movie out of the several that have popped up since the twisted killer’s arrest on July 22, 1991. And regarding gorehounds out there, it’s DEFINITELY the most brutal and by far the most unsettling to sit through. I’m not sure how I got away with watching this completely fucked up movie with my virgin 10-year-old eyes, but I most certainly did. Bless the golden age of HBO and the days when the boob tube was an acceptable babysitter for rugrats.

Directed by David Bowen and starring a convincible Carl Crew as the infamous Dahmer, The Secret Life is told from the killer’s point of view and laid out through the horrific 14 years of Dahmer’s life of murder and madness that resulted in the deaths of 17 young men and ultimately, leading up to his arrest. Crew (Dahmer) with those hauntingly calming voice-over monologues as a well-aware killer with an eternal fear of abandonment throughout the movie and ability to go from calm as a cucumber to unhinged is in my opinion, pretty underrated as Crew’s performance is quite the treat for fans of this type of film.

The Secret Life was released two years after Dahmer’s real-life arrest and one year prior to his death in prison, so the terrifying discovery of the acts from Dahmer was still fresh in the world’s mind. And the fact that the film played the no hold’s barred card with extremely violent sequences involving the murder of Dahmer’s victims, really set some folks off in the sensitivity department. Curious audiences who had followed the case knew to an extent, of the horrors Dahmer unleashed upon his prey, but I’m not so sure anyone was really prepared for the brutal savagery displayed on film that seemed like something out of a snuff flick but was in fact, reality of the final moments of the casualties of Dahmer. Bowen’s telling of the grisly murders and semi-humanizing Dahmer in a way to look deeper behind the monster didn’t sit too well with a lot of critics and viewers back in ’93 so the film seemed to drop off the face of the earth with the ending of the VHS era until a few years back when Intervision released a DVD that includes the original trailer, audio commentary with director Bowen, and a featurette with Carl Crew.

The Dahmer true tale of torture and terror is unsettling enough as it is and this movie goes balls deep right into it without adding any flair or big-budget fluff. And frankly, it works better that way. It feels like you’re watching something maybe you really shouldn’t be looking at. However, the story is told so well that behind the brutality of severed heads proudly on display in Dahmer’s fridge, are secondary elements in Bowen’s movie. Even so, it’s not for the queasy folks. And I wouldn’t suggest eating any beef stew during a viewing.

For those interested in revisiting or for first-time viewers, The Secret Life is available over on Amazon.

 

That Time Elvira Was a Guest Commenter at WrestleMania 2

Just when you thought Elvira couldn’t get any cooler, she went and did this thing. Which was kind of one of the most bad-ass things ever..

No matter how you slice it, the world of professional wrestling doesn’t come a hair close to the magic of what once was. In the early eighties, the WWE (even though to this day I still refer to it as WWF) became a powerhouse in the entertainment industry thanks to the likes of heavily promoted heroes such as Hulk Hogan and no hero would be complete with a heel to despise, and that title belonged to the late, great Roddy Piper. Even better were the special events like Saturday Night’s Main Event, and what was to become the annual WrestleMania that brought these heavily promoted soap-opera worthy feuds to a head in an epic battle of, at the time to us kiddos, basically good guys against the bad guys. And it was goddamn glorious my friends.

 

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Let’s go back to 1986’s Wrestlemania 2. Not only was this the first WrestleMania to be broadcast exclusively on Pay-Per-View but also, and I don’t think I’m wrong here, was the ONLY Wrestlemania to be held in three cities at one time; New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, each with its own main event. New York had the great boxing match between Mr. T and Roddy Piper with ring commenters Vince McMahon and Susan St. James. Chicago with the 20-man Royal Rumble that mixed wrestling greats with NFL football players with voice-overs from the fantastic Gorilla Monsoon, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Cathy Lee Crosby. And last but not least along with the reason you’re here, the steel-cage match between the immortal Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy with ringside commenters Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes, and the Queen of Halloween herself Elvira in Los Angeles!

 

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Celebrity guests have always been a fun addition to the shenanigans in and out of the ring. Whether they’re part of a feud that builds into an exciting Main Event, like the pinnacle start to the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection in the early ’80s that began with Cyndi Lauper smacking her purse over Lou Albino’s noggin; or like in this case, a ringside guest appearance that generates sparks and interest to bring in viewers that may have not had to begin with. Such is the case with the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira.

Because the WWE is rather strict with their videos on the interwebs, the best I can do as far as a video visual is to send you to the official WWE website to take a look at snippets of Elvira’s appearance at the ’86 spectacle by clicking here. However, this wasn’t the last time Elvira rubbed elbows over-greased champions of entertainment…

The Queen of Halloween did some promos for that OTHER wrestling federation WCW, hyping up what was to be the annual Halloween Havoc. I mean, who else better to spread the word and give some spooky validation to the October event than Elvira?! Take a look at the promos below from 1989 and 1990!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Check Out This Rare, Documentary-Feel ‘Poltergeist’ Trailer!

Cross over children. All are welcome here at Nightmare Nostalgia, and oh man do I have a special treat for you guys! A beautifully vintage and rarely seen 1981 Poltergeist trailer, that in my opinion, looks ten times scarier than the movie itself!

The classic horror film from legends Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper, well according to more recent reports and the truth unearthed by the Shock Waves Podcast, mostly from Spielberg, of an all-American seemingly apple pie family’s lives violently disrupted by a malevolent presence known as a poltergeist in and around their home, both terrified and enthralled audiences around the world. Poltergeist, having just celebrated its 35th anniversary earlier this Summer, and personally speaking, one of my top five horror flicks of all time, was apparently scaring the shit out of audiences across the pond way before it’s initial June 4th, 1982 theatrical release. And looking at this just under three-minute gorgeous teaser for the film that had us all bolting our closets shut upon a first viewing, it isn’t far-fetched to see why.

 

Image result for poltergeist 1982 screaming

 

This seldom-seen 1981 teaser runs brilliantly like a pure real-life horror documentary, and if this is what you had first laid eyes on before anything else about this film in the early ’80s, you could have been convinced that this was a true story. I mean, the trailer does say at the very end, “Poltergeist, the first real ghost story.” Along with very little film footage from the actual movie, but rather stunning screenshots and breaks of paranormal experts explaining exactly just what the hell a poltergeist really is; it kind of could scare the shit out of anyone who is easily frightened by such things.

I’m a little bummed and feel sort of robbed that the US didn’t promote this trailer in place of the others we received for this movie. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I personally, have never seen this gem until recently. Every little thing about this teaser is done so well and is forcing me to have a Poltergeist marathon in my living-room as we speak. You might feel the same way too after watching it. Check it out!