Thursday, May 25, 2006

Things that scared the crap out of me circa 1975

Kolchak: the Night Stalker
I've been watching the DVD of"Kolchak: The Night Stalker". 1974-1975, Darren McGavin (aka the Dad from "A Christmas Story") investigates supernatural phenomenon in Chicago. Lasted one season, but left an impression on me (apparently on Chris Carter as well, who said "The X-Files" was partly inspired by it). Not because it was scary - the monsters were about as scary as any space alien Captain Kirk or Doctor Who faced: cheesy guy in a rubber suit quality - it just had a good, scary story around the campfire quality to it. Especially the few episodes where the monster wasn't seen, or you only saw a vague glimpse of it.
There were a few sources of scary stuff in the 70's for a kid in suburbia. Here's a few that top the list:
The Exorcist - never actually got to see it, but the schoolyard stories about it were far more gruesome and horrifying than the movie turned out to be.
Rod Serling's Night Gallery - I still hate earwigs...
Karen Black in that movie where the demon doll keeps coming after her. Whoa geez, I can still see the teeth.
The "Movie of the Week" where the little evil gnomes live in the crawlspace. Kept me out of there.
And "Scrooge - the Musical". OK, sure - it was a musical version of "A Christmas Carol". But when the Ghost of Christmas Future pulls back his hood and there's a grinning skull underneath... that's when I started sleeping with the covers over my head. I was seriously scared by it. I think horror is most effective when it really comes out of left field.
Weird that I could sit through a good British Hammer Horror, Frankenstein or Werewolf movie, or even The Blob with people getting digested by a slime mold, and the thing that kept me up at night for weeks was from a musical.

"Sound of Music" messed me up pretty good too....


Brian Lavery said...

Great posts. Far more entertaining than my blog.
I'm sleeping with the lights on tonight! That Karen Black movie was too creepy! And I remember mocking you for being afraid of Spirit # 3 in Scrooge.
So I guess you don't want to come to "Sing Along" Sound of Music?

Brian Lavery said...

Trilogy of Terror!