Sparkly Death: A look at childhood horror influences
by Selah Janel
Am I the only one who blames the eighties for how I am? I mean seriously, I don’t get why people are surprised when I say that I love horror and write it and other dark genres. I was kinda doomed from the start, honestly. I got back to thinking the other day about all the early influences I was bombarded with, and there are a ton. Here are some that particularly stick out for me, in no particular order:
Punky Brewster, The Perils of Punky – Yeah we’re starting out fast right out of the gate. I remember seeing this two-parter in kindergarten and being traumatized by having to wait to see the second episode. Basically Punky and friends go camping, get lost, take shelter in a cave, and start telling a story about a group of kids going camping…you don’t really get that what’s going on is part of the story within a story (especially if you’re five). You have giant spiders, evil spirits, people getting trapped into walls with glowing eyes and teeth…and keep in mind this was not the general tone of the series. This was like if Full House suddenly turned Exorcist for a week then never mentioned it again. Plus, as a two parter, you really had no clue if things would be resolved (again, I was a kid), the next week. And, oh look, it’s on youtube. You’re welcome.
The Care Bears Movie – I don’t care how you slant it, there is a cartoon Necronomicon in this thing. And it is a Care Bears movie. See what I mean?! I was baited by sparkly teddy bears and thrown evil books as a child, of course I’m going to be messed up as an adult! If only Lovecraft had known about the power of caring, his mythos would have crumpled into ruin long ago. See the trailer here.
Care Bears II – This movie features the villain Dark Heart. It opens with him as a giant sea serpent and then moves to full on demonic-type possession of one of the main characters because of Dark Heart’s influence. And yet I remember watching this movie fifty thousand times growing up. This also brings up a sore point with me…I would write the BEST CARE BEARS CGI MOVIE EVER. Seriously, it would put so many through therapy, but think of the Dark Heart you could have with practical AND CGI effects. Someone please let me make this happen. Let me write you a Dark Heart that will destroy the future of filmmaking as we know it. Please. Also, think of how great it would be to have a Care Bears movie where the campers go full on exorcist because of Dark Heart’s influence. This should happen, just sayin’. I also find it slightly disturbing that the only way I found the trailer for this movie was to look up Care Bears Movie Possession.
There are too many to list, but episodes of Jem, Lady Lovelylocks, and probably more than I can remember had instances of sickness/comas that would cause someone to lose their soul/sleep forever/lose their personalities. Seriously, before there was Sam Winchester this trope was a staple of Saturday morning cartoons.
Likewise, episodes of The Ewoks continually featured the main characters being dragged into slavery, magical or otherwise. I vaguely recall something with a magic flute (a take on an old, old folk story) and some weird pond creature enslaving one of the female Ewoks, and the witch of Endor (heh) apparently enslaved the whole main cast of kids like every other week at one point.
The Real Ghostbusters – This just existed. Seriously. From the first episode about Mrs. Roger’s weird possessed house, I remember feeling like I had been hit by a train but liking it. There was something about the kid-friendly façade and the storylines that were fairly twisted that just really worked. Anyone else remember the episode where the Ghostbusters travelled to an alternate dimension where they met their ghost selves and were hunted and trapped by them?
The My Little Pony Movie – Nothing can stop the Smooze! That’s right. Before friendship was magic, my My Little Ponies were almost destroyed by weird ooze and it was awesome. I vaguely remember something about other dimensions, too, but I can’t quite recall which movie that was in and I’m not finding it.
Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure – technically this is from 1977, but this was still fairly popular when I was a kid, so you get to suffer through it with me. The Greedy, man. The Greedy still gives me nightmares. Just LOOK at it! You don’t know what it’s gonna DO!! But the song is catchy, and I just never know how to feel when I watch it, and…I think I need a moment to go cry, just a sec…
Anyway, I could go on and on. There were a lot of freaky movies from that era, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot of classic cartoon WTF moments. So, all you people out there with memories, what do YOU remember as creepy kid moments on shows, cartoons, or movies you loved? I didn’t even touch all the weird eighties movies, so let’s get a list going in the comments!
Selah Janel writes weird stuff, has been weird from the start, and doesn’t mind it so long as she can be sparkly, too. Check out her blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.