Last month, Mark wrote his list of childhood nightmare fuel. Even the most casual Wheeler will understand that he and I are easily traumatised, and as children it was worse. A lot worse.
Listening to our Terrahawks episode, or for the full experience, watching it on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ou3H2EK9Dw) is evidence that Mark’s first pick Zelda still has more than enough power to scare and surprise. But apart from Zelda, who remains the ultimate spectre of horror from my youth, here are 5 other things that made me shit my pants as a tiny child...
"Mr Hyde" Tweety Pie
Where better to start my list than with the most harmless, innocuous sweet little canary who... Oh Christ, what the fuck has happened, it’s turned into a hulking, cackling murderous nightmare!
This is from the Looney Tunes cartoon crossover between Sylvester & Tweety Pie and Jekyll & Hyde. Tweety, being relentlessly pursued as always by the malnourished Sylvester in the hope of staving off death from hunger, happens upon a potion which transforms him intermittently into a terrifying giant monstrosity. With the boot on the other foot, the poor starving cat is now on the run from evil Tweety, who transforms back and forth between forms until Sylvester inevitably comes a cropper.
I never much cared for Tweety anyway, but this "Tweety Hyde" was enough to firmly convince me that Sylvester had the right idea.
Lolth the Spider Queen from Dungeons and Dragons - Hall of Bones
I loved the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. I still think it’s an awesome concept with amazing characters and designs. There’s a good reason it was the first show we looked at in the podcast.
But there was one episode that I distinctly remember made me literally hide behind the sofa, and it involved this hideous fucking thing;
It’s a spider with an almost human face. For some reason that’s scarier than a human with a spider’s face. Eight legs are scarier than eight eyes.
I couldn’t tell you anything about the episode itself, I think the Dungeoneers get caught in a web at some point...? Anyway, this spider thing ruined an episode of one of my favourite cartoons, so she can go straight in the bin. Boooooo!
Doctor Who - Cheetah People (from Survival)
These are laughable. I am well aware that these cat masks are some of the least convincing aliens ever to appear in Doctor Who, a show responsible for Peter Kay in a ridiculous green rubber suit designed by a nine year old.
But in 1989, I was nine years old, and these furry faced twats were on my tv. And I was a bit frightened by them. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the Cheetah people themselves, so much as the weird cat eyes they gave to the Master and Ace, the best companion the Doctor ever had.
Although the Cheetah people did hunt a terrified milkman to death on horseback, so I can confidently say that if I saw one in real life I’d be quite upset.
The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water
Don’t play near water or the Grim Reaper will claim you. A simple straightforward message that this public information film gleefully passes on to a petrified audience of children.
The spirit of dark and lonely water hangs around waiting for kids to grab weak, rotten branches or show off on slippery banks, then makes fun of them with his Donald Pleasance voice.
His faceless black robes are a literal vision of death, setting out to remind kids about the fragility of their short little lives. I nearly drowned in a school swimming pool once, and I bet this bastard was hanging around hoping that was it for me. Or probably his cousin, the Spirit of Bright and Chlorinated Water.
Joy Meadows’ robot duplicate - Transformers comic “Victory”
What’s this? A Transformers annual? Great, I bloody love the Transformers! There are articles, quizzes, character guides and comic strips and OH JESUS CHRIST SHE JUST RIPPED OFF HER FACE!
A few pages earlier Grimlock sliced Megatron in half before being shot to pieces by Starscream. I think these are dream sequences, but it’s difficult to keep up or concentrate because OH JESUS CHRIST SHE JUST RIPPED OFF HER FACE.
Joy Meadows, friend of the Dinobots who Sludge describes as a “beautiful, shining human” JUST RIPPED OFF HER FACE. I don’t think I’ll read this annual any more.
Written by Martyn