What up Saucy Horrs? We’ve been thinking…
For many of us there were several early entry wounds into horror. Each youthful interaction with the macabre dragging us further down the zombie hole.
Sometimes it starts while browsing the horror section at Blockbuster, our eight year old brains mesmerized by gore-ific VHS cover art. Those static images peaking our interest and inciting a blood thirsty desire for more.
In many circumstances, that Beastie Boys loving baby sitter who gave none of the fucks, let us rent all that our little hearts desired, thus beginning an inappropriately early appreciation for all things rated R. (The Video Dead nearly wrecked my childhood.)
Other people’s parents were to blame.
Many a wide eyed and sticky fingered child ‘accidentally’ watched It at a life ruining sleepover. Of course, there were also those times when Dad decided we wouldn’t really understand what was happening in Silence of The Lambs, searing the image of Buffalo Bill’s pit of despair into our virgin eyes.
More frequently though, horror is introduced to the youngins via children’s programming. There really are an unfathomable amount of horror shows broadcast for the wee ones, many of which are worst nightmare material for adults, let alone the helpless little fledglings that they are geared towards.
Here are the favourites from our childhood:
Adopting the ‘campfire’ method of story telling, a cockroach and a maggot (both horribly disturbing puppets) regale us with tales of terror from their diner haunt. Many of the stories are derivative of popular urban legend, some remaining as unthreatening as the ‘naked at school’ trope while others are truly fucked up. Keep in mind, these are true stories that happened to a friend of a friend of mine. And yes, Freaky Stories is Canadian.
Most Fucked Up: Pig Story
A pig saves an entire farm from a fire. Accordingly the farmer treats him like a superstar. The pig eventually ends up in a wheel chair because, despite the pig’s heroics, the farmer can’t resist eating his legs.
*We can’t find a comprehensive episode guide. We think this one is called “Pig Story.”
Oh the joys of Netflix – you can find all the Goosebumps episode available in just about every region. Once again, though based on the books of American author R.L. Stein, Goosebumps is credited as a Canadian/American production.
If the creepy opening credit sequence doesn’t prevent you from watching it, each episode contains a horrific tale of supernatural and/or disturbing events.
Most Fucked Up: One Day At Horrorland – Season 3, Episodes 8 & 9 (1997)
A family become lost during a road trip and stumble upon a theme park. Little do they know, the park attendants are real monsters, not people in costume. The monsters lock the gates, preventing their escape. They proceed to force them on some carnival-creepy variety show, then they try to feed them to carnivorous animals (WTF?!)
Watch if you dare you’re in for a scaaaaree.
Okay, we are aware this too is a Canadian jam. We have also mentioned this in another blog post, but that’s how much it haunts our dreams. Like Freaky Stories, Are You Afraid of the Dark (AYAOTD) adopts the campfire/anthology storytelling format. In this case the storytellers literally sit around a campfire…
It’s really hard to choose a Most Fucked Up as there are so many pants passingly scary episode, but we will try.
Most Fucked Up: Tale of the Water Demons – Season 4, Episode 3 (1994)
A bad kid gets dumped on his relatives for the summer to do menial work at a variety store and hopefully change his shitty attitude. Out on a delivery, he and his cousin meet an old sea captain who has made his fortune salvaging shipwrecks. Unfortunately for the captain, he walked away from the job with a curse. When he falls asleep, Water Demons emerge from the depths to seek revenge for their stolen goods. These slimy humanoids merely want to drag him back under with them. NBD.
The unrelenting quality of the demons is what makes it truly terrifying. They keep this man awake in a state of perpetual anxiety, until he nods off momentarily, when the zombie-like creatures advance on him until he jolts back to consciousness. Unlike many episodes of AYAOTD, this one isn’t as shoddily produced and the acting isn’t as campy.
You can find tons of “Scariest Are You Afraid of the Dark” lists on the WWW if you want some more direction on what to watch in their vast catalogue. Perhaps Horror Sauce will make our own one of these days.
Once again another Canadian show… We’re sorry, Canadians must just be truly sadistic and really like scaring their children.
While Reboot isn’t a horror show per se (we would definitely put it in the sci-fi genre) it’s awesome and does toss out several nods to horror shows/movies.
The characters of Reboot live inside the Mainframe (which is also coincidentally the name of the city) of a computer and are forced to play ‘games’ that the ‘user’ is downloading into their city. They play these games or face deletion.
Episodes of Note:
To Mend and Defend – Season 3, Episode 1 (1997)
The mainframes have to play a game called Malicious Corpses, where they prevent the user from collecting pages of the Necronomicon… I mean the Manual of Mortality. The game is a first-person shooter and the user carries a shotgun, has a chainsaw for one hand, and only utters a single word, “Groovy.” Yes, this is The Evil Dead. The climactic moment even takes place in a cabin in the woods.
Trust No One – Season 2, Episode 9 (1997)
While a Web Creature (floating, black, tentacled, carnivorous, fucking terrifying) is abducting Mainframers, two CGI agents come to investigate. Their names? Fax Modem and Data Nully.
While the agents merely make an appearance, it’s a great ode to The X-Files. Apart from that, the Web Creature really is a horrific baddie to behold.
Perhaps all this jazz scarred us for life… perhaps it left us with a lifelong appreciation for the genre. Either way, out of self-deprecation or deep-rooted love, we are still watching.
Start ‘em young folks,