The midnight hour is close at hand… Which means Halloween, and 31 Days Of Horror is almost over for another year. But before things go back to normal (well until the Christmas season kicks in, that is) here’s one final piece (aside from the final 31 Days Film Challenge write-up) from the team at WGN.
It’s an age-old idea for articles on sites much like this one – Children’s Shows That Scarred Us For Life, Scary Moments In Non-Horror Films – so who are we to go against the flow!? But rather than give you a listicle of ten or so things we feel you should have been scared by as nippers, to wish you a Happy Halloween, here are a few words from some of our spooky crew on what actually gave them sleepless nights back in the day.
As an added bonus, we also asked them another clichéd question: What would you do to survive in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
What scared me as a child was watching the medical room scene in Aliens when my dad popped next door. I thought Aliens would be a happy thing like ET but nope. It was that scene, and I didn’t watch much, as the face hugger terrified me. For years I slept under my covers with each corner pinned down so they couldn’t get me in my sleep.
Zombie apocalypse: I live on a small island so pretty safe unless we had an outbreak here. If so I would commandeer our main castle and destroy the drawbridge, but create access from the sea by ladder so I could get to and from scavenging missions.
I remember moving into a new house in 1988 when I was thirteen. I was excited to have, all to myself, a bigger room than the last house. However, when I saw it, I refused to sleep in there because my swanky new bedroom had no curtains. I ended up sleeping at my Nan’s house that night until my folks had fitted a pair. And the reason? Well, I partly blame them, because a week or so earlier, they had let me watch Salem’s Lot. I don’t think I need to say much more, for anyone who has seen it. For those who haven’t, I’ll just leave this here:
Also, Halloween III – I watched it on a day off sick from school. It scared me and made me so nauseous that I got a second day off out of it!
In a zombie apocalypse? Well, I think I’d need to get my bike out of storage – I’m fairly nippy on the old mean machine and it won’t run out of petrol in a fix. Cycle somewhere safe, like a small island (obviously I would use a boat for that bit, as good as I am, I’m not Bicycle Jesus) and flick V’s at the zombies on the lakeshore unable to get me.
I was scared witless as a five year old by none other than Doctor Who. Ark in Space, with this bad boy. My parents had to pay for years of therapy after it!
Zombie Apocalypse: well now, I’ve given this far too much thought and I do sleep with a zombie-killing metal pole next to my bed just in case… (wish I was joking but, no)! Any fool knows you need to get to depopulated areas so I’m going to hunker down on nearby Salisbury Plain which is fairly free of people but does have tanks etc which I can commandeer if required. Bring it on, I say.
Although… Now I’m worried that I’ve shared my zombie survival idea, and it’s so brilliant, everyone will head for Salisbury Plain too and the whole depopulated area idea won’t work, so this better not backfire on me…
My son has threatened to take me out on day one as I am bound to draw attention by screaming and crying; total zombie fodder!
My parents were surprisingly chill when it came to letting me watch classic horror movies and freaky dark kid stuff growing up. The first “real” film I remember seeing was Jaws, which led to me having a crippling hydrophobia until I was about 12, and my first trip to the cinema whilst at a Butlins was Return to Oz – the triple whammy of The Wheelers, the multi-headed Queen Mambi, and the Nome King with his cadre of stop-motion animated minions were enough to give me multiplyin’ chills for years.
My mum has always been a bit of a sucker for quirky supernatural/sci-fi horror flicks, so my formative years were spent gobbling up such family fare as Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Watership Down, Cujo, She, Legend of the Werewolf, The Fly (both versions), Freddy, Chucky and my two favourite shows were Real Ghostbusters and Knightmare. It’s actually a miracle I turned out to be the fully-functioning member of society that people are always kind enough to cross the street from.
As for the Zompocalypse – anyone who knows me will attest that I am such an utter shambling mess in the morning they really wouldn’t pay me any heed, so I’d have until at least noon to think of a decent escape plan, wherein I’d probably have just resigned to my fate and fired up the PS4 until they all get bored and decide to join me.
6 year old me was utterly terrified by an audiobook of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. So much so that, 21 years later, I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to it again. I also thought the Teletubbies were immensely creepy: eternally smiling faces. Cold, dead eyes. Some kind of horrific mutation causing them to grow TV’s in their stomachs and antennas on their heads. Oh, and the sun is a baby. You can’t tell me that’s not horrifying.
There was a 70s public service film that Paul Childs found for me a while back that had kids stoning each other that was pretty upsetting. I suspect it was the throwing of objects that got to me, having been recently smacked in the face by a misguided glass ashtray.
(It was a notorious railway safety film called the Finishing Line, Paul)
That’s the one! Really dark film. And of course, there was The Towering Inferno…
Book-wise, an oddly illustrated book called Where is Peterkin – very late 60 early 70s illustrations ( creepy patterns). The Boy from Space and the Groak from The Moomins. The Peter Davidson episode of Doctor Who with Omega ( in Amsterdam) where he melts. Anything melty or gooey… lots of early 80s things melted.
Zombie apocalypse? Where to go… I live 2 miles from Whittington Barracks… so there!
I’m a young’un, so… The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. 9 year old me was terrified for weeks.
Also, my zombie apocalypse plan is to drink and play with fireworks since I know I have no chance of surviving that shit anyway.
As a kid I wanted to be scared, but little did I know that I’m a big scaredy cat. I asked one Halloween to watch a scary film. My mum, either out of ignorance of how scared I’d get, or maybe just to shut me up, chose Poltergeist. I watched it and then couldn’t sleep for weeks. It scared me so much that I didn’t watch it again until I was well into adulthood.
There was also Jeff Goldblum’s The Fly, which I had to watch due to peer pressure. And then there was Are You Afraid Of The Dark. The kids’ anthology series on Nickelodeon. My mate (the same who introduced the fly to me) would record the episodes nightly on videotape as I didn’t have sky!
Have I got a zombie survival plan? I do. I even turned it into my unpublished book. It revolved around knocking the joining walls down in the old terrace house where we lived. We would live in the attic area using the end house as a get in and out. Use cars to block the street. We’d have a nice pint and wait for it all to blow over.
Robbert de Koeijer
I never really got scared by a movie or TV show. Sure, when I was little I hid behind a pillow when the T.Rex or Raptors showed up in Jurassic Park, but when it was over… it was over. But you know what’s creepy? This Hudson Bay commercial I found online! That’s just airing during the day, people!
The zombie apocalypse… Well, I live at the seaside. So the easiest way to get away from it all is jump on a ship and take to the sea.
My greatest childhood fears were Time Bandits, Watership Down and Dead Fly Biscuits (Eccles Cakes) and foil trays after Dr Who’s Seeds of Doom, as I thought they contained human remains.
Oh, and Shredded Wheat – because they contained Wheatgerm which, obviously, was where all the diseased wheat was.
I remember a time when I was sucked into a TV and had to be rescued by this woman with a squeaky voice. That was pretty scary. And then I was in space when this worm thing with teeth came out of this guy’s stomach, as did my dinner (out of my stomach, not his – that would have been really weird). And I was in this hotel where these two little girls kept appearing and asking me to play and someone spilled Kool-Aid in the elevator. Lots of it. Raspberry flavor, I think. And I’ll never forget the time I found out my neighbor was a vampire and me and my friends had to kill him. Oh, how we laughed! And that time I didn’t follow those Yorkshire guys’ advice (couldn’t understand the accents y’see) and strayed from the path and almost got eaten by a wolf! Still, I got to meet a pretty nurse. And there was this VHS tape that was just a circle. Kind of creepy. That was six days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally forget about it.
I was in a zombie apocalypse. Woke up one day after falling off my bike and everyone was just gone. Finally found some people and we escaped in a London taxicab. Anyway, I can tell you that, as long as you all get along, a shopping mall is a pretty neat hiding spot. Just have a chopper on standby for a quick getaway.
(Er, I think this 31 Days Of Horror thing has finally scrambled KJ’s brain just a little, Ed)
Anyway, all that remains is for all of us here at WGN to thank you for reading and joining in with our 31 Days Of Horror and to wish you a horrible, haunting, hair-raising, but ultimately Happy Halloween!