One of the greatest parts of the internet is finding words to describe things that I’ve never been able to clearly articulate before, like the fact that, as a child, I found the yearly airing of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ to be an utterly (but enjoyably) frightening experience.  As I’ve aged, I’ve found myself quietly enjoying a proper helping of horror in my comics (witness the death of alternate-Magneto in the first issue of the original ‘Marvel Zombies miniseries) and have developed an occasional practice of watching horror films alone in the dark in the dead of night to enhance their effect.  (It’s probably why I enjoy the ‘Paranormal Activity’ series so much.)  Even a goofy concept like Cyborg Superman can be terrifying, especially if you recall his origin issue, where a fully conscious Hank Henshaw watches helplessly as his friends die, his body decomposes around him, and he find that no matter HOW MUCH HE SUFFERS, he simply cannot die.  You almost understand what turns him into a twisted, nihilistic monster after all that…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) was absolutely and completely terrified by Gene Wilder in the boat scene, asking:  What is the most unexpectedly terrifying thing you’ve found in pop culture?  (Double points if it was never SUPPOSED to be scary.)


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. The movie “Spice World” terrifies me.

    I’m rather desensitized due to growing up in and out of hospitals, so I’m not usually scared by movies or TV (because I’ve seen actual frightening stuff). But I’m terrified of the Child’s Play movies. The movies after like “Bride of Chucky” are okay, but the Child’s Play trilogy still freak me the heck out to this day. About a year ago, my goddaughter bought a Chucky doll at a yard sale and occasionally uses it to torment me.

    For years as a kid, though, I was actually scared of Ewoks, but that was due to an unfortunate mixture of strong meds after a surgery and the doctor or nurse putting on RotJ and I had a very vivid dream that the Ewoks were trying to roast me over the fire pit. There was also a similar incident with “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” around the same time (I wouldn’t eat plain tomatoes for a few years, but tomato products like ketchup were fine).

  2. When I was a kid it was Animal from the Muppets that used to scare the pants off me. It was so bad that as a toddler my older brother had a picture of Animal on his tooth brush and used to chase me around the house with it, but hey what are older siblings for. Other close runners up from childhood were the bird creatures (skexies?) from Dark Crystal ( another Jim Henson monstrosity) and Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Overall I think its good to get a good scare in you as a kid, teaches bladder control.

  3. There was this old, stop animation dinosaur movie, with 2 dinos found frozen under the ocean that are woken up by volcanic activity.

    I have had many nightmares involving swimming then looking down to see a gigantic shadow swimming under me, or an eye the size of a car opening next to me while under water…

  4. The flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz…

    Twilight Zone twice… William Shatner and the “gremlin’s ” face right next to the airplane window…
    Then, a planetary prisoner hits his android girlfriend in the head… and her face falls off… nothing but eyeballs and sparking wires left!

    And, the banshee in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”.

    The first “Alien” movie is a give!

  5. Even though the Exorcist is supposed to be a scary movie, I had no problem with the demonic possession scenes, or any of the “Horror” scenes. The only part of the film I close my eyes for is the scene in which Linda Blair is receiving the spinal tap. I need to watch the movie with someone to let me know when they are no longer showing the needle.
    I also used to be afraid of the cover and internal art of Queen’s “News of the World” record album.

  6. When I was but a wee lad, I developed a deathly fear of Chuckie from Child’s Play. But not the way you’d think. I’ve never seen Child’s Play in my life, and my first encounter with the character was in a comedy sketch on late night TV that had the doll make a cameo. Pretty sure this in particular wasn’t meant to be scary, yet I was scarred for life. Still can’t look at any depiction of same for more than a second without freaking out.

    Funny how childhood scars work.

  7. Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. ESPECIALLY THAT SPEECH HE GIVES ON THE FREAKIN’ BOAT!

    The Nostalgia Critic agrees with me, too! So THERE!

  8. I hate how creepy Furbies were, and even more so now that the Furbies are coming back! My dad also still has a deep fear of the original Wizard of OZ flying monkeys. He even would not let me watch the movie until about 6 years ago!

  9. I had recurring nightmares about the Tusken Raider that attacks Luke in Star Wars. Scared the hell out of me as a kid, and I had bad dreams about that specific, but very short sequence from the movie.

  10. Flying Monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. Since their existence seemed plausible, compared to the remainder of the movie, I thought they were a real breed of animal. I was scared to go near open windows for a good stretch because I thought their specialty was swooping in through said open windows and snatching small children.

  11. being about 6 when Who Framed Roger Rabbit came to theaters, it was one of my first cinematic experiences. good lord.

    three words: JUDGE. FREAKIN’. DOOM.

    that part at the end with the steamroller, where he gets flattened, his flattened self getting back up with that horrifying stop-motion sequence, and then re-inflating himself with his eyeballs popping out of his skull, ugh. it’s been 20+ years and i still haven’t brought myself to rewatch it. it was one of my ex-girlfriend’s favorite movies. maybe that’s why we broke up.

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