I will never watch The Simpsons again

By Phil Plait | March 23, 2008 12:18 pm

I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to gore, violence, and such. I’ve watched the movies, I’ve seen a few things in real life, and basically you can give it to me straight, doctor, I can take it.

But this totally and whole-heartedly freaks me the hell out.

BEFORE YOU CLICK THAT LINK, let me warn you: seriously freaky deaky stuff. It’s a rendering of Homer Simpson as if he were a real, live person. I’d post the picture here myself, but it seriously freaks me the hell out.

You have to understand. When I was a wee lad my brothers and sister liked to watch a scifi TV show called "The Outer Limits". This is not the terrible, terrible, terrible remake from a few years ago, but the original, in black and white. They would watch it in the living room, and I would want to watch it, I really would. But, being like 3 years old at the time, the show scared the bejeezus out of me. Even now, oscilloscopes showing sine waves send me into fits of terror.

But nothing really touched the raw nerves of my soul with a hot wire like the episode "The Mutant". In that episode, a man gets mutated by radioactive rain, and he loses his hair and gets these huge bulging eyes… and the sight of him profoundly terrified me as a kid. I saw the mutant in that episode and ran screaming from the room. But inevitably, hypnotically, I would come back in, drawn like a moth, but then the mutant would come on screen, and I would dive behind the couch.

I was seriously freaked out.

And now someone comes along and takes one of my favorite characters of all time and turns him into the one remaining thing in this Universe that actually and supernaturally freaks me the hell out. Perfect.

For what it’s worth, years later, I found a picture of the mutant in a scifi mag. It looked like a guy with fried eggs stuck to his face. I laughed, and despite the decades of gulf separating me from that frightened kid, I felt like a fool. I guess it’s true: you can’t go homer again.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, SciFi

Comments (103)

  1. Wow. That was icky. Erp.

    My childhood freakout was some TV show about an animated doll who ran around killing people with a small, scalpel-like knife. I don’t recall the origin, but it was well before Chucky.

    It was nice meeting you yesterday, BTW.

  2. zeb

    You just stopped watching it now? Not, like, ten years ago?

  3. That is seriously freaky! LOL!

  4. I think I stopped watching “The Simpsons” like four years ago. I had started to sink so low that I started looking for replacements… and I landed on “Family Guy”.

    Here in Spain we have this funny TV station (Antena 3) which broadcasts the first three seasons in three year periods. I don’t know which re-run are they into right now.

  5. There was already a 3D rendering of Homer in a segment of Treehouse of Horror VI – which included some nice physics in-jokes.

  6. They call this the uncanny valley.

  7. Brad

    Those eyes are straight from “Killers from Outer Space!”

  8. I hear ya. My own freak-out moments were when HAL killed the hibernating astronauts in 2001 — no, seriously, I had to run out of the room and hide in the backyard every time — and the I-beam video from Sesame Street.

  9. OH NO … Its ME!!!

    I’m Homer Simpson! Oh the shame…

  10. Janiece: Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black. It’s on the web somewhere, with fansites too.

    Nice to meet you yesterday, too! :-)

  11. Michael Lonergan

    OK, how did you get that picture of me?! That was NOT supposed to be seen by anyone but my therapist.

    EEEEEK!

    My childhood experience was an episode of Dr. Who, when I was six years old, living near Manchester, UK. It had to do with some kind of maggots. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them. What made it worse, my brothers would take me fishing. The bait we used? Live maggots…. To this day maggots disgust and freak the hell out of me.

    Jump ahead several years. My family now lives here in Squamish. A TV movie about the Barney and Betty Hill UFO “Abduction” comes on. My brother has a friend over and they are talking UFO nonsense about how there is supposed to be a “UFO base” behind one of the local mountains. I watch a show that I probably shouldn’t have, being only 9 or 10. I get totally freaked out.

    Jump ahead to the mid ’90’s. I am a pastor at a small church in Alberta in an isolated community. The church building is very isolated within that town, surrounded by thick forests. I would be there, alone, late into the evening getting things ready. There are no lights, and I would come out the door and literally panic having to dash the 30 or so feet to my car. I never took my eyes of those trees, half expecting some little grey buggers with big heads and eyes to come “get” me. Totally irrational, but based on a childhood experience. nice to see someone as rational as BA has these type of experiences!

  12. Mus

    Ha ha ha! that was hilarious. My childhood freakout was The blob. I don’t even know why it scared me so much, but I used to be afraid of closing my eyes when I took a shower because I could almost see the blob coming out from the shower head or the drain.

  13. Michael Lonergan

    Does anyone else recognize the truly horrifying thing about the Outer limits picture of the Bug eyed mutant?

    The other guy, in the foreground has a strange resemblance to President GW Bush. Now that is something to lose sleep over!

  14. dave

    Yes, I definitely remember the bulging eye’s episode, and even had nightmares about it. That and The Blob were the most frightening things I can remember.

  15. Yoshi_3up

    ARGH!

    BA, why?

  16. Ouch! That’s horrific!

  17. Nice rendering of him. I’ll be having nightmares, now.

  18. Gary F

    I checked out a book on monsters from my school library. The spine was cracked, so if you looked at the book wrong it would turn to the page with the Flatwoods Monster. For some reason, I thought the Flatwoods Monster was absolutely horrifying, even though I knew it was fake.

    You can see the same picture at this link:

    http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/flatwoods12th/

  19. Dark Jaguar

    And now I’ll ruin your view of Mario and you’ll never be able to play another Mario game.

    http://pixeloo.blogspot.com/2008/03/super-real-mario-world.html

    Weak emotional human. Your fear will be your undoing.

  20. Ala'a

    LoooL … I can’t stop laughing! WoHOOO!

    Honestly, to me Homer kinda resembles Steve Ballmer, at least that was the impression I got when I met with the gentleman, luckily he didn’t monkey dance during the occasion.

    My childhood freakshow was an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” where a prisoner agrees with the prison doctor on a plan where he can escape by being buried with a dead convict, only thing he ended up being buried alive with the dead doctor.

    Also, there was a late 1960s / early ’70s program that was sort of a copy of the Twilight Zone mixed with the Night Gallery. I can’t remember its name, but the intro consisted of a night ride on a roller coaster, and the musical score was truly haunting. Wish I can remember the name, or better yet find it on DVD?!

  21. Funestis

    Very nice rendering, but I think the eyes are little exaggerated.
    Like table-tennis balls.

  22. Michael Lonergan

    Ala’l:

    Was it NightStalker?

  23. Daniel

    Terrible remake? The new Outer Limts was great. You must be thinking of the new Twilight Zone. The TZ remake was awful.

    Old Twilight Zone > New Twilight Zone
    Old Outer Limits </= New Outer Limits

  24. Michelle

    HA!!!
    I love that picture myself. :P Making cartoons look “real” is terribly funny.

  25. PerryG

    Carrie and Trilogy of Terror were my big freakouts as a kid. I agree with BA, the new Outer Limits was awful (every one I saw had the same plot!). So was the new Twilight Zone.

  26. Phil it looked a litte like you. Well the top quarter :-D.

    It was a bit freaky. I prefer the transformation image http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk59/jaxpixeloo/animatedhomer.gif.

    Don’t forget

    HAPPY ZOMBIE AWARENESS DAY!

    Don’t let any more zombies create a religion that will try and dominate humanity. Remember, aim for the head.

  27. Daniel, I too liked the new Outer Limits, but you definitely had to watch it as if it was completely unrelated to the old series. If you came expecting the old series, you might be horribly disappointed because the ambiance just wasn’t the same. (Each series had their really bad episodes as well…)

  28. Michael Lonergan

    I thought some episodes of the new Outer Limits was good. I actually have a question about an episode. I seem to remember an episode where some kind of explosion (Supernova or GRB) occurred. The energy hit the Earth, and wiped out life only on the side of the planet facing the energy wave.

    Is that an scientifically accurate depiction of what would happen? (Life on the side receiving the “wave” being destroyed? My understanding of what would happen is that the atmosphere would be incinerated, killing all life. (Not to mention lethal doses of radiation.)

    Another notable one was called (I think) “The Sand Kings”. It was about some kind of insect that had either been brought back from Mars, or genetically created, I can’t remember which. The scientists was something like a god to these things. They ended up killing him.

  29. Michael Lonergan

    As a kid, Close Encounters Scared the crap out of me too. That damn toy that had the cymbals…

    I was riding my bike home from my girlfriends house at 2 AM. All of a sudden the sky lit up. I was on a very deserted, very dark road. I looked up and saw this cylindrical object with a huge trail of fire behind it.

    My only thought was, “You B**tards won’t get me!” So I pedaled faster and faster. Later that morning I called the RCMP, and sheepishly asked if anyone had seen a weird object in the sky last night. The officer said they had received dozens of calls, so they called the Canadian Forces base in Comox, and discovered that it was a Russian booster that came in. Strangely it came in on a north – south trajectory.

  30. Daniel

    Sand Kings was the two-part series premier for the Outer Limits remake.

    It was about a man working for the government hatching eggs that had been recovered with a Martian soil sample. His program gets shut down, but he steals a few eggs and starts experimenting on his own at home. At first, everything is fine, but then they eat his dog. He starts starving them and destroying their buildings, until they turn on him.

  31. For me it was Space:1999 monsters. Either the one-eyed tentacle thing in Dragon’s Domain, or the radiation eating giant trashbags in the two-part episode at the end of the series.

    By the way, did anyone else look at the picture above and think it was a picture of George W. Bush going to the bathroom?

  32. The Barber of Civility

    Am I the only one who realizes that Phil wrote this blog simply for the last line?

    By the way, Phil, just so you know, my freakout occurred during the movie Failsafe, when the Russian phone melted and put out its wail. It took me years to get over that one.

    Michael – The Outer Limits was not known for scientific accuracy. If just half of the atmosphere was disintegrated (and it would be much more than half, since the atmosphere exposed to the blast would be more than half – probably closer to 2/3s), I suspect all life on the planet would die, even if it wasn’t roasted.

  33. J. D. Mack

    Oddly, if you change the ending of the url for this picture from “realhomer.jpg” to “realmarge.jpg” and “realbart.jpg,” you get the same picture for all three.

    My childhood freakout was the animated opening to “Wild Wild West.” Sure, it seems innocuous enough on the surface, but when I was about 4, I woke up one night and THAT COWBOY CHARACTER WAS ON MY WALL TALKING TO ME MENACINGLY!! I know that it was a dream, but my 4 year old mind was convinced that it was real and I had nightmares about it for years.

    I’m OK now. Maybe.

    J. D.

  34. Matthew J. Barlow

    The (new) Outer Limits episode Michael mentions is called ‘Inconstant Moon’ and is based on a short story by Larry Niven. Perhaps because of this pedigree it is better than most episodes of the series. The main character, a journalist who writes about science, initially believes that the sun has gone nova, but later concludes that it must have been some form of massive flare.

  35. Grand Lunar

    I agree, Phil. Very. Freaky.

    Does one of these exist for Peter Griffin? Might not be as freaky.

  36. IRONMANAustralia

    Holy Hannah! That’s just too weird.

    When I was a kid in the 80’s, there was a Twilight Zone style TV series. In one episode a guy in a high-rise building sees a UFO. He’s looking out his window, right through the windshield of the spacecraft where he sees two aliens with heads like horses staring back at him.

    That really freaked me the hell out.

    The odd thing is, I’ve never been able to find any reference to that series since, so I have no real way of knowing if the details are accurate or not – hell I could have dreamed it – I was quite young.

    As I recall, the series was called, “UFO”, (but my research indicates that may not be the case). The spaceship was barbell-shaped like the classic model of a H2 molecule. As the craft moved, the two ends rotated about the centre, “swinging” the windshield at one end into view and toward the building the guy was standing in – seemingly in danger of colliding with it.

    So the guy initially sees the craft quite close up, and then it swings around to reveal aliens inside, bringing them quickly closer so you could see them in up close and personal detail, (my recollection is that they were puppets of some kind – but none the less freaky looking).

    The guy blacks out at that point, and the next day is seen getting a skeptical talking to about possible logical explanations – he has a picture of a horse in that room for example.

    He seems convinced, but at the end you see a workman on the outside of the building, (a window washer I assume), who finds a gold coin. Instead of a president on it, it has a horse head and odd symbols.

    This has been bugging me for decades. This sound familiar to anyone?

    Anybody …? Anyone ….? Beuller….? Beuller …? Fry…? Meyers …? Dawkins …?

    Hey yeah, maybe Ben Stein should have done a role call at the theatre to make sure there were no “evolutionists” present …

    And speaking of high-rise buildings, can someone please send Blake’s I-beam video to Rosie O’Donnell? Maybe having softened steel shown to her at the intellectual level of Sesame Street will help.

  37. Hurleybird

    Grand Lunar,

    Yes, Peter Griffin does exist. Please see link.

    http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/griffin.asp

  38. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Ouch, is this now the Bad Pun Astronomy blog!?

    No, ned less to say it was a good marge between pun and comic. One kent ask for moe. Kodos!

  39. That Homer is freaky – it would be even more so if it blinked! *shiver*

    Very cool work done on that, though.

  40. Michael Lonergan:
    Ya gots it wrong! The guy in the foreground is not Bush, it’s Bill Buckley! Back from the dead! Aaaagh! Zombie Buckley!
    :lol:
    Michelle’s right, I laughed till my sides hurt. -Again- !!!
    Too funny!
    “Can’t go Homer again.” :lol: again! Good one!
    Rich

  41. Christopher Campbell

    so I’m guessing you don’t have any pet tarsiers running around the house?

  42. chip

    the mutant was played by warren oates, who many people remember as the sergeant in the movie “stripes.” (although we never get to see his eyes in the “Limits” episode. i’ve recently downloaded most of the first season of the “Limits,” from i-tunes, and it is pretty good, although junky scientifically. last night i watched “the production and decay of strange particles.” in which leonard nimoy is killed early on. guess the relatively “new” idea of subatomic particles had reached the popular culture — a scientist studying them creates monsters who menace his facility until he creates a device using bubbling dry ice in water to defeat them. as was often the case, it was a “cautionary tale,” about the use of nuclear technology….”for good…..or EVIL?” one other cool things about the Limits was how they were often able to get a ’66 lincoln continental (with the so-called, “suicide” doors) into many of their episodes. guess it belonged to one of the producers. on re-watching, i recommend O.B.I.T. in which aliens try to take over by delivering machines to government and industry which allow spying on peoples’ innermost thoughts. now that’s a cautionary tale for today.

  43. Michael Lonergan

    Ironman, I seem to recall a series in the ’80’s depicting cases from “Project Blue Book.” Maybe that is what you are thinking of? There was a series called “UFO” from Britain in the early 1970’s, created by the same guy, (Anderson?) responsible for Space 1999. Space 1999 was originally conceived of as a spin off to UFO, but later developed independently.

    Also, in 1999, NBC aired a series called “Dark Skies.” The night it premiered, my ex wife went into labor with my first daughter. The opening episode was halfway through, and she said, “I think we’d better go to the hospital, NOW!!!!”

    Since this was the third time in 2 days that she went into “Labor”, I thought it was another false alarm, so I said, “Can’t this wait until this is over?”

    It couldn’t.

  44. antaresrichard

    Well Phil, you’re not too far off Joseph Stefano’s description of Oates’ character: “I or one of the crew would always come up with these pet names for the ‘bears’,” (the OL ‘creatures’) “Because of those eyes, Warren was forever known as the Fried Egg Monster.”*

    *from ‘The Outer Limits: The Official Companion’ by David J. Schow and Jeffrey Frentzen

  45. defectiverobot

    I can’t say it freaked me out (if I had a childhood freakout movie/tv show, I can’t remember it) but I do remember this 70’s tv movie called Gargolyles sorta creeping me out.

    I am, however, the cause of my own son’s freakout: his introduction to Doctor Who was Rise of the Cybermen. He was completely absorbed, absolutely terrified, desperately wanted to watch and desperately wanted to look away at the same time. He ended up not making it to the end, though, and couldn’t sleep alone for weeks afterward.

    I think I’m breaing him though: he made it through all four episodes of Horror of Fang Rock just last night.

  46. Michael Lonergan

    Sorry Dark Skies aired in 1996.

  47. Michael Lonergan

    Ironman, I think the series you are talking about is this one:
    “Project U.F.O” It aired in 1978, and was a TV series that looked at Project Blue Book’s files. It wasn’t a documentary, but a network TV series. I seem to even remember the episode you are talking about. IMDB has a listing of all the episodes.

  48. Michael Lonergan

    Just found the episode: it was called the Freemont Incident:

    “A police officer is ridiculed after claiming to see a strange alien craft and two astronaut-type figures. Gatlin and Fitz investigate sightings by Robert Lee Armstrong and Henry Marsden. Marsden reports that the air force tried to shoot down a UFO and he has evidence that fell through the roof of his barn.”

  49. k9_kaos

    Man, that Homer rendering is creepy. Imagine meeting him!

    Some things that scared me as a child:

    1) Mars Attacks.
    2) Ghostbusters, in particular the scenes with the ghost librarian, the “disgusting blob” and the Marshmallow Man.
    3) The scene in The NeverEnding Story where the knight gets zapped when walking through the gateway, and we catch a glimpse of his charred skull.
    4) The video of Faith No More‘s song Falling To Pieces.

    No! Not the accursed I-beam video! The filmers of that probably thought “Let’s teach children about steel mills, Stravinsky and the letter I”. I thought as a child I was peering into a pit of Hell.

    Speaking of Sesame Street, did anyone find this creepy?

  50. Ala'a

    Michael Lonergan: You mean the Darren McGavin series? No, and the more I think about it it resembled The Night Gallery but without Rod Serlings intros?

    Guys you wanna see something really freaky? How about Lebanese pop singer Sabah:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabah_%28singer%29

    The woman just keeps going-and-going, and she is probably more famous for her lifestyle and marriages than her art. Search YouTube for some of her music videos, both past and present.

  51. Michael Lonergan

    I just bought my youngest daughter a DVD of the Australian kids show, “The Wiggles” which is scary enough in and of itself. But this episode features Murray and the boys, along with their pirate friend depicted as these really odd looking puppet type figures with really big bug eyes. My daughter loved it, I on the other hand gave now upped my intake of Valium and have booked extra sessions with my Therapist. The prognosis is not good..

    If you have never seen the Wiggles, think “Village People” for kids, albeit without the Indian and the guy wearing leather with the creepy mustache.

  52. Michael Lonergan

    Al, ummmm, that is truly scary… She looks, well, ahhhh, how di I say this…. Not genuinely all female… Like one could marry her and end up being quite surprised….

  53. Ala'a

    ML: LoooL! I remember having the same thought some 3 decades ago. Presently she kinda looks like a female impersonator of her previous self!!

    (You know the story of Charlie Chaplin failing in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest :)

  54. IRONMANAustralia

    Thanks Michael, I think you hit the nail right on the head there. Now I have the correct title it makes it a whole lot easier. The title, “UFO” was a bit too ambiguous.

    Here’s a rather convincing extract from the website Jumptheshark.com:

    “Project UFO never jumped the shark. It was amazing to read that there are other people like me who [were] scared out of their heads by this show as children. The show that scared me the most was the one where the horse aliens popped up on the family as they ate dinner and just floated there looking in at them. Probably the same episode as the woman washing dishes where the aliens appear in her window. Amazing, unbelievably creepy stuff. Wish to hell they’d put that out on DVD. Hell, I’ll take beta, just put it out there”

    Feb 28, 2007 Guest

    http://www.jumptheshark.com/topic/Project-Ufo/Project-Ufo-General-Comments/1599

    Looks like I’m not the only one. And by my calculations, at the time, my age was in the vicinity of seven years old.

    Now I’m very keen to track it down, to see how accurate my memory of that episode really is, (though unlike this guy, I still wont accept Beta – I’m not so desperate that I’ve gone clinically insane).

    Thanks for your help. That’s been bugging me for 30 years now I guess. Man I love the internet.

  55. IRONMANAustralia

    Oh, and that’s a funny story about your wife’s pregnancy by the way. I did get a chuckle out of that. And I’ll have to remember to have my entertainment system ready to record in my absence when I find myself in the same situation – thanks for the tip.

    Also, as for the Wiggles, those guys are absolutely amazing. I mean, as an adult, I don’t really see the appeal, but kids just can’t get enough of them.

    I remember the first time I saw them. I was at a friend’s house and his rug rat was screaming blue murder*, and couldn’t be consoled. He put a Wiggles tape in, and it totally hypnotised that kid I’m telling ya. And I’ve seen that kind of thing happen more than once.

    And you’ve got to laugh at Captain Feathersword the pirate. There’s just something totally genius about that idea.

    “I don’t use my sword to hurt people. I use it to tickle people”.

    LMAO.

    *”Scream blue/bloody murder”: To cause an unusually loud – often inappropriate – ruckus, (not sure if you guys use that term in the US).

  56. Michael Lonergan

    Strangely I can relate to Capt. Feathersworth. That’s about all people do with my sword – laugh uncontrollably… ;(

    BTW, the hypnotic effects of the Wiggles is apparently not restricted to children, as I was captivated by this particular show. I think I replayed the weird puppet scene half a dozen times, and am going to actually buy that copy for myself.

    My youngest has Down syndrome, and she’s developmentally delayed, but just loves them.

  57. Michael Lonergan

    Speaking of UFO, the British 1970’s show, the aliens on that show freaked me out. (Not to mention the Purple Wigs, that caused me to have emotional issues relating to women later – must talk to therapist about that too). Apparently, they would abduct people, and place a helmet over their head and it would fill with dark liquid.

    Oh, and what about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when Khan sticks that bug think in a helmet and places it on Chekov’s head, and it crawls into their ears. Anything with bugs, ewwwwww.

    Remember Tremors. Just saw that one again recently and laughed so hard I almost sprayed milk out of my nose.

  58. Michael Lonergan

    Speaking of the similarity between the guy at the forefront and Pres. Bush, couldn’t one argue that the bug eyed guy is simply looking like how most people appear now after enduring almost 8 years of this…

  59. Bruce Moomaw

    I still have fond memories of the original “Outer Limits” — mostly because of its absolutely magnificent Dominic Frontiere music. (One music reviewer calls it the best music ever written for a TV series, period — and I think he’s probably right. It’s stuck in my mind, in detail, ever since I first heard it 44 years ago. I finally ended up buying a DVD of the entire first season just for that music.)

    When it comes to Scariest Episode, however, tastes vary, even among those of us who were still kiddies at the time. Penn Gillette reports that after seeing the episode “The Zanti Misfits” at age 9 (you may recall that one: oversized alien ants try to establish a penal colony on Earth), he was so terrified that he refused to either take out the garbage or go to bed for fear the Zantis would get him. “As far as my parents were concerned that was it: no more ‘Outer Limits’ before bedtime for Penn Gillette.” In my own case it was “It Crawled Out Of The Woodwork”, with the indestructible man-eating cloud that burst out of a vacuum cleaner. Ah, those were the days… (And a few of the episodes, by God, are STILL scary. Take a look at the first five minutes of “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” — regardless of what you think of the rest of that episode, TV suspense just isn’t done any better.)

  60. csrster

    My childhood freakout was _every_ _single_ _episode_ of Dr Who, without exception. However I think the Autons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auton) were the worst.

  61. Thomas Siefert

    Space: 1999 “Force of Life” A man sucks life out people and they end up frozen. Towards the end they shoot him with their blasters(?) and he gets burned to a crisp, but… HE STILL KEEPS GOING!…..

  62. Bruce Moomaw

    To Ala’a (1:58 PM): the show you’re trying to think of was “Journey Into the Unknown”, a British-made series that ABC put on in its 1968 season — but which flopped in the ratings.

    The only episode I remember was the one where a mentally ill shop clerk falls in love with a department-store mannikin, commits murder to steal her, and ends up on the run, mannikin and all, until he’s finally shot by the cops — after which the very last shot shows a tear in the mannikin’s eye. But, yeah, I do remember the opening sequence in the nighttime amusement park with the whistly theme music and the heartbeat sound.

  63. Bruce Moomaw

    The damndest people turn out to have been associated with the original “Outer Limits”, by the way. Justice Douglas’ son, William O. Douglas Jr., not only played some of the monsters (including the benevolent one in the pilot episode), but appeared wearing his own features for a monumentally creepy performance in the episode “The Invisibles”. The episode “Moonstone” was directed by the same guy who had directed the very first Marx Brothers movie 35 years earlier. Robert Towne wrote the episode “The Chameleon” 10 years before he wrote “Chinatown”. And Martin Sheen, I believe, made his very first TV appearance in “Nightmare”.

    Best episodes for grownups? “The Architects of Fear”, “O.B.I.T.”, and “A Feasibility Study” (which for most of its length looks like your standard Evil Aliens Enslave Mankind story, but which has a twist ending which I still regard as one of the best endings I’ve ever seen on a TV show — and with a serious point to it).

  64. Bruce Moomaw

    Aha! Ala’a, I’ve already found a series of YouTube clips containing ALL that mannikin episode of “Journey Into the Unknown” (which was called “Eve”) — including the opening credits, amusement park, whistly music and all:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnUm7G2HKuw .

    And: you wanted a DVD of the whole series? See http://www.musthavefilms.com/Hammer/three.htm#unknown . $60 and it’s yours.

  65. Ala'a

    Bruce Moomaw: Oh WOW! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!

    I’ve been thinking about it all day, and now I know where to buy it from. GREAT news. I just love those oldie-but-goodie television programs, often I watch them with my father and nephews. I wish more programs from the 1950s/’60s are timely released on DVD, I can’t understand why, say, seasons of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” are released at the very slow rate of one season each year.

    Another episode of AHP that terrified me when I was a child dealt with a serial killer who called his next victims, a woman and her nurse. At the end of the episode it turned out that the killer was non other than the nurse.

  66. marko

    Good thing nobody’s mentioned those YouTube clips: watch?v=HX_5zIXxKEU and watch?v=FanxCxeaYBE (warning: those are no Easter eggs).

  67. marko

    BTW this fella named Joe is gifted as well: v=njwIaheEs7o (Phil, maybe you should skip these…). Just want express my awe of the diversity in the human species alone.

  68. The scariest movie ever made was not a horror or SF or fantasy movie, but a very low-key suspense movie — Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1972 or 1973). Gene Hackman, Terri Garr, a young-looking Harrison Ford. There is only about two seconds of real violence in it (a stabbing) plus a few moments of the protagonist wrestling with a security guard. No one I know (including me) ever saw it for the first time without having nightmares the next time they slept. I recommend it highly if you can find it. Unless you suffer from any of the paranoid disorders, in which case it could land you in the hospital for a while.

  69. BlondeReb3

    It’s just the giant eyes that are creepy…..

  70. Cogsman

    Ironman! I can’t believe it! I know exactly the episode you’re talking about with the horsehead aliens on Project UFO. Scared the living crap out of me.

    Another life-changing scare-fest was the Six Million Dollar man episode with Bigfoot, and also the one with the Venus (or Mars) probe, where he had to drop in on top from a helicopter.

    I know today it may seem juvenile, but being 8 back in 1978, it was enough to freak me right back into the fetal position.

    On a less ornery note, I was always freaked out as a kid by the Gorn alien in Arena from the original Star Trek series. The slurping sounds and slow, terminator-like relentlessness (tell me James Cameron didn’t draw at least a bit of inspiration from this epsiode) was a lot to process back then.

  71. Navneeth

    You’d better stop visiting that blog, since I see many suggestions for humanising Prof.Farnsworth. Think of the outcome: NO MORE FUTURAMA! *gasp*

  72. Nadia

    That was nasty!! Horrible!! Uggghhhh………

  73. DaveKan

    That sent a chill down my spine…

    My childhood freakout was the end of the movie “Carrie”…I made it through the entire movie ok and then at the very end the girl is putting slowers on Carrie’s grave and a hand shoots out of the ground. I think I jumped about 5 feet in the air…

  74. DaveKan

    oops…

    “…then at the very end the girl is putting slowers on Carrie’s grave…” should be “…then at the very end the girl is putting FLOWERS on Carrie’s grave…”

  75. Libraryguy

    What gave me a case of the howling faintoids growing up was that evil Carmen singing orange on Sesame Street. I’d be dragged away from the TV…only to come back.

  76. Cogsman

    Oh, and okay, don’t laugh… but what about that messed up Space Vampire episode of Buck Rogers, where he has to fly the ship into the sun to kill the thing?

  77. Caleb

    I don’t know why, but Large Marge from Pee-wee’s Adventure terrified me as a child. I would have to run upstairs, cover my ears so I wouldn’t hear the “…it looked something like this…. BOOOOHHAAAAHAHAH!!!” line, wait a few minutes, then slowly come back downstairs to watch the rest of the movie.

  78. Zaphodn

    Anyone remember an old anthology series from the late 60s that
    showed a cartoon silhoutte of a man pluning into some kind of
    swirling vortex or pit? Forget any of the episodes – THAT scared
    da heck outta me! But I’m feeling much better now.

    Or how about the TV movie from the early 70s of these little
    humanoid type creatures that lived in the basement of this old
    house which were released by a woman and they came after her
    to make her one of them? Bright lights would harm them, so
    they killed the power and captured her. She had a flash camera
    that slowed them down, but…. And earlier on, they grabbed
    her cat for sustenance. Anybody? Anybody?

    I think I’ve been okay to go in the basement for at least a week now.

  79. Gary Ansorge

    Homer looks like he spent too much time outside the ISS w/o a space suit,,,

    My worst horror flicks were the early 1950s version of the Thing and the Blob. From the Blob, I developed the habit of sleeping with the covers over my head and only my nose showing.

    Scariest movie viewed as an adult was the first Alien,,,

    Gary 7

  80. Michael Lonergan

    Cogsman said:

    “Oh, and okay, don’t laugh… but what about that messed up Space Vampire episode of Buck Rogers, where he has to fly the ship into the sun to kill the thing?”

    ROFL… Buck Rogers airs Sunday afternoon here in Canada. One question? Just what episode of that show WASN’T messed up!?

  81. Michael Lonergan

    One word: KILLDOZER…

    I’ve never been able to visit a construction site since!

  82. Cogsman

    Good point about Buck Rogers… I suppose that if we start looking at “terrifying” and “horrific” in an expanded sense, then we will have to start acknowledging the utter terror of the episode with Gary Coleman as the 20th Century child genius, and who could forget the one with the Space Disco…?

    So rather than mess us up REALLY badly, let’s just stick to the traditional “horrific” ideas. :)

    Being from Canada, you must remember Starlost then? That was another show, where every now and then, they’d happen across a skeleton in a space suit that would be very disturbing.

  83. Michael Lonergan

    I vaguely remember something called “Starlost.” When did it air? I moved here in 1973 from Britain. Actually, not horror related, but CBC used to air a show that I enjoyed called (I think) the Cape. It was about the lives of astronauts. One episode had them find an old Cosmos that had been launched in 1969, apparently as a manned Soviet Lunar landing attempt. Somehow it failed, and they ended up taking the scenic route, returning many years later, obviously dead.

    A truly horrifying thing was Galactica 1980…. Remember Dr. Zee? The Flying motor bikes? I seem to also remember a Cylon attack on every Hollywood filmakers target, the round Capitol Records Tower… Ughhhhh…..

  84. Greg Watson

    I had a similar reaction to your Outer Limits outfreakage when I was a wee lad, Phil; in my case, however, it was to the Sleestak from the Krofft show Land of the Lost. Even now, my skin crawls whenever I see ‘em!

  85. Luke

    Anyone remember that movie “Arachnaphobia” with John Goodman? There was scene where a female protagonist takes a shower (i.e. the same scene any cheesy low budget horror flick uses to keep people’s attention during the slow talky bits), and one of the killer spiders ALMOST gets her while she’s washing her hair, but it gets flushed down the drain at the last second…

    For years afterward, I had to keep my eyes wide open whenever I showered, soap be damned! I still can’t stand spiders. In fact, I keep a six-foot pole handy so I can squish any I find in my house without getting too close.

  86. Michael Lonergan

    More recently, the Cloverfield “Parasites” freaked me out, probably because they were so unexpected.

  87. Ala'a

    Zaphodn: You are probably referring to “The Time Tunnel”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga9cCVWJBN4&feature=related

    Regarding the other program, I was tempted to say “Land of the Giants”, but you are asking about a movie :-/

  88. Zaphodn

    No, Ala’a – I know both those Irwin Allen series well and it was
    not from them. The anthology show may have been local, but
    I cannot be entirely sure, but it was not Time Tunnel, that I know.

    The second one was an ABC Movie of the Week from circa 1973,
    not an episode or a series.

    BTW, speaking of The Time Tunnel – did you know that the computers
    which ran the giant underground facility which allowed Man to travel
    through time held over 77 MILLION bits of data?! That’s what they
    said in the first episode. And of course the computers were the size
    of a Buick and were covered in blinking colored lights.

  89. Neil

    I should have responded to this one earlier. I honestly thought that my bad-movie-fu was going to pay off on this one. Nobody ever remembers Trilogy of Terror. I know people who have seen it and still don’t remember it!
    But no, just a few comments later, the B.A. himself puts an end to my vanity.

  90. Michael Lonergan

    Forget all the other shows I mentioned that freaked me out. I just came across this:

    Hopefully this works. I’m not quite sure how to post YouTube links.

    It is a video of the Big Dog Robot, being developed for the Military.

  91. Michael Lonergan

    Ah, didn’t work, it’s a video you can type in Big Dog” on YouTube and it will come up. Sorry about that!

  92. dragonet2

    Gary Ansorge, I wondered why I do that. subconscious may rule us all.

    The Sand Kings (the story where they guy took some research insect aliens home and they ended up killing him) is an excellent story by George R.R. Martin.

    I really am pretty much unscathed by cinema, I do recall a lot of terror when I saw “Teenage Aliens” (their ray-guns turn whatever they fire them at into skeletons) but our TV stations ran those kind of movies every Saturday during the day (and then ‘horror’ movies under their Gregory Graves’ brand) at night on Saturday. And as long as it wasn’t a school night, my parents didn’t think watching movies or Johnny Carson was a bad thing.

  93. Paul A.

    The Outer Limits scared the hell out of me too, I was a kid at the time and had to sleep with a blanket over me or I felt exposed. Of course if I was sent to bed I had to sneak to a place where I could watch in secrecy.

  94. OMG PHIL!!!!!!!!

    I came over to see what’s new and read this and went ..wow poor guy.
    I looked at the picture and actually fell off my chair laughing, I laughed for 12 minuets straight no kidding! Wow that picture is so hilarious! Oh my galaxy the ears , the ears! HAHAHAHAHAHA !

    It’s so horrific it gives me the fit of laughing hysterically!

    I’m glad you posted this , all the words were perfect. I remember the mutant episode.

    Wow ! that was funny!

  95. Neve

    When I looked at it my stomach fell and I had almost p’d my pants .
    wow that is so scary ! wow did it ever scare me. Phil Spector in the news scared me but this .. I will never ever watch the Simpsons again . I hope my stomach doesn’t drop and my sprinkler system doesn’t activate if I see him on the tv or in stores . gives Phil a hug.

  96. Max Carver

    LMAO @ the guy in the black and white phoot’s face!funnyfunny!

  97. Max Again

    I meant photo ( still laughing)

  98. Larry

    I found the episode phil is scared of ! the video that the pic is from ..don’t watch it Phil.

    For the people to see what one your talking about in action ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYKcAlWMI6M

  99. alfaniner

    @Zaphod —

    The first one sounds like “Thriller” — I don’t recall a single episode plot but the theme song was always scary.

    The second one might be “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” with Kim Darby.

    One of the neat things about only having 3 or 4 stations at the time, was that when something cool was on, you just knew every other kid in school had also seen it the night before. When people talk about scary TV- movies, they almost always bring up the knife-wielding doll (Trilogy of Terror — and nobody remembers anything of the other two stories in it!)

  100. Zaphodn

    Alfaniner, I am practically postive you are correct on the Kim Darby
    movie and the Thriller name certainly seems plausible, thank you!

    Yes, in regards to the opening of what may be Thriller, with the
    silhoutte man falling into a vortex, it was the eiree wail that scared
    me the most as a kid.

    And as for the rest of what you mentioned – when the Devil Doll
    episode came out, it was THE topic of conversation at school the
    next day. And no, I don’t remember the other 2 stories, either!

    But THE scariest show of all time has to be… Teletubbies!

  101. Michael Lonergan

    Zaphodn:

    After Falwell died, the paper had an editorial comic. He was met at the Pearly Gates by, none other that “Tinky Winky.” I was in McD’s eating lunch. My drink literally came out of my nose! I had never laughed so hard. If I still have it, I’ll post it.

  102. I used to be scared of the Daleks. My brother and I would hide behind my grandmothers couch when they came out. Funny now. Not so at the time.

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