User Input

User Input: Behind the Sofa

Seriously. Scary.

Seriously. Scary.

As you all may have gathered, I have become quite a fan of Doctor Who in the last year or so. As a new recruit to the Whovian ranks, I’ve had a lot of catching up to do, but I have to say that the thing that surprised me the most about it was just how scary it was. This was a show I remembered from my childhood as being intended for a family audience, meaning that mom, dad and the screaming rugrats could all watch the show together. That was actually one of the things that caused me to have some reluctance to pick it up; usually, when a show is trying to be everything to everyone, it ends up being nothing to anyone.

This aspect, though, I learned is a trademark of the Doctor Who series, so much so that it resulted in the coining of the phrase, “Behind the sofa“, as in a small child hiding behind the sofa whenever the Daleks appear. As the childhood audience has grown older, it’s become a point of commonality for an entire generation, being terribly frightened by monsters on television.

As a late arrival in the Whovian Association, I didn’t really have this experience, even if I did find myself running the risk of having a little pee when the Weeping Angels were on the screen. For me, it was the Borg. They were introduced when I was nine or ten years old, and for most other television monsters, I was old enough not to be frightened anymore. But for some reason, the Borg gave me the chills, and actually made me afraid of the dark again for a few months after they were introduced. I was old enough that my rational mind could tell me there was absolutely no reason to be frightened, they were just silly characters on a TV show. My childhood imagination, however, simply wouldn’t let them go.

What monsters of film or television genuinely scared the bejeezus out of you as a child?

  • Deartháir

    Sorry to anyone who was trying to comment for about an hour there; one of our plugins royally buggered up IntenseDebate's tie-in to the site, had to frantically disable that. Looks like everything's back to normal now though!

    • pj134

      I will never, ever forgive you.

      • Deartháir

        I'm counting on it.

        • pj134

          Awww, how could I stay mad at you? So cute acting tough in front of your friends.

  • As a little kid, I was scared by Scooby Doo. I don't remember what specifically scared me, but I remember turning off the TV when it came on…

    • The Professor

      That was merely a fear for your brain cells.

  • The Professor

    When I was a younger Professor, this show would usually scare the willies out of me:

    <img src="; style="border:2px solid black;" alt=" " border="2" width="320">

    The early series from 1963 was the best and had some great writers and great monsters. The later series from 1995 was pretty sucky.

    • Wolfie

      Picture if you will an angry professor……….

  • I have very terrifying memories of the neighbor kid and I hiding behind the couch while watching Cujo. Seriously, that dog terrified us.

  • First off, and sorry if it hurts your feelings Dearthair, I find your fanatical devotion and constant allusions to a cheesy science fiction franchise a little, um, pathetic.

    Now that that's out of the way, the one scene in episode 2×12 (I, Mudd) where Uhura plays into Harry's scheme to replace her body, and the rest of the Enterprise crew, with androids gave me nightmares for years. Her mutiny is not revealed to be a ruse until over a minute later in the episode so I actually believed she was turning against Kirk and humanity. Uhura, how could you! I. Loved. You.

    • Deartháir

      I apologize. I will switch my allusions to Star Trek in the future.

    • Episode 2×12? It's either Production Number 60341 or Stardate 4513.3, thank you.

      I am also prepared to acknowledge Original Airdate, if you must.

      • I'm not crazy about the 2×12 either but that seems to be the way Memory Alpha goes. I like the stardate idea but wonder if it sounds too geeky.

        • The middle of an online discussion about the proper indexing system(s) for episodes of Star Trek is the wrong place to worry about the concept of "too geeky."

          Doubly so on a Friday evening….

  • The evening news. I grew up in Atlanta during the whole Wayne Williams Missing and Murdered Children thing and about the time kids faces started appearing on milk cartons. Also, right around the time Adam Walsh's (America's Most Wanted) kid disappeared and was murdered and dismembered. So between that and an overprotective mother of an only child, let's just say I had issues for while. I got over it.

    Also vampires gave me nightmares, now they just seem silly.

    The movie Seven freaked me out as an adult/college kid.

    • pj134

      I loved Se7en so much every time I saw it.

      • CaptianNemo2001

        Se7en has excellent reviewing qualitys..

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Not even a monster…
    [youtube 8-Pdlxd_rro youtube]
    That freaked me right the hell out.
    This guy was pretty scary;
    <img src=""&gt;
    Hmm, actual monsters…
    <img src=""&gt;
    I had no idea Tremors was a comedy until many years later. They're like dirt sharks, they can get you anywhere.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    As a kid? How about that phase just last year when I walked around with a sharpie in my pocket thanks to, shit who where those guys I can't remember anymore!? GAH!

  • Felis_Concolor

    The Andromeda Strain still disturbs me, now 40 years after I first saw it. When it first ran, I was absolutely terrified by the prospect of an extraterrestrial contaminant which could solidify your blood in seconds. Kudos to Crichton to use hyperventilation as a temporary measure against the crystalline life form.

    I dug out the disc a few years ago to entertain a friend who held an advanced degree in chemistry and he was astonished at how deeply it affected him. The first Crichton movie is still the best.

  • <img src="; width="337">

    This was perhaps not the best movie to watch as a kid in a small logging town. The woods were right outside my window, just on the other side of the cemetery….

    • chrystlubitshi

      he's not scary, just misunderstood

  • Number_Six

    This shit messed me up so bad that I still get chills thinking about it:
    <img src="; />

    • I'm glad I'm not the only one terrified by Animal House.

      • Number_Six

        No, seriously, to an Irishman that waste of potatoes was horrifying.

  • pj134

    "It" scared the crap out of me when I was 6 or 7.

  • I keep telling myself that this is some kind of sci fi dystopian alternate reality.

    <img src="; width="400">

  • Renchick

    The movie Roger Rabbit terrified me when I was in the third grade, and to this day I can't watch it. Remember the scene when the guy reinflates himself after being run over by a steamroller? And the little shoe in the acid? Nightmares. No kidding.

    • Deartháir

      I can actually relate to that one! I think it's the fact that the rest of the movie is kinda fun and silly… and then that ending is NOT FUN AT ALL. I watched it not too long ago, and even now, found myself going, "This shit is way too scary for kids to be watching."

      Well, maybe not kids NOW, because they're so desensitized that not much scares them anymore.

  • Wolfie

    Return of the Wal- Martians………..
    Caught in the endless receipt cycle.
    The cart leaners blocking the aisles.
    1 checkout open with 37 carts in line.

  • Dark Crystal. To this day a whole bucket of NOPE.

    • I was creeped out by Dark Crystal and pretty much all of The Secret of NIMH. The moth-eating owl and the entire scene with the tractor, where the cinder block was sinking into the mud would make me leave the room.

    • RahRahRecords

      The Skeksis and the big bug looking things were really damn creepy for muppets, but give it another chance, because it's awesome.

  • <img src=""&gt;
    When I first saw "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"on The Twilight Zone, I was at my Grandmother's house. I must have been four or five years old. When Shatner opened the curtains and the gremlin's face was pressed against the window, I literally ran and hid…not behind the couch, but into the dining room. From there, I watched the rest of the episode peaking through the doorway into the living room at a safer distance from the TV.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    I just got through the 25 minute mark of Wrath of Khan! I think I will make it this time! When I was a kid, I ran from the basement into the kitchen of my friend's house and never did watch it again.

  • I think movie-wise, it was the big tall guy who folded people in half in The Rocketeer, and tv-wise, it was the Star Trek-TNG when they got stuck in the rift thing with those aliens who tried to communicate through dreams and no one could REM sleep and started hallucinating and all the dead bodies sat up in the hangar bay and…Ok, so that one isn't monsters. Still creepy. To be fair though, I can't watch scary movies.

    • skitter

      I struggled to think of anything, because I've also never liked scary movies. I walked out of The Mummy after the second leap-out-at-you thing, after seeing all of the cues for it's going to jump out and stress me out, it's going to jump out and stress me out… winding, winding, windingTWANG!. An oversized adrenaline system and nowhere to act out the response is not my idea of a good time. More recently, The Lady In The Water, which already seems like a joke played on viewers, resulted in my inner three year old going WAAAH! SCARY TREE!

      • I think that The Ring was the last 'horror' movie that I have watched, and it scared the bejesus out of me. I saw it during the day, and it didn't matter. I am still relatively sure that I slept with the lights on for like a week, and wanted to take the tv out of the bedroom.

  • windbuechse

    LBJ scared the hell out of me as I approached draft age. His unsmiling mug handing out bad news on a daily basis, unsettled my adolescence.

    [youtube Dx8-ffiYyzA youtube]

  • MrHowser

    I caught a scary bit of "The Blob" on TV when I was about five, and I was terrified.

    I was prone to an active imagination as a kid. As such, I avoided (and honestly, still do) scary movies. I'd be almost asleep at night, and then I'd remember a scary part and break out in cold sweats, suddenly wide awake.

    The last "horror" movie I voluntarily watched was "Identity"

  • RahRahRecords

    I think I have this in common with a lot of people my age: Gremlins.

  • scroggzilla

    I saw this episode of Space 1999 for the 1st time when I was 10. Scarred me for life.

    [youtube 79dD5kQ1zLs youtube]