Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I've just watched '100 Greatest Scary Moments' shown recently on Channel 4. It's one of those usual 'list' countdown to the number one with a running commentary between each featured piece by some dufus z list celebrity who just makes some inane comment. This programme started off well in that the people instrumental in the production of the films and programmes depicting the scary moments such as film historians, actors, directors etc were commenting on each feature.

There were some preposterous old black and white horrors which must have been seen as really scary in their day. These usually featured Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula or Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster and some screaming and terrified young woman. Also shown were some old forgotten shows from the 60's and 70's which again was of it's time showing docu-dramas of alien landings and nuclear fall-out. In today's CGI technology, the special effects used then look ridiculously outdated.

Perhaps most baffling is where programmes of this genre include what I call 'fillers' which means nonsensical items bearing no relevance to the programme. Here's an example. Alice Cooper singing School's Out was thought to be one of the all-time scariest moments. Not that the song was scary you understand, just the fact Alice Cooper looked a little scary with his makeup and opting to use a snake occasionally in his act. The only scary person wearing that much makeup was Barbara Cartland. I'm sorry, but Alice Cooper was NEVER scary. He was called Alice for God's sake.

The other thing which really gets my goat is that all's going swimmingly well until the producers feel compelled to include a 'comedian' no-one's ever heard or someone in the mee-dia like an assistant PA to the assistant Editor of Fashion at Heat Magazine to share their wit and insight on a featured moment. Cue the 23 year old, spiky haired and barely shaving numbskull who comments on the scary public information films from... wait for it... 1973. Now, I'm well past from early 20's and as a little kid in 1973, can just about remember the character dressed as the grim reaper warning little kids to avoid going near ponds or locking themselves in fridges. I don't remember being particularly scared by it, just a little wary. However the 20-something recites it verbatim, can 'remember being scared witless by Donald Pleasance's voiceover' whilst laughing at the memory. Sorry dipshit, but you weren't even a cell in the semen in your dad's gonads when those films were first broadcast so your opinion is about as valid as a luncheon voucher in a brothel.

Anyway, the programme whittled down the usual suspects through Psycho, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Exorcist. The number one rated greatest scary moment?.....Jack Nicholson breaking through the door with an axe in The Shining.

For me, as a young kid I always thought Armchair Thriller was pretty terrifying. I also had nightmares after watching Hitchcock's The Birds and Psycho. And don't get me started on Jaws. I didn't swim in the sea for years after that. These days I can't even watch any horror films or thrillers as I'm too much of a scaredy cat. I get my scary moments nowadays from opening my bank statements....

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