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17 More Terrifying Pop Culture Moments from the ’80s (Chosen By You!)

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Last week, we put together a list of terrifying moments from the ’80s we’ve never been able to get over. Well, our fans over on the IFC Facebook page doubled down, and reminded us of a whole lot more. Here are a few spooky scenes, from our favorite 80s shows and movies that still give us nightmares.

17. The Librarian Ghoul from Ghostbusters

Movies don’t get much better than this ’80s classic, but when you dig beneath the Bill Murray quips and confusing feelings about Dana becoming Zuul, you’re left with a freaky ghost story every bit as terrifying as Poltergeist. We still get chills thinking about the nice old librarian lady suddenly turning into a demon from hell after Ray yells “Get her!”


16. The Clown Puppet from Poltergeist

Speaking of which, Poltergeist itself made us leave the nightlight on a few years later than was socially acceptable.


15. Zelda from Pet Sematary

In a movie about rabid animals rising from the grave, somehow a sick woman with spinal meningitis is the thing that still haunts us to this day.


14. Dan Aykroyd in Twilight Zone: The Movie ?

While the Twilight Zone movie had a checkered history behind the scenes (it literally killed cast member Vic Morrow and two children), the scariest thing to make it into the film was this short scene, starring two of the biggest comedy stars of the ’80s. You want to see something scary? Surprisingly, it isn’t Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd singing along to Creedence Clearwater Revival.


13. The Puppets from the “Land of Confusion” Music Video

Holy hell, what was happening here? This Genesis music video somehow manages to be the most ’80s thing ever made — with grotesque puppet versions of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Collins himself — and a conduit straight to our nightmares. (Fun fact: the puppets came from a UK sketch show called Spitting Image that aired briefly in the U.S.)


12. The Troll in the Wall from Cat’s Eye

Drew Barrymore had enough to worry about during the ’80s, what with a drinking problem when most of us still had bedtimes. Now she has trolls sneaking out of her wall, and stealing her breath? That just seems unfair.


11. Darkness from Legend

Tim Curry made an appearance on our last list, for his terrifying performance in the miniseries IT. But before he ever put on the clown makeup, he played the Devil himself, in this cult hit that helped launch Tom Cruise’s career. Who would have guessed Tom’s personal life would be the creepiest thing to come out of a movie with Frankfurter basically playing Lucifer?


10. E.T. Dying

This is the moment when most kids in the ’80s learned that death comes for us all. E.T. phone home? More like trust issues phone therapist.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures


9. The Demons from The Gate

Stephen Dorf realizes a hole in his backyard is a gateway to demons, confirming everything we suspected about that pile of dirt we found by the driveway. It’s also the best acting Dorf has ever done outside of trying to make e-cigarettes seem cool.

8. Clowns Steal Pee-wee’s Bike in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

We talked about Large Marge scarring our childhood, but how could we forget the freakish clowns that haunt Pee-wee’s own nightmares?


7. Christopher Lloyd Murders a Toon in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

We all went to see this, hoping Daffy and Donald Duck would finally meet. We had no way of knowing that Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, would go full-on, bug-eyed serial killer, melting an adorable cartoon shoe in “The Dip.” We sometimes still hear the shoe’s screams when we close our eyes at night…


6. The Sandworms from Beetlejuice

To an adult, the early work of Tim Burton is full of dark whimsy and inventiveness. To a kid, it’s straight out panic-inducing. Strangely, these terrifying sandworms became central to the early ’90s Saturday morning cartoon version of Beetlejuice where Lydia and The Ghost with the Most were suddenly friends for some reason. What were they trying to do to us back then?


5. The My Little Pony Song “Nothing Can Stop The Smooze”

Nothing can stop The Smooze, kids. Nothing! Not your parents. Not the police. You’re all alone. This terrifying song, in the middle of a My Little Pony cartoon of all places, confirms that adults were just trolling us for most of our childhoods.


4. Gmork, The Neverending Story

On the one hand, this ’80s fantasy classic gave kids a cuddly flying dog pal in the form of Falkor. On the other, it gave them nightmares thanks to Gmork, the creepily realistic wolf creature who tried to kill our hero Atreyu. Kids today with their CGI will never understand the horrors of puppetry we were exposed to back in the day.


3. The Jabberwocky from Alice Through the Looking Glass

’80s parents were too busy adjusting their shoulder pads to vet this miniseries version of Alice in Wonderland which starred John Stamos, Pat Morita and a million other childhood favorites and turned the Jabberwocky into a living, breathing manifestation of our fears just in time for bed. Runner-up creepy moment: Carol Channing as The White Queen just straight up turning into a goat for some reason.


2. The Tree Monster from The Ewok Adventure

Ewoks were the pivot point between the perfection of the original Star Wars trilogy and the nightmare the prequels would become. A series of TV movies were made about our loveable little friends, and apparently this happened in one. At this point, you have to wonder if maybe we were just a bit too easily scarred by things back then.


1. The Skeksis from The Dark Crystal

The Gelfling heroes of The Dark Crystal were freaky enough, but Jim Henson created living nightmares with the Skeksis. These rotting bird monsters were about as far from Big Bird and Kermit as you can get.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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