DID YOU READ

12 Classic Pop Culture Moments That Gave ’80s Kids Nightmares

Large-Marge

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The ’80s were an awesome time to grow up. We had a doddering president who loved jellybeans. Charles was still in charge. Life was great. Or at least, it seemed to be. There was, of course, a dark side. Divorce was as trendy as Kajagoogoo, and with many parents working for the first time, the only thing left to raise us kids was the TV. And the things we were exposed to were often bizarrely dark.

We all remember the first time we saw a disturbing pop culture moment. One night your brother let you stay up late to watch cable, or your mom missed that one traumatizing scene in a cartoon about talking mice, and you’re looking at a lifetime of night terrors. Here are some of the most damaging moments from our childhood.

12. Large Marge in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Hey, remember that scene at the Alamo? Or what about the Tequila dance? Sure you do, but if you ask anyone growing up in the ’80s what Pee-wee’s Big Adventure scene they still get the sweats from, you will get two words in return. Large. Marge. On that very night, 30 years ago, Pee-wee needed a ride, and our childhoods would never be the same.


11. The Grady Twins from The Shining

There are two types of twins — beer ad twins and creepy kid twins. The prototype for the disturbing kind can be seen in this classic horror film, that too many of us watched at far too young an age. Somehow rivers of blood and naked old ladies can’t compare to these little girls in matching dresses. Turn around, Danny. Turn around for all of us.


10. Psycho Blair from The Facts of Life

I know what you’re thinking — the only thing scary about The Facts of Life was the hacky writing. But you would be forgetting the episode “Seven Little Indians,” when the girls are murdered one by one by a psychotic Blair, driven mad by a perm gone wrong. Seriously. That’s an episode. Sure it was all a dream, but a generation tuning in for their regular fix of sassy Tootie comebacks had no way of knowing that. George Clooney wasn’t the only one to die in this episode. So did our innocence.


9. It from It

Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown has to be the scariest thing ever committed to film. If you told me right now Mr. Curry was possessed by the Devil while shooting this miniseries, I would believe you. They may all float down there, but up here we’re weighed down by the crippling anxiety he caused us later in life.


8. That Faceless episode of G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe was famously a show with zero stakes. Everyone had a laser rifle, but no one ever got shot. Planes blew up, but the pilot’s parachutes always worked. No matter what happened, everyone was going to be alright. That is, until the episode “Glamour Girls” aired, in which Cobra — working with a vain tycoon named Madame Veil — went about stealing womens’ faces, so they could remain forever young. This left the women alive, minus eyes, noses and mouths. A flap of skin covered where their faces used to be, their muffled screams clear from underneath. Go Joe?

Rusted Mecha

Rusted Mecha


7. Horror Movies Our Older Brother Watched

From Jason to Freddy to Chucky, the ’80s was a time when horror doubled down on gore, at the exact moment the VCR became popular. Now, your stoned older brother could force you to watch 15 minutes of Pumpkinhead at his leisure, and you could start figuring out ways to save up for a psychiatrist.


6. Decapitated Heads from Return to Oz

Boy, kids sure do love The Wizard of Oz. And the musical The Wiz was so much fun. Wait, there’s another movie coming out about the crazy hijinks in that land over the rainbow? Sign me up. Is the Tinman there? The Cowardly Lion? What’s that, there’s a hallway filled with dismembered heads, staring at you as you pass by? Dorothy isn’t in Kansas anymore. She’s in Hellraiser.

5. The Claymation Devil from The Adventures of Mark Twain

The 1985 classic The Adventures of Mark Twain tells the author’s collected works through Claymation. Charming fun for kids of all ages, that is until we stumble upon a fallen angel named Lucifer floating in the void. The filmmakers somehow manage to take the materials behind the California Raisins, and make us question the existence of God, the futility of life, and the causal indifference of nature. “Life itself is only a vision. A dream. Nothing exists, save empty space and you. And you… are but a thought.” Oooookay then.


4. That Scary Punky Brewster Episode

What in the what were they thinking? We weren’t prepared for this! Outside of the occasional episode where someone got stuck in a refrigerator, Punky Brewster was about rainbow bright clothes and wacky hijinks. And yet, in the “Perils of Punky” Halloween episode, an evil spirit tries to drive Punky insane with fear. That’s how Punky’s little buddy Alan found himself turned into a zombie wall of some sort. Dead eyes. Rotten teeth. Holy Macanoli, I need a drink!


3. Body Horror in The Last Starfighter

Only in the ’80s could a lighthearted Star Wars rip-off feature a scene of body horror right out of a David Cronenberg movie. It wasn’t enough to just have aliens leave a clone of our hero behind. No, they needed to grow it inside out, pulsing and pussing mere feet away from a sleeping little boy.

io9

io9


2. Artax’s Death in The Neverending Story

Here’s the moment when most of us realized life wasn’t fair. Atreyu’s trusty horse Artax dying of depression is like Chewbacca committing suicide after a tough divorce. It’s too brutal and real for our little minds to comprehend. Thankfully, they have medication for the Deadly Swamps of Sadness now.


1. Mr. Boogedy in Mr. Boogedy

This 1986 “Disney Sunday Movie” took a simple haunted house story and turned it into the stuff of nightmares. With his pockmarked face and glowing green aura, the Mouse House continued its proud tradition of messing with kids’ heads with their horrifying creation Mr. Boogedy. We wouldn’t realize he was glowing green because they couldn’t fix the green screen effect for another 20 years.


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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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