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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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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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