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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.