Scary Trailer ’78

You want to talk scary? Any talking doll is scary. Especially in this unforgettable ad that was actually taken from circulation because it gave me and others nightmares. I’m almost too scared to even post this creepy commercial:

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37 Responses to “Scary Trailer ’78”

  1. hells bells, on the list of creepiest things in all the world ventriloquist’s dummies are very near the top and almost certainly the spawn of satan

  2. I was thinking of looking at MAGIC, which I’ve never seen, on my site sometime this month for Halloween too. Great minds and all that..

  3. Holy crap, I’m not even pressing play. Leah is right on and you are a crazy man for allowing such terror into your space here.

  4. christian Says:

    Leah: No doubt. I’ve still never even seen the classic Brit horrror anthology DEAD OF NIGHT because of that fuckin’ dummy. Nay, I TORE out the page from Famous Monsters of Filmland that had a photo of that scary doll…

    Chuck: MAGIC is interesting. Fairly creepy with good performances. I’m actually a fan of Goldman’s novel, which is a good read. I still think Hopkins was miscast as an American Catskills comic, but he’s good in the film. Probably Richard Attenborough’s most curt, unique film.

    Daniel: You wanna see something really scary…?

  5. The dummy sequence in DEAD OF NIGHT is every bit as good as lore has made out to be. Michael Redgrave is particularly outstanding. The picture, as an entire package, is a little overrated, but the dummy and the framing story are worth it.

  6. Dude, i totally remember when we were going to Rocklin Elementary when Magic was released. It was too scary back then to see. One time I went to see the 70s film Prophecy with Doug Clark and he got so scared he left the movie and waited for me outside.

  7. christian Says:

    I never forgot the first time I saw the ad for MAGIC — during BARNEY MILLER. I was suitably freaked out.

    You saw PROPHECY in the theater? I didn’t go because the commercial cracked me up — which I’ll post here soon. It’s fun to watch today, a real eco-monster movie directed by John Frankenheimer with some silly moments.

  8. The PROPHECY monster scared me at a young age from the cover of the VHS box. Haven’t seen that either (marathon!) but I do recall King’s coverage of it in Danse Macabre, which I adore (and probably brought up here last Halloween).

  9. christian Says:

    PROPHECY is a must-see also. There are inspired moments and hilarious incongruities. But it does have a palpable sense of dread and some cool Frankenheimer touches.

  10. One of the F13 movies totally ripped off the sleeping bag scene.

    Remember that Newsweek cover story about the “summer of horror” and how horrible it was? Funny how they gave equal weight to this and Alien. Think they talked about DOTD, too.

  11. …and the only thing creepier than a ventriloquist’s dummy is a ventriloquist’s dummy that looks like Hannibal Lecter.

  12. christian Says:

    Amazing you bring that Newsweek up as I’m looking for a photo of the cover. I recall that issue well. They also focused on DRACULA and NIGHTWING…

  13. that seals it, frankb and christian officially have some weird onaji thing going on.

    my boy went thru a faze of voraciously reading those kiddy-horror ‘goosebumps’ books back when i still used to read to him a bit before bed, and there was this one particular volume about a murderous ventriloquist’s dummy possessed by an evil spirit that ends up in the hands of a kid, and it was MESSED UP, the dummy would escape from its box at night and creep around the house and do bad things to get the kids in trouble and kill the pets and creep up on the kids in their beds … i just about had to bust out my ‘father merrin’ anti-demon kit complete with robe and cross just to read the damn fool thing out loud

  14. christian Says:

    A dummy killing pets? That’s a kids book? Egads! I thought Georgie The Ghost was scary shit. But so was Roald Dahl. And Dr. Seuss. Didn’t your child wake up screaming? I did.

  15. weirdly, the boy doesn’t get at all scared or have nightmares from reading material (according to his teacher he’s reading way above his age level) – those goosebumps books and even harry potter have some fairly spooky shit in them and they didn’t get to him in the slightest — but movies are a different story, so i’m fairly strict about what he’s allowed to see.

    kids are weird, tho; i finally let mine watch ‘alien’ and ‘aliens’ back to back on DVD and he was just psyched, not scared at all just totally into it. but then he watched ‘silver bullet’ at a friend’s house and the x-files with the stretchy, vent-traversing serial killer with the glowing yellow eyes (toombs?) and and it was ‘lights on’ at bedtime to keep the werewolf and stretchy killer in the closet at bay, so it’s difficult trying to figure out what will scar or just slip off his little psyche like teflon, striking that balance between being over-protective and too lax (i was allowed to see stuff i would never in a million years let him see at the same age i did, i don’t want him to turn out a sick, twisted puppy like me)

  16. christian Says:

    It’s weird what scares or attracts you as child. I was into monsters big time, primarily through my older brother who had the cooler toys. ALIEN didn’t scare me but it was terrifying and I was as into that film as STAR WARS. But HALLOWEEN and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE kept me petrified. Until I saw them. And then I could move on. I watched a stream of unfit fir kidz films on cable growing up like TAXI DRIVER and DELIVERANCE, which were more scary than monster movies.

    But I was more frightened by Dr. Suess, who I am no fan of, and the Mad Hatter as presented in a creepy Grimm’s fairy tales book we had…

  17. We have some kind of symbiotic mind-link, apparently. Except for his taste in bad Eighties pop. Ah-Ha — ha!

    “But HALLOWEEN and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE kept me petrified. Until I saw them.”

    NOTLD was like that for me. I read about it in Famous Monsters (remember those pre-Fango days?) but they never showed it on TV. Looking at those grainy stills was somehow worse than seeing it, and I had nightmares about hiding in a barn from zombies. That’s one of the few films that actually lived up to my imagination when I finally did see it.

    The scary thing about zombies is that they WILL GET YOU. You can outrun them, but there will always be more of them. The “fast zombie” crowd just doesn’t get that.

  18. christian Says:

    I should say that NOTLD is the scariest movie ever made in my eyes. The ads alone terrified me and I heard my brother and his friend talking about the film in our grandparent’s kitchen and I kept thinking zombies were going to come in through the unlocked screen door…

  19. i think of slow zombies as the proper, traditional ‘risen from the grave’ undead of romero, and fast zombies as the new-fangled ‘infected by some unknown virus’ mutant cannibals.

    there’s a place in my heart for both, and i’m fond of each type for different reasons:

    traditional zombies tap into the slow-burning anxiety that no matter how easily you may out-run their clutches, you can never escape their mindless persistence and it’s just a matter of time before they overwhelm you and pick out your brains, and you become just one more of the shuffling masses (i think carpenter’s michael myers invokes a similar type of slow-burning terror — he doesn’t run, he’s not in a rush, he takes his sweet time, but you know no matter how fast or far you run or how well you hide, he will never stop coming after you until you are dead)

    on the other hand, fast zombies invoke that ancient, adrenaline-induced burst of fear of being hunted down by a predator, knowing you can only out-sprint them for so long before you inevitably run out of steam while they never, ever tire — the fear of having mere moments to live until you, too, become a vicious, fleshhungry mutant unless you can figure out a frantic, split-second means of escape.

    i’m not sure which one is worse

  20. christian Says:

    Both.

  21. christian Says:

    And there’s nothing to add to your brilliant explication of the slow/fast zombie. That is why NOTLD is scary, like a nightmare where you can’t move or run…

  22. The Terminator was the original fast zombie. Running down the alley, jumping on the hood, punching through the windshield…

  23. thanks, christian!

    interesting point, frankb, the terminator was something of a prototype fast zombie esp. with part of his face coming off and his hinky eye-lens exposed, ‘cyborg-zombie’

  24. It just occurred to me. I was trying to think of a mindless pursuer who didn’t shamble or amble along and I remembered that scene — arguably the highlight of al the Terminator movies, if you ask me.

    By the way, L, I think you should teach schoolkids about the different types of zombies. You seem to have really thought this out. You could go around to kindergartens with an audio-visual presentation and tips on survival. It would inevitably end with something like: “Of course, they’re gonna get you little bastards regardless, so don’t get your hopes up.”

    • LOL

      i would fucking RULE at that!

      i can see it now: i roll projector at the back of the classroom and begin my presentation with a screen grab from ’28 days later’ as i slowly walk around to the front of the class to deliver my opening line by reading the blood-smeared writing on the wall on screen, using my trusty pointer to underscore each word:

      “listen up boys and girls…THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH!”

      just imagine their bright, shining faces

  25. Actually, I would say Jason Voorhees personified the racing killing machine zombie more. He ran, jumped and smashed through windows while surviving a dozen death blows. I recall me and the audience ROCKING in our seats when he met his beautiful machete demise in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER. But there’s a terrible ballet going on with the Terminator so he’s less scary to me.

  26. But you led me to revisiting THE TERMINATOR last night for the first time since 1984…eek. Now that’s real scary.

  27. First time since ’84? I knew there was a reason I was put on this earth.

  28. …and didn’t Jason stop running and become, for all practical purposes, a Michael Myers ripoff by part 3? The mute lumbering masked invulnerable killer?

  29. christian Says:

    He was always creeping then leaping..

  30. So when do we get your Terminator review? Do you wish you hadn’t gone back?

  31. christian Says:

    Read the Netflix Screaming Theater review above and find out!

  32. Oh. duh. I HAD read that, just forgot. It’s a fine, bite-sized bit of writing, but how about a longer piece?

    I re-watched both film recently (you know, BOTH…because there are TWO movies in this series, dammit) and they both have their merits. I had been down on two in recent years, and it’s actually pretty good. Some really amazing action, like Arnie climbing on the sliding, tipped-over truck to spray bullets at the T1000. Real, old-fashioned stuntwork. Patrick is a creepy presence, and while the effects no longer impress, they hold up well enough that they aren’t distracting.

    But some of the humor is painful, and the sentimental stuff makes me gag. I don’t want a lovable Terminator. I don’t want a boy-and-his-robot cute buddy movie.

    The first film may be creaky in some ways, but it has a sleazy Eighties New World Pictures nighttime feel that I just LOVE. That hazy, dirty cinematography, the filthy streets of Hollywood at night. The bums, the security gates over the storefronts…reminds me of my current home in the good old TL of SF. It’s like one of those movies you’d watch on HBO at 2 am. Maybe it was. I saw it in an appropriately urban theater, the closest thing to a grindhouse my rather clean Midwestern city had, which added to the experience.

    And skinny Michael Beihn makes a much better underdog than a guy with a titanium skeleton. Pumping up the antagonist works, but I’m still aware that our hero doesn’t feel pain and is programmed to be brave.

    And I AM bummed that the so-called Special Edition DVD doesn’t have a commentary.

    T1 wins.

  33. christian Says:

    I think that’s all I have to say about the first one. It’s a perfect running watch, and one I probably won’t revisit for another 20 years. T2 I actively disliked due to the loud boorish crowd and turning Arnold into the good guy did not fly. It’s well-directed as are all Cameron’s films and technically suberb. I just didn’t care.

    But yeah, Cameron managed to elevate that 80’s New World esthetic into a whole new style of filmmaking. Thank Gawd for Roger Corman!

    And you know what would be the perfect double-feature with THE TERMINATOR?

    VICE SQUAD. Wings Hauser is the sleazy human terminator.

  34. Thank You Share This….

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