I'm on a big List rampage this week because I got a few days off from work to leave town - unfortunately, for a funeral. The funeral made me think of the cemetery I used to walk past as a kid, and how it scared the hell out of me. Here's a bunch of other stuff that did, too.
  1. Lying in bed, thinking about Michael Myers coming into the house to kill my whole family, and what my plan would be - jump out the window and run for help, or run down the hall to parents' room and try to save them?
    Conclusion was generally, "Jump out the window."
  2. An interview with actress Geena Davis on the Tonight Show. She said when she was a kid, she'd lie in bed and imagine there was a monster coming to get her that could read her mind. So to trick the monster she'd have to think, "I'm in the bathroom peeing right now."
    But then if she DID get up to pee, she'd have to spend the whole time thinking, "I'm in the kitchen right now getting something to eat." And she had to keep this up until she fell asleep, or the monster would find her and kill her. This fucked me up good!
  3. At my Grandmother's house, got up in the middle of the night and turned on the TV. "Friday the 13th" was on Showtime. I was about 30 minutes into the movie - terrified - when the power went out. I sat in total darkness, terrified to move or make a sound, until the sun came up.
  4. The older kid who followed me home from school every day when I was in third grade, yelling that he had seen me jaywalking, and that he would beat me up unless I got on my knees and begged Jesus for forgiveness. This went on for weeks until I finally agreed. Once I did, he was satisfied and never bothered me again.
    I shudder to think what was going on in that kid's house.
  5. My Dad and I went through a fun house at a carnival. One room was pitch black, but when you entered, a motion detector made a coffin light up, and the ghoul dummy inside it screamed. Then Dad and I got separated in a room of mirrors. I ended up back in the ghoul coffin room.
    Once again, I had to stay perfectly still in the dark - because whenever I moved the slightest bit, the ghoul screamed. Stood there frozen for what seemed like an hour until my Dad found me.
  6. Any time a sitcom was suddenly interrupted by a Special Report. I was always convinced it was going to be the announcement that the nuclear war had begun. And the report usually ended up being some assassination or something else confusing and horrifying.
  7. Buffalo, New York newscaster Irv Weinstein.
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    Spoke in a booming voice and freaked me the fuck out. A constant, terrifying presence in my childhood.
  8. The PSA that used to come on with a haunting graphic of a child and the announcement, "It's 10 pm. Do you know where your children are?"
    Parents were so completely out of it in the 70s and 80s that TV had to remind them that they were supposed to know where their children were.
  9. Neil Young. His voice, his dead-eyed album covers, everything.
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    Dad played him constantly and he was terrifying. Also about 50% of the Beatles' White Album was creepy as shit - particularly "Revolution Number 9," "Long Long Long," "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Helter Skelter."