Halloween is on its way!!!
I’ll get right to the point– Next month, you’re going to be bombarded by infinity billion “Top X Scariest Halloween Nightmares That’ll Blah-Blah-Blah Your Nuts Off”.
And that’s awesome. If, of course, you want to read 9 crappy things until you get to the #1, disagree with it, and want your time back.
That’s why we’re going to have fun right now. I’m going to spare you 9 sucks and 1 win. We’re cutting out all the suck and talking about my Top #1 Countdown of Best Spooky Halloween Stuff!
#1 Scariest Are You Afraid of the Dark Episode
That goes to “The Tale of the Pinball Wizard”, followed by “The Tale of the Super Specs”. Both of these are the scariest Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes for one reason– the ending is not happy. In the Pinball Wizard episode, the protagonist of the day disobeys his boss’ rules and plays a pinball game in the back of the store he works at. Before he knows it, the store (located in the mall) is closed, and he has a video game fantasy adventure inside the mall, complete with saving a beautiful princess and crowning her at the end. And we all know that back in the day, the idea of being stuck inside a mall overnight was terrifying. Just me? Great.
At the end of the episode, the kid thinks he beat the game. But turns out, he’s stuck inside it on an endless loop, with a huge silver pinball about to barrel down an escalator at him. FLIPPIN’ SCARY, YO!
And as for the Super Specs episode? Three words for you: Interdimensional Shadow People. ::shudders::
#1 Scariest Nightmare on Elm Street Movie
That goes to the original. Every time I watch it, it’s legitimately scary. The imagery and body bag scene with Tina are terrifying. Freddy is just present enough. Plus, the bummer-sequel-boo ending just delights me. And seeing Nancy and her friends driven away in the Freddy-car screaming is just oh-so-satisfying.
I’ll give Freddy Vs. Jason a close second, because damn it, I love that movie.
#1 Scariest Freddy Krueger Kill
That said, the best Freddy kill, in my opinion goes to Philip Anderson’s death in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. It’s this scene right here, where Freddy worms into Philip’s dream, slices his veins out of his body, and uses them like marionette strings to puppet-walk him out the window.
I saw this scene when I was like, 4 or 5 on Pay-Per-View (hahahaha, old) and it terrified me. Hell, traumatized me isn’t even an embellishment. It scared the ever-living-freakin’ daylights out of me. Not only did it seriously scare me, but this scene affected me so badly that for years I was afraid of having the inside of my arms touched. The words blood test, veins, needles, and shots were enough to send me screaming out of the room. It was really that bad! Over time, I fell in love with my captor– Freddy and I have a very special relationship today.
#1 Scariest Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors Episode
Man, this is tough. To this day, half of my personality is made up of Simpsons quotes. But I think I need to give it to “The Shinning”. Because I’ll never forget the way I died the first time I saw the “Go Crazy” scene. Like, I’m just looking at the pictures right now and I can’t deal. I’m losing my mind like a mad person should because it’s Halloween, damn it.
“You stay in here till you’re no longer insane! Hmm, chili would be good tonight.” This is a quote that sums up half of my daily vocabulary.
Close second goes to the Krusty Doll and Jack in the Box Homer episode. Oh yes, and the Simpsons version of “The Raven”, which seriously turned me onto Edgar Allen Poe as a kid. That’s a pretty amazing feat.
#1 Scariest Sideshow Bob Simpsons Episode
For this entry, I’ll take some liberties and use scary and hilarious synonymously. After all, what happens immediately following a good scare? Exactly– we laugh. Glad we had this talk.
All right, so even though The Simpsons is 100% a comedy, there’s nothing scarier than the reoccurring theme that Bart is going to get his face murdered open by Krusty the Klown’s former sidekick Sideshow Bob. There have been probably 16,346 episodes featuring Bob and Bart in their evading romantic battle of the wits, but my all-time favorite Sideshow Bob episode of The Simpsons goes to the most excellent Season Five brilliance that is “Cape Feare”, simply for the quotes “Use a pen, Sideshow Bob” “Pee-pee-soaked heck hole” and Bob’s reenactment of the HMS Pinafore.
Plus, that rake scene. ::mumbles::
#1 Scariest Classic Halloween Cartoon
My favorite spooky old black and white cartoon is Betty Boop’s Snow White. The art is incredible. The story is unsettling. It’s weird and creepy and reeks of 1933.
And I have very inappropriate feelings for Cab Calloway, the extremely popular jazz singer of “Minnie the Moocher” fame who did a lot of singing and dancing for the old Betty Boop cartoons. And seeing the rotoscoped version of him as Koko the Clown turn into a ghost evokes all sorts of cool things for me.
You can see the Koko singing Calloway’s St. James Infirmary here, and if you click on it, seriously check out the unsettling spooky background art.
#1 Scariest Retro Halloween Cartoon Special
Hands down, the scariest cartoon Halloween special goes to Garfield’s Halloween, from 1986. It’s a tough toss-up between this and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. But Garfield wins for a few reasons. The songs were fun. The imagery and ambiance was spooky. And this old guy here? I WAS NOT OKAY WITH THIS. Like, seriously!
Garfield and Odie find themselves in a haunted house, where they lose their boats to this terrifying old creep. (I don’t remember how boats happened. But you can watch the special here.) He doesn’t let the cat and dog leave- he makes them listen to some creepy old unsettling tale of old people discomfort. I had to bounce from the room for this scene because it scared me so bad as a kid.
Binky the Clown was the least of my concerns. He was cool by me.
#1 Scariest Retro Halloween TV Special
This goes without a doubt to the Season 8 episode of Married with Children “Take My Wife, Please”. The long and short of it, Al wishes for death and the Grim Reaper (Peg in a black wig) shows up, ready to drag him to hell. She refuses to leave him alone until a family member (in Dickens fashion) state that they need Al. There’s something so deliciously sexy and spooky about the Grim Reaper Peg and Al’s dynamic, almost like a backwards Morticia and Gomez that’s just awesome.
The B-plot takes place at Marcy’s Halloween party, where the rest of the clan is imitating the Village People, with one song (YMCA) on an endless loop. It’s just so haunted. And I always loved the last scene, where the Grim Reaper is standing in the doorway, with flames behind her, ready to take Al away. Cheesy, I know, but just so delightfully suiting to the show and its vibe.
(Too bad Robert Englund himself made an appearance an Lucifer in a season 11 episode. And no one watched season 11.)
#1 Scariest Scary Story to Tell in the Dark
I’m going to cheat here. There are three books, I will choose one from each because Happy Halloween, damn it.
Book 1: “Me Tie Doughty Walker”. Yes, I know that woman from the “Haunted House” story is nightmarish. She’s the quintessential icon for the Scary Stories franchise. But the actual story itself wasn’t that great. The winner in frights goes to “Me-Tie-Doughty-Walker” because BLOODY HEAD DOWN THE FREAKING CHIMNEY, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!
Book 2: “The Drum”. This story was my nightmare as a kid. Two sisters go into the woods to play and are told by a little gypsy girl that if they torture their mother and baby brother, she’ll give them some drum. Their mom tells them, in tears, that if they don’t stop their bad behavior, she’s going to leave them, take their baby brother, and in her place, will be a wooden mother with glass eyes and a wooden tail. The behavior continues. AND SHE LEAVES THEM. Their mommy disappears and in place is this haunted mom, with glass eyes and a wooden tail thumping on the floor. Do you know what that would have done to my psyche as a kid? Like, the true implications of that horror? Ugh, just absolute nightmares.
Book 3: “Harold”. Scarecrows are creepy. Farms are creepy. Stretching bloody skins out to dry in the sun…is creepy. Hold me. (Although runner up goes to “Maybe You Will Remember”, based on a true story of a woman getting ill on her travels. The hotel staff hides her body and redecorates the room and convinces her daughter that her mom never existed.)
#1 Scariest Silent Film Horror Monster
No discussion, Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera. I’m a huge Lon Chaney fan, so all of his makeup creations and body constricting contraptions are enough to get me properly sodden, (I’ll do a Chaney exclusive article one day because swoon) but the number one in scary monsters goes to The Phantom.
In fact, out of all the Phantoms that have ever been, the stage show still uses the original 1925 Red Death costume as inspiration during the “Masquerade” scene. That’s how amazing the entire aesthetic and performance was. True terror. No hidden sexuality like the other phantoms. Just twisted, gnarly fear.
#1 Scariest Non-Freddy Horror Icon
This one goes to my love, Pennywise the Clown, for two simple reasons.
- People fear clowns.
- Even if you don’t, Pennywise likes playing with you. Which means, even if you weren’t afraid of clowns, he’ll bug you like an obsessed ex until you are.
Is that two reasons? Does that make sense?
Starting to feel insane. Let’s keep going.
#1 Scariest Fear Street Book
“The Secret Bedroom” is R.L. Stine’s masterpiece. Nothing is better than when a teenage girl is driven insane by spooky bedroom spooks. Or rather, when nothing is there and the character is just a loon. I remember those insane girls back in high school.
They were hot.
#1 Scariest Goosebumps Book
This one goes to “Welcome to Horror Land” because it tapped into as many fears as you could without traumatizing kids. You might have been freaked by the “spiders on the body” part. Me? I was bugged by the “sliding into oblivion” scene. And all wrapped up with a weird TV show action scene at the end. R.L. Stine, you are a horror god.
#1 Scariest Spooky Song
And the winner is Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell. But really…come to think of it…the only good part is when Michael Jackson sings. And if that’s the case, we could just be listening to Thriller.
But these are fun scares. What happens when it’s all too real and Sting is singing about watching every move we make? Where do we draw the line between Halloween fun and “Oh snap, it’s all getting too real?”
Flippin’ damn it, why do I take it to these “semi-logical but you’re still wasting your time extracting the fun out by over-analyzing every piece of stupid nostalgia pop culture?”
WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!
#1 Scariest Halloween Candy
Candy corn. Because I love it and it ends friendships.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYBODY!
You can find Loryn haunting Twitter.