Even when I was a little kid it was pretty tough to scare me with monsters and such. And believe me, I kept searching for things that would I could genuinely find frightening. Movie monsters generally didn't do much for me in that way. I thought that they were cool, but very rarely frightening. However, every now and again there were a few fantasy images and films that did scare the heck out of me.
The first time that I saw a film that frightened me was when I viewed the initial airing of The Outer Limits episode "The Zanti Misfits". Everything about The Outer Limits made me wonderfully uncomfortable. The announcer's voice, the opening shots, the statements that disembodied voice was making. He was telling me that everything seemed to be out of my control, and he was right.
When I first saw the alien ant-human hybrids, I thought my dinner was going to come up. There was just something so totally wrong about those things! And the idea of them crawling around trying to get into the house was a thought that wouldn't go away in the nights that followed. The topic of conversation around the neighborhood for weeks afterward centered on that episode of The Outer Limits. It seemed all of my pals had seen it, and all of them had reacted as I had. With total fear.
Due to the wonders of the Internet, you can now watch that episode online, for free, at Hulu.com. Of course you have to sit through the damned commercials. Yeah, that's plenty scary.
Today, though, the dialogue comes off as silly, and the special effects are generally bottom of the barrel. But back in the day...
Around that same general time line I could often be found digging through the enormous stacks and boxes of the overflow of the comics and magazines from my dad's used bookstore. Right off the bat I discovered the Warren Publications FAMOUS MONSTERS, CREEPY, and EERIE. I'd grab up any issue of those magazines that I could lay my mitts on and take them home to read. But there was a cover on one issue that I found it almost impossible to look at. Every time my eyes would rest on that image, I'd feel impelled to fold the cover back and keep my fingers from touching it. I damned near thought the thing would bite me!
What was it about these two things that scared me when almost nothing else could? Hell if I know! But I can say that the Zanti Misfits and that kickass cover of Eerie Magazine gave me more than my fair share of boyhood nightmares.
And it was cool as shit.
Corporate death penalty: Let's have it.