The power of nightmares.

This week I have been quite excited, mainly because a certain book is on it’s way through the post. Although I am a very keen reader, it’s not that often I get over excited by the release of a book. The last time was the release of ‘You and Who Else‘ ( edited by J.R. Southall, Watching Books). The reasons behind the excitement were two-fold. Firstly, the subject of the book was the history of British Telefantasy  as told by the people who watched it. British Telefantasy and specifically Doctor Who have been a lifelong obsession of mine. Secondly, I was one of the contributors, contributing an essay on Public Information Films. The one which scared me most in my youth was actually never properly shown. It was Protect and Survive, a government film which would have been shown prior to a nuclear war and advising us how to make handy little shelters out of living room doors and suitcases etc.  Choosing this subject allowed me to write a little about something else that deeply disturbed me as a child, the BBC film Threads. Threads depicted, in graphic detail, a nuclear attack on Sheffield. Despite it’s limited budget, it was terrifyingly effective. I think it’s fair to say it had a very severe effect on anyone who watched it.

I watched Threads as an 11 year old child, at a time when Cold War tensions were probably at their highest. It deeply disturbed me for a long time, often having nightmares about it. I still have nightmares about it and I’m now 43. But at the same time, in a very strange way  it fascinates me. In fact most of us Doctor Who fans probably started off being absolutely scared shitless by some element of the Time Lords adventures when we were kids.

So what is it about scary programmes, films,books etc that we love so much? As kids, most of us never turned Doctor Who off, we watched from behind the sofa and tuned in again the next week. If we see a horror film at the cinema and it doesn’t make us jump or make us feel somewhat disturbed, we feel cheated.

It is this strange fascination that drew me to the new book Scarred For Life Volume One: The 70’s ( £16.99 in print form from Lulu.com, £5.99 for the ebook).

It contains a whopping 740 pages focusing on the scary pop culture of the 1970s. Topics included are the TV programmes of the time , stuff like Children of the Stones, Sky, The Omega Factor, Sapphire and Steel and, of course, everyone’s favourite man from Gallifrey. But it doesn’t stop there, also included are Public Information films, scary comics, books, games and even scary snacks!

So as I sit here, under the letterbox, waiting for the delivery of said book, here are the scariest film and tv moments as voted by members of my Facebook group the Geeky Sci Fi Group ( You are welcome to join by the way. It’s all very relaxed, we just discuss what we’re watching and the latest Sci Fi/Horror/Fantasy news. Also, silly memes and no arguing!).

The Geeky Sci Fi Facebook Group Scariest Film & TV Moments

1. The Thing – The blood test.

2. Salem’s Lot – Danny Glick at the window.

3. Jaws – Head falls out of the boat.

Alien – John Hurt’s Stomach explosion.

4. “V” – The Lizard Reveal

Game of Thrones – The Wedding Massacre

5. Threads – The bomb drops on Sheffield

6. Poltergeist – The Clown under the bed.

Stephen King’s IT – Pennywise

The Shining – The Woman in the bathtub

Misery – James Caan’s feet!

The X Files – Tooms

Poltergeist – The tree.

The Ring – The ending.

7. House on The Haunted Hill – Weird reverse CCTV scenes

Jeepers Creepers 2 – The scarecrow

Jeepers Creepers – The crazy cat lady scene.

The Omen – The nanny scene

Jigsaw – Noseybonk !

The League of Gentlemen – “Hello Dave!”

Doctor Who – The Horror of Fang Rock – Reuben is possessed.

Spooks – Face in the deep fat fryer.

The Haunting – The Door scene

Hammer House of Horror ep. ‘The House that bled to death’ – Birthday party scene.

Goodnight and remember, don’t have nightmares!

 

 

 

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