A Few Quick Things, vol. 51

combover1This weekend the younger boy and I are going to remove the big Soviet humbox window air conditioners from the three bedrooms. The summer was so mild this year, we didn’t even install the gigantic one in the living room. So, that’s a bonus. I hate dealing with that thing.

The bastard weighs roughly the same as a Buick Skylark, and is always full of rainwater when we remove it. So, one of the boys and I have to double-team it to the basement, and ice-cold water always cascades down the front of my pants and flash-freezes my wiener. I’m not a fan.

It’s already getting so cool at night here, I want to fire up the electric blanket before climbing atop the platform. But I keep forgetting to plug it in, so it’s bracingly cold sheets for the first couple of minutes. Then it slooooooowly becomes warm, thanks to my heat-generating heft. It’s not unpleasant, but I’m craving the pre-warmed bed. Ya know?

A couple of years ago at work I mentioned we have an electric blanket, and some douchey douche told me it would make me sterile. I replied, “What a blow to humanity!” Which seemed to confuse, and possibly confound the gentleman.

Last week I told you guys I wanted to have a Facebook group in place, where I can chronicle the successes, failures, and frustrations of the writing of my second novel. Here it is. There’s not much to it yet, but I hope it’ll turn into something interesting and useful over time. And I don’t want it to be just about my new book, I’d like to talk about writing and indie publishing, in general, there.

If you’re interested in those subjects, please join the group. If not, it’s cool. I’m not anticipating a giant response. I just need a place where I can exorcise all that info and energy, without boring the people who don’t give a crap, at the main site.

If you’re working on something creative, or planning to, please join us and keep everyone up to date. It’ll be a support network. Or if you just want to watch me have a mental breakdown, that’ll be another benefit.

I was emailing with a friend this morning, about the old NightFlight program on USA. That show was impossibly great. It was a mishmash of cult movies, standup comedy, ancient educational films about sex and hygiene, bizarre animation, etc., and was broadcast all night long on Fridays and Saturdays.

There was a regular feature called New Wave Theater, which scared the shit out of me. It was hosted by a strange dude who gave me the creeps, and featured hyper-aggressive hardcore punk bands. I liked that kind of music, but there was something about the program, something seedy and dangerous, which made a young Jeff Kay more than a bit uneasy.

Check it out here. And imagine a Jiffy-Pop haired youngster in 1982 West Virginia, years before the internet turned the whole world jaded, watching that weirdness. The host, Peter Ivers, REALLY freaked me out. I don’t know why. But even now, while watching his opening monologue in the linked video, I feel kinda weird. He was later discovered bludgeoned to death in his apartment, which didn’t surprise me whatsoever. That dude was living in a dark, dark world.

When I think of stuff I’ve seen on TV that freaked me out, New Wave Theater always jumps to mind. Also a movie on HBO called Stranger in the House. It was originally released under the title Black Christmas, but I knew it by its alternative title. And it scared me more than just about any movie, ever. I’ve seen it several times since, and don’t really understand this. It’s good, though. It’s a good film, very creepy.

Also, when I was very young… an episode of Mannix scared me badly. He was under the influence of LSD or somesuch, and all sorts of weirdness was going on. I was probably about eight, and can still remember how frightened I was. It both scared and scarred me.

For a Question, I’d like to know what things you’ve seen on TV that truly frightened you. Do you have anything on this one? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

And I’ll see you guys again on Monday.

Have a great weekend!


  1. sunshine_in_va says

    I know you can get a lot of stuff on YouTube, but if you hunt around you can get a ‘mish-mash’ of Night Flight episodes on DVD (homemade, of course). In fact, I think you can get pretty much all of it. I only know this because I went looking for something called “Atomic TV”, which was a mish-mash of clips from nuclear war safety films, Red Scare movies, creature features and rock videos! Mind you – I still have a videotape I made of this before it went off the air (yes – I have a VHS tape from 1987) but it’s getting kind of grainy/choppy, so…. I went off in search of a DVD copy. Curiously, the one I finally got did not have Europe singing “The Final Countdown” like my VHS version did.

    Oh and “What a blow to humanity!” I’m going to work that into a conversation at my first opportunity!

  2. I saw the pre-release piece for Blair Witch Project on some indie TV station. I was living alone for the first time in 20 years or so (middle of divorce, joy!) and it freaked me the fuck out. I think it was the first time I’d turned to teh interwebz for some – ANY – kind of explanation and didn’t come up with much to calm me down for a few days.

    • I worked with someone who was completely taken in by the Blair Witch promotion and thought it was real.

      • I did, too – mostly because it was the frontrunner of the whole “found footage” genre. That, and it was presented without comment.

    • To this day, I CANNOT rewatch the Blair Witch Project. That’s how bad it freaked me out. The ending completely fucked me up for a long time. Real or not, never again. I’d rather watch a continuous reel of The Exorcist.

      • Mike Narmour says

        Haha, yeah, I was way into adulthood when the Blair Witch project came out (probably bout 40), and it still freaked me out!

      • Dude. I watched it for the first time at my high school boyfriend’s house…out in the middle of the goddamned woods in southern Maryland. I completely bought into it. A normal walk in the woods after that movie turned into me nearly pissing my pants everytime I saw a pile of rocks or a bundle of sticks.

      • I’m right there with you! The end was far too freaky/creepy for me to ever watch it again, and I’m 50 years old! Am I not supposed to be all grown up and rational now? Nope…not me! I know the whole story and the fact that it was a well engineered hoax. Still freaks me out beyond reason.

  3. When I was a kid, there was a Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot episode about a “space mummy” poisoning a reservoir and turning people into mummies that scared the crap out of me. I don’t think I used a drinking fountain again for a solid year.

    Other than that, I recall a few episodes of both X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer that were legitimately scary, but since I was an adult by then, it wasn’t anything that lingered.

  4. I was about 8 or 9 I guess, the movie was called Race with the Devil. Some vacationers in a Winnebego gettting chased all through the night by these devil worshipping, fire dancing, half naked freaks in the woods. really terrified me. I’m gonna have to google it and watch it again now that I am a fearless grown up.

  5. Two scary moments stick out from the olden days of vertical hold television:
    1) A film called The Other (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069050/) featuring twin boys, one of whom is evil. There’s a scene where he encourages the other boy to cut his finger off to remove a ring . . . damn, I just shivered.
    2) The made for TV Salem’s Lot (1979 version). It has a scene where a boy/vampire is floating outside another kid’s window. That sight haunted me for years.

    • I read the Salem’s Lot books and the part about the vampires floating outside the window creeped me the hell out. I would make sure my curtains were closed tight before I went to bed.

    • I caught that part of Salem’s Lot (sneaking into my parents’ bedroom while they were watching the movie) and it gave me nightmares.

    • “The Other” was diabolical. Wasn’t there a pickled baby in that movie?

    • I remember reading The Other as a kid. WTF were my parents thinking, letting me read that?

      • I know! I read The Amityville Horror when I was way too young. I finished it in a couple of nights, because, let’s face it, you’re not going to sleep after reading that stuff.

    • The Other was a great book by William Tryon (sp?) and if you enjoyed the movie, you’ll love the book! When the movie came out, it was a really big deal because it was set and shot in our town in CT. Small town New Englanders get all excited by the slightest brush with fame, lol! I live in Tucson now, my family has disowned me…

  6. The movies Bad Ronald and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark always scared the hell outta me. They were featured on Chiller Theater in NY and the opening of that was scary enough by itself. It can be seen here http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ok6uzndOmPA

  7. When I was a kid I remember being in the room while some other family members were watching Pet Sematary and I remember being shit scared and running over to the neighbors house. To this day I can’t watch it.

  8. Gordian Knott says

    The Mannix LSD episode! Yes, I remember this poisonous, scarring affair. I’d run across LSD users in Dragnet, of course, but there was something deeply unsettling and sad about Mannix–conservative, square, naive, father-figure Mannix–being unwittingly dosed with acid.

    As for mental scarring from other TV shows, “Dark Shadows” ranks high on this score, but a TV movie (trailer available on Youtube) called “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” (1973) scared the wits out of me, with its disturbing plot concerning small, evil demons appearing from the dark.

    Oh, and “Blair Witch Project.” Saw this as an adult, and the aggravation undergone by the actors, who were left to fend for themselves in the woods, makes this one truly scary.

  9. And how did I completely forget the Dennis Weaver “Duel”?

  10. That “Night Gallery” quartet of movies – the first one with Ossie Davis and Roddy McDowell scared the ever loving piss out of me. In fact, all 4 of them were downright horrifying.

    This one is audio (not visual) – The one thing that will send me scrambling into a closet rocking in fear is the very beginning of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” – to this day, when I hear it it’s like ice flowing through my veins and I have to turn it off.

    • The one time the intro to “Iron Man” really got me, I was driving alone after dark. It caught me in just the right mood to really freak me out and I had to change the radio station.

      • Same thing happened to me and it must have been close to Halloween because they followed that up with Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy” – freaky friggin lyrics.

  11. I can’t say it scared us so much, but sometime in the mid- to late-70s there was some TV movie called “Killdozer” that all us neighborhood kids were obsessed with. It was about a bulldozer that was somehow possessed by space aliens or Beelzebub or some such horseshit. Somehow it seemed like it was on TV every other week, but in retrospect seeing how we only had 5 channels and no internet I do not see how that was possible. But it somehow touched a nerve and we all talked about it and played “Killdozer” games or something. Personally I don’t remember the movie at all but only remember talking about it. Does anyone else remember this piece of high art?

    • Yes – and then it became the name of a band. I am all about TV movies from the 70s.

      Jeff –

      I ran across some New Wave Theater episodes the other day. It must have been on Youtube. This makes me think of Night Trax (TBS) and Video Jukebox (HBO).

    • The Qweezy Mark says

      Killdozer! was awesome. It was on the ABC movie of the week which was some goofy movie every Tuesday night.

  12. I think I was 7 or 8 and saw a cheesy movie from the 70’s called The Car and some made for TV crap with Charles Durning and the slow guy from LA Law called Dark Night of the Scarecrow during the Halloween season in 80 or 81 and both freaked me WAY the hell out. I’m sure that I’d laugh at them now, but there’s no way in hell I’m watching them again.

    • I remember seeing night of the scarecrow late at night on TV about the same time…
      Without a doubt the most frightening movie I’ve ever seen (I was an impressionable lad of 12 or so)

  13. Tales from the Crypt, hands down. I used to sneak around my parents at odd hours to catch it on HBO when they weren’t paying attention (how I did this in the pre-guide, pre-internet, no TV guide in the house day still astonishes me). Of course now, if I watched it I would probably laugh my ass off at the creepy old bag of bones

  14. I remember, as a small tot, listening to “Inner Sanctum” on the radio and it would scare the Bejeebus out of me. Sitting in that big ass living room, with the lights down low (sometimes off) and listening to that voice of terror coming across the radio was chilling. You were forced to use your imagination as to what people, places and things looked like…just another plus to listening to a good mystery.

    These days, just listening to the daily news scares the hell out of me more than anything else!

    • As far as scary movies, I’d have to say The Exorcist scared me shitless. Psycho was a close second…I’ll never forget the shower scene.

  15. I saw The Prophecy when I was ten, am edited version on the ABC movie of the week. This is the one about the mercury poisoning mutating the animals, and a giant, mutant monster bear was tear-assing around the woods, killing people and campers. I think the mutant monster bear’s baby mutant monster bear freaked me out the most. I couldn’t get its horrible screech out of my mind for days.

  16. “Children of the Corn” did it for me. I almost didn’t become a parent after watching that thing. Now I think I should have watched a few more times.
    Of course, my kids are so jaded with all the cool special effects that have been available to them their whole lives that they laugh their asses off at stuff like “Children of the Corn”.

  17. New Wave Theater looks awesome!
    Why didn’t I have stuff like that?

    Is there still stuff like this being produced that I don’t know about?

  18. Lucie in Tampa says

    Candyman scares the bejesus out of me & the original Omen.

  19. Jeff, If you thought “New Wave Theater” was creepy, you should have seen it AFTER Peter Ivers was murdered. Reruns were re-edited to include quick flashes of newspaper headlines that mentioned his killing [while Ivers was talking]. Totally unsettling!

  20. I watched ALL of Night Flight – a tiny portal out of boring-as-fuck WV.

    The exorcist, even the cut-for-tv version, scared the baby bejeezus outta me. It’s been 30 years and I refuse to go near it.

    And my dad caught a showing of Duel on our Betamax and we watched the ever loving shit outt that. So scary…so good…

  21. Mike Narmour says

    When I was probably too old to be scared by such things (13 or so) I saw an episode of the twilight zone or night gallery or something, about a woman who had a premonition about a plane crashing into her bedroom. She could see the registration number on the wing so her husband called the airport and they told him not to worry because the plane was in the shop for repairs. Then, that night, the guy called him back to tell him that someone had taken the plane out for a joyride. He took his wife to a hotel and the plane crashed into the hotel instead! As luck would have it, that night a plane started circling around our neighborhood and I was shitting my pants for about an hour.

  22. Skippy in WV says

    The movie “White Noise” with Michael Keaton completely and totally fucked with me. I never did like that sound but after seeing that movie (when it was new) that “programming” and sound do nothin but fuck with my head.

  23. The first time I saw The Exorcist I was a teenager.living in the PNW. Yes the movie was scary even though I had heard a lot about it prior to seeing it. The scariest thing was that night after seeing the movie and going to bed, I experienced my first earthquake. The bed started shaking and that was when I really started being scared by the movie.

  24. My younger sister is still terrified of rabbits after seeing “Night of the Lepus”. She was 5 or almost 5, so I must have been 7.
    Movies never scared me when I was a kid. What scared me was the twisted minds that came up with those movies. The “Blair Witch Project” did make me a bit jumpy, though. I remember thinking as we walked out that it deserved to win some kind of award.

    About 10 years ago, I was working as night staff in a house where three mentally challenged guys lived. We had alot of down time, so my co-worker would sometimes bring a movie. I can’t remember the name of this particular one, but it had a mentally deficient man who was locked in a basement. He escaped and “accidentally” killed some people at the drive-in next door. We had to pause the movie and decide if we were going to finish watching it because the guy that was killing everyone was exactly like one of the guys sleeping in the other room. We decided to finish watching it, but we bungee-tied his door knob to the one across the hall so we could hear if he tried to come out of his room. No way did we want him getting any ideas from the TV…ha!

    • Hey, uh, Suz, um, where do you live?

      • Kansas. Are you one of my former co-workers?
        We didn’t bungee the door to keep him in…it was just for a heads up that he was coming out. We took it off after the movie and he never knew it was ever there.

        • Nah, not a co-worker, curious because I had a sister with the nickname Suz, sometimes Suzz. She died and seeing your name freaked me out a bit.

          NOT a stalker!

          • Sorry about that.
            I was Susan until I got online. Now, I’m Suz to everyone except my husband, who knows nothing about user names or anything Internet related.

  25. “The Execution of Private Slovik” a made for TV film in the ’70’s. Martin Sheen played Pvt. Slovik as the movie ended he kept reciting the Hail Mary while being tied to a pole awaiting execution. The intenseness freaked me out. I believe the movie ended with gunshots.

  26. Minipeds in NOLA says

    At five in the morning in the ’90s a local channel used to play odd, B-F grade horror movies and when I was at a daycare lady’s house before school I saw this movie I’ve never been able to find. A woman has a demon possessed baby and eventually puts spray paint cans in the microwave and blows up her whole house to kill it. Anyone know what this thing is?! The baby is like high-speed crawling toward people’s ankles and biting and frothing. Horrifying.

  27. The Divine Miss E says

    As a kid, I saw the made-for-TV movie about this: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_247
    The thought that something like that had actually happened completely terrified me and I wouldn’t go near an airplane until I was 19. Even refused to go on a family vacation to Antigua because I was so afraid of flying.

    The movies The Ring and Paranormal Activity still freak me out when I think about them. That scene in Paranormal Activity where the chick gets out of bed and stands next to it for hours messes with my head even years later.

  28. Minipeds in NOLA says

    Paranormal Activity: when she’s creepily standing by the bed made me freaked out to have a significant other living with me after I saw that. Aaagh. Well done, movie!

  29. Friday the 13th, The Series. nuff said.

  30. Jazzbone Swirly says

    The thing on TV that scared me the most? All 8 years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. As I recall, the 1980s were a scary decade for me.

  31. What the fuck is going on?
    What happened to the Angie’s list part?

  32. I am so confused. What does it keep jumping back to an old post?

    • And I obviously can’t type – WHY, not what.

      • Brenda Love says

        LOL Kristy, I was confused as well. My only question was “Where in the hell is Jeff living that he’s removing the air conditioners in the middle of JULY? xD

  33. When I was a kid (many, many years) my mother took me to the movies to see “Psyco”. I was terrified. I wouldn’t look behind a shower curtain for years after that.

Speak Your Mind