I have to admit, I loved JustDreadFull’s post on her early irrational fear of a simple little song by Alvin and the Chipmunks. I think we can all share in that experience, maybe not being scared of some cartoon rodents, but having an image, a sound, or an experience that haunted our childhood for almost no reason. It is an idea that we can all resonate with, and respect to Kalie, for facing her youthful terrors and being brave enough to admit such a silly fear.
Following up in the series was MyComicRelief’s exposition on how Ghostbusters II chased him out of the theatres. Now, I can admit that movie harboured some creepy images, but nothing to scare you right out of your seat. I’ve read Michael admit more than once that he cannot handle a scary movie, I’m wondering if that stems from an unnecessary fear of Slimer, eh?
Then Kalie returned once more in the what scares us series, telling about how her friend tormented her with the Large Marge scene of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Which literally made me laugh out loud, and I can resonate, being a younger sibling myself. Each post was entertaining and clever in their own right, inspiring me to share my first fears too, despite Kalie not asking for my input at all. It is fun to think back on the ridiculous things that scared us as kids and I just had to throw my hat in.
So, what scares me?
Looking back on my fears it is evident that my abundant fear of spiders stems from the horrifying film, Arachnophobia. I watched that way too early not to have a life long fear. But, no that’s not my earliest fear… As the kid with glasses the scene from Lord of the Flies, where Piggie gets killed with a rock freaked me right out. I did not want to wear my glasses to school for a couple weeks. But, no that’s not my earliest fear… When I look right back nothing scared me more than one of the most popular toy series of the late eighties/early nineties. Teddy Ruxpin.
Teddy Ruxpin was an animatronic children’s toy designed to look like a cute and cuddly teddy bear. Built into its back was a tape deck, when you put in the corresponding audio book cassettes Ruxpin would ‘read’ the story aloud and the child could follow along with a companion picture book. Complete with moving mouth and eyes, the teddy bear was top of the line electronics during its release in the mid eighties. One of the best selling toys of its time, Teddy Ruxpin was everywhere, all the kids wanted one and the commercial could be seen during every morning cartoon. Even gaining its own popular TV show in 1987.
Okay, so being afraid of a talking teddy bear with robotic movements and a hole in his back sounds pretty rational. Unfortunately, it wasn’t lovable Ruxpin that freaked me out. It was his big, yellow, dumb-looking, caterpillar sidekick/best friend, Grubby. Honestly, he creeped me out so bad I did not know his name (probably blocked it out) and had to look it up for this post. Originally appearing as a character in the cartoon series, Grubby eventually came out as an add-on to the popular toy series. Where you could plug Grubby into Ruxpin and they would tell stories together. Together, the two would meet up with inventor, Newton Gimmick (slick name) and go on adventures in the hunt for lost treasure, facing villains and monsters along the way. High flying air balloons and colourful friends filled out this very strange cartoon series.
To me Grubby was the source of all that was evil in the world. That daft expression on his face may seem non-threatening, but don’t be fooled by the illusion. When that theme song would come on the television in the morning, ‘🎶Come dream with me tonight🎶’, it would be an erratic race to the remote to change the channel as quickly as possible. Nothing would get in my way from getting that show off before I had to lay my eyes on that stupid, orange-speckled worm. I still swear that soft, mesmerizing theme song was a tool to hypnotize you into an unsuspecting trance so Grubby could sneak up behind you.
The worst part was the nightmares. It was always the same couple reoccurring dreams. My family would spend family camping trips out in Sooke, BC, every summer. The whole family would try to make it out, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, it was a wonderful time as a child. Unfortunately, this put my family and I in a vulnerable place. As Grubby and a whole tribe of his dim-witted looking species would get the drop on us. Too young was I for the images of over-sized, yellow, caterpillars eating my family in front of me, as I run for my life in a camping site with no cover or safety. I would always wake in the security of my bedroom, I would have been satisfied if it wasn’t for the other dream where Grubby would come out of my closet with the ghosts of my family members that he had killed. These are dreams that haunted me my entire life, the latest coming just a few years ago, when I was an adult, too old to be afraid of a cartoon character.
I thought there was nothing creepier than the bubbly, idiotic Grubby. But, the visions that my adolescent mind created of what the rest of his species might look like created a much larger fear. Being a young child, not even at 4ft tall yet, the idea of bugs the size of full grown men is a terrifying thought in its self. With their massive bottoms protruding behind them, held up by two sets of additional legs, the creatures could easily consume a human. Pretty sure, am I, that each strange orange freckle on their bodies and faces are marks representing each kill they have made. Grubby, having many markings, would be a well respected hunter, his travels with Ruxpin giving him the opportunity to eat more children. One day to return to his home and lead his people to the complete invasion on the world of man. Where they will no longer have to trick ignorant children, they could harvest them— too much? too much.
There you have it. If I had my own death metal band, Grubby would probably be my mascot, the ultimate image of darkness and evil. Try not to judge me, you never know Grubby and his war tribe might come after you and yours next. Now, I need to try to shake these images out of my mind so I can get some sleep tonight.
Thanks Kalie, for the entertaining series, its been a blast from the past.
And I usually sign off on my book blog by calling everybody a booknerd, but given the theme here, thanks horror-freaks.
[Kalie’s Note: I was thrilled that Green Onion volunteered to write about his first fright for my blog, and I’m more than a little excited to feature his writing on my site. Green Onion is a prolific writer who operates an eclectic, popular blog that you can access here. It’s definitely worth checking out. Also, since I’ve enjoyed his post so much, I’m opening up this series to Just Dread-full readers and the blogging community. If you’re interested in writing about your first fright for Just Dread-full, touch base with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.]