Starkly Horrifying, Part II

These horrifying, indelible film experiences we were subjected to as children have come up in conversation more than once lately- both the previously mentioned ones and a couple of glaring omissions, which I can't resist detailing briefly. I've noticed in trolling their IMDb pages that there's unanimously a message board topic about childhood trauma there; the experience is mutual but I'll go into personal detail a bit.

Firstly, Clash of the Titans, in which, as you can see, Sir Laurence Olivier plays none other than Zeus (bottom picture), and Harry Hamlin the, er, 'hero', Perseus (top photo).

A notable film on top of the fine British cast of Greek Gods, being the last to feature the stop-motion stylings of Ray Harryhausen, a genius to be sure, but ask any 21st century kid (or any living, breathing human) how real the Kraken looks here:

That's what I thought. This came out in 1981.

Yet despite the plasticity of the nonhuman characters, when I bought this DVD for $6.99 and rewatched it as an adult, the Medusa sequence still scared the shit out of me. Jesus- look at her! Look at her! Or don't- 'cause she'll turn you right to stone, man.

She features in a protracted, quite amazing sequence in which they... well- watch it. Yet it's not all trauma and terror when it comes to this film- they felt the need to include an R2-D2-type character in the form of Bubo, a mechanical owl forged by some God and sent down to help out old Perseus and company. By God I wanted Bubo for Christmas that year. Ached for him. Yet all I received were every one of these toys, save for the Kraken.

Why could they not have had this at the time.
Another film I previously missed was Dragonslayer, which may make sense, as I don't believe I saw it in the year of its release. It was likely presented by some well-meaning Mom at a birthday party.

Again, like The Black Hole, a Disney production with astonishing special effects which still hold up. But again, like The Black Hole- frightening as hell. Whereas in Titans, the virginal Princess Andromeda, set to be sacrificed to a monster, is rescued at the last minute, the Dragonslayer princesses don't fare so well. They are killed. And fed upon slowly by baby dragons. In quite vivid detail. And again, I purchased a VHS copy of this for $1 and was made to feel uncomfortable. By a Disney movie.

Then there are the less obscure terrors, as we move into the 1980's. Many of you know where this Ceti Eel is on its way to across Chekov's cheek in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan...

... Right into the old ear, later to wrap itself around the cerebral cortex, "resulting in madness, and eventually... death."

& to wrap things up, maybe this will give you nightmares all over again. Two dollars and a can of pop for anyone who can name its obvious source.

"You aren't scared of spiders?", my Granddad asks as we enter the theatre. No, Granddad, but I'm darn tootin scared of Nazis getting melted by God.