One of my childhood trauma inducing characters (along with STEPHEN KING‘s IT – God, that movie made going to the toilet/taking a bath/cleaning your teeth/walking past drains terrifying for years!) was from an Australian T.V. advertisement in the late ‘80s. Most likely between ’86 and ’89 when I was at my most impressionable.
I saw the ad broadcast on a 6pm nightly news program, as at the time it was considered quite controversial. I remember the newsreader forebodingly saying, “If you have young children you may want to ask them to leave the room now.” I looked sidelong at my Mum and she didn’t respond, which I was quite happy about. I don’t remember specifics but I believe it was in black and white and set during a funeral at a graveyard. There were sobbing relatives and the camera was following the coffin being carried by two men into the back of a hearse. I remember thinking at this point that it was totally lame and not scary at all and that I was obviously pretty awesome for not being affected, but then it happened! The driver of the hearse turned around and he was some kind of horrifying werewolf-esque monster!! This shocked me more than pretty much anything, ever. I think it was a warning ad of some kind, maybe smoking, AIDS, cancer? I’ve tried searching the web with what I know and turned up nothing.
Obviously, I pretended that I didn’t care so my Mum wouldn’t think I was a wuss bag and went to bed as normal not long after. For that night and many, many after I would lie awake in a state of absolute terror seeing the werewolf hearse driver and IT standing in my bedroom doorway, casting long ominous shadows into my room from the hall light, waiting for me to fall asleep so they could come and get me.
I’ve never really lived down this fear although now it’s been replaced by more grown-up fears like demonic possession (thanks to an UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIES style documentary when I was 11), RINGU-esque Japanese yokai stalkers and this bloody image that I know is probably faked but still scares the crap out of me if I start thinking about it in the dark. (See the freaky escaped-mental-patient looking ghost child in the background.)
Thanks for all the great movie recommendations – you guys have horror movie viewing persistence to be admired! xxoo