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Traumafessions :: Readers Patrick & Alexis on Chiller Theater

September 4th, 2008 by aunt john · 5 Comments

Aunt John SEZ: We are in for a special treat today kids, as the proverbial traumafession lightening strikes twice at Kindertrauma Castle. Please give a warm Kindertrauma welcome to readers Patrick and Alexis as they separately recall the creep-tastic introduction to WPIX’s Chiller Theater

Reader Patrick SEZ:

It wasn’t a specific movie that terrified me as a little kid, but the intro to scary movie night on WPIX Channel 11 in New York. In the ’70s, on certain nights of the week at 11 pm, they would run the following bumper to introduce the flick:

Being 5 or 6 years old, I’d see that hand rise from the ground and hear that eerie music and run screaming from the room. Of course, there was no getting to sleep after that. I didn’t even need to see the movie — the 20-second clip was enough to keep me awake and shaking!

Reader Alexis SEZ:

When I was somewhere between four and six there was a local channel in New York that played cheesy movies on weekend afternoons. There were karate flicks and westerns, and of course, old “B” horror movies. Whenever they played one of these films, it was presented by what the station called “Chiller Theater.” It really didn’t matter if whatever movie they were playing was scary or not, because, if it was Chiller, you were gonna be freaked out one way or another.

The reason for Chiller Theater‘s success rate was their graphic introduction, which was also used for going to commercial breaks (and, believe me, familiarity never took away from its effectiveness.) The segment was of a six-fingered hand coming out of the ground that, eventually, munched on the Chiller logo. You kinda just have to see it. And hear it. That’s most important. Trust me, the sound effects are enough on their own. Seeing it again, I thought it might not have the same effect on me, but alas, I was dead wrong. It still creeped me out big time.

So thanks again, Kindertrauma, for helping me realize I might not be quite as desensitized as I thought. Keep up the good work!

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Tags: Traumafessions

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Sep 4, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Good one! Not only did The CHILLER Hand terrify ME : my Mom and my friend who lived across the street were scared of it too!

    The only thing that comes CLOSE to The Chiller Hand in creepyness is that TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE intro and that weird sound bite they’d play right before a commercial!

    * Is it just me or did CHILLER always seem to be playing STANLEY (the movie about the guy with snakes)?

  • 2 FilmFatherNo Gravatar // Sep 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Wow, Patrick & Alexis, thanks for prying open that file cabinet in the dark, dingy corner of my cranium. I haven’t thought about WPIX’s “CHILLER” since probably when it was airing back in the ’70s. Growing up near Allentown, PA, our home’s cable lineup included New York affiliates such as WPIX, so I remember this intro graphic fondly (or maybe not so fondly).

    And is it just me, or does that sound like Homer Simpson saying “Chilllerrrr…”? As in, “Mmmm…chilllerrr.”

  • 3 sbdNo Gravatar // Sep 4, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Try this on for size: 

      I know the song is pretty stupid but the rapid fire clips from some of the creepiest/cheesiest movies were effective.  That spastic dwarf at the piano and the Martian licking its lips always bugged the hell out of me.  I couldn’t find a clip but the closing was also quite disturbing: after Bob’s final spiel, they’d just pull out to show him sitting in his chair, calmly toking his big cigar with his eyes shining through his coke-bottle glasses and his original show theme playing. (Sadly, you will need Real Player installed to hear it.)

  • 4 rubytuesdayNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I remember saturday nights at 8 pm and watching Chiller Theater with my brother. When the intro came on we would be on the couch and I’d squeeze behind him cause it scared the living S–t out of me! Then I remember when the show was moved to 11 pm and I’d be alone (our parents always went out on Saturday nights and he was older so he’d always be out) and I would have channel 11 on and of course the 6 finger hand intro during would come on and I’d be scared again. All alone! I would have the dog come on the couch with me as protection! (LOL). Oh I also remember the Tales from the Darkside series. That was a great show. Currently I have been looking for the series on dvd (not the movie). One more thing- I saw a commerical last night during the 10 pm news on WPIX-NY and October 25th they are showing Chiller Theater along with the 6 finger hand intro at 8 pm! I don’t know if this will be a regularly scheduled programming on Saturday’s but still, I can’t wait!

  • 5 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Dec 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I live in the NJ/NY/Conn Tri-State area and I remember this!  Kind of freaked me out as a kid back then………but I would still watch it!  The “music” kind of reminds me of a dark version of the middle section to Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”.   I’m glad that it’s up on YouTube.  Only problem is that Dan Castellaneta’s Homer voice sounds like the “Chiller” voice so now everyone says that the voice is Homer Simpson!

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