Traumafession:: Ytje V. on The Box of Delights

To be honest , I never was that adventurous or courageous when it came to suspenseful and creepy TV series. I got scared easily. My mother probably meant well when she suddenly would change channels because she thought something might upset me. She once even put her hands over my eyes while I was watching a TV show; she thought some monster on the screen might scare me. I think her sudden shrieking and putting her hands over my eyes was more scary than anything that might’ve been on the telly at that very moment.

My parents subscribed to a TV guide. The other magazines my parents subscribed to were too boring to even flip through, so I devoured every issue of the TV guide with gusto.. I must’ve been seven or eight years old when I saw a TV series that I just knew would be great to watch. I persuaded my parents to let me watch it, I even told my friends at school that I was going to watch a great TV show. It would be magic! I would be adventurous for once! I felt great.

The series was called Box of Delights. There is quite some praise for this series, even after its release, some thirty years ago. The story revolves around a magic box, given to a boy by a magician. Dark forces want to get hold of the box, so suspenseful adventure would be duly unfolding, or so I thought.

I didn’t make it through the first episode.

At some point during episode one I realized I got more than I bargained for. Why had I persuaded my parents letting me watch this? Why had I bragged at school?

I knew retreat would be imminent. And I know the exact moment; when ‘Rat’ (a man, made up and costumed as a stinky, skeevy rat) reared its ugly head. I jumped up from the couch, did a spin and buried my head in a couch cushion. I think I cried. I was so disappointed; in myself and in the show that dared to be way too horrifying.

Needless to say I had raging nightmares that night.

In recent years I did try my best to find Box of Delights online. Because the series aired under a different title (original title loosely translated to Dutch) I had a difficult time actually finding it. But when I did, I was delighted.

I can see why Box of Delights scared me, but there are other scenes standing out now, that I find very creepy. The leader with the freaky puppet! Those priests! The fake looking make up on the old magician to make him look aging and wise!

Because I couldn’t find other reviews or confessions deeming Box of Delights scary, I consider myself alone in this.

Well, not all alone. In fact, my sister, who’s four years younger than I, would start crying just by seeing a picture of Rat. There was a picture of Rat in the TV listings, along with the article about Box of Delights. That’s right. I already knew there would be a creepy character somewhere in the series and I still thought I could make it.

My brother would taunt my sister by sneaking up on her and brandishing the TV guide. My mom got so fed up that she took a pair of scissors and cut the picture out. She did this very neatly. Because the week wasn’t done yet, we still needed it.

Here’s the first episode (part one anyway):

I also included a pic of Rat. Man, is that guy creepy!

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8 years ago

“Let nothing tempt you into playing cards with strangers on a train.” That music would have been enough to make me run for cover as a kid. Great traumafession!