Longtime reader, second time submitter – last time I shared about the hit and run child murder scene from THE TOXIC AVENGER. I've kind of learned to make peace with that scene by soliciting and actually receiving a reply from one of the actors, ROBERT PRICHARD, on my blog at CINEMACHINE.
I want to share an earlier trauma which will always haunt me from beyond the safety of connection with those responsible: the episode of FRIDAY THE 13: THE SERIES entitled "The Playhouse."
They used to run this on the Sci-Fi Channel back in its glory days and I didn't even know what I was watching when I caught the episode's first act:
Two kids, a brother and sister, find another kid playing in their neighborhood. After sizing him up they invite him back to their house where they have a little playhouse in the backyard. They climb inside and the siblings tell the other to hold on tight – suddenly there's a lot of wind and whooshing and all three are taken someplace else.
Inside the playhouse-fantasy world there's a checkered floor and the usual Caligari skewness abound, plus the siblings are now handsomely dressed. The kid they brought in asks what's going on.
The brother says something like, "Here you can do anything you want!"
The sister holds out some nice chocolates or candy in her hands and says, "You can HAVE anything you want!"
Then the brother adds, "But you gotta be REAL NICE to us."
The stuff in the girl's hands become worms, the siblings have evil smiles, and I think the kid screams.
This was bad, but the worst part – THE WORST PART – was that they cut to the kid's poor mom, wandering down the street where her son was playing and calling his name.
In the same way THE TOXIC AVENGER showed that poor kid's big sister before he got turned into road mush, there's something about the idea of the grieving parent left behind that just makes a kid's death even more disturbing.
Although I should add that when I saw the full episode years later in reruns, all the kids the playhouse ate up were returned unharmed after the FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES crew defeated it. Can't have that on prime time T.V.!
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