I just remembered a huge trauma from my childhood, associated with what should be a happy time – Christmas. Every year my sister and I were encouraged to watch whatever version of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL was being screened on T.V. that year (this being England in the ’70s there were only three channels) as our parents were big on getting us to read and understand lterature.
So, I’d seen a few different versions, the old black & white film with ALASTAIR SIM, and probably one or two others. Being only young (7–10-ish) I was terrified of ghosts, but I knew the ones in A.C.C. were not THAT type of ghost (except the last one who was in a cowl and a bit creepy, but it all ended happily so I was O.K. with him.)
This year it was a cartoon – “even better” thought I (what kid DOESN’T love cartoons, right?). Oh dear, what a terrible lesson was this little girl about to learn; the animation style wasn’t at all Disney, and was rather dark. Then Marley’s Ghost appears, looking scary indeed with his head thrown back at an unnatural angle, then six minutes in, he removes the bandage around his head and HIS MOUTH GAPES OPEN AS IF TO DEVOUR THE VIEWER!!
I found in on YouTube and just about had kittens! I’m 40 years old for goodness sake!!
I had nightmares for years where he came into my room, for some reason in my dreams he was a white outline, but he ALWAYS had that gaping maw.
Watch part one below – but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A re-traumatised Bluegrasslass
Whoa! Very unsettling! I can see why Bluegrasslass would be haunted by Marley’s evil specter. This is easily the most horrifying depiction of that character I have ever seen. What were they thinking? I had to check to see if Martin Rosen of “Watership Down” infamy was involved (he wasn’t).
The grim reaper ghost guy in pretty much every ACC adaptation I ever saw freaked me out as a kid – except for the Mr. Magoo one. But that one is indeed the freakiest!
They did the same jaw-dropping in the Disney/Zemeckis version, though it was way more unsettling in it. Though I give props for casting Gary Oldman as Marley (Using his old Dracula voice, no less) among some other roles in it. But compared to the Disney one, the Williams version i way more faithful and doesn’t feel the need to have action sequences. (I’m talking in your direction, Bob Zemeckis…)
D ‘you ever wonder what sadistic, and possibly psychotic people come up with these things for children? Seriously, what little twisted leprechaun sits hunched in his cave dreaming some of this stuff up.?
When I was a child I loved (still do) the Mr Magoo version. And they always seemed to play it in the afternoon of Christmas Day meaning I had already opened my presents and was in a good mood anyway – finding out Magoo was on was just the frosting on the cake! And I would sit merrily and watch it – until the end where that reaper ghost came!
I could probably draw the Magoo Reaper Ghost in less than 5 movements, but still- he freaked me out. Maybe it was the simplicity of him?
In all fairness I think ALL the versions of this charactor in ALL the SCROOGE movies probably scared me,but since the Magoo one was alight-heaerted cartoon he sticks out in my mind the most.
I think the strangest adaptation I’ve ever seen is the 1970’s musical version, “Scrooge”. The first time I saw the rotting corpse ghosts flying around outside Scrooge’s window, I thought, “what hot, fresh hell have I stumbled into?”. The casting director used the skeeviest looking actors they could find. I honestly think they just picked up hobos from under a bridge to cast that film, although it does give it that “Victorian” flare. This version is definitely not sanitized for your protection.
That Marley looks pretty damn creepy. I didn’t see this version as a kid, though. My parents had Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol on tape, and I watched it about as often as I watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Magoo’s Marley scared me the way he yelled whenever Magoo/Scrooge said something stupid.
Another Marley that scared me was Alec Guiness’s Marley in the Albert Finney movie “Scrooge”. He didn’t scare me the whole time, but when he rose up into the air and screamed and clanged his chains….my eyes were as round as saucers and I couldn’t wait til he was done.