If you’re anything like me, your childhood wasn’t always about being active. At times your brain was probably turned to sludge by TV programs — perhaps permanently corrupted by immoral, putrid garbage. Honestly, I have some fond memories of this phenomenon myself. On that note, here’s a list of some of the creepiest bits of sludge I encountered as a youngster, and which I suggest you either re-live again, or try experiencing for the first time. Enjoy!
5. “Minuteman” — The Hitchhiker
Even as a kid this concept freaked me out: Jeremy (John Shea) and Julie (Alexander Paul) get into a traffic accident in which Julie dies. Jeremy then runs to a diner to use the phone — only to find her sitting there as if nothing happened! Yikes! Sure, it’s a little on the cheesy side at points, but the basic concept still disturbs me to this day. You can probably watch this episode somewhere online. Also, this TV show has a cool opening theme.
4. “The Dummy” — USA’s Saturday Nightmares
Oh man, this short is a fun one from back when USA Network showed things other than cop dramas. You know what? It is genuinely creepy. Before I ever saw Chucky, I had watched this little guy create some problems on TV. In addition to his classic ventriloquist dummy looks, he was a great little trickster, too. Definitely check this one out for some creepy moments! It can still be found on YouTube.
3. Zeke The Plumber — Nickelodeon’s Salute Your Shorts
So it’s not a masterpiece and Zeke is most certainly a PG imitation of Freddy Krueger, but you can’t go wrong with Zeke the Plumber from the ’90s Nickelodeon TV show, Salute Your Shorts. If you look at the YouTube comments on this episode, a number of people say that Zeke scared them when they were kids. One person says the Zeke dreams are legitimately scarier than most horror movies on the market today. And you know what? I’m tempted to agree. In addition to a lurking Facebook presence, there is some tasty Zeke fan art, and at least one stylish Zeke The Plumber t-shirt is on the market. FEAR THE PLUNGER!
And, as strange as it sounds, there’s at least one person who apparently got a kick ass Zeke tattoo.
2. “The Inheritance” — Friday the 13th: The Series
Another evil doll? Sure! Vida is a great little psychotic haunted doll. One of her best features is that she actually hisses at people she hates. That’s right: She hisses! This is a fun TV episode featuring a young Sarah Polley. It’s also the first episode of Friday the 13th: The Series overall, which is worth mentioning. While you’re at it, you might want to check out other episodes from this fun TV show about haunted antiques. Just don’t expect Jason to show up — it’s not about him!
1. “The Crowd” — The Ray Bradbury Theater
This is another story based on a creepy concept that was featured on Ray Bradbury’s old TV show. Basically, a car accident survivor recovers from the hospital, then goes on to witness another accident and sees the same crowd. While the idea might have some people shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Yeah, big deal,” it was a freaky concept for me when I was younger — and obviously similar to the Hitchhiker episode mentioned above. Ray Bradbury Theater is a great show and I was lucky enough to find the entire series on DVD at a local store!
Honorable Mention: Key & Peele’s Halloween TV Specials
Key & Peele is not an old show and it’s by no means obscure, but I feel I should mention their Halloween episodes here anyway. Because I only have seasons 1-3, I don’t know if Key &Peele have other Halloween episodes, but I do know this: Season 2’s “Michael Jackson Halloween” and season 3’s “Sexy Vampires” qualify as classics. In my opinion, the best segment from the “Michael Jackson” episode is the Human Centipede reunion. From “Sexy Vampires,” I especially recommend the sketch about the lighter side of torture — not only is it a great spoof on horror but also a comment on being too optimistic for one’s own good.
That concludes my list of obscure yet creepy TV episodes. I’m sure there are a ton more out there and I’ve love to hear what other episodes creeped you all out. Post in the comments!