My recurring nightmare

Day 2: The first film to truly terrify me (unintentionally)

When I was a highly impressionable five-year-old, my parents—no doubt desperate to escape the confines of their home yet unable to procure a babysitter at the last minute—took in a cinematic showing of the latest film from Britain’s brilliant comedy team, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For whatever reason I tagged, altogether too young to appreciate the highly adult humour (“Mommy? What’s an anarcho-syndicalist commune?”), but not too young to be absolutely horrified at two images.

The first? This:

No, sorry. That’s silly. I meant this:

Yes, the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog! A wee beastie of pure malevolence that can only be killed through use of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. This deadly fluffmonster decimated King Arthur’s men through rampant decapitation and imprinted the image of headless people spouting blood from their necks onto my soul. That was a lot of blood, gore, and violence for a child to take in. At least, a child in 1975. Nowadays, I’m sure children of the same age can sit through The Passion of the Christ without flinching. Every Easter, to prove their faith (Now that’s horror.).

The second?

Yes, the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaaarrrghh, a cartoon monster that chows down on Brother Maynard and chases the knights until the animator suffers a fatal heart attack.

Silly? Yes. A rather shameful admission of personal terror? You bet. Setting myself up for web-based ridicule? Yup yup yup.

But both monsters caused me recurring nightmares for (and I am not exaggerating) over a decade. Not until I was seventeen and finally caught the movie on television did everything click together. Rest assured, I sued both Monty Python Inc. and my parents for emotional cruelty immediately.

Both cases are still ongoing. In my mind, anyway. Legally, I was pistol-whipped.

For the month of October I’ll be posting a whole mess of stuff about horror. Mostly just stuff I like, because I’m lazy that way.

Ni! Ni! Noo!