There’s no need to be confused! Go here and read the preface to the first experiment.
Experiment Three: Home
Since the first two experiments resulted in very few actual scares (I should admit that neither Vienna nor I frighten easily. So, if you’re the type of person who has nightmares after re-runs of Friends, your results for this experiments will differ greatly from ours) I decided to fall back on something that I remembered as being scary as Hell – A 1996 episode of The X-Files called “Home“.
For many people, Vienna & myself included, Friday night in the early to mid-90’s was synonymous with the X-Files. No matter what was going on in your life, come 9 PM, you stopped whatever you were doing and watched the X-Files. If your home burned to the ground at 8:30 in the evening, killing your entire family, by 9 PM you were sitting on your neighbor’s sofa listening to the show’s intro music. That’s just how we all rolled back in the 90’s, folks.
Looking back, The X-Files was not a really great show. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad; it’s just that the few episodes I’ve stumbled upon in the past couple of years didn’t hold up very well. I guess the real reason that we were all glued to our TV on Friday night at 9 PM was because the X-Files, for all of its flaws, was at least better than all of the shit that was on TV in the early 90’s. And when I say “shit”, I’m being kind. I could devote thirty paragraphs to hurling insults at televised feces like Home Improvement or Everybody Loves Raymond. The fact is that TV in the early 90’s just plain sucked.
Maybe that’s why “Home” had such an impact on me when I first watched it. This might be hard for people who’ve come of age in the era of American Horror Story to grasp, but “Home” was like nothing that had ever appeared on TV previously.
If you’ve never seen the episode (it’s available on Netflix), you’ll be impressed by home much black humor and mind-blowing what-the-fuck-isms the writers managed to cram into just the opening 15 minutes alone. Yes, that dead baby sure does get around!
Unfortunately, the producers of the X-Files didn’t dig all of the dead baby humor; they felt that the episode “had gone too far”, and Fox banned it from ever being re-aired on their network. Yes, the very same network that would later give us The Littlest Groom.
For a piece of horror to be really effective it has to contain That Scene. A scene so scary that you never forget it. It’s the one scene your mind instantly goes to when you think of the piece. In The Haunting, That Scene is the one wherein Eleanor thinks she’s holding Theodora’s hand, but…well, you know. Here’s That Scene in “Home“. It does for “Wonderful, Wonderful” what A Clockwork Orange did for “Singing in the Rain” and what The Littlest Groom did for Humanity.
So, now it’s time to apply our highly scientific scoring method to the episode.
I’m going to leave you with one disturbing bit of trivia about “Home“. Writer Glen Morgan ‘s inspiration for the episode came, partially, from an incident which Charlie Chaplin documented in his autobiography. A young Chaplin had been staying at a miner’s house. Following dinner, the miner said he had something to show Charlie. That something was a man with no arms or legs who had been sleeping in the kitchen cupboard.
A half man with no legs, an oversized, blond, flat-shaped head, a sickening white face, a sunken nose, a large mouth and powerful muscular shoulders and arms, crawled from underneath the dresser … “Hey, Gilbert, jump!” said the father and the wretched man lowered himself slowly, then shot up by his arms almost to the height of my head.
“How do you think he’d fit in with a circus? The human frog!”
I was so horrified I could hardly answer. However, I suggested the names of several circuses that he might write to.
Next time: The once mighty nation of Brittan collectively loses its shit.