Seeing as how we are but a week away from Halloween, I
thought maybe I should bring some much needed attention to a memorable character
that scared the living daylights out of me when I was a child.  What’s peculiar, however, is the fact that
she was on screen for no more than three minutes in a children’s film!  Of course I am talking about the one and
only… Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Tim Burton’s directorial debut is one that, when looked upon
now, has plenty of memorable and disturbing moments that wouldn’t make it into
a modern day kid’s film.  Pee Wee’s Big
tells the story of Pee Wee Herman as he sets out on a road trip across
American in search of his stolen bike (which just so happens to be the greatest
bike in the whole world).  Along the way,
he encounters plenty of unique and interesting people and finds himself in a
number of questionable situations.  None
of them, though, can equal the fear that was wrought upon Pee Wee by Large

At this particular point in the film, Pee Wee is stranded in
the middle of nowhere on the side of the road and is in desperate need of a
ride.  So, like any sensible person, he
decides to hitchhike his way out of the predicament.  Miraculously, a huge truck, driven by a
kindly old woman, pulls over.  Almost
immediately, we are on edge based strictly on her cold and disconnected
behavior.  The way she talks and stares
blankly into the night sky is positively frightening.  Even though Pee Wee attempts to make small
talk, the woman will have none of it.  Instead,
she tells him a story about a horrific accident she encountered on the street
late one night on the same stretch of road. 
As her voice builds to a slow crescendo, Pee Wee’s anxiety (and ours)
hits a fever pitch.  And just when we
think the woman’s story couldn’t get any worse… it does.  When she describes the look of one of the
bodies as it was taken out of the wreckage, she turns to Pee Wee and reveals a
grotesquely deformed face, complete with bulging eyes, slithering tongue,
frizzy hair and a goofy yet creepy cackle. 
It happens for only three seconds at most, but it was the longest three
minutes of my young life.  Paralyzed with
fear, Pee Wee asks to be dropped off at a nearby diner.  As he’s about to walk inside, the woman
suggests Pee Wee tell the patrons inside that Large Marge sent him.  Inside, he does just that, but is faced with
shocked and angry eyes.  Thinking that Pee
Wee relayed a crude joke, the bartender tells Pee Wee that Large Marge died ten
years ago that very night.  Pee Wee can
barely believe his eyes when he notices a mini memorial set up in the corner of
the diner, dedicated to the woman.

Even though Large Marge’s monstrous appearance was modeled
after Ray Harryhausen’s work, it is without a doubt one of the most frightening
moments in film.  In my opinion, she is
one of the most memorable characters in cinema, due to the fact that she is not
who she appears to be and makes the story (and especially that moment in
particular) all the better for it.  Large
Marge is also one of the quintessential Tim Burton creations, best encompassing
what we come to expect in a Tim Burton film, all the while triggering a unique
mixture of fear and wondrous imagination that very few characters have the
ability of creating.  Come to think of
it… her cackle (as cheesy as it sounds now) still sends shivers up and down my