Every now and again I’ll wake up sweating and screaming due to intense night terrors. Usually, I end up inadvertently kicking the transvestite and/or my Mom out of the bed. Like many people, I have several recurring nightmares that tear through my REM-infused sleep.
Most of these nightmares revolve around dolls, puppets, dummies, marionettes and, on occasion, Rosie O’Donell’s thighs. For the most part though, basically anything carved out of wood with a creepy face painted on it. Like Clay Aiken.
Also, I’m not sure if I suffer from some kind of weird Freudian thing, since I realize that I’m terrified by stiff wood. Make of that what you will.
Anyway, I can trace my innate fear of puppets back to my early childhood, where I crawled past the television screen one day and saw a preview for the movie Magic. Magic is a 1978 movie with Anthony Hopkins as a ventriloquist suffering from multiple personality disorder and his homicidal dummy “Fats.” Fats looks sort of like Sir Hopkins, only his features are more accentuated and elongated, much like the caricatures I draw of my penis.
The trailer for Magic sent parents in a tizzy since it apparently freaked-out hordes of children across the country.
And I was one of these children.
And the older I got, the more creepy-ass puppets I would see.
My next boogeyman was that fucked-up clown doll that wraps his arms around Robbie in Poltergeist. This not only caused me to shit biscuits whenever I saw a clown, but it also intensified my budding fear of dolls. To this day I cannot venture into a MacDonald’s, a circus or a toy store without dribbling out a tiny bit of pee.
And all of these fears continued, especially whenever one of those Twilight Zone marathons came on. Whenever it’s Arbor Day, Labor Day or Prostate-Examination Day, certain channels will play the entire run of the old black and white Twilight Zone episodes. Inevitably, I’d always flip on the marathon and catch “The Dummy” episode or the “Caesar and Me” episode or the “Living Doll” episode.
“The Dummy” is the freakiest of the three, mainly because “Willie” (the dummy) has bushy eyebrows and big, ass-biting lips. Also, in various scenes, he’s portrayed in shadows or in the background, looking all creepy and whatnot. This deranged piece of wood was later recycled for the “Caesar and Me” episode, which was less effective, yet still unnerving. And then there’s the Telly Savalas-starring episode “Living Doll.” This features the “Talky Tina” doll that refuses to go away and who enjoys giving the future Kojak a steady dose of bitchy backtalk (incidentally, I don’t know what freaked me out more, the Talky Tina doll or Telly Savalas’s gnarled index finger. How did his finger get that way anyhow? Did a squirrel nibble on it or something? Anyway, that’s neither here nor there).
While all of these wooden scrotum-shrivelers have permeated my delicate psyche, the puppet that has had the most impact on me was “Madame.”
Madame was an old, haggard and flamboyant puppet that had a grating voice and enthusiastically spoke in double entendres and bad puns. She was the creation and/or the alter-ego of puppeteer Wayland Flowers, who catapulted the creepy bitch into semi-stardom in the early 1980’s. She regularly appeared on Hollywood Squares and even starred in her own short-lived sitcom entitled Madame’s Place (incidentally, I don’t know what freaked me out more, the withered Madame puppet or the fact that Madame’s Place costarred a young Corey Feldman. I get chills just thinking about it).
I’d post a picture of Madame here, but the cock-eyed bitch scares me and I don’t want to ruin my good pants. Anyway, I’ll describe her to the best of my abilities. She kind of looked like a geriatric whore, all done up with loud make-up and she sported a prominent nose and chin. For some reason, one of my recurring nightmares involves Madame chasing me through a gym locker room, her arms all flailing about.
Maybe by sharing my fears with you I can somehow donkey-punch my phobias into submission. Anyway, until next time…