Childhood Terror: The Pincushion Man

I have no earthly idea what reminded me of this, but back when I was a kid my brother and I used to watch this one tape over and over and over. It was called "Grandpa's Silly Scaries". It was essentially what I know now to be cheap, old public domain cartoons, all packaged together and hosted by "Grandpa Al" from the short-lived TV show "The Munsters". Like all kids, our VHS collection was limited so the ones we did have got watched until they practically broke.

Anyways, after being reminded of it the other day I decided to go back and revisit what I thought was the scariest cartoon on the tape, called "The Pincushion Man". Upon its original 1935 release it was actually titled "Balloon Land", as it shows the story of a land where everything is made of balloons, and what happens when a giant "Pincushion Man" comes to town to wreak some havoc.

Basically, as a kid, you sit there and watch in horror as this terrifying pin-throwing mother fucker runs around and violently destroys the town's inhabitants. They then fight back by gathering up the mucus (?) from a giant balloon tree, and hurling it at the Pincusion Man. Obviously, with all things, nostalgia probably plays a large role in why I still find this terrifying, but that doesn't change the fact that I do. Watching this now brings up some really terrifying childhood fears for me, that apparently I haven't been able to escape.

I thought I would use this as an opener to a discussion. Do you guys have any scary cartoon memories like this? If you do, leave yours in the comments. Also, as I was researching this I just noticed that "Grandpa's Silly Scaries" is on Instant Watch on Netflix. Why not take this opportunity to sign up through BGH and help support the site?

Eric N

Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief / Podcast Host

Eric is the mad scientist behind the BGH podcast. He enjoys retro games, tiny dogs, eating fiber and anything whimsical.

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