When I was very young (around 7, if I’m doing my math properly) I caught a few episodes of a syndicated horror anthology show called Monsters that I had to stay up late to watch. I don’t remember how many episodes of it I actually saw, but I know that I saw at least two of them, because those two remained stuck in my memory for years. Or, parts of them did, anyway. Recently, I tracked down the names of those two episodes, and last night I watched them both on YouTube before I went to bed.
Apparently, those two episodes (in spite of not being next to each other in the series) were once released together on VHS. That’s not how I saw them, though. For all that they seem to be the only two episodes I can remember, I know that I saw them both on TV. However, someone pulled the show off the VHS, and so both episodes are available together and in full on YouTube, which is how I watched them.
Before I started, I remembered only a couple of things about each episode. The first, “Parents from Space,” I remembered almost nothing about. The story concerns a couple of raccoon-like aliens who come from space and take over the bodies of a little girl’s abusive foster parents. All I remembered was being really bothered and frightened by the ways the foster parents abused the girl (a specific scene in which her foster father kills a hamster really stuck with me, though in my memory it was a bird instead, for some reason) and being completely terrified of the initial appearance of the aliens. Upon revisiting, they are a little creepy, in a kind of muppet-y sort of way. (That’s them, in the top picture on the VHS box above.) Many a night, when young me was trying to go to sleep, I’d imagine seeing much scarier versions of them staring in my window.
The second episode, “Pillow Talk,” I remember much better. It’s very much the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a Tales from the Crypt, only less gory, of course, since it’s on network TV. It’s about a successful horror writer who gets all his ideas from an ancient Lovecraftian monster that’s masquerading as his bed. (Yes, it’s a killer bed story!) He has to lure attractive women to his bedroom in order to feed them to the creature, naturally. I remembered the bed monster, with its mouth-tentacles and rubbery maw, and I remembered the obligatory twist ending. In fact, I seemed to remember most of this episode, though I had forgotten how ridiculously awkward the main guy (played by John Diehl, one of the only other characters is played by Mary Woronov!) was. Jeffrey Combs would have completely owned that role, if that gives you any indication.
Revisiting these episodes, I have no idea why they stuck with me so intractably for all these years. They’re pretty standard horror television from the time period, though the monsters are actually pretty good for a low-rent horror TV show from 1988. Any show called Monsters is going to automatically have my attention, though, and the episodes are short, so maybe I’ll catch a few others on YouTube and see if I remember anything else.
(Because they are on YouTube, and recorded off VHS or TV, they look like crap, of course. But if you’re curious, or if you, too, remember these episodes from your own misspent youth, here they are below, if you want to sample.)