We've all been there. Watching some soap opera, a kids' show, HBO powerhouse when all of a sudden something doesn't seem right. None of your beloved characters has flat out said it. You haven't seen any blood. The culprits are technically innocent until proven guilty. But nonetheless, there is still an uncomfortable creep up your spine as if something is just...not okay. There have been a number of articles and opinion posts about disturbing television scenes, endings, and characters (hello, Trinity...) But what about those scenes when something feels wrong, disturbing, or dangerous, but it's not essentially in front of your eyes? The genuine scare factor of horror films like The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Paranormal Activity (2007 the first film only, of course) is the camera fall, the cut to black, the unknown. Our imaginations are sometimes scarier, creepier, and more disturbed than what is on the screen in front of us. The implications of the following five television episodes have left audiences reeling for years after their debuts. By the way, there are SPOILERS here.
5. ALF's Cliff-Hang-Nail (You'll Get It Eventually)
Show: ALF Episode: Consider Me Gone (S5 E24) Intended to be a cliffhanger before the show was inexplicably cancelled, the fate of the Alien Life Form (ALF) shacking up with the Tanner family (no, not the Tanners from Full House) for his own safety was one that shook viewers everywhere to the core. In the episode "Consider Me Gone," ALF attempts to rejoin his own species asnd create a life on a new planet, but he is caught by the very Alien Task Force that he has been hiding from all along. While this in itself isn't as disturbing as some TV scenes discussed in this article, one cannot help but think back to the original admission of the Task Force that they have cultivated a number of experiments for ALF involving "intense heat, freezing cold, high voltage, toxic substances, pain, sleep deprivation, inoculation... and, of course, dissection" in order to "see how responds." As much as ALF's sass (and attempts at eating the family cat) made our love for him a slow process, the implication of his outnumbered capture by the Task Force leaves viewers in a depressed slump imagining how ALF likely lived a short life of pure torture thereafter. While there was a movie that resolved this depressing implication, it wasn't made until 1996. With the original series having ended in 1990, fans spent six long years losing sleep over the though of ALF having his toenails pulled out... do you get the title now?
Having been born and raised in the one-stoplight town of Collingwood, ON, I craved city life and sardonic people so much it hurt. So, I moved to Toronto to embrace my ability to be (as quoted by a professor from my undergraduate years) "wittily and wickedly self-deprecating" in my writing, with an onus of course on literature, film, and television; my three out of four vices (no, I don't plan to indulge you with the last).