I thought I’d take this post to talk about an unlikely source of inspiration. Why, my own nightmares growing-up “as a child of the 80’s”. And though scared wide-awake with my horrific, unconscious visions– it occurs to you that some of that stuff would look pretty cool up on screen– or finding a home in Beetlejuice 2.
You never know where inspiration will strike; and these nightmares– occurring 30 years ago, or more– must have been significant because I certainly remember them. It was a time of dungeons, wizards, and warriors as the climate was fantasy and space-opera doom. To think of “The Neverending Story” where the theme was fighting “the nothing” or utter blacked-out extinction with heavy themes. Rough stuff, for a 4 year-old.
I recall giant beasts– subterranean insects– like the blacker shades of dark fantasy, going back into “the reptile-mind” or some kind of sucking, lurching psychological descent. You could see trolls with rubber mouths, pure white-eyes, and slavering fangs coming for you as this “sure wasn’t Walt Disney” but stranger stuff, still.
Forces and instincts and drives conflict, “like a young baby in the midst of teething” as epic battles of survival and good & evil played-out in the midnight hours like cosmic drama, and you’d be afraid to go to sleep at night. And how your parents could never understand.
You wonder if you were staring into a deeper reality, somehow– the land of sub-con like a flip-side dimension of my days of pre-school and “He Man: Masters of the Universe” in the afternoon. Oh, how cartoons and toy-lines dictated our existences as it was something foreign, yet familiar all at the same time.
I’d have images of rocks and trees “coming alive” like demons of the forest, and pursuing my family’s station-wagon through the inky murk. Or giant scorpions blazing an angry shade of orange charging the playground, and myself frozen stock-still as the other children darted away like screeching lemurs. Or striped poison snakes lunging-out from hampers and killing people. Or a circle of stakes where lions roamed with fiery eyes and lashed-out, turning my father into a pile of bones with a swat of its paw.
Just watch Tim Burton reshape it as creativity is a collaborative-process.
Did you have horrific children’s nightmares, growing-up? In hindsight, mine were “pretty cool” if reframed into something useful. And still– do you sleep with the light-on, because secretly you suspect H.R. Giger’s “ALIEN” lurks in the basement?
Better keep-it tuned to “Barney & Friends”. . . . .