web analytics

Trilogy of Terror


Earlier this week, Weirdomatic published a series of creepy ads from times gone by. You probably saw it; the link was going around. In fact, they got so much traffic it knocked their server down and they had to throw up a temporary Blogspot page for that one post. Check it out if you missed it; there’s some fun stuff there.

I wanted to call your attention to three images that especially creeped the bejesus out of me. They all involve children, food and madness. Take this little girl. This isn’t how you look at bread and jam. This is how you fix your gaze upon the world-crushing tentacles of Cthulhu. That sammich must be positively non-Euclidean. This is what it looks like when you stare into the abyss and the abyss stares back. And she’s the abyss.

I can’t imagine there was ever a bread called “Cellophane.” It must be an advertisement for cellophane, that marvelous, hygeinic modern packaging material that drives small children yodeling mad.


And speaking of creepy teeth…we weren’t, but I did think that little girl had the creepiest teeth ever, until I saw the porcelain tiles on this strapping lad. His teeth are so terrifyingly wrong that a forkful of spaghetti is recoiling in fear. Check it out.

I don’t know how the food stylist made pasta defy gravity, but I imagine the photographer was thinking, “see, he’s shoving that spaghetti in his mouth so fast, it’s blowin’ in the wind.” That or, “he’s screaming ‘thanks Mom!’ so enthusiastically that spaghetti is whipping around like a sail in the breeze.”

Look, he’s clutching a half-eaten weiner in his fist. And there’s another weiner, and a Vienna sausage, lying right on the fabric tablecloth next to him. As god is my witness, I will never be hungry again.


This little girl Cannot. Fucking. Believe. that piece of ham. Nothing in her five fucking years on the planet could even BEGIN to fucking prepare her for that fucking piece of ham. Fuck.

She is hamsmacked. Hamblasted. Hamstruck. Behamnifyed. Hamazed. Hamstonished.

Awww…I’m just joking. She’s obviously not even looking at the piece of ham; her eyes are unfocused, off in the middle distance. It’s an expression poised so poignantly between rapture and terror, I’m guessing her water just broke.

I can’t begin to explain these ads. My only thought is, maybe it was so difficult to get kids interested in food that images of children staring at comestibles with psychotic lust was a selling technique.

Man, we fixed that problem, didn’t we?


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 2, 2007, 6:55 pm

Geez! That first one is really creepy.

…And WTF is that weiner-like object laying on the table next to the boy’s left hand? And the thing next to it? Is that an Oscar Meyer? Why?

The last one – the girl has that “Oh, joy! It’s a slice of Aunt Thelma’s thigh!” look.

I would ask “Where the F do you find this stuff” Weas’, but I already know. You read the whole Net – every day. At lunch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 2, 2007, 6:58 pm

I shouldn’t have called this “Trilogy of Terror” though. Google is going to send my way all those millions of people who remember that Karen Black made-for-TV thing in the seventies, with the creepy doll. Remember Trilogy of Terror? Remember Karen Black? Remember the Seventies?

I remember that Karen Black was very crosseyed. And the other two stories in the program were very lame, including a plot climax that involved burning down a photographer’s studio by setting fire to a tray of chemistry (nothing in the film chain was flammable).

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: August 2, 2007, 7:12 pm

Sat on the bus yesterday next to a little girl that was as crosseyed as it got, and liked to scream like a cockatoo. That was a disturbing bus ride.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 2, 2007, 7:34 pm

One of the harder things an illustrator has to keep a handle on is human eyes; tracking them correctly from multiple angles is a real bitch. Making sure they don’t cross or go walleyed in a drawing. It makes one extraordinarily sensitive to pupil assymetries and general facial assymetries. And there are a lot of them, even in famous people.

Shannon Dougherty is one (check out this picture. I bet the eye on the right — her left — is a centimeter higher and a centimeter closer to her ear than the other). Alistair Cooke is another — but that same eye is a centimeter lower and canted sideways on him.

We are sensitive to facial anomalies of a millimeter or so. This stuff gives me the aesthete’s willies.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 2, 2007, 7:52 pm

Well, in defense of the girl in that last picture, it really does look like some good ‘effingham.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 2, 2007, 8:02 pm

facial assymetries. (I left the typo in ’cause I liked it!)

Oh! Who was that guy? He was a presidential press secretary or sumpin for Reagan or W(1st) or whoever. (Fitzwater?) He had this ugly zit-scarred face that was astonishingly asymmetric. His eyes, ears, nostrils – even the cleft in his upper lip (filtrum?) – were all crooked or out of line. I loved it when he was on the news just so I could look at that warped face. Nothing was “right”.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 2, 2007, 8:05 pm

Typo? No. Misspelled it. Gimme ‘nother drink.

Yes! I remember that guy. He was a mess!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 2, 2007, 8:12 pm

Who was the Congressman or Senator who fell for the colloidal silver quackery and took so much he turned himself elephant gray…for life? I think he had to drop out of politics, he looked so creepy.

Ah. Thank you Google. Senate hopeful. Libertarian (sigh. I remembered that). Montana (I thought it was Nevada).

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 2, 2007, 8:16 pm

Go for it, Weas!

The question in my mind is how the f*** do you art-fu folks know all this esoteric stuff? Like you, Weas, and Enas. I mean, you folks USE this stuff to convey a message or evoke an emotional response to a piece of artwork. It’s like visual applied physics or “perceptive engineering” or sumpin.

Comment from porkthebean
Time: August 2, 2007, 9:11 pm

Oh my. I remember the Karen Black ‘Trilogy of Terror’.

The one with the creepy little statue that came to life and turned murderous when it’s belt fell off freaked me out.
I loved those B flicks.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 2, 2007, 9:14 pm

I loved the Thorazine ad “For prompt control of senile agitation”.
One of the side effects of Thorazine is tardive dyskinesia. This is an involuntary smacking of the lips and grimmacing which is completely irreversible once it occurs. Seen in about 10% of long term patients.
Wow – so that’s why old people do that.

Comment from porkthebean
Time: August 2, 2007, 9:17 pm

In regards to the pictures, the first one, I know a kid that looks like that.
The second one reminds me of Opie’s brother. Now that was one fugly guy.
The third one’s look can be described as a cross between horror and bewilderment. She can’t believe someone put peas and slices of liver on her plate of ham. PEAS for fucks sake.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 2, 2007, 9:26 pm


Good god, you’re right. I hadn’t noticed the peas. Nasty things, peas. They’re green, and squishy. Nothing good on this earth is both green…and squishy.

But note her grip on the milk glass to the right. Perhaps she’s just been told that she can hurl it into the lady’s face off-frame to the left – for putting those peas on the plate.

Doesn’t she look like she’s gonna say, “Can I? Really?”

Comment from Cuffy Meigs
Time: August 2, 2007, 10:20 pm

First lass looks like she’s whispering “fiiiiingers…”

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 2, 2007, 11:43 pm

Ah, these have come around again. I saw these kids about a year ago somewhere else – probably off a Lileks link. There’s an evil boy eating beans out there too, with the most malicious grin I’ve ever seen. I use them occasionally as my IM avatar pic at work.

Fortunately, I’m not an illustrator so my subjects are usually staring off into infinity, or completely devoid of eyes altogether. It’s a dodge and I should probably stop doing that.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 3, 2007, 1:25 am

Oh, and peas – properly cooked are not squishy. They should pop! when you bite into them. Green beans are squishy.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 3, 2007, 1:52 am

You’re up late, Enas. I, on the other hand, am up early. I have a dreadful cold. And a vet appointment first thing in the morning.

For the cats, not me. Which means I’ve locked them in over night and they’re pissed. Vocally pissed.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 3, 2007, 5:39 am


Whiskey helps cure colds. Drink lots. Didn’t you just take one of ’em in (cats) not too long ago?

Enas – actually – truth be told – I like properly cooked peas like you describe. Problem is getting them. I’m too lazy to shell them fresh, and canned peas are … unfortunate. There’s one brand – LeSeur (sp?) that’s marginally ok. Sometimes.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 3, 2007, 6:01 am

McGoo, they make iceboxes now that run on electricity. Them frozen peas are a treat.

Yep. Still, just routine stuff on the cats. Except Charlotte; I have to make an appointment to have her teeth dealt with somehow. Cats, apparently uniquely, will sometimes resorb their own back teeth into their jawbones. It starts with gum problems. The process is said to be so excruciatingly painful that a fully sedated, unconscious cat will react when you touch the site. My vet was telling me about it last time; they’ve only fairly recently noticed this is going on.

Anyhow, she’s resorbed a few of hers and obviously has some painful gum sites. That could explain why she’s been so crabby. That, and the fact she hates Damien’s guts.

Comment from Gnus
Time: August 3, 2007, 10:18 am

Man, when cats decide they don’t like something, they just never get over it. Had a grey, semi-spinster olderly kitty who went nuts when my SO (at the time) decided that we (ahem) – We? – simply had to adopt two kittens. Poor Winnie wound up pretty much feral. Never got over having her trust abused in such a fashion.

No, she wasn’t an elderly cat, but she’d been the only cat long enough to be olderly. Maybe she was heading into senile agitation a bit early.

Comment from Dawn
Time: August 3, 2007, 10:25 am

Was Winnie a black cat?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 3, 2007, 10:42 am

Charlotte was a feral kitten. It took me months to thaw her out. Followed by three happy years. Then three latinas appeared at my back door with a six-week-old Damien (hey, it was 6/6/06. What was I going to name him? Whiskers?).

I video’d the moment they first caught sight of each other. She took one look at him and instantly realized life as she knew it was over. How, I do not know, but I felt awful about it.

And it doesn’t help that he’s an obnoxious little shit.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: August 3, 2007, 11:07 am

Here ya go – a boy and his beans.

Comment from porkthebean
Time: August 3, 2007, 12:30 pm

..”They should pop! when you bite into them.”…

That is just as bad.

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: August 3, 2007, 4:37 pm

I think Lileks would be impressed.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 3, 2007, 5:47 pm

“Impressed” can mean so many things, Dave.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 4, 2007, 1:56 am

Nothing good is green and squishy? I believe this will refresh your memory!

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 4, 2007, 3:50 pm

Those weiner-shaped things in the tooth-boy ad are breadsticks.

Sometimes a breadstick is just a breadstick.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 4, 2007, 4:03 pm

Ohhhhh. That’s not so bad, then. The ad had an overall red cast that was misleading. I still wouldn’t want my bread on a tablecloth, though…

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 4, 2007, 4:30 pm

Well, the kid probably wipes his nose on his shirtsleeve, so a breadstick on the table wouldn’t be a major kiddie-protocol violation.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 5, 2007, 10:55 am

One of the worst phenomena of the blog-life is that unexpected lull in the conversation that permits one’s latest bon mot to remain at the top of the “recent comments” section until even one’s mother must wish one had posted anonymously.

One is certainly glad one has never made such an error.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 5, 2007, 1:23 pm

I feel your paine.

*lip tremble*

Comment from Stevo
Time: August 7, 2007, 5:07 pm

Do these child models still keep the above images in their portfolios? These are considerably frightening. I want 8 x 10 prints to hang on my wall.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: August 7, 2007, 5:18 pm


Yep. Been there. Cringed at that.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 7, 2007, 5:43 pm

I dunno, Stevo, but I wonder about the effectiveness of selling food via scary children. Speaking of whom, Little Debbie is just past fifty now.

Why did I know that?

Comment from Robin
Time: August 8, 2007, 4:25 pm

Those are some of the freakiest ads I’ve ever seen. Might be good for weight loss ads. Who would want to eat after seeing those?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 8, 2007, 5:01 pm

Did you follow the link back, Robin? Some of those drug ads were pretty freaky, too. In a different way.

Comment from bibliomom
Time: August 8, 2007, 10:06 pm

There is nothing creepier than creepy kids.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny