Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Top 13 Scariest Nostalgic Moments (#3)

In the 1970s, there was a Christian music company called Maranatha Music which specialized in contemporary Christian music. The company later started its own children's division called Maranatha Kids. If you grew up in Sunday School like I did, chances are you probably sang along to their music or watched their sing-along videos.

One of their most popular franchises was Psalty the Singing Songbook, who was the Christian version of Barney the Dinosaur, only he was a talking hymnbook instead of a talking dinosaur. (Not sure if that's less creepy!) Psalty had a dozen or so videos released, and I remember watching at least two of them. These videos all seems corny now, but back then, as a kid, they were relatively fun to watch.

Psalty also had a spin-off character named Colby, who was a talking computer programmed to create Christian music. His franchise wasn't as popular as Psalty's, as he only had a handful of videos released, though he did have a television show that ran on the Trinity Broadcast Network in the 90s.

Colby was first introduced in Colby's Missing Memory. The video involves a bunch of neighborhood children who are building a clubhouse when they decide to invite their new friend over. And of course, their new friend is Colby! An accident occurs that causes Colby to have his memory erased, and the other kids try to help him get it back--all the kids, that is, except Nick.

Nick is your stereotypical tough kid who doesn't like Colby because he's a robot. The other kids chastise him for his prejudice, telling him he shouldn't dislike Colby merely for being different. (Enter subtle racism message here.) They try to convince Nick to empathize with Colby by asking him to imagine how he would feel if he were the only human in a world full of robots. But like your average politician, Nick is incapable of feeling any empathy.

The other kids leave for lunch while Nick decides to stay behind and look after Colby. He soon falls asleep, and like every other contrived story, he has a dream directly related to the plot.

And oh boy did this nightmare give me nightmare fuel.

#3: Robot Nightmare from Colby's Missing Memory

Nick wakes up in a place similar to the backyard, only dark, hazy, smoke-filled, and--oh yeah--inhabited by metallic paint-wearing children.

These robots chase Nick around, singing in shrill, mechanical voices about how they want to make him a robot just like them because, apparently, he had signed a contract agreeing to be a robot because he doesn't have feelings for Colby.

If that weren't creepy enough, the song and scene end with the robot children ganging up on Nick and forcing him onto a bench, where we briefly get a first-person perspective of the robots waving their hands over him while making mechanical noises. While we don't know for sure what these robots are doing, we can only assume through the song and Nick's protests of that they're turning him into a robot.

So, wait! We have a human being in a world of machines bent on enslaving humanity and making them part of their collective. Does that make Nick this world's Neo?

But seriously, this scene freaked me out as a kid. The scene comes out of nowhere and clashes with the rest of the movie, which otherwise happens in a bright and colorful environment. It's a dark song in a dark setting with even darker implications. The idea of a bunch of robots transforming a being, especially a defenseless child, into a robot really gave me the creeps, to the point where I refused to watch the video anymore. Oh sure, I would still watch it, but I dreaded watching this nightmare-fuel inducing nightmare scene.

But watching this as an adult, I have to say that the robot children's acting is less robotic than that of the human children.

How scary is it? About as scary as a computer virus that tricks you into thinking the FBI is tracking you!

Yeah, this actually happened to me once. Scary!