The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Oct. 21, 2018

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Oct. 21, 2018

Look who's back for a ninth act — the mask-wearing, kitchen knife-carrying freak show that is Michael Myers. With the 'Halloween' reboot debuting on big screens this weekend in Champaign (15 showings today), Savoy (10) and Danville (three), we asked this week's panel: What gave you the willies as a kid?

Danville's newly named interim mayor

"When I was a kid, we watched all of the 'Nightmare On Elm Street' movies, and Freddy Krueger scared the mess out of me.

"There was one scene where he killed someone in the shower, so I learned to wash my hair with my eyes open — and still can to this day."

Local comedian

"If you've never seen the movie 'Candyman,' there's a very simple premise: Say Candyman in the mirror five times, he appears and then you're dead.

"This movie came out in 1992 when I was 9. I'm 35 years old now and still won't say Candyman in any room with a mirror in it.

"I'm not scared, per se, but I ain't tryna risk it, either."

2018 winner of UI's Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award

"I grew up next to a cemetery. I remember one night, when I was fairly young, I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard something outside my window.

"I looked outside and swore I saw a ghost. It took several years for me to look outside my window after dark."

Co-owner, Champaign's Watson's Shack & Rail

"My dad showed me 'Predator' as a small child because he teaches film. He wrote a piece for a book that had to do with the startle effect and scenes that make you jump.

"Like any good alien movie, 'Predator' had a ton of scenes like this. He was a hideous space alien that came to earth and killed people in a jungle, and he also made a very eerie sound.

"Long story short: 'Predator' haunted my dreams for years."

Champaign fire chief

"The one that truly scared the dickens out of me was when I was about 10. I was taking piano lessons from a nun, and I would have to practice a half-hour every day after school on a piano in an old convent in south St. Louis.

"One day while practicing on the piano in the parlor, I felt something or someone shove me while I was sitting on the piano bench. No one was in the room. I stopped and tried to grasp what just occurred.

"A few seconds later, the same thing happened, but it was so strong, it pushed me off the piano bench onto the floor.

"I got up and immediately grabbed my music and left and told the nun I never wanted to practice in that room again."

Visiting assistant professor, UI Department of Theatre

"As a kid, I loved to read scary stories — anything by R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike — but for some reason, the trilogy of 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' was just too much.

"I think it was the illustrations and their suggestion of too many runny, oozy things.

"It has been at least two decades since I've read those stories, but any time I'm driving at night and someone behind me turns on their high beams, I'm convinced there is a murderer in my backseat. Or if I get a really weird-looking bug bite, I'm waiting for the moment when a bazillion baby spiders burst out of it.

"Yup. Those stories scarred me for life."

Choral director, Rantoul Township High

"I remember being completely creeped out by 'Children of the Corn.'

"Growing up in northern Indiana amongst many cornfields, it seemed like it could possibly come true.

"The combination of children and this bizarre religion totally freaked me out."

UI grad received the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association for first of eight dark novels, 'Covenant'

"As a kid, I was always drawn to the weird and spooky. I can't say that a single thing scared me so much as the whole idea of ghouls and ghosts thrilled me.

"I was scared of things — the lion in our crawl space that my dad invented to keep me out of the crawl space, did, in fact, terrify me.

"But fictional characters gave me a pleasant chill and kept me coming back, instead of keeping me away. I watched 'Twilight Zone' and 'Night Gallery' with the lights off, and every Friday night in the mid-'70s, I was lying on the family room floor, rapt in the latest spooky episode of 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker.'

"But if I had to point at one fictional image that creeped me out and stuck with me, that honor goes to a comic book I read circa first or second grade.

"I can't remember the story, though I think it revolved around marital revenge.

"At the end, we see a skeleton in a bridal veil driving slowly past the room where her husband watches. I wish I could remember the comic and the full story, because whatever it was, it set a hook in my brain — the final image of that comic haunts me to this day, some 45 years later."

UI grad, former Human Kinetics managing editor

"As a child, I always felt sick to my stomach while watching scenes in the movie 'Anastasia' when Rasputin's demons tried to lure Anastasia into danger.

"I think the scary part was that the demons possessed Anastasia — they entered her body and, in the guise of a dream, made her almost jump off a boat during a storm.

"There was no struggle, since Anastasia was possessed. At least with a struggle, there would have been some hope of Anastasia winning. But luckily, at the last moment — of course — Dimitri found Anastasia and pulled her back from the edge of the boat. I would hold my breath during these scenes.

"Even though I knew what was coming, there was the fear that maybe, just maybe, the demons would win that time."

Owner, Champaign's Exile on Main Street

"When I was a little kid, probably between 5 and 6, I bought what was my first non-kids music full-length album, 'Queen's Greatest Hits.' They were my favorite band, so it made perfect sense that it would be best-of by them.

"I actually still have the very scratched up record in my collection to this day, 35-plus years plus later.

"Anyway, inside the album was a sleeve that had pictures of all the album covers they'd released up to that point, which originally featured the songs on the greatest hits.

"The album cover for 'News of the World' shows a menacing-looking gigantic robot holding the seemingly dead bloody bodies of the band members in one of its hands.

"Upon first seeing this, I was mortified and had my mother throw the inner sleeve away instantly so I never had to see it again. The funnier thing is that I vividly remember being at a friend of the family's house not too long after that and my brother noticing they had the 'News of the World' album on vinyl there.

"He walked to me with it behind his back and was like 'Hey Jeff, look at this!' He then put it in my face, which led to him chasing me around their house while I screamed bloody murder.

"Despite all this, I do still love Queen, that album cover — and my older brother."

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