This all because of that manga thread making me feel so nostalgic about Nausicaä. So this is sorta about horror but mostly about wanting to reflect upon my fondness for what I’ve (very generically) called elsewhere ‘weird sci-fi’. I loved - loved - Nausicaä when I was little and remember practically all of it, and it fits my ill-defined criteria, though it had its moments of horror too (that warrior god sequence at the end where it melts and there’s bones and stuff poking out of the gore - brrrrr).
The other stuff I saw back then I’ve been less clear on - I saw Nausicaä countless times whereas The Masters of Time was definitely a ‘just the once tyvm’ sorta deal (though those freaky tentacles have surfaced in my mind countless times over the decades, without home, without name, until now). It’s somewhat difficult to remember the exact sequence of when I saw things but I think the first ‘weird sci-fi’ film that I watched which absolutely freaked me out was the 1986 Transformers Movie.
It was part of two cartoon movies recorded to the same worn VHS tape I watched at my aunt’s house when my parents were busy working and she’d take care of me and my [literally] baby brother. One of the movies on the tape was what I was ‘supposed’ to be watching (The Care Bears Movie, yawn) but I guess I lucked into a double feature recorded for my much older cousins.
Transformers was terrifying in places - the opening moments see a horrifying megastructure-sized deathbot roaming the galaxy and devouring the first populated planet it comes across. For a 5(ish) year old with barely any grasp of death as a general concept, seeing genocide perpetrated against an entire species just for snacking purposes was… kind of… a lot. One member of that species survives but gets eaten alive by robopirhanas later in the movie anyway (blimey this movie is bleak). I didn’t have much to do with Transformers before or after so bits like Optimus Prime dying were kinda lost on me - the main sequence I recall really upsetting me was near the end where a bunch of robots are being conveyed into a giant vat of acid. I remember that sequence being much longer - and graphic - than it actually was. Horror thrives in the imagination above all else.
Anyway, at least with Jaws The Shark, all I had to do to avoid certain doom was keep to the shallow paddling bits of the pool at our local leisure centre. I could run out pretty quick - I practiced - enough so that I was very confident in my plan for survival.
However, I had no plan on what to do if some unknown cosmic horror just decided on a whim to devour the Earth. And I still don’t.