Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Young Fears 14: The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

We Canadians have much to answer for; we were the ones who unleashed the first Care Bears animated program upon the world: The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings. And directly from the title, I know you're already cringing from the implicit saccharine rush of important lessons about friendship and loving others. The Care Bears were so inoffensive they could have been on public television.

And yet, that first special left a mark on me. I certainly saw it enough times - it seemed to be broadcast once per month in the year after its release (likely because it counted as "Canadian content"). And it did have one moment which freaked me out: the program's villain had a set of dark green creatures serving as his slaves; after capturing some children, he turns one of them into a creature. The transformation was gradual (beginning with his nose) and that's what freaked me out. Had it happened in a dissolve or cut-away it wouldn't have bothered me so much, but the gradual transformation linked it back to my earlier experiences with the Wolf Man. It was simply too freaky for me.

First the Smurfs, now the Care Bears. What is it about those those innocuous animated programs concealing moments of weird transformations and body horror?

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