Scary Sci-Fi Movie

Although my young students are incredibly brilliant, they aren't always the very first persons to say the most fabulous thing. And so, I regret to say, other people used the word "tyranntula" before today. Still, the little girl gave her pronunciation a certain Soviet era flourish.

"Tyranntula" is such a flashback to the scary black and white sci-fi tv shows of my Cold War childhood. We watched those shows sitting on the cork tile flooring in the basement of the house next door. We sat so close to the tv, and with the lights off, it's a wonder we didn't all go blind. That's because the father of that house (who never knew best, or ever, ever got to be the head of household) was snoring loudly in his recliner.

You bet "Tyranntula" is one of those movies with poor safety procedures in the laboratory, a clueless young assistant who's taken the boss' daughter out in his roadster on that road between the wheatfields, and some seriously grainy photography. You know to the bottom of your Skips tennis shoes that far scarier things lurk behind the plastic beaded "bamboo" curtain to the laundry room off to your right as you sit crosslegged. You are terrified of what will certainly happen to you should you spill your Nestle's Quik, toy with the crust of your tuna fish sandwich, or--GASP--take too teensy bites of your red delicious. You would rather be chased down, shredded, and slurpied by a giant reptilian spider than get crosswise with the true head of that house. You know far well what happened to the little kid who didn't eat all his hot dog, spilled Kool-Aid, and then wet his pants in terror. It was far worse than any Twilight Zone episode. He was just a shell, an automaton, after that unfortunate episode. I bet he's still in therapy fifty years later.

In the post-Soviet era, we still have some scary possibilities. We could have to pronounce the new Russian president's name on the air. Yes, Dmitri Medvedev, "med-VYED-eff", could be the foreign correspondent's equivalent of spilled Nestle's Quik.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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