Last week, @guardianfilm tweeted a link to a scene from Return To Oz in which Dorothy is cornered by the Wheelers.
I almost forgotten about this scene and the deep, dark terror it caused in me. Watching it now, it is obvious that these guys are just bullies on wheels, but as a child the idea of being cornered, alone and with only a chicken to watch your back was a truly horrifying thought.
It seems I am not the only one, many of us where scared of the Wheelers; many people responded to the video.
What was it about the Wheelers? The fact that they were a hideous mix of man and machine? The ominous squeakiness? The giggling? The fact that they work for the mysterious Nome King? Whatever the reason, it is clear that the Wheelers had a profound effect on many people’s childhoods, and watching the short scene below conjures up both nostalgia and fear (be it remembered fear or new fear).
Do the Wheelers still scare you? Was there something else that scared you more? For me they are tied for Most Scary Childhood Viewing Experience with a Sherlock Holmes TV episode in which a man is run over and his flattened ghost appears as a hallucination (I can find no mention of it online).
Maybe it’s the Wheelers fault that I can’t watch horror movies as an adult…