Chimera, 1991

This video ruined a holiday.

In 1991, the sci-fi / chiller miniseries Chimera "BBC Chimera, 1991") aired on the BBC while I was spending a week in Center Parcs with my parents. Being the summer, I was allowed to stay up a little later than usual to watch TV. Usually we'd find a film or a sitcom or something that we could all enjoy. I was 8.

One night, one horrible, dark night, however, I picked Chimera. Silly idea. I'd caught a little of the first episode back home and, although nervous (ep.1 featured a stabbing by an unseen aggressor!), I was curious enough to stick it out. Mainly because there'd been talk of... a monster!

Episode 2, for the most part, was fine. Actually, being a fairly serious production, it was low on monsters and kinda talky for an 8 year old. It mostly confused or bored me. Only the scenes that centred around a couple of kids - a brother and sister who had an imaginary friend called "Mr. Scarecrow" - really caught my imagination. As is the way with horror stories, imaginary friends don't often turn out to be all that imaginary and, true-to-form, in the final shot Mr. Scarecrow went and showed his bloody face. As the credits rolled, I knew my life as an innocent, happy, fearless child was over.

Looking back (above at the 5 min mark), it seems Mr. Scarecrow didn't actually show his face, just his stripy jumper. Goddamn it though, that must've been the freakiest stripy jumper in the whole-wide-world because I got scared. Really, really scared. (SCARED!). That night (and each subsequent sleepless night for at least the next 6 months) I was haunted by a face that I'd never even seen. I knew, I just knew that, right outside, the dark of Sherwood Forest was full of Chimeras. One was up on the roof. One was peeking in at me through the window. One was even preparing to slowly open my door and, when he did, I'd see that stripy jumper and I'd be dead.

Chimera, despite showing its age, seems a fairly interesting watch. Someone named SonofChimera has uploaded the whole series as a YouTube playlist. From what I can tell, Mr. Scarecrow (real name Chad) (...honest) is a genetic experiment - a chimera being a combination of different species, in this case, man & monkey - who causes havoc when he escapes from a fertility clinic. He's a tortured fella who's handy with a knife and wears dungarees. Most importantly, you very much do get to see his face.

As soon I get the chance, I'm gonna sit down and confront Chimera, my biggest childhood demon. Maybe if it's rubbish, I won't be scared anymore.