Yes, I do have a terrible memory of having my ears pulls out and mocked by an older boy at a playground while I sat on a springy, metal-handlebar animal. But, my most terrifying childhood thoughts — which may have scarred me far worse — are carved by the hands of one Timothy James “Tim” Curry.
My first memory of Mr. Curry’s work was, of course, probably his most scary turn ever as the Lord of Darkness himself in the film “Legend.” Not sure who thought it was a good idea to let a kid of my age watch this fiery red-skinned, barrel-chested, thick black-horned beast with a voice so deep (well…. it was hellish) that bellows forth from behind his fanged white teeth. You can be sure I wasn’t sleeping that night.
From the devilish Darkness, the next time I saw Tim Curry was in the movie “Clue.” Harmless enough as Wadsworth, but knowing he had played such a heinous character before, I was even more suspicious than those who always think “the butler did it.” And his eyes and mouth just drip with smarm. I may have been able to sleep, but it was with one eye open.
For some time, I was then given a respite from this Cheshire, UK cat but, oh, did he come back swinging. Curry really turned the creep on as Pennywise the clown for “Stephen King’s IT.” I was never squeamish about clowns, but this probably pushed many right into coulrophobia. A teenager by this time, but the television miniseries still managed to freaked the heck out of me.
It was high school (good job keeping THIS one from me, mom) before I finally happened upon Curry’s perhaps most memorable evil turn as the sweet transvestite from Transylvania (the transsexual section, of course). “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” featured Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter all dressed in drag — I had seen Benny Hill so this was nothing new — but never saw someone take on the heels and thigh-high stockings with such ferocity and so menacingly. Thankfully, I had grown accustomed to his evil ways and was able to enjoy his performance and get a good night’s sleep too.
These actually make for a great Halloween movie lineup. And sure, Tim Curry was in a bunch of other creepy roles or spooky ones, but these were the ones that I keep tucked between those stick-out ears of mine — which I have grown into quite well, I should add.