An Autistic’s Guide to Scary TV Production Logos
“NO!!!” You exclaim.
“NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! HAVE MERCY!! I HAVE A WIFE AND KIDS!!!” You continue, lying about the last part.
Your cries fall on deaf ears. You will not see mercy tonight. Your favorite television show ends and after the credits scroll you witness the face of Satan in it’s purest form:
You cannot escape. The synth chords reverberate against every fold of your brain, the blank screen stares directly into your very soul, and then “it” comes. The V. It approaches, slowly, but gradually picking up its pace. A strange smell fills the room; you have soiled yourself once again, just like all the other times. Will tonight be the night the V breaks free of the constraints of your television and drags you down to hell with it? A hell full of hollow DMCA violation notices and shitty reality TV shows? No. The V disappears. Tonight is not your night. But tomorrow might be.
If the above excerpt caused you to run in fear while the crotch of your pants adopted a suspiciously darker color then this isn’t the article for you and you should turn back now lest you avoid adding some #2 to go with that #1. However, if you find it hilarious and absurd that it’s possible for someone to be afraid of a television logo then look no further, you’ve come to the right place. “Telelogophobia”, as it’s called, is a fear of TV production logos. Yes, this exists, and more than likely “telelogophilia” does as well.
The website CLG Wiki is a place where “logo enthusiasts” can gather and talk about the finer points of everything you and I fast forwarded through on VHS tapes in the 80’s and 90’s. While strange, it’s to be expected I guess. The real kicker, however, is they frequently use their forum to talk about logos they seem to be genuinely afraid of. The result? A meticulous (and hilarious) break down, usually second-by-second, of every terrifying logo along with horrendously stupid nicknames for all of them (that they actually use in idle conversation) plus a “Scariness” rating.
I’m still being 100% serious here. Here’s a beginner’s guide to terrifying TV logos.
In 2010 GatorAIDS’ editor-in-chief Dracophile was billed for a stand-up show at an anime convention. In it he performed as his alter ego and approached the show with the intentions to be as unsettling and unrelatable as possible. One of the first things he said to his audience was, “Was anybody else scared of the ending credits to Rugrats? Nobody?” I’d link you to it on YouTube but it appears to have been deleted so you’ll have to just take my word for it. I reference this performance because something as obscure and non-threatening as the credits to Rugrats couldn’t possibly scare anybody. Just as Dracophile assumed this was something he said specifically to alienate the audience; there are more people out there who can relate to “white people be all _____ but black people be like _____” instead of “autistics _____”. Or so he thought.
Klasky-Csupo is an animation company headed by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, two people who apparently sell themselves on having names that piss off every single form of document spell checking ever created. They produced Rugrats. This was their logo:
oh god KLASKY BROWN NOTE jsdhfkjshffjhcs wak-wak
This video was uploaded by a guy on YouTube who calls himself YoshiLove5OOO. One can infer from his channel design, content, and selected username that this guy is probably 16 bits shy of a Super Nintendo. I wanted to learn more about the mysterious psyche of those who adore closing logos but I took one look at his testament to the bane of beginners’ HTML (his YouTube page) and decided it wasn’t worth attempting to read the page while mashing CTRL+A to let me see the text. I genuinely do not care. I received all the insight into YoshiLove’s mind with this comment he left on the Klasky-Csupo video:
How cute, YoshiLove thinks he’s an expert on establishing normality when he’s the one fawning over poorly animated television bumpers. This isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, this is the pot calling the kettle and all of Africa a nigger.
So why is this logo supposedly terrifying? Let’s consult the CLG Wiki for the lowdown:
Scare Factor: For the [animated version], high to nightmare, the bad animation and the face looking at us and smiling as if it accomplished something is an even more unsettling sight. The black background and unexpected transition from the credits to the logo is also another reason why this variant is scary. It can be decreased to medium for those who expected this.
CLG rates logo “scariness” on a scale including none, low, medium, high, and nightmare (occasionally with emphasis added). Supposedly Klasky-Csupo’s dadaist approach to animation along with the face smiling “as if it accomplished something” is what causes this logo to be scary. Yeah, its “accomplishment” factor. Leave it to a group of shut-ins who more than likely failed an elementary art class collage assignment to be afraid of something potentially signifying “accomplishment”.
Paramount Pictures is a name I’m sure you’re familiar with. They were “big” in the business of television and film before “big” had a chance to be defined. Tons of shows carried the Paramount name, and now most of them carry Viacom’s name instead since they bought out Paramount Pictures (we’ll have more on Viacom later). Much like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s iconic lion that was shown before their films Paramount became synonymous with their majestic mountain. What better way to celebrate it than with this fine logo:
Cue the dramatic chipmunk.
Whoa wait a second, what the fuck Paramount? What kind of game are you running here? Is that mountain about to stab me in the kidneys and rape me? Am I actually saying this logo is scary? No, but if you’re of the disposition of being frightened by a disembodied face with a robot voice saying “KLASKY-CSUPO” then you’d sure as hell be terrified of this fucking thing.
“Honey, we’ve got to get to our dinner reservation!”
“Okay,” you reply. “I’ll be right there just after the episode of Happy Days is ove- oh god honey get me some new slacks CODE BROWN CODE BROWN!!”
I don’t understand the irrational fear behind logos, but if you pointed to this thing and said “that, fucking that; I am scared shitless by that fucking mountain flying forward at me while the cut version of the goddamn Psycho strings play” I would look at you, then at the flying mountain, then finally back at you and explain that I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I would then take the soundbite from the logo and set it to a bunch of inappropriate things. What’s CLG’s take on this?
Scare Factor: [Low to medium.] The mountain drawing, the zoom, and the very dramatic fanfare can scare more than a few.
Really? Medium at best? Something with legitimately sudden and striking music and sudden moves — two things movie directors frequently incorporate into fucking horror films — passes as “medium” in the world of Closing Logos? For fuck’s sake the only reason these people are afraid of the aforementioned MGM lion is because “it’s a lion”. That’s the best they could come up with. It’s not even a lion in the same room as you, it’s in a TV. Not even a 3DTV. There is absolutely no illusion that the lion is coming toward you to rip your face off Siegfried & Roy style like the Paramount mountain is clearly trying to do. I bet these motherfuckers are also afraid of the lion cub from the “MGM Kids” line of movies. Oh wait, they are?
Well at least we know they aren’t furries. What’s next, are they going to say they’re afraid of something that looks like the Mona Lisa?
Fuck me, this is going to be the Mona Lisa, isn’t it? Because I called it?
The still above is a capture from the bumper to a production company known as Renaissance Pictures and is nicknamed by CLG as “The Evil Portrait of Death” demonstrating that they apparently hire kindergartners to assign witty nicknames to everything. Evil Portrait of Death, really? Really you guys? “Evil Portrait” and “Portrait of Death” are both names acceptable for this picture as well as Castlevania games. Combining the two doesn’t double the scariness, it just makes you look retarded. Speaking of retarded:
Okay, I think I get this one. These guys are afraid of women, right? I mean, because Renaissance Pictures produced both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, a couple of medieval-themed action series complete with all kinds of crazy sword fighting and horses and lightning and whatever pseudo-homoerotic scenarios both warriors landed themselves in. I think the company is well within their rights to use fucking lightning and era-appropriate artwork in their bumper probably because for the 59 minutes leading up to it you’re blasted with just that: loud noises, lightning, and women that kinda look like men.
Scare Factor: Nightmare due to the thunder, lightning, ripping/tearing animation FX, and the Tibetan monk chant soundbite. This logo is no doubt one of the scariest ever made. Especially the abridged and short versions.
Because as we all know Buddhist Tibetan monks are fucking scary, right? I mean, what with their matching robes, bald heads, and proclamations of peace and all; those assholes and their inhumanly deep voices sure are scary. Please. Apparently Mona “Lightning” Lisa is just as scary as our Klasky-Csupo robot friend from the beginning of this article. What do these have in common? A face. It’s a well known fact people with Asperger’s can’t read social cues. I call bullshit.
If Klasky-Csupo was the first part of this whole “face” charade then that makes Renaissance Pictures part 2 and the Oz Film Company the equivalent of The Return of the King. Unless you’re incredibly well versed in contemporary American literature you may not be familiar with the Oz Film Company, and you sure as hell have never seen a movie by them; I can almost guarantee that. The Oz Film Company was a short-lived film studio that existed from 1914-1915 solely for the purpose of making Oz movies (if you couldn’t infer that from their fucking name). They didn’t have a logo, probably because they weren’t around long enough for anyone to realize “oh shit we’re missing a logo you guys” so their films were introduced with a woman nicknamed “Lady Ozma”:
Jesus Christ look at that bling!
I’ll give CLG the benefit of the doubt, there’s a certain eeriness to this “logo” but it isn’t because this is a scary logo due to some wacky animations or suspenseful sting music. It’s because Lady Ozma, and every single person who ever originally saw this logo in a theater, is dead. The Oz Film Company was created almost one hundred fucking years ago; everybody involved with it and everybody who’s ever seen it is 100% irrefutably dead, and if they somehow aren’t dead then they’ve got to be coffin shopping right about now. It also doesn’t help that Lady Ozma is a dead (hah) ringer for a female Aphex Twin.
Oh right, CLG Wiki probably has something to say about this logo, don’t they?
Scare Factor: Medium to nightmare; the rather cold, lifeless stare of the woman may freak some people out, especially the “close-up” variant, where it’s “in your face” style.
What is it? I’m not going to bother looking. Is it more about faces? Knew it. Apparently any face = nightmare fuel to these people because bellowing lions and screeching mountains are only worth 1 Terror Point on their sliding scale of idiocy.
I’ve made the conclusion that every goddamn logo that involves a face is somehow nightmare material to these people, therefore I’m done showing anything with a face or anything that even remotely resembles one. On that note, here’s a bunch of spinning diamonds courtesy of ITC Entertainment Group. ITC was a British television production company Americans might be familiar with due to the fact that they produced movies like The Last Unicorn and The Dark Crystal (and The Muppet Show TV series). Their production bumper was this monstrosity that looks like something from a shitty (but color) Vectrex game:
WELCOME TO THE 1970’S.
ITC was around for almost 50 years and they never once changed that fanfare. However much they paid for it, which I can’t imagine was substantial, they really got their money’s worth. This logo is apparently terrifying because of those spinning gems which leads me to believe nobody on CLG Wiki has ever completed a Sonic the Hedgehog special stage and lived to tell the tale. Also diamonds? Am I the only one who fails to see “diamonds” and instead sees a spinning Phlat Ball?
Scare Factor: Nightmare, probably about as scary as you can get without causing fatal injury. This logo, even though it is not talked about as much as the other well-known scary logos (such as the S From Hell and V Of Doom), is probably one of the scariest logos ever made, thanks to “in-your-face” animation, a dark mood, and that evil music!
“As scary as you can get without causing fatal injury”?! Cry me a fucking river, CLG Wiki. I refuse to believe this is a scary logo and that it’s “scare factor” rating was assigned by a solitary person who can’t watch a Justice music video without shitting himself. It’s “not talked about as much” as the other logos because, surprise surprise, it’s not fucking scary. It looks like a goddamn carnival ride in space. Also, this logo and Lady Ozma are “in your face” when Paramount Pictures and Renaissance Pictures aren’t? How the fuck does that one work?
The more research I do for this article the more I realize that there’s absolutely zero consistency with any of this website’s content and that their entire notion of “fear” is constructed around one central “idea” that anything signifying the end of Autism Power Hour is inherently “bad” and thus should be feared.
Before I begin I want to first state that being afraid of Viacom and being afraid of Viacom’s logo are two completely different things; one is more socially acceptable than the other. Viacom is an incomprehensibly large media conglomerate whose primary products and services include Jersey Shore, copyright infringement claims, and SOPA. I take pride in knowing that if you had no prior knowledge of the company before today that I’ve already soured them in your thoughts with a single sentence. Back before Viacom’s board of executives was replaced with humanesque-shaped burlap sacks of hundred dollar bills and minced chunks of dead prostitutes they actually served a purpose as a television production company. Since 1971 they’ve featured almost a dozen new logos. Apparently, this one from the early eighties is the scariest:
Must be those gaudy synth chords.
The Viacom “V of Doom” has become somewhat of an in-meme online. There are people who are afraid of it that weren’t even alive when it was originally used who fear the logo solely because Viacom is god tier nightmare fuel and they’ve repeatedly been told this is a scary logo so to fit in they join the others in fawning over just how OMG TEH SCARY it is. I don’t see it, I don’t get the “fear”. For fuck’s sake, GatorAIDS even has a fucking thread tag that reenacts the zooming V of Doom. This thing is everywhere.
Scare Factor: Nightmare for the filmed and videotaped variants […] because the music and “V” zooming in had been a source of bad dreams and nightmares for many. The filmed variant’s general quality is also poor. One of the scariest logos ever created along with the “S from Hell”. Though this logo is less scary for those who are used to seeing it.
So people actually had nightmares about this logo? A single stylized letter of the alphabet? I don’t get why it’s scary; are they thinking this is going to happen? Appropriately enough the “scare factor” entry for Viacom’s voracious V alludes to another spooky letter: Screen Gems’ so-called “S from Hell”. Let’s take a look:
Daytime Emmy Winner: Most awkward Sesame Street letter sponsor ever.
What’s doing it here? The high-contrast red on yellow? The inclusion of a shitty synth chord like Viacom’s V of Doom that sounds like someone playing a trumpet with their ass? The shape of the logo? The only thing I’ve collected from this logo so far is virtually every nickname these people come up with is some variant of “(description of logo) of Doom”. In fact, their naming scheme is so atrocious that both the Screen Gems and Renaissance Pictures logos share the secondary nickname of “The Personification of All that is Evil”. I’m fucking serious. They can’t even be original with their elaborate and flamboyant displays of hivemind-manufactured grade school pants-pissing faux terror.
Scare Factor: Medium to nightmare for the full music variant. Numerous people have very un-fond memories of this logo, mostly due to the creepy theme music combined with the animation, which is very in-your-face (though it’s less scary for those who are used to seeing it). Possibly one of the scariest logos ever made.
Possibly one of the scariest logos ever made, or THE scariest logo ever made? You be the judge. Here’s a short documentary from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival called The S From Hell.
Fuck it. I quit.