Tonight, I’m planning on watching my favorite horror movie of all time.
Wouldn’t that make more sense around Halloween? you may be wondering. Hey, I love The Shining as much as the next person. The Exorcist is creepy. That damn doll in Annabelle is enough to give anybody nightmares. All are fine horror movies best viewed in October. But the movie that inspires abject terror in me takes place on Thanksgiving. Avert your eyes now if you are easily frightened. You might want to have any small children leave the room, lest they peek over your shoulder and catch a glimpse of this fright-inducing flick.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Peanuts. When I was a kid, I had comic book collections and a stuffed Snoopy doll and Charlie Brown sheets for my bed. Some of my fondest memories involve watching the holiday specials on TV every year. I even remember the Dolly Madison commercials that accompanied them. I have Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas album. “Linus & Lucy” is the default ringtone on my phone.
The Thanksgiving special terrifies me. And it’s all because of The Chair. The damn, evil chair.
This otherwise harmless-looking canvas Adirondack chair is like the devil incarnate. You know how a lot of people were afraid to go swimming after watching Jaws? I was afraid to venture into the garage, because that’s where Snoopy liberates The Chair from – and havoc ensues. The two circle each other, fists clenched. Snarling is involved. They trade punches. And then, in one truly terrifying scene, The Chair appears to seriously maim our beagle hero. As a kid, I thought Snoopy had been killed, and burst into tears following this horrifyingly bloody turn of events.
Nobody can survive an attack so vicious, right? Snoopy has clearly been squished flat, his canine body broken and battered. There will be no more dogfights with the Red Baron for him. Somebody else will win the prize for best Christmas light display this year. Woodstock is going to have to find himself a new best friend.
Fortunately, Snoopy survives the attack, and The Chair is finally corralled into submission. Franklin ends up sitting on it to eat his ice cream sundae, buttered toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks, and jelly beans. But this child’s psyche has already been scarred.
And then, the audience is lulled into a false sense of complacency. Amends have been made, Peppermint Patty has apologized to Chuck for being an ungrateful little brat, and they’re all headed to Charlie Brown’s grandma’s condominium for a real Thanksgiving dinner, joyfully crooning over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go!
The scene shifts back to Snoopy’s doghouse and we are subjected to an even more frightening scene as we observe Woodstock resorting to cannibalism.
Adding insult to injury, Woodstock battles Snoopy for the wishbone. And wins.
And you thought the Donner party were a bunch of animals.
Here are ten fun facts about the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. Pay special attention to #4.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! Try not to eat your fellow diners.