Written by Jonathan Wojcik

Nightmare Fuel Review:


   It's September! Halloween is finally pouring its way into the retail world, our Maryland Trip has wrapped up nicely, our friend Dinosaur Dracula is beginning its own Halloween marathon, and the fun surprises I promised are well on their way!

  For the first September post, I'm going to be continuing our look at slightly-too-weird children's characters, this time Tricky Dicky.

   Dicky here hails from the British variety show Zzzap!, which ran for an impressive nine years with over a hundred episodes, though Dicky, unfortunately, was a running feature of only the first ten. Official word is that the character was growing stale, which isn't the reasoning I'd have honestly expected. Even at a glance, the guy looks like the very living personification of Stranger Danger, a faceless black shadow-figure in an oversized hat and coat probably full of spare chloroform-soaked rags, and before you accuse me of judging by appearances alone, Dicky does precisely what every parent fears from an unknown, unknowable figure: cart around town in a nondescript, off-white bus, beckon other people's children on board and transport them to remote locales where they are forced to engage in bizarre, unpredictable activities under some ambiguous threat.

Did I mention he giggles?

   Fortunately, Dicky's desires usually appear to be more or less harmless, if you consider it harmless to put children in handcuffs while they eat Jell-O for your own amusement. Dicky would dare his captives to pop balloons without pins, stand upright on pool floats and other pointless, perverse challenges on a one to two minute timer, showing extreme disappointment when the kids succeed and gleeful satisfaction when he succeeds at "defeating" them.

   So, what happens next? We're never really told. It's not the same exact group of children every time, so we wouldn't even know of Dicky actually returns them all home, and even with most of his later challenges performed in public locales, there's no telling what else he could be up to. What if those balloons were filled with hideously carcinogenic gases? What if the Jell-O was laced with an experimental mind control drug? Dicky's seemingly innocent games could be fronts for any number of far darker schemes.

   Dicky's first appearance, the skeevy balloon van debacle, begins at two minutes into this half of Zzzap's debut episode. For the most part, I find him generally adorable, but if he really existed, he would at the very least be more unsettling than fellow smartly-dressed, faceless lurker, the Slenderman. Subjecting children to weird challenges for no explained reason is quite a bit freakier than just kind of "getting" people or whatever it is Slenderman supposedly does these days.


That whole handcuffs and Jell-O thing is really unwholesome, Dicky.