I first saw this guy in a commercial or in a clip on some talk show for the 1975 TV movie Trilogy of Terror. I just remember a quick image of him running while swinging a big kitchen knife before my eyes closed tight.
For a long time, whenever I imagined something under my bed, it was him. What made him so scary, outside of razor sharp teeth, was it being a doll/puppet/toy wanting to kill you. I never had fear of that until I saw him.
Hand's down, one of the scariest monsters ever seen on film. Every scene or still picture of him from the 1922 silent classic Nosferatu is creepy.
Not only did he make me hide my eyes whenever he popped up on TV for some reason, but he kept me terrified of one particular bookshelf in my grade school's library.
The picture to the left was in a book about movies. When I first discovered it flipping pages, I slammed the cover closed. I then thought all the books on that one shelf had things in it as scary as him.
And now, my number one, all-time eye hiding worthy monster...
The Hand From Chiller Theater
Unfortunately, I think only folks from the New York tri-state area who grew up in 70's would know this one. The WPIX channel 11 weekend horror movie show was called Chiller Theater. The opening had a six fingered hand in claymation emerge from a bloody swamp. For years it freaked me out. I was always afraid the monster connected to the arm might rise up and be seen as well.
The worst part was, I knew to avoid seeing it on Friday and Saturday nights, but sometimes it would show up unexpectedly early or on random weekdays. I think WPIX just used it whenever they aired a horror movie no matter what day or what time it was.
A still picture is not enough to illustrate it. Here's a clip of the actual opening. Imagine being a real little kid and seeing this. Wouldn't you hide your eyes too?