When I was a kid, I was a huge Disney fan, and in a ways, I still am. I had most of the entries in the “Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection;” among those entries were the likes of Bambi and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. With these two particular videos, I noticed that there was something about them which was…off.
No, I’m not referring to the movies themselves, I’m just talking about the videotapes of those films.
They both shared…something, which played before the movie. It would play after the “Feature Presentation” card, but before the title card which explains why the movie was formatted for television screens. Obviously, it wasn’t supposed to be there, and yet it was.
After all this time I’ve spend establishing everything, you may be wondering what this thing actually is. Well, (sigh) I’ll tell you. At least, I’ll try to explain it the best I can.
Turn the clock back to the late 90s, where I’m sitting at home watching one of those two films on VHS. The announcer on the TV says, “And now, our feature presentation.” Giddy with excitement, I prepare myself to watch the movie, when something else appears on screen without introduction.
Right after the screen fades to black, it cuts to the inside of a cavern. The wall of the cavern has no texture; it’s just one solid color, a shade of brownish-orange that you would see in the sky during a forest fire. This hellish glow is coming from a fast-moving river of lava. In the foreground, there are two natural stone pillars, the ones that form when stalactites merge with stalagmites. Due to the poor lighting, these pillars appear dark red. There’s no background music, and the only sound is a faint bubbling sound coming from the lava.
This plays for two seconds, than something floats past the screen: a human head. It’s not a severed head, it’s just…disembodied. At first glance, it seems like it's floating on the lava, but the head isn’t interacting with it, as if it's floating behind the lava. If so, then it must be enormous. The head is from a man who looks like a cross between Jonah Hill and the fat kid from The Sandlot. He doesn't say anything, but I do notice that he's chewing gum. It takes three seconds for the head to slide in from the left and leave to the right.
Once the head is gone, the screen cuts to black and the video proceeds as follows. You can only imagine how hard it must be to start watching a nice Disney movie after witnessing something that weird.
On a related note, I briefly had a babysitter at this time whose face fit the description of the floating head. I’m not saying that it was his head, but when I was little, I thought it was.