Les Oraliens, Or How I Found The Scariest YouTube Video Ever

Published on September 29th, 2010 in: Canadian Content, Culture Shock, Halloween, Horror, Retrovirus, TV, Video |

By Emily Carney

Obviously, I am more than familiar with what scares me the most in my real life; in my attempts to look for “scary” videos for this issue of Popshifter, I stumbled across a lot of scenes from horror films, bad attempts at karaoke, videos of methamphetamine addicts doing their “thing,” clips of “actor”/mess Paz de la Huerta, and of course Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video (which I never watched until I was in my twenties. . . no kidding).

However, I can’t say that any of these actually frightened me; at most, they were mildly amusing. So, I became blocked on what to do for this article. . . that is, until last night, when I discovered a masterpiece of an absolutely terrifying kids’ show.

title les oraliens

I was watching old logos from television stations, and while viewing the old “Radio Quebec” logo from the 1960s, I noticed a “trailer” for a kids’ show called Les Oraliens. It looked absolutely freaky, with people dressed as mushrooms. I then did a search for some old episodes and found this gem from 1969, called “La Glissoire.”

This show originated in Quebec, and was meant to teach small children how to pronounce words in French. It probably just inspired poor French-Canadian kids to hide under the couch and cry hysterically.

The plot of this show involves two mushroom-headed aliens who have happened to come to Earth (and they speak French. . . what an interesting, uh, coincidence for them) where they befriend some unlucky civilian guy. In the meantime, everyone is terrorized by a mush-mouthed “bad guy” named Le Furotte who has poor speaking skills. Also, they have a pet bird-object-thing named “Couac”. . . but we will get to that horror later.

aliens les oraliens

First of all, the Wendy Carlos synthesizer bleeps of the theme song, meant to sound “space age,” scared the living hell out of me for some reason. They sound diabolical, and totally off-key, like Radio Quebec had run out money to hire someone to properly do music for the show.

Second, the characters are the absolute worst. A friend of mine, who happens to be from Quebec, noted that Le Furotte sounds like “Mr. Bean on ecstasy after eating a bad chicken sandwich.” It’s obvious that the bad guy is a construct meant to make fun of people with speech impediments (I guess political correctness was not much of an issue in 1969, especially where disabilities were concerned).

Finally, the bird absolutely scares the living shit out of me! Seriously, he’s worse than Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Just THE VOICE of the damn puppet just grates on my nerves.

bw les oraliens
“Okay, je parle le langue de Francais. . .
how can we kill this damn bird???”

Also, some background: when I was watching this clip I was eating peanuts in the shell. Well, what does the bird ask for in this clip? PEANUTS (in French, of course). Over and over and over again. I was half terrified that this freaky-ass bird character was going to jump out of my computer and attack my face or something. It was almost as if Couac knew that I was eating peanuts. . . but maybe I am overreacting.

At any rate, my favorite episode of this show would have been if someone had accidentally had stomped upon or had taken a baseball bat to Couac. Un accident indeed.

On an interesting note, apparently even the people who created this show loathed it. Why am I not shocked?

4 Responses to “Les Oraliens, Or How I Found The Scariest YouTube Video Ever”

  1. Popshifter » The Worst Space Film Ever: Marooned a.k.a. Space Travelers:
    May 30th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    […] News circa-1980s opening credits run, boasting music which sounds like it was stolen from the time Les Oraliens degenerated into wholly panoramic 1970s […]

  2. Popshifter » The Comfort Of Familiarity: Five Classic Canadian Public Television Idents:
    July 30th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    […] answer to TVOntario, and boasted several frightful kids’ shows such as the infamous Les Oraliens. The station also had a not-so-comforting, semi-scary ident which featured toneless electronic […]

  3. Chelsea:
    July 31st, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    “…and of course Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video (which I never watched until I was in my twenties. . . no kidding). ”

    This made me piss my pants when I was six. My babysitter’s kid sister was in my reading class, and she made sure everyone knew of the unbearable terror it evoked in me. Still can’t listen to MJ, to this day.

  4. Fabrizio:
    November 26th, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    To an outsider it might be freakish but I remember enjoying it the show as a kid at School. It was a show meant to stop French speaking Quebecers using English words when an equivalent one was available to avoid a mish mash of patois Franglais that was occurring at the time; hence the repetition of the correct word. It was shown in classes so that we could improve our French.

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