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40 Non-Horror Movies For Horror Fans

September 12th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 16 Comments

Man does not live on bread alone and horror fans needn’t live on horror films alone. In fact, the Surgeon General has stated that watching non-horror movies may actually enhance a horror fan’s appreciation for horror. That is why Kindertrauma’s Unk has teamed up with Cinema Du Meep’s Meep to bring you this here post of 40 Non-Horror Movies For Horror Fans. Let’s start with Meep’s picks as he is our very special guest!

ADAM (1983)

Television Movies aren’t often thought of as powerful and haunting, but I’d attribute ADAM as one of the Movies that fucked my head up so much as a kid. They also released another kid goes missing flick WITHOUT A TRACE the very same year! I’m a parent now, and absolutely terrified I’d lose my kid in a similar fashion as ADAM. I also don’t want to turn into the guy who became the host of America’s Most Wanted. I want to pretend life is A-OK and stuff like this doesn’t happen on a regular basis. Real life is the scariest of all. Also, Jobeth Williams is the 80’s mom to us all.

THE BEGUILED (1971)

Star Clint Eastwood and Director Don Siegel are mostly known for their Action outings together (COOGAN’S BLUFF, DIRTY HARRY, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ etc), but they also managed to squeeze in the tale of a Union soldier caught in the world of possibly cuckoo young Confederate women. Horror fans may be creeped out by the Film’s atmosphere and claustrophobic nature. Or the fact that a bunch of women together in a room almost always leads to some form of sheer terror!

BLUE STEEL (1990)

Former Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis has made all kinds of Films since her initial Slasher run of the late 70’s and early 80’s, but she managed to shift her persona and still turn in another female in jeopardy performance. This time with a great twist. Blue Steel is one of the best Action/Thrillers of the 90’s but it’s also a great feminist Film. STEEL was Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who has finally found footing in Hollywood and respect from her peers over the last few years with prestige Films like THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY. Horror fans aren’t likely looking for a feminist take on a “Fill in the blank from hell” kind of Movie, but they will get the thrills they are looking for, familiar Horror tropes and the ever amazing Jamie Lee.

THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (1985)

Two small town guys decide to pick up and go to Los Angeles after their peers graduate and then pile up a series of crimes and murder behind them. BOYS is mostly labeled and thought of as a Crime Thriller, but for me it’s always been one of the scariest portraits of youth gone wrong. It opens with factoids about more well known serial killers, preparing its audience for what may follow, and that opener always scared the hell out of me as a kid. It’s still effective. Director Penelope Spheeris is now best known for WAYNE’S WORLD, but she always had her finger on the pulse of what was going on in the culture, and in this case, what was creeping around, waiting to strike. Maxwell Caulfield (GREASE 2) will forever be dreamy, but he’s totally frightening here.

DANCE WITH A STRANGER (1985)

The true story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain during the 1950’s, DANCE WITH A STRANGER is the story of obsession taken pretty far. Though it’s ostensibly a British drama, this Film always had a positively haunting effect on me. A lot of that can be contributed to the performances of Miranda Richardson and a young Rupert Everett. Miranda especially gives a go-for-broke performance that alternates between being scary and sympathetic. She’s a pre-Alex Forrest from FATAL ATTRACTION, but grounded in bit more realism. And definitely british!

DREAM LOVER (1994)

James Spader has always been a favorite actor of mine, and here he plays a guy who falls for the wrong woman (played by Mädchen Amick). Though it’s a Thriller, Horror fans may enjoy some of the nightmarish images Director Nicolas Kazan comes up with. Kazan, offspring of Elia, is mostly known as a Screenwriter and Playwright, and this Film has proved to be his last to-date Directorial effort, but he shows a real flair for creating a mood and vibe. You, along with Spader are seduced by Amick… not to mention her obsessive love of pearls… and then you are taken for a ride into the carnival the Filmmaker cooks up.

FOUL PLAY (1978)

And… I’m… ready to take a chance again… Ready to put my love on the line with you… So, yeah, in a way, Horror fans may already be terrified by the thought of a Barry Manilow song over the credits, but there it is. I’m personally a big fan of Barry as well as this Film. Sometimes the best kinds of Movies come from unexpected places and I would certainly count FOUL PLAY as one of the most random Movies ever. This one throws everything at you, and done in a very skilled and playful style. Horror fans will definitely enjoy the nods to Hitchcock and more surprises I won’t spoil here.

LOVE AND HUMAN REMAINS (1993)

Ah, The Independent Cinema movement of the late 80’s and early to mid 90’s is something I really miss these days. This Canadian effort really came out during the height of it all. What Horror fans don’t know is that in addition to being a quirky Comedy & Drama, it’s also a Movie about a string of murders with a serial killer lurking around Montreal. I guess the title should have given it away to me when I first saw this at the Angelika Cinema in New York City when it came out, but I was sure surprised. It’s fun to watch Movies juggle a tone so much. Very few can pull it off so well like this.

MIRACLE MILE (1989)

The poster for MIRACLE MILE has a critical quote on it that tells you to be prepared to be blasted into the back of the Theater. And yes, MIRACLE does that in it’s own way. This is a story of an ordinary guy (Anthony Edwards) who looks for the girl (Mare Winningham, sporting the worst haircut I’ve seen on an 80’s chick) he had a really good first date with, on what he believes will be the last night of existence since a nuclear missile is headed their way. This Movie really will do a number of you and will likely crack the most cynical of people and break your shit down. I’m still not sure if I ever recovered. Those of us who lived under the threat of an impending nuclear strike throughout our childhoods are probably forever messed up anyway.

MORGAN STEWART’S COMING HOME (1987)
I love Teen Comedies a great deal and I even love the ones that seem to be either hated by critics or the ones that have been run over by time. MORGAN STEWART is a standout for me not only because it’s good hearted and fun in a light 80’s sort of way, but it’s central character is Horror Movie obsessed. Of course you have to see it. You, like Morgan, have posters of your favorite Horror Movies, likely collect Movie artifacts and would totally jump at the chance to see George Romero at the local mall if he was signing a book. Morgan also meets cute with a girl on the line to see Mr. Romero, and then takes her out on a date to see a midnight show of ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. Isn’t that the most adorable thing ever?

RIVALS (1972)

The bonds between mother and son are sometimes very powerful, and this Movie from the early 70’s fully realizes that and goes to some pretty dark places. Ethereal Joan Hackett and Scott Jacoby (BAD RONALD) play mother and son, and Robert Klein is the boyfriend who gets in between their eternal bond. The jazzy score also ratchets up the tension as things spiral out of control later in the Film.

SAFE (1995)

Julianne Moore is an 80’s housewife (she aerobicizes to Madonna!) who comes down with an unexplained illness and increasingly gets more and more sick. Todd Haynes’ Film skillfully doesn’t offer any clear cut answers but instead pits you into this woman’s world and you feel as hopeless as she does as things grow worse for her. Sometimes terror comes not from a masked maniac or a creature from beyond but from the world we industrialized around us, the things we can’t see and god knows what else. You are anything but safe even if you think you are. The thought of what might be out there is sending chills down my spine right now.

SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981)

This is the Movie that made me Cajun-phobic. Is that a real thing? Seriously I am. Thanks Walter Hill. Thanks a lot. I know you produced ALIEN and did some great Films, but this one scares me more than most Horror Films. I mean it. And Scream Factory put it out on blu-ray recently. See it!

STAR 80 (1983)

Dorothy Stratten was a playmate, an actress and a gentle soul who unfortunately had the worst of luck. She fell in love with absolutely the wrong man. Paul Snider> was a jealous person who controlled Ms. Stratten, and couldn’t deal with her success and the love and lust everyone seemed to have for her. Her story ends tragically as most of us know, and Bob Fosse’s Film really digs deep into their story, especially it’s tragedy (he even shot in the same house where the murder-suicide took place), and you are front and center for it. I honestly can’t think of many people as scary as Eric Roberts portrayal of Mr. Snider.

SUMMER SCHOOL (1987)

Freewheelin’ and fun Teen Comedies are a staple of my youth and those of us who enjoy them know that SUMMER SCHOOL is one of the very best of it’s kind. What it also has is the characters of Chainsaw & Dave, who, like some of us, are also Horror Movie fanatics and like to live out some of their Favorite Movies with gory special effects and goo. Now this is the best possible way to study and learn, right? I so wanted to go to a High School where THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is played in class. Why couldn’t I have been as lucky? Even if it meant I had to go to Summer School it would have been worth it. The special efforts gore in this Movie are top notch and are on par with the best Slashers of it’s time.

3 WOMEN (1977) & IMAGES (1972)

Robert Altman isn’t really known as a director of Horror, but he came as close to them as possible with 3 WOMAN and IMAGES from 1972. Both Films have a mood and vibe that are very much in the Horror vein, and you’re not quite sure what is going to happen in either. I find myself spellbound when I watch both and Horror fans may be satisfied with that and also get exposed to the unique and very distinct Altman touch. IMAGES also has a great eerie score by John Williams.

ZAPPED! (1982)
Scott Baio is pretty much the boy version of CARRIE in this lighthearted and THC-enhanced homage to the De Palma Film, but here with a complete PORKY’S aesthetic. I always go back to ZAPPED! because I get all that Telekinesis fun and I don’t have to be worry about being bummed out that it’s central character dies tragically after all the Prom mania. Plus the scene where Scott Baio frightens his religious mom with moving his creepy ventriloquist dummy (perhaps a nod to MAGIC?) with his mind is worth the price of admission alone.

Unk Sez: Thank’s Meep! Those are all great choices and now I’ve got plenty of homework to do. Folks make sure you visit Meep HERE and “Like” the Cinema Du Meep Facebook HERE for plenty more cool stuff!

All right, now here come my picks:

In Cold Blood (1967)

Richard Brooks takes on Truman Capote’s groundbreaking true crime bestseller and the result is a challenging and unforgettable viewing experience. Somehow both hyper-realistic (many of the actual real life locations were used) and sublimely poetic (the cinematography astounds), In Cold Blood may be shot in black and white but its presentation of real life horror is anything but. As uneasy as it may make the viewer, In Cold Blood dares us to accept the humanity of two killers (Lost Highway’s Robert Blake & The Walking Dead’s Scott Wilson- both remarkable) before exposing us to their inhuman acts against an unsuspecting family.

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

What’s more horrifying than a couple dozen camp counselors being hacked to pieces? I’d say a full school bus of children sliding onto a frozen lake, smashing through the ice and slowly submerging towards certain death. Atom Egoyan’s adaptation of Russel Bank’s novel of the same name explores a town’s grieving process after loosing nearly every child in their population to such an unthinkable tragedy. Alien’s Ian Holm is impeccable and Dawn of the Dead (2004) star Sarah Polley’s reading of the tale of the pied piper ensures that you will never think of it in the same way again.

Shadows and Fog (1991)

Woody Allen’s love letter to German Expressionist filmmakers like F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) is as nightmarishly paranoid as it is visually stunning. Any horror fan worth their salt should feel right at home amidst the moody black and white cinematography but if by any chance they should happen to miss their comfort zone Donald Pleasance (Halloween), Kathy Bates (Misery) and Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs) appear as familiar markers in the mist.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

Diane Keaton plays a teacher of deaf children who explores singles bars and brings home a final scene so disturbing it puts many a horror movie’s finale to shame.

The Rapture (1991)

Sharon (Mimi Rogers) wonders if anything can be worse than working in a cubicle by day and engaging in empty sex at night. She then discovers religion and realizes the answer is YES! Prepare to go where no movie has gone before and to endure an unfathomable act as she travels from following blindly to demanding answers from the big guy upstairs.

Death Becomes Her (1992)

It would be easy for horror fans to dismiss this flick thanks to its baggage laden stars or be put off by the campy comedy that abounds but this morality tale concerning the lengths some might go to retain their youth is rather like a cautionary DC comic book come to vibrant life. Director Robert Zemeckis had a big hand in the success of HBO’s Tales From the Crypt and in spirit, Death Becomes Her feels much more like a Tales From the Crypt movie than any actual existing Tales From the Crypt movie. Cinematography provided by some guy named Dean Cundey.

The Piano Teacher (2001)

In many cases life’s most insidious horrors don’t come from an external nemesis but from within. Isabelle Hubbert stars as a repressed teacher who becomes entangled with a student, yet can only seem to express herself through masochism and covertly destroying those she feels threatened by. Masterful Austrian director Michael Haneke guides Hubbert through a dark spellbinding performance.

Sybil (1976)

Don’t worry about Sybil, as far as mentally ill protagonists go, she’s a sympathetic sweetheart whose biggest fault is a tendency to break windows and inappropriately wade in park fountains. Her mother, on the other hand, makes Norma Bates look like June Cleaver after a relaxing Calgon bath. Viewers may be tempted to ease their mortified psyches with the knowledge that the authenticity of the events depicted in Sybil are up for debate. Don’t rest your head too soundly though as there is absolutely no debate on whether sadistically deranged and abusive parents exist. Accurate or not, this is a deep dark dive and a reminder not to judge a person’s strength by their outward behavior, as you never know what they’ve endured.

After Hours (1985)

Martin Scorsese’s inescapable Kafka-esque nightmare is funny as hell but constantly hits creepily uncanny nerves that can’t be denied. It’s inclusion of the song “Is That All There Is?” perfectly encapsulates the surreal nature of the film and the harsh truth that into each life a little rain (and horror) must fall.

Straw Dogs (1971)

Director Sam Peckinpah uses a shotgun to blast a portrait of violence in its most raw and befouling form and the result is fifty shades of ugly and fittingly as difficult to look at, as it is to look away from. Expect no mollifying answers or cathartic victory laps here, there’s no path out of this briar patch that won’t leave you shredded.

Jane Eyre (1943)

There are exactly a zillion cinematic adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel and exactly zero of them will ever reach the creepy gothic heights of the lusciously black and white 1943 version directed by Robert Stevenson. Is there some kind of romance going on here? I don’t care; I just want to know what’s behind that door!

Far From Home (1998)

Let us never forget that Drew Barrymore’s short-lived “bad girl” film cycle was perhaps only a prison flick away from rivaling Linda Blair’s. Myopic horror fans can grouse as much as they want about that, it’s true just the same. Far From Home is one of my favorite Bad Drew flicks as it finds our young, lisping lush stalked in a desert trailer park that is also home to the likes of Susan (Night Warning) Tyrell and Jennifer (Bride of Chucky) Tilly. If that’s not enough, Dick Miller plays the local sheriff and horror favorite Tommy Lee Wallace’s name is on the screenplay.

The Impossible (2012)

Has it been a long time since you’ve seen a horror movie that made you gasp, wince, grit your teeth, shudder and hide your eyes? Well, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place. In this film, based on a true story, Mother Nature makes every horror villain you’ve ever known look like fluffy pink bunny handing out Valentines. Think your favorite final girl has got spunk and an admirable will to survive? Check out Noami Watts Oscar-nominated performance here and honestly ask yourself if you’d rather try to outrun a maniac or a tsunami.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

Horror and science fiction have always made compatible bedfellows but allow me to especially sing the praises of this once 3-D actioner as a good bet for those who enjoy squishy, eighties-style make up effects. You’ll find blobby monsters, mutant children, slimy serpents and even mermaids in the offbeat world visited within this fun flick and all created by the underrated genius Tom Burman (My Bloody Valentine, Happy Birthday to Me, The Beast Within, Cat People, etc.). Director Lamont Johnson (You’ll like my Mother, Lipstick) finds two appealing leads in Peter Straus and a pre-Sixteen Candles Molly Ringwald and who can ask for a better cyborg heavy than ScannersMichael Ironside?

Fearless (1993)

I hope this movie is as good as I remember it. The fact is I can never watch it again as it nearly destroyed my ability to travel by plane. I do recall though, that besides featuring the most unbearable plane crash imaginable, “Fearless” does this wonderful thing where it leaves you appreciating life itself. I recommend this picture to horror fans because as corny as it may sound, without a viewer’s simple understanding of the value of human life, I don’t believe any horror film can run at full capacity.

The Wall (1982)

Pink Floyd wasn’t crazy about director Alan Parker’s treatment of their album The Wall and Parker apparently was right on the same page in being disappointed. Who knows how far it missed the mark in the eyes of the artists who brought it to life and, more importantly, who cares? The fact remains that this movie is one of a kind and produces a mix of feelings unlike any film ever made. It’s a cinematic sausage stuffed with traumas that can’t be quieted and negative emotions that can never be righted and a big swirling spell of self-destructive corrosive mojo. It’s sad, it’s beautiful, it’s somehow both depressing and riling and it’s profound monumental horror art.

Smooth Talk (1985)

Based on the haunting Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?Smooth Talk begins like your typical After School Special concerning teens testing boundaries and getting giddy over small-scale rebellions. A pre-David Lynch muse Laura Dern plays 15-year-old Connie who feels trapped by the limitations set by her family and fearful of ending up like her demure older sister June (The Funhouse’s Elizabeth Berridge). Connie begins a flirtation with an older man named Arnold Friend (Treat Williams) and one day, while her family is out, he comes to her house to pay a visit. Things get very surreal, very disturbing and very ambiguous very fast. Sometimes you only need a few well-placed words to chill.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

You won’t find any scares in this mildly spooky romantic fantasy but if you are a fan of ghost and haunted house tales, you’re bound to enjoy its atmosphere and point of view anyway. Personally I am tempted to keep my DVD copy in the medicine cabinet as it has proven over the years to cure any and all ailments.

Hardcore (1979)

The Changeling’s George C. Scott stars as a father whose brain rightfully explodes when the search for his missing daughter leads him to find her enmeshed in the seedy underworld of pornography. Written and directed by the always-interesting Paul Schrader, HARDCORE reminds that some of the worst horrors that the world has to offer involve the damage inflicted upon those we love rather than ourselves.

The Tin Drum (1979)

Based on the book by Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum tells the story of a creepy kid named Oskar who, in protest to the insanity of the world, throws himself down a staircase and miraculously stops himself from aging. He’s also very fond of his disruptive toy drum and has the useful ability to shatter glass with his high-pitched scream. He’s basically the Kindertrauma poster child. I originally caught this flick on PBS as a teen and it shook me like a baby rattle and permanently turned me off eating eels collected from decapitated horse heads washed up on the beach.

Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

In this Spanish language film a young girl watches James Whale’s Frankenstein and her life is forever changed. What horror fan can’t relate?

Dreamchild (1985)

It is doubtful anyone will ever trump the incredible and certainly horrific depiction of the fantastic denizens of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland provided here by frequent kindertrauma culprit Jim Henson.

Happy Campers (2001)

A Friday the 13th movie sans multiple murders? It shouldn’t exist but it does. As I quoted in this semi recent REVIEW “Who needs a serial psycho when we have ourselves?” Exactly.

And that’s where we better stop. I keep thinking of other flicks and with each one I have to make another Sophie’s Choice. Dagnabbit, Sophie’s Choice (1982) is another one! Thanks again to the great and powerful Meep! Critters and kids, do you have a favorite non-horror flick that you think horror fans could dig? Leave your picks in the comments section! We want to hear them all!

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Name That Trauma:: Dr. Bleed on a Gorily Bursting Cow Growth

September 8th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Dear Kindertrauma,

I’m pleased to come across your site as it’s essentially the horror movie database/blog/awesome I’ve been scouring the internets for. So my little personal traumatic (and enjoyable) anecdote comes from my childhood days of flipping through my old CR TV that only had knobs to switch channels. Saturdays were the best for finding a horror gem on the five channels my rabbit ear antennas received, and one particular film I came across in these weekend escapades is one I hope someone can help me identify. The scene I witnessed concerned a family of ranchers looking over diseased cattle plagued with grotesque cancer-like growths all over their bodies. One particular woman stops to inspect a growth that seems to be pulsing, and as this horror movie mistake is made the woman’s consequences are having the growth gorily burst in her face releasing an army of giant flying bugs that engulf her. The details that are a bit hazy is I think this changed her into a zombie-like monster and she tries attacking her family. Also guessing from the time I remember seeing the movie and its’ style, it was likely made in the 90’s though 80’s is a possibility. Thanks again, and I look forward to using your site to relive my most cherished childhood memories of being freaked out!

Dr.Bleed

UNK SEZ: Thanks, Dr. Bleed! I’m not 100% on this but I have a strong feeling you may be thinking of 1987’s THE CURSE. According to this old review HERE, that movie does feature an exploding cow! I’m posting the full movie below thinking that even if I’m wrong it’ll be fun to watch. If anybody out there has another guess for this NTT, please let us know!

→ 4 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Traumafession/Name That Trauma Solved:: Jeff U. on The Ghost That Came Alive

September 3rd, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

I’ve been perusing your site for a while now after discovering it this year, and I believe I have the answer to a Name That Trauma” from May 7, 2009. PhanWolf asked about a book with a haunted house on the cover and thought it might have been called “The House that Came to Life.” I had that same book and avoided the cover as well when I was a kid. It’s called “The Ghost That Came Alive” by Vic Crume. Here’s a link to it on Amazon.

Anyway, maybe PhanWolf is still holding out hope for an answer…five years later!

UNK SEZ: Thanks Jeff! We’ll try to contact Phanwolf! By the way, I noticed something strange while putting together your post. Something about the author’s name and the title of his previous book rang a bell. Last week I picked up a book at the thrift store and it’s currently propped up by my desk starring me in the face, “The Mystery in Dracula’s Castle” by Vic Crume!

→ 6 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Whitsbrain on The Bullwinkle Show Intro

August 29th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

A self-admittedly odd “scared you for life” story…

This piece of music and accompanying video will immediately send a cold shiver through my entire body. My reaction to it has been the same since I was a little kid. I’ll get goosebumps if I hear it and if it gets stuck in my head, it will give me the willies no matter where I am. Middle of the day, at work, at home, in the car, grocery store…it doesn’t matter. And yes I know, there’s NOTHING outwardly scary about it!

Over the years, I’ve tried listening to it, nearly torturing myself to get used to it (or over it) but my natural reaction to it is freaky. I don’t know if something about the animation in tandem with the theme bothers me…it’s beyond strange. Maybe something bad happened to me when I was very young while it was playing. I have no clue.

And the silliest thing about it is, I can watch Bullwinkle all day long and actually enjoy it. But if I listen to the theme and see this video…instant shudders.

I’m ice cold right now just thinking about it. I can hardly bring myself to paste the link:

Traumatized since childhood,

Whitsbrain

→ 6 CommentsTags: Traumafessions

Name That Trauma:: Scott D. on a Rock Man Who Dissolves in the Ocean

August 25th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

Your website is awesome!

That said … I remember a movie that was probably shown on WLVI 56’s Creature Double Feature in the ’80s (Boston area). It involved a man who was turned into rock somehow. I remember he was sort of a brown color. At the end, he walks into the ocean and the sea water dissolves him. I could have sworn it was called “The Rock Man,” but I can’t find any movie similar to that plot and title. Can someone help?

Thanks!

Scott

UNK SEZ: Thanks Scott! I’m probably wrong on this but I keep seeing 1966’s IT with RODDY McDOWALL in my mind’s eye. It doesn’t quite fit your description but it’s got a brown rock golem guy in it and I’m pretty sure at the end he takes a dip in the ocean. I’m just guessing so if any of our readers have any other ideas please do let us know! The trailer for IT is below…

→ 2 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Traumafession:: Unk on Count Iblis & War of the Gods

August 24th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

I’ve probably mentioned before that I enjoy movies and shows that take place in a snowy setting. I’m only half kidding when I say that I believe they allow my eyeballs to air condition the inside of my head. Recently (while waiting for that slow poke CURTAINS DVD to arrive!) I decided that I’d get a quick snow fix by taking in the BATTLESTER GALACTICA (original series) episode “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero” because the only thing better than an ice planet is an ice planet with a robot dog running around on it. I know it’s really just a chimp in a costume but that hardly makes it any less adorable, unless of course, you think about how it was probably no fun for the chimp, who I hope was at least handsomely paid with bananas. Anyway, while watching this snowy episode I began to remember that there was another GALACTICA episode that kinda freaked me out as a kid and so I skipped ahead and watched that episode right afterward. It’s called “War of the Gods” and like “Ice Planet,” it’s a hearty two-parter, though alas it’s sadly snow free and low on chimps.

In this episode a bunch of pilots go missing so our intrepid heroes Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba investigate a planet that looks like California filmed in infrared. There they discover a massive crashed ship and an imposing fellow named Count Iblis who speaks in a grandiose manner and has a shifty glint in his eye. They take him back to the Galactica and that’s where he really starts acting smarmy, telling everybody what they want to hear, making huge promises to all who will listen and even putting the moves on Sheba who is easily half his age.

Perhaps due to having recently experienced an epic holocaust that nearly wiped out the entire human race that was caused by one duplicitous dude’s flimflam, Apollo’s not exactly itching to buy the space equivalent of swampland in Florida. He goes back to the planet they found Iblis on to investigate the wreckage further and is followed by Starbuck and Sheba and a pissed off-Iblis. What Apollo finds in the ship’s mangled debris is never shown but it’s obviously damning evidence against smooth taking Iblis who is particularly loath to have Sheba learn his true colors.

As Apollo begins to out Iblis with other names that he is known to go by, including “Prince of Darkness,” Iblis decides maybe he’ll just kill Sheba to shut him up and curse Apollo’s conscience forever. As he shoots some kind of magic death ray out of his hand towards Sheba, Apollo being Apollo jumps in front of it to save her and is killed himself (What!?!). Seeing his buddy dead throws Starbuck into a heart-wrenching rage that still makes me verklempt and he begins wildly blasting at Iblis and the gunfire reveals Iblis’ real face and it’s a pig face. Yep, a demonic pig face. The effect hasn’t held up very well but neither have I, so I guess we’re even.

Back as a kid in the seventies, I had much to worry about. Would I get that Lego set I wanted for Christmas? (Nope). Would I be good at sports? (Nope). Would I excel at school? (Nope). Was my awkwardness a phase that I’d grow out of? (Nope). Would I become possessed by the Devil? (Still pending). It sounds pretty dumb now but back then Satan was ubiquitous and inescapable and looking back it didn’t help matters that those I looked up to and believed in made it pretty clear he was a valid concern. I remembered feeling somewhat betrayed, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was where I went to get away from such worries. Satanic phantoms were for horror movies and Sunday school; what were they doing here on my favorite show?

Kid-me needn’t to have gotten so wigged out though, as this episode really knows how to clean up a mess; by the time the end credits rolled I was able to jump into bed with no worries. Starbuck and Sheba put Apollo’s dead (Still, what!?!) body in a shuttle and began their sad journey back to Galactica and on the way there, they encounter what looks like a giant sparkling chandelier that welcomes them aboard and bleaches all their clothes a pristine white. The place is crawling with calmingly mellow angel/aliens who are super wise and considerate and very open about not being big fans of Iblis.

They show Starbuck and Sheba Apollo’s dead body and Sheba starts to loose it because she figured what transpired had to be a nightmare. The kindly angel people tell her that she’s the one who was meant to be pushing up daisies on account of her being bamboozled and ask her if she would trade her life for his (Oh no, now I’m getting all verklempt again). Sheba and Starbuck are both like, “Hells yea! We’d switch places with Apollo in a heartbeat because he’s so awesome and we love him.” And so the angels bring Apollo back to life and they don’t even make the other two drop dead as payment because it’s like WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and they just wanted to test them to see if they were assholes or not. So everything works out great, the aliens erase the entire incident from everybody’s head so that nobody has to deal with the ramifications and then to be extra friendly, they shove the coordinates of Earth in their noggins instead. So basically, bite it, Count Iblis.

Look at me trying to sound flip when in actuality I was riveted the entire time and sincerely moved. The tale of good vs. evil, of the temptation to sell out what you value for shortcuts and empty promises and learning that only through selflessness can you regain all that you’ve lost must be as old as the hills but maybe there’s a reason for that. People can say whatever they want about this show, that it’s corny or too kid friendly or too reliant on special effects and is overall simplistic when compared to the more complex re-imaging but simply seeing the expression of awe and gratitude on Sheba’s face when Apollo is resurrected is enough for me.

We sometimes (i.e., always and especially lately) live in a terrible, frightening world. There are plenty of secret pig faces (e.g., politicians, religious leaders) selling pie in the sky dreams if only you hand over your humanity. But as any chandelier worth its crystal can tell you, it’s really our bonds with each other that matter. So again I must say bite it, Count Iblis, you wretched pig face. But I should add that actual pigs are nice and by many accounts as smart as dogs. I’m going vegan or at least I’m not buying a bacon bowl anytime soon.

Note: There’s another trauma lurking inside this trauma, a memory of an even younger me having to go a couple doors down to a strange family’s house to memorize Bible verse and being paid in useless colored ribbons for my efforts. The head of the household was a motorcycle enthusiast (and a cop?) and a poster hung on the wall of their garage depicting a guy on a cycle saying something like, “So what if I’m a male chauvinist pig?” and yes, you guessed it, he had a pig’s face. It was a very disturbing image and frankly these people’s entire house smelt funny and why am I not surprised my parents were fine with leaving me in the care of total (and strange smelling) strangers as long as it meant my being out of their way for a while? I swear anybody who survived being a kid in the seventies deserves a reward and not a useless colored ribbon either. Maybe a Lego set.

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Traumafession:: Writergirrrrl on the poster art for It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive

August 22nd, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

My mother worked at a video store when I was still in the single digits and some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days I spent hanging out with her at work. I used to spend hours perusing the horror section, silently daring myself to turn the boxes over and look at the gory stills on the back. My mom did the ordering and I absolutely lived for the days she would bring home Manhattan phone book sized catalogs full of poster art. The one that has always lodged most firmly in my brain was It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive , with the bassinet on a tropical beach and that twisted claw reaching out. It drives me crazy that I never managed to see that movie!

The movie snobs of the world look down on us horror junkies. They dismiss horror films, especially the slashers, as cheap, derivative and brainless. And many of them are. But what most people don’t realize is that there are memories attached to these films for a lot of us. My mother loves telling me the story of how she way staying up with my grandfather when he was dying of lung cancer and he woke from his heavily medicated state to catch her watching John Carpenter‘s version of The Thing. He cussed her out in French (my grandparents were Canadian) for watching something so disgusting, but wound up staying awake to finish it with her. So, yeah, many – if not most – horror movies are gross and dumb, especially the recent ones. But every once in a while you come across a good one, one that makes you leave a light on when you go to bed and run back from the bathroom like when you were a kid. Sometimes it’s not even the whole movie, just one scene or a particular image.

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Name That Trauma:: Suzanne D. on a Submerged Crane Quarry Monster

August 21st, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Okay, I’ve got one for you that’s been driving me crazy for years. I think it may have originally been a Disney movie, back when Disney wasn’t afraid of going to the darkside from time to time. It had to come from the early ’80s, based on when I remember seeing it. The plot involved a monster living in the bottom of a water-filled quarry. All I really remember about this, other than the fact that it really scared me as a kid, was that the monster turned out to be a crane (of the mechanical type, not the bird). I know the lead character was a little boy. My warped memory keeps turning the kid into Barrett Oliver, even though I know it wasn’t him. If you or any of your followers could ID this film for me, I would be most grateful. I’ve been trying to remember for over twenty years and I just can’t come up with a title!

Thanks!

UNK SEZ: Thanks for writing in, Suzanne. I do believe that I’ve found what you are looking for. It stars E.T.‘s Henry Thomas and was released in 1986. It’s known as FROG DREAMING in its native Australia, THE GO-KIDS in the United Kingdom and here in the states it went by THE QUEST. I’m happy to tell you that it’s available on YouTube so you can revisit your kindertrauma below!

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Traumafession:: Melody M. on a Drowning on Drugs PSA

August 19th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I’ve noticed a lot of PSA-trauma sharing lately, and I wanted to get in on it and share the one that scared me the most as a kid.

This one here:

The idea of drowning in your own bedroom just completely terrified me. I had nightmares about that happening for weeks after I saw this.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Senski on a Seat Belt Public Service Announcement

August 18th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Well, it’s been over two years since I posted about two PSAs that left an indelible mark upon my wee psyche but they stubbornly remain unearthed. I’ve since found some internet confirmation on the former’s creepiness, with one additional detail; a solemn narrator who repeatedly intoned, “Someone left their keys in the car…” So to spur your readers into digging once again on my behalf, I offer this PSA from the same period (I swear this and the joyriding one would often air in succession) that is sublimely eerie – and to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared on Kindertrauma!

The stentorian tones of Jack Webb take a whole minute (doesn’t that seem long today?) to warn viewers of the dangers of forgetting to use seat belts while driving. Some unsettling flutter-cut editing flashes forward to revealing the painful consequences for three negligent drivers – I always expected the guy on the beach to be shown in a casket – but it’s the sound effect that pushes this one into trauma territory for me. It’s a tympani roll, but one that’s cut off in mid-crescendo and not allowed to naturally trail off. Even the best percussionist couldn’t recreate this tone, and by pulling the plug on the roll, it stops the viewer short. Not unlike a car crash…

Judging from the comments this has received on YouTube, it seems to have made the same impression on others of my era. And that lady was so nice to brew a pot of coffee for us; so sad what happened to her..

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