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Name That Trauma:: BFD on a Possessed Doll and a Backwoods Psycho

May 4th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

WITCH POSSESSION MOVIE WITH GIRL WITH DOLL

Around the mid 70s we watched some movie, which was on in the afternoon, concerning some family possessed by a witch or something. The family was very much of the typical wholesome 70s type group, with a husband, wife and little girl and boy. The big thing I remember about this was that the little girl had a rag-type doll. At one point, either the witch, or the girl herself, altered the doll so that it looked evil. This was a sure sign that the witch was present. Also, I think the parents became mean as well, when they fell under the spell. There might have been one of those typical downbeat twist endings to this one, which were common back in the day. But I swear this almost had the feel of an Afterschool Special. To this day I have no idea what this was, even though I have a ton of horror movie books and have not come across it. It might have been a made-for-tv affair, I can’t recall. The one thing I remember was the girl and the doll.

BACKWOODS PSYCHO MOVIE

Ok, I wasn’t a kid when I caught this one on TV, but being a horror fan I would have thought I’d have come across this at some point in all these years. All I remember is a scene where some backwoods psychos capture this girl. They’re not total hicks, however, as they have access to certain medical drugs. One of the killers injects this girl with something and he tells her its a local anesthetic. As a result, she is fully conscious and aware, but is paralyzed as well. The idea is he and his accomplices are going to chop her up or something and she’ll be awake and aware the entire time–a grisly proposition to say the least. There are at least two male villains and maybe even a female accomplice. This all takes place inside an unremarkable interior of a house–no texas chainsaw style weirdo trappings. There was probably some kind of twist ending to this thing (although I can’t recall specifics) and it must have come out in the late 70s/early 80s. It was that business with the local anesthetic that I remember though, as I’ve never before or since seen that plot device used in a horror film. All I know is that it was not “Last House on Dead End Street”, as I’ve seen that movie(thinking it may have been this), and that wouldn’t have been on TV back then anyway.

Sincerely,
BFD

UNK SEZ: The possessed doll movie sounds a bit like my beloved CATHY’S CURSE but if that was the case, you probably would have bumped into it by now. As for the second backwoods psycho title, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about 1990’s marvelous BLOOD SALVAGE featuring ELM STREET’s own JOHN SAXON. If I live to be a hundred I’ll never understand why BLOOD SALVAGE is not more popular among horror fans. It’s such a great flick and it has just about everything going for it except maybe a memorable title. I guess you can lead a horse to YouTube but you can’t make him watch! Hey, look! It’s BLOOD SALVAGE below! I’m Crossing my skeleton fingers that I’m correct but if not, BLOOD SALVAGE is still worth another tip of the hat!

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Traumafessions:: BFD on When Michael Calls, The Deadly Bees and X the Unknown

May 2nd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

WHEN MICHAEL CALLS (1971)

As a kid growing up in the late 60s/early 70s, they actually used to show movies at 6:00 pm on weeknights on regular network TV (channel 21, 27 and 8 in Harrisburg PA). I know, hard to imagine these days. Some of these were horror flicks that scared the crap out of my sisters and I. The all-time biggie was a TV movie that they showed every October titled “When Michael Calls“, starring Ben Gazzara and Michael Douglas. This was fitting as it took place around Halloween. The plot involved a woman who starts getting phone calls from a nephew that disappeared some 20 odd years ago. The guy would be in his 40s or whatever now, but sounds like he did when he ran away. He has a really creepy kid voice and calls her “Auntie-my-Helen”(?). He asks why she hasn’t come to pick him up at school, says its dark out, and other creepy things, which get progressively more sinister. Then people start turning up dead: An elderly relative dies as a result of a bee attack! The Sheriff is strangled and falls from the rafters of a stage, during the school Halloween carnival–right in the middle of the pumpkin contest no less! All of this was very freaky to little kids such as us, but it was those creepy-voiced phone calls that really got you! This made us afraid to answer the phone for a few weeks after!

THE DEADLY BEES (1967)

Sure, the mid 70s was rife with killer bee flicks, i.e. The Swarm, originating from alarmist news stories about killer bees from Africa set to invade the US mere months from now (which they never did, BTW). But the original “bee-movie” was the 1967 The Deadly Bees. The plot involves a Brit pop singer trying to get away from it all on a secluded isle, only to face a horde of hostile bees. This was scary enough for us kids–after all you saw bees every day in the summer (at least you used to). BUT, on or around January of 1975, while my parents and I were busy watching the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, my sisters and their friend were down in our basement watching TV, watching this movie specifically. Lo and behold, some real bees who had infiltrated the basement tile ceiling, and must have chewed a hole in one of the panels, dropped down on top of them during the movie! It was like a William Castle movie for real! They freaked out and came running up the steps screaming for their lives! Even though we’d seen this film a few years before on that ubiquitous 6:00 pm movie, this really, really got to them.

X THE UNKNOWN
A pretty much forgotten Hammer film from the early 50s (which predated The Blob by several years), this B&W SciFi movie scared the crap out of me when I caught it on that aforementioned 6:00 movie. The story revolves around this living radioactive mud that crawls out of a crack in some swampy stretch of land. It seeks out other radioactive materials and absorbs them, growing larger and larger. It also burns anything in it’s path and makes giger counters go crazy with that ticking static sound they make. It leaves and comes back several times, finally attacking a nuclear power plant. However, by this time authorities can track it since its now so big, and they issue a warning to everyone in its path to get out. The big scene occurs when the killer blob is moving through a small village and a everyone takes refuge in a church. Of course, a little kid somehow gets left outside in the panic. As the deadly goo spills over a stone wall in the church yard, the toddler ambles right up to it, ready to be incinerated in seconds. The priest, realizing what’s occurred, dashes out and saves the youngster in the nick of time. The thing that really got me about this movie was, how do you fight living mud that burns up everything it touches? Its not a vampire that can be staked or a big bug that can be destroyed with the military!

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Name That Trauma:: Anon Y. on A Neglected Boy in a Futuristic House

May 1st, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I see that your website helps identify old shows, particularly the creepy kind. Could you guys identify this one for me? It’s an episode of a show of the Twilight Zone/Outer Limits type. I think it’s from the 80s. It’s about a little boy who lives in a large minimalist style house with his mom and dad who ignore him. He takes care of himself, finding his own food somehow in the kitchen that doesn’t have anything that’s good for kids. A man (an angel?) starts showing up and eventually takes the little boy away from the house, rescuing him I suppose. I don’t think the parents ever noticed that the little boy had disappeared. If I remember right, I think that items were disappearing from the house before the little boy was taken away, like his toys and other things he needed or that the parents wouldn’t need when he was gone. I’m not sure about that part, though. I remember it being a very quiet episode, not much dialogue, and the house was very airy, kind of what people in the past would think of as houses of the future — but I don’t know if it was set in the future. I’ve looked for it on Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episode lists and on lists of similar series. I can’t find it. Does anyone know what show and episode this is?

Note: Today’s unrelated bumper images come courtesy of 2008’s fantastic yet highly underrated SPLINTER! Check it out if you have not already because I do believe it’s pretty darn awesome.

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Let’s Go Crazy:: A Shining Prince Tribute

April 29th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don’t like the world you’re living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

You see I called my old lady
For a friendly word
She picked up the phone
Dropped it on the floor
(Ah, ah) is all I heard

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let’s go!

Let’s go crazy
Let’s get nuts
Let’s look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!

We’re all excited
But we don’t know why
Maybe it’s ’cause
We’re all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)
What’s it all for (What’s it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Tell me, are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let’s go!

Let’s go crazy
Let’s get nuts
Look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!

C’mon baby
Let’s get nuts
Yeah
Crazy

Let’s go crazy

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let’s go!
Go crazy

I said let’s go crazy (Go crazy)
Let’s go, let’s go
Go
Let’s go

Dr. Everything’ll be alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children

He’s coming

He’s coming

Coming

Take me away!

FIN

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Name That Trauma:: Buddo on a Giant Claw Weapon Trailer

April 28th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s, only one movie theater in town was allowed to show DISNEY movies, and it was called the Manor Theater. In the 1980’s, it was featured briefly in the Stephen King feature CAT’S EYE, in the sequence where gamblers were laying odds on whether or not a frightened kitty cat could scurry across the street before being squashed by the oncoming downtown traffic.

The Manor was in the shady part of town, which always made it extra exciting when we’d go see DISNEY movies there, especially at night. I recall heading there to see 101 DALMATIANS with my family, and my dad’s sister’s family when it was re-released, and my Aunt Judy decided to sit in the back of the Station Wagon with us kids for some reason. Anyway, she dropped a hankie or something, and assumed it was beneath me, and was digging under my little butt for it until I got irritated and snapped, “Get your fanny out of my finger,” and everyone burst out laughing at my slip of the tongue.

Other than Disney movies, the Manor also showed B-movies on a regular basis, and eventually became the town’s first discount “Dollar Movie,” where my cousin and I last saw CLASH OF THE TITANS during its final run back in the 80’s, when I was a teenager. I recall seeing COMIN’ AT YA! in 3-D with my best friend there, but my strongest memory of the Manor was when I went to see THE ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD there…(well, that, and an Easter Sunday Double Feature of the WITCH MOUNTAIN movies, which we talked the manager into letting us stay to see one more time; oh, what fun it was). Anyway…

Before the DISNEY features began, even before the cartoons they’d sometimes show, the Manor would occasionally regale us kids with trailers for more grown-up fare, which made a trip to that theater all the more provocative for us. Before ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD began, I recall we’d decided to slip up to the balcony of the theater (another big treat for us, because we rarely got to do this), and with our Dip’n Stick candy in hand, we got ready for the show, and some possibly creepy movie trailers.

I do not know the name of the movie the trailer I’m writing about was, but I do know that it was an early 1970’s movie, and it was set in Africa – possibly during the historical time period when the British Army was having regular skirmishes with the Zulu tribes or other natives who rejected their presence. I recall seeing golden plains, a caravan of some sort, and African warriors in full regalia, including exquisite head-dressings, spears, shields, etc. Note that it was not ZULU DAWN, or ZULU! as I am familiar with them, but it had a very similar look. What stood out to me, though, was a close-up of a large weapon with a massive paw with giant claws that was suddenly hoisted into the air — zoomed in on, if I remember correctly – and then it strikes someone below. A woman, I think, who’s skirt has been torn from her in such a way as to expose her leg. As it slashes her leg, it leaves bloody tracks where the claws raised her flesh — and that’s all I remember, other than images of fire, and a battle sequence. Long story short: the trailer both fascinated and horrified me, and I’ve wanted to see that movie ever since… I have no idea if it was a major release, or a B-movie, or what — but I’ve not seen the trailer since I saw ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD from that balcony in the Manor Theater. If anyone can tell me what the name of the movie was, I’s be forever grateful.

BUDDO – A regular here at our favorite childhood haunt.

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Name That Trauma:: Warren F. on a Burnt Faced Boy

April 16th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

Hello,

I’ve written to you before and you added my little archetypal childhood fear on your website. It was titled “confessions by Warren F.“, in it I related the story about a large muppet on “The Ed Sullivan Show” where Jim Henson had a “Gluttonous” huge puppet that ate “it’s own” smaller version of itself… you put this on your website and I thought that was really cool.

I have another memory of a movie where there is a boy who half of his face is “burned” or “mutilated” somehow. His eye on the messed up side is totally white. He is being followed or is leading a man into an area, and it starts to rain. When the rains begin the nearby “Black Boulders” start to absorb the water and to grow into huge columns that start to collapse and the man and the boy have to find safety…. I just wonder if anyone out there can help me with this obviously twisted but true memory?

Note: Today’s bumper images come courtesy of PAUL VERHOEVEN’s 1985 epic FLESH + BLOOD which stars BLADE RUNNER’s RUTGER HAUER and BRION JAMES, the always incredible JENNIFER JAON LEIGH and legendary Kindertrauma role model SUSAN TYRRELL! Check it out if you have not already because obviously it is awesome.

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Name That 1987 Horror Flick!

April 15th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 25 Comments

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Traumafession:: Eric D. on Three on a Meathook

April 14th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

We all know the cliche of the old man giving the “back in my day” rant. I never thought I’d reach the stage where I would be giving one of those rants, but its sad to think that kids don’t really care about film anymore, it doesn’t seem to effect them, so here goes…

I take pride in my love of film-I probably shouldn’t, but I do and in this crumbling, decaying wreck of a world in which we live, film helps to at least partially alleviate the general sense of doom and meaninglessness. Now when I hear people say they love film, I say “yeah? have you suffered for film?”

What I mean is; have you experienced pain and/or humiliation in service of film and used it to strengthen this love?

I have.

I had a ritual which consisted of going to the video store and browsing the shelves, sometimes for hours on end. That was my favorite thing in life. The horror section was naturally my second home and went through the entire selection several times over. I was and am obsessed with film.

I got in trouble for watching Friday the 13th Part 3 when I was a kid, aged no more than 4 or 5. My father had rented it for me and when my mom found out, she got so pissed that she actually smashed the tape right in front of me. That was an embarrassing moment; being marched into the video store, shattered VHS in hand, having to stand there while my mom screamed and cursed at the clerks for having rented it to me and apologizing for having destroyed the tape. They never did replace the tape and every time I conducted my ritual after that and seeing all the other Friday the 13th‘s present and accounted for; I felt like a friend had died.

Another time I got in trouble was when I was caught with the Regal Video VHS clam shell box of Three on a Meathook; which is a little known early entry into the backwoods slasher genre. The cover is pretty hardcore; two (why not three?) scantily clad and bloodied women being menaced by a gloved hand gripping a chain connected to a bloody hook (the blood of woman number 3 perhaps?).

Three on a Meathook is a pretty bad film, but I still enjoy it. It’s also odd as hell; in some ways it’s very much Texas Chainsaw Massacre but pre-dates Texas Chainsaw Massacre by about two years and ratchets up the gore quite a bit from its better known backwoods brother but there are long stretches of frolicking courtship scenes and inane dialogue which are inexcusable and slow it down. These scenes make it perhaps one of the most padded movies ever made. I stuck with it and toughed it out though, because I’m not a quitter.

The plot is very simple, man-child can’t get girl(s) because of bad things which happen to said girl(s) when boy meets them, only boy mysteriously can’t remember what. Or so he is told…turns out, ‘ol dad is the naughty boy who can’t keep his hands off the ladies. Did I also mention that pa is in the “meat business”? seems someone takes eating pussy a little too literally…

The special effects are pretty well done considering the budget and are fairly effective. Given the right setting and mood, the movie can weave its own dream like spell and be quite enjoyable. It’s definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

As is clear, since I was a wee lad I have suffered through quasi-bad as well as outright bad movies, sometimes suffering real life trauma in the process, all in the name of film. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing. So, you say you love film- prove it, what’s your story?

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Name That Trauma:: Bill S. on an Animated Nuclear Terrorist

March 26th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 7 Comments

Okay, I’ve got a hell of a poser for you: way way back in ’74 or ’75, there was an animated TV movie that seemed to center around nuclear terrorism; specifically a group of terrorists using a computer (named – I swear I didn’t imagine this – “Tarzan”), and threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon. I remember being right freaked out by the leader of the group as he sat in their bunker, reading a list of demands, his face – heck, his whole self – covered in what I now know was a nuclear/biological/chemical warfare suit (you know, full face gas mask, hood, gloves etc.) The group and their aims were unclear to my 5-year-old self, but it seemed less political and more cult-like. The culmination was that the bomb did go off, and one of the bad guys (possibly the leader) was thrown or fell out of a helicopter as it flew over the ruined city. I’ve tracked down every weird sci-fi or horror movie I was exposed to back when I was a tyke except for three, and this is one of ’em. The others are a beautiful, almost sketch-art like cartoon about fairies, the other about two kids who travel time after drinking from a fountain in the courtyard of an old mansion.

Anyway, thanks for listening, I hope maybe someone there can be of help.

-Bill S.

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Name That 1986 Horror Flick!

March 25th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 23 Comments

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