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Name That Trauma:: Paul K. on a Tortured Family and a Television Trap

April 5th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

This happened when I was living in northern Minnesota during the ’70s to the early ’80s. We had 4 tv stations to choose from. I turned the channel to PBS and watched something strange. A dad, mom, boy and girl sat like crash-test dummies unmoving at a table. The room they sat in (maybe a kitchen) had very little in it. A prompt would come up saying something like “wind”. A giant wind storm would blow through the room as the family just sat there and took it.  Another prompt would come up like “quake”. The room would reset itself as if the wind storm never happened. The quake would shake everything out of place but when the next prompt came up everything would be back in its place. This would go on for many prompts. The only time the room didn’t reset was after the prompt “sand”. A foot of sand blew into the room and stayed there even after other prompts. It was almost like I was watching an immobile family subjected to various torturous conditions that were removed after each testing except for the sand.  This might have been from 30 to 60 minutes long.  That is all I know.

I also remember something on PBS during the same time period where a young good guy gets transmitted inside a TV by a young bad guy. The good guy pounds on the TV’s glass screen. The good guy’s girlfriend risks getting stuck inside the TV trying to save him but is able to get the good guy out. She traps the bad guy in the TV and they leave him in there fearfully pounding on the glass screen.  It isn’t John Ritter’s film “STAY TUNED“. That too is all I know.

I hope my memory is correct and I hope you can help.  The bad guy stuck in the TV had extreme fear and made the good guys look amoral.

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

April 3rd, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 24 Comments

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

March 27th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 16 Comments

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In Memoriam:: Stuart Gordon 1947-2020

March 26th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

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Name That Trauma:: Amanda Z. on a Madman’s Torture Tunnel

March 26th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

Hey there and thank you for reading!

This has been driving me mad for thirty years. I caught a brief moment in a movie when I was very young, and all I can remember about it is that there was a madman who was murdering people in various ridiculously complicated ways (sort of like The Abominable Doctor Phibes) and one way was to force a person through a small tunnel or a hole or something. I think the contraption was set up like a model train table and a conveyor took the person along a track where they were compressed or pushed through this hole.

This would have been on network TV some time in the early 1970s. Could have been a TV show, or a movie shown on TV. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific. I caught just enough of it to flip out, at which point my parents sent me back to bed. Does this ring any bells? Even remotely? Thanks in advance for your help. 

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Traumafession:: G.G.G. on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

March 25th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

Like a lot of city kids, I would get shipped out to my grandparents’ house in the suburbs for a week or two each summer, supposedly to give me an appreciation of grass, trees and fresh air. The candy was terrible, the plastic covers on the furniture annoyingly sticky in the heat, and the rules regarding “guest” towels and soap labyrinthine. The one glorious redeeming feature in all of this? The finished basement had a huge color TV, my grandfather’s state of the art VHS, and a pile of tapes that would do a Blockbuster proud.

Bored on a rainy day and rooting for something to watch, I pulled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre out of the pile, since it was obviously something scary, and even 8 year old me loved horror above all. I had a steady diet of midnight B movies, Twilight Zone reruns, and silly slashers like Chopping Mall. I could TOTALLY handle this.

All of 3 minutes later, I bolted upstairs and hung on to a very bewildered cocker spaniel mix for dear life as my whole concept of terrifying rearranged itself. I didn’t watch the rest of the film for several decades. It didn’t have quite the same power, but I had twenty plus years to learn more sophisticated ways of torturing myself.

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

March 20th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 13 Comments

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Traumafession:: Rob M. on a Classic PSA

March 17th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Probably my greatest trauma happened every day just before the ten o’clock news. I grew up in the late 70’s/80’s in the NYC suburbs. During this time, there was a lot of real life horror (Stranger Danger, Toxic Tylenol, Satanic Panic, Son of Sam, child abductions, AIDS, Drugs, Cold War etc). But I digress… imagine being in this environment and unexpectedly before every ten o’clock news intro… a still motion shot of a lone child riding a bike on a deserted side street illuminated by a street lamp. Then comes the voice over -> “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?” The person who provided the voiceover was the great Lou Steele. He was known as “The Creep” btw. I’d have to run out of the room every time it came on. The reason it scared me was because of the images it conjured in my head. “Does this person know something?” “Geez, kids are getting snapped up left and right”. “Why do parents need to be reminded to check on their children?” And ultimately reminded me of the infamous “Have you checked the children?” from When a Stranger Calls. The spot, the voiceover and the current social climate all made this a fearful moment of my youth. They later added another spot at 7pm which asked the question “Have you hugged your child today?” That also felt kind of creepy too… just the idea that parents needed a reminder.

Thanks,
Rob

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

March 13th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 9 Comments

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The Invisible Man (2020)

March 11th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Remember when I was telling you a while back that I brought my friend who was going through a salty divorce to see BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019) hoping she’d find it cathartic but instead she found it silly and was left questioning my taste in cinema? Well, I’ve redeemed myself by taking the same troubled gal-pal to go see THE INVISIBLE MAN which left her all riled up, scrappy and pleasantly pissed off. Don’t worry, even though THE INVISIBLE MAN could be accused of overtly allegorizing timely #metoo grievances, I think anyone who has struggled with a bully, psychological abuse or a general lack of having their perceptions taken seriously is bound to relate. Writer/director LEIGH (UPGRADE) WHANNELL does a herculean job of breathing new relevant life into one of UNIVERSAL’s least potent (imo) classic monsters and the end result is an undeniable success. Of course, I could have used a tad more clarity when it came to addressing who was feeding and caretaking a certain family pet who is left alone for long periods of time but that’s my issue. I’m just going to assume rich people always have a bevy of employees we never see and let it go (Note: I’m still wondering what happened to Deckard’s faithful pooch in BLADE RUNNER 2049 and I may forever).

ELIZABETH MOSS delivers a raw, fearless performance as Cecilia Kass, a woman who finds death itself is not enough to keep her controlling psychotic stalker boyfriend at bay. You see, it looks like Cecilia’s tormentor may have faked his own demise and (thanks to his deep pockets and optical expertise) has figured out a way to make his presence imperceptible to the naked eye. The gas-lighting goon doesn’t mind sabotaging her career, trashing her relationships and painting her as a short-fused, child-abusing lunatic. MOSS gets to burn bright as a cornered victim with nothing left to lose swinging from pathetic to ferocious without breaking a sweat; her multileveled, virtuoso execution pretty much puts most recent Oscar nominees to shame and it’s too bad it’ll likely go unheralded. It doesn’t hurt that MOSS’s Cecilia is surrounded by equally compelling characters, from the kindly father/daughter team that take her in that you hate to see endangered (ALDIS HODGE and STORM REID) to her tough as nails sister Emily (HARRIET DRYER) who you can’t blame for being immensely skeptic. Even her ex’s slimy weasel brother (MICHAEL DORMAN) is perfectly despicable and a great joy to see taken down a few pegs.

Besides sharing DNA with your standard “blank from hell” nineties thriller and your favorite made-for-TV woman in peril flick, a large chunk of THE INVISIBLE MAN reminded me of good old CANDYMAN (sans the romance). The two films do somewhat mirror (!) each other in the way that the female leads are put through the wringer, wrongfully committed and left holding the bag, accused of their phantom’s murders. No spoilers, but in both cases escape and redemption are only possible by adapting their menace’s skills and becoming a righteous variation of the monster (I’d even say that both are sorta subversive superhero origin stories at heart). It’s really been a long time since I’ve experienced a film with such a rousing and satisfying conclusion. Clever, compact and refreshingly to the point- this sleek sci-fi/horror/thriller hybrid like THE THING, THE FLY & INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS before it; joins an all too tiny club of relevant remakes that are equal to or even surpass their source material. What can I say? There’s no better way to put it, THE INVISIBLE MAN is a must-see, simple as that.

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