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The Conjuring 2 (2016)

June 17th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

I was walking on air after seeing JAMES WANS’ THE CONJURING 2. It’s pretty much every thing I want in a horror movie. My persnickety brain tried to come up with a valid grievance but it was doused a couple scenes later and had more to do with my trying to jump ahead of the story than any flaw of the film. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a masterwork that proves without a doubt that horror movies can be meaningful and emotionally rewarding without losing any of their power to scare and thrill. I think it’s a giant step forward out of the genre’s typical arrested development swamp but even those who are ONLY interested in chalking up frights will be hard pressed to find something to grouse about. Furthermore, it’s a sterling defense for the value of sequels because the viewer’s relationship with the characters is all that much deeper having withstood such a rewarding (albeit dubiously accurate to the nth degree) ordeal with them once before.

Speaking of, I have to say, the chemistry between PATRICK WILSON and VERA FARMIGA as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the married paranormal investigating team that anchors the series is all kinds of phenomenal. Seriously, somebody should be casting them in a remake of BRINGING UP BABY because they spark like CARY GRANT and KATHERINE HEPBURN in this. It makes me sad I no longer work in a video store because I would have so loved to have answered the question “Can you recommend an epic romance?’ with “Sure, THE CONJURING 2”. There’s a scene where WILSON picks up a guitar and sings “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” to FARMIGA and it’s like watching cinematic gold being spun- and let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t mind blowing my nose in the sleeve of my Pac Man t-shirt. It’s transcendent, plain and simple and I wonder if many horror fans even know they deserve such a beautiful thing every once in a while. Geez, they really need to put out a music video of it so that I could watch it over and over again.

Anyway, there I was getting all ready to break through my writer’s apathy and gush about this monument to everything the genre should aspire to when news about the Orlando gay club shooting massacre hit and knocked the wind right out of me. There was no way I could think about a movie. In fact, every time I went online and saw that people were still hen squawking about summer sales and recent acquisitions, I pretty much had to self-eject myself out of fear of having to return Aunt John’s computer with a vomit soaked keyboard. Actually, the less said about the mental zone I found myself in, the better. I’m not proud of the thoughts in my head and the things that were going through my mind. It’s one thing to be rightfully angry and it’s another thing to dissect every word spoken or not spoken until you’re no longer capable of distinguishing friend from foe. I may have even responded to a friend who greeted me with a smile in a guttural possession voice worthy of the film we’re speaking of. “Don’t you know what’s going on??!!” Not proud of that.

Hey, we all grieve and process things differently and you never know what extra hurdles are in another person’s path. Once you start condemning other people’s responses more than the original tragedy though, you can be pretty sure you’re running in the wrong direction. I feel guilty for not voicing my outrage louder and yet I never want to become the type of person whose first reaction to something so heinous is to view it as grist for the social media mill. Plus I’m pretty sure I would have said something I would have regretted. I know that because I’ve already deleted about ten paragraphs here for too clearly revealing my tenuous mental state and I usually only have to delete about two. Anyway, kudos to all of those who determinately focused on the 49 lives lost rather than themselves or the selfie-prone sewer sludge that committed the atrocity.

Needless to say I’m still stunned and reassembling but the more I think about THE CONJURING 2 the more I find it both fortifying and apropos. Not for nothing, the film opens at the Amityville house; a joint world renown for being the location of multiple murders of unarmed innocents by a weak minded lunatic happy to blame anyone other than the douchebag in the mirror holding the gun. It’s a marvel how the opening’s ferociousness (not to mention jaw dropping attention to detail) surpasses every film in the AMITYVILLE franchise (with possible exception of my beloved PART 2: THE POSSESSION) put together and in such a brief amount of time. If you want me to buy WHEATIES, I’d advise you to put JAMES WAN on the box. The guy is unstoppable.

Fittingly in the basement there is indeed an ancient instigating presence viciously fanning the flames and hiding its malicious intent behind the cloaking costume of religion. Personally I’m weary of any and all religions but I find the way THE CONJURING 2 presents its faith surprisingly palatable. While the dark threat uses religion as a mask to hide its manipulations our stalwart heroes arm themselves with their love for each other and utilize religion as a sort of magnifying amplifier of that love. Ed even tells the beast, “I don’t care what you believe.” It’s not a matter of theology; it’s not a matter of debate or willpower, Ed need only look at his wife to verify an undeniable powerful force. In case you didn’t know, this is how many gay (LGBTQ) people feel towards their loved ones. Against wrathful voices, they have no choice but to walk toward that energy. It’s inarguable and yes, it’s very different than the feeling that guides you towards hate. Trust me, I’m familiar with both.

One of many reverberating scenes takes place on a swing set between Lorraine and Janet (MADISON WOLFE), the child who the bullying darkness has singled out and gravitated towards (by the way, VERA FARMIGA is impeccable and between this and her soulful performance on the last season of BATES MOTEL, all I want to do is fan her in awe with a palm leaf). Lorraine shares with Janet that she knows exactly what it feels to have her threatening experiences disbelieved and to be ostracized for being different. I can’t quote it verbatim but she also includes a mentoring reminder that the depressive, self-hating feelings the incidents left her with are exactly the feelings that the demon feeds and thrives upon and that she must fight against them. A similar sentiment is later echoed when Ed advises her siblings how to best respond to the beast that wishes to divide and destroy them. He compares the attacks to the schoolyard bullying they are all too familiar with and advises them to react in exactly the same way; that it is their duty to stand up for each other as a family and that they have a greater strength as a galvanized whole. Truth.

So if you ever catch yourself thinking it’s a bad idea to see a horror movie after your soul has been through the wringer, don’t be so sure. In some cases a horror flick can provide you with just the rallying inspiration you need. That’s the power of art and that’s the value of creating rather than destroying. I’ll have to exclude myself from the list of people who did not succumb to the darkness after America’s latest mass shooting. It’s very possible I myself may have been possessed for a while. To fully escape my personal tar pit I had to return to the lessons of the film one last time. The slithering, misleading demon in THE CONJURING 2 had one chink in its armor, one scale missing in its dragon skin. Knowing its correct, true name and speaking it aloud was its one vulnerability. I happen to know exactly the name of the demon that snuffed out 49 lives at an Orlando Florida gay bar on Latino night. That monster has one name and that name is Hate. Don’t let it fool you and don’t let it win.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Caution: I break for geniuses! · General Horror · My own personal Jesus

13 Slashoween Word Search!

June 3rd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Howdy, critters! There are 13 slasher movie titles in the stew below. Can you find all 13? The titles are in the comment section if ya need some help. Good luck!

→ 4 CommentsTags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Name That Trauma:: Nathaniel S. on a Salt Despising Alien

June 2nd, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

Hello Kindertrauma!

Once when I was younger, I was watching an older movie (70s, 80s possibly?) that was rerunning on TV. I don’t remember much from it, except for this one part that scared the absolute crap out of me. In this scene, a preteen boy and a weird puffy, baggy, yellowish brown alien were sitting in a diner. Something or another happened with salt, and the alien started freaking the fuck out, screaming, and the lights started exploding. The details are extremely fuzzy, but all I can describe it as is an even scarier Mac N Me. If you all have any idea what this movie is called, I would love to watch it in its entirety.

Thank you, Nathaniel

UNK SEZ: An Alien that doesn’t like salt? That doesn’t sound like NUKIE (watch HERE), that creature from my favorite episode of MST3K, THE POD PEOPLE (watch HERE) or even Turkish aliens BADI (HERE) or HOMOTI (HERE). I’m stumped but I’m sure one of learned readers will know. In the meantime, I’ll be watching my long lost pal Spewey below….

→ 1 CommentTags: Name That Trauma!

Happy Memorial Day!

May 30th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

UNK SEZ: Happy Memorial Day to all! My apologies that things have been so quiet around here as of late, but sadly my dear computer has died and gone to computer heaven (or hell). I can use your Aunt John’s but it’s kinda like borrowing a bathing suit or a pair of glasses; it’s just not the same. Plus let’s face it, a blog post and dollar bill won’t buy ya a cup of coffee these days. Don’t worry we’ll be back to bother you soon enough. In the meantime, go on outside and enjoy some semi fresh air! Eat a popsicle!

→ 4 CommentsTags: Holidays

Halloween is the Word Funhouse Puzzle

May 20th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

UNK SEZ: There are ten differences between the image above and the image below. Can you identify all ten differences? Good luck!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Name That Trauma:: Kathryn O. on a Force-feed Tube Attack

May 17th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

Hey y’all!

My boyfriend has been asking me what movie this is and I just can’t figure it out. He says in it a guy is hooked up to a bunch of tubes and makes another guy drink some of the stuff from one of the tubes. My boyfriend thinks it was one of the House movies, but I haven’t seen any of them in so many years that I can’t remember. Can anyone verify what movie this is for me?

Thanks a bunch!

-Kathryn

UNK SEZ: This sounds familiar but I’m stumped! Maybe one of our knowledgeable readers can help! Big thanks to TOM BURMAN’s ’s MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS for providing today’s bumper graphics!

→ 6 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Friday the 13th Match Up Game!

May 13th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

Here we have 20 people from the first 10 Friday the 13th movies. There are two folks from each flick . Can you match the two that belong together and name which movie they appear in?

And Please donate to FOCLOF (Friends of Crystal Lake’s Orphaned Felines)!

→ 5 CommentsTags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Name That Trauma:: Larry R. on a Shocking Fire Safety Commercial

May 12th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Hey Kindertrauma-

In the mid to late 70’s there was a fire safety commercial warning about the hazards of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. It featured a woman holding a photo of herself over her face talking about the fire and how her husband died because of it. I think she says, “ He was the lucky one”. Afterward, she pulls the picture away from her face to show that she was disfigured and burned in the fire. I remember it being very shocking and unexpected. Does this (exist) anywhere? Does anyone else remember it?

Thanks!

UNK SEZ: Boy, does that sound familiar, Larry! Kindertrauma and fire safety commercials sure seem to go hand in hand! I surely recall THIS ONE HERE which seems to feature my very own Winnie-the-Pooh doll taking a suicidal leap into flames! Hey, all of this fire safety talk has me thinking of 1966’s creep-tastic PICTURE MOMMY DEAD (REVIEW HERE)! I say let’s grab some images from the ol’ chestnut to decorate this post and then let’s watch the extra crispy, well-done flick below!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Name That Trauma:: Eddie L. on a Well, an Axe and a Pair of Cracked Glasses

May 11th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

I’ve been trying to recall this movie that scared the crap out of me as a kid, if I’m not mistaken it begins with a house being shot up with rapid gunfire and the camera pans to a pair of crackled glasses on a table and there’s a scene with a well (I think it’s of huge significance to the plot) and maybe an ax? It may be b/w or partially b/w? I’ve seen it several times in the seventies late at night but that’s all I can recall? I came across your website in the oddest way but I was so glad to find it, I figured if nothing else I could watch all the movies listed LOL. I’m desperate, I would love to put a name with his movie which has stood out in my memory all these years even though vague!

Thanks!

UNK SEZ: I sadly don’t know the answer to this NTT but I do know the unrelated bumper images were kindly provided by 1978’s THE ALIEN FACTOR which can be viewed in its stunning entirety below!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

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

May 4th, 2016 by unkle lancifer · 3 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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→ 3 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!