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Alien Abduction Triple Feature:: Intruders (1992), Progeny (1998) & Visitors of the Night (1995)

May 11th, 2014 · 5 Comments

I remember years back talking to a friend on the phone in my old apartment. We were yacking about creepy things you shouldn’t yack about if you don’t want to get the creeps. Suddenly all the lights went out and I stood in blackness. The phone spit out some garbled non-language that couldn’t be the voice of my friend and then went dead. I couldn’t see a foot in front of me but I could hear loud multiple foot stomps pounding down the staircase outside my door. “This is it,” I thought. They’re coming for me and this is the end.” How did I forget that this was going to happen eventually?

Then the lights went back on. It was just some citywide blackout. Nothing was happening. There was nobody in the hall. What was all that stomping though? There’s only one apartment above me and the floor-quaking racket I heard sounded like a dozen bulls charging down the stairs. It was nothing to worry about. I called back my friend and joked through the sticky paranoia. The thing I couldn’t shake was how my quickly my mind traveled from alpha to omega and the weird sense that the world disappearing beneath my feet was something inevitable that part of me was secretly resigned to or prepared for. I went to bed that night knowing that with the drop of a hat my sense of security could vanish and that Crazy Town was just a curtain drop away. Maybe I can better explain the episode by comparing it to a terrifying dream that when recounted, sounds terrifically lame.

Anyway the above non-incident returned to my brain while I was watching the 1992 alien abduction miniseries INTRUDERS. Anyone who has seen FIRE IN THE SKY (1993) can tell you just how scary alien abduction can be but this movie has something even more unsettling. I’m talking about faceless dudes who disguise themselves as telephone repairmen (!) and have no problem walking through walls. These guys get under my skin because rather than fly in ships, they just skip through dimensions and probably pal around with the likes of THE MOTHMAN.

I’m just saying if I get abducted, I’d prefer a straight forward U.F.O. deal complete with large-eyed, skinny grey beings over that weird reality warping jive where there are no rules or boundaries and you’re likely to find out your whole existence is fake and part of some experiment and you don’t even have a body and are just a brain in a box somewhere being fed nonsense through an electrode. If something like that is going on, I don’t want to know about it. Furthermore if any extraterrestrial shape-shifting shadow creature out there is thinking about enlightening me with trippy COMMUNION-style mind-fuckery in which I have to talk to a doppelganger of myself wearing a magician’s outfit they should stand warned that I will simply cover my ears with my hands and go “la-la-la”.

Let’s change the subject. INTRUDERS is extra special because it was directed by the undisputed super king of wonderfulness, DAN CURTIS, who enriched all of our lives with such delights as DARK SHADOWS, THE NIGHT STRANGLER, TRILOGY OF TERROR and the traumadelic BURNT OFFERINGS to name a few. INTRUDERS was originally a miniseries, so it’s a little on the lengthy side but what are you in such a rush for anyway? Stars? You want stars? How’s about some RICHARD (THE EVIL) CRENNA as a crow eating smarty-pants, MARE “BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have had in my entire life” WINNINGHAM as a convincing abductee and MONKEY SHINES’ own JASON BEGHE as a guy who is not a quadriplegic and doesn’t have a monkey nurse that’s in love with him. You also get ALAN AUTRY who played a cop in HOUSE and SUSAN BLAKELY of MY MOM’S A WEREWOLF fame. Remember that one? With RUTH BUZZI? It’s practically TEEN WITCH 2- so good.

Because it takes place in the ancient days of 1992, INTRUDERS is chuck full of psychological mumbo jumbo like hypnotic regression therapy and the theory that folks dream up alien abductions to cloak repressed memories of sexual molestation. Remarkably, it tries to get away with switching gears near the end and painting the entities as good natured and kind even after we have witnessed them raping, stealing babies and shoving painful metal objects up people’s noses for three hours. I’m sorry but nice creatures don’t steal you from your bed, drug you, shove who knows what into you and then dump you like trash thirty miles away from your home, forcing you to do a walk of shame in your pajamas.

INTRUDERS is kind of all over the place but CURTIS knows how to create a dark creep-tastic off-kilter scene when he wants to. There’s one bit that finds MARE’s character remembering an early encounter from her youth. It’s all gauzy and dream like and ends shockingly with a scowling mutant alien hybrid kid turning to face her. It’s alarming as only CURTIS could pull it off (sort of like the ending of the “Bobby” segment of DEAD OF NIGHT) and I stand shocked that nobody has ever sent in a Traumafession for it. No, I wasn’t bowled over by the entire affair, as there’s one too many cliché ridden “open your mind” diatribes but there are at least a half dozen successful scenes that will make your house seem darker than you remember.

Not soon after INVADERS was done I realized that I had to re-watch 1998’s PROGENY. This is a movie directed by the sometimes brilliant BRIAN YUZNA (SOCIETY) and written by his frequent cohort STUART GORDON (RE-ANIMATOR). It seems like most folks hate or dismiss this flick but I can’t resist saluting its colorful freak flag. Due to its subject matter it’s easy to poke fun of but its never not entertaining and that’s good enough for me. I realize normal genre fans will not be equally over the moon over the idea of COMMUNION’s LINDSY CROUSE (!) playing a psychiatrist or THE MUMMY’s ARNOLD VOSLOO rampaging against invisible people in his boxers but certainly THE THING’s WILFRED BRIMLEY as a gynecologist and CHILD’S PLAY’s BRAD DORIF as a nerdy U.F.O expert sweeten the deal.

PROGENY is an alien abduction version of ROSEMARY’S BABY that is a perfect mate to INVADERS as it touches many of the same bases including forced impregnation, baby swiping and shoving metallic objects up people’s noses that self destruct when you remove and attempt to analyze them. It’s far-fetched, cartoony and histrionic (VOSLOO is like RAY MILAND on steroids and that’s a compliment) but let’s give it credit for braving toward gooey uncomfortable places that many a dry alien flick avoids. This is no way as thought provoking as YUZNA’s SOCIETY yet it’s somehow more consistent and feels a little more complete.

Like YUZNA’s INITIATION (aka SNDN 4), it sort of plays like CRONENBERG for dummies and yay on that. YUZNA returns to collaborate with wildly creative make up effects artist SCREAMING MAD GEORGE and that’s good news too. The alien beings depicted here have translucent, white flesh that reminds me of spring rolls and twisty tubular forms that are like ugly balloon animals made from condoms. At one point there is an abduction flashback that contains an awesome giant LOVECRAFT-ian super monster and it’s wonderfully laughable and horrifying at the same time. This may be the sillier side of abduction but its sweet lunacy tastes great after INVADERS.

Let’s do one more! How about a LIFETIME movie called VISITORS OF THE NIGHT from 1995? This one stars everybody’s dream date MARKIE “the mullet” POST, PET SEMATARY’s trustworthy DALE MIDKIFF, PONTYPOOL’s scarecrow- faced STEPHEN McHATTIE and singer of the international smash hit “lollipops & gummy bearsCANDACE CAMERON. This was a semi-facetious watch for me that totally paid off in that it features an evil Christmas tree with impeccably placed glowing eyes and worse, a devious grin (perhaps only myself and anyone crazy enough to trip on acid while watching a MARKIE POST movie will catch this subtle feature).

This is an evil Christmas tree! Please tell me you see the face!

This last slice might be my favorite but only because I watched it the most recently. It’s noteworthy because it concerns not only man vs. alien but mom vs. teen! Sadly it gets super duper schmaltzy toward the end and acts like a LIFETIME dog whistle howling about a mother’s love knowing no bounds. In doing so though, it kind of reveals the key to all three movies and how they’re all really about people feeling powerless and worrying about the fact that they have zero ability to insure the safety of those they love. I’m not saying I don’t believe in U.F.O stuff, just that after watching these three flicks back-to-back ,I wonder if the real fear trying to be expressed is the fear of doctors, hospitals, operations and faceless authoritarians that can snatch you away at any time. I’m going to have to look further into that. Suffice to say all three of these movies involved childhood trauma, lost time and elusive memories of some sort so they are ever so welcome here.

If you’ve been abducted recently or simply like watching other people being abducted while sitting safely on your couch this triple feature is for you! Check ‘em out before they disappear like an alien implant under investigation!

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · Telenasties

Five Hidden Hulu Horror Gems

May 4th, 2014 · 6 Comments

Today’s picks are all available to stream for free on HULU. I’m not sure if HULU is available everywhere so if you don’t get HULU, seek out these flicks anyway. HULU is pretty annoying. You gotta deal with commercials, pathetic attempts to convince you to upgrade to HULU-plus and the generally loud and unappealing look of the joint. It’s like the place is lit with industrial florescent lights. Have I mentioned I loathe the color white more than hydrangeas? Who cares because they have FREE movies and we’re all about that! Here are five flicks that deserve your attention.


I took this one out from the library a while back (support your local library!) and now I’m so glad I can share this find via HULU. The only reason I wanted to see this was because of THE INNKEEPERSSARA PAXTON but I ended up liking everybody in it and digging it more than I expected. It’s about three strangers who inexplicably find themselves lost in the woods. I was all convinced I was being set up for ye old “We’re already dead!” routine but ENTER NOWHERE has a whole other batch of tricks up its sleeve. There’s a very interesting TWILIGHT ZONE vibe going on here and I found the limited setting and the eventual camaraderie between the characters highly enjoyable. PAXTON is predictably charming, KATHERINE WATERSON is genuine and convincing and SCOTT EASTWOOD is exactly the right level of handsome to get away with clunky acting every one in a while. The camera loves him like it loved his pa CLINT circa THE BEGUILED, and that goes a long way. ENTER NOWHERE is so story and character driven that it could easily work as a stage play and I’d put it up along with THE DARK HOURS (2005) and DEAD END (2003) as a worthwhile head-trippy independent keeper.


This one was recommended to me a while back (review HERE). It was something I could have very easily passed over and I’m so thankful I didn’t. You’d never know it but ISOLATION is an engaging, wonderfully slimy monster movie.

TESIS (1996)

Released the same year as SCREAM, TESIS did not make anywhere near a comparable impact but it’s amazing what a better predictor it is of themes that are popular in horror today. It’s also interesting to consider it predates THE RING and BLAIR WITCH with its preoccupation with VHS/found-footage horror. Director ALEJANDRO AMENABAR would go on to deliver OPEN YOUR EYES and the hit THE OTHERS, but the darkest road he has traveled remains this quietly influential debut.


I have quite the love/hate relationship with this movie (full review HERE.) As much as I refuse to outright like it, here I am still thinking about it. I don’t get it. It’s very possible that this movie just has some real, undiluted crazy in it and therefore I shall never truly be capable of fully scraping it off of my shoe. It may be more fun to think about than it is to actually watch but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


We previously covered this one in our SEVEN FROM THE SEVENTIES post. I love me some seaside horror and this movie has the coolest seventies clothes, deliciously grisly death scenes and plenty of fog infused atmosphere. The original story comes courtesy of GEORGE BAXT who’s responsible for another favorite I can always count on to put me in the desired creepy mood, CITY OF THE DEAD (1960). This is a must see but you might want to wait till its dark out to get the full effect.

Hope you guys enjoy these and try not to let those pesky commercials ruin the fun!

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing Suggestion :: Darkko on Abby (1974)

April 27th, 2014 · 5 Comments

Abby (1974) starts with a group of students talking to Dr. Williams, who is an expert on the deity of chaos and trickery, Eshu. Soon to be leaving for Nigeria on an archeological expedition, his students give him a sweet silver cross necklace as a going away gift.

While exploring caves, they find a box with a carving on it. More specifically, it’s Eshu with an erection. I can’t be sure, but as they struggle with how to open it, I think they end up twisting the wooden boner. Dr. Williams exclaims, “Yes, of course!”

The box is opened, dust flies everywhere, and there are several demon cut away flashes of what looks like a female Hulk (Lou Ferrigno style).

Eshu proceeds to make an instantaneous cross continental journey back to good ole’ Louisville, Kentucky to wreck havoc on Dr. William’s daughter-in-law (Abby) and extended family! What follows is a passive aggressive possession of Abby and her violent sexual adventures. I mean, why didn’t Eshu just go after Dr. Williams and his team in Nigeria? When Reverend Emit (Abby’s husband) calls Dr. Williams to tell him what’s going down, Dr. Williams takes a stab at logic and thinks it’s because Abby is overwhelmed by, “All the Church and community activities.” At one point, Abby feels like some kind of Saturday Night Fever/Exorcist splice up. Disco/funk music plays in the background as Abby alternates between being horny and picking up guys in a bar, to violently tossing these same guys across the room while laughing maniacally.

The cornucopia of expletives that flows forth from possessed Abby’s mouth is reason enough to watch this film! As Abby says, “Killing is too much fun!”

Warner Bros. sued the filmmakers and won for copyright infringement of The Exorcist(1973). Abby was actually removed from theaters in 1974 and did not resurface again until 2004!! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Offerings (1989)

April 13th, 2014 · 4 Comments

What does OFFERINGS (1989) have against me? I was not even able to finish it the first time I tried to watch it back somewhere in that missing decade. I am forever searching for that elusive hidden classic and I doubt I was too far into OFFERINGS before I realized it wasn’t classic and should probably stay hid. Its title evaporated in my head but it left all this stupid debris anyway. Sometimes I’d wonder to myself, “What was that movie with the terrifyingly hideous orange wallpaper?” or “What was that stupid movie that had that poorly executed bit about kids eating pizza with human flesh on it thinking it was sausage?” or “What the heck was that boring movie with the strange cake eating parents who laugh maniacally while watching cartoons?” In all cases the answer was the same; gosh darn OFFERINGS. This was before KT so it wasn’t like I could write up a Name That Trauma and Googling “hideous orange wallpaper” would get me nowhere. Plus there was the fact that I had absolutely no desire to watch whatever movie it was again to consider. That really curtailed the search.

Then again, dipping my psychological pigtails in ink is a great way for a crap-tastic movie to endear itself to me and it’s not as if my sensibilities have not nose-dived towards the bottom of the barrel lately. OFFERINGS is terrible and rather hypnotically so. It’s like watching a dozen HALLOWEEN rip offs in one sitting because it goes on forever and whatever trance everybody in this movie is in, is highly contagious. Let’s face it too that at the end of the day I’d rather see something atrociously flawed than something all Hollywood-sanitized and pruned of all character. It’s my curse.

Here’s an example of why OFFERINGS is maddeningly stuck in my craw. One scene finds our dazed heroine preparing dog food for the family pooch. Her front door bell rings and so she goes to answer it carrying a full spoon of dog food because who has time to put a spoon down? At the door is her friend who sees the spoon sporting an unidentified substance and then bends down and eats whatever it may be and is alarmed to find that she has just eaten dog food. Who does that? And more importantly why am I so fascinated by the idea that somebody out there at one point thought human beings might behave this way. I will give points for the line, “Serves you right!” which is the spoon girl’s response to her friend’s insane actions because truer words have never been spoken. There are dozens more inexplicable occurrences in this guesstimated 9-hour long movie but I should really just let them go and move on with what is left of my squandered existence.

Maybe you shouldn’t watch it. Maybe you should just put it on and do something else while listening to its wonderfully shameless rip-off score. It’s up to you. All I know is that I found it on YouTube with a better picture than I recall and spectacularly enhanced with spicy Spanish subtitles! Yay! It’s called OFFERINGS because the killer leaves random body parts like ears and noses behind as gifts. If it was up to me though, I would have titled it THE HOUSE WITH THE SCREAMING WALLPAPER.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: The Addiction (1995)

March 30th, 2014 · 3 Comments

The other night I found myself jonesing for some ABEL FERRARA. He does that thing where he makes movies about stuff he’s actually interested in rather than crap that panders to lame-o’s. I love when people do that. It reminds me of art! Our pal has plenty of masterpieces under his belt. DRILLER KILLER, MS. 45, KING OF NEW YORK…aces all. But do you know the movie of his I hold closest to my heart? Why it’s THE ADDICTION.

You should not be surprised by that because it stars LILI TAYLOR, is shot in black and white and is so morose it makes Eeyore look like RICHARD SIMMONS. It’s my favorite vampire flick besides THE HUNGER. Lots of folks tell me it’s an allegory for drug addiction but I think that’s only one casket at this mass funeral. FERRARA gets all up into humanity’s addiction to evil and he’s not afraid to point an accusing finger at the victims who stand back and allow or even invite evil to occur. I can understand this movie not being for everyone, it goes a little overboard with the quoting of philosophers and there are a few scenes that are truly barking mad. I don’t care though, because that’s what gives this strange movie is singular personality. In any case you have to witness CHRISTOPHER WALKEN’s delivery of the line, “You know nothing!” and the bit where TAYLOR, confronted by an image of Christ on a pamphlet, goes mega beserker equating goodness with slavery ripping off her clothes and screaming, “I will not submit!” Plus it’s chock full of New York night life and mid-nineties rap. Who isn’t craving some “I Wanna Get High” from CYPRUS HILL? You’re lying. Watch THE ADDICTION below, it’s regrettably not on DVD at least not in these parts.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Don’t Open The Door!

March 23rd, 2014 · 10 Comments

Now I get it! DON’T OPEN THE DOOR is on my list of films I always fish for on YouTube and always fail to catch. Then the other night, there it was just staring me in the face like it was there all along claiming to have been posted more than a year ago. How is that possible? Turns out I have been searching for it with the year 1975 attached while the YouTube video says 1974. I guess that’s why it never got stuck in my net. Well, IMDb agrees with ‘74, I have no idea where I got ‘75 from and to make matters muddier the actual film sports ‘79 in its opening credits. Are we talking when it was made or when it was released? I’m confused enough to stop pretending that I have any concept of time in the first place. The important thing is that I got to see this movie again! DON’T OPEN THE DOOR was directed by the always interesting independent filmmaker S.F. BROWNRIGG whose first film DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (1973) haunted late night airwaves throughout my youth. I had seen DOOR once before on VHS and although the entire film hadn’t rocked my world, I was wowed by its climax which took place in a lighthouse-like crow’s nest cupola complete with colored glass windows. It stuck in my head.

But how did I forget the film’s opening credits? How? It consists of an assortment of creepy dolls standing in a black void and it is the swellest thing ever. Maybe I blocked it out because I wasn’t cool enough to appreciate the awesomeness yet. That must be it. Oh geez, I wasn’t ready for any of this movie back then! That was before I realized that the best plot in the world concerns a young lady returning to her childhood home where she once witnessed a parent being murdered. Why are movies ever about anything else? It also doesn’t hurt that our main lady (SUSAN BRACKEN) acts like a cross between NAOMI WATTS in MULHOLLAND DRIVE and a petulant LINDA BLAIR or that the entire film looks like the grooviest candy-coated art flick that CINDY SHERMAN forgot to make. I’m probably not the best person to speak on the subject of feminism because my favorite Spice Girl is Baby Spice (I know Sporty has better pipes but did she attempt an awesome ode to Carol Anne from POLTERGEIST?), but somebody really should write a term paper about how every menacing man in this movie tries to get our heroine to bend to their will only to get a full blast of her nuclear ire instead. Sure, madness is her only reward and that’s the same resigning towel THE YELLOW WALLPAPER threw in.

What on Earth am I talking about? I should say that there is a legitimate swampy ten minutes of redundancy that you have to drag yourself through to get to the glorious denouement but don’t cry during that part, just use that opportunity to make yourself a tuna fish sandwich. Put pickles on it, that’s what I did. If your refrigerator does not offer pickles, push it out the door and buy a new one.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Bloodrage (1979) Presented By Crafty Pants Carol

March 16th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Today we have an especially special rarity thanks to our good pal Crafty Pants Carol! It’s Bloodrage (1979) (not to be confused with that OTHER BLOOD RAGE from 1987). It’s directed by JOSEPH ZITO, the underappreciated dude who brought us THE PROWLER and FRIDAY THE 13th PART 4: THE ALMOST ENDING. It’s about a misanthropic ne’er-do-well who finds himself killing hookers so you might want to ask yourself, “Do I mind movies in which many prostitutes are killed?” before you watch it. Personally, I think hookers are fascinating and should not be murdered but I also take into account that the psychopath in this movie works at a YOO HOO bottling plant and I can’t honestly say how my own brain would handle that. I might quit before I killed a hooker but who knows, maybe not. The most important thing is that this movie is filmed in New York in the late seventies and it’s totally worth it for the seedy atmosphere and all the mesmerizing secondary characters that inhabit its raunchy halls. That reminds me, I’m sad to say a nice non-hooker doggy also gets killed which I wasn’t happy about but thankfully a cute kitten poster is prominently displayed in many scenes to balance out that atrocity.

Also windows! So many creepy windows! At the risk of sounding like a peeping Tom, I think windows in movies are the coolest things ever because it’s like a frame within a frame. While the viewer is watching the screen, the character is watching the window and its like some kooky mirror effect like you’re trapped inside a M.C. ESCHER print on some stoner art student’s dorm room wall. Anyway, I love this movie! It stinks on some level because it’s partially ramshackle and clearly some important scenes were never filmed and we just have to deal with dialogue band-aids to hold the thing together but then again, it has a very convincing nihilistic flavor that would make it snuggly bedfellows with HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER , CANNIBAL MAN & THE KILLING KIND. I’m not proud to enjoy a movie with such a high dead hooker quotient (yeah, right) and yet I must acknowledge the fact that BLOOD RAGE is a success in expressing a completely horrific and dismal atmosphere and there’s no better time or place to capture it than when and where it does. I’m also allowing it extra points for making me want a HEAVEN CAN WAIT poster because I don’t even like that movie.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Streaming Alert:: What Are Friends For? (1980)

March 12th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Sorry, I gotta make myself scarce for a bit! We have a guest coming to the Kindertrauma Kastle and that means I have to clean (remove bodies), do the wash (scrub out the blood stains) and hunt down my copy of THE ABC AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL: WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? Everybody who stays in this dwelling must watch this masterpiece as it is the unofficial training film for dealing with yours truly. If you can’t handle the friendship stylings of Michelle Mudd (DANA HILL), then I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. Oh, cool! It looks like WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? is available on the portal to hell known as YouTube! Yay. Read my old review HERE and watch the lamentable happenings below, otherwise you’re not a very good friend!


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Tags: After-School Trauma · Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert!

Sunday Viewing:: Quiet Cool Presented By Darkko

March 9th, 2014 · 7 Comments

Hi! This is “Darkko.”

I searched your site and did not see anything for Quiet Cool. It’s a fairly violent revenge-with-a-buddy type of deal. It’s so bad it’s actually entertaining. Basically, some psychotic pot farming guys think it’s best they slaughter anyone who lays eyes on their precious marijuana. The main guy and his buddy exchange many long, questionable looks with each other! Hahaha…
It’s available to watch on youtube…

UNK SEZ: Thanks a zillion Darrko! I was just wondering the other day why I keep the KT fires burning when I only get paid negative 10 cents an hour and after nearly seven years of diligent service I have yet to win a Pulitzer (I know!). But then I remembered it’s because I love movies so much that it is not even remotely funny. Point is, I would have never seen this one without your kind help and that would have been a real shame and I’m so glad that KT provides me with a place to share titles with fine folks like yourself. QUIET COOL is so awesome that I do believe the ghost of PATRICK SWAYZE watched it with me.

Now, if any of you other peeps know of a good movie that’s viewable online in full, please do feel free to write in to kindertrauma@gmail.com and if it’s not too inappropriate we’ll share your recommendation with the rest of the class on a future Sunday! How QUIET COOL is that?

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Viewing:: Picture Mommy Dead (1966)

March 2nd, 2014 · 2 Comments

Every couple months or so I check YouTube to see if anybody has uploaded PICTURE MOMMY DEAD (1966) which has eluded me for years. I once neglected to buy the VHS at a used store and clearly the film held a grudge and was playing hard to get. Happily my saint-like patience finally paid off and PICTURE MOMMY DEAD appeared before me and looking mighty good I might add! I’m glad I didn’t pick up that ratty old tape that surely was wearing washed out colors and a shroud of static. This movie needs to be crunchy not fuzzy! I put my DONNA WILKES marathon on temporary hold and dived in at once. I wasn’t even through the opening credits before I decided that PICTURE MOMMY DEAD is my new favorite thing that ever existed and I was bound to be obsessed for days before some other cinematic chippy came strutting around. Holy crap, it looks like a box of candy! I had that thing were I started fantasizing about eating the movie. This movie would taste delicious! It’s all pastels and gold and ornate and fizzy and now I want to listen to that ABC album “The lexicon of Love.” This movie was filmed in a real mansion and has ZSA ZSA GABOR in it for Pete’s sake! Maybe this will be all too frilly for some horror fans but I think the relentless onslaught of prissiness creates a counter intuitive hellish atmosphere all its own. Diabetics beware.

PICTURE MOMMY DEAD is irresistible because it brings home the crazy and fries it up in a baroque, gold-plated pan. SUSAN GORDON (who’s father is incidentally the director of this fine flick, BERT I. GORDON, who also blessed our world with the tonally opposite FOOD OF THE GODS) plays Jan Brady-level crazy Susan Shelly. Our Susan has just spent some time in a convent that doubles as an insane asylum because she witnessed her mother’s tragic death by fire and was so traumatized that she blocked the whole thing out of her head! Am I salivating as I type this? She comes back home to her luxurious estate with her father (DON AMECHE!) and his new wife who is Susan’s ex-governess; a sneaky moneygrubber named Francene (MARTHA HYER). Turns out, if Susan looses her marbles or should happen to die her inheritance will go to her father, who could really use it because Francene has expensive tastes and has already spent his share of the dough! All right. I’m not really into inheritance drama but I am really into accusing dolls that sing, “The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out”, menacing stuffed animals, attacking falcons, paintings that bleed and or yell at you and giant-sized lurking groundskeepers with scars on their faces (Not necessarily in that order). Oh, and ZSA ZSA freakin’ GABORas a flaming ghost!

I hate to use the word “camp” because it sounds dismissive and yet it’s kind of unavoidable here. This is 1966 though and we should remember that folks acted like hysterical lunatics in most movies back then not just in low-budget horror flicks. Obviously everything was done here sincerely and not as a joke but it is funny– especially if you imagine the characters have no idea how insane they sound and are actually trapped in a surreally overstated melodramatic dimension they can’t escape. And I love the heavy-handed mommy and daddy issues; it’s rather like a powder puff version of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME without all the awesome kills. In any case, the scene were the dolls begin to harass crazy Susan is now one of my favorite scenes in all of moviedom. I’m not kidding! It’s like three minutes of pure grade-A Kindertrauma. I almost overdosed! And as a matter of fact, this movie gave me crazy dreams. Any movie that can grant me trippy dreams can picture itself a pal of mine for life.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming