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Traumafession:: Reader Tomb on a Howl of a Haunted House Haircut

October 29th, 2014 · No Comments

Burlingame, California has a great legacy of terror. Why, did you know that it’s where Shirley Jackson spent her formative years? Well let me tell you about my own spook house experience.

I didn’t know I was in for.

Ahh, Halloween, I’m pretty sure it was 1972. I was in the first grade and got a cheap-ass Ben Cooper Devil costume … sans pitchfork, but it’s all good! Before the high-tech boom, the (SF Bay Area) peninsula was just another region with its share of derelict homes. And what happens to a derelict home during Halloween? Back then a charity group turns it into a Haunted House!! YEEAAH!! I didn’t know all if this of course; my six year-old brain thought that this was a REAL haunted house and it was on display for the public. I’m sure my older brothers helped me reinforce this belief. Maybe I’ll see Casper, Booberry y’know.

There it was, perched on the corner of El Camino and Broadway across from the ol’ Phillips 66; some old two-story is all I remember. I could smell the candy apples and other treats wafting from the back concession area. I was hypnotized by the white rope used by the usher before entry, it was glowing under a black light! In we go. We immediately go up a narrow stairway turn, turn, 2nd floor. First thing was the face inside a crystal ball, interesting but not scary. Down the hall was some witch scene or something medieval. By this time I realized this isn’t a real haunted house, this is more like “Frontier Village.” OK turn the corner… oh it’s a barber, with his back to the crowd, cutting some unknown guys hair behind a chair. Then it happened. In unison the chair turned around and the barber showed his face and growled! He was a WEREWOLF! And his customer was a mutilated corpse! It was a jolt of pure terror! I let out this high pitch shriek!

It must have been pretty terrifying because my memory erased the rest of the attraction. My next recollection was my brother, being the obnoxious punk that he was (and still is, ahem) throwing candy at someone in the concession area. I didn’t care, I felt like a survivor. And candy always cheered me up.

The terror’s not over yet! The following Sunday after Halloween, my sister and I had to walk to late mass at Our Lady of Angels. And guess what’s along the way? The Haunted House! every step I took brought me closer to that sepulchral lodging! And it was already dark! Upon arriving I saw a bunch of older kids were tearing up the place since it was going to be demolished anyway. So I felt pretty safe, just as long as I didn’t go in! My sister, pulling my arm, seeing all the fun being had with the destruction, said, “Let’s go in!” There was no way, and I pulled back with all my might. At that moment some kid in the ticket booth right next to us made a big roar and shook a piece of torn-up grass. That was it, my sister got the message, she knew I wasn’t up for it!

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Tags: Traumafessions

Trauma Identified:: Popcornmonster on Up From the Depths

October 20th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Hello Kindertrauma! It’s Popcornmonster.

I recently had a very Kindertrauma-esque moment I would like to share. A little background and then I’ll explain the solution to the mystery.

When I was five years old, so this would have been around Summer of 1979, I vaguely remember playing with a friend who lived a few houses away. We were in the basement of his house and a puddle had formed on the floor from the washing machine. We starting pretending it was a lake. Then my friend started telling me about some new movie where the people can’t go in the water because the water comes alive and eats the people. Some time later, we were walking past the TV and the trailer was playing for the film. My friend pointed it out to me and said that was the movie he was talking about.

Fast-forward thirty-five years. Long time horror fan and filmmaker myself now. But I’ve never known what that scary movie was. I knew it wasn’t Jaws or Piranha. The time period doesn’t match up and I knew what Jaws was. So a few nights back I was watching Machete Maidens on Netflix. It’s a documentary about how cheap it was to make exploitation films in the Philippines during the late 60s through the early 80s. When suddenly they played a trailer for a film. I immediately recognized that trailer from that dusty old memory and now I had a title to go with it. A title that IMDb verified with the June 1979 release date. The film was “Up From the Depths“, which now I realize was a title that sat under my nose all these years. The poster artwork was a familiar site in the old video stores but I never bothered to see the film. Until last night.

It’s one of the dopier Jaws clones of the late 70s. They even managed to copy the mayor from Jaws with an arrogant idiot resort owner that refuses to heed the danger. The goofy kill scenes all look like the actors flopping around in a pool while someone bubbled red dye around them.

Ultimately it’s a dumb movie but now it holds a place in my memory for being “that movie”.

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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Mickster on Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldanda Story

October 7th, 2014 · 4 Comments

This past summer, I was waiting for a couple to come pick up my old sofa and love seat they had bought. In my boredom, I started scanning the options on YouTube to kill the time. I stumbled upon Victims for Victims and decided to watch it. I know I watched Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story when it originally aired back in November of 1984, but I must have blocked out the intensity of a key scene in the movie. It was not long before the previously mentioned intense scene appeared. The scene lasted no longer than 2 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I felt like a helpless onlooker as the stalker stabbed Ms. Saldana repeatedly. It made me sick to see that people just stood by as she was screaming, “He’s killing me! He’s killing me!” without lifting a hand to help her. I imagine some of the people were in a state of shock, but there were tons of people just watching it happen.

Thankfully, a man delivering water sprang into action, and stopped the attacker. Once the waterman stopped the would-be murderer, Ms. Saldana stumbled back to her apartment in a harrowing point of view shot. It is uncomfortable, to say the least, to hear Theresa struggle for air as she arrived at her apartment door, while her husband, played by Adrian Zmed, looked on in horror. No wonder my little thirteen-year-old mind blocked out this horrific scene! Just writing about it now is giving me chill bumps! Watch the scene here if you dare, but remember, you cannot un-see it!

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Derek S. on Stand By Me (1986)

October 6th, 2014 · 2 Comments

As a child, I was scared of most things. I had nightmares regularly as well as sleepless nights due to them. One movie had the biggest effect on me however, giving me nightmares for almost a month after seeing it. Sadly, that movie wasn’t a movie intended to scare anyone despite it being based on a Stephen King story. That movie? STAND BY ME.

Yes, the coming of age story involving a group of friends in search of a dead body was a weekend VHS rental that my dad picked up while my mom had to take a trip out of town. It was a movie about kids getting into trouble, so my dad didn’t think it would be an issue despite the R rating. And for the most part, he was right.

I enjoyed the story of Gordie, Vern, Teddy and Chris trying to search out that thing they’ve not seen before, their troubles with Kiefer Sutherland and his crew, even the junkyard dog. I absolutely thought the tale of the barforama was hilarious despite being an easy vomiter myself. The scene that took it over the edge though was when the boys were in the water and realize that they are set upon by leeches, ending with Gordie passing out after removing a bloody leech from his underwear area.

Leeches haunted me for weeks afterward whenever I closed my eyes. Had dreams of them coming after me, like hungry vampires. My parents tried everything to get me over them, even explaining how leeches used to be used by doctors to clean wounds. Eventually the fear faded. Getting over that fear though helped me overcome others and turned me into the horror nut that I am now.

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Cutla54 on The New York Ripper

September 20th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Hey guys! Love the website, been a fan for years. It certainly helps me get through the work day!

Aside from answering a few of the Friday Funhouses (cutla54) I’ve never posted anything or emailed you guys before. After my recent discovery, I just had to share this…

When I was about 4-5 years old, I remember seeing a scene in a movie that scared me for life. My parents, sister and myself used to go camping on the weekends at a campground during the summer (my parents owned a trailer, this wasn’t tent camping). One night my folks were at the neighbors playing cribbage when the other neighbor’s boys stopped by with a tape to watch. The boys were, I don’t remember exactly, probably between 7-12 years older than me (maybe less than that) and my sister is 10 years older than I am. Anyways, I don’t remember much else about what happened, all I vividly remember was walking into the front of the trailer from the back where they were watching the movie, scarfing down sour cream and onion potato chips, and I saw it: a woman laying naked on a bed, there was a hand cutting her with some kind of knife. All of a sudden, the knife approached her forehead, down her eyebrow, and into her eye. The last thing I remember is projectile vomiting the chips all over the trailer with my sister holding a frying pan under me trying to catch what she could.

Not long after that incident, I remember seeing Jaws (which I was hooked, no traumatizers there) and I have pretty much been a horror fan since I was 5-6 years old (I’m 32 now). Over the years I watched numerous horror movies and never came across that scene again. It always stayed burnt in the back of my head. To this day, anything to do with the eyes make me squeamish. If I see someone screwing around with their contacts, I turn away. When someone has a popped blood vessel, I can’t look at them. Any pictures of the whole eye, I can’t do. Hell, I don’t even think I ate sour cream chips again till I was 18. Even though that scene stayed with me, I never really put in a huge effort to locate it (just laziness and well, that thing called life gets in the way sometimes).

To make a long story longer, I was on Facebook a few weeks ago and have many horror movie sites and fan pages on my feed. I clicked on a link for a horror movie quiz. I get half way through when one of the questions shows a picture of a scene and says to guess the movie. Well guess what it was – razor blade through the eye! I don’t remember what the choices were for movies, but of the 4, I knew it wasn’t 3 of them, which narrowed it down to one movie (which I’m sure you already figured out by now): The New York Ripper. Went home, went on YouTube, and saw something I hadn’t seen in 25 years and never thought I would figure out!

Anyways, I was kinda psyched to finally find that, especially since I am such a horror nut and I knew I just had to share with you fine folks.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, keep up the awesome job with the site, and have an awesome weekend!

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Tags: Traumafessions

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

September 3rd, 2014 · 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!

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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Whitsbrain on The Bullwinkle Show Intro

August 29th, 2014 · 7 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,


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Tags: Traumafessions

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

August 24th, 2014 · 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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Tags: @Unkle_Lancifer · The Seventies mushed my head · Traumafessions

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

August 22nd, 2014 · 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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Tags: Traumafessions

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

August 19th, 2014 · 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.

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Tags: Traumafessions