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Traumafession:: Father of Tears on Deckard Versus Pris in Blade Runner

December 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Blade Runner” as a childhood trauma? Considering how I was introduced to it yes! Way back in the early 1980s at the age of 15 I was channel surfing while watching TV. When I got to HBO I stumbled upon the scene in “Blade Runner” where Deckard confronted Pris. Deckard goes into the toy room filled with creepy dolls. When he finds Pris trying to imitate one of the life sized dolls she gets up and attacks him. As she beats him up I’m thinking, “This spike haired crazy lady with the weird makeup is creepy!” She’s screaming the whole time and she even gets him in a “standing headlock” with her legs. When she twisted his head and body around I thought she twisted just his head! Pris then temporally lets him go she decides to run at him to finish him off…..while doing gymnastic flips! While she’s in mid-flip Deckard gets his gun and shoots her in the abdomen. Now this is the part that REALLY had me creeped out: Pris lands on her back and she violently, and rapidly, pounds her fists and feet on the floor while she’s screaming her head off. Quite an unnerving thing to stumble upon!

Oh, this isn’t the first time I was “introduced” to a movie via seeing a traumatic death scene. Can you say “Heavenly Creatures“?

FatherofTears

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Traumafession:: Eric D. on Wolfman (1979) and Hugo’s Video Store

December 15th, 2014 · 2 Comments

I was a child in the early 90’s and there were two things I loved; werewolves and the video store. A combination which got along together like peanut butter and jelly. Werewolves had been my favorite monster since I had been shown The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. by my father. The other side of this match made in horror heaven, the video store was where I acquired my love of film and indulged my imagination.

In short, the video store was my salvation. I loved everything about it, going there and seeing all the strange box covers promising entry into a strange, fantastic and often terrifying world where all the rules and limitations of mundane reality no longer applied. Werewolves, vampires, unstoppable indestructible undead maniacs and monsters of every description were not only very much real but out to get you; you were in their world now. It was simply the biggest thrill in my life. The first video store that I ever frequented was Hugo’s video store.

It was a small independent operation run by none other than the man himself, the eponymous; Hugo. The place had wooden shelves upon which sat all the box covers. I was compulsively drawn to the horror section because I adored the genre more than any other due to an early introduction given me by my father of all the old Universal Monster movies of the 1930’s and 40’s. Now one box in particular stood out and scared me, positively sent shivers down my spine. It featured a werewolf with what appeared to be bluish-blackish hair, an off white or light tan dress shirt, bearing his fangs and staring down from the shelf with the most terrifying look my young eyes had ever seen. My heart skipped a beat looking up at that face and made me feel as though my stomach dropped out.

My father rented it for me, I got it home, put the tape into the VCR and by the end, I was captivated, frightened and utterly distraught. It was the saddest movie my young self had ever seen. Many years past, Hugo’s video store packed up and moved to another location in the neighborhood for a short while and then eventually went out of business. Other video stores opened up at the same time as or shortly after Hugo’s and they in turn went defunct as the decade gave way to the millennium and the rise of the internet sounded the death knell of these emporiums of my adolescent phantasmagorical celluloid neuroses.

For years I could not remember the name of the film. Maybe I never knew it. I could only remember bits and pieces of it, certain pictures. A priest walking in the autumn woods, pensively traipsing over orange, yellow and brown leaves. A werewolf pierced by a mystical dagger falling to his death followed by an end credit crawl. I had forgotten the name of the movie but these images stayed with me.

The feeling the movie gave me stayed with me. I tried to find it on the internet but could not. I only remembered the box cover with that face and the ‘Thorn/EMI’ logo I had become familiar with through encounter of it on numerous other films I had rented over the course of many years. Then finally one day a year or two ago, I succeeded in rediscovering for myself this terror archetype long submerged and obscured yet nonetheless looming mightily in my subconscious memory.

There it was staring at me from my luminescent laptop screen opened to Google images. It was a recherche little title from 1979 called “WolfMan“, starring Earl Owensby. Elation took hold of me, I had finally satisfied the nagging question from my youth; “what was that movie called?”. I flew to Ebay immediately and purchased a copy for my collection immediately. The tape arrived in the mail several days later and on a warm summer’s night in the icy cold dark of an air conditioned bedroom, much like the one in my childhood on which I first saw the film, I watched WolfMan.

One thing was different however this time around; the movie was not good. Apparently time and maturity instill in one things lacking in the adolescent; namely taste and discernment. Not to say the movie was entirely without merit nor held any enjoyment, for there is something to be said for the sets and camera work which are quite well done. However, the acting is simply subpar and laughably wooden especially from the star, Mr. Owensby, who also produced the film. The story is typical for a werewolf movie involving a family curse and a tragic love angle, nothing to write home about.

What this did for me was to deepen my appreciation for the wide gulf which exists between the perceptions we have of something as a child or in the form of a memory and the reality of the thing in itself as it actually is when perceived through the lens of adulthood and a sense of discernment. I will always cherish WolfMan for the emotions it stirred in me and the memories I had of it as I experienced it in childhood, but it isn’t a good movie.

I can see why Earl Owensby is not as well known and consequently has not developed the same sort of following as have fellow producers of southern-fried horror such as Charles B. Pierce with his well crafted and thoroughly enjoyable films Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Though this be the case, I don’t think he should go unmentioned entirely as he seems to because despite the lack of quality dialogue and general dullness of his movies, you can tell that Mr. Owensby is truly passionate about film and has had quite a career outside of acting, building a successful film studio in North Carolina and has contributed to movies such as James Cameron‘s The Abyss.


Wolfman by MargaliMorwentari

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Trauma Solved:: RatSawGod on The Little Match Girl

December 11th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Finally. I finally found it. It took almost six years, but I finally found my Little Match Girl.

In December of 2008 you published my original Name That Trauma involving my early 1970’s viewing of an animated version of The Little Match Girl that seriously wrecked my frail childhood psyche. With you published post I got a few helpful suggestions that, unfortunately, all came to dead ends. A few years of poking around the Internet proved fruitless. I was ready to give up the search.

I finally, FINALLY had a solid lead when someone uploaded an incomplete clip to YouTube that featured an animated The Little Match Girl with narration. The narrative sounded like it was another girl telling the tale, but at the end of the clip you see the narrator speaking… and it was a little boy. The clip abruptly ended there. I was floored! A boy! Could this be the version I had been seeking?!

I went back to Amazon.com and redid my movie search. Mercifully, I was able to find a DVD with the exact same boy narrator on the cover. The movie was The World of Hans Christian Andersen from 1971, which was a Japanese animated feature that had been dubbed and re-released here in the states. I ordered the DVD on the spot.

When it finally arrived I sat through the whole damn thing on the edge of my seat (though in truth the movie wound up being pretty terrible), then at the end of the movie came the telling of The Little Match Girl. It seems I had not gotten some of the details right; he’s actually telling the story to a cat and a crying child on the steps of an opera house (hey, I was a few years shy of ten when I originally saw this so give me some credit.) Still, this SEEMED like the version I saw. But I knew I could only be certain if the story ended with the reveal that the boy’s story had captured the attention of a huge crowd on the street.

The tale ended. It cut back to the boy telling the tale. But in this version it is thunderous applause that pulls the boy out of his reverie. And yes, YES YES that applause is revealed to be an enormous crowd on the street that had been listening. Like the intro to the tale I had gotten some of the minor details wrong about the tales conclusion, but I knew, then and there, that THIS was the version I saw as a child.

I actually exploded in tears. I had found it. At long last, I got to see it again.

Despite the fact the whole movie was pretty bad, they actually did a stellar job on The Little Match Girl story itself. It definitely holds up… turns out I also had good taste as a child. Who knew? Heh-heh! Anyway, I uploaded the whole clip to YouTube, which can be viewed HERE. See for yourself.

I wanted to thank Kindertrauma for getting me actively thinking about traumas from my childhood, which had made me more consciously aware of this formative moment from my youth. Even though The Little Match Girl seriously messed childhood self up, its message was so important and formative in making me the man I am today.

Very Appreciatively,

RatSawGod

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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Traumafessions :: Reader Kelley J. on The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978)

November 24th, 2014 · 4 Comments

First of all, I love your website. It’s a walk down a dysfunctional, horror-infused memory lane. I was surprised to see that you haven’t reviewed the late 1970s made-for-TV adaptation of Thomas Tryon’s Harvest Home. It was called “The Dark Secret of Harvest Home” when it aired on the small screen. Bette Davis scared the living hell out of me as the Widow, back in the day. This flick had it all, a secret society, bizarre fertility rituals, an unusual way to guarantee that next year’s corn crop will be a success, murder, suicide and a kind of Stepford Wives mentality among the women of this deceptively peaceful village.

Kelley J.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Kelley! I agree with you, there’s not enough HARVEST HOME around these parts and I too am surprised that we have not covered it more extensively on these pages. I’m just going to place the blame on dopey UNIVERSAL for never properly putting TDSOHH on DVD and for releasing it on VHS only in a highly edited form. Luckily I found the entire miniseries on YouTube. The picture quality is for the birds but it’ll just have to do for now!

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Traumafession:: Casper on Mercedes McCambridge in Two for the Money (1972)

November 22nd, 2014 · 4 Comments

Dear Kindertrauma,

I am writing this trauma on behalf of my father who shared with me a piece from one of his haunting childhood memories. He could not remember the film’s title rather only the singsongy words spoken by the film’s antagonist. With some tireless Googling of what little information he could provide, we finally identified a scene from the 1972 TV movie “Two for The Money” which featured Mercedes McCambridge as a psychotic knife-wielding killer. She shrills out the memorable line “WITH A HEY NONY, NONY, NONY, MEN WERE DECEIVERS EVER, WITH A HEY NONY, NONY”. This stuck with him over the years and still makes the hair stand straight up on his arms.

After identifying the movie and skipping forward to the nightmarish scene which occurs at the end of the film (available on YouTube HERE @ 1:01:00) we searched through McCambridge’s career only to find out she voiced the Demon in “The Exorcist”. What a creepy old bat!

Anyway, I hope that some of you will remember this one and enjoy it just as we have.

HEY NONY, NONY, NONY!

Love,

Casper

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

October 29th, 2014 · 1 Comment

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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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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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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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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