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Traumafession:: Ytje V. on The Box of Delights

April 24th, 2014 · 1 Comment

To be honest , I never was that adventurous or courageous when it came to suspenseful and creepy TV series. I got scared easily. My mother probably meant well when she suddenly would change channels because she thought something might upset me. She once even put her hands over my eyes while I was watching a TV show; she thought some monster on the screen might scare me. I think her sudden shrieking and putting her hands over my eyes was more scary than anything that might’ve been on the telly at that very moment.

My parents subscribed to a TV guide. The other magazines my parents subscribed to were too boring to even flip through, so I devoured every issue of the TV guide with gusto.. I must’ve been seven or eight years old when I saw a TV series that I just knew would be great to watch. I persuaded my parents to let me watch it, I even told my friends at school that I was going to watch a great TV show. It would be magic! I would be adventurous for once! I felt great.

The series was called Box of Delights. There is quite some praise for this series, even after its release, some thirty years ago. The story revolves around a magic box, given to a boy by a magician. Dark forces want to get hold of the box, so suspenseful adventure would be duly unfolding, or so I thought.

I didn’t make it through the first episode.

At some point during episode one I realized I got more than I bargained for. Why had I persuaded my parents letting me watch this? Why had I bragged at school?

I knew retreat would be imminent. And I know the exact moment; when ‘Rat’ (a man, made up and costumed as a stinky, skeevy rat) reared its ugly head. I jumped up from the couch, did a spin and buried my head in a couch cushion. I think I cried. I was so disappointed; in myself and in the show that dared to be way too horrifying.

Needless to say I had raging nightmares that night.

In recent years I did try my best to find Box of Delights online. Because the series aired under a different title (original title loosely translated to Dutch) I had a difficult time actually finding it. But when I did, I was delighted.

I can see why Box of Delights scared me, but there are other scenes standing out now, that I find very creepy. The leader with the freaky puppet! Those priests! The fake looking make up on the old magician to make him look aging and wise!

Because I couldn’t find other reviews or confessions deeming Box of Delights scary, I consider myself alone in this.

Well, not all alone. In fact, my sister, who’s four years younger than I, would start crying just by seeing a picture of Rat. There was a picture of Rat in the TV listings, along with the article about Box of Delights. That’s right. I already knew there would be a creepy character somewhere in the series and I still thought I could make it.

My brother would taunt my sister by sneaking up on her and brandishing the TV guide. My mom got so fed up that she took a pair of scissors and cut the picture out. She did this very neatly. Because the week wasn’t done yet, we still needed it.

Here’s the first episode (part one anyway):

I also included a pic of Rat. Man, is that guy creepy!

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Crafty Pants Carol on Bloodrage (1979)

March 31st, 2014 · 4 Comments

Ok so Bloodrage (1979) had a very big impact on me when I first saw it. I was prob about 11 or 12 and when my sister and I would spend the weekend at our cool grandmother’s house she would always let us pick out whatever movies we wanted and then leave us alone with them and go spend the evening ordering things out of a catalogue. I don’t really remember what my sister would pick – but I usually picked a horror movie – and this was one of them. The main things that stuck in my head were the apartments in the movie and the whole 42nd Street atmosphere. And those images have swam around in my head for decades – leading to a near obsession with SRO hotels, NYC and sleazy 42nd street (oh and windows!!!).

But there was also some issues surrounding seeing the movie again that just made it all incredibly mysterious and alluring to me throughout my teens and 20s. I remember years later – when I was in high school – I really wanted to see it again and asked for it in every video store I went to but no one had even heard of it. Then one day I just happened to be in the neighborhood of my grandmother’s old house and went into the video store we rented it from and thought “this is where I got it – they HAVE to at least know about it!” I looked around and didn’t see it on the shelf so I asked for it at the counter and the dude looked at me like I was crazy – which made me want to see it like a thousand times more!!! Like it was some secret movie that no one knew about or would talk about! I think I half heartedly looked for it for the next decade or so -and then about 10 years later in the mid 90s I came across a copy of the VHS at Movie Madness in Portland while I was visiting my mom. I told her about how I had seen it when I was 11 or 12 and how excited I was to find it again and she sat down with me and watched it and about halfway through asked – with a bewildered look on her face “how old were you when you saw this???” And if you’ve checked it out since I uploaded it on youtube you’ll understand why. It’s full of hookers and sex and naked dancing ladies and killing hookers.

I did eventually live in an SRO hotel (just a room with a single bed and small fridge and TV where the bathroom and kitchen were out in the hall) and – big surprise – it was just like living anywhere else. It was even a house arrest hotel with petty thugs roaming the halls – and all I really wound up doing every night after a hard day of being a fry cook in a diner was watching 7th Heaven on crappy cable. I also eventually lived in NYC for a few years – but it was well after the sleazy 42nd street times. It was fun but nothing I’d ever want to do again. But I do still have mild obsessions with those things and sleazy 42nd street in general! It was seared into my brain by Bloodrage!!

And eventually I found a copy of the VHS on ebay and finally got it transferred to DVD so I could actually watch it again and then I forwarded the VHS on to the only person I know who both has a working VHS player and would appreciate the movie as the bizarro classic I think it is – Uncle Lancifer.

It’s actually still really hard to find too! It never shows up on youtube. So I’m proud to be the purveyor of filth and sleaze that is Bloodrage for anyone who’s interested.

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Bdwilcox on a Co-Worker’s Son Of Blob Kitten Calamity

March 20th, 2014 · 3 Comments

If we accept the notion that kindness begets kindness, I suppose the adverse is true: trauma begets trauma. For example, upon hearing the expertly solved traumafession of my coworker Al*, another co-worker, Ben, shared his own traumafession.

When Ben was a wee lad, an unaffected youth, an unsullied stripling, little did he know that an innocent TV session would lead to a psychic wound whose scar has lasted well into adulthood. As Ben recounted this visual abomination, his eyes looked into the distance as if reliving that moment of terror, that feeling of isolation a child feels when witnessing pure horror. Like a pilgrim cleansing himself of past sins, Ben hesitantly recalled the imagery that had indelibly burned itself into his psyche.

It was a B-movie, a sub-par sequel that was more spoof than horror but, nonetheless, Beware! The Blob contains a scene that has scarred multiple generations of moviegoers. Sure, it had people devoured and digested left and right by a giant amoeba; this is traumatic enough by itself. But nothing, NOTHING, compares to that bastard blob’s ingestion of a tiny, defenseless kitten. NOTHING!

The image of the tiny, curious kitten pawing at the amorphous blob was truly dreadful. But the imagery that Ben recalled (with much trepidation) was the blob escaping out the window with the kitten ensconced within its gelatinous mass and only its tiny tail still visible. Could there be anything more evil than a blob that eats kittens? Cute, roley-poley, bobble-headed kittens who like to play with balls of yarn? Adorable fuzz-balls that attack your feet under the covers and chase the occasional house spider? Purring little poppets that flop over and snooze at the drop of a dime? Damn you blob! Damn you! Eat me instead! Leave the kittens alone!

But I digress. After Ben told us of his hidden trauma** and his catharsis was complete, I asked him if I could share this soul-searing imagery with the wider Kindertrauma audience and he kindly said yes. Thanks, Ben!

* Thanks, Kindertrauma! BTW, that’s Quatermass…without the “r”.

** Still less traumatic than cat juggling, though.

-bdwilcox

UNK SEZ: Thanks for spreading the trauma Bdwilcox and thanks for the traumafession co-worker Ben! Hey, look! I found SON OF BLOB (AKA BEWARE THE BLOB!) in full, hanging out on the Youtube! I was just going to post the trailer but it’s far better to watch the whole kitten Kaboodle!

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Traumafession:: Elizabeth M. on Red, White & Blue

March 13th, 2014 · 3 Comments

First, let me open by saying I’m a huge fan of horror, and have been since I was 13. Some of my favourite films are ones some people regard as too disturbing to watch more than once – Martyrs, Inside, etc – so you know I’m no wuss.

About a month ago I watched Simon Rumley‘s ‘Red, White & Blue‘. The director had previously made ‘The Living and the Dead‘ starring (the now, sadly, late) Roger Lloyd Pack, who readers might know from UK TV’s ‘Only Fools & Horses‘. He delivers a sterling performance too. Now, if I’d have KNOWN the same director was responsible for ‘Red, White & Blue‘, I probably wouldn’t have bought it; not to say ‘The Living and the Dead‘ isn’t a good film – it’s bloody great, but very disturbing, unsettling and ultimately extremely sad. You can watch the trailer here:

)

So, unknowingly, I settled down to watch what looked to be a straight revenge flick – think ‘The Horseman‘ (and any of you who have yet to see THAT Aussie classic, I advise you to get onto your favourite site right now!). Red, White & Blue turned out to be something much more disturbing.

For starters there are no good guys and bad guys here, the lines are extremely blurred, and you find yourself sympathising with everyone. The small cast are excellent, but Noah Taylor (‘Shine‘) steals the entire show. His brutal revenge is explained in the final – absolutely devastating – closing shot. You can watch the trailer here:

)

It took me three weeks to exorcise this film from my mind; I carried it around with me as it bludgeoned my brain with images day after day after day. Now I’ve typed this, it’s come back, and I know I’m going to have to put up with those images again! You have been warned.

Elizabeth (I am from England so my spelling is English) M.

UNK SEZ: Elizabeth, you truly are a kindred spirit! Here is my reaction to RED, WHITE & BLUE over HERE, THE HORSEMAN (2008) around HERE and MARTYRS smack-dab HERE. I never wrote a review for THE LIVING AND THE DEAD because I was bound and determined to forget it as soon as possible in order to protect my well-being. Thanks for writing in!

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Traumafession & NTT:: Dustin in Minnesota on Dusty’s Treehouse & HBO’s Short Takes

March 5th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Dustin in Minnesota again, with a two-fer.

My “Name That Trauma” was more freaky than scary, and was actually somewhat amusing. It was a film short I recall seeing at a movie theater before the movie. I also saw it as one of HBO‘s Short Takes. This was sometime around 1981.

It started with a young boy riding his bike and singing a song. He then arrives at home, where his older brother is mixing up a concoction of kitchen ingredients, which he then makes his younger brother drink. The younger brother turns into a chicken, but still has a human voice, begging his brother to return him to normal. The older brother mixes the correct ingredients and changes his brother back.

Does anyone remember this, and if so, do you have a title? I have searched several times on the Internet for this with no results.

My Traumafession was the ONE episode of Dusty’s Treehouse that I watched in the early 1970s. If you aren’t familiar with that show, as best as I recall it was puppets of squirrels and other treefolk, similar to when Mr. Rogers had his neighborhood of make-believe — except the whole show was puppets. On one episode, one of the squirrels had taken someone else’s medication and was very sick. The lesson was to not take medicine unless your parents gave it to you.

The reason this episode might have freaked me out so much was because when I was about 2 or 3 I took an entire bottle of iron pills and was rushed to the hospital to have my stomach pumped.

This ties in with my first Traumafession here, the Mr. Yuk commercial that terrified me so much. Maybe the iron pills made the idea of poisoning all the more terrifying to me.

Love the site, keep it coming!

Dustin in Minnesota

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Tags: Name That Trauma! · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: QJS on Children of the Damned & Quatermass and the Pit

March 3rd, 2014 · 7 Comments

Films that scared me as a kid? No CONTEST…’Children of the Damned‘ (little known sequel to the ORIGINAL ‘Village of the Damned‘)

I don’t think I slept for 6 MONTHS after watching this, and I wasn’t even that young!

Oh, and finally, ‘Quatermass and the Pit‘ (AKA ‘Five Million Years to Earth‘) There is a scene set in a bombed-out house that still rates as one of the SPOOKIEST scenes I have EVER seen!

Happy Viewing!

QjS

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Tags: Traumafessions

A Grand Daddy Traumafession:: Michael Bennett, Ph.D (“Doctor Future”) on “A Short Vision” (1956)

February 10th, 2014 · 4 Comments

I have particularly been fascinated by traumatic media products from the Cold War era, particularly those which traumatized entire generations of Baby Boom youngsters with warnings of imminent death – often traumatizing their parents as well. Just yesterday I first came aware of such a film on a small-time digital television channel – the 1963 film “Ladybug, Ladybug” about the heart-rending choices made by some school teachers and the children when they think an atomic attack is imminent. I was unaware of this amazing and influential film of its era, which evidently traumatized a whole generation of viewers.

I mentioned this film to a former boss of mine, who grew up during the peak of the Cold War, and in turn he recounted to me another such seminal event which amazingly had slipped through my awareness, but not from his generation, even after 58 years.
It all surrounded a little harmless 6 minute short film, shown to 50 million or so viewers by no less than Ed Sullivan. On May 27, 1956, he decided to show his vast live audience an animated film produced by a British husband and wife, entitled “A Short Vision”, to show the futility of war, and in particular to commemorate the dropping of the first H-Bomb by American warplanes a week earlier. Given that the subject matter for his show normally entailed acrobats and men spinning plates on poles, this insertion at the end of the show truly came from left field. After a very mild warning to the viewing audience that suggested that they send the children out of the room, he aired the animated film to a stunned studio audience, and television audience nationwide…

The music and images, and even droll British narrative truly create a brief nightmare scenario, where even animal predators and their prey suddenly flee together to hide from the menace overhead they now sense. Audiences in 1956 could not have been prepared to see Caucasian people, overnight in their sleepy town, awakening to have their eyes and faces melt in the glow of a thermonuclear blast, as life on earth is quickly extinguished. Obviously, this created a sensation in the papers the next day, as they described the “shocking” film Sullivan had unleashed on the public. The outcry was so massive, that Sullivan aired the movie a second time, two weeks later, but with a more stringent warning for young people. However, by various means, many young people did glimpse it, and evidently were never the same afterwards.

My boss, 58 years later, remembers being sent to his room by his parents when it was being aired, but heard the film’s audio through his bedroom wall – a memory still vivid in his mind. Others were not so lucky. One blog page (HERE) devoted to the movie notes one responder at the site who not only viewed the traumatic piece, but had met another baby boomer who as a child had watched A SHORT VISION alone when it aired, and it was medically determined that his hair began to permanently turn white in response to fright from seeing it. Now I call that a traumafession!

I am curious to know how many more of these long-forgotten productions that suggested the imminent nuclear destruction of earth and had imprinted upon a generation are still waiting to be discovered. I caught the tail end of such movies before the collapse of the USSR, when my church youth group left the Sunday night service to watch the well-publicized national airing of “The Day After” in 1983, resulting in our stunned silence, as well as the subsequent discussion shows on air concerning nuclear destruction, featuring commentary by “concerned parents” and other figures (ABC even ran 1-800 numbers then for viewers to call in and talk to counselors, as well as books people could get on nuclear war; even Mr. Rogers had a series of shows on nuclear war afterwards, to help calm youngsters). Later in 1987, another miniseries Amerika was run, where the United States had been overtaken by the USSR, prompting yet more citizen-led discussion groups – also, I vaguely recollect, leading David Letterman the next evening to hold citizen-led discussion groups concerning the other movie shown during the “Amerika” time slot that night – “The Facts of Life Down Under”.

Do any of you recollect other “end of the world”, nuclear holocaust movies or shows that caused sleepless nights for you, or your parents?

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Tags: Special Guest Stars · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Tim from Russia on Little Raccoon & The Thing in the Pool

February 8th, 2014 · No Comments

Hello there, Kindertrauma-keepers!

First of all, I would like to thank you for all the great work you do; your online-storage of children’s fears is a great source for psychological studies and opportunity to have new thrilling experience.

My main traumatizer is the audio performance I had on vinyl, based on L. Moore‘s tale “Little Raccoon & The Thing in the Pool“. It is definitely one of the most disturbing records I’ve ever listened to and it always causes the same effect: my heart aches & I cry involuntarily. Even positive heroes there sound like monsters, music is unbearably scary (just check intro after the first line of the narrator — “Little Raccoon lived in the forest with his mother…”), the atmosphere is full of suspense & latent anxiety.

One of the most unpleasant moments on the record is the conversation between Little Raccoon & Fat Rabbit (6:50 — 7:50); fright in Little Raccoon’s voice and wicked exaltation of Fat Rabbit, accompanied with increscent music. Here’s my free translation of their dialogue:

(PUSH PLAY)

Fat Rabbit (FR): And what would you do if he attacks you?
Little Raccoon (LR): Who is “he”?
FR: He is… is just he.
LR: B-b-but… what about you?..
FR: Me? I’d run away. You see my big feet? I’d run away — and that’s it. But you — you are going to Fast Creek… well, well, well — and you are not afraid of him?
LR: Tell me who is “he”, tell me!
FR: He is the thing who sits in the Pool!
LR: Where?
FR: IN THE POOL! HE SITS IN THE POOL! IN THE POOL! I… I am afraid of him myself.

I believe that one day I overcome my fear; maybe, this sharing will help.

Yours respectfully,

Tim (Saint-Petersburg, Russia)

UNK SEZ: Thanks for the wonderful traumafession Tim! I found an animated version of “Little Raccoon & The Thing in the pool“. Check it out!

And it looks like that tale is told in this neck of the woods too. It’s a small (and kindertraumatic) world after all!

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Tags: Traumafessions

Traumafession Trio:: By Reader Rob G.

January 23rd, 2014 · No Comments

Rob, born 1970….

Jaws” – still can’t stand deep water.

Dracula” – w/ Frank Langella, especially vampire Lucy in the crypt.

Nightmare on Elm Street” – mostly the last scene w/ mom pulled through the door.

The Exorcist never affected me, Godzilla looked cuddly and Jason Voorhees just killed stupid people; but the above gave me serious creeps growing up.

Never felt those sort of scares again until the J-Horror / Ringu / Ju-On era.

great site,

Rob

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My Night Gallery Traumafession By Senski

January 20th, 2014 · 9 Comments

This Traumafession is likely to go on a bit, guys; please indulge me.

I was born in 1962, too young to be a fan of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. Since I was raised in a small town, and in the era before cable, I was severely limited by what I could see in syndication; for almost two decades that television institution that was TZ eluded me, and I would not see my first episode until I was almost 20. However, I was a regular reader of Gold Key’s entertaining TZ comic book – a title I began collecting when I was five. Through its illustrated pages I discovered that every tale was presented by a dapper man named Rod Serling, much in the same way that horror comics were graced by hosts in prior decades. Was he a writer? Director? Actor? I did not really know, but I knew he was associated with all things eerie and fantastical, and that made him a kindred spirit to me.

Then one day in 1969 I was flipping through the pages of a TV Guide – how exciting it was to see what entertainments lay in store for the week ahead! – and there, eight days after Halloween, was a highlighted box promoting a new TV movie named Night Gallery – hosted by Rod Serling! Missing it was unthinkable. I can still remember being curled up on the end of our old green sofa, pillow at the ready to stick in front of my face. The gentleman on the screen looked a little older than the one drawn in the comics; the hair a bit more modern, the skin more lined and leathery, but it was him. And with a voice like he possessed, how could he present anything BUT the weird and wonderful? The first tale,”The Cemetery,” was simply the most frightening thing I had seen in my life up to that point. I stayed awake for “Eyes” but had to be trundled off to bed by the end of “The Escape Route;” I was slipping in and out of sleep.

But I knew this: I was mesmerized. And my devotion to Mr Serling began in earnest on November 8, 1969.

When NG returned to NBC’s schedule in 1970 as part of the “Four-in-One” concept with a mere six episodes, I was ready, and far better at fending off sleep till the end of an episode. For the next three years, NG would become perhaps the greatest pop cultural touchstone in my life. My friends and I would reenact episodes on the playground, quote lines from Serling‘s intros (The Doll: “…and this one you’d best not play with”), and I, little nerd that I was, always got to play Television Horror Anthology Host. When we had to write plays for a 4th Grade class, I wrote a NG episode about a demonic hotel guest who refused to check out – and the painting was a Crayola masterwork of said demon hovering over the Planet Earth. I looked up the stories by the authors featured on the show, beginning a love for short supernatural fiction that has remained undimmed by time. I can point to incidents in my life that occurred on evenings dedicated to viewing NG, so transfixed are those moments in the mind’s eye. In fact, as I type this, I am sitting beneath a print of Tom Wright‘s painting for “She’ll Be Company For You.”

Night Gallery made me who I am. It defines Horror for me. I am unabashed in my love for the series (with the exception of the humorous vignettes). It genuinely grieves me to hear how Serling was mistreated during the series run and how he largely disowned the enterprise, but when it was good – and that was often – it was brilliant. And if, heaven forfend, there are any Kinderpals who are not familiar with NG, start with The Caterpillar, The Sins of the Fathers, Green Fingers, Certain Shadows on the Wall, The Class of ’99…so many delights await.

But that is not the subject of this Traumafession.

At some point in the production of the series, Jack Laird filmed what we in the TV business would call B-roll (secondary footage) for inclusion. It consisted of a number of disembodied heads, dressed in black, and shot against a black backdrop; you can see some of these faces worked into the opening credits for the first and second seasons. But he also used a montage of these heads at the station break; the time for affiliates to sell local commercials. Backed up by a faster version of the main title theme, and obscured by the show’s title, I found these faces to be terrifying. I could not watch as the music played, finally peeking when the piece had climaxed. At 9:30 every Wednesday night I was trained to look away. To the best of my knowledge, this footage has never been included as supplementary material on any of the NG DVD releases, and has been unseen by the public for decades…until now.

Freshly posted to YouTube just a little over a month ago, these “bumpers” are back. According to the poster, they were courtesy of a gift from authors Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, whose book Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour is not only the definitive volume on the show, but is a benchmark for how books covering a television series in-depth should be written. Scott and I communicated years ago on a forum dedicated to the show, and I was delighted to provide him with the printed stories behind several NG eps, for which he sent me a multi-CD set of music from that show that I treasure. Now at last I can see exactly what frightened me: Face Number Two. I imagined that bizarrely androgynous visage appearing over me while I slept, and woof! Sleep no more. There are three bumpers: 1) The full cut; 2) A tighter edit that eliminates the final face and speeds up the music; 3) The rather dull backdrop of gallery paintings backed by Eddie Sauter’s shrill Season Three theme.

Enjoy. And thanks for reading!

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Tags: Special Guest Stars · Telenasties · The Amazing Senski · Traumafessions