December 22nd, 2012 · No Comments
April 1st, 2012 · 1 Comment
March 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Something I can always look forward to is the Monster-Mania convention that visits my neck of the woods a couple of times a year. I’m not big on crowds because I’m always half sure they’ll pull a DAY OF THE LOCUSTS routine at any minute but seeing so much horror memorabilia in one place at one time is worth putting my phobias on hold. One of my favorite venders has always been this guy who does original acrylic paintings based on iconic horror imagery. I’ve always dug looking through his work and appreciating the one of the kind expressive quality of his creations. There’s invariably plenty new and he even makes sure to do work inspired by whoever might be appearing at that particular convention. Little did I know until recently that the artist in question PHILIP MERTZ had contributed some excellent traumafessions to Kindertrauma under the name Grimpressions on several occasions. This was too cool to be true but it also made a lot a sense because Grimpression’s posts here at KT were just as clever and one of a kind as his artwork.
So at this last Monster-Mania instead of just loitering around his table I finally got to meet PHILIP aka Grimpressions and his lovely wife JAMIE. They were both really cool and easy to talk to and my favorite kind of horror fans; enthusiastic and down to Earth. I came away with two new pals, a FUNHOUSE painting (which now hangs center stage in Kindertrauma Manor) and this great documentary that PHILIP and his wife put together. The doc is called PAINTING BY NUMBERS: 40 PAINTINGS, 40 NIGHTS (CONFESSIONS OF A HORROR CONVENTION VENDOR) and it shows Grimpressions in his natural habitat creating art with special guest appearances by his son Sabian and cat Toxi and a score by Lawrence M. Fischer. I can’t help but be incredibly impressed watching PHILIP’s paintings come together starting as simple brush strokes and ending as works of art. If you’re a horror fan or even just a fan of the painting process you’ll probably feel the same way. I posted a few select images below but jump over to PHILIP’s Facebook Page HERE to view more of his work and stay up do date with his activities. Also PHILIP is eligible for a Rondo Hatton Award for his work so why not support the arts by casting a vote for him HERE!
March 17th, 2012 · No Comments
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day kids! Do not go outside tonight the streets will be filled with drunks! Instead, put on something green and stay indoors and watch the SYFY channel! Tonight they are premiering a brand new horror flick inspired by the holiday entitled LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE! What makes this movie so promising is the fact that the one and only DREW DAYWALT directed it. Drew has directed many a fine horror short including the perennial “The Easter Bunny is Eating My Candy!” and “There’s No Such Thing!” which actually happens to be dedicated to Kindertrauma! (You can even read a traumafession from good ol’ Drew HERE!)
With DAYWALT pulling the strings, LEPRECHAUN’S REVENGE is sure to be monstrous good fun so make sure you catch it. Go buy some beer and prepare. SYFY is even going to show the first three unrelated WARWICK DAVIS LEPRECHAUN flicks so that you can make a night out of it! Check out the teaser trailer for DREW’S flick below and remember it premiers at nine. Don’t miss it! It’s sure to sham-rock!
February 24th, 2012 · 5 Comments
Do you live in New York City? Can you find a way to get there? On March 16th, at 10:30 p.m., Kindertrauma is teaming up with 92YTribeca to bring you a special screening of the 1980 goosebumper THE UNSEEN! Have you not seen THE UNSEEN? Isn’t it time that you did? And what better way than on an actual movie screen and on real solid 35mm film!? Even better, this 92YTribecca joint has a bar downstairs and with your ticket you can get 2 dollars off a beer! Don’t chug it! You can take that very beer into the theater and nurse it in a civilized fashion while enjoying the film! What could be better? Not much.
THE UNSEEN is an old school spookfest from director DANNY STEINMANN (he of the LINDA BLAIR classic SAVAGE STREETS and good ol’ FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING.) It stars the lovely BARBARA BACH as an ace reporter who gets stuck in a weird town with her sexy pals and has to spend the night in an awesome old house. Little does she know that the folks offering her a roof over her head may be offering her a lid to her casket as well! Expect an exceptionally creepy performance from SYDNEY LASSICK (who you might remember as an obnoxious teacher in CARRIE) who’s keeping a startling secret within the basement of his home. A sort of mash up of later flicks AMERICAN GOTHIC and HUMONGOUS, THE UNSEEN deserves to be seen; it’s an eighties slash-classic that offers as much campy fun as spooky chills. Find out some more about this incredible kinder-event HERE!
January 28th, 2012 · No Comments
UNK SEZ: If you happen to be a slasher fan or a comics fan or a fan of people who get creative and make stuff, I need to point out something special to you! Stacie Ponder of the perennial hot spot FINAL GIRL has gone and made a mini-comic called SLASHERS 101 and it is a hysterically informative primer on, let’s face it, the best movies ever made.
Ponder knows her stuff after racking up years in the VHS salt mines and her illustrations are wonderfully expressive. For one Abe Lincoln (five bucks) you get the comic alone and for two Abes (ten bucks), Ponder will illustrate the back for you with an original drawing of your request (within reason)! For more details on how you can get your hands on this little treasure just jump on over HERE!
December 14th, 2011 · 7 Comments
UNK SEZ: You guys remember our pal the multi talented DANTE TOMASELLI (Interview HERE). Well, DANTE has just concluded scoring his latest film TORTURE CHAMBER so I asked him what movie scores were his favorites and influenced him the most. Below are his favorite top ten scores alongside some fresh images from his forthcoming film (Check out the official site HERE)! Thanks for sharing this with us Dante, You’ve got great taste!
I experienced Halloween in theatres at my birthday party in 1979. I just turned 10. My childhood friends were petrified and some of are still traumatized. It’s hard to describe the impact of this movie to the younger generation because you really had to experience Halloween in theatres. It had a ferocious grip on audiences. I haven’t seen anything match its power. To this day, most critics and fans declare Halloween the ultimate horror film and I wholeheartedly agree. The music is 50% of the film’s equation. Halloween’s heart-pounding, anxiety-inducing theme is so powerful. It’s become the anthem for classic horror films, and definitely something you can’t escape around October. I can’t escape it. It’s been the ringtone on my phone for years. Analogue synthesizer music was popular during the 60′s and 70′s in sci-fi and horror films but Halloween took that kind of sound design to a whole new level. This is a landmark horror soundtrack. Flickering and glowing like a devilish jack-o-lantern, the music is sinister and playfully evil. I’m forever influenced by this motion picture and its soundtrack. Thank you, John Carpenter.
I saw this film in my late twenties, during post production of my first feature, Desecration. How did I not ever see it? I remember the commercial on TV when I was 7-years-old. There was a seductive woman brushing her hair…her back to the camera. We hear her child-like voice. Roses are red. Violets are blue…She’s telling a poem. She swings around. Her face is a skull. Then a man’s voice says, ‘You can run from Suspiria…but you cannot escape…Suspiria.’ It was a whispery, evil voice…S-U-S-P-I-R-I-A. Somehow, where I lived in New Jersey, Suspiria wasn’t distributed. Eventually, though, I do remember seeing the title in video stores, and oddly ignoring it. I guess I was in my own fog at the time. When I finally watched the film, I felt like it was a religious experience. The same feeling I got while watching The House with Laughing Windows. It’s the kind of movie that must be properly viewed at night, in darkness, in stereo. Any other way diminishes it. The music by Goblin is so dense and multi-layered. Synthesizers, rhythm guitars, real instruments, all kinds of drums. You can get lost in its labyrinth design. Especially the beginning of the Suspiria theme. It starts off with a child’s lullaby, actually beautiful and soft but then these obscene whispers crash in and the drum beats more insistent.
3.) THE FOG
My mother and I saw The Fog in theatres in 1980. I was 10. We were already fans of Carpenter’s Halloween. The theatre was called Totowa Cinema on Route 46 in Totowa, New Jersey. My father owned a Jewelry and Bridal Store in the mall where the movie played. I remember my mother was slightly disappointed by The Fog, I guess because she was comparing it to Halloween, but I absolutely loved the film. Everything about it. I was electrified. I was completely obsessed with the images and sounds and murky ghost storyline. The Fog. I’d illustrate the title, in its own special font on my grammar school notebooks. I always loved typography. The music in this film totally jumped out at me…just like Halloween…and there’s a mysterious knocking at the door. TAP. TAP. TAP. TAP. I used to mimic that all the time on different doors….There was a wood burning stove in our garage and I used the stoker to strike the door, pretending I was one of the ghouls. Around this time, I played an electronic organ. I’d sit home and fantasize. Low tones. Also, I played the pounding beat on electronic drums in my basement. I’d pound the drums, in a trance, over and over. It’s that section of the film where the fog is chasing everyone through the streets. Ahhhh. I love that. Nothing beats the Moog synthesizer analogue soundscape. It just pushes my button. When I purchased the soundtrack to The Fog I listened to it non-stop. You get the feeling that something is chasing you…and it’s coming closer and closer….The film has state-of-the-art moody electronic sound design.
4.) HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
It was 1982. I was 12 and I couldn’t wait for its release. The commercials on TV were striking with a spider crawling out of an old hag’s mouth accompanied by nightmarish music. I was so excited. The Night No one Comes Home. Perfect tag line. Then I saw the film. I already read the tie-in book, so I knew what to expect…Robots. I liked the film but didn’t love it. Still, I admired its fresh approach and loved its Dean Cundey widescreen cinematography. Mostly, mainly, I was ecstatic about the music. What perfect electronic horror music! I bought the album and listened to it endlessly. I still do. While nothing beats the theme to the original, overall as an album, this is definitely a better listening experience…and with the widest selection of doom-laced worlds. To me, it sounds like it would be a very dark solo album from Greg Hawkes, the imaginative keyboardist from The Cars. For example, Drive to Santa Mira…it has the distinct John Carpenter low toned vibe while incorporating a new dreamy organ with lots of reverb. Every single track stands out as an example of haunting mood music. John Carpenter and Alan Howarth created magic here. This is synth horror heaven and should probably be number one on my list. I could just listen to Halloween 3: Season of the Witch until the end of time.
5.) SOUNDS TO MAKE YOU SHIVER
This is actually not a movie but a horror sound fx album. It was played around Halloween in the 70′s and 80′s…and in many different funhouses as background music. Halloween was every day for me, so I’d listen to Sounds to Make You Shiver all the time, especially from 1st to 6th grade. The album consists mainly of moans and screams and thunderstorms. First we hear a woman groaning in pain and a man sadistically laughing with a chain clanging in the background. You feel like you’re in a dungeon. I got lost in the howling wind and thunderstorms and creepy, thick atmospheres. In a trance, I would listen…My imagination lighting up. Side 2 has variations of screams, witches cackles, cats, growling dogs and more moody and violent storms. Midway through, the sounds morph into an ambient, almost experimental piece with dreamy piano, guitar and bells…mixed with echoed footsteps…and a chain dragging on a castle floor.
6.) THE SHINING
At times you can hear devils giggling. I used to scare my younger brother just by playing the music. This spine-tingling score by Wendy Carlos, a pioneer in electronic music, has an almost demonic power. I swear it’s transmitted straight from hell. The opening theme is expertly constructed…so delicately woven…It’s bone-chilling. Atmospheric, psychedelic, macabre and surreal…It floats on another plane. There is nothing like this Moog synthesizer music, it creates its own space. I love Wendy’s score for A Clockwork Orange too. Her sound is so otherworldly….
7.) ALICE, SWEET ALICE
My cousin, Alfred Sole’s film, doesn’t have a soundtrack that’s released and it should. Stephen Lawrence conjures one of the most dreamily sinister themes I’ve ever heard. I’m referring to the sparkling lullaby mixed with the menacing tones and breathy vocals. It’s cold and sleek and evil as can be, just like the movie. The swirling violins are unnerving and in-your-face. I love all the small interludes with haunted piano and reverb. The opening titles music is surprisingly reserved and reminds me of a warped version of The Godfather. Very Italian…family tragedy….On the DVD copies, you can find a montage of the film’s old stills…and the music playing over these images is the breathy, ice-cold theme to Alice, Sweet Alice…extended. I loop it over and over….
Howard Shore scored The Brood and Videodrome, also favorites. He’s an expert in somber, deadly serious soundscapes. You don’t just hear them, you feel them. The trancelike electronic music here is percolating, staccato, moaning in pain. He captures emotional violence. In fact, my first short film was called Emotional Violence. It got me into Pratt Institute, the film department. It was a non-linear montage about a suicidal girl with an abusive boyfriend and mother. My mother, an actress, played the mother. I had Scanners music throughout. How could I resist? I know I could never sell it. I can’t find the film now.
9.) THE THING
This soundtrack reminds me of being in high school and listening to the cassette on my walkman. I’d get completely lost in this gorgeous, classy horror music. It’s amazing how Ennio Morricone was channeling John Carpenter, intentionally or not. Sometimes it really sounds like him. I love Morricone’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage too. That should be on this top 10 list. The Thing’s theme, with its pulsating electronic tone, is genuinely hypnotic. I can play it over and over and over. There’s something off-kilter, almost avant garde in its repetitiveness. It’s minimalist. But not all of the soundtrack is like that. There are violin compositions that are spacious, warm, lush and eerie. There are also some screeching violins that are all-out terrifying.
Cold and pristine, John Carpenter’s Christine score is embedded in my psyche. Just like the soundtracks to Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween 3, The Fog and Prince of Darkness, Christine has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. A bit clipped, which makes for a jumpy listening experience. But it’s not really meant to stand on its own, even though it does. John Carpenter is all about scoring to picture. It’s thin and glacial and it works. The throbbing baritone employed throughout is pure old-school Carpenter. I love it. The scene where Arnie says, ‘Show me’ and that electronic bell pierces through the atmosphere…followed by the galloping low tone…cinematic magic. It takes my breath away and sometimes brings a tear to my eye. I’m in awe of the way the music changes the environment, how it completely elevates and transforms the scene. The chase compositions are melodic. There’s that propulsive beat that feels like all early Carpenter themes wrapped into one.
September 22nd, 2011 · 19 Comments
So I came across a German trailer for THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE (1976) sneaking around YouTube and it got stuck in my head. The trailer is so dark, damaged, scratched up and weathered that it feels like an unscalable wall of gloom. I’ve never seen the film look shabbier and I’ve never seen it look as intriguingly sinister or lurid either. Maybe I’m experiencing a rubber band effect from being exposed to too much slick high definition lately, but it got me thinking about the movies I enjoy that gather strength by the fact that they revel in their own grunged-out grittiness.
PSYCHO may seem like a starkly handsome film now but when you compare it to HITCHCOCK’s earlier flashier flicks, it’s obviously a deliberate step away from artifice and glamour. Marion Crane stumbles into a world that is rotting and falling apart and HITCH’s emphasis on keeping it candidly real went so far as to showcase the first flushing toilet seen in American film. PSYCHO is nothing if not about the blemishes and stains that can’t be scrubbed away; not even in the shower.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
Some folks might assume NOTLD’s shabby chic aesthetic is due to its age but if you consider the fact that it was released the same year as ROSEMARY’S BABY, you get a better idea of just how scrappy and low brow this production is. The film’s non-existent budget surely influenced the end result, but director ROMERO’s blunt news footage approach turned the minus of poverty into an integral plus. NOTLD’s public domain status insures that a dingy looking copy is never more than a Google search away.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)
Remaster it, put it on DVD, smack it with a Blu-ray high definition stick, hire a zillion cherubs to polish it with Jesus’ tears, it doesn’t matter. TEXAS CHAINSAW will always look like it’s been dragged through the mud since the beginning of time and that’s why I love it. No need for blood, the ultimate horror here is derived from committing the unspoken American sin of looking under the carpet where the trash has been swept.
SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1974)
Here’s another example of a limited budget being an asset. SNBN is dark, cold and grey throughout and it utilizes its authentically well-worn locations to their creepy fullest, but it is the film’s cracked and crusty sepia toned flashback sequences that really chill the bone.
CATHY’S CURSE (1977)
I may have just created a portal to hell by including CATHYS CURSE and PSYCHO on the same list and I’m fine with that. CATHY’S CURSE’s heap of garbage, ratty demeanor is not an artistic choice but the result of brain damaged filmmakers and the reality that nobody would want to remaster the film due to the process involving having to watch it. I stand convinced that every repulsive rust and avocado hue from the seventies dived into this celluloid cesspool to die. That said, one of my favorite aspects of this abomination, besides its doctrine of non-stop nonsense, is the fact that its base fugliness is heightened by its shredded, war torn ill kept state. What a Mess-terpiece!
SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT (1979)
I’ve never seen a copy of this movie that doesn’t look like hell and I don’t think I want to. Huge chunks of it are completely indecipherable but that’s part of what makes it work for me. SOAWN goes beyond delivering nicked and damaged visuals; it offers a wave of crunchy crumbling sound too!
DEAD AND BURIED (1980)
Here’s an underrated movie with no shortage of atmosphere. D&B has several shockingly gruesome set pieces but for me there’s one ragged insert that shadows over the others. In it, one the main characters is revealed to be not quite what they seem via a battered and dingy amateur home film, the texture of which contrasts with everything else we’ve seen.
Finally available on DVD, I was initially disappointed when I threw NIGHTMARE’s disc in my player and noted the extensive scratches and damage that it still retains. My chagrin dissipated quickly when I realized that NIGHTMARE’s sleaze trash, grind house nature was in fact perfectly framed and amplified by the scourge of visual imperfections.
CEMETERY OF TERROR (1985)
I have to include this recent discovery. One of the great joys of watching COT is basking in its ramshackle mangled mahogany state.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
How ironic that when Hollywood jumped at the chance to capitalize on BLAIR’s success with a sequel that the first thing they jettisoned was the original’s coarse and crude threadbare look. C’mon, the film’s ace in the hole for igniting imaginations was its unrefined, vague as the shroud of Turin visuals.
THE ROB ZOMBIE OEUVRE
From the kaleidoscopic channel surfing static strewn barrage of HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES to the acrid dusty rust heaps of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS to the swirling melted Jolly Rancher bag of his HALLOWEEN re-duo, ZOMBIE’s visuals are never not rug burn raw and bursting with imperfect unkempt energy.
Hey, so that was an eclectic (sloppy) assemblage of films wasn’t it? I almost included SE7EN(1995) and PLANET TERROR (2007) but decided that rather than earning the holes in their jeans, they bought them pre-weathered at designer stores. Maybe I should have separated the films by those that were scruffy on purpose, those that were ratty due to budget and those that were torn up due to not being well preserved but I didn’t. I mostly just wanted to talk about the wondrous effect that the marred, sullied, untidy image has on me when I watch a horror film and what can I say? I like things a little messy. It’s a matter of taste.
September 11th, 2011 · 9 Comments
UK SEZ: My big plan was to grab all the images of the World Trade Center that I could find in horror films but mid way through my endeavor I discovered someone had beaten me to it. Many of these images come courtesy of the site WORLD TRADE CENTER IN MOVIES which catalogues shots of The Twin Towers found in films of every variety. Check it out HERE. I know you don’t need another person telling you to remember the Towers today so instead allow me to point out how adept movies are at capturing what is missed.
July 24th, 2011 · 4 Comments
What’s this? Two Sundays in a row without Kindertrauma’s “Stream Warriors” feature? What gives? Well we are still nursing the wounds inflicted upon us by Netflix’s sneaky price increase. We had forgiven them for destroying bricks and mortar video stores but this new bait and switch is just too much! Someone has gotten too big for their britches! Why should we use coveted Kindertrauma real estate to promote those cheap ingrates when it can be better utilized by wonderful sponsors like Intel and Toshiba? Yes, the following is a sponsored post, paid for by Intel and Toshiba!
Are you sick of passively streaming dullsville movies on Netflix and have you ever asked yourself why the heck can’t I get involved with the events that happen in the film I’m watching? Do you wish to be a participant in something new and exciting rather than just an observer? You’re prayers have been answered and not by Netflix either, they have been answered by the good folks at Intel and Toshiba.
Starting tomorrow YOU will be able to take active part in a movie! INSIDE is a film that stars EMMY ROSSUM and is directed by the guy who did DISTURBIA (DJ CARUSO) and another person called YOU! Folks will get a chance to alter and experience INSIDE as it happens thanks to the help of social media favorites like TWITTER, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE! You can learn more HERE and from the embedded video below.