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Unk’s Favorite Stranger Things

August 3rd, 2016 · 3 Comments

Howdy, I’m taking a cue from my old pal Mickster and sharing some of my own STRANGER THINGS favorite things. If you’re sick of hearing about STRANGER THINGS, write a letter to your local Congressman and demand better TV shows so that this one doesn’t stand out like a beautiful neon sore thumb anymore!

Winona Ryder
I admit that I fell out of love with WINONA somewhere along the line (the day I saw ALIEN RESURRECTION) but we made up eventually (the day I saw BLACK SWAN). Most tend to think of her excellent turns in HEATHERS and BEETLEJUICE when they fawn over her but seeing her hanging around a makeshift fort in STRANGER THINGS reminded me how much territory WELCOME HOME ROXY CARMICHAEAL owns in my heart. Well let it be known that WINONA tops all of her previous gigs and then some in STRANGER THINGS, she brings it full throttle in every scene. She’s so exemplary at expressing rage and profound pain at the same time and I think this series makes it obvious that she’s just getting started. If I were JOHNNY DEPP, I’d change my tattoo back to “Winona Forever” as soon as possible.

The Score
Thanks to flicks like DRIVE and IT FOLLOWS, synth scores are all the rage but rarely has a latter day synth score fit so perfectly within the context of a story as the chilling beats that pulsate in STRANGER THINGS. You can thank Austin band “Survive” for STRANGER‘s hypnotic CARPENTER crashing into MORODER awesomeness. Hey, the hairs on my arms are standing up just thinking about it!

The Songs
I know THE BANGLES’ cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter” didn’t come out until 1985 but it plays over the closing credits and credits don’t take place in any specific time so that’s OK right? I think so. Anyway life is more enjoyable when you don’t sweat anachronisms too much. For the most part ST’s selection of songs is pretty spot on and my ears just can’t say no to THE CLASH, MODERN ENGLISH and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMAN. Oh and TOTO’s “Africa“, only a slobbering goon would not dig that tune. There’s an official STRANGER THINGS playlist on SPOTIFTY, so check it out!

The Font
Oh geez, for years I’ve been searching for the STRANGER THINGS title font which I used to find on just about every horror paperback I read back in my youth. I was even thinking of going on Facebook and asking if anyone knew it but I chickened out because I was too scared of being left hanging. Thanks to STRANGER THINGS all I had to do was Google to find out I was one of many wondering the same thing! Turns out it’s called ITC BENGUIAT and yes, I’ve downloaded it for future use.

Ben and Nicole
I, like many, fell head over heals in fascination with Barb and how could you not? But there are two other characters that also lodged themselves in my brain that I found myself wanting more of. Let’s hear it for Ben the bearded bear who worked at the diner and gave Eleven french fries and is therefore a true unsung hero! I feel like if he was cast on FARGO he would have hung around much longer. And what about Nicole, the tattling ginger photographer? She didn’t have many lines but she made sure to make every facial expression count while glaring and smirking from the background. We need so much more of her in Season Two!

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Tags: General Horror · Kinder Loves Mickster!

Mickster loves Stranger Things (2016)

August 2nd, 2016 · 7 Comments

Unk Sez: Big thanks to our old pal Mickster (Kindertrauma’s very own Eleven!) for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us her favorite things about STRANGER THINGS. Take it away, Mickster….

It has been a long time since I have been so overwhelmed with joy by a show. When I first started hearing the buzz about Stranger Things, I thought, “Sounds cool, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.” Well, the best way I can describe my experience is the show is like a love letter to people, like me, who adore the 80s. As soon as I started watching it, I felt warm and comfortable as if I were visiting an old friend who I haven’t seen in ages. To the show’s credit, if a person told me this was a show from the 80s (and I didn’t recognize Ryder or Modine), I would believe them because it captures the feel of the early eighties. Here is a short list of the things I loved about the show.

The Boys
Because the show is set in 1983, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are the age I was at the time. I totally would have been a friend of those guys. There are things about them that remind me of the boys who lived next door to me growing up. I had an absolute blast hanging out with the boys next door. The regular-looking quality of the kids makes them completely relatable, which adds to their charm. I had a similar reaction to Sam (John Francis Daley), Bill (Martin Starr), and Neal (Samm Levine) on Freaks and Geeks (1999). I want to go back in time, be twelve again, and hangout with Mike, Will, Lucas, and Dustin!

Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) is fantastic in this show! She doesn’t speak much, but her eyes speak volumes. Her portrayal reminds me of some other characters such as Charlie McGee (Drew Barrymore) in Firestarter (1984), Furface (Sandy the Dog) in Watchers (1988), and Starman (Jeff Bridges) in Starman (1984). In regards to Drew Barrymore’s character in Firestarter, the interaction between Eleven and Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) made me recall the interaction between John Rainbird (George C. Scott) and Charlie McGee, an elder male gaining the trust of an exceptional child in order to gain what he wants. Now when it comes to Furface in Watchers, it is more of a stretch, but Eleven made me think of this highly intelligent golden retriever just the same. Perhaps it was the way Eleven repeated protected the boys from danger the way Furface protected Travis (Cory Haim) from Lem (Michael Ironside) and the Oxcom (Phillip Wong). Eleven’s love of Kellogg’s Eggos sparked a memory of a scene in Starman. When Starman (Jeff Bridges) eats Dutch Apple Pie in the roadside café, his reaction is priceless. Later in the film, Starman asks for Dutch Apple Pie again the way Eleven seeks out more tasty Eggos. Bottom-line, Eleven rules and like the boys, I would want her on my side.

The Science Teacher
Mr. Clarke (Randall P. Havens) is the epitome of the dedicated teacher. Some may overlook his contribution in Stranger Things, but it stood out to me because I am a teacher. Mr. Clarke is a science teacher and I am an English teacher, but we (Yes, I know he is fictional!) both pour our lives into our students. Since the show is set in 1983, he is not contacted on his cell phone via Google Classroom like I am, but he takes time away from his date (go Mr. Clarke!) to answer Dustin’s questions via landline.

Last but certainly NOT least; I will briefly touch on Barb (Shannon Purser). I cannot say too much as I want to keep this post spoiler-free; however, I will say Barb deserves more. From what I have seen on the internet after binge-watching the show, she IS getting lots of love. Barb, from yet another person who identifies with you, you are important and valued.

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster!

Mickster’s Holiday Funhouse:: The Cads, Creeps, Cretins, and Cruds of Christmas Movies Edition

December 18th, 2015 · 15 Comments

Christmas is right around the corner and that means it’s about time for a holiday themed FUNHOUSE created and hosted by our old pal Mickster! In fact, this year marks the eighth anniversary of her very first KT contribution! Gee, It seems like only YESTERDAY. Anyhoozle, you best put on your thinking caps cuz Mickster’s got some tough cookies today. Good Luck!

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Kindertrauma Funhouse

Killer Scene:: Mickster on Fright Night’s Dance Seduction

October 7th, 2015 · 9 Comments

It is hard to believe Fright Night is thirty this year! I was not lucky enough to see this fantastic film in the theater. I had to wait until it was released on VHS (sometime in 1987). The movie is a classic for many reasons. It has a great blend of comedy and horror. William Ragsdale is great as noisy neighbor, Charlie Brewster. Stephen Geoffreys is fantastic as Charlie’s sarcastic friend, Evil Ed. Amanda Bearse is exemplary as Charlie’s skeptical girlfriend, Amy Peterson. Roddy McDowell is perfect as the non-believing vampire hunter, Peter Vincent. Jonathan Stark is quite humorous as Jerry’s daytime guardian, Billy Cole. Dorothy Fielding is believably flaky as divorced mom, Judy Brewster.

But let me cut to the chase by saying the real reason I have watched this movie repeatedly over the years is Chris Sarandon‘s portrayal of the ultra sexy vampire, Jerry Dandrige. I have a problem. I cannot get enough of a particular scene from Fright Night…the nightclub seduction scene. I guess it is sad, but I have been waiting for that to happen to me since I first saw the movie. The thought of having Jerry Dandrige possess me on the dance floor is very appealing. Don’t judge me because this is my biggest fantasy (I know, I’m sad). Let’s examine the scene…

*Jerry expertly entices Amy to the dance floor.

*Jerry begins dancing with Amy, while she appears to be in a trance of the vampire persuasion.

*Jerry drops Amy; giving her the chance to escape, and seconds later, she turns around transformed.

*Hot dancing between Jerry and the newly transformed Amy ensues.

*Then that dolt, Charlie, tries to foul up this sexy moment by attempting to punch Jerry. Hope you enjoy that crushed hand, Charlie!

UNK SEZ: Hey, is it getting warm in Kindertrauma Kastle today? Aunt John and I would like to thank Alabama’s favorite daughter Mickster for taking time off of her busy teaching schedule (Yay teachers!) to stop by our humble abode and share this killer scene. If you have a favorite scene from a horror film, traumatic or not, feel free to send it in!

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Tags: Killer Scene · Kinder Loves Mickster!

Mickster on:: Harper’s Island (2009)

June 2nd, 2015 · 7 Comments

It is hard to believe that Harper’s Island premiered six years ago on CBS. A thirteen-week slasher movie? For me, it was a horror fan’s dream come true. If you missed this treat when it originally aired, take my advice-run, do not walk, over to Netflix and binge-watch all thirteen episodes. Granted, I do not always make the best choices; for instance, my choice in husbands sucks, but for important things such as this, you can trust me. Even if you watched it six years ago, I encourage you to revisit this gem. I went into it the second time knowing the punch line, but my goal was to see if there were clues I missed the first time. Perhaps I should just list thirteen things about Harper’s Island that made it so fantastic and ahead of its time. (I was extremely careful not to include spoiler.)

1. Being an English teacher, I will begin with the first thing I noticed about the show. It was clearly inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939). An isolated island where people, many with secrets, start being murdered one by one definitely pays homage to Ms. Christie’s masterpiece as do most slasher films as I think the novel is the perfect template for such films.

2. In addition to the slasher features, it is an excellent who-done-it mystery. Even after a second viewing, I found no clues that the perpetrator was involved until near the end of episode 11. In fact, it did a great job using “red herrings” to distract the viewer.

3. Speaking of those red herrings, more than once during the series, I was convinced of the guilt of several characters only to have those characters murdered…then it was back to the drawing board!

4. Something else that Harper’s Island did well that slasher films usually do not have time to do is develop the characters. For instance, one stereotypical-looking blonde character went on to be more than I anticipated in the first episode meaning she was not the “dumb” blonde (this is coming from a blonde, BTW).

5. The concept that one season could tell one complete story is yet another reason Harper’s Island was way ahead of its time. Think about shows such as American Horror Story that have become so popular in the years since Harper’s Island. Sadly, this concept did not “jive” with the public in 2009.

6. Discovering in the first episode that no character was safe, even a well-known actor in a cast of lesser-known actors, let me know that all bets were off when it came time for killing. I remember thinking about this when I watched the first episode of Sleepy Hollow when a known actor was killed off in the first minutes of the show.

7. Having emotional reactions to the deaths of characters I had come to care about was something I had not anticipated the first time I watched the show. For instance, the deaths of one couple in particular left me sobbing. This couple in the first episode did not made an impact with me, but as the series progressed, I came to care very much about them, so when their time came, I was crushed.

8. The isolation and atmosphere of the setting added greatly to the suspense of the show. Knowing that these characters were essentially cut off from the outside world made my tension increase with each episode. A small island that can only be accessed by boat or aircraft, a big, creepy hotel with hidden passages, and a deep, dark forest with danger possibly hiding behind each tree was a prescription for terror!

9. Having a creepy, socially awkward child in the cast is always a plus. You just know that at some point a) they are going to say creepy things, “One by one” and b) are going to go missing at the worst possible time, “Has anyone seen _______?”

10. Keeping the identity of the killer hidden until almost the end was quite impressive to me. Typically, I can figure it out sooner, but like I said at the beginning (#2), it was near the end of episode 11 before I even suspected this individual.

11. Something else I found effective in the show was the characters did not discover anything was off until several characters were dead. Granted their technology was not as advanced as now, clever use of text messages led people to believe that certain characters had left, so they did not suspect foul play…at first.

12. A sense of betrayal made some of the last deaths more devastating. The fact that said characters trusted this individual without question (as I had as a viewer) made the reveal that much more heart wrenching.

13. Lastly, even though some found the eventual motive didn’t make sense, I was fine with it. Why, you may ask. Well, for thirteen weeks I was glued to my TV experiencing something I thought I never would-a “slasher movie” on network TV. So bravo to CBS for having the balls, nads, nards, or whatever you want to call them to do it!

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster!

Mickster’s Christmas TV Movie Funhouse

December 12th, 2014 · 13 Comments

Today we have an early Christmas gift from our pal Mickster! Mickster has assembled ten images from ten Christmas TV movies. How many do you know?

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Kindertrauma Funhouse

Mickster’s TV Halloween Funhouse

October 17th, 2014 · 15 Comments

UNK SEZ:You know a holiday is approaching because here comes our old pal Mickster to kindly host another funhouse! Yay! This time out Mickster has selected images from Halloween themed TV episodes and specials. How many do you kinder-critters recognize?

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Kindertrauma Funhouse

The Incredible Werewolf By Mickster

August 5th, 2014 · 9 Comments

When Werewolf premiered on Fox in 1987, I was instantly hooked. A prime time show about a handsome werewolf trying desperately to cure his lycanthropy? What’s not to like? When the Chiller Channel began airing episodes of Werewolf a few years back, I was stunned to realize that Werewolf and The Incredible Hulk share many of the same qualities. I loved The Incredible Hulk when I was a little girl, so I am surprised it didn’t occur to me back in 1987 that Werewolf is essentially The Incredible Hulk. Not convinced? Sit back and I will explain.

Eric Cord (John J. York) and David Banner (Bill Bixby) were changed by freak circumstances. Eric’s best friend, in werewolf form, attacked him, and David was altered by an accidental overdose of gamma radiation.

“Alamo” Joe Rogan (Lance LeGault) and Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) are essentially the same character. Each is relentless in their pursuit of their quarry, “Alamo” Joe as a bounty hunter and Mr. McGee as a tabloid reporter in search of a juicy scoop for his paper.

Eric and David stumble upon people in need, as they search for a cure for their alter egos. In “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf,” Eric hid in a young boy’s tree house eventually helping the boy and his mother from her abusive boyfriend. In “Death in the Family,” David saves a young, crippled girl whose evil family members are plotting her death, so they can inherit the family fortune.

While in the form of their alter egos, Eric and David never harm innocent people even though they are supposedly unaware of their actions during the change, which shows their goodness.

Eric and David must move on at the end of each episode before their pursuers catch them and to continue pursuing a cure to rid them of their alter egos for good. Eric is in search of the originator of his “bloodline” that, at first, he thinks is Janos Skorzeny (played by a scary-looking Chuck Connors) because killing the “head” werewolf will cure his lycanthropy. David, a physician, tries to cure himself and is constantly seeking the means to do so.

See? Werewolf and The Incredible Hulk are the same show! It is a shame that Werewolf only lasted one season. I thought and still think that it is a cool show. So, are there any Werewolf fans out there that agree with the Mickster?

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Telenasties

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974) By Mickster

December 9th, 2013 · 13 Comments

Loyal readers of Kindertrauma know that the Mickster loves Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. In fact, my very first traumafession in 2007 was about Frosty the Snowman. Over the years, I have also written about The Year without a Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. This holiday season I share my feelings on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Junctionville has a problem. The people of the town have just received their letters to Santa unopened. Unfortunately, Santa is quite perturbed about a letter he received that called him a “fraudulent myth” that was simply signed “all of us”. Now, the townsfolk must devise a plan to make Santa happy again before he passes them by on Christmas Eve. Egad! What a traumatic thought!

This special is one of many (Rudolph, Year Without a Santa, The Grinch, etc.) that convinced me that Christmas could be canceled due to some unforeseen problem. As a child, I found it especially troublesome that a child (Albert the jerk-head mouse) would write a letter saying that Santa was not real. I speculate it is sour grapes on his part because contrary to the signature on the letter he, in fact, has no friends. Little Mickster did, however, find it heartwarming that two adults would try to make things right with Santa. Joshua Trundle, the clockmaker, decided the solution was to make an enormous clock that would play a special song for Santa on Christmas Eve, and Father Mouse attempted to convince his troublemaking son that Santa was indeed real.

The music in TTNBC makes it quite special. “Give Your Heart a Try,” sung by Father Mouse to the doubtful and arrogant Albert is catchy and fun. I have noticed that this song is cut when it airs on ABC Family. That is just unacceptable. “Even a Miracle Needs a Hand,” sung by Joshua Trundle to his sad children to raise their hopes simply makes me smile with a hint of a tear. “Christmas Chimes are Calling Santa,” played for an annoyed Santa on Christmas Eve brought relief to me as a child because I knew Santa would forgive the town and come after all.

There was plenty of suspense in TTNBC for me as young child. Would the town stop blaming Mr. Trundle for the clock not working before he and his family starved for lack of work? Would Albert (the stupid moron) fix the clock in time? Would Santa forgive the town? Bottom line-Believe in Santa and be good, or there could be dire consequences!

P.S. Santa looks totally bizarre sporting buckteeth and no mustache!

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Tags: Holidays · Kinder Loves Mickster!

They’re Back! Kindertrauma II: The Other Side

July 14th, 2013 · 17 Comments

Hey, look we’re back and better than ever! Well, actually that “better than ever” part isn’t accurate but the part about us being back is mostly true. Sorry we were away for so long. Our move turned out to be a great deal more arduous than expected. We had zero Internet for a time and then when we did get it back, I didn’t exactly welcome its return with open arms. I needed all the white plastic flakes in my snow globe brain to settle before I could even think about turning my computer on. I did play a great deal of Candy Crush on my phone though. I admit that. It didn’t help much and neither did imagining zillions of Chicken Little apocalyptic scenarios. Do they make thunder shirts for people? Why do dogs get all the luck?

Somewhere along the line I became morbidly obsessed with the Artax –sinking notion that my working hard on something and my not doing anything at all both produce uncannily similar results. Naturally this resulted in oblivion-seeking naps followed by more oblivion-seeking naps. Futility is the fluffiest pillow. Almost too late I realized the cause of my discombobulation, molasses-dipped ennui and dramatic Mathew Perry-style weight loss was my foolish decision to go cold turkey from my required dosage of trauma. No wonder my kilt was off-kilter! And so I return. Thanks for your patience stalwart kindertots and my apologies to anyone whose submissions were not processed promptly. Hopefully we’ll be running at full capacity soon! There’s still plenty of trauma gold in them there hills!

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Tags: Kinder Loves Mickster! · Kinder-News