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Entries from March 2008

I Saw What You Did

March 31st, 2008 · 2 Comments

 

mr. telephone man is there something wrong with my line?
With a last-minute cancellation by the babysitter, dewy teen Libby Mannering (ANDI GARRETT) is put in charge of her bratty little sister Tess (SHARYL LOCKE) while her parents attend to some sort of business-related dinner out of town. Thankfully, Libby is allowed to invite her best gal pal Kit (SARAH LANE) over to help her pass the unchaperoned time. Rather than sneak alcohol from the parents liquor cabinet, participate in a no-holds-barred pillow fight or invite boys over to listen to records with the bedroom door open, the sensible girls decide to let loose by making prank phone calls. Whoa! In their breathiest of voices the girls repeatedly annoy unsuspecting telephone owners by repeating the phrase, “I saw what you did; I know who you are.” Most folks laugh off the girls’ inane calls, save for one Steve Marak (JOHN IRELAND) who just finished showering and stabbing his wife to death. The girls’, intrigued by Steve’s brooding baritone and utterly oblivious to the murder, get all dolled up and decide to drive by his house to get a better look at him. While peering through his window, Libby is chased back to her car by Steve’s over dressed and over-the-hill mistress Amy (JOAN CRAWFORD) who thinks the much younger girl is trying to get her mitts on her man. Amy snags Libby’s vehicle registration card as a trophy and confronts Steve with it, who, in turn, gets all stabby on her and her over-sized necklace. Armed with Libby’s home address, Steve drives over to the Mannering manor to terrorize the girls. Directed by WILLIAM CASTLE, the master of b-movie promotional gimmick, I SAW WHAT YOU DID barely stands up as a cautionary tale against the dangers of trick telephony since the advent of modern caller-id makes the major plot point obsolete. IRELAND brings a sense of brooding menace to his performance, and the young girls all deliver their screams on cue.
 
  • Taking a page from HITCHCOCK’s PSYCHO play book, CASTLE lets his victim intrude on a shower with a killer already in it
  • The cougar shows her claws: Amy’s front yard confrontation of Libby
  • The ominous fog that envelops the Mannering home in the finale
  • Early use of the hider-in-the-hatch phenomenon (Remember kids: Always check the backseat of your car for the killer!)

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Tags: Tykes in Trouble

Extreme Canvas

March 30th, 2008 · No Comments

 

What is my favorite of all the books in the vast Kindertrauma library, you don’t ask? Why it’s EXTREME CANVAS: MOVIE POSTER PAINTINGS FROM GHANA by Ernie Wolf III don’cha know. Not only is it a freaking universe of visual entertainment, but it also doubles as the world’s greatest cool person detector. When stranded strangers stop by the mansion unexpectedly I show them this volume over tea. If they like it… friends for life! If not… well it’s a shovel to the back of the noggin and under the floorboards with that philistine! You really do have to see it to believe it. Over yonder in Ghana, folks not having enough moola to have their very own VCRs would gather in public places to watch videos together much like we used to do in theaters. Movie companies naturally didn’t send them promotional posters to advertise these back-yard entertainments so they simply painted their own. Some use popular iconic images of the featured movie and some are just straight out of the artist’s imagination. What results is something so glorious that the next time you bump into a hoity toity gallery owner at a cocktail party you will immediately throw-up in their martini glass. These beauties bring to mind everything from circus sideshow banners to high school notebook doodles. Some have so much wear and tear that they resemble ancient tapestries. The book is giant and covers action, sci-fi and exploitation films as well, but of course, the highlight is the horror section. Below are some samples of the most kindertraumatic of the images (that I could fit on my scanner). Trust me, there’s tons and tons more and they are all equally amazing.
 

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Tags: Book Reports

Friday The 13th :: The Series :: “Scarecrow”

March 29th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Even your old Unkle Lancifer has his off days. While constructing the ever useful and fully copyrighted SCARECROW FEAR-O-METER, I made a startling omission. I am ashamed to say I completely forgot the classic episode of FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES aptly entitled “Scarecrow.” In my defense, I did remember the episode with my own little brain and with no help from you readers who are supposed to alert me to my oversights (remember the Kindertrauma hotline is 555-5555; call collect if you like!). The problem is, this is no small gaff on my part, if I had to do it all over again the scarecrow in this episode would have garnered the highest possible rating and left all other rag covered contestants lying in the dust. For this scarecrow is indeed the scariest, he not only has a leather mask that recalls DAVID CRONENBERG’s stint as a psycho in NIGHT BREED, but he also has the coolest mythology attached as well. See all you gotta do with this guy is attach the picture of the jerk you want to kill to his lapel and he’s off with his scythe to collect their head! Of course he was sold at ye olde cursed antique shop at one point in his career which is a bit questionable, but who cares, you get to watch the eternally awesome uber-ginger ROBEY track him down. This great episode which was voted THE fan favorite during a marathon on the CHILLER horror channel was even directed by WILLIAM FRUET, who has more than his fair share of above average slashers under his belt. I’m talking DEATH WEEKEND, FUNERAL HOME, SPASMS and KILLER PARTY. The guy even did the sci-fi monster mash BLUE MONKEY with a little itty bitty TRAUMATOT named SARAH POLLEY! So perhaps fate knew what it was doing when it threw me that curveball of a brain fart, because this episode, whose final ten minutes should make most theatrical movies take a hard look in the mirror, cry and blow their brains out, deserves its very own private entry on our humble pages!indelible scenes

  • The lightening storm opening beheading sets the perfect stage
  • Scarecrow attacks during sun bleached afternoon ala THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
  • Ryan gets personal with that signed baseball and the tale about his brother’s death (He also wears THE coolest hockey sweater)
  • No, he didn’t just pop out of the bed!
  • Marge Longacre (PATRICIA PHILLIPS) and her scissors! Actually, Marge tears it up in just about every scene she’s in. ALICE KRIGE, watch your back!

P.S.: If you’re anything like me (and plushy fetish/cannibalistic tendencies aside, why shouldn’t you be?) The mere mention of the mono monickered ROBEY will have this JAUNTY TUNE blasting in your head. Yes, it’s a cover of that famous CHESS song sung by MURRAY HEAD who is strangely enough the brother of ANTHONY STEWART HEAD (Giles on Buffy). Beware: ROBEY’s “music” video is known to cause permanent eye and ear damage.

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Tags: Telenasties

The Mist (Black & White Version)

March 28th, 2008 · 14 Comments

Director FRANK DARABONT couldn’t help but imagine his production of STEPHEN KING’s THE MIST in good old-fashioned black and white. To him (and KING himself apparently) the story recalled movies like 1955’s IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, a black and white classic crawling with RAY HARRYHAUSEN fueled stop-motion tentacles. He was also inspired by the urgent documentary style of GEORGE ROMERO’s 1968 shoestring juggernaut NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. That tale concerning strangers trapped in a claustrophobic space battling a deadly worldwide threat had obvious similarities to KING’s apocalyptic novella. It’s not surprising that financiers craving coffers of coinage rather than crickets chirping as a response to the film, balked at the idea. DARABONT went ahead with the project, filming in color on a tight schedule, but always keeping his original vision in the back of his mind. Taking a cue from the COEN BROTHERS who filmed THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE in color and than transformed it into B&W in postproduction, DARABONT mused that he might simply do the same in reverse.
The two-disc collector’s edition of THE MIST comes complete with his black and white version of the film. DARABONT states that it is his preferred version and the closest thing you’re going to get to a director’s cut of the film. Couldn’t you simply adjust your television to create the same effect? Perhaps, but it’s important to keep in mind that the director specifically filmed the movie in a way that would best compliment this future transition. In his introduction to this alternate version, DARABONT speaks of the “heightened reality” that B&W inherently offers and reminds us that the only place in the world that we can see this representation of reality is in a black and white film. Whether you are a fan of THE MIST or not, anyone interested in film owes it to themselves to compare the two versions. It’s amazing to note that from the very first scene the tone of the film is drastically altered. My advice is turn off all the lights, blast the sound and prepare for transportation…
After a now stunning white flash electrical storm David Drayton (a never better THOMAS JAYNE) and his son travel with a grudge carrying neighbor (the impeccable ANDRE BRAUGHER) to a nearby supermarket for supplies. Once there, they are waylaid by a supernatural mist that, in B&W, is the visual equivalent to God shaking the world off his etch-a-sketch. It is learned that besides impeding one’s vision, this smoky bank is also host to a variety of fantastic creatures who come from a dimension where they could plausibly use the Necronomicon as a telephone book. The trio is then trapped in the supermarket with the general public, (just think about that for a moment) when the most horrific decision since SOPHIE’S CHOICE is presented: either go outside and be strangled by slithering tentacled appendages or stay in the store and act out a mash-up version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE’sThe Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and JEAN-PAUL SARTRE’s NO EXIT.
I should point out that it’s come to my attention that some sensitive viewers took offense to some of the vaguely political statements made by certain characters, and the way that religion was represented in this film. I feel for you people and although you can’t hear it, I am playing a tune I composed for you on my violin that some say is the world’s smallest. (Once upon a time movies were allowed to step on a few toes and guess what? They were better back than!) Anyhows, personalities continue to clash like symbols, SHIRLEY JACKSON flavored mob mentality begins to reign and what should be a jolly stomp to the nearby pharmacy to steal painkillers turns into an intense battle that culminates with resident granny FRANCES STERHAGEN channeling RAMBO. Not enough can be said about MARCIA GAY HARDEN’s turn as the irascible Mrs. Carmody. She clearly hit some kind of authentic nerve, because when I saw this theatrically, the audience stood up and cheered at her performance. (O.K., maybe it wasn’t her performance exactly that they were cheering.) To say more could spoil for some the comeuppance of what may be the best love-to-hate character to grace the screen in decades.
All right enough about the plot. You’ll either love or hate the fact that DARABONT goes against genre conventions at every turn, while still saluting and obviously revering horror’s history. The much-debated ending is of the bravest sort and for my money, debatable means good. At the end of the day, you’ll see what ever the hell you want to when you look into THE MIST. Whatever threat it brings, both real or imagined, on screen or off, basically depends on you. If THE MIST does have any real power, besides its monstrous inhabitants, it is a natural ability to literally “cloud” people’s minds. By movies end ask yourself why people made the decisions they did, even the most frustrating and tragic ones can be explained by the character not seeing the forest for the trees, ignoring the bigger picture and assuming that their idea of the truth, based on limited facts was the accurate one. The reality is we all deal with something like THE MIST now and again, a period of confusion where it seems we are surrounded by life’s demons. Funny how a mother, too determined to save her children to involve herself with the social rigmarole of the store, is later shown, kids in tow as a survivor.
Is the black and white version superior? In a lot of ways yes; it’s definitely more atmospheric and whatever glitches that could be detected in the CGI on the big screen are now permanently mended. The use of light and shadow in particular graduates from admirable to awe inspiring. (Check out MARCIA’s lavatory praying scene). But I wouldn’t trade seeing this with a semi-packed audience for the world. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced real audience camaraderie before, but this is one of those too scarce films that supports that kind of reaction. It’s rare that we get to talk about current movies here on Kindertrauma, but not only does THE MIST contain a great TRAUMATOT performance from NATHAN GAMBLE as Drayton’s son, but his journey and it’s sucker punch climax are the likes of which cinema history is made. Now that the film is available to be viewed at home, you can bet your bottom dollar on countless youngsters checking this baby out and sealing its fate as a future TRAUMAFESSION catalyst. I don’t know whether to fear for those young viewers or to be absolutely jealous of what THE MIST, any version, is going to do to their brains.

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Tags: Tykes in Trouble

Leviathan

March 27th, 2008 · 3 Comments

 

  Once upon a time, in anticipation for the presumed success of James Cameron’s forthcoming THE ABYSS, everybody and their mother made an “Alien Under Water” movie. As far as this shrimpy, Johnny-come-early sub-genre goes GEORGE P.COSMATOS‘(OF UNKNOWN ORGIN) LEVIATHAN leads the pack. Does that make it a good movie? Well, let’s just say that it’s good-ish. The cast is certainly worthy, robot-faced PETER WELLER, sexy AMANDA PAYS (who fought a similar fishy fiend in THE KINDRED), GHOSTBUSTER ERNIE HUDSON and C.H.U.D. alum DANIEL STERN are just a few of the familiar faces you’ll find floating around in the tank. They’re all coworkers looking forward to the end of a 90-day shift 16000 feet under water mining minerals of some sort. (The crew dynamics and nice guy geologist WELLER‘s struggle with command are well done.) The fly in the soup is the discovery of a sunken Russian vessel “Leviathan” whose cargo includes mutated skeletal remains and hard to resist toxic vodka. Rather than getting a visit from the standard pink elephant, this harmful hooch, spiked with an experimental gene-altering element designed to produce a “homo-aquaticus,” has the drinker growing scales and maybe a tentacle or three. After infection is detected, any and all of the crew’s attempts to punch out early are snubbed by greedy number crunching, Medusa-eyed corporate talking head MEG FOSTER via picture phone. Written by BLADE RUNNER‘s DAVID PEOPLES, the film and its morphing monster’s effectiveness varies depending on what movie it’s currently trying to ape. When it’s mimicking THE THING‘s isolated paranoia and THE FLY‘s body nausea it fairs well. It’s only when it tries to fit into the too big for it’s feet (fins?) ALIENS shoes that it stumbles. Legendary STAN WINSTON‘s special effects work have certainly been better showcased before; early glimpses of the monster are intriguing yet the final reveal of a flounder headed heap are less so. (You know that you’re in trouble when the beast you’ve designed has to rely on an eleventh hour peppering of random sharks to provide back up.) It’s hard to be harsh on a film that from it’s inception was born to be a second banana, with it’s hokey humor, amiable cast and B-monster trimmings LEVIATHAN, blemishes accepted, does ultimately rise above the surface to provide seriously fun, though sometimes groan-inducing late night entertainment.indelible scenes
  • STERN‘s nick-name “Six-pack” is repeated in every other sentence
  • Mouth in a hand! Me likey
  • Dejesus’ (MICHEAL CARMINE R.I.P.) leachy attack
  • Those darn sharks!
  • Psycho-eyed MEG FOSTER (was anyone else forced to watch her in THE SCARLET LETTER in school?) gets punched in the face

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Tags: Repeat Offenders

Traumafessions :: Adam of DVD Panache on Freddie’s Nightmares: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

March 25th, 2008 · 3 Comments

 

 
For me as a kid, scarier than a machete-wielding stalker or malicious aliens were the monsters that allegedly had my best interests in mind: my parents. They weren’t bad parents, but thanks to a few movies and television shows I was convinced that some day they could turn out to be evil. The nightmarish parental vision that stayed with me the most was on an episode of FREDDIE’S NIGHTMARES that I caught one night while battling insomnia. “Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?” (1989) concerns a babysitter named Lisa at a seemingly ordinary house with someone very strange in the basement. You see, the family’s daughter murdered the mother, and rather than letting the girl rot in jail they simply imprisoned her below the house, with the dumbwaiter serving asher source of nourishment. The parents see nothing wrong with this arrangement, even though occasional screams escape from the basement during the Lisa’s stay. Through strange circumstances, Lisa is lured to the basement and imprisoned while the evil girl (who coincidentally looks much like Lisa) escapes. Despite Lisa’s many pleas, the family keeps her locked into the basement, thinking it to be one of their daughter’s ploys. Months pass and eventually Lisa escapes but to her horror finds the evil girl living at her house, with Lisa’s mother mistaking the lass for her own missing daughter. The idea of Lisa being falsely imprisoned haunted me, especially since my family lived in a house with a sprawling basement and a firewood elevator — more than accommodating facilities to jail a troublesome child should my parents see fit.

Thanks Adam! You lucky kids can not only visit Adam regularly at DVD PANACHE but watch the episode of FREDDIE’S NIGHTMARES of which he speaks, in it’s entirety HERE. (Both highly recommended!)

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Tags: Traumafessions

Scarecrow Fear-O-Meter

March 25th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Who better to judge the scariest scarecrow than a crow? Remember we’re not judging the highly variant quality of the below productions, we’re just wondering which would be the most effective straw man in thwarting our ebony feathered friends! (In other words, the scarecrow with the LEAST birds on his head is the scariest!) 

Scary scarecrows also appear in the DARK HARVEST series (don’t bother), the recent HALLOWED GROWN and a TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode entitled FOUR-SIDED TRIANGLE with NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3’s PATRICIA ARQUETTE. A pumpkin headed alternative can also be viewed in JACK-O. If we’ve forgotten any others let us know in the comments section! 

KINDER NEWS ALERT!!! MAJOR SCARY SCARECROW RATING UPSET!!!! find out more HERE!

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Tags: Toy Chest

Art-ductees :: Kids Draw Aliens

March 24th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Thanks to our good pal Carriewhiteburnsinhell for teaching us about the art of abduction without using her dirty pillows for once (ugh…obviously the bon-bon chomping Aunt John is dictating this to me from a nearby chaise lounge.) Anyway, check THESE OUT and check out Carriewhiteburnsinhell too! 

  

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Tags: Haunting Acquisitions

Scarecrows

March 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment

 

This review is part of the FINAL GIRL film club!!!  

    O.K., I’m not a big fan of heist flicks. I don’t really care about who ends up with the money and it’s usually really frustrating to watch the money exchange hands for two hours just to end up destroyed at the end. I guess the lesson is “Don’t be greedy,” which I get, but Cyndi Lauper only took about three minutes to get that point across when she sang “Money changes everything.” Be all that, as it may, one way to get me to enjoy your heist movie is to add supernatural murderous scarecrows into the mix, that and a little puppy dog named Dax. SCARECROWS includes both the aforementioned plus an ELAYNE BOOSLER look-alike, and an impressive decapitation as well. The sound effects may be atrocious and the dialogue more so, but when push comes to shove SCARECROWS pushes back with a pitchfork and it pushes back hard. Is gore enough to save a movie? The simple answer is a resounding Y-E-S! SCARECROWS delivers more than just gore though. The beginning stinks and it’s just way too dark, but it’s got more than a couple surprises up its straw-filled sleeve. Just when you think it’s delivered its major high point, two others quickly follow. I admit during the big fight scenes, the punches sound cartoon ridiculous but hey, you knew these guys where working on a limited budget the first time you saw a fake-as-hell explosion. As far as the ever growing killer scarecrow sub-genre goes, this rates pretty high. It’s gruesomely relentless and although seriously shoddy in places, enough blood is spilt to justify it and its never quite explained title creatures’ existence. 

    indelible scenes
     
    • Yelling “Pennies from heaven!” and getting a face full of blood
    • Wrist saw-ers: A love story
    • You can’t go wrong with a talking severed head!
    • “Hey Paco…it’s me.”
    • Cigar chomper gets sickled after getting stuck in fence
    • Dad’s final appearance in the plane followed by more hand grenade play and hilariously badly dubbed screaming

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    Tags: Repeat Offenders

    Traumafessions :: Reader Frost on Return of the Living Dead

    March 24th, 2008 · 2 Comments

     

     
    Oh sweet Jesus! what kind of demented individual designed this prop of prepubescent terror? I was an active lad of about 7 years old in 1985, when this film was released. Getting dirty with my Matchbox cars, playing on the rail road tracks, and attempting to get our neighbor’s daughter to play doctor. VCRs were something of a rare novelty back in those days, and so it was destined to be; a Curtis Mathis shop opened up, in the humble little town where I lived. They sold VCRs, and rented VHS tapes; Ingenious! My father surprised us all one day, with a brand new VCR, and 3 movies: IT’S ALIVE, C.H.U.D., and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. With that milestone of change in my childhood, began my long, disturbing, depraved, and unhealthy fixation with horror movies. It was with the 3rd film we watched, that the single most disturbing image I have ever seen (besides the Joanie Laurer porn video) was burned into my retinas and into my soul, forever. He lunged out, trying to eat the brains of a group of spray painted misfits…He was the infamous zombie, known in the horror world, as TARMAN

    Unkle Lancifer sez: Thanks Frost, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is definitely one of the greats and “Tarman” is damn traumatizing! The one scene that always got to me is that re-animated split anatomy doggie model. I’m not sure how or if it could hurt me but that was seriously screwed up! 

      

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    Tags: Traumafessions