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Name That Trauma :: Reader Stickmann on a Diabolical Desert

December 11th, 2010 by aunt john · 9 Comments

There was what I believe to be a made-for-TV movie in the mid-late 1970s, and I suspect it was some type of supernatural anthology thriller. Promotions for it involved an RV in the desert, a woman in a wheelchair patting a dog or something only to fall down an exterior staircase, and a kid popping up from a circle of plastic milk crates or the like.

The striking portion of the film I saw on T.V. involved the RV: a middle-aged couple on vacation in the desert were attacked by large boulders rolling across the flat desert landscape. The genuinely terrifying part for me was that the husband first was trying to find out what these heat-blurred dots on the horizon were by repeatedly walking further and further away from the safety of the camper to get a closer look with his binoculars.

I think even back then, I suspected the massive boulders were “fakey,” but that was just inconsequential to the terror I felt at knowing something is completely and hostilely amiss and yet still being compelled to find out what it is at the expense of your protection. The fact that the distance between the man and his means of escape in their presumably safe RV was shown in a long shot just psychologically added to the danger.
Eventually this RV would also be telekinetically commandeered while the husband was on the roof and the wife was helpless to override the steering wheel of the speeding vehicle, if that’s any help in identifying this.

Does anyone know the title of this film?

Thanks again for your help! Take care.



Special thanks to NurseKrud for solving it with GHOSTS THAT STILL WALK!

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NurseKrudNo Gravatar // Dec 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Ghosts That Still Walk (1977)?

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Dec 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm


    I have NEVER heard of this movie before!

    Thanks NurseKrud!

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Dec 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    That old lady at the beginning is Ann Nelson who was Mrs Berg on Fame and she was in Airplane too. She died in 92.

    This looks just amazing to me.

    I just ordered a used VHS copy from Amazon

    Can’t wait…

    NurseKrud you have made my day.


  • 4 ZombetteNo Gravatar // Dec 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Oooh, I need to see this movie. Why oh why aren’t all movies available on dvd? Grrrr Arrghh!

  • 5 WarpedRecordNo Gravatar // Dec 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks to Stickmann for asking this question, NurseKrud for answering it, and Unkle Lancifer for providing this forum.

    I am a connoisseur of all things ’70s, especially horror, and even I have never heard of this gem. Atmosphere really goes a long way to creating effective horror, and this trailer is overflowing with it. The boulders may look fake, but everything else in this film looks real, so I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.

    Must see this film! They really do not make them like this anymore, and they gave up trying years ago.

    Thanks to all for calling my attention to it.

  • 6 StickmannNo Gravatar // Dec 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Squeee! That’s IT! THANK YOU, NurseKrud and Kindertrauma!

    Hm, according to an IMDB review on Lancifer’s link, the same rolling boulders scene has made the exact same impression on others. So, spookypoints for you there, Mr. James T. Flocker!

    I could’ve sworn this was an anthology, but that may just have been the result of my youngster tactic of running away from the TV screen and the inevitable overwhelming compulsion to retake my seat to watch more of what terrifies me. The tone and topic shifts of different parts of the story must have made me interpret the entirety as separate narratives.

    I’d love to see the original promos of this. This clip is a post-Science-of-the-Teaser-Trailer reworking, so I itch to see the blunt encapsulation that first piqued my curiosity.

  • 7 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Dec 13, 2010 at 2:57 am

    I would imagine the rolling boulders are a take on the phenomena of the ‘sailing rocks’ of Racetrack Playa, Death Valley.


  • 8 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Oh! That looks like a must see!
    The rolling boulders remind me of that Outer Limits episode about the killer tumbleweeds.

  • 9 TaylorNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

    This looks amazing! Right up my alley. I’ve ordered the VHS too.

    A.B.H. (Always Be Having-a-VCR)

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