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Name That Trauma :: Reader Becca V. on a Heartless Villian

November 1st, 2011 by aunt john · 11 Comments

I hope you can help.

I am looking for a movie I saw late-night on T.V. as a child. This would have been in the mid-to-late-’70s.

The details are very sketchy, but here are the key points I remember, and I may be mixing up the details because the memory is SO vague:

  • There may have been some kind of invisible monster.
  • There were soldiers/warriors/combat-group type of people on some kind of quest.
  • There was a villain that had his heart separated from his body, up in some kind of tower or something.
  • At one point, the heart falls out a window or something after someone throws it deliberately or it falls accidentally or something, and there’s this horrible shot where the heart lands with a hard PLOP on the ground.
  • There’s some kind of path through misty swamp/caverns/something where taking one step off the path will do something horrible to you, like turn you into a caveman or kill you instantly or send you back through time or something.
  • The bad guy, if I recall, resembled Genghis Khan or something, a Hun-type person, if I recall.

This piece of, uh, fiction, terrified me as a little girl. The atmosphere of it was literally so spooky I couldn’t sleep. At all. For three days.

Help, KINDERTRAUMA, YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE!

Becca V.



UPDATE: NAME THAT THAT TRAUMA SOLVED!
Special thanks to reader Logan for naming it with THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD. I think it’s best if you read what Becca had to say via email.

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TristanNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Sounds vaguely like Captain Sindbad (1963) ???

  • 2 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    More than vaguely, it sounds exactly like Captain Sindbad to me… the Mongol-ish villain has had his hear removed and placed in a magical tower in the midst of a haunted swamp. The hero has to fight an invisible dragon in an arena and, later, a giant robotic hand.
    It’s not Harryhausen but it’s good fun.

  • 3 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Gah! ‘heart’ not ‘hear’…

  • 4 LoganNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Sounds to me more like the TV remake of “The Thief of Baghdad”, late 70s, I think. Most notable cast member was Roddy McDowell as the titular thief.

    It was the villian’s SOUL, not heart.

  • 5 cookie75No Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Not really a horror movie, but when I was little this was a terrifying scene, could it be from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There is a scene where a heart is ripped out a few times in horrific scenes and tossed over a cliff or down a fire pit.

  • 6 TristanNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Okay, not vaguely at all! Its been years since I have seen it but cannot forget the heart in the tower!

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Love that trailer! Especially the spinning head!

  • 8 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    In Captain Sindbad there is also the matching element where a group of adventurers enter the magic/haunted swamp… some get eaten by guys in crocodile (?) suits. Later Sindbad has to climb up a giant rope to get to the heart and I think either it or the villain… or both… go off the top of the tower.

  • 9 Stacy PershallNo Gravatar // Nov 2, 2011 at 2:30 am

    My house is now totally going to be known as “a savage and sensual land ruled by a fiend.” Wait, did I say “house?” I meant “pants.”

  • 10 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Nov 3, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Per Becca V.:

    Please let your readers know that they got the answer right in the strangest of ways. Someone suggests CAPTAIN SINDBAD so I went and looked it up online and, while it did indeed seem to contain the elements of my terrified memories, the “look” of the visuals was all wrong as was the tone, because in my memories the film looked darker and creepier and more sinister than images I found from CAPTAIN SINDBAD.

    Someone else however actually solved the real mystery by pointing out THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD TV version from 1978 with Roddy MacDowell. The gloomy look, sinister genie and weird video-like quality matched my memories so perfectly I actually got so chilled at the sight, of the genie and the lady in the smoky cavern that I came close to vomiting at seeing the images again.

    This also triggered a further memory in me of that night that I had forgotten. It was of my father being upset with me for staying up so late on a day when I had been ill with a bad cold. I remembered telling him, “Daddy, I promise to go to bed as soon as this movie ends!” and putting on my near pout.

    He relented but was adamant. The movie I was watching was indeed CAPTAIN SINDBAD, which I now recall thinking was weird and not a good movie compared to the,scary stop motion movies about Sinbad.

    I wanted to stay up later that night because I was too stuffed up to sleep ….. And as it happened, and as the images have now reminded me, I remember that either THIEF OF BAGHDAD came on right after it or I flipped through channels to find another excuse to stay up, and it was indeed THIEF OF BAGHDAD that absolutely terrified me with its gloomy atmosphere and haunting dreamlike images that just oozed a nearly constant menace.

    When my father checked on me again I insisted the movie was still going on and I remember pointing at the TV and saying “See daddy? See? The same movie!”

    This caused me to conflate the two films into one in my memory until now when the recollection of my insubordination floods back at the sight of the terror of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD.

    Thank you to the individual who thought of THIEF and didn’t just assume SINDBAD or I likely would only have had half the answer.

    And for the record, as soon as I get off work today I am calling my father and confessing to him my childhood trickery! I think we will both have a good laugh over my memory ans what not listening to him ended up,doing …. Giving me three days and nights … And thirty plus years … of KINDERTRAUMA!!!!!

  • 11 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 3, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Funny, I did the same thing when I confuzzled the previews of Wild In The Streets and Werewolves On Wheels… which took me years to sort out.
    I still want to see that original movie, which only ever existed in my confused kiddie-brain.

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