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Name That Trauma :: Reader Freaked on a Homebound Headless Mannequin With a Heartbeat

December 19th, 2008 by aunt john · 8 Comments



Dear Kindertrauma:

Please help me. I found your site by accident; it reawakened horrors deep in my mind. One that still puzzles me- a T.V. show or made-for-T.V. movie (I guess). It involves a dress mannequin (without a head, armless torso, and conical bottom skirt portion) that moves. The only sound is that of a loud heartbeat. I believe there is some kid trapped in the house with this thing as it slowly moves around.

What was this?

I have spent most of my life wondering what it was.

Must have seen it in the mid-to-late seventies.

Please, please help me.



Dear Freaked:

I have no freaking idea.

Respectfully yours,

Aunt John

PS: I am confident though that one our readers will know the answer and either leave it in the comments, or email it to us.

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMA solved. It’s the 1974 made-for-T.V. movie THE STRANGE AND DEADLY OCCURRENCES starring ROBERT STACK and VERA MILES. Special thanks to reader Propagatrix for solving this one!

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Dec 19, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    This reminds me of a name that trauma of my own. Back in the late eighties or early nineties I saw this (I think) on HBO. I don’t remember much but the end involved a guy being surrounded and mobbed by mannequins inside a small store (a dress shop?). It was really eerie and it reminded me of MANIAC and TOURIST TRAP but I’m pretty sure it was a short film. I know that does not help you Freaked, but I feel your mannequin pain!!!!

  • 2 PenhNo Gravatar // Dec 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Could it be the “Frozen Fear” segment of 1972’s Asylum? That involved a butcher-paper-wrapped torso slithering around after the main character, along with assorted other body parts.  It did look rather like a dressmaker’s dummy.

  • 3 micksterNo Gravatar // Dec 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    What you are describing sounds very familiar to me too. I think it was on HBO, but I can’t figure out what it was. Let me know if you figure it out because it will bother me now until it is solved.

  • 4 cashflNo Gravatar // Dec 20, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I’m pretty certain this was a short if it ends with the main character being discovered the next day all messed up with manniquin (sp) eyes. It was in heavy rotation in the early days of the Sci-fi channel (along with that short film where Riff Raff from RHPS builds a mousetrap to kill himself) when the slots needed filler.

  • 5 PropagatrixNo Gravatar // Mar 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I know!  I know!  It’s THE STRANGE AND DEADLY OCCURRENCE, a 1974 made-for-TV movie starring Robert Stack and Vera Miles and directed by John Llewellyn Moxley!  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072217/

  • 6 TomCoryNo Gravatar // Mar 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Unkle, Mickster and Cashfl: I’ve been searching for this short film for YEARS!  I saw it on HBO back in the late 80’s/early 90’s–it was a between-movies filler short, but it blew me away.  Cashfl, you described it perfectly, so I won’t repeat the details here.  If anyone knows the name of this little horror gem, please post it here!  Thanks!  I’ll be looking!  

  • 7 micksterNo Gravatar // Apr 30, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Unk! I think I finally solved our mystery!
    Read here

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm


    That has got to be it!!!!

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