Awhile back we reviewed a movie called BABY BLUES, an above par indie flick that not only impressed both A.J. and I with its effectiveness in the suspense department, but also with its strong performances. One of those strong performances belonged to JOEL BRYANT. I’m only exaggerating a little when I say that shortly thereafter JOEL BRYANT headshots were hung in our lockers at school and we began spending an inordinate amount of time at the local malt shop discussing his dreaminess. I can admit now that perhaps one of us should have given more thought to the JOEL BRYANT FOREVER tattoo but this was all the way back in May when we were young and impressionable. Can you really blame us though? Check out the peepers on this guy…
Further stalking… I mean research resulted in us finding out that JOEL is happily married. Now normally that would have cooled our jets some (pretend) but as it turns out he’s married to DEVEN GREEN the notorious Youtube superstar responsible for the “WELOME TO MY HOME” parody videos you’ve doubtlessly seen. (She also turns out to be the hilarious BETTY BOWERS.) Suddenly we had two people to idolize! Where would we find the time? Luckily the two are known for collaborating as a comedy duo so that their fans may worship both in one quick swoop!
Unrequited appreciation is the name of the game at Kindertrauma Castle (no matter how much cash and free time we donate to the community the locals still dump their trash in our front lawn and pelt us with cantaloupes when we retrieve our mail). So you can imagine our unbridled joy when we received a (unsolicited, I swear!) communiqué from JOEL thanking us for the review and saying he was a fan of the site. How awesome is this guy?
Wouldn’t you know it that a week later the four of us Me, Aunt John, JOEL and DEVEN are spending a glamorous weekend in Las Vegas. Aunt John and JOEL may have ended up getting arrested and spending the night in the drunk tank but DEVEN won forty grand playing poker and I fulfilled my life long dream of performing SCRITTI POLITTI’s “Perfect Way” in a karaoke bar!
O.K. that last part only occurred in my mind but I did weasel Traumafessions out of both JOEL and DEVEN on account of I’m always thinking of you readers out there! Enjoy these two traumafessions from two super cool people and then go visit them at their home turf HERE!
I don’t want to date myself (that’s why I got married – rim-shot!), but the most traumatizing thing that EVER happened to me was seeing the original POLTERGEIST when it was in theaters. From the front row. Age at the time: 8. And I’ve never been the same since…..
My brother and I were spending the summer at my dad’s house (as part of the divorce settlement, my dad had to deal with us every summer. We enjoyed the spoils. How bad did POLTERGEIST traumatize me? Even my parents divorce comes in a far, far, far second place to watching that damn flick!). Up until that time, I had become a huge RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK fan. I’d watched it at least a million times by my best estimate; and I was slowly becoming a movie junkie.
My dad had some friends that had seen POLTERGEIST. They came over and asked if my dad would like to take us with them to see it again. I was trepidatious at first because I knew that “poltergeists” were bad. I had fought them before in Dungeons and Dragons. They were easy to defeat, but were definitely considered “monsters.”
My dad’s friends would have none of it. They described the movie as “no big deal.” In fact, to paraphrase their exact words: “You’ve seen RAIDERS how many times? You know the ending with the faces melting and everything? Well, that happens in POLTERGEIST, but that’s about the worst thing that happens. The rest is really harmless. You’ll be fine.”
My brother and I believed them.
We were at that young age where you want to see every film from the front row (granted, this was before arena seating and ridiculous sound systems). We settled in, excited, in the middle of the front row.
Then the movie started.
I don’t need to give a synopsis of the film, but this is how we watched it:
Within 30 minutes we were in the 10th row. Then the 20th row. Then in the back row by the door. By the end of the film, we were literally hiding under the seats in the back of the theater. Shaking. Literally shaking. It took a while for my dad to find us.
That night I didn’t sleep a wink. My dad had to sit up all night next to my bed because I kept waking up, crying, shaking and generally having the same sleep as a flu-riddled crack addict. I could not stop seeing images in my head and imagining that everything in the house – EVERYTHING – was attacking me. That lasted a good week.
I was able to get some sleep over the course of the summer, but my dad had to spend most nights by my bedside.
It took me until I was 20 years old to even think about watching a horror film again. I finally gathered up the strength to watch NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET because it’s mostly tongue-in-cheek. That type of movie I can stand. A true horror film? I honestly can say I will never have the nerve/spine/energy/desire to watch one.
(Ironic considering the shout-out that KinderTrauma gave me for my work in BABY BLUES.)
How scarring was POLTERGEIST? To this day – and I’m in my mid-30’s now – I can’t sleep with the closet open if it’s of the hinged-door – not the sliding-door – variety (in fact, even when I’m awake, I insist that the closets be closed). I can’t have branches or silhouettes of branches outside of my window lest they break through and try to eat me (O.K., I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true!). I can’t sleep if the T.V. is static and I get nervous in an all-dark house. Graveyards still kinda freak me out and forget ever, EVER owning a stuffed clown. In fact, I was so rattled by that film (and that clown scene in particular), I can’t even own or sleep on a bed that a killer clown doll would be able to crawl under. Hell, I might as well say it: Screw clowns in general!
I know these quirks sound a little BILLY BOB THORNTON-ish, but I fully blame what will always be considered by me “The Scariest Movie Of All Time.”
To any parents taking their 8-year-olds to the theater, take it from me:
See a Pixar joint and leave the POLTERGEIST’s in the Indian Burial Ground where they belong!
In the isolated, boreal forests of Northern Canada where I was raised, I experienced something but never made the connection until recently as to why I can’t go into graveyards or hospitals. I had been traumatized.
My Grade 7 friend, M* got hopelessly lost in the frozen woods by the river. He illogically tried to traverse the partially frozen river. As he negotiated his way across the rocks he slipped and landed on his back. The water rushed over him and kept him pinned down. The rope he had around him winched its way up his body and slipped around his neck. Two hunters heard his initial scream and raced to the river’s edge. They could do nothing as he was held under the water laying face up slowing drowning.
I attended his funeral service (actual burials were only in the summer) and thought that I should have felt something other than the nothing I did feel.
In taking a summer job at the only hospital, which was usually empty, I roamed the halls for hours until I discovered a locked room. I stole keys to secret inside and there was M “alive.” It looked like he was covered in a contraption of hockey helmets and wires from head to toe…that is how I could best describe it. I read his chart: the freezing water had put his body into a state of hibernation but the energy of the river had somehow wrenched his spine almost from his body…or something like that. There was a pillow with a face imprint in it by his bed. All I knew for sure was that there was no body in his casket.
I never went back in his hospital room again as I was immediately fired.
Summer of that year the frozen earth warmed enough so all the bodies which had died in the winter were now buried in the small graveyard. The town councilman, known for his temper and his drinking, got so drunk one night he took a backhoe and dug up the entire graveyard. M had been his son. I figured he must have put a pillow over his son’s face to finally get him physically buried but now that he was actually gone he couldn’t let him go. He had done a lot of destruction to the graveyard. So much so that to this day NONE of the bodies match up with any of the tombstones.
*(Out of respect for his family I won’t use his name)