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Traumafession:: Melody M. on a Drowning on Drugs PSA

August 19th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I’ve noticed a lot of PSA-trauma sharing lately, and I wanted to get in on it and share the one that scared me the most as a kid.

This one here:

The idea of drowning in your own bedroom just completely terrified me. I had nightmares about that happening for weeks after I saw this.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Senski on a Seat Belt Public Service Announcement

August 18th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Well, it’s been over two years since I posted about two PSAs that left an indelible mark upon my wee psyche but they stubbornly remain unearthed. I’ve since found some internet confirmation on the former’s creepiness, with one additional detail; a solemn narrator who repeatedly intoned, “Someone left their keys in the car…” So to spur your readers into digging once again on my behalf, I offer this PSA from the same period (I swear this and the joyriding one would often air in succession) that is sublimely eerie – and to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared on Kindertrauma!

The stentorian tones of Jack Webb take a whole minute (doesn’t that seem long today?) to warn viewers of the dangers of forgetting to use seat belts while driving. Some unsettling flutter-cut editing flashes forward to revealing the painful consequences for three negligent drivers – I always expected the guy on the beach to be shown in a casket – but it’s the sound effect that pushes this one into trauma territory for me. It’s a tympani roll, but one that’s cut off in mid-crescendo and not allowed to naturally trail off. Even the best percussionist couldn’t recreate this tone, and by pulling the plug on the roll, it stops the viewer short. Not unlike a car crash…

Judging from the comments this has received on YouTube, it seems to have made the same impression on others of my era. And that lady was so nice to brew a pot of coffee for us; so sad what happened to her..


→ 3 CommentsTags: The Amazing Senski · Traumafessions

Name That Trauma :: Reader Rae M. on a Scary Train Riding Rabbit

August 17th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

Hey there,

When I was a kid, we had this unmarked VHS tape, and on it, was a short Christmas film. It was the ‘80s. All I can remember, and my brother too (up until a few years ago, I thought I had conjured up this nightmare, until one day we discovered we both remember the movie) is a 6-foot something man in a big old white bunny suit, ears erect, black eyes, pink tongue I think, and it was riding out of the side of a big old black steam railroad train.

It looked like a shitty winter, grey snow scattered around the ground but otherwise you just saw trees behind the passing train. And then you ended up in the North Pole. But that’s all we remember; this scary, ominous, huge bunny. And I could swear it was not meant to be cute.

Ring any bells??

We’ve been trying to debunk this for years.

Thanks for your time,

– Rae M.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Curtains (1983)

August 15th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

Do you remember that Chris Rock joke where he took folks to task for bragging, “I take care of my kids” by countering, “You’re supposed to take care of your kids”? That’s been playing in my head every time I see a review talking about how swell CURTAINS (1983) looks now that it’s been rescued from the VHS (or sloppy ECHO BRIDGE 4 pack) gutter and hosed down for DVD and Blu-Ray. I mean, it’s supposed to look better, right? How could it not? Of course, that was simply the shruggy shawl I had to wear to keep myself warm while I waited for MY COPY to get its slothy molasses ass to my goddamn door and no CURTAINS, don’t bother with excuses and no you can’t have a drink, put your feet up or decompress from your apparently epic journey from the warehouse, shut up and get in my TV!!! Geez, nice of you to drop by. Remember me? The guy you curled up next to when you were feeling all dejected all those years ago on late night cable long before half the viewers you’ve been bonking lately were even born? Wow, for a cult film that barely hobbled its way to the screen due to behind the scenes production problems, you’re really feeling good about yourself lately, aren’t you? I see now you’re considered a classic. How nice for you.

All right, I admit it, now that I have watched my lackadaisical, blowing on its nails, unapologetically tardy copy of CURTAINS, the universe is back in order and I can see exactly what all of the hubbub is about. It’s like this, you can own a worthwhile piece of art but if it’s on the floor covered in dust in a dark room you’re never going to be able to appreciate it fully. Sometimes all a painting needs is for somebody to dust it off, put it in a complimentary frame and hang it in a well-lit space and then voila- it’s a revelation. That’s basically what SYNAPSE FILMS has done with this release. In my book, the laurels still belong to the artist(s) rather than the presenter but SYNAPSE deserves praise for making sure that the incredibly patient fans of this film were not disappointed (and by disappointed I mean storming SYNAPSE headquarters with pitchforks.) CURTAINS’ unique voice is yesterday’s news to its fans but you gotta give respect to this company for handing it a bullhorn and turning up the mic.

Yes, it turns out that CURTAINS, more than your average film, opens up like a flower when it’s getting the sunlight it deserves. That’s because it derives much of its power from its visuals, in a way you’d never know if you’ve only seen what I think we can now refer to as ‘the mud version.’ Who knew CURTAINS was not supposed to be drenched in mud? It’s actually supposed to be drenched in snow, startling white oppressive snow and rain, somber, grey disquieting rain but nope, not mud.

When a movie relies so heavily on its mise-en-scene to cast its moody spell, it deserves if not requires the simple leg up of a decent picture. I’m not going to throw out my VHS copy anytime soon but only because it makes a fine paperweight and I believe it might come in handy squashing the fly I’m currently at war with, otherwise… we’re through. Oh and how about seeing something in its proper ratio rather than all squashed up? CURTAINS does this clever signature scene transition business that involves an actual curtain on screen being pushed aside to provide a sort of wipe. On VHS, it barely registers and only sort of works and now it’s all kinds of lovely awesome and high-five worthy glorious.

Then there’s the infamous ice skating scene which could quite easily be yanked right out the movie and stand successfully on its own as one of the best horror shorts ever made. It’s really incredible. If there was indeed a sensibility clash between the film’s director and producer, I’m on team whoever is responsible for the skating scene.

Our story is about a bunch of young pretty actresses competing with each other for a part once promised to a slightly more mature (you’re welcome SAMANTHA EGGAR) woman who is not happy with being shoved aside. You’d be resentful too if you placed yourself in a mental institution to research a role only to find out that you’ve been unwittingly complicit in your own putting out to pasture. The skating scene, besides being one of the sharpest and most lyrical stalk and slash set pieces ever put to film, works as a perfect little snow globe encapsulating the movies’ themes concerning the specter of aging and the fleeting solace of youth and beauty. You know, that old conveyer belt towards impending death that we call existence.

Christie (LESLEH DONALDSON) goes out on the ice to listen to some tunes, rejoice in her physical talents and hopefully get her mind off of the fact that she attempted to up her chances of winning a coveted role by sleeping with an egomaniacal ice-eyed director (JOHN VERNON) the previous evening. When her music suddenly dies she checks the batteries in her tape player and they fall into the snow and that’s when Christie spies the most curious thing- a doll hand! She pulls the pouty toy out of the ice and it’s as if she’s staring back at her youth. Who might abandon this glaring international symbol of childhood innocence out here in the cold unforgiving world? Maybe she’s lost more than her batteries.

As Christie becomes mesmerized with the quickly growing creepy plaything, she is blinded to what is sinisterly sliding on blades up beside her. Dressed head to toe in black wearing an ugly old hag mask with scraggily withered hair and wielding a harvesting sickle, here comes death! Oh sure, this is a slasher/mystery and we’re supposed to desire to identify who is behind the mask and what their motivations are but frankly, it doesn’t matter, this bit works as a simple, undiluted representation of horror. It’s so pure it could be a mural on a cave.

CURTAINS gets a lot of grief for being disjointed and smudgy in places and in some ways the new DVD can enhance its dueling identities. You end up with this melodramatic yet melancholy base layer with blindsiding splotches of vibrant color almost hovering over it, never fully blending in. But to me, that’s awesome in a contrasting collage type way and the best of both worlds, really. There are plenty of hanging threads and jagged edges and pieces that don’t quit fit, simple scars of the rough terrain this movie that was nearly abandoned was fated to endure. What’s left standing though is this one of a kind strangely enthralling peculiarity whose major crime is wanting to be smart and artsy and taken seriously until the time came that it changed its mind and wanted to be flashy and frightening too. So sue it. Personally, I can only take off my hat and bow before the spirited audacity of attempting an air of sophistication while featuring a decapitated head in a toilet.

Speaking of flashy and frightening, thanks to this new presentation, the famous murder on skates scene may have found some fresh competition itself in the most memorable moment department. Suddenly now with lines sharpened, its neon lights injected with color and its shadow pools deepened the climactic prop room chase now appears like an understudy poised to grab the spotlight. Nah, maybe not. The ice skating scene always wins.

One last thing though, I have to point out that no matter if it’s on VHS, Beta, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray or whatever they come up with next, the cast of CURTAINS has always been phenomenal in any format and a gargantuan reason this film has its loyal fan base. JOHN VERNON and SAMANTHA EGGAR are amazing together and it’s a crime against theater that they never, to my knowledge did “WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF?” And then there’s LESLEH DONALDSON who lights up whatever film she’s in even if it’s a killer rat movie. But I have to say after my most recent viewing of CURTAINS I realize now, without a shadow of a doubt, that LYNNE GRIFFIN really OWNS this movie. She’s fantastic. She starts out all quirky and self effacing and then there’s this scene where she looses her patience and shows this whole other side to herself and she kills it. I’m telling you, LYNNE stole a scene right out from under VERNON’s nose and then, by gosh, she went and swiped one away from EGGAR too and folks that can’t be easy!

If you never liked this movie this is your chance to like it, if you liked this movie this is your chance to love it and it you loved this movie, chances are you already own this revamped game-changer version and very likely got a chance to check it out long before me. How nice for you.

→ 3 CommentsTags: General Horror

Name That Trauma :: Reader Joe S. on a Vengeful Hunting Trip Gone Wrong.

August 15th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

Hi all:

I have a Name that Trauma that I’ve always been wanting to send but have been too lazy to type it up and send it. Anyway, I can’t remember if this was an actual movie or perhaps just a short on a show like NIGHT GALLERY. I remember watching it back with my uncle in about the early ’80s and then remembered one of my friends talking about it, so I know it existed and wasn’t a fever dream.

Here’s what I remember:

It starts with a group of friends going hunting and then one of them mistakenly shoots someone from a different hunting party, a small firefight ensues and a couple of members on both sides are shot. I think the rest of the movie (short?) entails this group of hunting buddies trying to convince some of their other friends to go back with them next year to try to take out the rest of the other hunting party for revenge.

The friends end up humoring them and go with them the next year thinking nothing was going to happen. But of course, when they get there and end up at the river where the first event happened, trap doors open up on the other side and men pop out and starting shooting at them…and then I swear, I even remember there being a tank that they uncovered that started shooting at them.

That’s about all I can remember from it, if anyone can help me that’d be awesome because it’s been bugging me for years!

– Joe S.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Name That Trauma!

Name That Trauma CONFIRMATIONS :: Reader Simminy on “Another Man’s Family”

August 11th, 2014 by aunt john · 1 Comment


I can confirm that Tom P. from 3/12 and JLP from 2/10 are both haunted by the same vintage fire safety film as I am, which I learned today is called “Another Man’s Family.” Thanks to Kindertrauma, after 40 years I now know that I didn’t imagine it.

It’s available on YouTube, although the quality is extremely poor… but you can still watch the whole family drop dead one by one in their blazing home and then see the fire department rake the ashes of the kid’s toys in the morning.

Oh yes, perfectly suitable to show to a classroom of 10-year-olds in 1972.


Cool site!

– Simminy

AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks Simminy for finally putting the fire out on this lingering Name That Trauma. The video is available in three parts on YouTube (PART 1, PART 2, & PART 3), but as Simminy cautions, the quality is quite poor. I recommend muting the sound and playing “Burning Down the House.”

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Amazing Senski suspected “Another Man’s Family” in the comments on JLP’s initial Name That Trauma, but the video was not available on YouTube at the time of his posting. Thanks Senski!

→ 1 CommentTags: Name That Trauma! · The Amazing Senski · Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Jamie P. on an Unrepentant Muppet Murderer

August 10th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

THE MUPPRT SHOW, Episode 310, spring 1978. “You’re Always Welcome at Our House” and we know you will stay.

Yeah, inviting muppets into your house to kill them is not fun for children who are 4 years old.

Especially when it comes a few weeks after the terrifying Alice Cooper episode.

These are the kinds of things that make you wonder if age-ratings for television shows are a good idea after all

UNK SEZ: Thanks for another delicious traumafession Jamie! I did a little research and learned this creepy ditty was penned by the great SHEL SILVERSTEIN. You can hear the original version HERE. Now, I hope you realize that since you mentioned the ALICE COOPER episode we’re going to have to watch that too (see below)!

→ 5 CommentsTags: Traumafessions

Traumafession:: Jamie P. on Watership Down, Lord of the Rings & Friday the 13th

August 9th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 3 Comments

I grew up with a father into science fiction and a mother into horror.

My father took me to see Watership Down in the theater in late 1978 or early 1979. Either way, I was 5. All the bunny rabbits were instant friends. Yes, they got into fights and some scary stuff right off the bat with Fiver’s psychic vision of impending bunny-doom if they didn’t flee the warren. Their voyage to their new home was a struggle, but they made it and had happy bunny families and lived happily ever after…

No. Instead of ending the movie there, we got to see the Black Rabbit of Death come to take away all my bunny rabbit friends. The Black Rabbit of Death haunted my dreams for years. I don’t even want to listen to that song from the movie. Why did we need to see the bunnies off to another plane of existence? Perhaps because of Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien grinds us down to make us read about the passing of all the Ring Bearers and of the Elves.

Lord of the Rings, another 1978 movie I should not have been taken to see. Looking it up on Wikipedia I see that there was substantially more of the film than I remember. Because for me, the movie ended when Boromir was pierced by orc arrows and dripping with blood, in his drawn out death scene, apologizing for trying to steal the Ring.

Now for mom and grandma. Friday the 13th, the first movie from 1980. I was now a stalwart 6 year old. Who doesn’t know what happened in the movie because he was hiding under the theater seat for almost the entire thing. This is a serious WTF were you thinking situation: your mother and your grandmother are laughing at you, a 6 year old, for being terrified of a slasher horror movie. No comfort; no he’s too young, we should go. They thought it was funny for me to be hiding in the sticky goo under the seat.

And yes, I was hiding for most of the movie. But then I was told the scary parts were over and it was ok to emerge from my sticky warren of fear. They weren’t. Nasty decomposing monster Jason jumps out of the lake, a surprise for everyone. And traumatic for me.

Oh and Jaws. Two and a half years old and taken to see Jaws. Bad parents. Bad.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Traumafessions

Super Hooper Funhouse

August 8th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 16 Comments

Here you have ten images from ten TOBE HOOPER directed movies and/or TV shows. How many can you identify?

→ 16 CommentsTags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Smoking with Marilyn Burns

August 7th, 2014 by unkle lancifer · 13 Comments

It breaks my heart to write about the death of Marilyn Burns but it doesn’t seem right to post anything else until we’ve acknowledged this loss. My heart goes out to her friends and family who surely must endure the brunt of the devastation. As a mere fan, I’m sure I can’t even begin to understand the depth of grief felt by those close to her. Still, I can’t help feeling like everyone who ever loved a horror movie just took a major dent, whether they realize it or not, and that something incalculable that was once here is now gone.

Maybe I’m being pessimistic due to my morbid state but I think the truth is that horror audiences can expect to never, ever, ever witness the type of unadulterated terror that Marilyn Burns was able to put into her performance in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE again. It’s just a sad fact. The way the genre is moving it just wouldn’t be allowed and even if it were attempted, you’d never be lucky enough to find an actress as unselfconscious as Burns to pull it off. Even if they had the talent, it’s hard to believe they’d also have the moxy to withstand such a grueling endeavor. Nope, we’ll never see the likes of it again because we’re all too soft and spoiled and modern horror has become less about fear and terror and death and mortality and the unflinching unfairness of the universe than it is about looking competent and cool in the face of adversity. So I guess I just want to thank Marilyn from the bottom of my horror fan heart for bravely going where no actor ever had gone before or ever will again. Real horror, it’s there, in that movie, forever thanks to her.

I’m going to make this about me for a second and if you think that’s vulgar, I totally agree with you but I have to get over this bump somehow and I never said I wasn’t ignoble in the face of death. I may have mentioned before that I can be, on occasions, socially awkward. One thing that’s sure to make me a Bambi-legged Jell-O bowl is a large crowd. I don’t go to horror conventions very much any more but when I did, what I was really seeing in my head was the climax of THE DAY OF LOCUST. If I meet a famous person, I’m usually a jittery marble mouthed spaz on invisible roller skates and that’s putting aside for a moment my legendary Lori Singer evoked facial-tick.

Anyway, once I was at this horror convention feeling like a Howdy Doody marionette plopping around in a sea of Monster High Dolls and I went outside to the front of the hotel for a breath of fresh air and mostly a cigarette (this post was not approved by the Surgeon General). And who do I see there all by herself but Marilyn Burns puffing away. So we get to talking (actually, I was with a more boisterous friend who initiated the conversation but I’m going to edit that person out in the spirit of poetic license) and she put me at ease (not an easy thing to do) in all of a minute. She was so gracious and open and generous and all around awesome that I almost forgot that I was talking to a living legend.

For perspective, please realize that a half an hour earlier I was getting shady stink eye from a self-proclaimed scream queen whose boobs were featured in an unwatchable piece of garbage directed by her mouth breathing husband and now suddenly I was being made to feel like I might exist enough to cast a shadow by a woman who plowed like an eighteen wheeler through one of the greatest movies ever made wielding only one of the most outstandingly performances of all time. And folks, at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, that’s something else you can look forward to seeing less of in the future- humility. No, they don’t make movies like TCM anymore but what makes me sad here is that the last time I did a head count, they don’t make too many people like that anymore either. I know I can’t say that I knew Marilyn based on our brief encounter but I can say that it was obvious to me that those who did know her were very lucky. Goodbye for now Marilyn and again, thank you so much for all that you gave. It’s more than you’ll ever know.

One last thing, I gotta give a shout out to EATEN ALIVE. That’s a fantastic movie too.

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→ 13 CommentsTags: Caution: I break for geniuses!