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Traumafession:: Rob S. on a Three Dog Night-mare

December 10th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 2 Comments

Hi, guys! This is truly my favorite site. Keep it going forever, please! I have a Traumafession for you that I’d be surprised if no one else my age could relate to. When I was growing up in the 70’s, my parents had an extensive album collection that I would browse through from time to time and one of their favorite bands was Three Dog Night. There was an album of theirs called Hard Labor with a really bizarre and horrifying cover. It was a picture of a hospital operating room with some kind of weird mannequin/alien being with bird-like feet giving birth to a record album with a roomful of attending medical staff crowded around. At least that was the original album cover before the record company made them cover the lower third of the album with a huge plastic Band-Aid…..which made the image even more mysterious and frightening!

That cover with the Band-Aid was the source of many a nightmare when I was a kid….but, of course, I still had to look at it when I felt particularly daring. The image on the back of the album wasn’t much better, depicting the “mannequin/alien” thing on a carousel. Whoever thought that was a good image to slap on the band’s cover was on some pretty good drugs! That cover has always stayed with me, I included here the original cover, the back cover, and the Band-Aid cover that scarred my fragile psyche.

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Knives Out (2019)

December 8th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

Murder mysteries are the kissing cousins of horror flicks. KNIVES OUT is particularly horror adjacent thanks to the presence of eternal horror queen JAMIE LEE CURTIS and the always game for terror dipping TONI COLETTE. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, this baby delivers a majestic mansion, autumnal atmosphere, a couple of corpses and even a random spider crawling on someone’s face. Whoever thought of releasing this splendid whodunit right in time for the Thanksgiving holiday is my new best friend. I’m currently planning on watching it every year on Turkey Day because even though it offers zero in the cranberry sauce department, it features family members squabbling, dead leaves cascading about and the warmest looking sweaters. Better still for my holiday needs is its presentation of Linus Van Pelt-level sincerity ultimately foiling unfettered greed and privilege.

Unfortunately for this post though, this is the type of movie I think you should see knowing as little as possible about. I guess the basic set up is fair game so here it is: A wealthy mystery writer is found dead after a birthday party attended by his family. At first it looks like a suicide but of course, it isn’t and everyone who attended said party becomes a suspect. There. That’s all I’m going to say except (no spoilers); KNIVES OUT cuts with perfect precision and it’s one of those rare movies that keeps getting better and better as you watch it, every single turn of the screw makes the overall puzzle richer and more satisfying. I have my fingers crossed that DANIEL CRAIG’s southern sleuthing character Benoit Blanc appears in more movies than James Bond. Actually, the entire cast is stellar from the impressive newbies to the long-familiar folks showing off sides you’ve rarely seen.

I really don’t have much more to add than do yourself a favor and go see KNIVES OUT. Perhaps the strangest aspect of my experience with this movie is that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it in a packed movie theater. This is very unusual for me! I usually like to see movies as alone as I can possibly be but for some reason this movie made me feel a communal connection toward my fellow audience members who seemed to be having as much fun with it as myself. It actually cured me of my ever-expanding misanthropy for at least its full runtime! Nope, I wouldn’t change a hair on its lovely head. It’s wickedly clever, truly suspenseful at times and it says so much without loudly grinding an axe. KNIVES OUT is so satisfying it left me feeling like I’d just finished a masterful meal (and I’m looking forward to the day when I can watch it back-to-back with 2019’s other CLUE-esque twisted family gathering READY OR NOT).

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

December 6th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 11 Comments

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Traumafession:: Dustin in Minnesota on Southern Gothic Country Music

December 3rd, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 13 Comments

Hey there Trauma fans! I have a traumafession from my youth involving country music. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and my dad played in numerous local bands, both rock and country music. Because of this, my parents had a massive collection of vinyl. Some of it freaked me out, particularly three songs that I guess you could classify as southern gothic.The first was The Legend of Wooley Swamp, performed by the Charlie Daniels band, in which some local white trash (as described in the song) beat a swamp-dwelling old miser to death to collect his fortune, only for him to have his post-mortem revenge as they drowned in quicksand while making their escape. (Interestingly enough, I pictured the swamp looking the one where The Legion of Doom lived inside their Darth Vader’s head-shaped spacecraft)

The second was Kenny Rogers‘s song “The Hoodooin’ of Miss Fannie DeBerry,” in which the narrator recalls a woman from his youth who would walk down a road barefoot speaking in tongues and come home crying late at night. It is revealed she had gained immortality through a deal with the Devil, and that she might use it against the listener.

The third freaked me out to a lesser degree – “Somebody’s Knockin'” by Terri Gibbs, in which a woman sings that the Devil has come to her door to seduce her. It wasn’t the lyrics that freaked grade-school me out so much as her haunting voice and the thought of the Devil on one’s doorstep.
While these songs freaked me out, I was fascinated by them nonetheless, as they were a musical bridge between religious tracts I would sometimes come across and the nightmare-inducing horror comics I would buy at the drugstore. And yes, these songs sometimes had the same effect if I listened to them shortly before bedtime, conjuring images of swamps, revenge, voodoo, and the Prince of Darkness in my ten-year-old mind.


Dustin in Minnesota

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

November 29th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

There are 10 differences between the image above (A) and the image below (B). Can you find them all?

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Name That Trauma:: Xminus on an Avalanche and a Talking Rock

November 27th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 1 Comment

I need your help as winter approaches. I have a movie stuck in my head and I can not find the name of it. All I have to go on is it was on TV, not sure when or what channel, and it might be a made for tv movie, I am not sure. All I can remember is that there was an avalanche, and someone is dying , and up to their neck in snow and they start hallucinating and talking to a rock of all things. I remember the guy naming the rock rocky and the rock had a mouth that said I have always been here and always will be. Then the mouth on the rock vanishes and the guy gets a little frantic and the screen fades to black shortly after. I need to know I was not just making this up, and any help will be appreciated.

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In Memoriam:: Michael J. Pollard 5/30/39 – 11/20/19

November 23rd, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 10 Comments

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Kindertrauma Funhouse

November 22nd, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 15 Comments

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Witchcraft (1964)

November 20th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

I always have time for a movie concerning witches and if it’s casting its spell in gorgeous black and white that’s even better in my book. Directed by Don Sharp (who helmed the equally atmospheric KISS OF THE VAMPIRE a year earlier), WITCHCRAFT is a surprisingly dark and moody tale with a superbly gloomy ending. I’m a little shocked that it has evaded me for so many years because it seems like it should be mentioned alongside some of my favorite titles like BURN, WITCH, BURN (1962), HORROR HOTEL (1960) and THE WOMAN WHO CAME BACK (1945). Truth is, I found it streaming free on TubiTV and liked it so much that I went online to buy a copy only to recognize it as something I already owned and hadn’t viewed yet (it’s in one of those “Midnight Movie” double feature sets from MGM with DEVIL’S OF DARKNESS (1965)). I know that’s not a very interesting story but I want to publically yell at myself for purchasing movies and not watching them. Plus, I’d like to alert the world that my brain has seen better days.

WITCHCRAFT opens with gravestones being crushed by a bulldozer. Because this film takes place decades before POLTERGEIST (1982), it’s not yet public knowledge that putting a land development on top of a graveyard is a rotten idea. The legendary Lon Chaney, Jr. as Morgan Whitlock is seeing red about the desecration (as well he should) because the very same family disturbing the graves (the Laniers) buried his relative Vanessa Whitlock (Diane Clare) alive under (accurate) accusations of witchcraft there. It’s sort of a Hatfields vs. McCoys situation except one family are greedy jerks who steal land and the other family are cool witches who can make you think you’re driving your car on Main Street when you’re really driving off of a cliff. Making things even stickier is the canoodling of two young lovers (David Weston as Todd Lanier and Diane Clare as Amy Whitlock) from each clan who hope to bypass all this ancient history and start anew. Peace and tranquility are hardly in the cards though because Vanessa Whitlock has risen from the grave and she looks fierce, awesomely creepy and totally pissed.

This toasty flick is tailor-made for watching from under a blanket with a reliable cat at your side. There’s a big old dark house full of menacing shadows and dizzying wallpaper, foggy walks to a torch-lit crypt, a bed-ridden old lady cackling out warnings, and a funeral for nearly every character who doesn’t abide. Plus, you get chanting Satanic cults, voodoo dolls and the kind of lovable score that doesn’t mind beating revelations into your head with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Some of it may be a bit tame and hokey by today’s standards (at one point we’re meant to be alarmed by a toad) but underneath its reserved veneer, it couldn’t be more dark and pessimistic (one character, who seems primed for redemption actually ends up with a wicked demise). The resurrected witch Vanessa Whitlock is pretty charming and alarming to behold and in a world starved for female ghoul representation, I think she deserves much more notoriety. Like all great monsters, she’s as sympathetic as she is frightening and I’m a little sad she didn’t leave a deep enough impression to warrant a sequel. #justiceforvanessawhitlock

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Traumafession:: bdwilcox on Flash Gordon

November 19th, 2019 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

It’s been decades since I first saw Flash Gordon in the movie theater as a kid and to this day I am loathe to reach my arm into someplace I haven’t thoroughly inspected.  I still go through this circus every day when I need to check my mailbox. Each time I reach my arm into that dark recess I thoroughly expect to feel a sting and pull my arm out dripping with green goo only to ask Timothy Dalton to run me through with a sword and spare me the madness.

But I think there is a bigger, more symbolic meaning here.  Remember as a kid when the mail was the coolest thing ever? I would race to the mailbox to get my catalogs from Sears, Toys R Us, Service Merchandise, Cabelas, Gander Mountain, etc. and pour over them for hours looking at all the cool things they offered and I couldn’t afford.  One day I’ll be able to order whatever I want, I thought, and my wife will be one of those girls in the Cabelas catalogs who sits around in her flannel pajamas and sips hot tea with honey from a giant Cabelas mug in front of the fire.

But as life wore on and many of the delights from childhood faded and soured, mail became its antithesis.  Now instead of joy, it delivered a merciless sting: an endless parade of bills, collection agents, tax notices, registration and license renewals, and the ugly faces of pandering politicians at election time.  Timothy Dalton said: “Death is certain, but only after tortured madness. (“How long?”) Hours. days, depending on your strength.”  If that isn’t an allegory for how life wears us down, I don’t know what is.


P.S. Please feel free to use the attached picture I made of my actual mailbox (No Prince Barin’s were harmed in the making of this picture.)

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