TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Reader Walt on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

lady elaine and mr. brockett from mr. rogers neighborhood are scary

There is probably not a child alive in the United States that hasn’t been “touched” by MR. ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD. Maybe you couldn’t wait for the trolley to whisk you to the Neighborhood of Make Believe, got excited over Mr. Rogers tour of the local denizens, or maybe it was the “shoe toss” that gave you a thrill. For all the good memories you had from the show, let me dredge up some repressed horrors that you may have forgotten, but still haunt me and my wife years later.

The most nightmare-producing images from the show was when Lady Elaine Fairchilde was on screen. Did FRED ROGERS purposely pick a puppet design to scare children into his submission? Her phallic red nose, alcoholic-red cheeks, her creepy CHYNA-like man-pretending-to-be-a-woman voice, and an overall look that seems Fred pulled her out of the trash. If I was a child in IT, my fear would manifest itself as this puppet.

The next horror-vision on my tour of The Neighborhood is the amazing limping Chef Brockett. I know it’s not a politically correct thing to say, he had a physical disability, but hell, this guy gave me the creeps as a kid. He would be cooking and then all of a sudden lunge towards Mr. Rogers, scaring the crap out of me. I had to keep telling myself, it was only a limp, he does not want to eat Fred’s brains. While searching for information on DON BROCKETT, I found an eerie link to my fears. Did you know that he was the “Friendly Psychopath in Cell” in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS AND played a zombie, not only in GEORGE ROMERO’s 1985 classic DAY OF THE DEAD but in the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by TOM SAVINI? Who knew that the chef with a perfect zombie gate had such ties to horror greats?

The last one almost made me crazy. When I was really young, I had the Mr. Rogers’ “long playing” record. It included the regular songs that everyone knew, but I also remember a song where Fred warns his young listeners that they can’t marry their mothers. Now, I don’t quite recall fighting the Oedipal complex as a child, but if I had an inkling to want to kill my dad and run away with my mom, Mr. Rogers was there to help.

No one I knew could remember this song, leaving me to look like some crazed lunatic, babbling something about Fred Rogers and my mother. But thanks to that series of tubes called “The Internets,” I was able to find this song and play it; confirming that I wasn’t nuts (Thanks to a blog called Dr. Forrest’s Cheese Factory). The song is available on-line, so you can be as appalled as I have been. While this song did not appear to damage me in any way when I was young, the memories of it as an adult has.

I’m sure there are other horrific memories from MR. ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD (remember the rumor about him being a trained sniper? Look it up on Snopes)… but these are the few that scarred me. And speedy delivery to y’all.

EARLIER: Walt discusses the unsolved, possibly GHOULIES-induced death of his childhood Cockatiel.

TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Reader Andrew on House by the Cemetery

house by the cemetery headless babysitter

    Almost every child at one point has been afraid to go in the basement, but I’m not sure they were all afraid of the evil, maggot-spewing zombie, Dr. Fruedstein, living down there. I remember one scene in particular where Bob, a young child, hears the screams of his babysitter Anne. Picking up a stuffed animal and a toy gun Bob goes to “rescue Anne.” We proceed to watch Anne’s throat slashed and her head eventually decapitated. Bob arrives just in time to watch his babysitter’s head roll down the steps. Traumatizing for any kid I’d say!

    TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Reader Walt on Ghoulies


    death of family pet! ghoulies

    My cousin was sleeping over my house, and as kids are known to do, we decided to take all the sheets and blankets I had and create a “tent” that encompassed most of the room. We made sure to include my TV in our hideaway. On HBO was GHOULIES, and we were watching intently.

    All of a sudden I hear my pet Cockatiel let out a horrible squawk and then a “thud.”

    I popped my head out of our makeshift safe-haven to find Willie, feet-up at the bottom of the cage, now an ex-Cockatiel.

    So from that day forward, every time I see the GHOULIES, I think of poor dead Willie and how I’ll never know if it was the crapatcular movie that killed my bird.

    TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Ryan Midnight on the VHS Cover of CREEPERS


    creepers bugs Jennifer Connelly Argento

    As I like to think we all did, I had a great mom and pop video store in New Jersey by the name of Showbiz Video in the 80’s before it was run out of town by Blockbuster (who I would incidentally work for years later). One of my favorite past times was to sneak off into the horror section, and look at all the VHS covers with promises of the most horrible things you could possibly imagine. I would dare myself to look at the back covers, which always had more gruesome images, read what the movie was about, and wonder if I could ever bring myself to watch something so terrifying. But one cover above them all I could not even bring myself to even look at, and would turn my head away whenever I approached the “C” section. That film was CREEPERS, the U.S. edited version of DARIO ARGENTO’s PHENOMENA. With JENNIFER CONNELLY’s half-eaten face and hand holding hundreds of bugs, it was just too much for my eight year old mind to handle. I could not even fathom what the movie would actually be, if that was the picture that was advertising it. I never mustered the courage to find out what the back cover said!Now years later I am a complete devotee to DARIO ARGENTO’s work, but I still to this day have not watched any version of PHENOMENA. I’m sure it is no worse than SUSPIRIA or OPERA, but something deep within the dark recesses of my mind will just not let me watch it, let alone rent it before sheepishly returning it unviewed. That is the power of horror film advertising, something which I dare say has lost its oomph in this more glossy day and age.  

    Thanks Ryan Midnight of MOVIES AT MIDNIGHT! Ryan’s TRAUMAFESSION is a good reminder that TRAUMAFESSIONS don’t necessarily have to be about the movies and T.V. shows you’ve seen. Remember kiddies, you can write in about music, books, toys, art or even an illustration on a VHS tape as Ryan has done. Anything that freaked out your little brain as a child is fair game. We want to hear from you and trust us, other people do as well!

    The Curse


     THE CURSE is one strange little movie. Directed by American actor DAVID KEITH (FIRESTARTER) and produced by Italian gore Maestro LUCIO FULCI, this spaghetti-garnished hot dog, though sometimes heartburn inducing, is at least original in flavor. Slime oozing to the strums of a banjo being picked?…irresistible! WILL WEATON is Zack, a kid that’s learning that mixed families don’t always mean A VERY BRADY CHRISTMAS. He, along with kid sis Alice (real life sibling AMY WHEATON) are suffering through mom’s decision to wed a religious fanatic (CLAUDE AKINS) who comes complete with a fat bully son (CHRISTINE’s MALCOLM DANARE). One night, while mom is satisfying an itch step Dad won’t scratch with a hairy handyman, a meteor crashes. This giant glowing ball spews fluorescent junk across their farm and contaminates the water supply. Soon a bounty of giant veggies is produced and it seems like a gift from God. Unfortunately when any of the harvest is bitten into or sliced, maggots and slime pour out. Suddenly God’s gift looks more like a booby prize for mom’s indiscretions. Speaking of mom, she’s not looking so hot, giant horn-like zits are beginning to appear on her face and she’s acting kinda crazy. Did she really just sew her hand into the sock she was mending? Like most crazy people, mom is quickly hid away from company but soon step Dad and his mean son start to look peeked as well. (WILL and sis were smart enough to go off the farm’s crop as soon as the animals started acting wonky). As we get further along towards the climax, things get less and less heartland Americana and more and more blood soaked FULCI-cana. Mom literally ends up looking like a pile of shit and the scary step family gets all pig faced and starts brandishing pitchforks. At the eleventh hour Duke boy JOHN SCHNEIDER, a bespeckled water inspector, lends a helping hand, but by this point we’ve already seen the house change from real to a miniature model which can only mean one thing… kablooey! Based on THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE by H.P. LOVECRAFT and filtered through a FULCI-funnel, KEITH’s kooky salute to flesh nausea makes up for its weaknesses with sheer good old fashion weirdness.indelible scenes

    • Mom gets a gross puss squirt in the eye from a tomato
    • Alice is attacked by chickens
    • Mom “connecting the dots” on her step son’s injured buttocks 
    • The aforementioned sock mending scene…
    • Cow explosion!
    • Looking like an ENERGY HOG Cyrus (DANARE) attacks Alice in her bedroom



    The Bloodening


    the simpsons the bloodening wild barts can't be broken

      Since THE SIMPSONS MOVIE has proven to be a worldwide success there’s only one next logical step. A full-length animated feature of THE BLOODENING is in order. The VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED parody seen in the tenth season’s eleventh episode WILD BARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN left us craving more, much MORE. So get on it SIMPSONS animators, we want more of the little blighters. We won’t sleep until we get the full story behind the Doctor and the bootblack rogering the fishwife in the crumpet shop!  

      Kingdom of the Spiders

      killer spiders william shatner tarantula web
      Super studly swinger WILLIAM SHATNER is a veterinarian assigned to the case of a murdered cow. TIFFANY BOLLING is a woman’s libber and an entomologist who’s pegged a bunch of creepy crawly tarantulas as the culprits behind the heifer’s demise. Even though she has her hands full thwarting Bill’s numerous heavy-handed advances, she easily determines the usual loner spiders have gone berserk and teamed up. These tarantulas are so crazy, they’ve somehow gained the power to produce webs and now live in giant “spider hills,” an idea they obviously stole from ants. This would all be pretty exciting news for scientists everywhere except that the spiders want to eat people and there’s a big town fair approaching that promises to be a smörgåsbord for the furry fellows. Eventually most of our favorite characters that are not dead wind up in a lodge where they have to fend off the hirsute hooligans with fire extinguishers and boiling soup. (About half the spiders are played by real tarantulas and the other half are clearly rubbery stand-ins). I don’t have to tell you about SHATNER’s performance (SHAT-TASTIC!) but who is this TIFFANY BOLLING and why is she so brave when forced to handle spiders at every turn? Seems a year earlier the clever minx played SPIDER LADY on ELECTRO WOMAN AND DYNA GIRL! That spider wrangling gig must have made her a shoe in for the part of the brilliant and brave Diane Ashley! And while we’re at it, who is that familiar moppet playing the SHAT-ATTACK’s niece who he keeps throwing around like a bag of potatoes and whose screams were obviously dubbed in later by an adult? Why it’s little NATASHA RYAN, who the year earlier was busy being psychologically tortured in the SALLY FIELD television TRAUMA-THON SYBIL! Viewers who take this movie even remotely seriously deserve the hell their lives must be. This is trash of the highest order and it’s all big fun right up to its mind bogglingly fake-looking final frame. A late night television mainstay of the late ’70s and early ’80s, KINGDOM is required viewing for arachnophobes and SHAT-APHILES. I for one, learned two important things: #1. Airplanes and spiders not only don’t mix, but result in girly screams from the pilot. #2. If there is a spider crawling on your hand, don’t try to shoot it off with a gun…indelible scenes

      • Numerous spider POV shots abound from the opening attack on a cow (that ends in a freeze frame of it’s startled eye) to the stalking of NATASHA at a picnic
      • The attack at the fair is one of the most hilariously chaotic and jaw-droppingly bizarre things ever filmed. All of the extras deserve kudos for their nutso performances
      • SHATNER must venture into the lodge basement to fix the fuse that the sneaky spiders sabotaged. His dramatic crawl back up the stairs covered with the eight-legged villains is a thing of beauty

      Village of the Damned

      One day all of the citizenry of the super sleepy town of Midwich passed out dead in their tracks and took to an involuntary siesta. After awakening, all the women within child bearing years discovered a mysterious bun in their ovens. (The unmarried had some ‘splaining to do). Falling asleep and waking up pregnant can be disheartening (just ask my cousin Ida), but the ladies of Midwich take their mass rape with typical English aplomb. When the children are born, it is clear that they are far from normal; in fact, they’re blonde AND smart, a chillingly unnatural combination. As they get older, they begin to show further signs of otherworldliness, roaming the streets in flocks like junior Jehovah’s witnesses. Residents begin to fear these Aryan-looking oddballs who begin to unabashedly strut their psychic and telekinetic powers all about town. This unrest and distrust is worsened when it’s learned that if the creepy kids have a problem with you, they force you to drive your car into a wall or blow your brains out. In fact, it is suspected that Midwich is just a stepping-stone and what the kids really have their radiant eyes on is the whole globe. Are they from outer space? Can they be stopped? Based on a novel by the great JOHN WYNDHAM entitled THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS (on account of Cuckoo birds are such slackers that they make other birds raise their kids) and featuring excellent performances from future INNOCENTS star MARTIN STEPHENS and future suicide GEORGE SANDERS, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is creepy, compelling and surprisingly thought provoking. In fact, it’s impossible to think of any demonic child movie that doesn’t have this 1960 sci-fi “What if?” flick’s greasy paw prints all over it. Like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS before it, it’s the absence of humanity and emotion, not to mention individuality (Commie!) that unnerves here. Although there’s no over estimating the power of super-imposed, glowing eyeballs over a still framed black and white image of a cherubic child either.
      indelible scenes

      • Plane flies over slumbering Midwich, pilot nods off and plane goes boom!
      • Mom with psychic assistance, attempts to scald own hand after accidentally presenting infant with a too hot baby bottle
      • A HELLRAISER like Chinese puzzle box reveal the kids communal learning skills
      • SANDER’s imagining of a brick wall to block off munchkin’s Jedi mind tricks.
      • Miniature house explodes into flames

      TRAUMAFESSIONS :: Kinderpal Sean of the Dead on Happy Days

      fonzie grim reaper happy days halloween

      As a child growing up in Australia during the late ’70s and early ’80s, I suckled on the teat that is bad US sitcoms. MORK & MINDY, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, THREE’S COMPANY… and later… SMALL WONDER, SILVER SPOONS and JENNIFER SLEPT HERE. Normally these shows weren’t scary, just frighteningly camp. However, one episode of a TV classic did haunt me when I originally saw it and for years later.

      During its second season, HAPPY DAYS filmed a Halloween episode called ‘Haunted‘. It involved Richie scouting the old Simpson house with Joanie to determine its suitability for a Ralph-hosted party. Inside the house, Richie claims to have seen a headless body in the closet. The talk amongst the kids is old Lady Simpson was beheaded and if you go into the house, she will behead you too. After allowing Howard to convince him to go to the party, Richie is humiliated in front of everyone when he freaks out when a Ralph prank catches him off-guard. As they are all laughing, a headless woman starts floating down the stairs. I don’t know why this scared me so much, but I was convinced this was how I was to meet my demise. Richie finds the courage to unmask the headless horror and the viewer is shown the culprit to be Bag of the Demons.Another equally horrifying occurrence from this episode involves TOM BOSLEY as Howard asking a young boy for a kiss after handing him some Halloween candy?!?!

      Editor’s Note: To check out more musings and pretty pictures from KINDERTRAUMA’s first-ever commenter, visit Sean of the Dead @ Lost in MySpace.