From A Whisper To A Scream a.k.a. The Offspring

FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM a.k.a. THE OFFSPRING may not be the best horror anthology in the world, but it does put VINCENT PRICE and SUSAN TYRREL in the same room together and that’s good enough for me. Happily, the first and last of the four stories (The PRICE/TYRREL bit serves as a wraparound) end up being particularly well suited for the pages of Kindertrauma. The first tale involves a stalker with a heart of blech (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD‘s CLU GULAGER, remarkably unrecognizable) who goes a bit too far trying to win the affections of a co-worker (and by a bit too far I mean killing her and doing the wild thing with her corpse!). After nine months a baby is born to the buried, dead woman and immediately sets about filling this anthology’s small creature on the rampage slot (which usually is the last story). CLU is great and so is the little monster, but TRILOGY OF TERROR this ain’t and as soon as the action gets good, the story is over. Next we have two tales about witchcraft gone wrong. They both have satisfying conclusions, but each takes its own sweet time getting there. (I like to think of myself as a patient viewer, but c’mon there’s no time for lollygagging in an anthology movie!) The final story is a Civil War CHILDREN OF THE CORN with an anti-war message that brings to mind WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? Starring the great CAMERON MITCHEL (THE TOOLBOX MURDERS) and featuring some morbid sight gags, like a bunch of kids playing pin the tail on the donkey with human body parts, it’s a pretty cool addition to the whole murderous-children-have-taken-over sub-genre. In this case, the children follow the lead of a mystery being called “The Magistrate,” which turns out to be something pretty damn gruesome. I especially enjoyed the scene that involved a child telling a tied up adult, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” as he bashes him on the head with a human bone. This segment could also win an award for “Most Repulsive Use For a Severed Eyeball.” Overall, there’s enough originality and go-for-broke gusto to warrant a viewing from any horror fan, but stand warned that the pacing is a bit off and that you may see the various comeuppance conclusions coming from a mile away. Whatever the film’s weak suites, its cast more than makes up for them, time and time again.

Traumafessions :: Eric M. on Terror in the Aisles

terror in the aisles

TERROR IN THE AISLES is a film that has had a profound, lasting effect on the way I feel about horror films and some non-horror films that they, for some reason, included. It turned me on to NIGHT HAWKS, VICE SQUAD and one of my all time favorite’s PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. I took it in to my middle school and for some reason did a report on horror films. Everyone cracked up when LINDA BLAIR did the rolled-back-eyes  hoochie coochie dance (even my teacher cracked up). I had just started buying Fangoria magazine (CELLAR DWELLER was on the cover) and brought it to school,this movie made me want to seek out more gore films and especially makeup effects people like TOM SAVINI and ROB BOTTIN (This is the first time I saw the clip from JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING and even THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ). The way DONALD PLEASANCE and NANCY ALLEN hosted the film, it seemed like an infomercial for the worst nightmare that you could not escape from.

UNK SEZ: Right there with you Eric. Every horror fan should see TERROR IN THE AISLES at least once. I gotta say I used to find the cheesy musical montage near the end nearly unbearable, but now it’s almost my favorite part! Due to licensing issues, it’s not likely that T.I.T.A. is going to be put on DVD any time soon (if ever) but currently you can watch the entire movie on your PC thanks to THIS GUY. If you have not seen it, hurry up and do so now before it gets yanked. It will certainly bring back some fond memories of the heyday of horror!

Traumafessions :: Reader Ben H. on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

e.t. phone a doctor

Right after I watched THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK I came down with a nasty cold, and my illness induced several nights of nightmares in which I was an underpowered Luke Skywalker, stranded on Dagobah. As it turns out, Dagobah didn’t have a DAMN thing on the San Fernando Valley. For a long list of reasons I was sent, two summers after Empire hit the theaters, to live with foster parents in San Antonio. That might’ve been tolerable, if… I wasn’t from Portland. Seriously. Name two places in these United States of America that are more different.

…So of course, there I was, 2000 miles from my family and everything I knew worth a damn, still feeling totally stranded, going through hell in school because OF COURSE I’m a discipline problem (gee, really???), when E.T. goes into theatrical release. Using a Speak & Spell to “phone home” when home is zillions of miles away? Getting dreadful sick and lying dying in the sterile beating heart of a funky polypropylene tent, surrounded by guys in positive pressure suits? Jesus on a pogo stick, talk about isolation piled on isolation.  I had nightmares for weeks afterward, in spite of spending a good part of the film with my eyes screwed shut.

…The guardianship arrangement that had caused me such grief was ended in the summer of ’83.  Even after 25 years of chances to get over it, I’ve never watched it again, and if I go the rest of my life so bereft, I’ll be okay with that.

Official Traumatot :: Randi Allen

RANDI ALLEN only appeared in one movie and it was called CATHY’S CURSE. If you’ve ever seen it you will have no questions about why she threw in the towel and gave up the biz for good. Although the movie’s problems are legion, it should be pointed out that RANDI is not really one of them. She easily act rings around the adult actors involved (then again how could she not). Still, not every child actor could deliver insults like, “Fat, dried up old whore” with such convincing malicious glee. As far as her post-CATHY life goes we have searched and come up empty handed. Wherever you are RANDI, with this award we apologize for the assumed nightmare that making this film must have been and we thank you for the countless hours of (torturous) entertainment you have provided us.

Cathy’s Curse

cathy's curse

CATHY’S CURSE (a.k.a. CAUCHEMARES) is an awful movie and I love it. I love subjecting people to it. I love watching a smiling, hopeful face, eager for a night of entertainment, slowly melt into one of disappointment and abject nausea. How many times have I forced others to watch this celluloid catastrophe with me? How many friendships have come to a screeching halt due to my insistence that it be regularly viewed? Moreover, how many of those unwittingly indoctrinated, now lost souls, left my home stumbling, screaming into the night just like the unfortunate visitors to Cathy’s address?

If CATHY’S CURSE were just incompetent that would be one thing, but it goes far beyond that, it willfully defies rational thought. It laughs in the face of human comprehension. It dares you to follow its lead and then pushes you into a pit of mental strain that only those who have suffered severe head injuries could possibly understand. It’s really more of an endurance test than anything else because CATHY’S CURSE is cursed alright. There is something supremely unnatural about it. Maybe it is evil in its truest form, a black hole that tears to shreds the fabric of everything we believe to be natural and real and good. I have come to fear that the atrocity’s creation was no accident. If you handed a camera to a mentally disabled monkey, it could deliver a film that reflected something of what day-to-day life on earth was like. No, this is the handiwork of a diabolical madman.

On the surface it masquerades as just another child possession movie. You would think following the action would be simple as the ground it presumes to cover has been tread countless times before. Unfortunately, the “director” stubbornly insists on presenting us countless inconsistencies that go far beyond what viewers would be used to witnessing in a so-called “bad movie.” (Imagine a mean-spirited TROLL 2 and you’re not even half way there). The instances of counter logic are simply too frequent and too obvious to be a mistake. Why didn’t anyone stop them? Considering that the production involved at least as many adult humans as we see on the screen, I can’t help but wonder why no one had the wherewithal to intervene and inject at least a granule of sanity to the proceedings. Surely they had some inkling of what they were doing!? They HAD to know!

Maybe future generations will understand. Maybe visitors from outer space could decipher it. Is it an anarchistic treatise against cinema as a whole? An experimental Dadaist poem about the perils of puberty and the dismantling of the nuclear family? By exposing us to random images whose meanings are obtuse or non-existent, are we meant to experience first hand what it’s like to be as insane as the people who inhabit this film are?

I am afraid. I am afraid that death will be like CATHY’S CURSE. I am afraid that the curse-a-verse is something real, another dimension beyond or own, a place where only wrong things happen. I fear that only a wall as thin as an onionskin separates our two worlds and that slowly that world is being absorbed into our own. I look in the mirror, am I Cathy’s curse? Did I make this happen? Is this movie my punishment for unknown deeds in a previous life? Will it ever go away? If you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and stay away. Nobody deserves to live in this kind of turmoil. I am no different than a heroin addict. I know this wretched thing is killing me but life without it is now unimaginable. Me and Cathy are joined for life. She guides me to the abyss and I follow. Turn back gentle reader before it is too late!!! Continue Reading →

Traumafessions :: Richard of Doomedmoviethon on “Christopher Lloyd’s Sewed on Head”

You remember AMAZING STORIES, right? The mostly schmaltzy and occasionally entertaining brainchild of STEVEN SPIELBERG. Well, my favorite episode, “Go To The Head Of The Class”, premiered in November of 1986 when I was ten years old. Oh, it’s only my favorite now because the terror it inflicted on me has only now finally subsided. For years, I’ve hated its director, ROBERT ZEMECKIS, for really messing me up (and for BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III). Luckily, Movieplex has been running the AMAZING STORIES “movies”, which are just some episodes slapped together, and I have finally faced my fear.

In the episode, CHRISTOPHER LLOYD plays Professor B. O. Beanes, a dictator of a high school teacher who takes great pleasure in punishing his students. When loser goofball Peter Brand, played by SCOTT COFFEY, starts flirting with bad girl Cynthia Simpson, the lovely MARY STUART MASTERSON, in class, they both run afoul of their jerky teacher. In order to get even, Cynthia convinces Peter to practice a little black magic on old Mr. Beanes. They accidentally kill the guy and then try resurrecting him. But, of course, they screw up while casting the spell, tear the head off the photo of the evil teacher, so he comes back from grave headless and very pissed off.

The promos for “Go To The Head Of The Class” had me bouncing off the walls for its premiere. Looking at it now, I see what I loved about the episode. It’s campy, sexy in a teenie bopper ’80s kind of a way, creepy in a non-threatening way, and fun as hell. But nothing could have prepared me for the surprise ending (which I’m going to ruin here). When all of the severed head business appears to have all just been a dream, Peter Brand arrives late to class to find Cynthia balancing dictionaries on her upturned hands as punishment. He also finds Mr. Beanes with his head reattached to his neck. Unfortunately for Peter (and for me), Beanes removes his scarf to show that his head has been very messily sewed back on.

This completely freaked me out. You see, I had just had my appendix removed and I still had the staples in so I was a little sensitive about seeing sutures. My imagination starting working overtime as I imagined CHRISTOPHER LLOYD’s sewed on head stretching backwards and snapping its stitches in a fountain of blood. This didn’t happen but I started thinking about my own scar ripping open and my guts falling out. Now I know it sounds convoluted but in a matter of seconds, I had totally ruined this excellent little one hour horror special for myself. I turned off my TV and sat in stunned silence, afraid to move. Needless to say, I had a very sleepless night ahead of me.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Richard, we always love to hear from you. We here at Kindertrauma are big fans of your DOOMED MOVIETHON! Your traumafession got me thinking about something I witnessed on television around the same time which I thought was also an episode of AMAZING STORIES. After a bit of searching, I found out it was an episode of the new TWILIGHT ZONE‘s first season back in 1985. It’s entitled PERSONAL DEMONS and it is directed by PETER MEDAK who did THE CHANGELING. The story is about a writer named O’Bannon who has writer’s block and starts seeing this scary guy and others like him everywhere he goes…

They’re sorta like evil Jawas or the guys from PHANTASM except all they do is laugh hysterically and tear all his shit up. They trash his car, attack him in a bar and nobody can see these dudes besides him. Anyhows, I was happy to discover that if you act now, you can view it on the youtube before some dillweed takes it down. Here are parts ONE and TWO. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, but it ends up being a great analogy of the creative process (whatever you do, make sure you read the closing credits). This episode has stuck with me for years so I’m so glad I got a chance to view it again. Oh, how I love my computer.

Traumafessions :: Reader Carolyanne G. on The Wall

all in all, you're just another brick in the wall

At six years old, I assumed that cartoons were all for kids. Maybe that’s why I was so shocked by what my father had fallen asleep in front of. I walked in on him watching THE WALL right at the start of the trial scene. Just the voices in that song haunted me halfway through puberty, until I finally sat down and watched it. The one scene that really hit home with me was the sequence during “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” where these little kids were being marched into a food grinder. I think between that scene and the “trial” sequence, it took my dad over an hour to calm me down.

UNK SEZ: Carolyanne, I’ve been waiting for somebody to mention this one! I love this movie, but I can definitely see how it would freak out a youngster. The whole movie is like being stuck in the head of a crazy person and you can’t get much more kindertraumatic than a bunch of kids lining up to jump into a meat grinder! Plus who can forget the immortal lines: “If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

we don't need no meat grinder

Traumafessions :: Reader Amanda on Leprechaun(s)

i want me gold!

My most vivid memories are about things that scared me when I was a kid. When I was little, about 7 or 8, I saw the movie LEPRECHAUN. It completely terrified me. In the middle of the movie I finally got up the courage to leave the room and ran to my bedroom and jumped on the bed from 3 feet away so anything under the bed couldn’t grab me. Then I spent all night lying awake terrified that leprechauns would come up the side of the bed while I was asleep. A couple of years ago when I was about 23, I watched LEPRECHAUN on T.V. and I couldn’t believe how cruddy it was. It’s amazing what crap will scare a kid. To this day I’ve never been a fan of leprechauns.

UNK SEZ: Agreed! I’m not a fan of Leprechauns either! They really need to start working on their public image, as it stands , even when they are not killing people, they come across as profoundly greedy and woefully prone to obsessive compulsive disorders and Napoleon complexes. If I had magical powers I think I could find something better to do with my time than go on and on about how great my bucket of gold is and how everyone wants it! Get over yourselves, leprechauns! Nobody cares!

Kinder-Tantrum :: Monsters & Kids Should Be Allowed to Enter Into Friendships!

i want a monster to be my friend!

Years before that red-furred, homicidal maniac (whose name I am afraid to type) took up residence on America’s favorite multicultural thoroughfare, SESAME STREET was home to a gaggle of adorable monsters. Despite reports from readers and listicle makers to the contrary, your Aunt John, in his formative years, found the monsters to be the best part of SESAME STREET in the 1970s. I loathed Snuffleupagas and flat-out hated Bob too. I wanted all my shows brought to me by the letter M for Monster!

My prayers for more monster screen time were answered in 1975 with the release of this innocuous enough seeming power-ballad “I Want A Monster To Be My Friend“:

The song was released on the The Sesame Street MONSTERS! LP which, with its good beat that I could dance to after kindergarten left out for the day, became #1 with a bullet on my Fisher-Price turntable. It was so awesome that it made me forget about my former musical obsessions Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, and The Monster Mash LP by Peter Pan Records.

Flash forward to this past November and Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times, the “Paper of Record” that was so kind to recently name-drop Kindertrauma (umm, scroll down, we’re beneath the Al Sharpton link), reported that the DVD treatment of old-school Sesame Street was getting hit with an “Adults-Only” warning label. WTF? Was Mr. Hooper that bad-ass of a curmudgeon?  This news left your dear old Aunt John reeling and thinking. Thinking, that is, about whatever happened to my favorite monster song!?!

After some extensive research, (cough, Googling), your Aunt John was s-h-o-c-k-e-d to learn that back in 1984, some bored housewife launched a campaign to have my favorite monster tune censored:

The song was removed from rotation on Sesame Street in 1984, after a mother complained about the song’s bridge:

If I make friends with a friendly monster,
I’ll let him bounce me on his knee.
I’ll let him do whatever he wants to,
Especially if he’s bigger than me.

These lyrics, interpreted in an unwholesome way, could be seen as encouraging children to give in to physical demands made by adults. A New York Times article on April 9, 1984, summarized the situation:

The monster song on the children’s television program Sesame Street is about to lose four lines because of a mother who feared they would encourage child molestation. Marty Deming, a mother of two, objected to the lines. She said Edward L. Palmer, vice president of the Children’s Television Workshop, told her Sesame Street will stop using the lines, even though the producers felt the song “has nothing to do with encouraging children to let real adult persons make improper advances on them.”

Shame on you mother of two Marty Deming, and your over-active imagination. It’s a song about friendship and acceptance, not one that actively encourages small children to succumb to the advances of bicycle shop proprietors.

Thanks to Deming, the song is no longer available on any SESAME STREET re-issues and compilations. Thankfully, the good folks over at the now-defunct 365 Days Project are not afraid of befriending monsters and have the song available for download.

Kinder-News :: Righting the Wrongs of the AFI

Not unlike 9-1-1, AFI (The American Film Institute) is a joke. Yeah, you heard that right, a joke, and a really unfunny joke like the one about six being afraid of seven. Although they thought to include such non-popular, non-relevant genres like “Sports” and “Courtroom Dramas” on their DUMB LIST, for some reason they neglected our most favorite genre of all. And no, it’s not horror. We’re all for the ostracizing of horror films, the last thing we want is for horror movies to go mainstream; we’re talking about… wheelchair movies!!! (The inclusion of REAR WINDOW in their suspiciously WATCHER IN THE WOODS free mystery list simply does not suffice!) We can overlook their bizarre, borderline flippant, spurious assessments of cinema (Girl at video store: “Let’s travel to the magic fantasy world of GROUNDHOG DAY!” Boy at video store: “No. I’m in the mood for a sweeping, globetrotting epic like SHINDLER’S LIST!”), but the smug oversight of making their choices blatantly handicap inaccessible must be corrected at once! We here at Kindertrauma neither have the time nor the will power to right all the wrongs in the world (so please stop asking), but as far as this glaring error in judgment goes, we are more than handicapable.

First Up: The Honorable Mentions…

Although we were hesitant to include a Wayans Brothers’ comedy on our list (WHITE CHICKS, anyone?), we can’t deny the hypnotic power of dueling wheelchairs, especially when one is captained by DAVID CROSS and the other, a ghostly RICHARD MOLL!


As this AMICUS anthology aptly illustrates. Being in a wheelchair sometimes makes you vulnerable to sneaky attacks by lil’ miniature robot dudes!


The kooky anatomy doll that goes by the name of “PIN” (short for Pinocchio, natch) is known to take a load off of his plastic feet and travel by wheelchair occasionally.

Now, fasten your seat belts, it’s time for…



For people who are not used to it, being in a wheelchair can really suck the big one, but as far as consolations go you can’t beat lil monkey Ella, look at that face! She can dance, make breakfast, kill your mom and she’ll even make out with you! You’d have to be bananas not to love her!


Some haters would say feigning the need for a wheelchair in order to make someone your own personal servant is diabolical. I say I just got a new role model!


The always-unwelcome TRISH VAN DEVERE is once again chased out of someone’s home with the threat of bodily harm. This time however it is by a possessed wheelchair that drives itself!! Take a hint TRISH and get lost!


This hot rod inspired wheelchair makes that old timey busted up wicker model from the THE CHANGELING look even more like a piece of crap. Thanks Uncle Red, you’re the best raging alcoholic we know!


Have you ever felt great sympathy for a person who is confined to a wheelchair? Meet Frank and say goodbye to those feelings forever. Here’s a guy that will actually have you routing for a family of Texan cannibals… that’s right we said Texan. With his non-stop whining and fussing, Franky boy may be the most unlikable portrayal of a handicapped person since that girl from DIFF’RENT STROKES who called everybody, “Turkey!”


A kid in a wheelchair dreams that he can walk again. It should be a time to celebrate except that America’s favorite child molester Freddy Krueger is such a douche that he makes a super evil wheelchair to run the nerd down! Next, using the dream world rules, the kid turns himself into a fanciful wizard complete with the magical power to die in an embarrassing costume.


A hostage to kindness and the wheels beneath her, Mrs. Oliphant wrongly thinks Jamie Benjamin is going to do her a solid when he offers to push her chair. Instead he dumps her and her wheels into a pit of bloodthirsty Neanderthal monsters!


Every dining experience is drive-thru when you’re stuck in a wheelchair. Too bad chef Baby Jane serves dead birds as appetizers and the main course is rat!


Finally a movie that depicts the reality that being in a wheelchair is the ultimate babe magnet. This poor guy was just about to get laid, but in true FRIDAY fashion he instead got a machete lodged in his face and propelled backwards down a flight of stairs during a lightning storm. Harsh I know, but that’s what makes it the best kill ever!


The makers of this E.T. rip off did not have the dough to pull off a fantastic “flying your bicycle past a full moon with your alien buddy” scene, so they settled for the next best thing by shoving a dummy into a wheelchair and throwing it off a cliff. It’s sorta similar if you ignore the whole opposite direction thing. What, your heart doesn’t explode with the wonder of life and the beauty of friendship when you look at this image? What is wrong with you people?!